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Discover Japan

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.9 . Excellent
99%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
12 days
From: $ 4,199 $ 350 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Explore historic Imperial Palace (Tokyo)
  • See the majestic Mt. Fuji
  • Visit Hakone National Park
  • Opportunity to see the Shirakawago (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Visit Ancient town in Takayama
  • Sightseeing in Kyoto

Short Description

Experience true beauty on a trip to Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Experience our Tokyo tours, Japan’s capital, to explore ancient architecture and modern landmarks. Visit the famous Mount Fuji in all its glory, discover the region of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and tour the historic Imperial Palace district. Call smarTours today to book your next vacation!

Style Group tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions Roundtrip air to/from trip start & all internal transport
Start City Tokyo
End City Kyoto

Itinerary

Day 1: Depart USA.

Your fascinating sojourn to mysterious Japan begins as you depart today on your overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrive Tokyo (Japan).

Accommodation: Hotel New Otani

Welcome to Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun“. Evening arrival in Tokyo, Japan’s vibrant capital. Tokyo is a great mix of ancient Japanese culture and modern, dazzling architectural landmarks which you’ll be able to explore over the next few days. Your tour host warmly welcomes you upon arrival and escorts you to your conveniently located hotel. Your host will share with you some vital information about Japan, Tokyo and your upcoming tour program.

Day 3:

Meals: Breakfast

Morning guided tour to explore some of the highlights of amazing Tokyo. Start with a visit to the 1093 ft tall Tokyo Tower. From here you may enjoy bird’s eye views of the sprawling metropolis. Then, tour the historic Imperial Palace district dating back to the 15th century. The emperor and his family still live in the western part of the Imperial Palace. You’ll see the charming East Outer Garden with views of the ancient castle walls and ruins. Your tour continues with a visit to Asakusa Kannon, Tokyo’s most spectacular and sacred Buddhist temple. Narrow alleys filled with small shops, restaurants and tranquil gardens surround the temple. Stroll along Nakamise Street nearby, filled with stores stocking treasure troves of traditional Japanese wares and crafts. You’ll also visit the nearby exciting Ginza district renowned for its superior shopping, dining and entertainment. The balance of the day is free for independent pursuits.

Day 4: Mt. Fuji & Hakone Excursion.

Meals: Breakfast

Japan’s pastoral countryside unfolds as you depart Tokyo today for Mt. Fuji and Hakone. The main attraction here is majestic Mt. Fuji, a dormant volcano that last erupted almost 300 years ago. The mountain’s perfectly shaped cone has inspired artists and poets for centuries. Weather permitting, drive up to the fifth station of the snow capped peak for panoramic vistas. Embarking on a scenic boat ride on tranquil Lake Ashi. Later, enjoy a gondola ride on the Komagatake Ropeway for a sweeping view of Hakone and Mt. Fuji before returning to Tokyo late this afternoon. 

Day 5: Tokyo.

Meals: Breakfast

Spend a day at leisure to explore Tokyo from your conveniently located hotel. For a real taste of Japan, get up early and head for the colorful wholesale fish market! You may also join an optional excursion outside Tokyo to Nikko. Nikko is a magnificent complex of shrines dedicated to the first shogun, adorned with some of the finest woodcarvings in all of Japan.

Day 6: Tokyo/Takayama.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Hida Plaza Hotel

This morning, embark on a thrilling train ride via the super-express Bullet “Shinkansen” train headed for Nagoya. Here, transfer to a limited-express train for a scenic ride to Takayama, a delightful small town nestled in the majestic Japanese Alps. Over the next few days you’ll travel back in time as you explore rural Japan where traditional-style architecture, ancient culture and fascinating customs have been proudly preserved. After settling into your hotel in the heart of Takayama, embark on a guided walk through the enchanting narrow streets of the Kami-sannomachi district graced with beautiful old wooden homes, delightful small shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, many of which have been in business for centuries. You’ll also view the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall featuring huge floats, decorated with intricate carvings, gilded wood and detailed metalwork, that are paraded through the streets of Takayama during festival times. Visit the Folkcraft Museum, formerly a private residence that is a prime example of Meiji Era architecture. Savor dinner at your hotel tonight. Hida Plaza Hotel

Day 7:

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, join your guide for a stroll through the fascinating Jinya-mae Morning Market along the Miyagawa River in the old town. This 200-year old colorful market bustles with farmers selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and traditional local crafts. Proceed to the Takayama Jinya, a complex of 17th century buildings that once housed officials of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Today, it is a museum with historical displays from the time of direct rule to the Meiji Era. The balance of the day is at leisure to explore the quaint old town on your own, delight in the unique atmosphere Takayama is renowned for and possibly relax in a soothing traditional hot spring bath!

Day 8: Takayama/Shirakawago/Kanazawa.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Kanazawa New Grand Hotel

Today enjoy a scenic drive through the picturesque countryside to the rural region of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you’ll discover fascinating examples of old steep thatched roof houses. This unique architectural style, harmonized into the magnificent mountain landscape, was developed over 100 years ago to survive the harsh winters. You’ll visit one of these houses and learn more about daily life in this remote area. Proceed to the village of Gokayama where you’ll enjoy a demonstration of traditional Japanese papermaking techniques. Later this afternoon arrive in the Kanazawa, blending modern living with traditional heritage. Kanazawa New Grand Hotel

Day 9: Kanazawa/Kyoto.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto

Today enjoy a visit to the historic Oumicho Market, a busy and colorful market and explore along with local residents some of the 200 shops selling seafood, vegetables, fruits, flowers, regional specialties and more. Later you’ll be whisked back in time to the exciting Edo period when you visit the Nagamachi district, a small neighborhood of narrow, cobblestone streets where brave samurai warriors once lived. Many homes are still occupied by the samurai descendants but you’ll visit the Nomura Family house that is open to the public where you can admire the stone lanterns and bridges in the garden as well as the cypress-wood ceiling in the residence. Proceed to the beautiful Kenrokuen Garden, one of the finest gardens in Japan and marvel at the waterfalls, ponds and charming tea-houses. Later, stroll through the charming Higashi Geisha district before transferring to the station for your train ride to splendid Kyoto. Embodying Japan’s rich culture and complex history, Kyoto has over 2000 temples and shrines, delightful gardens and exceptionally preserved wooden buildings. The sights, wonderful local cuisine and exceptional arts and crafts are certain to enchant you! Upon arrival in Kyoto, transfer to your centrally located hotel. 

Day 10:

Meals: Breakfast

The capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, Kyoto is a world-class gem, a true oasis. Today, depart on a guided tour exploring some of the city’s highlights. Begin at Nijo Castle, renowned for its ornate interiors. Built by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early 17th century, the castle symbolizes the power and riches of the newly established Edo-based Shogun. Your next stop is one of Kyoto’s most inspiring sights, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, also known as Kinkaku-ji. As you approach the temple via a tree-shaded path, emerge into an exquisite Japanese-style garden on the other side of which stands the fabled pavilion. It is built on pillars magnificently suspended over a lake. Proceed to the colorful Handicraft Center where you can see demonstrations of traditional Japanese arts and crafts. This afternoon visit renowned Kiyomizu Temple, founded in the 8th century. Situated halfway up the Otowayama Hill it encompasses a vast area and affords stunning views of Kyoto. Wander along the narrow winding alleys leading up to the temple, lined with magnificently preserved old houses, craftmen’s workshops and tea houses. Soak up the flavor of traditional Japanese atmosphere, and perhaps purchase some exquisite locally crafted souvenirs. Later, return to your hotel.

Day 11:

Meals: Breakfast

A day to explore ancient Kyoto’s grace and beauty on your own or join an optional tour. You may visit some of the smaller and serene temples, marvel at splendid classical Japanese gardens, see the exquisitely dressed geishas at the colorful Gion corner, or join a traditional tea ceremony. Perhaps visit the acclaimed Miho Museum, built on a wooded mountain-top outside Kyoto. Also available is an optional excursion to Nara, Japan’s first capital and symbol of tranquility, where you may see the world’s largest indoor Buddha.

Day 12: Kyoto/USA.

Meals: Breakfast

Transfer to the airport for your return flight from Osaka. Your amazing trip to Japan ends on arrival in the USA.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 4,199
Price Per Day: $ 350 per day
Checking price
  • Deposit Price: $ 300
  • Single Supplement: $ 899

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with SmarTours.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

1,106 SmarTours Travel Reviews & Ratings

99%
4.9 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 990
Great 111
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 3
Value
4.9
Guide
4.9
Activities
4.9
Lodging
4.9
Transportation
4.9
Meals
4.9

Discover Japan

Excellent Trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
All the hotels were very good. The guide Yoko was excellent. She went out of the way to make us all comfortable.

incredible tour

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Our tour director, May was outstanding. My pre- conceived ideas about her country of Japan were totally reversed with succinct, informative illustrations brought to life by our incredible tour !!
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delighted by the experiences

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is our 4 th trip with Smartours and have always been delighted by the experiences and by our tour guides. This trip to Japan was no exception. Kudos to Smartours for putting together such excellent itineraries, lodgings, transports and guides.
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suggestions

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The excursion to Nara tour company needs to have head sets. Huge crowds made listening very difficult to hear our very knowledgable guide. The tour was very rushed - -left quite late (maybe waited for some "no-shows"?), left Nara in the dark. We needed more time!! Suggest not scheduling the Nara trips against the same time for the excursion to Hiroshima. Then we could do both. I have more photos I would be willing to share is request. Did the image post here? Can't tell. Julie Kirby You replied that you would like me to send more photos. Sending one at a time, is not a solution here, Your reply, was a "no reply" address. Please send me and email address where I can send more Japan trip photos. Thanks, Julie Kirby
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very worthwhile experience

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Good overview of Japan with many great stops (Kanazawa, Takayama). Our tour was a little on the large side with 38 people. The hotels were fine - some great, some good enough. Overall it was a very worthwhile experience.
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great enjoyment

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
It is 2 weeks ago that we returned from our "Discover Japan" tour. What a great enjoyment it was, and how lucky we were! We managed to experience the cherry blossoms (Sakurai) in all the towns on the agenda. Even our guide, graceful Yoshimi Ozawa, was amazed about our great luck and exclaimed that two weeks before there was nothing to see. To add to our enjoyment, we were able to see Mount Fuji's upper cone above the clouds. Yoshi (as she wanted to be called by us) was extremely well organized and very eager to share her extensive knowledge of Japans history, customs and living conditions with us. We were duly impressed by the cleanliness of the cities, streets and people. Especially the rail road stations in Tokyo, Kanazawa and Kyoto are far and above in architecture and organization over any that we seen in Europe (let alone here in the US). The visit to the Mitsukushi department store was eye opening. The quality and quantity of the products on offer exceeded anything here in the US. Even more so were the the great number of sales clerks available to help, but not at all "pushy". The hotels were very good and the breakfasts quite sufficient. The included meals were also good. Our concerns of having to spend extensively for meals were unfounded since there were a great variety of lower costs options. Just the long and congested breakfast lines at the New Otani Hotel dimmed the outlook for the day. Having to wait up to 40 minutes, even though there were empty tables, should not be an acceptable condition. Transportation in general , be it by bus or train, was very good. However, We did not understand why the suitcases were moved from Takayama directly to Kyoto, depriving us of them in Kanazawa. We came away from this journey admiring the Japanese people that went through such dramatic changes since the middle of the last century.
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Details

Optional Activities

Optional Tours

Nikko full day excursion with lunch

From $150 per person

Nara afternoon tour

Kyoto from $75 per person

Hiroshima

Kyoto from $350 per person

Flight & Transport Inclusions

Roundtrip air to/from trip start & all internal transport

Group Size

Standard Group - 25 + people

Accommodations

  • Night 1: International Flight: Japan Airlines
  • Nights 2-5: Tokyo: Hotel New Otani
  • Nights 6-7: Takayama: Hida Plaza Hotel
  • Night 8: Kanazawa: Ana Crowne Plaza Kanazawa Hotel
  • Nights 9-11: Kyoto: Kyoto Tokyu Hotel Kyoto OR Kyoto: RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

Cancellation policy

Cancellation charges per person are:

Up to 90 days before departure: $300

89-60 days before departure: $1000

59-45 days before departure: $1500

44-30 days before departure: $2000

29 days or fewer before departure: No refund.

All cancellations must be received in writing

Trip ID#:

DisJapSma

What's excluded

  • Passport and visa fees
  • Excess baggage charges, baggage
  • Personal insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Optional tours, beverages, other items and expenses of personal nature

Meals Included

12 Breakfasts and 2 Dinners

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