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RED HOT DEAL
Pay now & save!

from pp Twin Share

$3,799
Book Now Select

Single Traveller
$6,016 pp

15 Day Inspiring Japan

15 Day Inspiring Japan

This is considered a fast-paced tour. In order to explore as much as possible, this tour may require early starts and long travel days. One to two nights at one destination is standard. While some free time may be scheduled, most sightseeing is included throughout this tour. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage. To ensure this trip is right for you, any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aid, then this tour is not suitable.

Pace
Lively Pace

This tour is fully escorted by a dedicated tour leader who will accompany you throughout the tour. If your trip includes multiple countries, you will be met by a new tour leader in each country and any internal flights included will be unescorted.

Escorted Type
Fully Escorted

Take advantage of our 7 day cooling-off period. 

Cooling Off Period
7 Days
Classic Tour
19,792 people have travelled to this destination
 
 
✓ 2025 Dates Now on Sale
✓ Incredible sightseeing, including breathtaking Mount Fuji, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and beautiful temples, shrines and castles like UNESCO World Heritage Sites Golden Pavilion, Himeji Castle and Itsukushima Shrine
✓ Experience the iconic, exhilarating Japanese bullet train
✓ 14 nights in quality 3 and 4-star hotels 
✓ Breakfast daily, 1 dinner
✓ Fully escorted by professional, expert, English-speaking guide
✓ Dedicated, comfortable coach transportation
✓ 7 Day cooling off period. See under Fine Print for more information
 
✈ Needing international airfares to accompany your Inspiring Vacation? You will be able to access our flight portal after securing your package to add international airfares to your booking.
 
🛏️ Shared room available for solo passengers. This tour offers solo passengers the option to share a room with a fellow passenger of the same gender and avoid the Single Traveller supplement.
 
What we love about this tour

Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.

Itinerary

Hotel
Hotel Hankyu Respire Osaka or Similar

Welcome to Japan!

Your journey through this magical land of contrasts begins in Osaka, a vibrant city renowned for its food culture. Known as tenka no daidokoro (the nation’s kitchen), it’s a dream for foodies. Try some of its famed street food like takoyaki (octopus and pickled ginger in batter), kushikatsu (deep-fried meat and vegetable skewers) or Osaka-style okonomiyaki (a delicious savoury pancake).

With friendly locals, it’s the perfect welcome to this lovely country.

Airport transfers are not included. Our transfer portal offers the option to book your airport transfers for an easier arrival experience (additional charges apply). Access to this portal will be available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed.

Arrival & check-in: 
There are many convenient ways to travel from Kansai International Airport (KIX) to central Osaka. The train has multiple options ranging from 30 minutes to 1 hour and fares starting from JPY 320. There is also the Kansai Airport Limosine Bus, fares starting at JPY 1800. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from Kansai International Airport (KIX) which costs approximately JPY 23000 per taxi for the 50km ride.

If arriving at Osaka International Airport (ITM), the public transport option to central Osaka is by subway and train fares starting at JPY 240. The Osaka Airport Limousine bus starts at JPY 640 and takes approximately 30 minutes. A regular private taxi is approximately JPY 5000 and takes 25 minutes to downtown Osaka, depending on traffic. 

Travellers will be arriving at various times throughout the day. If arriving prior to check-in time (3pm), you are welcome to leave your luggage with hotel reception and explore your surroundings until check-in becomes available, as there are generally no scheduled activities for today.

Hotel
Hotel Wing International Kyoto or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

There will be a welcome meeting at the hotel this morning to discuss some tour logistics and to give you a chance to meet your fellow travellers.

We’ll tour central Osaka today, starting with a tour of the extensive grounds of Osaka Castle, an important historic monument of feudal Japan. It was built in the 16th century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan’s most famous warlords. At the time of completion it was the largest castle in the country. Please note, entry to the Castle keep is not included but you will have time if you would like to enter.

We’ll go to the Namba area and see Shinsaibashi, a shopping district with everything from fast fashion to luxury brands. The flashy district of Dōtonbori is a hive of activity; a shopping, food and entertainment hotspot. You’ll find a host of gastronomic delights here, from Michelin-starred establishments to exciting street food – no surprise given the city’s strong food heritage. With its colourful neon lights and signs, it’s home to one of Osaka’s most photographed icons, the neon Glico running man sign. Dōtonbori Street runs parallel to the eponymous canal and is a great place to pick up souvenirs.

We’ll head for magical Kyoto and visit Fushimi Inari Shine on arrival. This important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto was dedicated to Inari, the god of rice and sake, by the Hata clan in the eighth century. A magical path of over 5000 vibrant orange torii gates winds its way through the hills behind the shrine.

A contrast to bustling Osaka, Kyoto showcases the essence of traditional Japanese culture and rich history with its timeless charm. Kyoto is considered by many to be the jewel in Japan’s crown and one of the only cities in Japan to escape destruction during World World II, leaving its countless relics intact.

Perhaps stroll the streets of Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district. With any luck you might spot a geisha, otherwise known as a geiko or maiko.

Optional Tour - Kyoto by Night

Enjoy an evening walking tour of downtown Kyoto – from the heart of the city’s geisha culture in Gion to the tiny backstreets and bars of Ponto-chō. Experience Gion’s atmospheric streetscape at night and catch glimpses of geisha on their way to work. Visit neighborhood shrines illuminated at night and stop at a bar and sample some local sake and food.

Hotel
Hotel Wing International Kyoto or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

We’ll see the sights of ancient Kyoto this morning, starting with Tofukuji Temple, one of Japan’s oldest and most famous temples. Its grand sanmon entrance gate, the oldest in Japan, is a National Treasure. This vast complex includes 24 sub-temples and four distinctly different gardens, each facing in a different direction. Many of these buildings date back to the Muromachi period (1338-1573) and are shining examples of Zen architecture of the time. rio2022

Nearby Heian Jingu Shrine is a relatively young sacred location – built in 1895 – but this Shinto shrine is very impressive, with its enormous torii (sacred gate) standing almost 25 metres high.

We’ll continue onto some of Kyoto’s most iconic sites, like Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion). This is a Zen temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site, with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold, set within a beautiful classical Zen garden.

We’ll stop for lunch at Arashiyama before a mesmerising experience – standing amongst the soaring stalks of bamboo at Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. It’s green, peaceful and the seemingly endless boughs make for a serene experience, even with the tourist crowds. Take in the sound of rustling bamboo as you stroll these paths – if there’s a bit of wind, the groves will gently sway back and forth which only adds to the magic.

Optional Tour - Traditional Shops and Markets of Kyoto

Start with a walk through Nishiki Market where everything from fresh produce to Japanese green teas and pickles are sold. On the way, explore traditional fan shops, chopstick shops and one of the best knife shops in Kyoto. Wander through the famous shopping arcade of Teramachi, discovering incense shops, Japanese woodblock print shops, ceramics and traditional tea shops, as well as the best of Japan’s contemporary fashion – both mainstream and quirky!

Hotel
Dormy Inn Takamatsu Chuo Koenmae or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

We’ll travel to Naruto Strait, and tour the Naruto whirlpools off the Shikoku coast, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. These tidal whirlpools, created by the fast tidal current, are a captivating sight on the surface of this narrow strait. In ideal conditions they can measure up to about 20 metres in diameter. The tidal current is fastest during a full moon and the roar is a spectacular sound.

We’ll then head for Takamatsu, on the north coast of Shikoku island. This scenic port city is known for its udon noodles, a Japanese favourite.

Touring the open-air museum of Shikoku Mura is the perfect chance to explore Japan’s history and heritage, with a glimpse of old village life. Over 20 restored traditional buildings and structures, built in the Shikoku style and mainly from the Edo and Meiji periods, were relocated here from all over the island.

This hillside village includes farmhouses, storehouses, production workshops for soy sauce and sugar, a thatched kabuki theatre and a vine suspension bridge made of vine and wood. There is also a small, modern art gallery.

We will also visit the Ritsurin Garden, an exquisite traditional garden. Built during the Edo period – when the city was a castle town controlled by the Matsudaira clan – it’s a National Treasure and arguably one of the most beautiful gardens in the country.

There are six ponds and 13 buildings in this tranquil oasis, including a lush lotus pond and the Okedoi-no-Taki waterfall. Pine-covered Mount Shiun at the garden’s western border provides a gorgeous backdrop. There is also a tea house and various folk art and craft exhibits.

Hotel
Beppu Kamenoi Hotel or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

This morning, we drive by impressive Matsuyama Castle on the way to Matsuyama, including a brief stop and visit to the Ishiteiji Temple, one of the 88 pilgrim temples and a popular tourist attraction. After, we will head onto the historic Dogo Onsen area for another photo stop and a chance to get some lunch.

At Misaki, we’ll board a ferry to the onsen town of Beppu, known for its spectacular hot springs. It’s on the island of Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island.

Hotel
Dormy Inn Nagasaki Ekimae or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Kyushu Island is onsen country, with hot springs dotted all over this island. The city of Beppu is home to over 2,000 hot springs but this morning we’ll visit the most bizarre. The Hells of Beppu are a spooky sight – each hot spring bubbles and steams somewhat violently. These jigoku (hells) can reach temperatures of about 98 degrees. They are for viewing, not bathing!

Each ‘hell’ is distinctly different. The largest of the seven pools, Umi (Sea) Jigoku, earned its name for its vivid turquoise colour. The oldest hell, Chinoike (Blood Lake) Jigoku is – you guessed it – blood red, a magnificent sight with steam rising from it. 

We’ll travel south to Nagasaki, one of two cities in Japan destroyed by an atomic bomb during World War II. Our first stop is a visit to Glover Garden, for an insight into Nagasaki’s cosmopolitan past. This open air museum has six Western-style buildings from all over the city that were relocated here – grand mansions that were once home to Nagasaki’s foreign residents, such as European diplomats and foreign traders. Take in the lovely views over the harbour. Nearby here is Oura Church, said to be the oldest church in Japan.

You’ll arrive back to your hotel after a fulfilling day of sightseeing with the rest of your evening at leisure.

Optional Tour - Ramen Dinner and Nagasaki Night Views

Stroll through central Nagasaki in the evening, stopping for a bowl of champon ramen noodles, Nagasaki-style. Champon is a classic Nagasaki dish and reflects the city’s cosmopolitan past and history with early Chinese and Western traders. Afterwards, head up Mount Inasa for stunning panoramic views of this attractive port city at night.

Hotel
Dormy Inn Nagasaki Ekimae or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Today’s sightseeing starts with the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park. The museum is a difficult but important visit, with photos and other relics from the period that were found after the bomb. The harrowing gallery displays stories compiled from survivors. 75,000 people lost their lives in the attack and its aftermath.

Nagasaki Peace Park is next to the museum, located near the hypocentre of the atomic bomb blast. In the Zone of Hopes, the towering Peace Statue at the back of the park points up to the sky with its right hand and its left arm is horizontal to represent the wish for peace. On either side of the statue are two small shrines draped with origami crane garlands, in memory of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. There are five zones in this grand park, a serene place for reflection.

We will spend the majority of our morning here before we drive to Dejima Wharf, where we will have lunch at your leisure. This is a waterfront area in Nagasaki. Historically, it served as an artificial island constructed in the 17th century to accommodate foreign traders, primarily Dutch merchants. During Japan's Sakoku (closed-country) period, when the country had limited interactions with the outside world, Dejima was one of the few places where foreign trade was permitted. The Dutch East India Company was the only European entity allowed to conduct trade with Japan during this era, and Dejima was their designated trading post.

The rest of your afternoon is at leisure before an early start tomorrow morning. 

Hotel
Hiroshima Washington Hotel or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

We plan to depart your hotel in Nagasaki this morning at 07:30 to travel to Hiroshima. You will have a lunch stop on the way.

We will spend approximately two hours at The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which is home to the ruins of the Genbaku Dome, one of the few buildings that were left standing near ground zero. In Hiroshima today, locals have mixed feelings about the UNESCO World Heritage Site structure: some see it as a reminder of war, while others consider it a tribute to the lost that ensures we'll never forget the tragic events that took place here.

The flame in the cenotaph is intended to burn until the last nuclear weapon has been destroyed. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, located in the Peace Memorial Park, is a sobering experience for those who wish to explore further.

Optional Tour - Okonomiyaki Dinner

Tonight, you will be able to enjoy an okonomiyaki dinner. Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese pancake, famed in Hiroshima for its layering of ingredients including batter, cabbage and pork to which you can add optional items such as squid, octopus or more vegetables. The duration of this activity is one hour in the evening.

Hotel
Comfort Hotel Shin-Osaka or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

There is an early start this morning for a full day of incredible sightseeing. We’ll take the ferry to Miyajima Island this morning. Known for its lush forests, ancient shrines and temples, and freely roaming sika deer, this island is just as popular with Japanese tourists as it is with international visitors.

Just offshore we'll spy a 'floating' vermilion torii, which becomes partially submerged at high tide. It marks the entrance to Itsukushima Shrine, which was first built in the 12th century. We’ll tour the shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We’ll travel to the Himeji area where we will make a brief stop for lunch, then continue onto a tour of magnificent Himeji Castle, the largest surviving example of a traditional Japanese castle.

Comprising 83 buildings, the white roof of this UNESCO-listed complex is said to evoke the wings of a heron taking flight, hence the popular name ‘Shirasagi-jō’, meaning White Heron Castle. Himeji Castle is said to be the most visited in Japan, and the site offers some wonderful views of surrounding Himeji city.

Japan’s world-famous bullet train, a shining example of this country’s technology and engineering prowess, is an absolute must-do. We’ll take the shinkansen to Osaka.

Optional tour - Sukiyaki Dinner Experience

Experience one of Japan’s most classic meals – sukiyaki – in one of Osaka’s traditional restaurants in the heart of the city. Enjoy fine slices of wagyu beef, silken tofu and fresh vegetables lightly cooked in a hot pot and dipped in sauce before eating. Your hot pot is shared amongst 3-4 people and is a very communal way of dining.

Hotel
Hotel Amanek Kanazawa or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Today we’ll travel to the city of Kanazawa, on the northwestern shore of Honshu, once the base for the powerful Maeda clan. During World War II, Kanazawa was Japan’s second largest city (after Kyoto) to escape destruction by air raids. This means that parts of the old castle town, such as the Nagamachi samurai district and chaya entertainment districts, have survived.

On arrival, we’ll tour Kenrokuen Garden, heralded as one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. Developed over the course of more than 200 years, starting in 1620, the garden contains almost 9000 trees and 200 plant species.

We’ll enjoy a walking tour of Nagamachi samurai district and the Higashi Chaya District, famous for its well-preserved wooden teahouses where geisha perform.

Optional Tour - Gold Leaf Craft Experience

Learn about the history of gold leaf in Japan and how it’s used to embellish fine lacquerware, ceramics, chopsticks and modern-day items. Create your own design and apply gold leaf to your choice of material – whether chopsticks, lacquerware, glassware or even washi stationery and postcards.

Optional Tour - Izakaya Pub Experience

Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of an izakaya pub – Japan’s traditional drinking place where friends and colleagues get together to catch up and socialise over traditional Japanese food and drinks. Kanazawa’s proximity to the Sea of Japan means that fresh seafood (particularly crab) is a key feature of izakaya in this city.

Hotel
Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Step back in time to see the small, historical village of Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Japanese Alps. Enjoy a walk through this village to see the traditional thatched houses (gassho-zukuri) and beautiful mountain scenery.

Then we’ll head to the city of Takayama, nestled in the Hida mountains.

This city still retains a traditional feel, especially in its beautifully preserved old merchant district. Here you’ll find quaint, old latticed wooden buildings and Sannomachi Street, with pretty homes, restaurants and sake breweries. Enjoy a walking tour of the old town before travelling to Matsumoto.

Optional Tour - Sake Tasting Experience **

Sample some fine sake produced from Takayama’s clear alpine waters in an old sake brewery located in the heart of Takayama’s old town area. Experience different sake styles from aged forms to newly released varieties made from the latest rice harvest. Enjoy the traditional rustic ambience of a merchant’s house from Japan’s feudal era.

Optional Tour - Bento Lunch Experience **

Experience a classic Japanese bento, served lunch-box style in a traditional building near the town’s old centre. The ingredients used are sourced from Takayama’s farms and served in lacquered boxes. 

Hotel
Tominoko Hotel or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, we’ll take a tour of historic Matsumoto Castle and the charming old town area surrounding the castle. Nakamachi Street is a quaint, charming street with well-preserved old buildings, like restored Edo-period storehouses. Here you’ll find craft shops, a sake brewery, restored Japanese ryokan (inns) and restaurants. This used to be the main street when Matsumoto was a castle town. Across the river, pedestrian-friendly Nawate Street is a great place to pick up quirky souvenirs and snacks.

Matsumoto Castle, with its wide moat, is also known as ‘Crow Castle’ due to its dramatic black exterior. The donjon (keep) – Japan’s oldest remaining wooden keep, completed around 1593 – is listed as a National Treasure of Japan. On a clear day, the backdrop of the Japanese Alps is the perfect touch on this majestic setting.

It’s then about a three-hour journey to the revered peak, Mount Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This enduring cultural symbol has been considered sacred since ancient times. It’s an imposing sight, standing 3,776 metres high.

We’ll travel to Mount Fuji 5th Station, about halfway up the mountain, at an elevation of 2,300 metres. You’ll savour spectacular views over the Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone National Park.

You’ll be staying in the Lake Kawaguchiko area. This is the most accessible of the Fuji Five Lakes; popular sightseeing spots for admiring the dramatic peak. Iconic Mount Fuji is notoriously shy, but in clear conditions the views from these spots are stunning. This lake is also home to a cherry blossom festival held during the season, one of the most popular in the country.

Hotel
The B Asakusa or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

This morning we will take a short sightseeing cruise that offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of Lake Kawaguchi and its surroundings from the water. The lake itself is beautifully situated with Mount Fuji providing a breathtaking backdrop, making it an ideal spot for photography and sightseeing.

Following this, enjoy a visit to Itchiku Kubota Art Museum to learn about the revival of the lost art of Tsujigahana silk dyeing for kimonos, thanks to celebrated 20th-century textile artist Kubota Itchiku. This serene complex in the wooded hills, ensconced in nature with extensive gardens and a traditional tea room, is home to a vast collection of the artist’s works.

Then it’s onto Tokyo, famed metropolis, arguably one of the most extraordinary capital cities on the planet. Japan’s eclectic capital is a city of wonder. The Tokyo metropolitan area spreads over three prefectures with 38 million residents.

On the way to our hotel, if conditions are clear, we’ll stop at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for late afternoon panoramic city views over this energetic city.

Optional Tour - Izakaya Dinner with Karaoke Experience

Celebrate the end of your Japan adventure with a casual meal at Izakaya, followed by a visit to a karaoke bar for that quintessential Japan experience!

Hotel
The B Asakusa or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

In a city of such frenetic pace, a stop at the charming Asakusa neighbourhood is a refreshing taste of older Tokyo. It’s home to the ancient seventh-century Sensō-ji Temple. Built in the Asuka era, it’s the oldest and most important Buddhist temple in Tokyo – be prepared for crowds! It’s known for its imposing entrance gate, Kaminarimon (also known as ‘Thunder Gate’), with its magnificent red lantern.

We’ll walk along Nakamise, the shopping street connecting the front gate and main hall of the temple. It’s a wonderful atmosphere, with food stalls and souvenir shops, selling authentic Japanese items like traditional crafts. You’ll find great souvenirs here.

Then, foodies will be in heaven at Tsukiji Outer Market, a shopping district adjacent to the enormous former wholesale fish market. This lively area is home to everything food-related – fresh ingredients, street food vendors, kitchen utensils. There’s great sushi and other restaurants around here, too.

Next, we'll venture into the vibrant neighborhood of Shibuya, allowing you some time to explore at your leisure and discover a delightful local eatery for lunch (at your own expense). You'll have the option to extend your stay in this bustling district or return to the hotel with the group, where the evening will be yours to savor and relish your final moments in Tokyo!

Meals
Breakfast

Enjoy one last delicious breakfast this morning, before your Japanese adventure comes to an end.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this extraordinary journey.

Airport transfers are not included. Our transfer portal offers the option to book your airport transfers for an easier arrival experience (additional charges apply). Access to this portal will be available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed.

Departure & check-out: There are several ways to travel from your hotel to either Narita Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND), from shuttle buses to trains and taxis. Transport to the airports can cost between 250 Yen to 21,000 Yen depending on the form of transport you choose. Your Tour Leader and hotel concierge will be able to assist you arrange the most convenient way to the airport on the last day of the trip.

Travellers will be departing at various times throughout the day. Check-out time is generally from 10am-12pm. You are welcome to leave your luggage at hotel reception and spend your final moments of free time exploring the area or, alternatively, please speak with hotel staff if you would like to extend your check-out time. This service is subject to availability and will likely come at an additional cost.

Inclusions

Fine Print

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