Highlights of Japan Trip Notes

Trip Overview

Print

Discover colourful cultures, tasty cuisines, and enchanting cities as you follow your local guide on the 8-day highlights of Japan tour. Start your adventure in the bustling city of Tokyo, checking out the world-famous fish markets and neon-lit bars of Shinjuku. Marvel at the picture-perfect views of Mt Fuji on Lake Ashinoko and listen to your guide as they share hair-raising stories of Hiroshima’s historic past. Finish your adventure with us in Kyoto and explore a city brimming with temples, shrines, gardens and restaurants in your own time!

Duration : 8 Days

Destination : Japan

Start/Ends in : Tokyo / Kyoto

Group Size : 4-18 People

Age Req. : 18+

Trip Theme : Classic,Short Break

Hotels : 4 & 3 Star

Departs : All Year Round

Why you will love this tour

  • * This 8-day adventure gives a snapshot into the highlights of Japan from the Geishas of Kyoto to the Golden Gai Bars of Tokyo, plus zen-filled landscapes like Hakone, Mt Fuji and Takayama.
  • * Shape your adventure with optional activities. Learn how to make Japanese pancakes in Hiroshima, taste-test sashimi and at the local fish markets or explore the neon-lit backstreets of Tokyo!
  • * Stay in carefully selected accommodation with traditional onsens and spas at your disposal. Plus, all breakfasts are included in the tour package.
  • * Enjoy extended two-night stays with free time in Tokyo, Takayama, and Hiroshima to embrace each city and its culture like a local!
  • * Take a day trip to the romantic Miyajima Island to explore the famously floating Torii Gate and Shrines, and breath-taking 360-degree views of the inland sea.

  • * Tour finishes in Kyoto with the freedom to explore the cultural and historical hub at your own pace! Your guide can provide plenty of recommendations on what to see and do while you’re there!

Arrival Details

The group welcome meeting with your guide and other travelers is held around 18:30 at the hotel lobby on Day 1 of your tour unless otherwise notified.

Meeting Point:

The meeting point for the tour is :

Sunroute Asakusa Hotel – Tokyo – 3 Star

Address: 7 Hospital St, Colombo 00100, Sri Lanka

Phone : +94 112 153 153

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36

Finishing Point:

The finishing point for the tour is :

Heianbo Ryokan – Kyoto – 4 Star

Address: 725 Nishiiru-Higashishiokojicho Shichijo-Sagaru Karasuma-Dori Shimogyo-Ku, Kyoto

Phone : +81 75-351-0650

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36

Highlights

Garan Sacred Area: The two most prominent buildings of the Garan area are the Kondo Hall and the huge Konpon Daito Pagoda. The hall is a large wooden temple hall where major ceremonies are held.

Hakone: Hugged by Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi, Hakone is a scenic town in the Japanese countryside. It is most famous for its red Torii gate and Shinto shrine.

Himeji Castle: Himeji Castle is a hilltop Japanese castle in the city of Himeji which is located in the Hyogo Prefacture in Japan. It is an increasingly popular spot.

Hiroshima: A modern city on Honshu Island, it was largely destroyedby the atomic bomb during World War II. Today, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park commemorates the 1945 event.

Kuromon Market: Spacious market with vendors selling street food, fresh produce, shellfish, souvenirs, etc. An amazing place to spend splendid times in a peaceful area full of locals.

Kyoto: Kyoto is the cultural heart of Japan, brimming with Buddhist Temples, Shinto shrines, and dazzling gardens and palaces. It is the best city to experience Japan’s cultural nuances.

Miyajima Island: A small island in Hiroshima Bay, it is known for its forests and ancient temples. Just offshore, the giant orange Great Torii Gate is partially submerged at high tide.

Mount Koya: A Buddhist temple complex perched on Mount Koya, Koyasan is considered one of the most sacred sites in Japan. It is also a scenic retreat with its epic mountain views.

Osaka: The large port city of Osaka is one of the trendiest cosmopolitan urban centers in Japan. It is a traveler’s hub with vibrant nightlife and top-notch international cuisine.

Peace Museum: This museum is dedicated to documenting the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War II. The museum was established in August 1955 with the Peace Memorial Hall.

Takayama: The mountainous Takayama town is an idyllic place nestling Japan’s age-old traditions and rural charm. Hida Folk Village is one of its highlight attractions.

Tokyo: Japan’s busy capital mixes the ultramodernand the traditional from neon-lit skyscrapers to historic temples. The Imperial Palace sits amid large public gardens.

Itinerary

Please note that the itinerary may be subject to small changes depending on the conditions during the tour. Alternative accommodation of similar standards may be used depending on the group size and hotel availability.

Kon’nichiwa and welcome to the capital of Japan – Tokyo! Meet your group and tour leader for an informal welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6.30pm, before going out for an optional group dinner. With a population of above 10 million people, Tokyo offers endless choices when it comes to shopping, green spaces, entertainment, historical sites, culture, and dining!

Accommodation : Sunroute Asakusa Hotel – 3 Star

Included Activities : Group Welcome Meeting

Make the best of this morning in Tokyo on your own terms, or you can join an optional ‘Kitchen Tour’ to the world-famous Tsukiji fish market to sample some of Japan’s iconic and tasty seafood and sashimi. This tour will follow a local guide through Tsukiji’s outer markets, brimming with food stalls and retail shops. With over 2,500 tons and 450 types of fish coming through the wholesale market each day, your guide will provide plenty of information about the operations and importance of this world-famous fish market and the legendary tuna auctions. Next up, visit a nearby sake shop to sample Japan’s beloved beverage of choice!

We will farewell Tokyo for the breath-taking Hakone region at noon. Grab a seat for the two-hour train journey as we head towards the mountainous town known for its hot springs (onsen) resorts and views of Mount Fuji. On arrival in Hakone, follow your guide on a walking tour and take a scenic boat tour along Lake Ashinoko while you snap some picture-perfect shots of Mount Fuji. Explore the Hakone Shrine along the shore of Lake Ashinoko and visit the Tokaido Checkpoint to learn about its significance. Alternatively, you have the option to view the unique installations at Hakone Open Air Museum. Finish up the day with an included 30-minute gondola ride on the Owakudani Cable Car for views of the active sulfuric hot springs, Lake Ashinoko and Mount Fuji from above!

Accommodation : Ichinoyu Shinkan – Ryokan

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Hakone Sightseeing

Boat ride on Lake Ashinoko

Owakudani Cable Car

Optional Activities : Tokyo’s Kitchen Tour – 8,000 JPY

Entrance Fees :

Tokaido Checkpoint – 500 JPY

Hakone Shrine – Free

Kick-start the day with a scenic mountain train ride and hop on an express/bullet train that reaches speeds of 270 kilometers per hour as we make our way to Takayama! The journey will take approximately 5 hours and includes travel by local train and Shinkansen Bullet Train. Takayama is a charming city hidden in the mountainous region of Hida and made famous for its authentic Japanese touch and preserved old towns. This afternoon hop on a local bus for the Hida Folk Village and tag along your expert local guide to get a glimpse of a beautifully preserved sample of the Japanese culture, strolling along traditional thatched-roof homes built during the Edo Period of 1603-1967! Learn about the traditional Japanese way of life, crafts, and culture of these olden times. Tonight, put your feet up at the 4-star Wat Hotel and make the most of the beautiful onsen and spas.

Accommodation : WAT Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Hida Folk Village Tour

After an included breakfast at the hotel, explore Takayama’s morning market with your tour leader as we embark on our walking tour. This traditional market was established over 600 years ago and is a great way to interact with locals and tourists alike as your browse the crafts, flowers, and fresh produce for sale. Continue strolling the town with visits to the Merchant House and Takayama Jinja Building. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the quaint town of Takayama, go on a nature walk, or hop on the optional day trip to Shirakawago with your guide at noon. If you enjoy sake, make sure to have a taste of Takayama’s prized signature drop at a local store.

Accommodation : WAT Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Takayama Sightseeing

Optional Activities : Shirakawago Day trip – 9,000 JPY

Entrance Fees :

Morning Market – Free

Merchant House – 700 JPY

Takayama Jinya Building – 430 JPY

Travel by express train and Shinkansen bullet train to Hiroshima (approximately 5 hours). Hiroshima is well known for the 1945 atomic bomb attack which destructed the entire city within a 2km radius. After the war, great efforts were taken to rebuild Hiroshima. The city was tastefully reconstructed in a way that still pays tribute to the suffering, with a large park built in the city centre – Peace Memorial Park. Following your guide through the park, you will visit the Peace Memorial Museum to learn of the historical war events that took place here. Then, visit the A-Bomb Dome, one of few buildings that remained standing following the attack. Explore the somber UNESCO World Heritage Site and listen carefully as your guide shares stories of Hiroshima’s unique past. This evening, you can explore Hiroshima on your own, or join an optional Cooking Class & Dinner and learn to make a signature Japanese dish, the Okonomiyaki or savoury pancake!

Accommodation : ARK Hotel Hiroshimaeki Minami – 3 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Peace Museum visit

Peace Park & A Bomb Dome

Optional Activities :

Okonomiyaki (Savoury Pancake) Cooking Class & Dinner – 5,000 JPY

Entrance Fees : Peace Museum – 200 JPY

Known as the ‘romantic shrine Island’ just 1 hour outside of Hiroshima, Miyajima Island makes for the perfect day trip and is home to some of Japan’s best views. Visit the island with your local guide and explore the famous floating Torii Gate and Itsukushima-jinja Shrine. Then, hop on the nearby cable car to the top of Mt Misen and embrace the 360-degree views of the inland sea. Enjoy some photo opportunities on the mountain top before returning to Hiroshima with free time in the late afternoon to enjoy the sites of the city. Your guide will be more than happy to offer tips and suggestions on what to see and do during your final night in Hiroshima.

Accommodation : ARK Hotel Hiroshimaeki Minami – 3 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities : Miyajima Island Ferry & Sightseeing

Entrance Fees :

Itsukushima-jinja Shrine – 300 JPY

Cable Car to Mt. Misen – 1,000 JPY (one way)

Travel by Shinkansen bullet train for approximately 1 hour before arriving at the spectacular Hemeji Castle. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed castle is 400-year-old national treasure and has never been destroyed by war, earthquake, or fire. Explore the enchanting white castle with your guide before continuing to Kyoto via Shinkansen Bullet Train (approximately 1 hour). Considered the cultural and historic heart of the country, Kyoto is brimming with temples, shrines, peaceful gardens, geisha, restaurants, and shops. This traditional city is the perfect place to get lost in! After checking into the hotel, enjoy free time to explore Kyoto at your own pace.

If you are feeling adventurous in the evening, join the group for an optional Kyoto Lanes & Lanterns walking tour to wander the backstreets of Gion, visit local spots off the beaten track, sample tasty Japanese snacks and explore the wooden walls and lanterns of Yasaka Shrine.

Accommodation : Heianbo Ryokan

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Himeji Castle Visit

Optional Activities :

Kyoto Lanes & Lanterns – 8,000 JPY

Entrance Fees : Himeji Castle – 1,000 JPY

Today we saw our goodbyes! Enjoy a final breakfast together before hotel check-out at 10:00. Roam through the backstreets of Kyoto one last time before farewelling your new travel mates – until next time!

Included Meals : Breakfast

Inclusions & Exclusions

The tour price covers the following services:

Accomodation : 4 & 3 Star Hotels, Japanese-style Ryokans

Meals : 7 Breakfasts

Transportation : Train, local bus, luggage transfers

Guide : Services of experienced Travel Talk local guides licenced by the Ministry of Tourism

Sightseeing : Tokaido Checkpoint, Hakone Shrine, Morning Market, Merchant House, Takayama Jinya Building, Peace Museum, Peace Park & A Bomb Dome, Miyajima Island, Itsukushima-jinja Shrine, Himeji Castle, Kyoto, Mt Misen

What is NOT included in the tour price?

  • Any flights not mentioned above
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not stated above
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips & gestures
  • Entrance fees to the sights and museums
  • Optional activities
  • Other services not stated in the itinerary

Hotels & Accommodation

Solo travellers will be roomed with another solo traveller of the same gender in a twin or triple room, or can upgrade to a solo room by paying the single supplement. You may choose the solo room option when booking online or contact us to arrange a private room. Your tour leader will allocate rooms upon arrival at the starting hotel in accordance with the rooming lists, last minute changes may not be guaranteed.

SUNROUTE ASAKUSA – TOKYO – 3 STAR

Hotel Sunroute Asakusa is located near the Tawaramachi Metro Station. The non-smoking rooms feature earth-tone colors and are equipped with an en suite bathroom, and air conditioning/heating.

ICHINOYU SHINKAN – HAKONE

Located in a quiet area, the facility offers rooms with a private open-air hot-spring bath. Guests can use free Wi-Fi at the entire property and enjoy the public indoor, and outdoor hot-spring baths as well.

WAT HOTEL – TAKAYAMA – 4 STAR

Guests can make use of the hot spring bath. An off-site fitness center that is 4 minutes away on foot is available free of charge. The hotel is located 2km from Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village.

ARK HOTEL HIROSHIMAEKI – HIROSHIMA – 3 STAR

Ark Hotel Hiroshimaeki Minami is a 5-minute walk away from Hiroshima Station south exit, offering rooms with free wifi. The hotel features three dining options, a hot tub, and a sauna.

SOTETSU FRESA – HIROSHIMA – 4 STAR

Located on Peace Boulevard and overlooking Peace Memorial Park and the Motoyasu River, this hotel is right in the city center. It has 2-top floor restaurants and a bar.

HEIANBO RYOKAN – KYOTO – 4 STAR

Heianbo Ryokan is a 4-star hotel, only 1km from Kamo River. This place is set in the center of Kyoto. Guests can enjoy Japanese and Asian meals at Kyo Chabana Kyotoekimae.

Essential Information: Japan

Passport & Visas

If you are a citizen of Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, or Canada, you do not require a visa for stays shorter than 90 days. Please check the visa requirements for your nationality on your embassy’s website.

Travelers to Japan must have a passport or travel document valid for at least 6 months from their arrival date in Japan. You should carry your passport or travel document with you at all times.

Travel Advice

We are closely monitoring the latest travel updates to Japan and following the advice of the UK Foreign Office (FCDO). For the latest travel advice from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/japan

We recommend all travellers to check their Government National Travel Advisory prior to their departure:

Australia – https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

Canada – https://travel.gc.ca/

New Zealand – https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

USA – https://travel.state.gov/

Travel Insurance

All passengers travelling with Travel Talk are required to have personal travel insurance before participating in any of our tours. Your guide will collect your travel insurance details on the first day of your trip. It is your responsibility to make sure you have an adequate and suitable travel insurance for you in place, you may read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/travel-insurance

Health & Safety

The health and safety of our passengers, staff and communities visited is of utmost priority. As we monitor and comply with the official advice from the UK Foreign Office, as well as World Health Organization and government authorities regularly, we have implemented several policies and precautions on our tours for your wellbeing. You may find our Safe Travels Protocols at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels

Travel Talk Adventures has received the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which allows travellers to recognise companies around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

Please make sure to regularly check your Government’s travel advice before travelling and be well-informed of any requirements. Your tour guide will also notify you of the regulations and protocols to follow throughout your trip with us.

Please note that if any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary or possess a potential risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to remove them from all or part of a trip.

Please consult with your doctor for the latest medical travel information and any vaccinations you may need. We recommend that you bring any personal medical requirements and medications with you as these may be difficult to obtain while on tour.

Weather

The best time to visit Japan is spring and fall when nature is in transition, offering breathtaking views of cherry blossoms or changing leaves across the country. The warm temperatures and dry weather make touring the vast gardens and buzzing markets in the cities comfortable. However, Japan has a diverse land that offers memorable activities every season, making it a popular destination all year round. 

June to August, Japan hosts its largest crowds, which means that the major cities like Tokyo and Kyoto are vibrant and joyous. Colorful festivals take place across the country in these months. The blooming land in the countryside offers fascinating views as you travel through the old towns and national parks. 

Winter is a quiet season in Japan, except for the ski regions in the north. The snow-covered lands are ideal for spending some leisure time in the resorts and enjoying the iconic onsens. Temperatures are relatively low from December to February, which might be a perfect opportunity for Japan tours if you wish to avoid the heat and humidity. 

For more, check out our Japan weather guide.

Money Matters

The official currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY) and 1 USD converts to approximately 135JPY. Credit and debit cards are accepted at ATMs across Japan. There is no need to dispense large quantities of JPY prior to arrival in Japan. USD cash is also widely accepted; however, change is often given in JPY. Many businesses will not accept notes larger than 20JPY, so we recommend carrying small denominations of both JPY and USD. Credit and Debit cards can also be used to pay for accommodation or more expensive services in Japan’s major cities, however, cash remains king. We recommend you do not exchange bulk sums of money at the airport, as the exchange rates are usually more favorable in the major cities. Your tour leader will be happy to help if you need any assistance.

Tipping is not customary in Japan but is very much appreciated, a small tip can equate to a large portion of the daily wage for service staff. Rounding your bill to the nearest 1 USD equivalent is a small gesture that is greatly appreciated nationwide for good service. You may also consider tipping your leader and driver for outstanding service at the end of your trip.

Eating & Drinking


Japanese food is not so different than the rest of Southeast and East Asian cuisines—majorly based on rice, seafood, and seasonal herbs and spices. Meals include a main course with side dishes, which mainly include a soup and three sides. Heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine, Japanese food doesn’t carry many traces from outer cuisines due to the country’s closed state in its development era. You will find the same dishes served in a variety of ways as you travel across the different geographic regions of Japan. Finding the absolute must-eat food in Japan may be quite overwhelming, so check out this Japanese culinary guide to make sure you know all the essentials.

Sushi: Vinegared rice and a wide variety of raw fish are the main ingredients. Grab your chopsticks, dip a sushi in some hot soy sauce mixed with wasabi, and eat sushi like the locals. 

Sashimi: A bowl of thinly sliced raw fish seasoned with local herbs and sauces like wasabi and served without rice, sashimi can be quite extreme if you are not used to raw meat.

Miso Soup: Dashi is the main ingredient, and an aromatic mix of vegetables, tofu, and seafood accompany it with the miso bean paste sealing the taste. Miso paste is what gives the soup its unique taste. It is soybeans fermented with salt and some fungus. 

Kuzu Mochi: Japan’s favorite summer sweet treat, kuzu-mochi is a wonderful variety of Japanese mochi, glutinous rice cake. It is made with the starchy flour named kuzuko. 

Essentials to Bring & Internet

-Face mask/cover and hand sanitiser enough for your personal use throughout the trip – See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/

-Travel Documents: Passport, Visa (if required), flight or transport ticket (and photocopies)

-Travel Talk Tour Voucher (printed or digital)Travel Insurance Policy (and photocopy)

-Personal medical kit and medicine

-Money (cash, credit card, travellers’ cheques)

-Power Adapter

-Reusable water bottle

-Ear plugs and eye mask

-Sun protection – hat, sunglasses, sunscreen

-Comfortable, closed walking shoes

-Wind/water proof jacket

-Warm clothes, hat, and gloves for cold weather

-Sandals, swimwear, shorts for warm weather

Internet Access

Many cafes, hotels, and restaurants in the cities of Japan provide free Wi-Fi, but the connection may be spotty or slow. If you wish to use your own 3G/4G Data, be sure to enable data roaming on your mobile. Purchasing a SIM card for the duration of your tour may be a cost-effective alternative. Make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave home so a local SIM will be compatible. Your local guide will be able to provide advice on where to purchase data SIMs in Japan.

Solo Travellers

We have many solo travellers joining our tours. Solo travellers will be roomed with another traveller of the same gender. If you would like a private solo room, please contact us. You may see out solo travels page for more details.

Rules to Follow

We are committed to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We do not tolerate any form of violence (physical or verbal), bullying or harassment involving customers, partners, Travel Talk staff or locals. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a passenger are forbidden.

We will not tolerate any illegal activity, including but not limited to: use and possession of illegal drugs, trespassing, and disrupting public order. If you consume alcohol, please ensure that you drink responsibly and follow the local laws and regulations.

You must follow the advice of your tour leader and local officials regarding health and safety measures. We operate all tours under Safe Travels protocols for the wellbeing of our passengers, staff and communities visited. Please ensure that you have read the https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/ and are fully prepared for your trip.

If someone is acting inappropriately regarding these matters, please notify your tour leader immediately or contact us on the emergency contact number provided below.

Your tour leader has the right to remove from the group anyone not abiding by these rules, with no right of compensation or refund. See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/booking-terms/

Please remember that our travellers come from different parts of the world and will have various needs and preferences. Be understanding and patient with your fellow travellers, and always strive to be on time.

Responsible Travel

We believe that travel is a force for good and show our support through various initiatives and charity organizations, as well as keeping the principals of responsible and sustainable travel at the core of our ethos. These values are engrained in our business culture and the design of our trips just the same. Together with you, we strive to make a positive impact on local people and economies, respecting the local culture, environment, social fabric and customs; encouraging respectful and meaningful cross-cultural exchange. Read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/responsible-travel/

Open until midnight

+44 20 809 995 96
[email protected]

Monday - Friday: 09:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday: Closed
W. Europe