SHORTLIST

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.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. It is essential you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. One piece of big luggage is included for transfer from destination to destination on this trip while travelling on the train. For any additional luggage to be transferred, additional charges will apply. There are size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains if you plan to take them with you. Luggage over 160–250 cm may require an additional JPY1000 fee per train journey. Luggage over 251 cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains. Please notify your group leader at the welcome meeting if your luggage is over 160–250 cm so they can help you make the necessary arrangements. Please review the Packing section of the ETIs for more details on luggage transfers.
3. We are not able to book airport shuttle service between Kyoto and Kansai Airport at the moment. Your leader will be able to advise on best ways of getting to Kansai Airport in Osaka.
4. A complimentary arrival transfer is not included on this trip.
5. Double rooms in Japanese hotel rooms can be smaller than you may be used to (e.g. 20 square meters). Every effort will be made to accommodate double room requests. However, during busy periods, there may be occasions when we are unable to offer a double room, so a twin room will be provided.

Tour details
Tour Provider Intrepid Travel
Price From
$7,240
Number of Days
9
Start Location
Tokyo, Japan
End Location
Kyoto, Japan
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
1 to 12
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Adventure
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Itinerary Open all
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. Back at the accommodation, 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-kn 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!
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. 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. 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.
Inclusions
  • Meals: 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners.
  • Transport: Train, Bus.
  • Accommodation: Hotel (7 nights), Feature Stay (1 Night).
  • Tokyo - Welcome dinner.
  • Tokyo - Authentic Samurai Experience.
  • Tokyo - Sensoji Temple.
  • Tokyo - Monja Boat Dinner Cruise.
  • Tokyo - Kamakura Day Trip.
  • Kamakura-Enoden Ride.
  • Kamakura-Rickshaw Ride.
  • Yudanaka - Snow Monkey Park.
  • Yudanaka - Onsen Experience.
  • Kanazawa - Kenrokuen Garden.
  • Kanazawa - Samurai District Walking Tour.
  • Kanazawa - Higashi Chaya District walking tour.
  • Kanazawa - Market Visit and Home Cooking Experience.
  • Kyoto - Traditional Sweet Making Experience.
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari - Taisha.
  • Kyoto - Nishiki market visit.
  • Kyoto - Arashiyama Walking Tour.
Departure dates
Start End Availability Price NZD
03 Aug 2024 11 Aug 2024 6 $7,240
31 Aug 2024 08 Sep 2024 8 $8,045
14 Sep 2024 22 Sep 2024 5 $9,060
24 Sep 2024 02 Oct 2024 4 $9,150
28 Sep 2024 06 Oct 2024 11 $8,500
02 Oct 2024 10 Oct 2024 9 $9,225
05 Oct 2024 13 Oct 2024 6 $9,410
12 Oct 2024 20 Oct 2024 7 $9,315
28 Oct 2024 05 Nov 2024 9 $9,225
02 Nov 2024 10 Nov 2024 8 $8,885
05 Nov 2024 13 Nov 2024 8 $8,885
09 Nov 2024 17 Nov 2024 7 $8,970
16 Nov 2024 24 Nov 2024 4 $9,150
23 Nov 2024 01 Dec 2024 8 $8,885
30 Nov 2024 08 Dec 2024 10 $8,441
14 Dec 2024 22 Dec 2024 10 $7,567
21 Dec 2024 29 Dec 2024 11 $7,965
08 Mar 2025 16 Mar 2025 9 $9,460
15 Mar 2025 23 Mar 2025 12 $10,145
22 Mar 2025 30 Mar 2025 12 $10,145
29 Mar 2025 06 Apr 2025 12 $10,145
02 Apr 2025 10 Apr 2025 12 $10,145
05 Apr 2025 13 Apr 2025 12 $10,145
07 Apr 2025 15 Apr 2025 12 $10,145
09 Apr 2025 17 Apr 2025 12 $10,145
12 Apr 2025 20 Apr 2025 10 $10,145
16 Apr 2025 24 Apr 2025 10 $10,145
10 May 2025 18 May 2025 12 $9,770
17 May 2025 25 May 2025 12 $9,105
31 May 2025 08 Jun 2025 12 $8,755
07 Jun 2025 15 Jun 2025 12 $8,755
28 Jun 2025 06 Jul 2025 12 $8,755
05 Jul 2025 13 Jul 2025 12 $8,755
30 Jul 2025 07 Aug 2025 12 $8,755
16 Aug 2025 24 Aug 2025 12 $8,755
23 Aug 2025 31 Aug 2025 12 $8,755
06 Sep 2025 14 Sep 2025 12 $9,770
13 Sep 2025 21 Sep 2025 12 $9,770
20 Sep 2025 28 Sep 2025 12 $9,770
27 Sep 2025 05 Oct 2025 12 $9,770
04 Oct 2025 12 Oct 2025 12 $9,770
11 Oct 2025 19 Oct 2025 12 $9,770
15 Oct 2025 23 Oct 2025 10 $9,770
18 Oct 2025 26 Oct 2025 12 $10,145
25 Oct 2025 02 Nov 2025 12 $10,145
08 Nov 2025 16 Nov 2025 12 $9,770
15 Nov 2025 23 Nov 2025 12 $9,770
22 Nov 2025 30 Nov 2025 12 $9,390
29 Nov 2025 07 Dec 2025 12 $9,390
06 Dec 2025 14 Dec 2025 12 $8,755
20 Dec 2025 28 Dec 2025 12 $8,755
07 Mar 2026 15 Mar 2026 10 $8,610
14 Mar 2026 22 Mar 2026 12 $9,235
21 Mar 2026 29 Mar 2026 12 $9,235
28 Mar 2026 05 Apr 2026 12 $9,505
01 Apr 2026 09 Apr 2026 12 $9,505
04 Apr 2026 12 Apr 2026 12 $9,505
06 Apr 2026 14 Apr 2026 12 $9,505
08 Apr 2026 16 Apr 2026 12 $9,505
11 Apr 2026 19 Apr 2026 12 $9,505
15 Apr 2026 23 Apr 2026 12 $9,505
09 May 2026 17 May 2026 12 $9,235
16 May 2026 24 May 2026 12 $8,610
30 May 2026 07 Jun 2026 12 $8,610
06 Jun 2026 14 Jun 2026 12 $8,360
27 Jun 2026 05 Jul 2026 12 $8,360
04 Jul 2026 12 Jul 2026 12 $8,360
29 Jul 2026 06 Aug 2026 12 $8,360
15 Aug 2026 23 Aug 2026 12 $8,360
22 Aug 2026 30 Aug 2026 12 $8,360
05 Sep 2026 13 Sep 2026 12 $9,235
12 Sep 2026 20 Sep 2026 12 $9,235
19 Sep 2026 27 Sep 2026 12 $9,505
26 Sep 2026 04 Oct 2026 12 $9,505
03 Oct 2026 11 Oct 2026 12 $9,505
10 Oct 2026 18 Oct 2026 12 $9,505
14 Oct 2026 22 Oct 2026 12 $9,505
17 Oct 2026 25 Oct 2026 12 $9,235
24 Oct 2026 01 Nov 2026 12 $9,235
07 Nov 2026 15 Nov 2026 12 $9,235
14 Nov 2026 22 Nov 2026 12 $8,965
21 Nov 2026 29 Nov 2026 12 $8,965
28 Nov 2026 06 Dec 2026 12 $8,965
05 Dec 2026 13 Dec 2026 12 $8,360
19 Dec 2026 27 Dec 2026 12 $8,610