Small Group Tour IJT Essential

Japan Unmasked

13 Nights: from US$3773 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!

Important Tour 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.

Check-in: Please note that rooms at the Tokyo hotel are only available from 2pm. Hotels in Japan operate strict check-in policies. If you have an early arrival you can either book an extra night for any-time check-in, or the hotel will be happy to securely store your luggage for you whilst you go for a drink or explore the local area.

Transport: Please note that most transfers are by public transport, such as trains, boats, taxis and trams, making use of Japan's first-rate transport network. All the accommodation have been chosen for their location close to the nearest station.

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 need a small overnight bag (e.g. backpack) for use when we forward your main bags to the next location.

Accommodation: All western style hotels have private en suite. The Japanese style accommodation in Takayama, as well as the temple lodging in Nagano have shared bathroom and toilet facilities. At the Japanese style accommodation in Kyoto we will request en suite 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.

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$3773
  • No single supplement! Guaranteed single room in Western style hotels.

Extra Nights

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


  • Tour Price: From US$3633
  • No single supplement! Guaranteed single room in Western style hotels.

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share From US$113 pp Single From US$194 pp
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share From US$123 pp Single From US$196 pp
Disclaimer Message: Please note: Prices displayed above are all "From" prices as individual prices vary depending on time of year travelling. For full pricing information on specific departures please speak to your Travel Consultant.

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the old canal district of lovely Kurashiki
  • 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 and enjoy a delicious meal in your yukata (casual cotton kimono)
  • 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

No single supplement! Guaranteed single room in Western style hotels.

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 48 reviews)

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 48 reviews)

4.9 out of 5 from 48 reviews Show all Japan Unmasked Reviews

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