Small Group Tour IJT Classic

Hands On Japan

14 Nights: from US$5530 Trip Code: HO

As the name suggests, Hands On Japan is our most hands-on Small Group Tour: packed with experiences to help you and your family get to grips with Japanese culture in a fun and interactive manner. Children from the age of six will love getting stuck in to activities ranging from taiko drumming to boat rides, and the guidance of our expert tour leaders will help them better understand this fascinating country. Read more >

Food is one of the highlights of any trip to Japan, and this tour is no different. Besides a range of superb included meals, from a breakfast of the freshest sushi to a kaiseki multi-course feast in Kyoto, you'll also learn to make your own. In Takefu this means a soba noodle-making class, whilst at the Daio wasabi farm you'll make traditional pickles and perhaps try a taste of wasabi ice cream!

The creative arts are well represented, and as you continue your adventure you'll test your skills at pottery and roketsu cloth dyeing in Kyoto, traditional papermaking in Takefu and taiko drumming in Tokyo.

Enjoy superb natural scenery as you canoe through valleys and help farmers with their crops in Togari Nozawa Onsen, and attempt to achieve enlightenment during Zazen meditation in Eiheiji.

Japan is famous for its rich traditional heritage, and this tour offers you a window into a wide variety of cultural institutions. In Tokyo you'll attend a sumo tournament for a glimpse into a strictly regimented world that is much more spiritual than most outsiders realise.

Matsumoto offers the chance to climb to the top of the imposing "Black Crow" samurai castle, whilst in Kyoto you'll try Japanese green tea and be entertained by a maiko (apprentice geisha).

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: Single rooms are guaranteed at all night stops on this tour through payment of a mandatory single supplement.

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: Upon arrival you will probably be tired after a long international flight. Please note that rooms at the Tokyo hotel are only available from 3pm. 

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.

The tour leader will be staying at the first hotel for two nights before the tour starts so they will be available for advice if you choose to book pre tour nights. We recommend booking at least one extra night to check in and relax before the tour begins.

Transport: Please note that most transfers are by public transport making use of Japan's first-rate transport network. This tour uses a mixture of trains, taxis, public buses and boats, as well as private coaches for some transfers and sightseeing.

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 bag for up to two nights (e.g. backpack), for use when we forward our main bags to the next location.

Accommodation: Culturally, communal bathing is common practice in Japan. Please note that in some traditional accommodations fully private en suite facilities may not be available. We will do our best to secure rooms on tour with private toilet and sink however some accommodations are not able to offer private bathing facilities. Shared facilities (when included) will always be separated by gender. In Togarinozawa Onsen rooms have attached toilets but bathing facilities are shared.

Please note that in Japan, twin rooms are very much the norm, and there are far fewer double rooms available. Please understand that on this tour we are not able to offer double rooms at any of the locations.

International Flights: This tour starts and finishes in Tokyo for arrivals and departures at Tokyo Narita Airport or Tokyo Haneda Airport. Please note that the included meet-and-greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available from these two airports.

At a glance

What's Included >

What's included

  • Full-time services of your InsideJapan tour leader
  • Your InsideJapan Info-Pack
  • 14 nights' accommodation
  • Breakfast every day, ten evening meals and six lunches
  • Airport meet-and-greet plus transfers for arrival and departure
  • 14-day Japan Rail Pass
  • IC transport card with 2,500 yen credit for city transport
  • Taiko drumming lesson
  • Sumida River boat ride & tea at Hamarikyu Gardens
  • Yakatabune boat ride with dinner in Tokyo
  • Sushi brunch in Tokyo
  • Stadium tickets to a sumo wrestling tournament
  • Farming experience (if the weather is fine)
  • Canoeing (fine weather) OR chopstick-making (wet)
  • Visit to Daio wasabi farm including lunch & pickle-making experience
  • Afternoon tea with a trainee geisha in Kyoto
  • Pottery experience with delivery fee to your home included
  • Roketsu cloth dyeing experience
  • Tondaya machiya visit in Kyoto with bento lunch
  • Knife sharpening and paper-making experiences
  • Soba noodle-making lesson
  • Shared portable Wi-Fi access throughout trip

What's NOT included:

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

View full price information >

Tour Price Information

  • Tour Price: From US$5530
  • Single Supplement: From US$350

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share From US$102 pp Single From US$141 pp
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share From US$191 pp Single From US$243 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

  • Visit the ukiyo-e woodblock print museum in Matsumoto
  • Visit Zenko-ji Temple, one of Japan's most important religious sites
  • Prepare your own soba noodles with an expert
  • Try your hand at pottery where postage of your masterpiece back home is included!
  • Learn the art of taiko drumming
  • Visit a traditional machiya townhouse for lunch in Kyoto
  • See sumo and take a cruise to Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo
  • Try your hand at traditional Japanese crafts: paper making, zazen meditation, cloth dyeing and more
  • If all this sounds great and makes you want to see even more, why not extend your stay in Japan!
  • You can also get Hands On in our other destinations: Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. Ask us!

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

What, where, when and how...

Hands On Japan - 15 Days - Accommodation

Hands On Japan - 15 Days - Booking

Single supplement from US$350

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 7 reviews)

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 7 reviews)

5.0 out of 5 from 7 reviews Show all Hands On Japan Reviews

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