• Iconic Japan

  • Iconic Japan

  • Iconic Japan

  • Iconic Japan

Experience the highlights of Japan

Days: 9 | From: $10,500/per person

  • Stay in boutique hotels that range from towering skyscrapers to traditional ryokan
  • Expert private guides open doors to deep cultural experiences
  • Get lost in the hustle of Tokyo, soak in an onsen below the shadow of Mt Fuji, and dive deep into ancient tradition in Kyoto

Embark on an immersive journey through Japan, unveiling ancient traditions, world-class cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes. Begin your adventure in Tokyo, where you'll witness the fusion of modern and ancient. Continue south to Hakone, a beautiful national park situated in the shadow of Mt. Fuji. Stay at a traditional ryokan and enjoy soaking in an onsen before a traditional kaiseki meal. Hopping aboard Japan’s iconic bullet train, arrive in Kyoto, where you’ll spend the next few days exploring ornate temples, sampling sake, and learning the ancient art of the perfect tea ceremony. End your Japan adventure in Osaka, known endearingly as “the nation’s kitchen,” where you’ll sample some of Japan’s most delicious specialties.

Inquire about this trip

Talk to one of our Vaya Asia Specialists
1 (510) 335-8229

We tailor itineraries to your dates and interests, adjusting hotels, excursions and length as desired.

We consistently receive 5 star reviews from our discerning clients.

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At a glance

  • Tokyo
    3 nights: Discover Japan's capital, from old to new
  • Hakone
    1 night: Unveil Japan's natural beauty and soak in an onsen at a ryokan
  • Kyoto
    3 nights: Journey through the ages in ancient Kyoto
  • Osaka
    1 night: Sample some of Japan's best street food

  • All itineraries are fully customizable. We will send you a personalized variation that reflects your interests and travel dates at no extra cost. Call to discuss your travel plans with one of our Specialists who know this region firsthand.

Customize this trip
1 (510) 335-8229

Sample itinerary

Day 1:

Welcome to Japan!

Tokyo skyline at night

Welcome to Tokyo, the largest city in the world and a symphony of modern and ancient. Upon your arrival at Tokyo Airport, you’ll be greeted by your English-speaking transfer representative who will assist you with your transfer to your hotel in the city center. Take the rest of the day to relax and explore on your own.

Accommodations: Park Hotel Tokyo, 3 nights

Park Hotel Tokyo is located on the 25th floor and up in the Shiodome Media Tower. To offer a memorable experience in various parts of your stay, Park Hotel Tokyo maximizes the role of Japanese aesthetics and hospitality. The 273 rooms all face outward, offering spectacular panoramic views of Tokyo, including rooms on an "Artists' Floor" that all have been hand-painted by local Tokyo artists. The hotel is connected to Shiodome station, which gives guests easy access to the metro to explore the city. The hotel also boasts a premium spa (including in-room massages), a restaurant, cafe, lounge spaces, and bar.

Upgrades and alternatives: Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, Hotel The Celestine Ginza, Park Hyatt Tokyo, Palace Hotel Tokyo
Day 2:

Highlights of Tokyo

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

Tokyo has something for everyone; vibrant restaurants, exquisite gardens, contemporary architecture, quaint backstreets, and a dazzling cityscape. Beyond the bustling lights, the city reveals tranquil neighborhoods with locals immersed in daily life and numerous hidden gems in the form of charming, undiscovered shops and restaurants. Today’s introduction to Tokyo features a little bit of everything but make sure to work with our expert designers so we can tailor the perfect day for you.

Today’s Tokyo exploration journeys across the city and through the ages, taking you to iconic attractions including the serene Meiji Shrine, the vibrant Harajuku fashion district, into delicious depachika food halls, and across the renowned Shibuya scramble crossing.

Accommodations: Park Hotel Tokyo, 3 nights

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 3:

Historic Tokyo

Senso-Ji temple

Start your day at Tokyo’s renowned Tsukiji Market. Navigate through historic lanes and alleys filled with a diverse range of shops and small eateries with your knowledgeable guide. If interested, this is the perfect time to include a sushi class with a master!

Continue to Asakusa, part of Tokyo’s shitamachi (low city) that showcases narrow streets reminiscent of Edo period Tokyo. Make your way to Senso-Ji, a large Buddhist Temple dating from the 7th century, via Nakamise-dori, a pedestrian street lined with shops selling Japanese arts and crafts.

Accommodations: Park Hotel Tokyo, 3 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, lunch

Day 4:

Into the Shadow of Fuji

Mount Fuji from Hakone

After three days in the bustling city, it’s time to head into the countryside to unwind in Hakone. Hakone is a tranquil onsen town, renowned for being one of the best places from which to view Mt Fuji. On arrival, set out to explore Lake Ashinoke and the Hakone Shrine, with its enchanting floating Torii gate. Continue to the Open Air Museum, a space that creates a harmonic balance of nature and art by exhibiting various sculptures on its spacious grounds in combination with beautiful views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.

Arrive at your ryokan in the evening. After settling in, enjoy a soak in the onsen before changing into your yukata and indulging in a magnificent kaiseki feast.

Accommodations: Hakone Ginyu

Tucked away in the lush mountains of Hakone lies Hakone Ginyu. 'Ginyu' means a person seeking inspiration for a poem by traveling around, and this peaceful ryokan offers spectacular views of the Haya-Kawa River and Hakone Mountains. Enjoy fine touches such as local green tea upon arrival, natural materials reflecting centuries of ryokan decor, and organic well-crafted toiletries.

*Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5:

Bullet Train to Kyoto

Tea ceremony

board the world-famous shinkansen (bullet train) bound for Kyoto. Kyoto served as Japan’s capital – political, spiritual, and cultural – from the 12th to the 19th centuries. While political power has moved to Tokyo, Kyoto has retained a firm grasp on Japanese culture and traditions and is renowned for its temples, festivals, and art.

Upon arrival, settle into the hotel before enjoying a traditional tea ceremony in the afternoon. Learn about this ancient tradition from a tea master and the significance it holds to Zen Buddhism. After the ceremony, your guide will take you for a stroll around the Gion district, known for its narrow streets lined with traditional wooden homes, dangling paper lanterns, and the occasional geisha sighting as they make their way to their next appointment.

Accommodations: Hotel the Celestine Kyoto Gion, 3 nights

The Celestine Kyoto Gion is perfectly set in Kyoto's Gion District, and is a 10-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station. This hotel boasts a classic, contemporary design with traditional Kyoto aspects (such as tatami mats). The 157 rooms have WiFi, minibars, luxury toiletries, and are meticulously decorated with excellent attention to detail. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant which serves traditional Japanese cuisine, including tempura and sushi, as well a large peaceful bath (similar to an indoor pool), a Japanese garden, a warm communal lounge, an onsen spa, and a well-stocked bar.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Upgrades and alternatives: Hotel Kanra Kyoto, The Blossom Kyoto
Day 6:

Highlights of Kyoto

Zen garden in Kyoto

Kyoto is the heart and soul of traditional Japan. With 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it’s filled with temples, shrines, talented craftspeople, specialty cuisine, ancient pilgrimage trails, and much more. As in Tokyo, make sure you discuss your specific interests with your travel designer so your time here can be carefully curated.

Journey through Kyoto, visiting some of the city’s most iconic and unique temples, shrines, and castles. Your expert guide will take you on an immersive journey through history, from the glimmering gold leaf of Kinkaku-Ji, to a serene rock garden that encourages meditation and introspection, to the singing nightingale floors of 17th century Nijo Castle.

In the evening, enjoy a special dining experience complete with a visit from a maiko.

Accommodations: Hotel the Celestine Kyoto Gion, 3 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7:

Temples and Tradition

Torii of Fushimi Inari

Journey through the iconic torii of Fushimi Inari, a shrine dedicated to the Shinto god of rice and prosperity. These gates form a mesmerizing pathway leading through the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari. After descending from Inari, travel a short distance by train to visit Sanjusangendo, one of Kyoto’s most distinctive Buddhist temples. Today’s final destination is a local sake brewery. Sample sake and learn about the brewing process from an expert sake sommelier.

Accommodations: Hotel the Celestine Kyoto Gion, 3 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8:

Osaka, the Nation's Kitchen

Streets of Osaka

Enjoy a free morning in Kyoto before journeying onward to Osaka. Osaka is known for having Japan’s best street food, dazzling neon streets, and friendly locals. The city was historically known as Tenka no Daidokoro (the nation’s kitchen), and is particularly well known for its street food. After settling into your hotel, take to the streets for a street food adventure that embodies the motto of Osaka “eat until you drop.” Your guide will steer you to the best spots for okanomiyaki, takoyaki, kushikatsu and so much more. Kanpai!

Accommodations: voco Osaka Central

This stylish, contemporary hotel is located in Osaka's Kyomachibori neighborhood. The well-appointed rooms feature local artwork, plush beds, high speed WiFi, complimentary hot drinks and snacks, a flat-screen TV, and luxe toiletries to ensure a comfortable stay. The hotel features include a gym, coffee shop, bar, and a two-story restaurant boasting Japanese and Western cuisine.

*Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9:

Departure

Bid farewell to Japan and transfer to the airport for your flight home or onward to your next destination.

*Includes: Breakfast

Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary

  • Choose from a selection of carefully curated, best in class hotels to fit your individual travel style.

  • Consult with your Vaya Specialist and expand your trip to combine with other parts of Japan for a true in-depth look at this complex country.

  • Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing your trip!

Call us to start planning your journey today:

1 (510) 335-8229

Request more information

Why Travel with Vaya?

We're TRUE specialists

We’ve not only traveled there, we’ve lived there. Our smart and engaging specialists are all current or former expatriates with years of experience in the region.

Uplifting service

From the first phone call to after you get back, we're here for you every step of the way. We listen, create, customize and advocate for you, and design experiences that go beyond the expected.

Thoughtful travel

Our discerning sensibility and good taste go beyond just choices in hotels and top guides; we have a walk the walk commitment to the environment and are genuine leaders in conservation efforts.