Small Group Tour IJT Essential

Japan Unmasked

13 Nights: from US$3605 Trip Code: JU

Japan Unmasked is a tour with modest accommodation and minimal inclusions, giving you the freedom to choose where you spend your time and money - whether you see yourself slurping on a quick bowl of noodles or splurging on sushi. Selected departures are dedicated to solo travellers. Read more >

The tour begins in Tokyo: the beating, neon heart of Japan. The first of many rides on the shinkansen bullet train then whisks you into mountainous central Japan, where you'll spend the night at a shukubo temple lodgings, try vegetarian Buddhist cuisine and search for the key to paradise in the pitch-dark tunnels underneath Zenko-ji - one of Japan's most important temples.

A chance for you to see the mischievous snow monkeys soaking in the natural hot spring pools of Yudanaka will be followed by a visit to the "Black Crow", Matsumoto's magnificent original samurai castle.

Delving deeper in the mountains you'll experience warm Japanese hospitality at a traditional ryokan inn in Takayama, where the old-town streets hide sake breweries, craft shops and morning markets loaded with fresh produce.

Kyoto and Kanazawa offer a glimpse of traditional Japan - one a magnificent former capital with an astounding 17 World Heritage Sites, the other a small but beautifully preserved city with lamp-lit streets and one of the best gardens in Japan. When walking around the Gion district in Kyoto, you might be lucky enough to spot a geisha in full regalia.

Further west you'll visit Hiroshima, where the Peace Memorial Park offers a sobering reminder of Japan's darkest hour. Though haunted by its past, Hiroshima today is a city teeming with life and optimism. Be sure to try the region's favourite savoury pancake: okonomiyaki.

Finally, you'll visit Kurashiki - a real gem of a town that often goes unseen by foreign visitors but whose beautiful merchant canal district, wealth of excellent museums and beautiful surrounding countryside - through which you'll have the chance to take a bike ride - make it well worth the trip.

If this sounds good and makes you want to see even more, why not extend your tour in Japan!

We recommend booking at least one extra night to check in and relax before the tour begins.

Solo travellers: you can book on any of the available departures, and on specific departures you have the opportunity to choose to travel with solos only if you prefer.

Important Practical Information

Group Size: 4 - 14

Single Supplement: There is no single supplement for this tour. Single travellers will have a single room free of charge at all of the western style hotels (at least 8 nights). They will be asked to share with another single traveller of the same sex at the Japanese style stays (maximum 5 nights). For this tour single travellers can choose to book on any available departure, or on dedicated departures for solos only.

Fitness: Even when not using public transport, sightseeing in Japan often involves walking between sights, climbing up steps in temples and being 'on the go' for much of the day. To enjoy any of our Small Group Tours you should be of moderate fitness, able to walk and climb stairs without difficulty and able to maintain a pace that is comfortable for the majority of the group.

Transport: Please note that all transfers are by public transport making use of Japan's first-rate transport network.

Luggage: We highly recommend that to make your stay more enjoyable you pack reasonably light. Large suitcases will be an inconvenience to you. A small case or bag with wheels or a rucksack are most appropriate for this tour as you will have to carry your bags for short distances and some stations do not have escalators or elevators/lifts. You will also need a small overnight back-pack (for up to two nights) for use when we forward our main bags to the next location.

Accommodation: All western style hotels have private ensuite. The ryokan accommodation in Takayama, as well as the shukubo temple lodging in Nagano have shared bathroom and toilet facilities. At the ryokan in Kyoto we can usually get rooms with ensuite facilities but this cannot be guaranteed. 

International Flights: This tour starts and finishes in Tokyo for arrivals and departures at Tokyo Narita or Tokyo Haneda Airport.

Check-in: Please note that rooms at the Tokyo hotel are only available from 2pm. (You can, however, securely leave your luggage at the front desk at any time).

At a glance

What's Included >

What's included

  • Full-time services of your InsideJapan tour leader
  • 13 nights' accommodation
  • Breakfast every day and one evening meal
  • All transport between destinations in Japan
  • 14-day Japan Rail Pass
  • IC transport card with 2,500 yen credit for city transport
  • Highway Bus from Matsumoto to Takayama
  • Transfer from Takayama to Kanazawa by private coach
  • Entrance to Zenko-ji Temple in Nagano
  • Entrance to Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yudanaka
  • Geisha district walking tour
  • Luggage Forwarding Tokyo to Matsumoto
  • Your InsideJapan Info-Pack
  • Shared portable Wi-Fi access throughout trip

What's NOT included:

  • International flights
  • Entrance fees (including those for temples, shrines and museums) unless otherwise specified
  • Any local transportation unless covered by the included passes
  • Baggage handling and luggage forwarding unless otherwise specified

View full price information >

Tour Price Information

  • Tour Price: From US$3605
  • Single Supplement: N/A

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$112 Single pp US$189
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$105 Single pp US$133


  • Tour Price: From US$3633
  • Single Supplement: N/A

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$113 Single pp US$198
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$110 Single pp US$138

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the old canal district of lovely Kurashiki and enjoy a cycling tour of the Kibi plains
  • Stay in a Buddhist temple lodging at Nagano's Zenko-ji Temple
  • Enjoy the diversity of cities and sights, from the neon streets of Shinjuku to Hiroshima's Peace Memorial park
  • Visit the traditional samurai & geisha districts of Kanazawa
  • Stay in a traditional ryokan with a delicious meal in your yukata
  • Observe the famous “snow monkeys” up close in Yudanaka
  • Ride the famous shinkansen bullet train
  • Explore the traditional craft town of Takayama in the Japanese Alps
  • If all this sounds great and makes you want to see even more, why not extend your stay in Japan!
  • Solo travellers can choose to book on any available departure, or on dedicated departures for solos only.

For more information email us: [email protected] or call: 303 952 0379

What, where, when and how...

Japan Unmasked - 14 Days - Accommodation

Japan Unmasked - 14 Days - Booking

Single supplement from £N/A

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 44 reviews)

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 44 reviews)

4.8 out of 5 from 44 reviews Show all Japan Unmasked Reviews

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