Japan Express

Intrepid Travel Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment. Easy
Lodging Level: You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic (2*)
9 days
From: $ 2,056 $ 228 / day
Checking price


Highlights (Bullets)

  • From the ultra-modern to ancient traditions, this express adventure will introduce you to some of the many faces of Japan in a short amount of time.
  • Visit the little town of Nikko – packed with World Heritage-listed temples and picture-perfect hiking trails, and one of the best backdrops for a soak in a steaming onsen.
  • Eat your way from Tokyo to Kyoto with plenty of chances to try all kinds of delicious street food, sake, snacks and surprises – from a hearty bowl of ramen to world-class sashimi.
  • Even getting from place to place is fun in Japan! Ride the renowned Shinkansen bullet train and make use of public transport day passes to get to and from the activities you choose.
  • With a local leader to show you around, a new group of friends to explore with and plenty of free time for discovery, you’re guaranteed to get the most out of Japan’s wondrous sights.

Short Description

Home to sumo wrestling, sake, geishas, karaoke and onsens, Japan’s got a lot going for it. And on this nine-day trip to some of its most acclaimed cities, you’ll get to see the country at its best. Take in the neon nightlife of Tokyo, relax in the manicured gardens of Nikko and discover thousands of years of culture and history in Kyoto. And have you heard about the food? World-class sushi, ravishing ramen, delectable donburi – you certainly won’t be going hungry. With your local leader to point you in all the right directions and plenty of time to explore at your own pace, experience the culture and charm of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Style Small group tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Lodging Level Basic (2*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Tokyo
End City Kyoto



Attractions & Cities Visited

Kyoto Tokyo

Activities & Interests


Age Requirement


No Single Supplement
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Day 1 Tokyo

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Bursting with contemporary urban culture, there are many sides of Tokyo to explore, from fascinating museums and world-class shopping to neighbourhood backstreets lined with restaurants and karaoke bars. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. Afterwards, why not head out for an optional dinner to try some local food and experience the nightlife in this amazing city. You might like to finish the night with a drink at a traditional Japanese izakaya – ask your leader for their favourites.

Day 2 Tokyo

This morning, venture out with your small group on the metro to explore the buzzing Shibuya area. Check out one of the busiest intersections in the world before heading into a depachika (underground food hall) for a mouth-watering array of tempting Japanese treats. Next, visit Meiji Shrine – enter via a massive torii (gate) and notice the sights and sounds of the city fade away as you enter the tranquil forest. Afterwards, explore the Harajuku district, the home of quirky youth pop culture. In your free time this afternoon, perhaps take in the historic Asakusa area – one of the older and more traditional parts of Tokyo. Here you can stop by Senso-ji, the city’s oldest temple, which was founded almost 1400 years ago when Tokyo was nothing more than a fishing village. This evening, you've got endless options for dinner – how about a hearty bowl of ramen, crispy tonkatsu, or snacks and beer at (another) izakaya.

Day 3 Tokyo

Enjoy a morning walk around the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, where fresh seafood from Tokyo’s wholesale fish market (recently relocated to a new site at Toyosu) is delivered daily. Wander through the narrow aisles to find all sorts of amazing food then perhaps pop in to one of the sushi restaurants for a fresh breakfast. Continue on to the famous Akihabara District – the centre of Japan's otaku culture. Shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are scattered among the electronic stores in the district. This afternoon is free for you to explore, so why not spend some time in the city’s green spaces like Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden or create your own entertainment with some karaoke!

Day 4 Nikko

Say goodbye to Tokyo and take the train to Nikko where you’ll have a free day to explore. Nikko has been a sacred city since the middle of the eighth century and is full of shrines and temples. Perhaps visit the Tosho-gu Shrine, a resting place of a Tokugawa shogun who was one of the most powerful rulers of the country. Every corner of this monument is covered in intricate gold leaf, lacquerwork, paintings and patterns. Here you can also visit the Museum of Art at the back of the temple complex. This 1920s mansion has one of the country’s most beautiful collections of sliding doors and screens decorated by the best Japanese painters of the day. You could also head to Shin-kyo bridge – one of the town’s most famous landmarks – and the Buddhist temple of Rinno-ji, home to fearsome statues and an elegant garden.

Day 5 Nikko

For those feeling energetic, join your leader for a hike around the Nikko area. Depending on the time of the year, you can climb up to the Senjogahara Plateau, where the gods of Mt Nantai and Mt Akagi are said to have battled for possession of Chuzenji Lake. You can take a six-kilometre walk following the course of the plateau or explore the various hiking trails that spread off from the lake itself. The lake area is also home to the Kegon Waterfall, and you can get the Akechidaira Ropeway (cable car) over the falls and lake. A little further on is Lake Yunoko and Yumoto, where you can soak in the natural hot springs – a great place to experience one of Japan's well-loved public onsens. In the town itself you can explore the shops along Hippari Dako, maybe tasting yuba – the skin that forms on top when making tofu. Sounds strange, but it's a delicious treat!

Day 6 Kyoto

Enjoy your last free morning in Nikko before making your way to Kyoto. Take the local train (around 2 hours) and then jump on board the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto for approximately 3 hours. Originally founded as Heian-kyo ('tranquillity and peace capital') by Emperor Kammu in AD794, Kyoto was the capital of Japan for over 1000 years, and with over 2000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a great place to get lost in. On arrival, head to one of the most photogenic spots in Kyoto – Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine – famous for the thousands of vermillion-coloured torii (gates) which straddle the paths and trails in the area. Afterwards, enjoy some free time to get acquainted with Kyoto by walking through its historic neighbourhoods.

Day 7 Kyoto

Today is free for you to explore. With its many landmarks and historical sites and an abundance of traditional arts and literature, Kyoto is regarded as the cultural heart of Japan. Kyoto is also a city that lends itself to walking, and there are plenty of paths available – ask your leader for their recommendations. Perhaps visit the extravagantly decorated Kinkakuji temple, also known as ‘The Golden Pavilion’, or if you’re visiting in spring, head to the theatre for a presentation of Miyako Odori (the Cherry Blossom Dance) performed by elaborately dressed maiko (apprentice geisha). In the evening, enjoy a guided walk through the Pontocho and Gion areas – the famous geisha districts. Even today you can observe the age-old tradition of geisha visiting members of the wealthy elite – this unfolds in small teahouses tucked away in tiny back streets. For those who are keen, you can also choose to attend the Gion Corner cultural centre where you can enjoy some Japanese performing arts, from flower arranging to the Lion Dance.

Day 8 Kyoto

Make the most of your day in Kyoto. If you haven’t done so already, you may like to see Japan’s largest pagoda at Toji, or you could visit the imposing and opulent Nijo Castle, home to the Tokugawa Shoguns who had power over the country during the Edo period. You can also check out the ‘nightingale floors’ of Ninomaru Palace, which squeak to warn off intruders. From the castle, it’s a short bus ride to Ryoan-ji, perhaps Japan’s most acclaimed Zen garden, where carefully placed rocks sit in an immaculately raked sea of gravel. For some local shopping there’s Kyoto’s handicraft centre, a perfect place to pick up some souvenirs with a fine selection of woodblock prints, yukata (light cotton robes), jewellery and pottery. Tonight, why not enjoy karaoke with your new friends, or maybe splash out on a kaiseki meal in a ryotei – small restaurants serving traditional multi-course cuisine. Being in Kyoto alone is definitely cause for celebration.

Day 9 Kyoto

There are no activities planned for today and you can depart the hotel at any time. Check out time is 10 am, however if you’re departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. If you're not ready for the adventure to be over, perhaps book an Urban Adventure to experience a different side of Kyoto.


Checking price
Price From $ 2,056
Price Per Day: $ 228 per day
Checking price
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Feb-17-2024Feb-25-2024$ 2,0977 spots left Reserve
Mar-16-2024Mar-24-2024$ 2,48810 spots left Reserve
Mar-23-2024Mar-31-2024$ 2,4887 spots left Reserve
Mar-27-2024Apr-04-2024$ 2,48813 spots left Reserve
Mar-30-2024Apr-07-2024$ 2,5389 spots left Reserve
Apr-03-2024Apr-11-2024$ 2,48814 spots left Reserve
Apr-06-2024Apr-14-2024$ 2,48816 spots left Reserve
Apr-10-2024Apr-18-2024$ 2,48816 spots left Reserve
Apr-13-2024Apr-21-2024$ 2,48812 spots left Reserve
May-08-2024May-16-2024$ 2,39411 spots left Reserve
May-15-2024May-23-2024$ 2,13811 spots left Reserve
May-18-2024May-26-2024$ 2,13816 spots left Reserve
May-22-2024May-30-2024$ 2,05616 spots left Reserve
Jun-01-2024Jun-09-2024$ 2,0569 spots left Reserve
Jun-15-2024Jun-23-2024$ 2,05612 spots left Reserve
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Jul-13-2024Jul-21-2024$ 2,05616 spots left Reserve
Jul-20-2024Jul-28-2024$ 2,05616 spots left Reserve
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Sep-07-2024Sep-15-2024$ 2,39416 spots left Reserve
Sep-21-2024Sep-29-2024$ 2,39416 spots left Reserve
Sep-28-2024Oct-06-2024$ 2,39416 spots left Reserve
Oct-05-2024Oct-13-2024$ 2,39416 spots left Reserve
Oct-19-2024Oct-27-2024$ 2,48816 spots left Reserve
Oct-30-2024Nov-07-2024$ 2,48816 spots left Reserve
Nov-02-2024Nov-10-2024$ 2,39412 spots left Reserve
Nov-09-2024Nov-17-2024$ 2,39416 spots left Reserve
Nov-16-2024Nov-24-2024$ 2,39416 spots left Reserve
Nov-23-2024Dec-01-2024$ 2,39416 spots left Reserve
Dec-07-2024Dec-15-2024$ 2,05616 spots left Reserve
Feb-08-2025Feb-16-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Feb-22-2025Mar-02-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Mar-15-2025Mar-23-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Mar-22-2025Mar-30-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Mar-26-2025Apr-03-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Mar-29-2025Apr-06-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Apr-02-2025Apr-10-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Apr-05-2025Apr-13-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Apr-09-2025Apr-17-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Apr-12-2025Apr-20-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Apr-16-2025Apr-24-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
May-07-2025May-15-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
May-17-2025May-25-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
May-24-2025Jun-01-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
May-31-2025Jun-08-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Jun-07-2025Jun-15-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Jun-14-2025Jun-22-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Jun-28-2025Jul-06-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Jul-05-2025Jul-13-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Jul-23-2025Jul-31-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Jul-30-2025Aug-07-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Aug-13-2025Aug-21-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Aug-27-2025Sep-04-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
Sep-06-2025Sep-14-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Sep-13-2025Sep-21-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Sep-20-2025Sep-28-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Sep-27-2025Oct-05-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Oct-04-2025Oct-12-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Oct-11-2025Oct-19-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Oct-18-2025Oct-26-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Oct-25-2025Nov-02-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Nov-08-2025Nov-16-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Nov-15-2025Nov-23-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Nov-22-2025Nov-30-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Nov-29-2025Dec-07-2025$ 2,54516 spots left Reserve
Dec-13-2025Dec-21-2025$ 2,27516 spots left Reserve
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Japan Express

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Company Reviews

Went on Highlights of Japan Tour

Went on Highlights of Japan Tour, 8 days on19/11/23. Tour Leader was Yuki Saida, she was marvellous. Helpful, knowledgeable and patient.I suggest you keep her as she is an amazing asset to your Company. The group jelled together well but there is one point that needs examining. We travelled to the countryside a spent a night at a homestay on 21/11/23 at a stay called Voketto. The young man who owned it was charming but the place was a mess, cold, damp and basically a building site. He admitted he couldn't cook and he was right. i definitely advise a host course or a revamp of property if he is to remain on your books There was a trainee guide on the tour Junko she was very good too. Thank you Lesley Webb
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Avoid Intrepid

Many recent reviews are pointing to a sharp decline in quality and service with Intrepid. My recent experience echoes all that has been mentioned. They are appalling at responding to serious concerns. I have countless auto responses from its laughingly useless and lazy customer service department. Their financial management is a joke. They couldn't find my payment despite my twice providing traces from my bank. They are pathetic liars about not just the money. They lied about their failure to send me any information about my upcoming trip, how they omitted me from the group email circulation. They lied about anyone including a 'senior manager' trying to phone me.
Even the length of the trip is a con with first day being nothing more than a brief meeting at 1800. The last 'day' being breakfast at the hotel with not a sight or sound of the Rep.
Intrepid is a dishonest mess. They are now purely concerned with making money.
Do not use this company. They are terrible and there are many better (and safer) providers out there.
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We joined the Intrepid “Real Italy Food…

We joined the Intrepid “Real Italy Food Tour” and enjoyed it thoroughly. Our tour guide, Micol, was very knowledgeable and provided us with lots of good information. It seems Micol knew many of the staff of the venues we visited, including the pasta making class we attended. Our group of 11 travelers was extremely compatible, which greatly added to the fun and enjoyment.
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Central Asia Explorer

This was my third trip with Intrepid, and I'll continue to plan future trips with them. I choose Intrepid to travel to parts of the world where I don't feel comfortable traveling alone, and the experience is always memorable. Intrepid provides experiences that would be difficult for a traveler to do on their own. The most recent trip I did was to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and it was a fantastic experience.
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Our trip to India's Classic Rajasthan…

Our trip to India's Classic Rajasthan was a great experience - varied, interesting and exciting. Accommodation was varied, with some lovely heritage hotels - although a couple of places, although in amazing locations and really great to visit, could do with an upgrade! Our guide was exceptional - interesting facts abounding; care and concern for us all; taking us to excellent restaurants. Altogether a really memorable holiday.
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My Favourite Travel Company

Absolutely love travelling with Intrepid and I have done so many times. Perfect for solo travellers who don't wish to travel alone!


Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Public Bus,Metro,Train,Bullet Train

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16


Hotel/Ryokan (8 nts)


All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leader or local representative. The aim of the group leader or local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced group leader or local representative however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your group leader or local representative is new to a particular region or training other group leader or local representative. Your group leader or local representative will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your group leader or local representative can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip. Due to the rapid increase in tourism in Japan and in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it has been necessary to go outside our traditional sources for employing tour leaders. As a result, our passionate, professional and trained tour leaders may either be Japanese or long term foreign residents in Japan.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
  • 410-3 Shimomaruya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, 京都府京都市中京区下丸屋町410-3
  • Kyoto
  • 604-8006
  • Phone: +81 752412000

Trip ID#:


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