Days
10
Price from
R26,486ZAR
Map of Discover Japan including Japan

Discover the excellentness of Japan on this trip through Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka

Hellooo Japan. Get your fix of Japanese culture with temples, sushi and shopping in Tokyo. Soak up Kanazawa’s crazy samurai culture. Get down with your world history at Hiroshima. Spy geishas in Kyoto’s Gion district. And get your Tina Turner on at an Osaka karaoke bar. By the end of this trip you’ll be sipping sake like a pro.

NEW UPDATES FOR 2019:
We will be tapping into the booming and rad pod hostel scene in Japan in 2019, using pod hostel in Kyoto and Osaka for our overnight stays in the city. This means that our accommodation in Kyoto and Osaka won't be twin share hotel rooms, rather they'll be the cool & almost futuristic pods with shared facilities. This is also a perfect chance to meet like minded travellers, both local and International.


Start
Tokyo, Japan
Finish
Osaka, Japan
Destination
Japan
Code
GCJO
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
52 reviews
Ages
Min 18 , Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • So many great destinations and so much free time to see them your way. All the benefits of group travel with a leader and new buddies to explore with, without having to pay for anything you don’t want to do.

  • Immerse yourself in all things Japanese right from the get go in the varied neighbourhoods of Tokyo. From the geek sub culture of Akihabara, historical Asakusa and Ueno, to the wild side of fashion in Harajuku and the nightlife of Roppongi – each suburb is almost like a city of its own.

  • Shed your inhibitions and soak on an onsen – the traditional hot springs public baths. Yes, naked.

  • Rail Pass and public transport passes are included, allowing you to zip between cities at bullet speed.

  • Visiting Hiroshima Peace Park & Museum is a sobering, but vital, destination for all travellers to Japan to gain insight into tragic events of the nation’s past.

  • Spot a geisha or two in the famed Gion District or get zen in a temple garden in Kyoto.

  • Live your samurai fantasies in feudal-era Kanazawa. We’ve heard there is also excellent sake to be sampled here.

  • You can’t leave Japan without having a night out at a karaoke bar. Trust us, they will check at immigration.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Your leader will take you on orientation walks in each destination, giving you tips on things like supermarkets, places to eat and ATMs and recommendations of fun things to see and do. For more in depth exploration you can head off on your own or with other members of your group, or for the days we are in Kyoto and Tokyo, book one of our excellent Urban Adventures day tours. Public transport to get to various sites is easy and cheap, but do take the cost of transport into account when planning your budget for activities.

  • You will easily surpass your 10,000 steps a day on this trip, in fact most travellers are surprised at how much distance they end up covering just exploring places on foot! Make sure your shoes are comfy and you are fit enough to spend most of each day on your feet.

  • In some destinations you may be staying in a ryokan, which is a Japanese-style inn. It’s a great taste of tradition, however not everyone finds futon mattresses on a tatami mat floor, tiny bathrooms and proximity to other guests as comfortable as more western-style hotels and beds. Read more about ryokans in our Accommodation section of the Essential Trip Information.

Itinerary

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan!

As travellers are arriving from all over the world, there are no activities planned for day 1. The group meeting will take place at 6pm this evening.

To introduce you to Tokyo at night your leader will take you for walk around the famous Shinjuku area and the group can choose the place for their first dinner together.

Tokyo is a dynamic, modern hub, the thriving capital of an ancient land. Contradictions are everywhere, as hi-tech gadgetry and neon lights play an integral part in the lives of a population steeped in tradition.  If 2 days in Tokyo isn’t enough for you, you can book additional accommodation with our team or your booking agent, so you can arrive early and tick all the sights off your bucket list.

Please remember that there are many options for travellers to choose from on this tour to make the most of all your free time. While we have quoted the approximate cost of some of the most popular activities throughout, these do not include costs of getting to or from sights. Public transport in Japan is economical, efficient and not only a great way to get around, it's the best way to go local!

This itinerary is far from a hand-holding, all inclusive trip, so enjoy the freedom and indulge in some raw fish!
Accommodation
  • Sakura Ryokan or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tokyo - welcome meeting and orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Tokyo - Tsukiji Fish Market - Free
  • Tokyo - Shinjuku Garden - JPY200
  • Tokyo - Ghibli Animation Studio (advance bookings required) - JPY1000
  • Tokyo - Sensoji Temple - Free
  • Tokyo - Imperial Palace - Free
  • Tokyo - Disneyland or Disney Sea - JPY6400
  • Tokyo - Robot Cafe - JPY9000
  • Tokyo - Gotokuji Cat Temple - Free
  • Tokyo - Tokyo Tower Observatory - JPY900
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning, head out exploring with your group leader in Shibuya area.
Look down on one of the busiest intersections in the world at Shibuya station and visit the statue of Hachikō the famous loyal dog. Next we indulge our eyes if not our bellies visiting a depachika food halls where vendors sell everything from bento boxes for lunch to formal gifts and everyday groceries. Grab a picnic lunch (optional) as we are heading to Yoyogi Park, home to many events from the first Japan Olympics.

Afterwards we visit Meiji Jingu Shrine. Enter via a massive Torii (gate) and the sights and sounds of the busy city are replaced by a tranquil forest. We continue our journey with a visit to Harajuku the home of quirky youth pop culture.
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The rest of the day is free for you to explore.
If you are a lover of cats visit the Gotokuji Cat Temple!  Maneki Neko (the beckoning cat) are known for good luck and prosperity not only in Japan but all across Asia.  Perhaps re-visit your childhood with a magical day spent at Tokyo Disney or Disney Sea theme parks (tickets can be bought at JR ticket counters, convenience stores, online).  Or perhaps get the group together for the final night in Tokyo and experience the Robot Cafe in Shinjuku!  You can catch a 3 hour show full of neon lights, lasers, robotics, video screens and dancers.
Accommodation
  • Sakura Ryokan or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tokyo - Yoyogi Park
  • Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Tokyo - Meiji Shrine - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we travel by train to the city of Kanazawa. This city is best known for Kenroku-en, a 17th century castle and gardens.  Kanazawa is also known for being the home of samurai, it boasts beautifully preserved samurai and geisha districts, historic temples and awesome markets you can shop and eat your way around.  After checking into our hotel perhaps go and explore Kenroku-en Gardens and Castle.  The castle is free to enter however the gardens have an entry fee of 310JPY.  A buss pass for the day in Kanazawa will cost you approximately 500JPY.
Tonight is a free evening for you to explore the streets and indulge in Kanazawa's izakaya and sushi!
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Ryokan (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kanazawa - Kenroku-en Gardens & Castle - JPY310
  • Kanazawa - Oyama Shrine - Free
  • Kanazawa - Omicho Market - Free
  • Kanazawa - 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art - JPY1000
  • Kanazawa - Nagamachi Samurai District (excl. museums entry) - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will explore by foot, and enjoy a walking tour of Kanazawa's Higashi Chaya district.  Get lost in the alleyways of this historic district, follow Geisha around the winding alleyways and admire the traditional Chaya houses. Chaya is known locally as a place of tradition, feasts and entertainment.

Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony if that's your thing, at one of the local tea houses. 

The afternoon is free for you explore further.  You will do lots of walking in Japan as everything is so accessible, so make sure you pack a comfortable pair of shoes that won't hurt your groove.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Ryokan (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kanazawa - Higashi Chaya District walking tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Kyoto was once the imperial capital of Japan and as such, is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. With over 2,000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a great place to get 'lost' in - so get out, walk the streets and soak up the wonderful atmosphere in your free time. In Kyoto a bus pass for the day will cost approximately 500JPY.

Perhaps visit the magnificent gold-plated Kinkaku-ji Temple, Nijo Castle and if you like, join our leader to take a walk through the famous Gion Giesha district.  With its many old teahouses, some of them mentioned in the widely acclaimed novel and now movie “Memoirs of a Geisha”. We can observe the age-old tradition of immaculate geisha girls visiting members of the wealthy elite in small teahouses tucked away down tiny back streets. If you are keen to visit Himeji Castle, today would be a great day to go. Himeji castle is both a national treasure and a world heritage site. Your leader can assist you with directions and tips to go there!
Accommodation
  • Palace Side Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, join your leader to take a walk in the wooded hills of Inari Mountain, famous for its Shinto ‘fox temple’ and atmospheric tunnels of red torii gates. A great sight for the keen photographers. There is lots to do and see in this amazing city so set your alarm for early AM!

Afterwards, your leader can give you recommendations and tell you how to get from A to B, but the rest of the day is yours to spend how you like!

This is our last night in Kyoto, so make sure you do last-minute shopping or, in true Japanese tradition... go out for karaoke!
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Ryokan (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine
Optional Activities
  • Kyoto - Imperial Palace - Free
  • Kyoto - Kiyomizu Temple - JPY500
  • Kyoto - Kimono/Maiko/Samurai Dress Up - JPY10000
  • Kyoto - Arashiyama Monkey Park - JPY550
  • Kyoto - Arashiyama (Bamboo Forest) - Free
  • Kyoto - Kaiten Sushi Train at Kura Sushi - JPY2000
  • Kyoto - Kinkakuji Temple - JPY500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Hiroshima is a bustling metropolis with a tragic history (approx 2 hours on the train from Kyoto).

Once here your leader takes you to visit Peace Park and the ruins of the A-Bomb Dome building in the evening, one of 11 structures left partially standing after the nuclear bomb blast on 6 August 1945, left as a horrifying reminder of the destruction of nuclear war. Around its perimeter is the peace park with monuments and a museum dedicated to Hiroshima and international peace.  Both of which stand testimony to the fateful day in August 1945 when Hiroshima was chosen as the target for the first ever wartime use of the atomic bomb.
Please note the Peace Park is free entry, however the Memorial Museum charges an admission.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Ryokan (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome
Optional Activities
  • Hiroshima - Peace Memorial Museum - JPY200
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Perhaps spend the day at the nearby island of Miyajima with its famous 'floating' Torii Gate and the grand Itsukushima-jinja Shrine - be sure to watch out for inquisitive and eternally hungry deer that roam the streets of the island. From Hiroshima to Miyajima, part of the journey requires the use of a tram that would cost 320JPY.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Ryokan (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Miyajima - Itsukushima Shrine - JPY300
  • Hiroshima - Miyajima Island - JPY320
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by train to Osaka, what better way to finish our trip than in a city with the motto 'Kuidaore' (translation: 'eat until you drop'!).  We recommend you try Osaka’s okonomiyaki (a delicious savoury pancake) which Osaka is renowned for!

Osaka is Japan's unofficial culinary capital, with sprawling shopping hubs and tiny backstreets overflowing with restaurants and bars serving up local delicacies as well as Japan's answer to fast food. Notably, Osaka is credited with the first kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurants, after its inventor - the owner of a sushi restaurant with staffing issues - watched beer bottles on a conveyor belt at the nearby Asahi brewery and thought it might be a good way to solve this problem!

Visit Osaka Castle, and enjoy a walking tour around the popular Dotombori district which is a popular shopping, food and entertainment district of the city.  At night it is lit by hundreds of neon lights and mechanized signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign and Kani Doraku crab sign.

Thrill seekers are sure to find adventure at Universal Studios theme park, for those of you wanting to try your hand at a local skill, try a Taiko Drum Lesson or if you’re feeling like a little relaxation, indulge yourself at Spa World, and try a traditional Japanese Onsen. (Note: In Japanese onsens, being naked is a requirement!).

If shopping is your cup of tea, take in some of the city's landmarks, including the wonderful Kuromon covered market and pick up some final kitchen gadgets (or plastic food!) at the quirky Dogusuji Arcade.
Accommodation
  • Unizo Yodoyabashi Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Osaka - Dotombori District walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Osaka - Osaka Castle - JPY600
  • Osaka - Universal Studios (Day Pass) - JPY7200
  • Osaka - Dogusuji Arcade - Free
  • Osaka - Spa World - JPY2700
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There are no activities planned for day 10 and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time is 10.00am. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.  We recommend extending your stay in Osaka as there is much to do and see!
Accommodation
  • Unizo Yodoyabashi Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Train, Public Bus, Subway, Walking

Accommodation

Hotel/Ryokan (9 nights)

Included Activities

  • Tokyo - welcome meeting and orientation walk
  • Tokyo - Yoyogi Park
  • Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
  • Kanazawa - Higashi Chaya District walking tour
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome
  • Osaka - Dotombori District walking tour

Reviews

Our Discover Japan trips score an average of 4.83 out of 5 based on 52 reviews in the last year.

Discover Japan, April 2018

Harry Hansen

Discover Japan, April 2018

Harry Hansen-Smith

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is not currently available on this trip due to limited rooms at many of our properties.
2. A 7 day Japan Rail Pass is included on this trip. This pass will be validated on Day 3 of the trip with the assistance of the tour leader, but you won't be able to use the pass prior to that. An extension to 14 day or 21 day pass is available to purchase, but you can only use the extended pass for travels after the trip.
3. Transport from one destination to the next is included, however to get around to optional activities in your free time you will need to buy your own public transport pass - your leader will assist you with the best value options.
4. We are currently unable to book pre or post tour accommodation at our start & finish point hotels due to limited room availability. We recommend booking a hotel of your choice through an online booking engine if you are planning to stay longer in Japan.
5. NEW UPDATES FOR 2019:
We will be tapping into the booming and rad pod hostel scene in Japan in 2019, using pod hostel in Kyoto and Osaka for our overnight stays in the city. This means that our accommodation in Kyoto and Osaka won't be twin share hotel rooms, rather they'll be the cool & almost futuristic pods with shared facilities. This is also a perfect chance to meet like minded travellers, both local and International.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.