In ten days you will be taken through Japan’s past to its present. Through participation in local festivals and ceremonies, you will go from mere tourist to temporary local. Leaving nothing to want, you will travel through modern mega cities, mountainous landscapes, and quaint countrysides during this unique overview of the country, customs, and people of Japan.
- Participating in and viewing a local festival near Tokyo
- A stay in the Japanese Alps region
- Participation in a private tea ceremony
- Stays at traditional ryokan inns
- Relaxation in some of Japan’s natural onsen hot springs
- Rides on shinkansen bullet trains
*Highlight availability varies season to season and is subject to change.
The following tour is an example of what we can offer you as a complete overview of Japan in just over a week. If interested, feel free to contact us to find out what we can add to this schedule to make it special for you. We look forward to making a custom tour for you!
Day 1 Yokoso and Welcome To JapanOvernight in Kyoto City
After arriving in Japan, you will transfer to your accommodation in Kyoto. Upon arriving at your accommodation, you will receive the custom guidebook we made specifically for you. Feel free to look through it, orienting yourself further with the days ahead. Itinerary will be tailored according to your flight schedule.
Days 2 and 3 Streets and Scenes of the Old CapitalOvernights in Kyoto City
These two days will be spent in awe and wonder at the combination of ancient relics and evolving traditions found in the historic capital of Kyoto. Exploring through the most significant of Kyoto’s seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you will come to know how Japan and its people arrived to where they are now through rich tales of culture and religion. You will come to know the splendor of the Golden Pavilion, philosophize upon the concept and meaning of Zen, taste the delicacies that make the basics of Japanese cuisine, including participation in a tea ceremony led by a master of tea, and find geisha elegantly making their way through the crowds of onlookers on their way to work. These days will also hold for you an excursion to Japan’s first capital of Nara, where you will find the largest wooden building in the world housing the Grand Buddha, a representation of the deity created as the religion started its way through the country. For a classic combination of Buddhism and Shinto, a visit to the brilliant torii of Fushmi Inari also awaits, with a leisurely hike along the mountain trail that winds along the shrine grounds. Your trip through time starts here, in the birthplace of Japanese culture.
Day 4 Proud History in the WestOvernight in Kanazawa City
From Kyoto you will move on to the city of Kanazawa, a city with a proud past due to its specific decision to build itself around not the techniques of war, but of creation. Kanazawa is home to masters of gold leaf, ceramics, lacquerware and a whole host of fine arts. This city also offers one of Japan’s three most renowned palatial gardens, an art museum praised for its architecture and style, a geisha teahouse district, and a well kept samurai quarter where you can still walk the roads once tread on by warriors of old. Not to be left out, delicacies fresh from the sea beg to be sampled at the seafood market, and Kanazawa’s nightlife district is not to be ignored.
Day 5 A Secluded Village in the MountainsOvernight in Takayama
Leaving the artisan city, you will continue on toward the Japanese Alps. Your first destination today will be the mountain farm village of Shirakawago. Known for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will come to realize that this town is not just a relic from the past, but a living, breathing community living in the present while keeping the treasures of its past in the forefront. You’ll walk through the village, viewing and exploring its gassho zukuri thatched roof houses while taking time to breathe the fresh country air and try some homegrown delights. After taking in Shirakawago, you will then continue your journey and make your way to Takayama, the old feudal town in the mountains. Your afternoon will be spent exploring this town’s past, walking the streets that feudal lords and ancient warriors once traveled. In the evening, you will have time to relax in onsen hot springs, perhaps trying a bite of local Hida beef, rivaled only by the famed beef of Kobe.
Day 6 Mountain Town to Hot Spring HavenOvernight in Yudanaka
The morning will be filled with hand-made treats, knick knacks, and delights as you visit the lively morning market of Takayama. Meeting friendly farmers and locals with a penchant for handicrafts, you will be left with a fine memory of this town as you venture forth from the mountains to a hot spring haven. Whether by bus or by private car, you will drive on some of Japan’s most scenic roads, passing mountain views, sparkling rivers, and impressive dams. Your travels will take you to the town of Yudanaka where you will enjoy a light hike that will take you to the hot bath spa enjoyed by the forest’s local inhabitants — families of wild macaque monkeys. Your day of travel and hiking will be rewarded as you turn in for the night, enjoying a Japanese meal of seasonal foods, and soaking in the accommodation’s onsen hot springs.
Days 7 to 9 One Tokyo, Many FacesOvernights in Tokyo City
Today holds for you a shinkansen bullet train ride from the countryside and its hot springs, bringing you to the tall structures and populated streets of Tokyo. These days will be spent exploring the mega metropolis, allowing you to experience the life of a Tokyoite and all the perks that come with being one. Convenient and frequent trains crisscrossing the city will take you to Tokyo’s many faces, the different districts that offer looks into Tokyo-unique innovations, trends, history, delicacies, attitudes – the list goes on. Exploring Tokyo at night is a true experience in a city that never sleeps. Bars and restaurants remain open late, welcoming you to keep your day going. One of these days will take you north for a break from the city, taking you to the splendor that is Nikko, the gorgeous, palatial homage dedicated to the man who unified Japan in the 1600s. While you are in Tokyo, depending on the season, you will also have the chance to participate in a local festival complete with colorful festival carts paraded around town. Truly, the combination of dedication and merriment that goes into a Japanese festival is not to be missed.
Day 10 Farewell and SayonaraItinerary will be tailored according to your flight schedule.
We wish you pleasant travels as you leave this land of the rising sun. We hope that you are taking with you lasting memories of the times you had here, and hope that you can return one day to continue your adventure of discovery. Farewell from all of us at Windows to Japan, and sayonara.