Japan works in a unique way and planning a visit requires a certain degree of expertise in the quirks of the local system. The language barrier and cultural differences can be intimidating at first and having your vacation planned by someone with in-depth local knowledge can vastly simplify the process. Our specialists have traveled extensively around Japan and can provide valuable advice on the most convenient ways to get around, the best guides to use and the best places to stay. Their itinerary ideas work as a starting point when planning your route and can be tailored to your interests to create a bespoke tour of the country.
Ideas for your trip to Japan
These itineraries are designed to give you some suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Japan, and they showcase some of the routes that we’ve found work particularly well. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely for you by one of our specialists based on your particular tastes and interests.
Take in Tokyo's famous fish market.
See the giant bronze Buddha at Kamakura.
Visit Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, and other temples.
Travel by super-fast bullet train.
Go to Hiroshima to see the Peace Park Museum and Atomic Bomb Dome.
See geisha in Kyoto.
Walk the Nakasendo Highway.
Stay in a traditional inn or 'ryokan'.
Learn to prepare a bento box.
Travel by super-fast bullet train.
Take a cuisine walking tour through Kyoto.
Travel by high-speed bullet train.
Experience traditional Japanese hospitality with a ryokan stay.
Explore the exciting Tokyo with a private guide.
See the 'cooler' side of Tokyo on a number of private tours in the city.
Grab a kayak and circle Japan's most famous gate at Itsukushima Shrine.
Learn to write Japanese characters using brush and 'washi' paper.
Enjoy a private Taiko drumming lesson in Kyoto and practising how to become a 'ninja'.
Stay in your own 'townhouse' in Kyoto with a visit later to see the 'geisha' in Gion.
Experience the bright lights of Tokyo.
Look for geisha in Kyoto.
Visit Hiroshima and the Peace Park.
Relax on Okinawa’s beaches.
Travel on the high-speed bullet train.
Explore the vibrant and exciting capital of Tokyo.
Discover the geisha quarter in Gion, Kyoto.
Bathe in a hot spring in Hakone National Park.
Walk the Nakasendo Highway in Tsumago.
Visit the ‘floating’ tori gate on Miyajima Island.
Walk the Nakasendo Highway between Tsumago and Magome.
Visit Kanazawa's beautiful Kenroku-en garden.
Stay in a traditional Buddhist temple lodging.
Spot geisha in Kyoto with an expert guide.
Spend several days in cosmopolitan Tokyo.
Learn samurai sword-fighting from a master.
Explore Kyoto's geisha district with a top guide.
Relax in a hot spring spa.
Take part in a Buddhist temple tea ceremony.
Travel by high-speed bullet train.
Explore the vibrant metropolis of Tokyo.
Sample exquisite Japanese cuisine.
Experience a Japanese tea ceremony.
Bathe in the natural waters of Kinosaki.
Ride the famous bullet train.
White water rafting in the spectacular Oboke Gorge.
The hot spring baths of Matsuyama.
Driving through rural scenery.
The art museums on Naoshima Island.
Hiking in the Daisetsuzan National Park.
Skiing in Furano or Niseko on world class powder.
Seeing the Snow Festival in Sapporo in February.
Watching the Red-Crested Crane mating rituals in Kushiro.
Keeping an eye out for bears in Shiretoko.
Hot spring bathing in rural inns.
Climbing the beautiful peaks of Dewa Sanzan.
Driving through spectacular mountainous scenery.
Watching a local summer festival.
Looking out over Matsushima Bay for sunrise.
Learn the 'ways of the sword' in kendo training techniques.
Day tickets to Tokyo Disneyland/Disneysea and Osaka's Universal Studios.
Explore the mysterious Gion Geisha District with the help of your private guide.
Enjoy a private Taiko drumming lesson in Kyoto.
Visit the snow monkeys of Yudanaka and enjoy hot springs at a traditional inn.
Explore the beautiful volcanic mountains and dramatic Mount Aso caldera of Aso-Kuju National Park.
Take a boat ride down the striking Takachiho Gorge, amid tumbling waterfalls and picturesque mountain cherry trees.
Visit the hot springs of Kurokawa to stay in a traditional inn.
Spend time in the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park of Nagasaki.
Explore the picturesque gardens and samurai residences of Chiran.
Dramatic and beautiful mountainous scenery.
Hiking, light walking and serious mountaineering opportunities.
Winter sports on excellent powder snowfall until May.
Hot spring bathing, onsen and traditional accommodation.
Snow monkeys at Yudanaka Onsen.
Watch a live sumo training match.
Geisha walk in Gion and cookery course, Kyoto.
Hot spring bathing in Hakone.
Walking the Nakasendo Highway, Tsumago.
Helicopter ride over Tokyo.
Experience traditional Japanese hospitality with several ryokan stays.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant modernity of Tokyo.
Gain insight into Japanese culture with the Women's Association of Kyoto.
Take a walk through the Geisha district of Kyoto with our top guide.
Relax in a hot spring spa in the Japanese Alps.
Some of our favorite travel guides
Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is a volcanic, alpine-forested wilderness with bubbling hot springs and vivid-blue caldera lakes. Japan specialist Toby explains how you can make the most of your visit by self-driving across the island.View this travel guide
If you’re after a typically Japanese stay during your time in Japan, a ryokan isn’t your only option. Japanese specialist Clio describes what it’s like to stay in a machiya, a traditional wooden townhouse that’s a signature of Kyoto.View this travel guide
A stay in a ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn, is a highlight of any trip to Japan, with wonderful hospitality, food and bathing.View this travel guide
Exploring Japan on foot gives you access to hallowed pilgrimage trails, panoramic mountain passes and some of the oldest trees in the world. Our Japan specialists share their pick of the best, from gentle strolls to multi-day hikes.View this travel guide
Japan specialist Rachael explains how, by taking advantage of a Japan Rail Pass, choosing your accommodation wisely and visiting her recommended places to eat, a good-value trip to Japan is more achievable than ever.View this travel guide
You might know your sushi, but it’s just the tip of a cuisine that’s garnered UNESCO heritage status. Our Japan specialists delve into some of the culinary experiences Japan has to offer, from kaiseki multi-course dinners to convenience-store specialties.View this travel guide
From Kenrokuen’s venerated views to gardens hidden deep in the countryside, specialist Amanda recommends her preferred gardens to visit in Japan. She also explains what makes Japan’s gardens so interesting and why gardening is an important national art form.View this travel guide
Mount Fuji is, along with geisha, sushi and the bullet train, one of the most iconic images of the country. We can offer advice on where to view Japan's most famous landmark, as well as how to incorporate some of these other sights into a tailor-made trip to Japan.View this travel guide
Having lived and traveled across the country, our Japan Specialist Caitlin has compiled her highlights, from observing centuries-old rituals to the learning about the most modern technology.View this travel guide
- Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island
- What it’s like to stay in a machiya, a traditional Kyoto townhouse
- Stay in a ryokan
- On foot in Japan: walking trails for all abilities
- Value Japan: how to make your money go further
- What to eat in Japan: sushi and beyond
- Gardens of Japan
- Mount Fuji
- What to do in Japan: our highlights guide
- Honeymoons in Japan