Ultimate Japan

Explore this extraordinary country in detail on our Ultimate Japan holiday, which takes you from urban buzz to historic mountain towns, taking in volcanic hot springs, samurai castles and ancient shrines, as well as fantastic food and fine sake.


  • Walk Tokyo’s most historic streets
  • Marvel at the eye-popping Robot Restaurant
  • Walk in the footsteps of Samurai on the Nakasendo trail
  • Marvel at the shrines of Kyoto
  • Learn to cook a Japanese meal
  • Feel inspired by Hiroshima’s Peace Park
  • Visit the 1,500 year old shrine of Miyajima
  • Indulge in Osaka’s streetfood scene
  • Explore the samurai warlord fortress at Kanazawa
  • Stroll around a perfect Japanese garden
  • Admire historic wooden architecture in Takayama
  • Wander in the mountains of Matsumoto

Tokyo, Kiso-Fukushima, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kanazawa, Takayama, Matsumoto

Sample Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Tokyo

On arrival in Japan, you'll be met by our representative, who will accompany you to your hotel for check-in.

Day 2
Walking tour of historic Tokyo

Meet your guide and set off for a walking tour of Tokyo’s historic Shitamachi district, which boomed during the Edo era (1603 - 1868). You'll wander through the city’s oldest Geisha district, visit a drum museum to have a bash at playing some traditional instruments, and stroll down Kappabashi-dori - the well-known street that sells nothing but kitchenware and the famous life-sized replicas of food which Japanese restaurants often display instead of menus. Explore shops selling kimono, traditional sweets and crafts, and take in stunning views of the Tokyo Sky Tree. Drop in to the Edo Shitamachi Traditional Craft Museum, before paying your respects at Senso-ji (‘Asakusa Kannon’), which - at nearly 1,400 years old - is Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist site. Stop to enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before being driven to Ueno, which was the wealthiest district in Japan during the Edo period. This afternoon's walk will take in Jomyo-in, a temple containing 84,000 Jizo (Bodhisattva) statues, and the historic Kane-ji temple, along with some of Tokyo’s most famous museums in Ueno Park. Finish your tour at Ameyoko-cho, which was a black market after World War II and is now one of Japan’s few remaining outdoor markets. It's the ideal spot for tea and yakitori, and possibly a cold beer - the first round is on us!

Day 3
Visit Fujinomiya

Sitting on the southwestern slopes of Mt Fuji, Fujinomiya is a less well known but charming city from which to take in the scenic views of this iconic mountain. Take the train to Fujinomiya this morning and meet your local guide for a stroll through the local shotengai, a traditional pedestrianised shopping street. The city’s speciality dish is yakisoba – pan fried noodles sprinkled with fish and topped with crispy meat. Rather than simply stopping at a local restaurant for lunch, you will try your hand at making the dish for yourself. The afternoon is focused on traditional activities to get a flavour of Japanese culture, and you’ll learn how to put on and wear a kimono before heading to a local shrine suitably dressed for some photographs. Finally participate in a Japanese sweet-making workshop before returning to Tokyo.

Day 4
Train to Kiso-Fukushima

After a leisurely morning in Tokyo, take a bullet train to Nagoya before enjoying one of Japan's more picturesque train journeys. You'll pass amongst the Central Japanese Alps, travelling through the stunning Kiso Valley region to reach Kiso-Fukushima. Tonight you’ll stay in traditional Japanese-style ryokan accommodation, complete with tatami mats and onsen baths. Spend the evening relaxing in your yukata (lightweight kimono), and dine on a sumptuous kaiseki multi-course feast. An onsen after dinner is highly recommended before you bed down on your futon.

Day 5
Walk the Nakasendo trail

Follow in the footsteps of Samurai warriors and Shogun lords as you hike part of the Nakasendo Way from the post town of Magome to Tsumago today. The Nakasendo is the old stone road that connected Edo (modern day Tokyo) to Kyoto - one of five trails that crossed central Honshu during the Edo period. This well-maintained section of the trail is beautiful and truly evocative of historic Japan. Walk at a leisurely pace through the countryside, passing local houses, waterfalls, forest and farmland, arriving at Tsumago, another beautifully preserved post town, to rest and enjoy the mountain views before returning to Kiso-Fukushima.

Day 6
Train to Kyoto

Take the train to Kyoto and later meet your guide for a food-focused afternoon. Visit Nishiki for the lively covered food market known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, which sells all things food related, from knives and cookware to fresh seafood and Japanese sweets. Your guide will help you buy ingredients for this afternoon's shared Japanese cooking class. Heading to a traditional wooden townhouse you will first learn about the iconic drink of sake (and enjoy a spot of tasting!) before cooking your own Japanese evening meal. Learn to roll sushi, make miso soup and prepare a Japanese salad, before sitting down and enjoy what you've made.

Day 7
Nijo Castle & city tour

Meet your knowledgeable local guide for a tour of some Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites. Start with Nijo Castle, an ornamental structure surrounded by stunning gardens, built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate. The main building was completed in 1603 and is known for its distinctive architecture and chirping ‘nightingale’ floors. Continue to Ryoan-ji, the site of Japan's most famous Zen garden, and home to the Myoshinji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. Visit the picturesque district of Arashiyama, a popular destination since the 8th century (!) thanks to its striking bamboo forest and elegant shrines, taking in Togetsukyo (‘Moon Crossing’) Bridge over Katsura River, and making your way to the bamboo forest path on the west side of the river, where you may well hear the bamboo creaking as it sways in the breeze.

Day 8
Explore independently

Your day will be at leisure to explore Kyoto further at your own pace.

Day 9
Train to Hiroshima

Catch the train to Hiroshima where the rest of your day will be at leisure to begin exploring this inspiring city. Take time to visit the Peace Park and Museum for a sobering reminder of the events of 1945, and explore Hiroshima Castle.

Day 10
Explore independently

Your day will be at leisure, with time to hop on the ferry over to Miyajima island, a small sacred island located in the Seto Inland Sea. Begin with Itsukushima Shrine and take in the beautiful views of the island’s ‘floating’ Torii gate. Then walk towards the mountain to visit Daisho-in, the most visited Buddhist temple on the island, spinning sutras to gain a blessing as you climb the stairs to the main hall.

Day 11
Bullet train to Osaka

Jump on the shinkansen, which will whisk you from Hiroshima to Osaka, where the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

Day 12
Explore independently

Your day is at leisure until late afternoon, when you’ll meet your guide in the Tenma district for this evening’s food tour. A lively, unpretentious neighbourhood steeped in history, Tenma is home to Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street which claims to be the longest covered arcade in Japan, stretching more than 2.5 kilometres. The area’s maze of narrow streets and alleys come to life at night when locals flock to dine and relax in the many tiny bars and hole-in-the-wall eateries that open up. Forget Dotonburi - this is the place to get real local soul food, and your guide will show you where to find the classics.

Day 13
Train to Kanazawa

After breakfast, travel by train to Kanazawa.

Day 14
Kenroku-en & city tour

Meet your guide to visit one of Japan's most famous gardens, Kenroku-en - ‘Six Attributes Garden’. A perfect Japanese garden should balance six factors: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, water-courses and panoramas. Continue to Kanazawa Castle to learn about daily life under the samurai, followed by lunch at nearby Omicho market, known throughout Japan for its fresh seafood and fine sushi. In the afternoon, visit the Higashi Chaya District, a well-preserved tea-house district in Kanazawa, where geishas traditionally entertained their guests. Here you will also find the Hakuza workshop that produces Kanazawa’s speciality - objects richly decorated with gold leaf. If you’re feeling creative, you can try your hand at making gold-leaf covered chopsticks before returning to your hotel.

Day 15
Kanazawa - Takayama

Leave Kanazawa for Takayama, pausing en route at Shirakawa-go, a living history village and UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its collection of traditional farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Characterised by steep thatched roofs, their distinctive architectural style evolved to withstand the heavy snow that falls here in winter. Continue through the scenic landscape to Takayama, where you will be staying in a traditional Japanese-style ryokan - an inn with tatami mat flooring, futon beds, and hot spring onsen baths. For dinner, a traditional multi-course kaiseki will be served, and will feature some of Takayama’s famous cuisine, including local vegetables, miso, and last but not the least, Hida beef, which rivals the better-known Kobe beef.

Day 16
Walking Tour

Meet your guide for a walking tour of the Sanmachi Suji district in Takayama's old town. The area is particularly well preserved, its streets lined with traditional houses, shops and restaurants. Some of the old merchant’s homes are open to the public, and will give you an insight into Takayama’s rich history and culture. Takayama also has a thriving food scene with unique local dishes that are not found elsewhere in Japan. You will visit several food shops, some of which have been in business for generations, to taste these local delicacies. Another speciality of the region is sake, and several old sake breweries can be found in the old town, recognized by balls made of cedar branches hung over their entrances. Sake sampling will also be included during the morning. After your walk, you'll be driven out of Takayama for an afternoon of cycling through the region’s stunning landscape, along trails past waterfalls and the typical thatch-roofed houses that make this area so famous. There will be plenty of opportunities to get off the bikes, hike the trails, and photograph the impressive scenery.

Day 17
Mountain bus to Matsumoto

Leave Takayama for the scenic journey to Matsumoto, where the remainder of your day is at leisure to explore the castle and sample the local cuisine.

Day 18
Trek in Matsumoto's mountai

Travel to Kamikochi for a trek through some of Japan's most beautiful mountain scenery. Forming part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park, Kamikochi itself is a plateau set in the pristine Azusa-gawa River Valley, and surrounded by some of Japan’s highest peaks. Private cars are banned here, so access is only permitted by bus or taxi. We recommend starting your walk from Taisho-ike Pond, which reflects the Hotaka Mountain Range and Mt. Yakedake, an active volcano which stands at around 2,455 meters above sea level. Admire the extremely picturesque views from Kappa-bashi Bridge, before taking the trail to Myojin-bashi Bridge, the gateway to Hotaka-jinja Shrine and Myojin-ike Pond. There is also a small restaurant here where you may wish to have lunch.

Day 19
Train to Tokyo

Return to Tokyo for a final night at leisure before leaving the country.

Day 20
Depart Tokyo

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Booking Policy

English speaking, local guide
All accommodation listed
Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
All meals listed

Entry visas
International airport departure taxes
Any meals not listed in the itinerary
Drinks, other than water on activity days
Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
Travel insurance
All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Personalised design
We’ll plan your trip around your specific interests, tastes and preferences, providing helpful tips and honest advice based on firsthand knowledge of the destionation.
Authentic Experience
Our expert guides and brilliant travel concierges are hand-picked to provide a genuine experience, bringing you destination to life with care and passion.
Responsible Travel
Our luxury trips are designed with responsible travel principles that priorities travel experiences that are both good for you and good for the planet.
It is easy to customize your Ultimate Japan tours with us

What our clients say about us

Feb 2023
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An amazing trip out together by Stephen at My Way Travel! This was our second trip ( went to Vietnam and Cambodia 2019). Stephen is great to work with- very flexible and listens to what we wanted to do. This trip was originally scheduled for April 2020. A honest company that asked if I wanted my deposit back and I said no - that I would use it in a future trip! How many companies around the world did this???? We had great guides In Bangkok and Chiang Rai and Chiang Rai. Fon was full of energy and fun in Bangkok. Ann was one of the best guides I have ever had- she took us to a couple of places not noted on the tour. We went for a hike at a waterfall and visited the cave where the Thai boys were rescued in the cave. Both Ann and Fon gave us wonderful suggestions for restaurants. I would absolutely recommend Stephen and My Way Travel! We plan to use him again in planning Bali!
April 18, 2023
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Our group of 26 people traveled to Japan & Thailand with My Way Travel, and had an incredible time. This was our third trip with My Way Travel and the trip was planned perfectly with every detail accounted for. Our tour guides were exceptional in every way. They exuded a warmth and friendliness that immediately put us at ease, making our trip more enjoyable. Not only were they amiable, but they also had extensive knowledge about the places we visited. We would highly recommend My Way Travel to anyone planning a trip to Asia.
July 28, 2023
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We have just returned from a 16 Day/15 Night trip to southeast Asia including stops in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand planned by Stephen at My Way Travel. We reached out to My Way Travel with quite a tall order asking them to arrange a trip for us that included visiting 9 cities in 15 nights! From the first point of contact, our experience with My Way Travel was absolutely fantastic. Stephen was very attentive and let us customize our tour however we pleased. All of the hotels he booked for us were incredible and the tour guides and drivers made us feel like family. It was very easy to keep in touch with Stephen throughout our trip via Whatsapp. The only thing we really needed during our trip was to add baggage for one of our flights and he was able to take care of it the day before we arrived at the airport. All the drivers/guides showed up on time and made transferring from airport to hotel to tour to wherever extremely easy. I will definitely recommend this company to anyone that plans on traveling to Asia.
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