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Backroads of Japan
This trip has alternate itineraries available.
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Until Dec 17 From Jan 18

Tokyo and Kyoto—the modern and imperial capitals of Japan, respectively—represent the perfect merger of the ancient and the contemporary. On this trip, you’ll 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 Tokyo’s Shibuya district, and the impossibly friendly staff of your traditional ryokan are just a few of the locals you’ll meet and never forget.

  • Duration: 12 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: AJMS.B/206583
  • Starts: Tokyo, Japan
  • Finishes: Kyoto, Japan
You will Visit
  • Tokyo
  • Nagano-shi
  • Matsumoto
  • Takayama
  • Kurashiki
  • Kyoto

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Tokyo

Arrive at any time.
There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.

02

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.

03

Day 3: Tokyo

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

04

Day 4: Tokyo/Nagano-shi

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

05

Day 5: Nagano-shi/Matsumoto

Discover the world-famous Jigokudani Monkey Park and watch Japanese snow monkeys bathing in the natural hot springs. Continue to Matsumoto.
Matsumoto is a quaint castle town featuring one of Japan's most treasured castles.

06

Day 6: Matsumoto/Takayama

Explore Matsumoto's breathtaking 'Black Crow' Castle and continue to the traditional alpine market town of Takayama, known as 'Little Kyoto'.
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.

07

Day 7: Takayama

Visit the Hida No Sato traditional folk village, sake breweries and craft shops. With free time walk through the forest, go for a bike ride or relax at an onsen spa.
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.

08

Day 8: Takayama/Kurashiki

Travel to picturesque Kurashiki, retaining its old world charm with black and white buildings.
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.

09

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.

10

Day 10: Kurashiki/Kyoto

Travel to Kyoto for two nights in the traditional heart of Japan. Arrive in the afternoon and hike up Fushimi Inari through 10,000 stunning torii gates.
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.

11

Day 11: Kyoto

Visit the impressive Kiyomizu-dera, and take in the breathtaking Chion-in temple. This afternoon, enjoy free time in this lovely city. Experience some of the many great walks through zen gardens, teahouses, shrines and shops and maybe even spot a real-life geisha.
Spend the morning discovering Buddhist, Zen, and Shinto nuances in some the beautiful Kiyomizu Temple (Love Temple) and the breathtaking Chion-in Temple.

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

12

Day 12: Kyoto

Depart at any time.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Modern Tokyo walking tour
    • Zenkoji Temple visit (Nagano)
    • Jigokudani Monkey Park visit (Matsumoto)
    • Matsumoto Castle visit
    • Hida No Sato folk village visit (Takayama)
    • Sake street visit
    • Kibi Plains bike ride (outside Kurashiki)
    • Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine visit
    • Japan Rail (JR) pass (7 days)
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels and traditional guesthouses/onsens (9 nts), traditional inns (2 nts, shared facilities)
    • 3 breakfasts, 1 dinner
    Transport
    • Bus, bullet train, local train, bicycle, walking
    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.