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from pp Twin Share

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with only a $99 deposit pp

Single Traveller
$5,583 pp
Pay in full discount on selected dates. Save $300 pp!

from pp Twin Share

Book Now Select
with only a $99 deposit pp

Single Traveller
$5,583 pp

15 Day Inspiring Japan Small Group Tour

15 Day Inspiring Japan Small Group Tour

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.

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

These tours are our proudest creations. They have been crafted for Inspiring Vacations travellers exclusively, with personal and unique experiences in mind. Please see the Important Information on your selected tour for exact group size. Enjoy features such as hand-picked accommodation, a sampling of the region’s best culinary delights, and a range of optional activities to choose from to best suit your travel style.

Group Size
Small Group
Small Group Tour
20,018 people have travelled to this destination
✓ Experience the iconic Japanese bullet train
✓ 14 nights in 3 and 4-star hotels 
✓ Breakfast daily and 1 dinner
✓ Dedicated private transportation throughout
✓ Fully escorted by a dedicated tour leader 
✓ Incredible sightseeing as per itinerary

✈ 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.

What we love about this tour

Discover Japan on one of our most popular small group tours: ride a bullet train, visit the sacred shrines, sites and temples that Japan is renowned for. From Mount Fuji to charming Kyoto and the buzz of Tokyo, an in-depth look at the real Japan is guaranteed. 


Hotel Hankyu Respire Osaka or Similar

Welcome to Japan!

Upon arrival, please make your own way from the airport to your hotel.

Your journey through this enchanting land of contrasts begins in Osaka, a lively city renowned for its culinary culture. Known as the nation’s kitchen (tenka no daidokoro), it’s a paradise for food enthusiasts. Sample some of its famous street food like takoyaki (octopus and pickled ginger in batter), kushikatsu (deep-fried meat and vegetable skewers), or Osaka-style okonomiyaki (a delightful savory pancake).

With friendly locals, it’s the perfect introduction to this beautiful country.


Special information

There are no scheduled activities today. If you arrive before check-in time, typically between 2-3 pm, you can leave your luggage with the hotel reception and explore the area until your room is ready. Take this opportunity to get acquainted with the hotel and relax before the tour begins tomorrow.

Airport transfers are not included. Our transfer portal offers the option to book your airport transfers for a smoother arrival experience (additional charges apply). You can access this portal through your Traveler Hub once your booking is confirmed.

Hotel Wing International Kyoto or Similar

Please meet in the hotel lobby for your welcome meeting this morning at 8:15 am to discuss tour logistics and to give you a chance to meet your fellow travelers.

We’ll tour central Osaka today, starting with a visit to 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. Please note, entry to the Castle keep is not included but you will have time if you would like to enter.

Next, we’ll head 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 colorful 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 canal and is a great place to pick up souvenirs.

We’ll head to magical Kyoto and visit Fushimi Inari Shrine 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 5,000 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 War 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.


Inspiring Highlights

  • Osaka Castle
  • Shinsaibashi & Dōtonbori districts
  • Fushimi Inari Shrine


Special Information

Your travel time today will be approximately 1 hour


Optional Tour - Kyoto by Night

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby
Approx Start Time: 18:45
Approx Finish Time: 22:00
Duration: Approx 4 hrs

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.

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

Hotel Wing International Kyoto or Similar

After breakfast, we’ll explore the sights of ancient Kyoto, beginning with Tofukuji Temple, one of Japan’s oldest and most renowned temples. Its grand sanmon entrance gate, the oldest in Japan, is designated as a National Treasure. This expansive complex includes 24 sub-temples and four distinctly different gardens, each facing a different direction. Many of these structures date back to the Muromachi period (1338-1573) and exemplify Zen architecture of that era.

Nearby, Heian Jingu Shrine is a relatively new sacred site, built in 1895. Despite its youth, this Shinto shrine is striking, featuring a massive torii (sacred gate) standing nearly 25 meters tall.

Next, we’ll visit some of Kyoto’s most iconic landmarks, such as Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). This Zen temple, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold, surrounded by a serene classical Zen garden.

We’ll pause for lunch in Arashiyama before experiencing the captivating Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Standing amidst towering bamboo stalks, this peaceful greenery offers a tranquil atmosphere, even amidst the bustling tourist crowds. As you stroll through these paths, listen to the gentle rustling of bamboo leaves; on windy days, the groves sway gracefully, enhancing the enchanting ambiance.


Inspiring Highlights

  • Tofukuji Temple
  • Heian Jingu Shrine
  • Kinkaku-ji
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove


Optional Tour - Traditional Shops and Markets of Kyoto

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby
Approx Start Time: 16:00
Approx Finish Time: 18:00
Duration: Approx 2 hrs

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

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

Dormy Inn Takamatsu Chuo Koenmae or Similar

After breakfast, we’ll journey to Naruto Strait and explore the Naruto whirlpools off the coast of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. These swirling tidal whirlpools, formed by rapid tidal currents, are a mesmerizing sight in the narrow strait. Under optimal conditions, they can reach up to approximately 20 meters in diameter. The tidal currents are strongest during a full moon, accompanied by a spectacular roar.

Next, we’ll head to Takamatsu on the north coast of Shikoku Island. This picturesque port city is renowned for its udon noodles, a beloved Japanese dish.

Visiting the open-air museum of Shikoku Mura offers a unique opportunity to delve into Japan’s history and culture, providing a glimpse into traditional village life. More than 20 restored buildings and structures, constructed in the Shikoku architectural style predominantly from the Edo and Meiji periods, have been relocated here from across the island.

This hillside village features farmhouses, warehouses, workshops for soy sauce and sugar production, a thatched kabuki theater, and a suspension bridge made from vine and wood. Additionally, there’s a small, modern art gallery.

We will also explore Ritsurin Garden, an exquisite traditional Japanese garden. Constructed during the Edo period when the city was under the control of the Matsudaira clan, this garden is designated as a National Treasure and is arguably one of the most beautiful gardens in the country.

Within this serene oasis, there are six ponds and 13 structures, including a lush lotus pond and the Okedoi-no-Taki waterfall. Mount Shiun, covered with pine trees, provides a stunning backdrop along the garden’s western edge. Visitors can also enjoy a tea house and various exhibits showcasing folk art and crafts.


Inspiring Highlights

  • Naruto whirlpools
  • Shikoku Mura
  • Ritsurin Garden


Special Information

Your travel time today will be approximately 3 hours.

Beppu Kamenoi Hotel or Similar

This morning after breakfast, we will pass by the impressive Matsuyama Castle on our way to Matsuyama, with a quick stop to visit Ishiteiji Temple, one of the 88 pilgrimage temples and a popular tourist attraction. Afterward, we will proceed to the historic Dogo Onsen area for another photo opportunity and a chance to have lunch.

In Misaki, we will board a ferry to the onsen town of Beppu, renowned for its stunning hot springs. Beppu is located on the island of Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island.


Inspiring Highlights

  • Ishiteiji Temple
  • Dogo Onsen area


Special Information

Your travel time today will be approximately 6 hours.

Dormy Inn Nagasaki Ekimae or Similar

This morning after breakfast, we will explore Kyushu Island, renowned for its hot springs scattered throughout. The city of Beppu boasts over 2,000 hot springs, but today we'll visit the most unusual ones. The Hells of Beppu present a eerie spectacle – each hot spring bubbles and steams with great intensity. These jigoku (hells) can reach temperatures of about 98 degrees Fahrenheit and are strictly for viewing, not bathing!

Each 'hell' has its own unique characteristics. The largest of the seven pools, Umi (Sea) Jigoku, gets its name from its striking turquoise color. The oldest hell, Chinoike (Blood Lake) Jigoku, is, as the name suggests, a vivid blood-red hue, surrounded by rising steam – a truly magnificent sight.

Next, we will head south to Nagasaki, one of two cities in Japan devastated by an atomic bomb during World War II. Our first stop is Glover Garden, offering insight into Nagasaki's cosmopolitan history. This open-air museum features six Western-style buildings relocated from various parts of the city, including grand mansions once occupied by foreign residents such as European diplomats and traders. Enjoy the picturesque views overlooking the harbor. Nearby is Oura Church, believed to be the oldest church in Japan.

After a fulfilling day of sightseeing, you will arrive at your hotel with the remainder of the evening free to relax.


Inspiring Highlights

  • The Hells of Beppu
  • Nagasaki Glover Garden


Special Information

Your travel time today will be approximately 3 hours


Optional Tour - Ramen Dinner and Nagasaki Night Views

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby
Approx Start Time: 18:30
Approx Finish Time: 21:30
Duration: Approx 3 hrs

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.

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

Dormy Inn Nagasaki Ekimae or Similar

Today’s sightseeing begins after breakfast with the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park. The museum is a challenging yet essential visit, showcasing photos and artifacts from the period following the bomb. The poignant exhibits include narratives gathered from survivors. The attack and its aftermath claimed the lives of 75,000 people.

Adjacent to the museum is Nagasaki Peace Park, situated near the epicenter of the atomic blast. Within the Zone of Hopes stands the towering Peace Statue, its right hand pointing skyward and its left arm outstretched horizontally, symbolizing the desire for peace. Flanking the statue are two small shrines adorned with garlands of origami cranes, honoring Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. This expansive park is divided into five zones, offering a tranquil setting for contemplation.

We will dedicate much of our morning to this poignant visit before proceeding to Dejima Wharf for lunch at your leisure. Located on the waterfront in Nagasaki, Dejima historically served as an artificial island created in the 17th century to accommodate foreign traders, primarily Dutch merchants. During Japan's Sakoku (closed-country) period, when the nation restricted foreign interactions, Dejima remained one of the few places where trade with foreigners was permitted. The Dutch East India Company operated here as the sole European entity allowed to conduct trade with Japan during this era.

The remainder of your afternoon is free for leisure activities before an early start tomorrow morning.


Inspiring Highlights

  • Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park
  • Dejima Wharf

Hiroshima Washington Hotel or Similar

We plan to leave your hotel in Nagasaki this morning at 7:30 to journey to Hiroshima. There will be a lunch break on the way.

We will spend approximately two hours at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which houses the remains of the Genbaku Dome, one of the few buildings that remained standing near ground zero. In present-day Hiroshima, local sentiments toward this UNESCO World Heritage Site vary: some view it as a stark reminder of war, while others see it as a tribute to those lost, ensuring we never forget the tragic events that occurred here.

The flame in the cenotaph is meant to burn until the last nuclear weapon is eliminated. For those interested in delving deeper, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, also located in the Peace Memorial Park, offers a poignant experience.


Inspiring Highlights:

  • The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park


Special Information

Your travel time today will be approximately 5 hours.


Optional Tour - Okonomiyaki Dinner

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby
Approx Start Time: 19:30
Approx Finish Time: 21:30
Duration: Approx 2 hrs

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.

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

Comfort Hotel Shin-Osaka or Similar

We have an early start this morning for a full day of incredible sightseeing. We’ll take the ferry to Miyajima Island today. Known for its dense forests, ancient shrines and temples, and freely roaming sika deer, this island is equally beloved by Japanese tourists and international visitors.

Just offshore, we'll see a 'floating' vermilion torii gate, which becomes partially submerged at high tide. It marks the entrance to Itsukushima Shrine, originally constructed in the 12th century. We’ll explore the shrine, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Next, we’ll head to the Himeji area where we'll stop briefly for lunch, then proceed to tour the magnificent Himeji Castle, the largest surviving example of a traditional Japanese castle.

With its 83 buildings, the white roof of this UNESCO-listed complex is said to resemble the wings of a heron in flight, earning it the popular nickname ‘Shirasagi-jō’, or White Heron Castle. Himeji Castle is renowned as Japan’s most visited castle, offering stunning views of Himeji city from its grounds.

Riding Japan’s renowned bullet train, a pinnacle of the country’s technological and engineering prowess, is a must-do experience. We’ll board the shinkansen to Osaka.


Inspiring Highlights

  • Miyajima Island
  • Himeji Castle
  • Bullet train (shinkansen) to Osaka


Special Information

Your travel time today will be approximately 5 hours


Optional tour - Sukiyaki Dinner Experience

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby
Approx Start Time: 19:30
Approx Finish Time: 22:00
Duration: Approx 2.5 hrs

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.

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

Hotel Amanek Kanazawa or Similar

After breakfast, we’ll journey to the city of Kanazawa, situated on the northwestern shore of Honshu, once the stronghold of the powerful Maeda clan. During World War II, Kanazawa was the second largest city in Japan (after Kyoto) to avoid destruction from air raids. As a result, parts of the old castle town, such as the Nagamachi samurai district and the chaya entertainment districts, have been preserved.

Upon arrival, we’ll visit Kenrokuen Garden, acclaimed as one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. Developed over more than 200 years beginning in 1620, the garden features nearly 9,000 trees and 200 types of plants.

We’ll take a leisurely walking tour of the Nagamachi samurai district and the Higashi Chaya District, renowned for its well-maintained wooden teahouses where geisha entertain guests.


Inspiring Highlights

  • Kenrokuen Garden
  • Nagamachi samurai district
  • Higashi Chaya District


Special Information

Your travel time today will be approximately 4 hours


Optional Tour - Gold Leaf Craft Experience

Meeting Point: At venue
Approx Start Time: 15:30
Approx Finish Time: 16:30 at venue
Duration: Approx 1 hr

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.

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

Optional Tour - Izakaya Pub Experience

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby
Approx Start Time: 19:00
Approx Finish Time: 21:30
Duration: Approx 2.5 hrs

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.

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu or Similar

Travel back in time to explore the quaint, historical village of Shirakawa-go, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled in the Japanese Alps. Take a leisurely stroll through the village to admire its traditional thatched-roof houses (gassho-zukuri) and stunning mountain vistas.

Next, we’ll proceed to the city of Takayama, nestled in the Hida mountains.

Takayama retains a charmingly traditional atmosphere, especially in its meticulously preserved old merchant district. Here, you’ll discover charming lattice-worked wooden buildings and Sannomachi Street, lined with picturesque homes, eateries, and sake breweries. Enjoy a guided walking tour of the old town before continuing our journey to Matsumoto.


Inspiring Highlights

  • Shirakawa-go


Special Information

Your travel time today will be approximately 4 hours


Optional Tour - Bento Lunch Experience **

Meeting Point:  At venue
Approx Start Time: 12:45
Approx Finish Time: 13:45
Duration: Approx 1 hr

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. 

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

Optional Tour - Sake Tasting Experience **

Meeting Point: At venue
Approx Start Time: 14:00 or 15:00
Approx Finish Time: 14:40 or 15:40 at venue
Duration: Approx 40 mins

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.

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

Tominoko Hotel or Similar
Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, we’ll embark on a tour of historic Matsumoto Castle and the charming old town area that surrounds it. Nakamachi Street, a delightful and picturesque thoroughfare, features well-preserved old buildings such as restored Edo-period storehouses. Here, you’ll discover craft shops, a sake brewery, restored Japanese ryokan (inns), and restaurants. This street was once the main thoroughfare during Matsumoto’s time as a castle town. Across the river, Nawate Street provides a pedestrian-friendly environment ideal for picking up unique souvenirs and snacks.

Matsumoto Castle, encircled by a broad moat, is famously known as ‘Crow Castle’ due to its striking black exterior. The donjon (keep), Japan’s oldest surviving wooden keep completed around 1593, is designated as a National Treasure of Japan. On clear days, the backdrop of the Japanese Alps adds a majestic touch to this historic setting.

Next, we’ll embark on a three-hour journey to Mount Fuji, a revered peak and UNESCO World Heritage Site. This enduring cultural symbol has been revered as sacred since ancient times, standing tall at 3,776 meters.

Our destination is Mount Fuji 5th Station, situated approximately halfway up the mountain at an elevation of 2,300 meters. From here, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views overlooking the Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone National Park.

You’ll be lodging in the Lake Kawaguchiko area, the most accessible of the Fuji Five Lakes and a popular destination for admiring the iconic peak. Mount Fuji is famously elusive, but under clear conditions, the views from this area are breathtaking. Lake Kawaguchiko also hosts a renowned cherry blossom festival during the season, among the most celebrated in the country.


Inspiring Highlights:

  • Matsumoto Castle
  • Mount Fuji


Special Information

Your travel time today will be approximately 3 hours.

The B Asakusa or Similar

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

Afterward, we'll visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum to discover the revival of the lost art of Tsujigahana silk dyeing for kimonos, thanks to the celebrated 20th-century textile artist Kubota Itchiku. This tranquil complex nestled in the wooded hills, surrounded by nature with expansive gardens and a traditional tea room, houses a vast collection of the artist’s works.

Next, we’ll head to Tokyo, the renowned metropolis and arguably one of the most extraordinary capital cities on Earth. Tokyo, Japan’s diverse capital, sprawls across three prefectures with a population of 38 million residents.

En route to our hotel, if weather permits, we’ll make a late afternoon stop at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for panoramic views of this vibrant city.


Inspiring Highlights

  • Lake Kawaguchi cruise
  • Itchiku Kubota Art Museum


Special Information 

Your travel time today will be approximately 2 hours


Optional Tour - Izakaya Dinner with Karaoke Experience

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby
Approx Start Time: 18:15
Approx Finish Time: 22:45
Duration: Approx 4.5 hrs

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!

Please note that times are subject to change and are a guide only.

The B Asakusa or Similar

In a city known for its fast pace, a visit to the charming Asakusa neighborhood offers a refreshing glimpse into old Tokyo. Here, you'll find the ancient Sensō-ji Temple, dating back to the seventh century. Built during the Asuka period, it stands as Tokyo's oldest and most significant Buddhist temple – though it tends to draw large crowds! Its iconic entrance gate, Kaminarimon (also known as the 'Thunder Gate'), adorned with a striking red lantern, is a notable sight.

Strolling along Nakamise, the bustling shopping street that links the temple's front gate to its main hall, you'll experience a vibrant atmosphere filled with food stalls and souvenir shops offering authentic Japanese crafts. It's an ideal place to find unique souvenirs.

For food enthusiasts, a visit to the Tsukiji Outer Market awaits, situated near the former wholesale fish market. This lively district boasts everything related to food – from fresh ingredients to street food vendors and kitchenware stores. You'll also find excellent sushi and other dining options in the area.

Next, we'll explore the lively Shibuya neighborhood, where you'll have free time to wander and discover a delightful local eatery for lunch (at your own expense). You can choose to extend your visit in this bustling area or return to the hotel with the group. The evening will be yours to savor and enjoy your final moments in Tokyo!


Inspiring Highlights:

  • Sensō-ji Temple
  • Nakamise
  • Tsukiji Outer Market
  • Shibuya


Today concludes your remarkable journey through Japan.

Please make your way to the airport at the designated time for your flight home or continue your independent onward journey.


Special Information

Airport transfers are not included. You can arrange your airport transfers through our transfer portal to ensure a smoother arrival (additional charges apply). Access to this portal will be available via your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed.

Thank you for traveling with Inspiring Vacations.  We hope you had a memorable experience.


✓ Experience the iconic Japanese bullet train
✓ 14 nights in 3 and 4-star hotels 
✓ Breakfast daily and 1 dinner
✓ Dedicated private transportation throughout
✓ Fully escorted by a dedicated tour leader 
✓ Incredible sightseeing as per itinerary

Optional tours

To enhance your journey, we are offering guests a choice of the following optional activities (prices are per person):

  • Optional Tour - Kyoto by Night (Day 2) - $69 per person
  • Optional Tour - Traditional Shops and Markets of Kyoto (Day 3) - $55 per person
  • Optional Tour - Ramen Dinner and Nagasaki Night Views (Day 6) - $55 per person
  • Optional Tour - Okonomiyaki Dinner (Day 8) - $39 per person
  • Optional tour - Sukiyaki Dinner Experience (Day 9) - $58 per person
  • Optional Tour - Gold Leaf Craft Experience (Day 10) - $28 per person
  • Optional Tour - Izakaya Pub Experience (Day 10) - $55 per person
  • Optional Tour - Bento Lunch Experience ** (Day 11) - $28 per person
  • Optional Tour - Sake Tasting Experience ** (Day 11) - $35 per person
  • Optional Tour - Izakaya Dinner with Karaoke Experience (Day 13) - $58 per person

Please note - On Day 11, please note only 1 option may be chosen, as the tours run simultaneously. 

Optional tours can be selected once you have finalised your tour purchase and paid your deposit. When completing your Passenger Booking Form, you will be asked if you would like to add Optional Tours, where any applicable cost will be added to your final balance. If you choose not to select them at this time, you can choose to add them later by logging in to your Account online.

Please note that you must select your Optional Tours no later than 70 days before departure, after which you will be required to purchase them on tour. Please keep in mind that anything purchased on-tour is subject to availability and prices may vary as you will be paying in local currency. We appreciate your understanding.

Please note that transportation to and from each optional tour is not included in the price. You will be required to make your own way to the starting point of the optional tour, as well as back to your hotel. Your tour guide can provide you with the direction and guidance needed to make your own way.

Pre/post accommodation 
Not available 

Not available  

Airport Transfers 
Some of our packages will include airport transfers in either one or both directions when arriving or departing from your destination. To know if transfers are included please view the ‘inclusions’ section of your selected package. If airport transfers are stated, transfers will be included as advised.

If transfers are not included, we also offer the option to book your airport transfers using our online portal. Access to this portal is available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed. Transfers are readily available and do not need to be booked until your final hotel list has been confirmed. Once you have made a transfer booking, please refer to your confirmation email for all transfer details including a local contact number for the transfer company.

If you book pre and/or post-tour accommodation on your arrangement, and the tour includes transfers, note that these will be forfeited. The transfers are only provided in line with the tour dates and pre and/or post-tour accommodation purchased through Inspiring Vacations when available.

Bedding Configuration
You will have the option choose single, twin or double

Single travellers
When booking this tour, solo travellers will be presented with three options:

1 - Single Supplement
By paying an additional $1,584.00 per person, in addition to the twin-share price, you guarantee the privacy of your own room throughout the entire trip.

Please note when choosing Single Supplement for this tour, your room will generally consist of a double or semi-double bed. Occasionally there may be a hotel that will provide a single bedded room for single travellers. All rooms provided to single travellers will be smaller than the twin rooms we recommend for two people. Unfortunately this is typical for Japan, as the cost to solely occupy a twin size room is incredibly high. We appreciate your understanding.

2- Shared Room with a known friend
If travelling together with a friend, you can opt to share your room with him/her and avoid paying a single supplement. 

You and your friend can create a unique booking each. Creating a unique booking, gives each of you the flexibility of making different travel arrangements (such adding extra accommodation, flights, etc), make separate payments and have individual access to our Traveller Hub

During the purchase path, you will need to provide your friend’s booking ID (if known) or at a minimum, your friend’s full name.

3- Shared Room with a fellow traveller
In this trip you can opt to share a room with a fellow traveller of the same gender – as specified in your passport - and avoid paying a single supplement.

If you believe you may prevent your travelling companion from enjoying a peaceful night’s rest, please refrain from selecting this option.

You will meet your rooming companion at the beginning of your trip. 

Changes to room configuration during the trip must be organised by travellers directly with the hotel, subject to availability and additional charges.

This option is not available on additional accommodation booked before or after

Twin Share Bedding Configuration
At any time, bedding configuration is subject to confirmation by the hotel and based on availability. While you have the option to select either twin or double bedding at time of booking, our recommendation when travelling to Japan is to choose twin bedding, as the rooms are often bigger than those that have a double bed. If insisting on double bedding, please note that the rooms will be smaller and more narrow. As a general expectation, we cannot always guarantee bedding at all hotel stays.

Triple Share
Not available.

Child Policy
Children must be 5 years old or above and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.

Payment Information 
This product requires full payment upfront to secure your booking. Once you have created your booking you will be directed to your invoice to choose your preferred payment method.

Cooling Off Period
A refund will be available within the 7-day cooling-off period unless otherwise restricted by the purchased product. 

Where 'last minute' bookings are available within 71 days of departure, the cooling-off period does not apply and bookings are immediately non-refundable.

Please review our terms and conditions here: https://www.inspiringvacations.com/au/page/terms-and-conditions 

Fine Print

Trip Suitability

  • Japan is best to explore on foot. Most travelers are surprised at how much distance they end up covering just exploring places in a single day! Make sure your shoes are comfy and you are fit enough to spend most of each day on your feet.
  • You will be expected to carry your luggage, including upstairs and escalators, and on and off coaches and trains (where included). Although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, you are expected to be able to walk and handle your luggage for a few hundred meters. This is particularly common at some hotels which have large vehicle parking regulations. In this instance, you will be required to walk from the dedicated coach parking area, through the car park, and to reception with your belongings. 
  • There are a lot of sightseeing stops and long day trips included as part of this itinerary. You will be spending a bit of time on the couch so ensure that you have a day pack with you that includes the essentials, like water, first-aid, and any chargers that you might need on the go.

Visas & Entry Requirements
Many countries require a visa and obtaining the correct visa for your trip and any countries you may transit through is your responsibility. We recommend you check your visa requirements as soon as you have booked your trip. This will ensure you have time to prepare your documents and for your visa application to be processed. You can check the visa entry requirements for your nationality via our page here: 


You’ll need a valid passport to travel internationally and most countries require your passport to have a minimum of 6 months validity, so remember to check the expiry date.

We need your passport information to get everything ready for your trip so the information on your booking must match your passport exactly. Please take care to provide the correct details. We recommend carrying a copy of the photo page of your passport while traveling and leaving a copy at home with family or friends.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is strongly recommended on all our trips. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. It is also important to consider forced pre-trip cancellations and how your chosen insurance policy may cover such circumstances, so please keep this in mind when choosing your provider. 

We strongly recommend all travelers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will be asked by your tour leader for your travel insurance details if they were not already added to your Traveller Hub account pre-departure.

If you have credit card insurance your Inspiring Vacations tour leader or local guide may require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details before arriving in-country.

Before you depart, you will be asked to submit your Travel Insurance details through the booking holder's Traveller Hub account through the Inspiring Vacations website. This is to ensure that we have this information readily available should we ever need it. 

Health, Wellness & Fitness Requirements
All travelers need to be in good physical health to participate fully on this trip. For the safety and well-being of yourself and others, if you are unwell before traveling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements.

When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully to assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. If we find that you are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to yourself and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without a refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements in their original packaging as they may not easily be obtained while traveling. If you are carrying medication, ensure you check your government's foreign travel advice for any local restrictions or requirements. For the safety and wellbeing of yourself and others, if you are unwell before traveling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements and we would be more than happy to assist you.

Important Information for Customers with Mobility Limitations
We want to ensure everyone has a fantastic and inclusive experience on our tours. If you require the use of a mobility aid, such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair, please disclose this information at the time of booking.

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for the entire group, our tours are designed with a specific itinerary in mind. This may involve moderate walking, uneven terrain, or stairs. While some itinerary adjustments may not be possible, we'll do our best to find alternative solutions within the planned activities whenever possible.

Open communication helps us ensure your trip is a perfect fit and it allows your local guide or tour leader to assist you where possible. 

Information for CPAP Users
If you use a CPAP machine, please let us know at the time of booking. Some portions of our itinerary, like overnight cruises or camping trips, may have limited access to power outlets. In such cases, we recommend traveling with portable battery packs. 

Certain activities, like overnight journeys on board smaller vessels, may not be suitable for CPAP use due to space limitations or noise concerns. We can discuss these potential limitations upfront and help you make informed decisions about your trip.

Tour documentation is typically emailed to the lead passenger or your travel agent between 14-30 days before your scheduled departure. This will include your final hotel list. 

Official Travel Advice
To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, we recommend referring to the official travel advisory website of your home country for the latest updates on your chosen destination. These websites provide valuable information on:

  • Safety and Security: Current risks and precautions for the country you'll be visiting.
  • Visa Requirements: Ensure you have all the necessary documentation for entry.
  • Entry and Exit: Up-to-date border regulations and health requirements.

Here are some helpful links to get you started:

In the unlikely event of a situation that could potentially disrupt your tour, we want to assure you of the following:

  • Local Expertise: We maintain regular communication with our trusted travel partners in your destination.
  • Constant Monitoring: We continuously monitor official travel advisories from relevant government websites.
  • Flexibility and Safety: Should it become necessary, we will make appropriate adjustments to your itinerary to prioritize your health and safety.

By staying informed and working together, we can ensure a fantastic travel experience for you. We will post our travel updates on our website here.

Connect with fellow travelers on Facebook.
During your booking journey, you might have received an email inviting you to join a special Facebook group dedicated to your chosen destination. These vibrant online communities are exclusively for Inspiring vacation travelers headed to the same incredible place. Joining this group unlocks a wealth of information and connections. Swap travel tips, share packing insights, or even see if anyone's interested in traveling together.  

We also regularly host insightful webinars featuring travel experts who share their tips and tricks for navigating your destination and maximizing your itinerary. Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to connect, learn, and get even more excited about your upcoming trip!

Starting Point
Your starting hotel may differ from the original itinerary.  Please refer to your final documentation which will be provided approximately 14-30 days before departure for your confirmed hotel list. If you need to book pre-tour accommodation independently, we suggest you do this only once you have received your final hotel list for your tour. If you would like to book something sooner, we recommend that you book using a flexible rate that can be canceled through your chosen third-party provider without penalty. 

Travelers will arrive at various times throughout the day depending on the flights booked. If arriving before standard check-in time, which is generally 3 pm, you are welcome to leave your luggage at hotel reception and explore your surroundings until check-in becomes available as there are no scheduled activities on day 1 of the itinerary.  The hotel may grant early check-in, however this is strictly subject to availability and at the hotel’s discretion. 

Note: if you need to apply for a tourist visa before departure, we recommend using the details of the suggested hotel on the tour itinerary if you wish to fulfill this before the release of your final tour documentation. Please refer to our visa section for more information on whether or not a visa is required for your destination. 

Arrival Details
Airport transfers are not included as part of your package. However, we trust that your journey from the airport to the hotel will be comfortable and hassle-free.

Alternatively, Japan’s public transport system is very efficient and reliable. 

To make your way to your hotel from the airport, there are various connections by express train or limousine bus. The airport information desks can provide helpful advice, too. 

If you're having any problems finding the hotel, please ring the hotel directly (you can use one of Japan's green public phones with coins of JPY10 or JPY100). Our ground operator in Japan is also available in case of emergencies.  Please refer to the emergency contact details listed on your final documentation.

Optional Airport Transfers - Transfer Portal
Depending on the package purchased, you may have the option to add airport transfers to your booking and you can do so through your Traveler Hub account. We partner with an online marketplace where travelers can compare and select the transfer of their choice. How to book information can be found on our FAQ page or by clicking here

In addition to Inspiring Vacations standard terms & conditions, any service arranged through our transfer portal service will be subject to third-party terms & conditions found HERE. Refunds may be available with no cancellation fees up to 48 hours before the pick-up time, subject to the terms of the transfer booking.

Inspiring Vacations cannot be held liable for any loss resulting from the transfer service provided by the third-party operator. It is the customer's responsibility to ensure any transfer booked meets the requirements of any other travel arrangements. Likewise, your tour leader or any of our on-ground representatives cannot be held responsible for the service of your third-party transfer nor are they in a position to assist with amending your reservation. Any transfer booking is separate from any other booking with Inspiring Vacations, regardless of whether purchased with regards to the same travel journey

Welcome Meeting Instructions
You are welcome to arrive at any time on Day 1 of your tour and the day is at your leisure. Upon checking in at the hotel, you will receive a letter containing meeting instructions for the following morning. If you do not automatically receive these details, please ask for them. Generally, you must meet at the lobby the following morning (on the day that sightseeing commences) as early as 0815 am local time. Please ensure that you are on time. 

In Case of Emergency
Although we strive to deliver exceptional holiday experiences, unforeseen circumstances can occasionally arise during travel. If any issues arise during your trip, it's essential to promptly communicate them to your tour leader or local representative. This ensures they can take immediate action to address the problem and mitigate any negative impact on the remainder of your journey.

We understand that there may be instances where your tour leader or local representative is unable to resolve a situation to your satisfaction. In such cases, we encourage you to request that the tour leader or local representative escalate the matter to their direct manager for further assistance.

You also have the option to share details in your online feedback after the tour. However, please keep in mind that it's challenging for us to offer practical assistance once the trip is completed. Therefore, notifying us while still traveling allows us the chance to address the issue in real time and provide a timely resolution.

For general contact details please visit the Contact Us page on our website.

When your final tour documentation is released, this will include an emergency contact for our local travel partner while you are on tour. If this is not included in your documentation, you will receive this on arrival during your welcome meeting. 

Trip Pace

This trip category is 4 out of 5
Embark on a whirlwind sightseeing tour with minimal downtime. This trip maximizes your exploration, keeping you on the move and ticking off must-see locations. A very good fitness level and mobility are required to keep pace with this action-packed adventure!

Japanese cities are best explored by foot and public transport, so be prepared for a lot of walking each day you are on tour. Many travelers are surprised by how much distance they end up covering while sightseeing and moving from one city to the next. Bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to spend most of the day on your feet. Good general fitness and mobility will play a big part in making your tour more enjoyable.

Group Size 
Minimum Passengers: 18
Maximum Passengers: 24

Escorted Style 
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.

Tour Type 
Our expertly crafted Small Group Tours take you to iconic landmarks and hidden treasures, ensuring a rich blend of must-see sights. Unwind in premium accommodations after each day filled with sightseeing alongside your dedicated tour leader, leaving you free to explore at your own pace during designated free time. Benefit from smaller group sizes, creating a truly unforgettable travel experience.


  • Airport transfers
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Tipping
  • Optional Activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary

Optional Tours
Depending on the package, you may have the option to pre-book optional tours through your Traveler Hub account. To secure your spot pre-booking these tours in advance is highly recommended. While some tours require a minimum number of participants to operate, you'll be fully refunded if the tour is canceled at your destination for this reason. Our optional tours are typically led by your tour leader or local guide. Please note that transportation to and from the optional tours is not included, but your tour leader or local guide will be happy to assist you with navigating public transportation options like trains or taxis to reach the starting point. 

Traveling in a group
Traveling in a group means you will experience both the pleasures and perhaps at times, some of the frustrations of traveling with people you don’t know. The good news is you all have at least one thing in common: a love of travel and exploration. Your fellow travelers will probably come from different parts of the world, and fall into different age groups. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your grouppatience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the overall benefit of the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, please ensure that you respect this request from your tour leader or local guide. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow ttravelersbooked on your trip before departure.

Community Guidelines
Inspiring Vacations does not tolerate any kind of violence, harassment (whether physical, verbal, or sexual), or disrespect toward fellow travelers, our teams (Inspiring Vacations Tour Leaders and local expert guides), or local communities.

Romantic relationships between travelers and the Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader or local representative are not permitted while on tour.

Any behavior that prevents your Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader from continuing the itinerary as planned, breaks local laws, or opposes any of these guidelines, may result in Inspiring Vacations removing you from the tour.

If something concerns you during your travels, please speak to your Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader immediately. Alternatively, when you are on-tour and require immediate support you can contact our Customer Support team and select the “On-Tour” option when listening to the options. 

Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader vs. Local Guide
While both tour leaders and local guides enrich your travel experience, their roles differ. Tour leaders, who often accompany you for the entire trip, handle logistics, ensure smooth sailing of the itinerary, and act as your point of contact for any concerns. They might provide general information about destinations, but in-depth historical or cultural knowledge often comes from local guides. Local guides, frequently native to the area, lead tours at specific sites or attractions, offering a deeper understanding of the local history, art, or way of life.

Due to Japan's popularity, it has been necessary to go outside our traditional route for employing tour leaders. As a result, our passionate, professional, and trained Tour Leaders may either be Japanese or long-term foreign residents of Japan.

Coach Transportation 
The size of your coach will comfortably accommodate your group. There's usually room for some extra seats, ensuring a relaxing journey. Your luggage will be safely stored either underneath the coach or in a dedicated trailer.

While the exact coach style may vary depending on the departure, all our coaches offer comfortable seating. Keep in mind that Wi-Fi and charging outlets might not always be available. To stay connected and avoid dead batteries,  we recommend fully charging your devices beforehand or bringing a portable charger.

For longer journeys, we'll make sure to include ample restroom breaks along the way, so you can freshen up and recharge at your convenience, as facilities are not on-board the coach. 

Itinerary Changes 
Sometimes, unexpected things can happen, like unpredictable weather or higher-than-usual crowds at attractions. In these situations, your tour leader might need to adjust the itinerary slightly to improve your overall experience. For example, in Japan, if the cherry blossoms haven't bloomed yet at a planned stop, your leader might take you to a different location known for its vibrant blooms.

This flexibility ensures you get the most out of your trip! Your tour leader will always keep you informed of any changes and explain the reasoning behind them. Remember, when traveling with a group, sometimes going with the flow can lead to even more amazing experiences.

Staying Connected
If you want to stay connected and access reliable internet while on tour, there are a few options available. It is possible to purchase a virtual sim and we recommend contacting your mobile phone provider for assistance in doing so. You can add a roaming data plan to your existing phone contract is another option, albeit an expensive one. You will need to arrange this before departure. Purchasing a local SIM at the airport in Japan is the final option. For a prepaid fee, you can get data by simply swapping your current SIM with your new Japanese SIM, and depending on which package you purchase, you’ll be able to text and make phone calls, just as you would at home. 

We also recommend downloading WhatsApp and using this to communicate with other group members while on tour, and of course, after the tour if you’d like to stay in touch. Our tour leaders may also use this as a means of communicating essential trip information with you, as well as if you choose to add-on transfers to your booking, as your driver may use this to confirm arrangements with you.

Getting Around
While touring Japan, you will be traveling to each place by dedicated, private coaches and trains (where included in your selected itinerary), including riding the iconic Shinkansen, or bullet train. Expect some long travel journeys on the coach but rest assured there will be comfort stops along the way where you can freshen up, stretch your legs, use the bathroom, and often, purchase refreshments. Generally, lunch stops will be taken at rest stops as they can easily accommodate our large groups.

If you’re arriving in Japan before your tour commencing and exploring on your own, Japanese public transport is world-class and it’s simpler to get around than you may think. While there are many different lines, from regular express trains to underground metros and of course, the famous Shinkansen (bullet train), all are easy to navigate. Most train stations even have platform signage in English and Japanese, as well as symbols denoting regular or bullet trains. When in doubt, consult a staff member – if they don’t speak English, they can point you to someone who does. Alternatively, get familiar with a maps app before your trip (like Google Maps); many provide detailed transport information, right down to the platform trains will depart from.

Hotel Ratings
To give you the most accurate picture possible, we don't just rely on a single source for hotel ratings. We go beyond by researching various trusted travel websites like Tripadvisor and Booking.com. This allows us to analyze a wider range of genuine customer reviews and experiences, giving you a well-rounded understanding of the hotel's typical star rating.

This means you can book with confidence, knowing the hotel has a strong track record of satisfied guests.

Accommodation Details
In Japan, hotels commonly used for group touring are known as Business hotels. These hotels offer affordable accommodation and although the rooms are typically small, averaging between 15m2 to 20m2, they are clean, well-maintained, and equipped with a private bathroom featuring a toilet, sink, and shower. Some rooms may have a shower over a small bath. Overall, a comfortable place to rest and recharge before a full day of sightseeing. 

These hotels generally provide essential amenities like soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, cotton buds, shower caps, and towels. Additionally, most rooms are furnished with a television, air conditioner, hairdryer, empty refrigerator, and a water boiler with complimentary green tea bags. However, it's important to note that not all hotels may offer these amenities, so we recommend traveling with any essentials and creature comforts you deem necessary. If there are any concerns, please speak to the hotel staff. 

On every two or three floors of these hotels, you may find a common room with vending machines, and some may have coin-operated washing machines and dryers. There might also be a clothing iron available, but if not, you can request one from the hotel reception, and if available, it will usually be brought directly to your room. It's worth noting that not all hotels provide laundry facilities. Once you receive your documentation (14-30 days before departure), to best prepare yourself, read up on the facilities available at each hotel. If you require a specific need while on tour, such as laundry facilities or money exchange service, speak to the Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader who will be able to assist you. The hotels used are conveniently located near convenience stores and transportation options, making it easy to purchase any forgotten essentials, snacks, or on-the-go lunch options. 

Generally, these Business hotels offer a buffet-style breakfast with a mix of Japanese and Western food choices. Since you'll be traveling in a foreign country, we encourage you to approach all your dining experiences with an open mind and a sense of adventure, as Western-style dining options may not always be readily available. If you have any specific dietary requirements, please consult your Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader to check if your needs can be accommodated. Additionally, we suggest bringing along some of your favorite snacks from home in case the local cuisine may not align with your preferences.

Travel Tip: twin rooms are usually slightly bigger than double rooms in Japan, so if you want a little more space, we suggest requesting a twin room throughout but keep in mind these are subject to availability. We strongly recommend only traveling with one piece of luggage per person due to room sizes and you will be responsible for handling your luggage at all times. 

Packing Essentials
What you need to pack for your tour will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting, and when you are traveling. We recommend you pack as lightly as possible, ensuring that you can carry and lift your luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. 

A lockable suitcase with wheels is ideal for this trip. It is recommended that you keep your main luggage weight around 15kg and no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 liters) is another good option. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, a camera, a jacket, and your essentials while touring during the day.

In Japan, you will need to manage your luggage for the most part. Train stations are quite complex and usually require a lot of stair climbing, especially when doing a quick transfer from train to train. Elevators aren't always available and cannot accommodate many people at a time, so if you are choosing to bring a suitcase, please ensure you can lift and carry it up and down stairs by yourself without difficulty. A backpack is often preferred by ttravelers forthis reason, but the decision is yours. Our ryokans allow suitcases but you'll need to carry them, not wheel them onto the tatami floor in your room. 

Japan has four distinct seasons with a climate ranging from subarctic in the north to subtropical in the south. You may notice a difference in weather conditions depending on whether you’re on the Pacific or the Sea of Japan side. Northern Japan has warm summers and very cold winters with heavy snow in mountainous areas. Eastern Japan has hot and humid summers and winters are often cold with snow in mountainous areas. Western Japan has very hot and humid summers with mild winters. Read more about Japan’s climate or watch our video here

Cherry Blossom Viewing 
Some of our selected Japan itineraries will have departures that fall over the popular Cherry Blossom season, which changes year to year depending on the forecast. The magic of cherry blossoms in Japan is undeniable, however, like all things in nature, the exact bloom times can vary depending on weather conditions.

While we can't control the whims of Mother Nature, we can embrace the spirit of Hanami (flower viewing). This philosophy celebrates the fleeting beauty of the blossoms, reminding us to cherish the present moment.

Therefore, depending on your departure date, some locations on our itinerary might not be in full bloom. The beauty of Japan extends far beyond the blossoms. We may encounter early blooms in some areas or visit breathtaking landscapes elsewhere. Let's embrace the surprise and enjoy the journey together! 

Currency and ATMs
The currency used in Japan is the Yen. Most chains and hotels will accept cards. Convenience stores are the best places to withdraw cash as almost every store is fitted with an ATM that accepts foreign cards. There are over 20,000 7-Eleven stores across the country, in addition to chains like Lawson and Family Mart.

Food and Allergies
While traveling with Inspiring Vacations you'll enjoy iconic sightseeing, as well as experience the vast array of culinary offerings in Japan. While many meals will be eaten together with your group, not all meals are included in your tour which gives you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what , and with whom to eat. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let our Customer Support Team know before departure. Your Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader or local representative will also be able to give suggestions on which restaurants to try during your trip. 

The Japanese daily diet contains gluten (i.e. in flavorings such as soy sauce) and seafood (dashi, or fish stock, is the basis of most dishes, even vegetables), so we highly recommend that vegetarians, vegans, and coeliacs do their research about the options that might be available to them before departure. While our leaders will assist you where they can, there may be some included meals that are decided in advance and therefore cannot be altered or modified for different diets (such as those included meals at Ryokans). For those with a particular food allergy, your Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader will endeavor to advise the main ingredients in the dishes consumed. It is, however, still your responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any problematic ingredients.

Visiting a traditional Japanese onsen, or hot spring, is a quintessential local experience while on tour. In a public onsen, this means bathing naked with others of the same sex. While the experience may feel uncomfortable at first, most groups end up enjoying this activity and are pleased they participated. There is very specific etiquette for visiting onsens - your Tour Leader can give you some tips and instructions. Please be aware that travelers with tattoos may not be permitted to enter public onsens. Private onsens may also be available - talk to your leader for more information. 

Local Customs
It's always a good idea to learn something about local customs before you travel, and visiting Japan is no exception. Your leader will be on hand to guide you through cultural differences during your trip.

Please note, decorative tattoos are uncommon in Japanese culture and therefore you may receive curious and sometimes disapproving looks from locals. Generally, comments about your tattoos are not common, but please endeavor to wear modest clothing and check the rules for bathing in public onsens.

Dress Code
While Japan is known for its eclectic fashion in some cities, overall it is quite a conservative country. Please remember while on tour you will visit temples, working monasteries, holy shrines, recreated villages and castles, cooking schools, and ancient gardens. While visiting such places, especially those of religious significance, it is important to be respectful to the staff and other visitors by wearing modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.

Responsible Dining
We are big supporters of the protection of endangered species around the world. Although a global ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986, approximately 1,000 whales are still being killed every year. We do not visit places that serve whale meat on any of our trips, nor will your leader guide you to where it is offered.

Tipping Your Leader
While gratuities are not included in your tour price, tips are a welcome gesture of appreciation. Tipping is, of course, at your discretion and the amount is entirely a personal preference, however, US$8-10 per person, per day (or the equivalent in the local currency), is a good guide. 

Peak Travel Times
Please be aware that while traveling during major national holidays (late April to early May in Japan) and peak seasons in Japan (April-May/September–October) are fascinating times to travel, there are also some downsides to consider. There will be huge crowds at most tourist attractions and on all public transport. It's often difficult to secure train tickets at preferred times, and traffic jams and changes to the itinerary without prior notice can sometimes be necessary. If you decide to travel during peak periods, come with a sense of adventure and flexibility and you will still have a memorable experience. 

Safety and Security
Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your own government's advice for the most up-to-date travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. 

Your Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader or local representative will accompany you on all included activities listed on the itinerary, however, you'll have some free time to explore on your own if you wish. While your Inspiring Vacations tour leader or local guide will assist you as best they can with your requests and the options available outside your itinerary, please note Inspiring Vacations makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running the activity. Please use your judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. 

Crime levels in Japan are low. The Roppongi entertainment district of Tokyo has been considered a higher-risk area for crime. It is generally safe to walk around at night and to travel on public transport, but you should maintain the same level of vigilance as you would at home and take sensible precautions. Reports of inappropriate touching or chikan of female passengers on commuter trains are fairly common. The police advise shouting at the perpetrator to attract attention and ask a fellow passenger to call the train staff. 

Please also note that your Inspiring Vacations Tour Leader or local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

Apps to Download
 Some useful apps you may want to consider downloading before your tour include Google Translate, the lens function is especially useful when wanting to read product labels, signs, and menus. Google Maps with offline maps downloaded is great for easy navigation without being reliant on wifi. The most widely used taxi app is GO Taxi. We also recommend downloading WhatsApp before you leave and using this to communicate with other group members while on tour. For those visiting during cherry blossom season, the Sakura Navi app (developed by the Japan Meteorological Corporation) is a must—it tracks the cherry blossom forecast in real-time for the entire country. 

Post-Tour Feedback
Once your booking is confirmed, you will receive a link to a post-purchase survey, which is your opportunity to share your feedback with us on your booking experience and interactions with our Sales and Customer Success teams. This feedback is invaluable to ensure that we are servicing our customers to the best of our ability. 

Furthermore, towards the end of your travels and while you are in your destination, you will receive an email from us with a link to an in-depth trip survey. It is very important to us that we hear from our customers to ensure that we continue to meet and exceed customers' expectations, so this will be your opportunity to let us know how your trip has been, what has worked well, and potentially what could be improved. 

Finishing Point 
Your finishing hotel may differ from the original itinerary. Please refer to your final documentation which will be provided approximately 14-30 days before departure for your confirmed hotel list. If you need to book additional post-tour accommodation, please do so once you have the final hotel list. We recommend booking a flexible rate that can be changed or canceled without penalty should there be any unforeseen changes to your booking. 

Travelers will depart at various times throughout the day depending on the flights booked. Check-out time is generally from 10 am-12 pm. You are welcome to leave your luggage at the hotel reception and spend your final moments of free time exploring the area or 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 payable directly. 

Departure Details 
Airport transfers are not included as part of your package. However, we trust that your journey from the hotel to the airport will be comfortable and hassle-free.

As an added service, we do offer airport transfers at an additional cost which can be booked via your Traveler Hub.  We recommend you wait until you receive your final documentation to book transfers as your start and end hotels will only be confirmed at this point. Please note that if you are choosing to book an independent airport transfer service, your Tour Leader cannot be held responsible for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise, nor can they resolve any concerns that you may have with your transfer service.

Alternatively, Japan’s public transport system is very efficient and reliable. 

To make your way to the airport from the hotel, there are various connections by express train or limousine bus. The hotel concierge can provide helpful advice, too.

This is a land-only package.

This package does not include international airfares. If you would like to add airfares to your booking our flight portal will be available via your Traveler Hub. The flight portal will allow you to search for all available airfares to your destination. The function works like most general flight search engines allowing you to select your preferred airline, book different cabin classes (eg. Business class), and view flight durations and transit times to your destination. 

The flight portal will be available via your Traveler Hub once the following criteria have been met:

  • Your booking is confirmed
  • Your departure date is within 11 months
  • You  have completed your passenger detail form

Visit our Flight Hub for more information on terms and conditions, amending your flights, and information on luggage allowances. 

Departure Dates for 15 Day Inspiring Japan Small Group Tour

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