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Premium Highlights of Japan

If you want to experience a few (of the many) highlights of Japan, all while staying in comfortable accommodation with like-minded travellers, this Premium adventure from Tokyo to Kyoto is a must! You’ll spend nine days exploring world-class shopping neighbourhoods, geisha districts, hole-in-the-wall eateries, ancient temples and markets with some of the freshest seafood you’ll find. Learn about the history of samurai from a family of contemporary ninjas, feast on monjayaki and teppanyaki on a dinner cruise in Tokyo, try to find snow monkeys bathing in hot springs on the mountain in Yamanouchi, wander through a designated Place of Scenic Beauty in Arashiyama and Japan’s most celebrated landscape garden in Kanazawa and follow the trail at a sacred shrine in Kyoto.

9 days, from


per person


12 people max


Trip code: CJPH
Style: Premium
Theme: Explorer


Countries Visited:  Japan
Accommodation: Hotel (7 nights), Feature Stay (1 Night)
Transportation: Train , Bus
Included Meals:

  • 8 breakfasts
  • 1 lunches
  • 4 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Experience a traditional Japanese Onsen (an area of natural hot springs surrounded by traditional inns and bathing facilities) at your Feature Stay and soak away a day of hiking to the Jigokudani Monkey Park.

  • See and touch some traditional samurai weaponry, try on some authentic attire and learn about the rich history of these warriors with an Authentic Samurai Experience at a 400-year-old dojo run by contemporary ninjas in Tokyo.

  • Take a day trip to Kamakura, a coastal treasure known for its history, and see the sights on a traditional, person-led rickshaw, followed by a train ride on one of the oldest electric railways in the country.

  • Feast your way through Japan with an all-inclusive dinner cruise on a yakatabune in Tokyo, a market visit in Kanazawa where you can pick your ingredients for a lunchtime cooking class at a local’s home and a sweet-making class in Kyoto.

  • Explore Arashiyama – a nationally designated Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty in Kyoto. Walk through the bamboo grove and participate in ritual at the many temples and shrines in the area.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Your adventure begins in Tokyo with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. Bursting with contemporary urban culture, Tokyo has many sides to explore, from fascinating museums and world-class shopping to neighbourhood backstreets lined with hole-in-the-wall eateries and bars. After your meeting tonight, you’ll head out for an included welcome dinner with your new trip leader and fellow travellers.

Day 2: Tokyo

This morning after breakfast at your hotel, you’ll head out for a leader-led walking tour of Asakusa – an area of Tokyo that retains the vibe of older Tokyo, lined with craft shops and street-food stalls. Asakusa’s main attraction is Sensoji Temple. You’ll explore this ancient Buddhist temple, the oldest and one of the most significant in the city and learn how it became independent from the Tendai sect of Buddhism after World War II. Then, head to a non-profit family-owned dojo boasting over 400 years of operation for an authentic samurai experience run by contemporary ninjas. Learn about the history and culture of Samurai, from a descendant of an original Samurai clan, see and touch real weaponry and try on some traditional costumes. Tonight, you’ll hop on a yakatabune (a traditional houseboat) for a dinner cruise down the Sumida River. Floating by some of Tokyo’s best sights, you’ll feast on teppanyaki and monjayaki (savoury pancake) and enjoy bottomless drinks.

Day 3: Tokyo

This morning after breakfast, head out on a day trip to Kamakura – a small coastal town known for its historical treasures, sometimes called ‘the Kyoto of Eastern Japan’. See the sites with a unique mode of transport – a traditional rickshaw. Your knowledgeable driver (there are no wheels on this rickshaw, only your guide’s feet) will tell you all about the local history, the best spots to pick up some local favourites for lunch and maybe even take you to some secret spots along the way. See the Jufukuji Temple, the Eishoji Temple and Kawakita Film Museum. After, you’ll switch your guide’s feet for train tracks on a traditional Enoden ride – the electric railway that the Enoden travels on is the sixth oldest railway in all of Japan! This train will take you through some winding, narrow alleyways that no other train could ride through.

Day 4: Yudanaka

This morning after breakfast, you’ll make the train journey to Yamanouchi – home of the famed snow monkeys who live at the Jigokudani Monkey Park. When you arrive, head to your Feature Stay to settle in – a traditional-style onsen (hot springs and the bathing facilities and inns that surround the springs). Head out on a group hike to the park. This is the only place in the world where monkeys bathe in hot springs! If the season’s right, you can watch the Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) bathing, pruning each other and relaxing in the steaming waters by the mountain. After, maybe take a quick dip in the onsite hot springs, some overlooking the rolling greens of the mountain surroundings. Tonight, you’ll enjoy a group dinner at your accommodation of seasonal wild plants, fresh local vegetables and natural river fish from the Chikuma River nearby.

Day 5: Kanazawa

This morning after breakfast, take the train to Kanazawa, known for its well-preserved Edo-era districts, art museums, handicrafts, garden and castle. When you arrive, pick up some lunch, then you’ll visit Kenrokuen Garden – Japan’s most celebrated landscape garden, which began in the 17th century. This park is celebrated for its classic landscape designs that feature ponds and streams, promoting well-being, a clear mind and a connection to nature. After wandering through the garden, you’ll walk by the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle – this historic area was once a residential district for the city’s samurai. After exploring Nagamachi Samurai District and learning about the area’s past, continue exploring in the Higashi Chaya District – a small neighbourhood with teahouses, alleys and lots of shops and restaurants. Maybe ask your leader for recommendations on how to spend the late afternoon.

Day 6: Kanazawa

After breakfast, you’ll continue exploring Kanazawa with a tour of Omicho Market – the hub of the local food culture, famous for its seafood and locally grown produce. With a local guide with all the insight into the region, the food and the market, you’ll wind your way through the stalls and learn how to spot the freshest ingredients. You’ll then choose some fish and vegetables for your lunchtime cooking class – then head back to your guide’s kitchen and learn some tips and tricks on how to cook a traditional Kanazawa meal. Sit down as a group and enjoy the fruits of your labour, before enjoying an afternoon at your leisure.

Day 7: Kyoto

Today, you’ll leave Kanazawa on the Thunderbird train, headed for Kyoto – once the capital of Japan, this city in Honshu is famous for its classic Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, gardens, imperial palaces and traditional architecture. When you arrive, you’ll head to Arashiyama – in the west, this area is a nationally designated Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty. Explore the Togetsu-kyo Bridge, the Bamboo Grove, Tenryu-ji Temple and Kameyama-koen Park on the hilltop. After some time for lunch, head to a townhouse for a hands-on workshop where you’ll learn how to make traditional Japanese confectionary, which are adorned with cute designs. Learn about mochi, dried sweets, fresh sweets and even make a matcha green tea to go with them! After your sugar hit, head to Gion, filled with shops, restaurants and teahouses. This area is a geisha district, meaning hostesses in colourful kimonos are often sighted on the Tatsumi Bridge and in the boutiques of Hanamikoji Street.

Day 8: Kyoto

After breakfast this morning, visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine – known for the distinctly red tunnels of more than 10,000 vermilion torii gates that wind over the hills of Mount Inari. After, head to Nishiki Market, where you might like to grab a bite to eat from one of the hundred shops and restaurants that line this narrow shopping street. Your leader will know some of the best spots in the marketplace, so you don’t miss out on any must-try delights. Tonight, you’ll sit down for an included group dinner to say goodbye, share stories (and great photos) and celebrate a trip well-travelled.

Day 9: Kyoto

With no activities planned today, your trip will come to an end. If you’d like to spend longer in Kyoto, just speak to your booking agent.