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Traditional & Tropical

14 Nights / 15 Days Small Group Tour

From: €5,165 (Full price list on Tour Dossier)

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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Itinerary

Traditional & Tropical Japan - Video Overview

Welcome to Tokyo - Where East Meets West

Welcome to Tokyo! Two fun filled days touring and taking it all in. Our local Tokyo guide will try to fill in the gaps for you and answer all the questions you are bound to have. Tokyo is like no other city you have ever been to. Don’t worry, the chaos is very organised, clean, safe, and works extremely well (considering it caters for up to 30 million people every day). We love Tokyo for its quirkiness, people, and most of all architecture and places to visit. Our guide will show you the best of Tokyo whatever the season!

 

Jigokudani (Snow Monkeys) & Magical Matsumoto

From Tokyo, we head north into the Japanese Alps region. Most people recognise this area as where the famous snow monkey’s spend their time in Jigokudani. Overnight in a traditional ryokan not too far from the hot spring town. Kaiseki dinner & onsen (hot spring) baths are certainly worth this journey. On the following day, we move to the magical town of Matsumoto. Matsumoto Castle is one of our favourite original Samurai Castles in Japan. It has been preserved (internally) in its original form, unlike some other large castles in Japan (Osaka & Nagoya). Climb to the top and see how the Feudal Lords lived. If time allows, we may stop at the Ukiyo-e Museum which holds the largest private collection of woodblock prints, paintings screens, and old books in the world.  The scenic drive from Matsumoto to Takayama takes approx. two hours.

 

Traditional Takayama

Takayama is nestled in the Hida Mountain Range. Famous for hida beef (tastes just as good as Kobe beef), sake (rice wine) making, and old merchant streets still very active selling their goods and foods. Two nights here will be enough to give you a sense of how the Japanese people enjoy the vibrant morning market, lively streets by day, yet somewhat sleepy streets at night. If you are on our April or October tours, watch out! The Spring/Autumn Festival light up the streets at night with giant wooden carved floats parading like royalty. Street food vendours gather, music lovers play, dancers do their thing. Certainly a highlight of the trip.

 

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.

Gokayama - Cultural Creations

Today, en-route to Kanazawa, we visit the Unesco World Heritage 400 year old farm villages in Gokayama. Not far from the more famous village of Shirakawago, we prefer to stop at Gokayama. Less tourists, more authenticity, and welcoming locals. Today will be filled with cultural activities. Your first task is to make your own sheets of rice paper at the local washi paper-making store. As if you haven’t done enough, you then have to prepare your own soba noodles for lunch! All adding to the fun and a great distraction from temples and shrines, often overpowering on other tours.Time permitting we will then have a cup of tea with some local farmers who will hopefully perform a traditional dance, in front of the open fire. If you feel like joining in on the dance, by all means!

 

Kanazawa - Top Three Gardens in Japan

Kanazawa, located in Ishikawa prefecture, is home to one of Japan’s top three gardens, Kenrokuen Garden. View the magnificent cherry blossoms on our April tour, or the start of the Autumn leaves in our October tour. No matter what the season, this garden is one of Japan’s finest. During your free time in Kanazawa you will also have the opportunity to visit the 21st century museum of contemporary art. Perhaps not for everyone’s taste, it certainly is en-trend in Japan right now. Abstract modern art sculptures and pieces await the senses! From Kanazawa we take an express train ride to Kyoto, lasting just over two hours.

3 Days in the Culture Capital - Kyoto

Flowing with tradition, Kyoto is the ultimate destination for anybody who wants to soak up time-honoured Japanese culture. Home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. Kyoto boasts an array of world-class gardens, majestic festivals and delicate cuisine, all of which make much of the rhythms of nature and the changing of the seasons. On first glance however, visitors will see that like any large Japanese city, grid-like Kyoto has its fair share of neon and concrete. But the discerning eye will soon pick out Kyoto’s treasures: sacred shrines tucked in among shopping arcades, timeless teahouses nestling among modern businesses and mysterious geisha rustling down backstreets among the tourists and souvenirs. Kyoto’s charm lies in these details and whether you’re here for three days or three years, the closer you look, the more you’ll discover.

Afternoon Tea with Kyoto Geisha

The icing on your cake while staying in Kyoto will certainly be our afternoon tea with a local Kyoto Maiko (young Geisha). Dressed in the most spectacular silk kimonos, wearing white & red contrasting make-up, with doll-like hair styles, they ooze beauty and charm. Get up close and personal over tea! Our friendly geisha are ready to answer your questions and give you a glimpse of their mysterious cultural underworld.

Tropical Amami Ooshima

With a full itinerary of activities and sightseeing done, you deserve nothing more than 3 nights on the tropical island of Amami Ooshima. Amami is located between the mainland Kagoshima and Okinawa. Less crowded, perfectly pure, stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, calm coastal drives, wondering wildlife, all await you on this island. Enjoy a private island tour with our local driver. Discover the Mangrove Lake on a canoe. Eat local Amami seasonal dishes. Wonder through the windy spectacular coastal drives. Your hotel is located on the beach with views to die for. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and all types of water sports are available upon request. Dinner is included at your hotel on all three nights.

Dates and Prices

Tour Starts:

April 10

Tour Ends:

April 24, 2021

Prices:

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:

May 09

Tour Ends:

May 23, 2021

Prices:

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:

September 05

Tour Ends:

September 19, 2021

Prices:

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, 2021

Prices:

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:

April 10

Tour Ends:

April 23, 2022

Prices:

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:

May 08

Tour Ends:

May 21, 2022

Prices:

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:

September 05

Tour Ends:

September 18, 2022

Prices:

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 18, 2022

Prices:

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

Accommodation

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

DateService
Accommodation
  • 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, 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!
Meals
  • 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)

Enquire about this tour

Have a few questions before booking your tour to Japan? Please fill out this form and one of our Japan travel consultants will get right back to you.

  • Please include your country prefix (eg Ireland is +353)
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