Kinkaku-ji, Golden Pavilion, Kyoto, Japan

Essence of Japan Tour: An Expertly Guided Experience

Ratings of Zicasso's Service
Customizable Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary to inspire a personalized trip designed with your travel specialist

Countries Visited


Places Visited

Tokyo, Nikko, Kamakura, Hakone...

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Suggested Duration

15 Days

Private tours and luxurious accommodations will give you unparalleled insight into tradition, culture, and spirit during your 15-day Japan highlights tour. Your expert guides will lead you through modern cities, hidden towns, and traditional villages. Buddhist monkeys and serene gardens showcase custom while tranquility will emerge from the marvelous landscapes. Authentic ryokan, soothing hot springs, performing geishas, and high-speed bullet trains will reveal the depth and complexity...

Customizable Itinerary

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Trip Highlights

  • Stay at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, featuring tatami-matted rooms, hot springs, and traditional yukata clothing
  • Spend a night at a Buddhist temple at Mt. Koya, and become one with nature
  • Enjoy the finest and freshest Japanese cuisine known as Kaiseki, featuring regional and seasonal specialties
  • Be the honored guest at a geisha performance in Kyoto
  • Ride the famous Shinkansen, the high-speed bullet train that runs up to speeds of 200 mph

Detailed Description

Your tour begins in Tokyo, Japan’s capital and the largest metropolis in the world. In this dynamic city, you experience a blend of past, present, and future as your expert guide takes you to the city’s best attractions. Eat like a local and have ample time to explore the city on your own.

From Tokyo, you head to Kamakura and Hakone, home to some of Japan’s best views and most cherished cultural treasures. In Kamakura, feel transported into the past as you sip tea among the bamboo stalks. In Hakone, take in Mt. Fuji in all its glory from a ropeway ride or lake cruise. At the end of your day, soak in the first of many onsen baths you encounter during your time in Japan.

Takayama is a jewel hidden within the Japanese Alps. Spared from both modernization and destruction of war, the city is one of the most well preserved in Japan. Exploring the old town, you discover artisans still practicing traditional methods of making everything from fine sake to furniture. While there, indulge in Hida beef, some of the best in the world.

Mt. Koya is one of the most deeply spiritual places in Japan. The birthplace of Shingon Buddhism, generations of monks has called Mt. Koya home for nearly 12 centuries. Like pilgrims in centuries past, you spend a night at a Buddhist temple, meeting the monks and dining on their vegetarian cuisine. While there, witness morning prayer ceremonies, and wander through the early morning fog that falls over Mt. Koya’s cemeteries and stone paths.

Osaka is one of the liveliest cities in Japan, a place where great merchant families made their fortunes. Get caught up in the hustle and bustle as you wander through the Dotonbori district, where the neon lights are never extinguished. If you’re feeling brave, try fugu, pufferfish, at a local restaurant for dinner.

From the big city, you head to Himeji, home to one of Japan’s few remaining medieval castles. It is a magnificent sight to behold. Touring the inside, see how the castle acted as both fortification and a symbol of the shogun’s power. In the afternoon, have a pleasant lunch in the shadow of the castle.

Your journey continues to Miyajima, home to Japan’s iconic ‘floating’ torii gate. Here you spend two nights, exploring the island at your leisure. Miyajima offers visitors a plethora of enjoyable activities from ropeway rides, meditation at eternal flames, and oyster feasts. Don’t forget to try Momiji Manju, a local pastry baked fresh every day.

Just across the bay from Miyajima is Hiroshima. Though Hiroshima has fully recovered since the atomic bombing, the city has not forgotten its place in history. Here, learn the lessons of the past and the steps Hiroshima has taken to make itself a symbol of world peace and worldwide nuclear disarmament.

Leaving Hiroshima, you arrive in Kyoto, where you spend your last three days in Japan. Kyoto is Japan’s most dynamic city, a seamless blend of past and present. Around every corner is something unexpected. While here, take use of guides, but enjoy ample free time to explore the city at your own pace. Your time in Kyoto includes witnessing performances by Kyoto’s geisha, known locally as geiko. There is also the option to take a half-day trip to Nara, Japan’s first capital and home to some of the country’s most stunning architecture.

This 15-day tour is perfect for friends, couples, and even families. It is best taken in spring or fall when Japan’s weather is best for outdoor touring. Expert guides are available in all cities, and travelers can always contact their guide in case questions or concerns arise throughout the tour.

Starting Price

$7,795 per person (excluding international flights)

Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.

What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all activities and tours
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip

Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.

Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service

4.85 stars based on 563 reviews.

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