Think Japan is just karaoke, manga and Harajuku girls? Think again.
Travel to Japan and you’ll soon see that it’s also home to outlandish game shows, an array of vending machines, old-school sake breweries, and the most faultlessly considerate people.
Oh… and there’s a whole load of ancient temples, castles and shrines, too.
Where else can you visit sumo stables in Tokyo, see Geishas in Kyoto, sip sake in Kanazawa, and experience the legendary Osaka eating scene? From riding the ruthlessly efficient subway system to using musical public toilets, a trip to Japan is worth it for the shock value alone.
And the sushi. All of the sushi.
What people say
Japan is such an amazing country, from robot restaurants in modern Tokyo to spotting Geisha’s in the streets of Gion, Kyoto. Such a mix of modern and ancient Japan and I highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see all the sides to Japan. Loved using the bullet trains and public transport to get around instead of being stuck on a bus.
What people say
Japan - the perfect country for the young at heart. Disneyland, dressing up in kimonos, Harry Potter World, anime cafes and the most friendly people ever, can’t wait to go back!
Japan travel highlights
Gotokuji Cat Temple in Tokyo
If one maneki-neko ('beckoning cat' statue) brings good luck, imagine how lucky you'll be after visiting a temple filled with 1,000 of them!
In the backstreets of Kyoto’s Gion district, immaculately dressed geishas take afternoon tea to new (well, actually pretty ancient) levels of sophistication
The birthplace of conveyer-belt sashimi, Osaka is Japan’s mouth-watering food capital
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Strings of brightly coloured paper cranes and other beautiful symbols of peace and resilience commemorate the bombing of the city.
Step back in time while exploring the historic streets of Gion, Kyoto’s famed Geisha district.
Our Japan trips
Japan tour reviews
Our Japan trips score an average of 4.82 out of 5 based on 38 reviews in the last year.
Discover Japan, March 2018
Great tour for first-time, solo travelers to Japan. You get the freedom to pursue your own itinerary without much compromise, and still have reliable company throughout the trip. Final note: rent a pocket wi-fi! Google Maps on-the-go is a must.
Review submitted 17 Mar 2018
Articles on Japan
Japan holiday information
Local Culture of Japan
Food and Drink in Japan
Festivals in Japan
Geography and Environment
Shopping guide to Japan
Transport in Japan
Why hail a plain old cab when you could take a bullet train? Half the fun of travel is experiencing a destination just like the locals – including how they get around. Wherever possible, Geckos Adventures uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport. This way we can reduce our environmental impact, support local operators and have a great time.
Bullet Train: Experience the legend that is the Japanese bullet train. Fast (reaching speeds up to 300 km/h), punctual and safe – there’s no mode of transportation like it.
Japan travel FAQs
Australia: No – not required
Belgium: No – not required
Canada: No – not required
Germany: No – not required
Ireland: No – not required
Netherlands: No – not required
New Zealand: No – not required
South Africa: Yes – residents of South Africa need to apply for a temporary visitors visa in person at a Japanese Embassy in South Africa
Switzerland: No – not required
United Kingdom: No – not required
USA: No – not required
Visitors from most nations are automatically issued a temporary-visitor visa upon arrival. Check http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html#list to see if your home country is one of these nations. There is no need to apply for this before you leave your home country, although you may be asked to show your departure ticket in order to receive it. Visas are good for visits of up to 90 days.
It’s generally a good idea to make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months after your arrival date in Japan and should have a few blank pages left for a new stamp.
For the most up to date information regarding visa requirements, please contact your local embassy or consulate.
Tipping in not customary or expected in Japan; however, some high-end restaurants will add a 10% service charge to your bill.
With one of the most developed high-speed internet networks in the world, internet is fast and easy to access in most cities and towns in Japan.
Mobile phone coverage is excellent in Japan, but be aware that talking loudly on your phone in public places is considered bad manners. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.
Toilets run the gamut in Japan – from high-end bidets to western-style flushable toilets to squat toilets. You may need to purchase toilet paper from a vending machine, so make sure to keep small change on you.
Beer from a vending machine = USD 2.25
Bowl of noodles = USD 6.75
Set lunch menu at a restaurant = USD 9 – USD 27
Dinner at a nice sushi restaurant = USD 65
It’s safe to drink the tap water in Japan. Help the environment and consider bringing a reusable water bottle rather than buying bottled water during your visit.
Japan is a cash society, meaning most places only accept payment in cash. Credit cards may be accepted in department stores and large hotels, but it’s recommended to carry enough cash to cover all purchases.
ATMs are common in Japan, however, most of them do not accept foreign-issued cards. To access cash from a non-Japanese bank account, use a postal ATM (an ATM in a post office) or an ATM at a 7-Eleven convenience store – both of these have access to international networks.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Geckos are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to Travel Insurance
Jan 1: New Year’s Day
Jan 9: Coming of Age Day
Feb 11: National Foundation Day
March 20: Spring Equinox
April 29: Showa Emperor’s Day
May 3: Constitution Day
May 4: Green Day
May 5: Children’s Day
July 17: Marine Day
Sept 18: Respect for the Aged Day
Sept 23: Autumn Exquinox
Nov 3: Culture Day
Nov 23: Labour Thanksgiving Day
Dec 23: Emperor’s Birthday
For a current list of public holidays in Japan go to:
As a whole, Japan is a hassle-free destination for LGBTQI-travellers. Same-sex relationships and same-sex acts are legal. Tokyo and Osaka have the largest and most welcoming gay scene in the country, though most cities have at least a couple of gay bars. Be aware that Japanese people typically do not engage in public displays of affection, regardless of sexual orientation.