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Japan Unrivalled

4.7
110 reviews
See full itinerary

The one that takes in bustling cities, relaxing hot springs and majestic mountains for the ultimate Japan experience

Travel Style

In-Depth Explorer

Take your time and explore in-detail each destination on this trip. Find out more

  • Duration

    13 days

  • Places

    7 places

  • Meals

    12 Breakfasts, 2 Dinners

  • Transport Style

    Mini-Coach + Train

  • Group Size

    Average 24 people

  • Team

    Expert Trip Manager and Local Guides

Tokyo, Hakone, Takayama, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Mount Koya, Osaka

Top Experiences

14 included & 9 free time add-ons available to add later

  • See the Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku & Shibuya Crossing.

    Included

    Tokyo

  • Visit the Itsukushima Shrine & spot miniature deer on Miyajima Island

    Included

    Hiroshima

  • See Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle & the Gion Area (where the Geisha are).

    Included

    Kyoto

  • Make your childhood Mario Kart dreams a reality as you zoom through Tokyo in a MariCAR

    JPY 8500

    Tokyo

  • Master the art of sushi-making at a lunchtime class in Tokyo

    JPY 6800

    Tokyo

  • Drink in tradition with some Sake tasting in Takayama

    JPY 3000

    Takayama

Japan Unrivalled

14 Inclusions

Experiences that are included with your trip

  • See Tokyo's Imperial Palace, home of the Emperor of Japan
  • See the Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku & Shibuya Crossing.
  • Grab some sushi at the world-famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo
  • Take in the incredible views from the Hakone Ropeway
  • Unwind like the locals with a rejuvinating Onsen hot spring experience in Hakone
  • See Kamisan no machi (Kamisan Town), Takayama morning markets & Jinya house.
  • Zip between Japan's hotspots like the locals do, on the Shinkansen (Bullet train)
  • Visit the Itsukushima Shrine & spot miniature deer on Miyajima Island
  • Visit Peace Park & the memorial museum in Hiroshima
  • See Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle & the Gion Area (where the Geisha are).
  • See Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Stay at a relaxing and spiritual Buddhist guest house in the shadow of Mount Koya
  • Enjoy a traditional Buddhist meal
  • Participate in an early morning Buddhist Service and guided walking tour

9 Free Time Add-Ons

Optional experiences that you can choose from and pay for on your trip

  • Onsen experience JPY 2480
  • Make your childhood Mario Kart dreams a reality as you zoom through Tokyo in a MariCAR JPY 8500
  • Check out the world famous Robot Restaurant Show, Tokyo for a display of robotics, dancing and pyrotechnics JPY 6500
  • Master the art of sushi-making at a lunchtime class in Tokyo JPY 6800
  • Feast on a melt-in-your mouth Hida Beef dinner in Takayama JPY 6700
  • Drink in tradition with some Sake tasting in Takayama JPY 3000
  • Taste the delicious flavours of Okonomiyaki savoury pancakes for lunch in Hiroshima JPY 3000
  • Izakaya Dinner JPY 3800
  • MariCAR (International Driver's Licence needed) Location depending on availability JPY 7500

Where I'll Stay?

Learn more about the accommodation available on this trip

  • 12 nights

    All accommodation is included on this trip

    10 nights in Hotel, 2 nights in Contiki Special Stay

    3-star hotels are the name of the game, plus you'll get the chance to shack-up in a traditional Ryokan, as well as a Shukubo up on Mount Koya. We like to keep it intrepid, but there's no compromise on comfort.

About this trip

Konnichiwa! And welcome to our ultimate trip to Japan. Experience traditional Japanese hot springs in Tokyo, explore Kyoto the cultural hub of Japan by visiting the Fushimi Inari Shrine & travel around Tokyo taking in all the bright lights and quirks as well as eating as much sushi as possible. This is the only way to be guided around Japan, one of the most unique countries in the world.

Buy With Confidence

  • Only $99 deposit to book*

    For a limited time, reserve your space now with a deposit of only $99, pay the rest 45 days before departure

  • Pay over time, interest free

    Can't pay in full? We've got you covered with our Part Pay Program

  • No booking fee, no change fees

    Change your travel dates or even your trip for free

  • Financing available with UpLift

    Book now, pay later when you're eligible for Uplift

Map & Itinerary

  • Start location
  • End location
  • Trip day
  • Via location
  • River route
  • Plane route

Nights spent per location

  1. 3 3 nights

    Tokyo

  2. 1 1 night

    Hakone

  3. 2 2 nights

    Takayama

  4. 2 2 nights

    Hiroshima

  5. 2 2 nights

    Kyoto

  6. 1 1 night

    Mount Koya

  7. 1 1 night

    Osaka

DAY 1 - Arrive Tokyo

Tokyo

Here amongst the bright lights and quirks of Tokyo we'll get acquainted with our new squad for what might just be the best 13 days of our lives. After checking-in to our hotel and maybe doing some DIY exploring, we will join up and get the excitement pumping - who's ready to start unraveling the incredibly unique country of Japan?

Stay

Grand Palace Hotel (or similar)

DAY 2 - Tokyo

Tokyo

Today we'll bounce out of bed ready and raring to uncover Tokyo. The ancient Buddhist temple of Asakusa Senso-ji, the lake woven grounds of the Imperial Palace & the  Meiji Jingu shrine are just some of the doors we will open to this city. If history and religion don't get you going, the wild fashion of Harajuku & the shopping district of Nakamise Street might see you more wide-eyed. Or perhaps your idea of fun is to take to the streets of Shibuya, attempting to cross the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world.

 

Tonight, we've got a Free Time Add-On we reckon you'll find hard to resist - a much needed soak in traditional Japanese hot spring baths, locally known as an Onsen. Be warned though, these hot springs are not for the shy (meaning total nakedness), but are the perfect way to unwind after a day of exploring the sights & sounds of the city.

Stay

Grand Palace Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • See Tokyo's Imperial Palace, home of the Emperor of Japan

  • See the Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku & Shibuya Crossing.

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Onsen experience

    JPY 2480

DAY 3 - Tokyo

Tokyo

Today is yours to take on Tokyo your way. This is your chance to dress up as your favourite superhero and experience Tokyo on a Maricar go-cart, zooming through some of Tokyo's most famous areas like Akihabara, Tokyo Station, Ueno, Asakusa & the Tokyo Sky Tree. Or perhaps you're more about doing a sushi crawl, eating until your waist is the shape of Futomaki (that's the large roll). Love records? Head to the narrow city buildings to discover some eclectic finds. 

 

Want to make this night in Tokyo your weirdest, wackiest and most space age yet? We have two words for you my friends: Robot Restaurant. A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

 

Tonight, we top it off with a quintessential Japanese quirk: the Robot Restaurant Experience.  A bonkers multi-million dollar production that's set to blow your mind.

 

Stay

Grand Palace Hotel (or similar)

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Make your childhood Mario Kart dreams a reality as you zoom through Tokyo in a MariCAR

    JPY 8500

  • Check out the world famous Robot Restaurant Show, Tokyo for a display of robotics, dancing and pyrotechnics

    JPY 6500

DAY 4 - Tokyo to Hakone

Tokyo

Before we leg it out of Japan's capital we have some very serious business to tend to - a guided tour of famous Tsukiji - the world's largest and busiest fish market. Here, why not opt to learn the art of sushi making, or just kick back in one of the markets sushi bars and soak in the atmosphere.

Hakone

Our first overland journey takes us south to Hakone, completely removing us from Tokyo's fast city pace. We will take in Japanese mountain vistas from the Hakone Ropeway & spend the night in a traditional guesthouse where we'll be treated to some local Japanese hospitality. 

Stay

Ryokan Special Stay

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Grab some sushi at the world-famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

  • Take in the incredible views from the Hakone Ropeway

  • Unwind like the locals with a rejuvinating Onsen hot spring experience in Hakone

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Master the art of sushi-making at a lunchtime class in Tokyo

    JPY 6800

DAY 5 - Hakone to Takayama via Matsumoto and Hida

Hakone

Waving our supremely hospitable hosts goodbye we hit the road in search of a long valley amidst the Japanese mountains. 

Takayama

After a full day of exploring and ogling and Japanese countryside, it would be perfectly acceptable to crash out on arrival in Takayama. Particularly acceptable given we have all day tomorrow here to explore. 

Stay

Takayama Green Hotel (or similar)

DAY 6 - Takayama

Takayama

Dark wooden buildings, Kanji signs & surrounding hillsides will see us totally taken by Takayama. Grab a bike and take a cycle, then unwind from it all with a Japanese footbath in our hotel's very own hot springs overlooking the mountains. There's not many places where relaxation feels quite like this. Tonight is yours to explore as you wish, but we have an inkling you won't want to miss the mouthwatering hida beef for dinner. 

Stay

Takayama Green Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • See Kamisan no machi (Kamisan Town), Takayama morning markets & Jinya house.

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Feast on a melt-in-your mouth Hida Beef dinner in Takayama

    JPY 6700

  • Drink in tradition with some Sake tasting in Takayama

    JPY 3000

DAY 7 - Takayama to Hiroshima

Takayama

In usual circumstances we'd be quite sad to be leaving the soul-stirring town of Takayama, but with the bullet train experience whipping us to Hiroshima it's hard not to get excited. 

Hiroshima

We did it! We travelled on land at a casual 320 kilometers per hour on the Shinkansen - the world's fastest train. That's a big old tick off the Japan bucket list. Hiroshima is yours this afternoon to explore your way.

Stay

New Hiroden Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Zip between Japan's hotspots like the locals do, on the Shinkansen (Bullet train)

DAY 8 - Hiroshima

Hiroshima

A city mourned over as the world's first atomic bomb target during World War ll, the mood will turn reflective as we enter Hiroshima. Thankfully, today this historical great has been declared a City of Peace, symbolised by coloured paper cranes denoting people’s prayers. Our day here will be one of learning as we take in the tragic recounts of World War II at the Peace Memorial Museum.  

Stay

New Hiroden Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Visit the Itsukushima Shrine & spot miniature deer on Miyajima Island

  • Visit Peace Park & the memorial museum in Hiroshima

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Taste the delicious flavours of Okonomiyaki savoury pancakes for lunch in Hiroshima

    JPY 3000

DAY 9 - Hiroshima to Kyoto

Hiroshima

With 3 more destinations left to uncover on the Japanese map, we hit the road this morning and leave the historical metropolis of Hiroshima behind. 

Kyoto

Welcome to the culture hub of Japan. Geisha girls, artfully manicured gardens, shrines & temples aplenty - looks like we're in Kyoto! We won't  waste a minute peeling back this city's layers, taking you to Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle & the Gion Area with our guide. You'll also have plenty of free time to check the place out any old way you please, and go on the lookout for glamorous geishas. If that means wearing a kimono and platforms, we're right here to applaud you.  

Stay

New Miyako Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • See Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle & the Gion Area (where the Geisha are).

DAY 10 - Kyoto

Kyoto

So what's up next? How about checking out the Fushimi Inari Shrine? Approx 233 metres above sea level, the journey to the shrine begins at the base of the mountain. This afternoon is free for you to explore the sights of Kyoto.
 

Kyoto

 

Stay

New Miyako Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • See Fushimi Inari Shrine

DAY 11 - Kyoto to Mount Koya

Kyoto

Enjoy a slow and leisurely morning in Kyoto to get in the zen frame of mind for what lies ahead. On the train we make tracks for Mt Koya.
 

Mount Koya

You would think that by this stage of the trip all the phenomenal moments might be behind us. Oh how wrong you would be. Tonight we stay in a Buddhist guesthouse, eating traditional food and savouring the mindfulness & beauty of this incredible experience. For those looking for a digital detox amongst nature, it doesn't get better than this. 
 

Stay

Shukubo Special Stay

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Stay at a relaxing and spiritual Buddhist guest house in the shadow of Mount Koya

  • Enjoy a traditional Buddhist meal

DAY 12 - Mount Koya to Osaka

Mount Koya

It's our last full day of the trip - make the most of it by rising early this morning and partaking in the tradition of an early morning Buddhist service. A Local Guide will then walk us through the beauty of the Koyasan area and centuries old cemetery before we move on to our last destination.
 

Osaka

For those who have stepped out of their quiet zone from the morning of serenity, it will be time to relish in Osaka and take on the traditional Japanese pastime of Karaoke. A couple of Asahis or Sakes - you know, for tradition - should stimulate your bravery. 
 

Stay

New Hankyu Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Participate in an early morning Buddhist Service and guided walking tour

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Izakaya Dinner

    JPY 3800

  • MariCAR (International Driver's Licence needed) Location depending on availability

    JPY 7500

DAY 13 - Depart Osaka

Osaka

Today our Japanese fairytale comes to an end. Whilst we'll be crying silent (or not so silent) tears, our life-lasting memories, army of new friends and deep appreciation for Japan will be enough to keep the smiles on our faces. Sayōnara, globe trotters! 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions group

I really want to experience an Onsen, but I have tattoos?

Contiki offers an Onsen experience as one of our Free Time Add Ons. This Onsen is tattoo-free and travellers with visible tattoos won’t be let in. Don’t stress though! Our expert Trip Managers know the ins and outs of Japan, and will try to find you a tattoo-friendly Onsen in no time.