Heritage and tradition shape the majestic culture of your 10-day Japan tour. You can hear monks chant in the Shingon mountain temple and sip tea during a traditional ceremony inside a wooden Kyoto house. Watch Geishas wander past and explore ancient villages set beneath opulent castles. Whether wandering in bamboo forests or viewing the cherry blossoms, you will experience the heritage and iconic traditions that Japan proudly continues.
Tokyo – Checking In and Checking Out Central Tokyo
It is hard to make sense of old Japan without first discovering the contemporary city. Never-ending hoards of people whizz by as a billion neon lights flash all around. At first, it might seem like chaos, but gradually you can make sense of the order here. Everything is spotlessly clean, everything works like clockwork, and nothing seems out of place. Today you will be greeted at Tokyo’s international airport and transferred to your hotel in Shinjuku, the city’s heart and transport hub. From your hotel, you can walk onto the streets and get to know modern Japan, from the famous Shibuya Crossing to small lanes populated by extravagant stores. There is lots of heritage to come, but right now you should make sense of what Japan has become today.
Tokyo – Old Tokyo and the Ancient Geisha District
Takayama – A Shinkansen Train to Old-World Japan and Ryokan Hospitality
Shirakawa-go – Sake and Tofu: Gassho-Zukuri Architecture and Overnight in a Family Farmhouse Inn
Kanazawa – Samurai and Feudal Heritage in an Old Castle Town
Kyoto – Kimono, Tea Ceremony, and Kaiseki in Iconic Kyoto
Kyoto – Highlights of Kyoto’s 17 World Heritage Sites
Kyoto – Day Trip to Japan’s First Capital City, Nara
Mount Koyo – A Night in a Temple in the Birthplace of Shingon Buddhism
Osaka – Modern City Vibes and Departure
- Discover the fabled highlights of Kyoto, an old Japanese city with over 2,000 temples, shrines and Zen gardens
- Travel back in time with a day in Shirakawa-go, the most unique and best-preserved of all Japan’s mountain villages
- Spend the night in a temple high on Mount Koyo, in the place where Shingon Buddhism was born
- Put on a kimono for an authentic tea ceremony in Kyoto
- Experience old-world Japanese hospitality with a night in a Takayama ryokan
- Explore the old Geisha districts of Tokyo, Kanazawa, and Kyoto
- Uncover the heritage and tradition of Samurai during a day in the castle town of Kanazawa
- Get to know Japan’s traditional foods, including kaiseki, Hida beef, sake, and sushi
- See the old and spiritual heartbeat of Tokyo as well as the city’s more modern heritage
- Travel on Shinkansen bullet trains as well as beautiful local trains through the mountains
This 10-day Japan tour is handcrafted for people who want to experience the country’s heritage. The itinerary is not a sightseeing tour, but rather an opportunity to travel into old Japan and live the traditions that are being kept alive. You will enjoy short immersions in the worlds of Samurai, Geisha and Shingon Buddhism. Spend a night in a ryokan, a night in a farmhouse inn, and another in a mountain temple. On the menu is kaiseki, sake, sushi, Hida beef, as well as an authentic Japanese tea ceremony. At times you will be wearing a kimono, and at others, you will be drifting off to the sound of chanting monks.
You will also spend time experiencing contemporary Japan as well. Tokyo is an eye-opening place to start, the districts of Shinkuju and Shibuya completing different from the city’s early times. Traveling by Shinkansen trains helps you explore many destinations in just ten days, with clean and comfortable local trains taking you into the mountains. Throughout the tour, you will experience how tradition is being shifted into the modern day as it is less a juxtaposition and more a blurring of eras, even if shrines hide beneath skyscrapers and glass-fronted facades reflect 17th-century castles.
Land in Tokyo and get your bearings by exploring the heart of the city, particularly the hyper-modern districts that are packed with small stores and lights. This time will provide context for when you go back in time on day two, when Edo gardens, a Shinto shrine, and the city’s oldest Geisha district provide just some of the experiences. Travel by train to Takayama and settle into a ryokan, with a kaiseki dinner and an onsen, or hot spring bath, to relax in. Takayama is a beautifully rustic town in the mountains, as well as the gateway to Japan’s most unique rural town, the now UNESCO World Heritage Shirakawa-go. After some sake and tofu, you will spend the night in a traditional farmhouse inn after an evening spent walking streets of gassho-zukuri farmhouses, which translates as “constructed like hands in prayer”.
Kanazawa is an old castle town, famous for its Geisha and Samurai. The town was a 17th-century cultural hub, complete with gardens, gates, and an old fish market revered across all of Japan for its sushi. Spend the following three days in Kyoto, Japan’s heritage capital. You will explore many of the famous temples and gardens, as well as walk the bamboo groves. But as with the focus throughout this vacation, the idea is to live the heritage so you can enjoy a tea ceremony in a kimono, meet with a monk, take an origami course and enjoy ore kaiseki. The last night is really special, spent in a Shingon Buddhist temple on Mount Koyo, far from the rest of the world. You will then have day-room hotel use in nearby Osaka before your international departure. Read some Zicasso travelers’ Japan travel reviews to gain further inspiration for your own trip.
$3,995 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.
- 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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