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Traditional & Tropical Japan

14 Nights / 15 Days Small Group Tour

From: €5,445 | £4,950 | US$6,250 | AU$8,950 ('Single Supplement' &/OR 'Triple Discount' Applies - see Tour Dossier for full list)

Sub-tropical Pacific Island, Amami Ooshima, is one of Japan’s best kept secrets. This is the perfect way to finish an exhilarating journey through Honshu Japan

Traditional & Tropical is one of our all-time favourite tours. Expect once-in-a-life-time experiences. Visit Japan’s most impressive awe-inspiring sites with our local guides who provide informative & fun excursions. Savour the mouth-watering feasts. Explore Kyoto & Tokyo on your free days. Travel around on first class bullet trains & quirky transport modes. Unwind on a picture-perfect paradise island with crystal clear waters at your feet

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Traditional & Tropical Japan - Video Overview

Day 1: Welcome to Tokyo - Where East Meets West

Arrive in Tokyo Narita or Haneda Airport
Met on arrival by your driver / Transfer to Tokyo hotel
Meet your group in hotel lobby at 6pm
Welcome dinner at local restaurant (included)
Accommodation: Shibuya Tokyu Excel Hotel (or similar)

Day 2: Tokyo City Sightseeing

Breakfast at your hotel
WITH LOCAL GUIDE 09.00 – 17:00
Our popular Tokyo day tour includes:
• Tsukiji Outer Market
• Hamarikyu Garden
• Tokyo River Cruise to Asakusa area
• Asakusa Kannon Temple & Shopping Street
• Edo Museum or Skytree (if museum is closed)
Evening free time / Your tour leader will give you guidance on where to go after dark!
Accommodation: Shibuya Tokyu Excel Hotel (or similar)


Day 3: Yudanaka Onsen & A Visit to the Snow Monkeys

Breakfast at your hotel.
After the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, you will move onto a rural village in Nagano prefecture called Yudanaka Onsen. This is home to the famous ‘Snow Monkeys’ – the wild monkeys that live up in the mountains but come down in the cold to get warm (and fed!) at a natural open-air hot spring bath. Here you will stay in a beautiful local ryokan.
✪ Jigokudani Snow Monkeys ✪
You will be required to walk 1km on a mountain pathway. So, wear comfortable and appropriate shoes!
♥Dinner & Hot Springs (onsen) at your ryokan♥
*Tonight, you will sleep on a futon mattress on tatami flooring. If you have any issues or prefer to request a bed, be sure to tell us as early as possible! Most ryokans have only a few rooms with western style beds in them (if any at all)
Accommodation: Senjukaku Ryokan (Japanese Style) including Dinner & Onsen


Day 4: Matsumoto & Traditinoal Takayama

Before arriving in Takayama, you will make a brief stop in Matsumoto, an alpine city surrounded by the towering peaks of the Japan Alps. The city is most famous for its original castle which is only a short distance from the station. This is one of the only original castles in Japan and really gives you a sense of ancient Japan and how the samurai used to live and fight. The city also boasts several sake breweries, hidden in the backstreets amongst the traditional buildings, a good museum of Ukiyoe woodblock prints, and is the home of soba noodles, the local speciality which is particularly delicious. The city has a relaxed atmosphere and a cosmopolitan feel befitting of a city renowned for its musicians and authors. The famous violin teacher, Suzuki (of the Suzuki method) originated from Matsumoto and you will find a commemorative statue on the street opposite the station.
After visiting the castle, we continue on through a mountain passage from Matsumoto to Takayama by bus. No matter what time of year, this scenic drive and the incredible natural beauty of the landscape is sure to blow you away. With two nights in the nostalgic town of Takayama you will enjoy meeting the locals at the morning market, visiting the folk museum, meandering around old merchant houses and streets, and seeing sake distilleries.
If you join our April or October dates, you will have the benefit of seeing one of Japan’s most impressive traditional festivals.
Accommodation: Takayama Wat Hotel (or similar)


Takayama Festival (April & October Tours Only)

On our April & October tours, you will get the very special chance to see the Takayama Spring or Harvest festival. Watch the whole town come alive from morning til evening over two full days, with giant festival floats parading the streets, local artisans displaying their wares, street food stalls on every corner, naked or half dressed men running through the streets, and women and children performing their native local dances with great excitement. The atmosphere is something that cannot be bought, only experienced in Japan, unique to this ancient town of Takayama.

Day 5: Takayama Walking Tour

Breakfast at your hotel
WITH LOCAL GUIDE 09.00 – 13:00
Guided tour of Takayama including:
• Takayama Morning Market
• Kusakabe Folk Park
• Takayama Yatai Kaikan (Festival Float Hall)
• Takayama Jinya (preserved Government town hall)
♥April & October tours will experience TAKAYAMA FESTIVAL ♥
Changes to above flow/itinerary are inevitable. We will alter according to our local guides recommendation.
Accommodation: Takayama Wat Hotel (or similar)


Day 6: Cultural Activities in Gokayama

Breakfast at your hotel
Check out and move to Gokayama rural region by minivan/coach
WITH LOCAL GUIDE 09.00 – 17:00
♥Cultural Activities ♥
• Washi paper making (take home your work of art)
• Cookery Class making Soba noodles followed by lunch
• Lunch at Soba Noodle restaurant
• Gassho Zukkuri 400-year-old Farmhouse villages
• Enjoy a hot cup of roasted tea by the original open fire & meet the local farmers & workers!
Transfer from Gokayama to Kanazawa by coach/minivan
Check into your hotel Free time this evening ~ explore Kanazawa at night – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Accommodation: Hotel Nikko (or similar)


Kanazawa Morning Tour / Evening in Kyoto

Breakfast at your hotel
Check out and leave bags in storage
✪ KANAZAWA Morning Tour ✪
WITH LOCAL GUIDE 09.00 – 13:00
– Kenrokuen Garden (considered one of the top 3 gardens in Japan)
– Higashi Chaya District (Old Samurai/Geisha District)
– ♥Authentic Tea Ceremony♥
Transfer to Kyoto by express train
Free time Kyoto
  • Dinner with Kyoto Geisha at local restaurant
Accommodation: Okura Kyoto (or similar)


Day 8: The Kyoto Experience

Breakfast at your hotel
✪ KYOTO City Sightseeing ✪
WITH LOCAL GUIDE 09.00 – 17:00
• Nijo Castle
• Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
• Lunch at local restaurant
• Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
• Fushimi Inari Shrine (10,000 Tori Gates)
Accommodation: Okura Kyoto (or similar)


♥♥Highlight: Afternoon Tea with Geisha (Maiko) ♥♥

You will have the rare chance to sit and have tea with one of Kyoto’s beautiful young Maiko in their mama-san’s teahouse. ‘Maiko’ are better known as a young ‘Geisha’. Training to become Geisha usually starts at a young age (some start at 13/14). Trained in various Japanese traditional arts such as Kimono wearing, flower arranging, traditional dance, shamisen (string instrument), and so on, they spend many years perfecting how to walk, talk, and breath like a Geisha. If successful in their progression, they then move to be a Geisha, usually by the age of twenty or so. Such an interesting experience that you will only find in Kyoto. This experience is not sold on the high street. This really is a special occasion on our tour that we have been proud to offer for many years. So be sure to bring your camera and be prepared to ask questions. Our Maiko are very open and love sharing and listening to your stories too.


Day 9: Free time in Kyoto (Optional Tours Available)

Breakfast at your hotel
Free day in Kyoto
1. Ancient Nara & Modern Osaka
2. Day trip to Hiroshima & Miyajima Island
3. GOLF* in Kobe (incl. lunch, green fees, rental, & transfers)
4. Kyoto Cultural Experiences* e.g. Kimono Workshop, Ikebana Workshop, Cookery Class, etc.
*Pre-Booking Essential before departure
Accommodation: Okura Kyoto (or similar)


Day 10-13: Tropical Paradise on Amami Ooshima

At this stage of your trip you might feeling a little weary – nothing a few nights on a tropical island can’t cure! Amami Oshima benefits from a sub-tropical climate all year round and can boastfully claim the best beaches and most scenic mountain drives in Japan. Your sea-front hotel faces out over the clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean with white sandy beaches and the freshest food right at your doorstep. Scuba diving and other water sports can also be arranged from your hotel.
The Amami Islands are a string of eight sub-tropical islands located south of Kagoshima. Amami-Oshima is the main island, and ranks as the second largest remote island in Japan, after Sado-ga-shima in Niigata Prefecture. The sea around the islands, designated as Amami-gunto Quasi-National Park, is blessed with transparent waters, bright colored coral reefs and tropical fish, and is known as a fantastic diving spot. This untouched native island will give you a sample of how the ‘islanders’ of Japan live harmoniously with nature. Amami hills are covered in subtropical forests with rare and distinct plants and flowers; its coral reefs are listed in the World Wildlife Global 200 Eco Regions list; and is most famous in Japan for its Kimono-making made from pongee silk known as Ooshimatsumugi.
On one of your days here, we will arrange a driver/guide to come pick you up and take you on an exclusive tour of the island. You will enjoy canoeing on the forested mangrove lake and taking a glass-bottom boat trip to get up close and personal with the thousands of tiny tropical fish. If you prefer to rent a car and do your own thing, we can arrange this too.
Accommodation: Bashayama Mura Resort (Beachfront Hotel) for 3 nights


Day 14-15: Journey back to Tokyo for some free time before flying home

We journey back to Tokyo for two final nights in the centre of Tokyo in Ginza area. Your travel pack will contain plenty of suggestions for how to spend it. You will be transferred to the airport for your scheduled flight on your departure date.
Accommodation: Imperial 5* Hotel (or similar) for 2 nights


Dates and Prices

Tour Starts:

October 05

Tour Ends:

October 19, 2021 (Takayama Festival)


Per Person Price: €5,445 | £4,950 | US$6,250 | AU$8,950 (Single Room Guaranteed) €6,500 | £5,950 | US$7,500 | AU$10,600
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Tour Starts:

April 10

Tour Ends:

April 24, 2022 (Cherry Blossom & Takayama Festival)


Per Person Price: €5,445 | £4,950 | US$6,250 | AU$8,950 (Single Room Guaranteed) €6,500 | £5,950 | US$7,500 | AU$10,600
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Tour Starts:

May 08

Tour Ends:

May 22, 2022 (Sumo Special)


Per Person Price: €5,445 | £4,950 | US$6,250 | AU$8,950 (Single Room Guaranteed) €6,500 | £5,950 | US$7,500 | AU$10,600
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Tour Starts:

June 12

Tour Ends:

June 26, 2022 (Pre-Summer Heat)


Per Person Price: €5,445 | £4,950 | US$6,250 | AU$8,950 (Single Room Guaranteed) €6,500 | £5,950 | US$7,500 | AU$10,600

Tour Starts:

September 05

Tour Ends:

September 19, 2022 (Sumo Special)


Per Person Price: €5,445 | £4,950 | US$6,250 | AU$8,950 (Single Room Guaranteed) €6,500 | £5,950 | US$7,500 | AU$10,600
Book Now

Tour Starts:

October 05

Tour Ends:

October 19, 2022 (Takayama Festival)


Per Person Price: €5,445 | £4,950 | US$6,250 | AU$8,950 (Single Room Guaranteed) €6,500 | £5,950 | US$7,500 | AU$10,600
Book Now


Shibuya Excel Tokyu Hotel (or similar 4*)

Two Nights

We will base you smack bang in the centre of the worlds busiest crossings in Shibuya for your first two nights. What better way to start your trip to Japan with – great shopping, variety of restaurants and entertainment areas, impressive buildings and an atmosphere that says so many things about Tokyo…. Vibrant, wacky, non-stop, crowded, busy, but serviced like no other city in the world! Conveniently accessed by many of the JR subway lines, it is a very handy place to be based for the duration of your stay in Tokyo.

Kanbayashi Hotel Senjukaku (or similar)

One Night

Founded in 1928, Senjukaku was a famous rural retreat of the Meiji Era and one of the earliest hotels to introduce a mix of Japanese and Western aesthetics. It has been the favorite of many cultural figures historically. During the post-War Occupation, it was also used as a resort by the American army. Rebuilt in 1989, with its wooden beams and family treasures on display, this expansive ryokan resort very much retains the same “modern” mood as the original. Senjukaku’s offerings include garden walks on site, indoor and outdoor hot spring baths and a massage service, as well as superb service from the staff and delicious and generous multi-course meals. In short, Senjukaku continues to uphold its proud tradition as a perfect country getaway.

Wat Hotel (or similar 4*)

Two Nights

Takayama is a nice sized town, easy to get around on foot. We love this hotel for it’s quality, onsen, location, and room sizes. You can reserve your own private onsen bath, or use the facilities of the public onsen. Whatever your choice, you can enjoy the relaxed pace in this quaint mountain side town.

Kyoto Okura Hotel (or similar 4/5*)

Three Nights

Okura Hotels are Japans finest traditional hotels providing 5* service throughout. Kyoto Okura is centrally located, just a short walk from downtown.

Amami Bashayama Mura Hotel (or similar)

Three Nights

Bashayama Mura Hotel is the perfect place to simply chill!! Located in front of the cyrstal blue sea, your room comes with the perfect view, one you won’t find in many other hotels in Japan. Spacious rooms, again a rare attraction for hotels in Japan, the hotel is famous for its abundance of fresh seafood, friendly easy going service, and is a popular wedding venue in Japan. Just 20 minutes from the airport and 30 minutes from the main city of Naze with a local bus stop right outside the door.

The Imperial Hotel (or similar 5*)

Two Nights

A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, this 5 star hotel offers traditional luxury in the heart of Tokyo’s prime shopping and business district in Yurakucho. You will have everything you expect from Tokyo on your doorstep such as, the Imperial Palace, Ginza shopping district, beautiful parks and gardens, and world class cuisine.

Tour Testimonial

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Unique Japan Tours
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by Denise on Unique Japan Tours
Amazing end to an incredible tour

Unique Japan Tours made our time in Japan so special, especially when we landed on Amami Ooshima...a sub tropical paradise island in the Pacific. They couldn't do enough for us and really know how to put together a well thought out itinerary and route. Professional at all times with clear inside knowledge of Japan - giving us experiences we know we would not have got on our own. At first we thought it was pricey, but when we got there, we knew we paid for what we got! Highly recommend Traditional & Tropical Japan. A whirldwind adventure through the mainland before a sit-back and unwind on a tropical paradise Amami Ooshima. Thank you so much to Hokuto and all at Unique Japan Tours.

Denise & Ciaran (October 2019)

Whats Included

  • 10 nights in carefully chosen 4 & 5* [western style beds]
  • 1 night in Japanese style* ryokan [Japanese style / futon bed]
  • 3 nights in Seafront Hotel [western style beds]

* If you require a bed for health reasons (1 night only will be on futon), let us know early. We can put in a request but cannot guarantee it.

English Speaking tour leaderFully Escorted (Groups of 6 – 16):

You will be escorted by our friendly English- speaking tour leader who will travel with you from Day 1 to 12. From day 12, your tour leader will say good- bye. You will be met on the island by a local islander!

Semi Escorted (Groups of 2 – 5):

You will met in each area by our local assistants and guides on days you don’t have private guides.

Whether you’re on a fully escorted or a semi escorted tour, you will be met on 6 days by our local guides in: Tokyo, Kanazawa, Gokayama, Takayama, Kyoto, & Amami Ooshima

Transfers & Luggage
  • Arrival & Departure Airport transfers to & from Tokyo hotel (door to door service)
  • Reserved Seats on all long-distance trains including bullet train seats. For smaller groups, a 7-day Japan Rail pass may be provided (allowing full access to JR trains on 7 consecutive days).
  • Luggage transfer when using shinkansen (one bag per person / 2 times)
  • Internal Flights to Amami Ooshima & back to Tokyo
  • Chartered vehicles, local taxis/minivans/coaches on private city tours
Private Tour GuidesEnglish-speaking local tour guides in Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto & Amami Ooshima
Entrance Fees
Included into all sights listed on itinerary
Cultural Experiences
  • Tokyo Sights by Day & Night including karaoke, izakaya nights out, Sumida River Cruise, urban Japanese garden, Sumo Tournament (May & September dates), etc.
  • World famous Yudanaka Snow Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture & Samurai castle of Matsumoto
  • Overnight in rural ryokans experiencing unique Japanese hospitality and onsen (hot spring baths) & incredible R&R time!
  • Kanazawa Tea houses, geisha district, visit to one of the top 3 gardens of Japan, local food market
  • Unesco World Heritage Kyoto: glorious sites, traditional back-streets, stunning shrines, manicured gardens, gorgeous geisha, and authentic tea ceremony just some of the highlights!
  • High speed bullet train journeys throughout
  • Scenic mountain drives taking in the magical landscape that makes up c.75% of Japan’s terrain
  • Cultural Activities in Gokayama including: Washi Paper Making, Soba noodle making, 400-year-old farmhouse visit, tea with locals, farmers dance
  • Takayama morning market and old worldly village feel
  • April/October: Takayama Festival (very popular)
  • Authentic Tropical Island in the Pacific Ocean experiencing a new ethnicity of island living, tasting different flavours only found on the island, meeting friendly easy-going islanders!
  • Welcome Dinner at local Izakaya on Day 1
  • Breakfast daily
  • 2 Lunches
  • 4 Evening Meals
Other Inclusions:
  • Comprehensive Travel Pack
  • Local Emergency Contact
  • All Taxes & Accommodation Surcharges
  • Fixed Price Policy
  • Maximum 16 people
  • No hidden Costs
This package does not include:
  • International Flights [Arrange own flights into and out of Tokyo’s Haneda or Narita Airports – Always check the arrival date on your flight e.g. if flying from Europe/US, you will arrive into Tokyo the following day (depending on airline you use)]
  • Meals other than those specified in the itinerary. Generally, you can expect to pay 1,000yen for lunches and anything from 2,500yen for your evening meals.
  • Beverages consumed at any meal (Water served freely)
  • Baggage Handling (You are requested to carry your own bags so be careful when packing!)
  • Tour Leader, Guide or Driver Gratuity – can be arranged among your group (Optional)

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