Japan In Depth

21 days

Indicative cost incl. flights:



3 star & low season


4/5 star & high season


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Day 1
Fly direct from London to Tokyo, arriving the next day. Ask about options from other airports though, as there are plenty of indirect choices.
Day 2
Welcome to Japan - get ready for a few action-packed weeks of adventuring. Our team will be there to greet you on arrival, answer any questions, explain the trip's logistics, and get you to your first hotel in Tokyo. Spend the rest of your day relaxing, or begin to explore for yourself.
Day 3
With your private guide by your side, begin a full day of Tokyo sightseeing. This diverse city has robots and neon lights juxtaposed with shrines and traditional theatre, so it's sometimes difficult to know where to begin. Whether you're more interested in the skyscrapers or the temples, cheap ramen noodles or Michelin-star sushi, we can tailor the day to show you the side of Tokyo that appeals to you.
Day 4
We have left today completely free - we will give you plenty of suggestions for things to do, so don't feel obliged to decide in advance. One of our favourite day trips from the city though is Kamakura, a coastal town with gorgeous temples and shrines, wonderful sea views and centuries of history, ready for you to discover.
Day 5
Experience the futuristic bullet trains as you board the shinkansen to Kanazawa, a city that thrived during the Edo-period as a centre of arts and culture. Spend your afternoon checking out some of the excellent museums, preserved neighbourhoods and trying the tasty local cuisine.
Day 6
Your guide this morning will take you through some of the noteworthy historical districts of the city. Learn about the quintessentially Japanese products that are still created here by skilled artisans and craftsmen, such as lacquerware and gold-leaf. This afternoon, why not explore the landscaped Kenrokuen gardens, or the beautiful castle overlooking it?
Day 7
Embark on a scenic bus ride through jaw-droppingly beautiful countryside, and arrive in Takayama. This gem of a town, encircled by mountains and boasting a postcard-perfect old quarter, is one of our favourite places to experience true Japanese hospitality. You will spend the next few nights in a comfortable ryokan (traditional inn) for a taste of Japan's yesteryear, and a filling dinner each night of numerous seasonal morsels.
Day 8
For those who are keen to try more of the scrumptious local food this morning, a guided walk around the riverside markets will educate you on the cuisine that Takayama is famous for. Travellers seeking a more energetic start to their day can instead take a cycling trip through the surrounding rural villages and countryside, a part of Japan with very few other tourists. With your afternoon, we would recommend a trip to the Hida Folk Village.
Day 9
Spend your morning watching the world go by through train windows, before arriving in the neon-lit, non-stop culinary capital of Japan - Osaka. You would be amiss not to embrace the 24-hour nature of the city, so we have included a soul-food experience this evening to allow you to eat your fill of the incredible local cuisine.
Day 10
With a whole day to yourself, pick the part of Osaka that best suits you. The nostalgic streets of Shinsekai make for an enjoyable evening stroll, and Osaka Castle Park comes alive in the spring and summer. Though if you wanted to spend the whole day shopping, eating, drinking or even riding the rollercoasters in Universal Studios, we promise not to tell.
Day 11
Move from the big city of Osaka to the quiet willow-lined canal of Kurashiki, as you explore the historical gems near the Seto Inland Sea. Depending on your preferences and the time of year, you might spend the night in the castle town of Okayama, in a converted storehouse in Kurashiki itself, or behind-the-scenes in a modern art gallery on Naoshima island.
Day 12
Spend a full day exploring Naoshima, a Mediterranean-like island, flaunting art museums and open-air sculptures, golden beaches and spectacular sea views. Even in the winter, this is a great place to visit - though careful planning is required if you have your heart set on certain exhibitions.
Day 13
Further along the coast, the vibrant city of Hiroshima needs little introduction. Do take some time today to visit the moving memorials around the Peace Park, but ensure you also head out in the evening to see a modern city that has risen above its tragic past.
Day 14
Alongside your local private guide, take the ferry to Itsukushima - better known as Miyajima, or Shrine Island. A sacred and enchanting isle in the Seto Inland Sea, this is sure to be one of your favourite spots in Japan. Friendly deer walk through the idyllic streets, and beautiful views await you from the top of Mount Misen (via winding, forest-flanked paths, or a more convenient ropeway ride).
Day 15
Back on the bullet train, your home for the next four nights is the incomparable Kyoto. Spend the day exploring this incredible city, full of atmospheric streets and dazzling temples. We would recommend a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine late this afternoon, for a view of the iconic vermilion torii gates as the sun sets.
Day 16
With a few thousand temples, shrines, monuments and museums, Kyoto has a myriad things to see. Let our expert guide take you to see a few of them with an enlightening but packed schedule of touring today.
Day 17
Just to the south of Kyoto is the ancient capital of Nara, an absolute highlight of Japan that would be a shame to miss. Your guide will take you to see all the key sights today: Todaiji Temple, the Kasuga Taisha Shrine, the Naramachi neighbourhood - before you return to Kyoto this evening, full of facts and fond memories.
Day 18
Spend the day at leisure. Explore some more of the shrines and temples for yourself, or let us help you plan a trip out to one of the other excellent cities in the surrounding Kansai region. Uji, Kobe, Himeji and Lake Biwa are all outstanding places to visit, within easy reach of Kyoto thanks to the reliable network of trains.
Day 19
Your holiday is drawing to a close, so get back into the countryside for a bit of relaxation. The geothermal landscape of Hakone has a lot to offer - hot springs, modern art, delicious food, quaint shops... and, if you're lucky, a view of Mount Fuji peeking over the clouds. Spend one last night in a ryokan, enjoying a soak in the warm onsen, and a tasty multi-course kaiseki dinner.
Day 20
Spend the morning exploring Hakone further, returning to Tokyo when you're ready. With one last night in Japan take the opportunity to enjoy more of the great food, stock up on souvenirs, and say farewell to this incredible city.
Day 21
Fly home to the UK, saying Sayonara to Japan (for now).

Everything we do is tailor-made; our itineraries are just suggestions to give you an idea of what is possible. Please contact us so we can tailor the perfect holiday exclusively for you.

If you are blessed with 3 or more weeks to see Japan, we’re extremely jealous – but we have expertly planned out this itinerary to start you off.  Any of our prospective holidays can be slowed down, with extra nights added in the stops along the way, allowing you to delve deeper into those particular destinations.  This trip – by contrast – is a fast-paced, box-ticking, see-all-you-can kind of affair.  Luckily, it won’t feel that way, as some of the places included are perfect for you to pause, relax, and appreciate that Japan isn’t as non-stop as you might believe.

Enjoy a mix of the essential big cities  – Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima – and some of our favourite towns and islands – Kanazawa, Naoshima, Takayama, Miyajima.  You will ride shinkansen bullet trains, get confounded by vending machines, sip refreshing green tea and attempt origami for yourself.  You will soak in relaxing onsen (hot springs), chow down with businessmen in izakaya (Japanese pubs) and spend nights in hospitable ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inns) being treated like royalty.  When your holiday is sadly over, you will have a heart full of unforgettable experiences and a new Zen outlook on the world around you.

This suggested route is an excellent taste of the country, magical throughout the year.  So whether you prefer to breathe in cool mountain air, or savour warm sea breezes, we can help you design your own perfect journey to Japan in any season.

1 night flying – 3 nights Tokyo – 2 nights Kanazawa – 2 nights Takayama – 2 nights Osaka – 2 nights Okayama/Naoshima – 2 nights Hiroshima – 4 nights Kyoto – 1 night Hakone – 1 night Tokyo

Where you'll go

What you'll do

Where you'll stay

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