Backroads of Japan
SAVE UP TO 15% on this tour

Tokyo and Kyotothe modern and imperial capitals of Japan, respectivelyrepresent the perfect merger of the ancient and the contemporary. On this trip, youll thoroughly explore both and everything in between, from traditional villages and miles of rice fields to ancient temples and the stunning vistas of the Japanese Alps. Snow monkeys, geishas, the teeming pedestrian scrambles of Tokyos Shibuya district, and the impossibly friendly staff of your traditional ryokan are just a few of the locals youll meet and never forget.

Duration: 12 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Parks & Nature Reserves, Local Culture & Cuisine, Photography, History, Wildlife Physical rating: Average
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 127175
Starts: Tokyo, Japan Finishes: Kyoto, Japan
You will visit
  • Tokyo
  • Kyoto



Day 1: Tokyo

There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting


Day 2: Tokyo

Take a CEO-led walking tour of eclectic modern Tokyo from the hub of Shinjuku to Shibuya through Yoyogi Park and Harajuku.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk


Day 3: Tokyo

Enjoy a free day to experience the city or venture out to Mt Fuji.


Day 4: Tokyo/Nagano-shi

Journey to the Japanese Alps and Nagano, host city of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Visit the historic Zenkoji Temple.

Included Activities:
Zenkō-ji Temple

Bullet train (3.00 hour(s))


Day 5: Nagano-shi/Matsumoto

Matsumoto is a quaint castle town featuring one of Japan's most treasured castles.

Included Activities:
Jigokudani Monkey Park Visit

Train (1.50-2.00 hours)


Day 6: Matsumoto/Takayama

Visit one of Japan's most treasured castles maintaining it's original wooden interior and stone exterior. Explore the castle where 16th century samurai once roamed.

Continue past the mountains, rice fields and traditional homes to Takayama. Discover the traditional Japanese way of life in a family-run guesthouse.

Included Activities:
Matsumoto Castle

Bullet train (5.00-6.00 hours)


Day 7: Takayama (1B, 1D)

Visit the ‘Praying Hand' houses, huge thatched homes and well-preserved Edo samurai era dwellings nestled beneath the mountain peaks. From the Hida No Sato Folk Village to saki tasting at local traditional brewery Takayama offers a great opportunity for exploration.

With free time in the afternoon opt to walk a forested trail, go for a bike ride, have a nap on the Tatami mats at the Ryokan or relax in a Japanese Onsen (hot spring) before enjoying a traditional dinner together as a group.

Included Activities:
Hida no Sato (Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village) Visit
Sake Brewery Visit and Tasting


Day 8: Takayama/Kurashiki

Get a real glimpse of old Japan at Kurashiki, a picturesque town in central Japan which has retained much of its old world charm with beautifully preserved black and white walled merchants' homes and storehouses.

Many of the storehouses have been converted into museums, souvenir stores, boutiques and cafés. Most famous among the museums are the Ohara Museum of Art and the Museum of Folkcraft.

Bullet train (5.50-6.50 hours)


Day 9: Kurashiki

Enjoy a bike tour through the Kibi Plains, surrounded by rice fields and ancient burial grounds. On this scenic ride, glide past shrines and temples and get a glimpse of rural Japanese life.

Included Activities:
Bicycle Tour of the Kibi Plains


Day 10: Kurashiki/Kyoto

Journey to Kyoto and visit some of the most magnificent temples in the country, dating back centuries. There are said to be 2,000 temples, shrines, palaces, museums and traditional gardens in Kyoto.

Hike up Fushimi Inari through 10,000 stunning torii gates. Discover Buddhism, Zen and Shinto nuances in some of the most beautiful temples such as Kiyomizu Temple (Love Temple) or the breathtaking Chion-in Temple.

Additional Notes:
Please be advised that the departure of this trip starting May 14 2016 will be overnighting in Nara instead of Kyoto on Days 10 & 11.

Included Activities:
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine Visit
Kiyomizu Temple Visit
Chion-in Temple Visit

Bullet train (2.50-3.00 hours)


Day 11: Kyoto

Opt to explore more zen gardens, palaces and temples in Kyoto or venture to Osaka. Another option further afield is to visit the peaceful gardens and ancient temples of Nara, home of Japan's largest Buddha.

Additional Notes:
Please be advised that the departure of this trip starting May 14 2016 will be overnighting in Nara instead of Kyoto on Days 10 & 11.


Day 12: Kyoto

Depart at any time.

Additional Notes:
Please be advised that the departure of this trip starting May 14 2016 will finish in Nara instead of Kyoto.

    • Modern Tokyo walking tour
    • Zenkoji Temple visit (Nagano)
    • Jigokudani Monkey Park visit (Matsumoto)
    • Matsumoto Castle visit
    • Hida No Sato folk village visit
    • Kibi Plains bike ride (outside Kurashiki)
    • Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine visit
    • Japan Rail (JR) pass (7-day)
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    • Hotels and traditional guesthouses/onsens (11 nts)
    Meals Included
    • 1 breakfast, 0 lunches, 1 dinner
    • Bus, bullet train, local train, bicycle
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout
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Tour Highlights:
  • Experience the bustle of modern Tokyo
  • Visit the Zenkoji temple in the Japanese Alps
  • Discover the snow monkeys bathing in the hot springs
  • Cycle the Kibi Plains
  • Explore Kyoto's temples.