based on Sep. 4, 2017 departure from LAX
|Featuring||Tokyo, Japan's modern heart, iconic Mt. Fuji, the world heritage temples & gardens of Kyoto, then Nara & cultural Osaka|
|Style||Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Scheduled Dates; select from 4 open departures, July – November 2017|
|Highlights||Tokyo Tower, Imperial East Gardens, Asakusa Kannon, Mt. Fuji, Komagatake Ropeway ride, Shinkansen (bullet train) ride, Golden Pavilion in Kyoto & Osaka Castle.|
|Themes||History & Culture, Premium|
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, locally hosted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
Now is your chance to take a once-in-a-lifetime Asian adventure vacation to Japan. Japan is a wonderful and fascinating destination. It's also very expensive—unless you're traveling with Friendly Planet! Our affordable Japan tour package lets you explore this ancient yet modern country for a truly remarkable price without compromising on quality. Fly to Japan via Singapore Airlines, voted the world's #1 airline for safety, comfort and service. Stay at beautiful and well-located 4- & 5-star hotels throughout the country, enjoying a lavish buffet breakfast daily.
DAY 1: Depart USA
- Depart on your overnight flight to Tokyo.
DAY 2: Arrive Tokyo, Japan
Accommodations: 4 nights Imperial Hotel Tokyo.
- Arrive in Tokyo, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel.
Full Day Itinerary:Arrive early this evening in Tokyo, one of the world's main economic centers and Japan's modern capital, as well as its largest city. Your tour host will meet you upon arrival and escort you to your deluxe, centrally located hotel. En route, you'll have your first glimpse of the stunning, modern skyline and glittering neon-lit streets that are quintessential Tokyo. You'll also receive a short briefing about details of your tour of Japan.
DAY 3: Tokyo
Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.
- City tour of Tokyo including Tokyo Tower, East Gardens and Asakusa Kannon.
- Afternoon at leisure.
Full Day Itinerary:After breakfast, set out on a guided tour to explore some of Tokyo's main sites. Begin at the Tokyo Tower, modeled after—and slightly taller than—the Eiffel Tower in Paris, from which you'll enjoy a wonderful view of the city. Proceed to the historic Imperial Palace, which dates back to the 15th century and is the former site of Edo Castle and the present residence of the Emperor of Japan. Visitors are not permitted inside this very private residence of royalty, but you will enjoy a walk through the beautiful East Gardens, with views of the ancient castle walls and ruins.
Continue to Sensoji, or Asakusa Kannon, dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist deity of mercy and compassion. Sensoji is one of the most popular sights in Tokyo, yet it's delightfully serene. Smoke from its incense cauldron is said to be beneficial to health, especially the part of the body onto which it is rubbed, and you will see many people doing this before going to pray.
Later, stroll Nakamise shopping street, which stretches over approximately 250 meters from the main grounds of Sensoji Temple. It is lined with more than 50 shops, which offer local specialties and souvenirs. This afternoon is free for independent touring. We suggest a visit to the The Ginza, Tokyo's most famous up-market shopping, dining and entertainment district, featuring numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, night clubs, cafes and Kabuki Theater
DAY 4: Mt. Fuji & Hakone
Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.
- Enjoy a beautiful panoramic drive from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji.
- Drive to the 5th station and see gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside.
- Continue to Hakone for lunch and a scenic cruise on Lake Ashi.
- Board the Komagatake Ropeway and ascend Mt. Komagatake.
- Return to Tokyo late this afternoon.
Full Day Itinerary:Today you'll enjoy a beautiful panoramic drive from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji, an almost perfectly conical volcano that is recognized around the world as a symbol of Japan. It stands over 12,000 feet high and is beautifully snow-capped in winter. Drive to the 5th station, a 5 to 6-hour trek from the summit for experienced hikers, where you'll enjoy gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside. Continue to Hakone, a hot springs resort town located in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, where you'll enjoy an included lunch. After lunch, take a scenic cruise on Lake Ashi, a slender body of water formed in the Hakone caldera some 400,000 years ago. Board the Komagatake Ropeway for an incredibly picturesque ascent up Mt. Komagatake and a sweeping view of Hakone National Park and Mt. Fuji. Return to Tokyo late this afternoon.
DAY 5: Tokyo
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Full day at leisure in Tokyo, or join optional excursions.
Full Day Itinerary:Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Tokyo on your own. Your hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Tokyo, adjacent to the Tokyo Tower and historical Zojo-ji temple and within easy access to the fashionable shopping districts of Ginza and Roppongi.
Optional Excursion: Sushi Making Experience with lunch purchased locally)Once only a Japanese delicacy, sushi has become wildly popular outside of Japan. Learn how to make sushi under the supervision of an executive sushi chef at the popular Hassan restaurant. The chef will personally filet the fish to be used for making the sushi, and will then demonstrate how to make the sushi rolled with seaweed and the nigiri sushi (sliced raw fish with a molded ball of rice underneath). Enjoy your own sushi creation before heading out to the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken.
Optional Excursion: Nikko (purchased locally)Join an optional tour including lunch, to Nikko, a city picturesquely set amid mountains, where numerous magnificent shrines and pagodas are found, including Toshogu Shrine, which houses the mausoleum of the first Tokugawa shogun. The shrine has an unusual mixture of Confucian, Zen and Shinto architecture and is the original site of the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkeys, which you will find carved on one of the gates. Note: the Toshogu Shrine is currently under renovations and some parts of the shrine may be closed to the public.
DAY 6: Tokyo & Kyoto
Accommodations: 3 nights Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto or similar. Included meals: Breakfast.
- Travel to Kyoto aboard the Shinkansen, Japan's bullet train.
- Enjoy a walking/subway orientation tour of Kyoto.
- Balance of the day at leisure.
Full Day Itinerary:Set out this morning on a high-speed adventure aboard the Shinkansen, Japan's bullet train. This fast, quiet train, itself a tourist draw, links the major cities in Japan efficiently, while reaching speeds of over 170 miles per hour. You'll arrive in Kyoto quickly and comfortably, ready to enjoy the beauty and fascination of this very special city.
Upon arrival, meet your guide and check into your hotel. After check-in, enjoy a walking/subway orientation tour of Kyoto. Visit the Nishiki Market, a 400 meter long street lined with small stands and shops; the Ponto-cho area which is the local restaurant district and Kyoto's underground department store. The balance of your day is at leisure to explore the temples, shrines, gardens and other beautiful sites located within walking distance of your hotel. Enjoy some shopping time at Kyoto's underground department store where you'll enjoy the sights and sounds of typical Japanese life.
DAY 7: Kyoto
Included meals: Breakfast.
- City tour of Kyoto including Nijo Castle, the Golden Pavilion, and Kiyomizu Temple.
- Balance of the day at leisure, or join an optional Kaiseki dinner show.
Full Day Itinerary:This ancient city, home to almost 1.5 million people, was the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years and still is considered the country's spiritual capital. On today's full day tour, you'll visit the main attractions of the city, beginning at the 17th century Nijo Castle. You can see the architecture change as you go from the most public spaces to the private chambers of the shogun, which were protected by a highly imaginative security system comprised of floorboards deliberately built to squeak when walked upon.
Proceed to the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji Temple), which is covered in gold leaf and whose three stories each reflect a different architectural style. The small lake nearby adds to the glimmer, and while no one is allowed inside, you can take pictures that are sure to be among your favorite and most memorable images of Japan. The actual building is a perfect reconstruction, erected after a disaffected monk set fire to the original, centuries-old wooden structure in 1950.
Continue to the fascinating Handicraft Center, where you'll be greeted by five colorful floors offering for sale beautiful Japanese arts and handicrafts including pearls, lacquer ware, dolls, toys, kimono (including antique kimono), woodblock prints, pottery, paper products, swords, lanterns, silk and textile goods, painted scrolls, music boxes and much, much more. This afternoon, visit Kiyomizu Temple, located on a hillside at the east edge of the city and famous both for its waterfall and for the stunning view from its vast wooden terrace. The temple is particularly beautiful in April, when cherry blossoms abound, and in November, when maple leaves show their autumn colors. After your visit, stroll through the narrow lanes of traditional houses, boutiques and stores below the temple, particularly its pottery shops which are particular favorites.
Optional Excursion: Japanese Kaiseki dinner & entertainment (purchased locally)
This evening, a special optional excursion offers an opportunity to join your fellow travelers for a Japanese Kaiseki dinner, considered an art form that observes the harmony between food and nature, where a set sequence of courses is eaten with great attention to presentation. After dinner, you'll enjoy a cultural performance including a Geisha Dance, Tea ceremony, Koyo music and more. Then, complete your evening with a walking tour around the Gion neighborhood, where the best-selling novel, Memoirs of a Geisha, was set. With luck, you might catch a glimpse of a geisha or a young maiko (apprentice) hurrying to a theatrical performance or an engagement at a local bar.
DAY 8: Kyoto or optional Hiroshima & Miyajima excursion
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Full day at leisure in Kyoto, or join an optional excursion to Hiroshima & Miyajima.
Optional Excursion: Hiroshima & Miyajima (purchased locally)You'll depart after breakfast and travel by bullet train to Hiroshima. Enjoy some time to sightsee and stroll around Omotesando Street before taking a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima, just off the coast from Hiroshima. Here, you'll visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Shrine of Itsukushima, one of the most photographed sites in Japan. Constructed in 593 to honor the fishing gods, the shrine sits on wooden piers over the water. The orange paint on the shrine's entrance gate provides for a stunning color contrast against the crystal blue waters of the bay. Return to Hiroshima for lunch at a local restaurant. Afterward, visit the Hiroshima Bomb Dome, a skeleton of a building that survived the atomic bomb blast in 1945. Continue across the street to the Peace Park, where you'll find a moving memorial to the victims of the bomb as well as a museum that offers a compelling and important history of the horrors of war. Conclude your tour at the Children's Peace Memorial, a moving monument that celebrates the desire for long life and happiness.
DAY 9: Kyoto, Nara & Osaka
Accommodations: 1 night Hotel New Otani. Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.
- Drive to Nara, one of the earliest capitals of Japan.
- Visit Todaiji Temple and the Kasuga Shrine.
- Continue to Osaka and see Osaka Castle and Dotonboroi Street on an afternoon city tour.
- Enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Full Day Itinerary:After breakfast, drive to Nara, one of the earliest capitals of Japan. Visit Todaiji Temple, whose Buddha is the largest bronze statue in the world, and whose main structure is the world's largest wooden building. The temple sits in a huge park where small deer have free rein to mingle with visitors and beg for treats that you can buy from local vendors for a few yen. Another delight is Kasuga Shrine, festooned with thousands of paper lanterns.
This afternoon, continue your drive to Osaka, considered Japan's spiritual heartland. The site of one of the earliest capitals of the country, it remains a vital center for trade and entrepreneurial culture. On an afternoon city tour, visit Osaka Castle, one of Japan's most famous castles, which played a major role in the unification of the country during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. The castle is situated on a plot of land roughly one kilometer square and is a popular spot during festival seasons; especially when the cherry blossoms bloom and the sprawling castle grounds are covered with food vendors and taiko drummers.
Continue to Dotonboroi Street, a former pleasure district now famous for its theatres, shops, and restaurants and the many colorful neon and mechanized signs, including snack/candy manufacturer Glico's giant electronic display of a runner crossing the finish line. Enjoy strolling the long street and take advantage of the opportunity to shop for last-minute souvenirs.
DAY 10:Osaka & Depart Tokyo/Arrive USA
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Board the bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo
- Transfer to Narita Airport to board your return flight
- Arrive in the USA later today
Imperial Hotel Tokyo
As a prestigious member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the 5-star Imperial Hotel Tokyo boasts an impressive historic pedigree. Centrally located just south of Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace grounds, the property has long drawn a high-profile clientele. Rooms are situated in the main building or in the gleaming tower, and many look across 40-acre Hibiya Park, the Imperial Palace or the dazzling Ginza neighborhood.
The Imperial Hotel’s standard guestrooms are located in the tower building. All standard accommodations offer 31 square meters of carefully conceived comfort and convenience, including complimentary broadband internet connections and abundant amenities. All guestrooms feature individually controlled air conditioning, 30-inch flat-screen television with satellite connection, coffee/tea making facilities, mineral water, bathrobes, slippers, and cotton kimonos.
The Imperial Hotel Tokyo boasts thirteen amazing restaurants ranging from authentic Western fare to local Japanese delicacies.
The hotel also offers guests a selection of three stylish and comfortable bars, the Old Imperial Bar, the Rendez-Vous Lounge and the Imperial Lounge Aqua overlooking the tree topped expanses of lush Hibiya Park.
The hotel also features a number of health and beauty options including a barber, nail salon, cosmetic dentistry and luxurious spa treatments. The Imperial hotel’s state-of-the-art fitness center, pool and sauna facilities are available to hotel guests for a small daily usage charge.
Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto
The four star Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto resides in the business district in the center of Kyoto city.
The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of the Inabado Temple, Gion Center, the Kyoto Tower, and the Higashi Honganji Temple.
The European-style hotel’s 216 guest rooms offer deep soaking tubs with separate showers, air condition, internet access, minibars, hairdryers, and bathrobes.
The hotel is home to 5 restaurants, 1 bar, a full-service spa, a fitness center, and a hair salon.
Hotel New Otani Osaka
The four star Hotel New Omani Osaka is situated along the riverside in downtown Osaka.
The hotel is conveniently located within a mile of the Osaka Business Park, Osaka Castle and the ??sakaj??k??en Station.
The New Otani's 525 modern guestrooms all feature high-speed internet access, cable TV and in-room movies, mini-bar, coffeemaker, and a large en suite bathroom well-socked with toiletries and a hairdryer.
The New Otani is home to 12 restaurants, 2 bars, a rooftop garden, a business center, a state-of-the-art fitness facilities, an indoor swimming pool, a Japanese style bath and sauna.
In the event that your selected hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.
Before You Book
- Do I need a visa or any other documents? Please review the requirements about which documents you need before you travel.
- Should I purchase travel protection? You can purchase our travel protection coverage with your deposit or final payment. It may not be purchased before then.
- What's the fine print? Read the terms & conditions for this package.
- I'm traveling solo. Can you help me find a roommate? Unfortunately, we can't pair you with a roommate on this package.
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 21 or older. Your traveling companions must be 8 or older at the time of travel.
- What should I know about Japan? Check out our country guide for travel tips, the best time to go, blog posts, videos, and more.
More Common Questions
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