Heritage and modernity: Buddhist temples against the backdrop of a metropolis, Tokyo, Japan

Japan Through the Eras Tour: Iconic Traditions to Neon Lights

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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

Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kanazawa...

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Suggested Duration

15 Days

The layers of history will unfold as you explore heritage and modernity on your 15-day Japan culture tour. The bullet train will speed through the plains while authentic ryokans offer access to hidden hot springs. Buddhist monasteries retain their serene ambiance while the Matsuri festival fills Kyoto with vibrant life. Your expert guides will lead you through contrasting images of historical and contemporary Japanese culture for an unforgettable experience.

Customizable Itinerary

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Trip Highlights

  • Participate in a Matsuri festival in Kyoto, a seasonal festival filled with  festive activities such as goldfish scooping, karaoke contests, and delicious food stalls
  • Stay overnight in a working Buddhist monastery, immersing yourself in a true zen experience
  • Soak in many relaxing onsen or hot spring baths, and rejuvenate your body and soul
  • Ride the famous Shinkansen, the high-speed bullet train that runs at 200 mph
  • Dine at a Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo that offers an elevated dining experience

Detailed Description

Your journey to Japan begins in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital. Home to some of Japan’s best cultural treasures, your guide is on hand to help you avoid the crowds. To enhance your time in Kyoto, dine on rare delicacies once eaten exclusively by royalty, and participate in a Kyoto Matsuri festival. While there, take a half-day trip to Nara, Japan’s first capital and home to sacred deer.

From the old capitals, you head to Mt. Koya, a series of sacred peaks home to over 100 Buddhist temples. Become acquainted with monks as you spend the night in a working Buddhist monastery. The experience is elevated by watching Buddhist ceremonies, and eating the same delicious vegetarian meals the monks eat.

You leave the mountains behind as you take a train and ferry to Miyajima, an island famed for its ‘floating’ torii gate, fresh seafood, and delectable Momiji (maple) pastries. After touring the shoreline and shopping alleys, you have the option to stay overnight in Miyajima, or head to Hiroshima for a night out on the town.

Hiroshima has not only recovered, but thrived since the atomic bombing in 1945. In the morning, tour the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. While there, learn not only a story of destruction but also how Hiroshima has transformed into a city of peace. From Hiroshima, take the shinkansen to Osaka, one of Japan’s liveliest cities. Enjoy local cuisine and attractions as you soak up city life.

Heading north from Osaka, you reach Kanazawa, Japan’s seafood jewel. Before indulging in a sushi feast, get to know the city’s artisans as you sit down for a personalized class in lacquerware design, calligraphy, or gold leaf application. Also, in Kanazawa, you have the chance to tour homes once occupied by samurai.

Shirakawago and Takayama are two cities nestled deep in the Japanese Alps. Cut off from the rest of Japan for most of their history, these cities’ culture, architecture, and food are wholly unique. Learn about the delicate art of silkworm raising in Shirakawago before exploring Takayama’s old city, where time seems to have stopped more than 150 years ago. Feel like a local as you peruse the morning market, and sample Hida beef, known around the world for its fine marbling and texture.

From Takayama, you venture farther into central Japan by making stops at Matsumoto and Yudanaka. In Matsumoto, you tour Matsumoto Castle, one of the last original feudal era castles in Japan. In Yudanaka, meet Japan’s snow monkeys, who spend their days relaxing in the warm hot spring waters no matter the season. This evening, you, too, have the chance to relax in an onsen bath.

With Mt. Fuji in the background, Hakone is one of the most scenic spots in all of Japan. Walk among the steaming volcanic rocks in ‘Hell Valley,’ and sail on Lake Ashi for a day of rest and relaxation. In the evening, fall asleep in a room with spectacular mountain views.

Your last three days in Japan are in Tokyo, the national capital and the largest city in the world. Get lost in the city’s vibrant energy, museums, parks, and winding alleys. Elect to have your guide show you around, or explore the city on your own. Besides immersing yourself in city life, there is the option to take a day trip to Nikko, a collection of ornate temples and shrines in the countryside which was once the burial place of the shoguns.

This tour is ideal for couples or families. It is best taken in spring or fall when’s Japan’s natural beauty is at its peak. An expert guide is always on hand to help your group with any issues or concerns that may arise during your time in Japan.

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.

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4.85 stars based on 564 reviews.

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