Private tour of the Imperial Palace’s blossoming East Garden

Japan Discovery Tour: Culture, Traditions, and Food

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Customizable Itinerary

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

Countries Visited


Places Visited

Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Shirakawa-go...

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Suggested Duration

11 Days

Your 11-day Japan culture tour will introduce you to the traditions, cuisine, and heritage of the island nation with specialist guides knowledgeable about the treasures often overlooked by visitors. Your journey will take you from a traditional sake brewery to a temple tour guide by a monk, a timeless river sunset cruise to celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants. Witness blossoming gardens, learn customary flavors, and delight in the abundant majesty of Japan.

Customizable Itinerary

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Trip Highlights

  • Tour a traditional sake brewery in Takayama, and learn about the nation’s most famous drink
  • Indulge in a private Japanese cooking class, exploring a myriad of flavors
  • Walking tour of Nara’s Todai-Ji Temple led by a Buddhist monk
  • Private tour of the Imperial Palace’s blossoming East Garden
  • Embark on a Sumida River sunset cruise and take timeless photos
  • Experience the finest dining at a Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo

Detailed Description

Japan is a country that would take multiple lifetimes to understand fully. In this 11-day tour, get to know the best of Japan as you explore the country’s major cities and rural treasures. Japan is your buffet, and it is your choice of what you want your experience to be.

You begin in Tokyo, the biggest city in the world and Japan’s center of culture, history, and fine dining. Take in the newest attractions, or immerse yourself in the past at one of the city’s many parks and shrines. And no matter where you stop to eat, your food is savory and delectable in ways you cannot begin to imagine.

From Tokyo, you are off to Nikko, the burial site of Japan’s shoguns. Following in the footsteps of samurai, you enter shrines that were once off-limits to commoners. While there, you are introduced to some of Japan’s finest cuisine.

Your trip into the heart of Japan continues the next day as the shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) whisks you off to Takayama, an isolated city surrounded by the Japanese Alps. There, you sample some of the most succulent beef Japan has to offer before touring the old city. In the evening, your hotel has breathtaking views of the Takayama Valley from its onsen baths, open-air pools where you can soak away your troubles and reflect on the day.

From Takayama, you take a day trip to Shirakawa-go, one of the best-persevered villages in Japan. Learn about what life was like centuries ago when the city was the heart of Japan’s silk industry. While there, you gain an insider’s view of daily life as you meet a local family and have a specially prepared lunch in their home.

The next day you leave Takayama behind and take an express bus to Kanazawa, Japan’s seafood capital. Indulge your inner foodie as you sample some of the best sushi in Japan before learning the secrets behind Japan most famous confection, wagashi. In the evening, go out on the town at an izakaya, where you can try some of the city’s finest sake paired with a variety of delicious dishes.

The next three days, you are in Kyoto and Nara, two of Japan’s ancient capitals. Let Buddhist monks teach you the secrets of Zen mediation before going off to a private lesson in tea ceremony led by geisha whose traditions have been passed down for generations.

You return to Tokyo for your last full day in Japan. There you can go on one final adventure, buy a few souvenirs, or simply relax in Tokyo’s many splendid parks. In the evening, you are treated to a farewell dinner at a Michelin star restaurant, a perfect capstone to your journey.

A perfect trip for couples, this tour is best taken in the fall or spring, when Japan’s natural beauty is at its peak. Guides in each city in are fluent in English, and can assist with any issues that may arise during the tour.

Starting Price

$5,715 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.

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4.85 stars based on 544 reviews.

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