Other Information

Find my trip

Currency Location:

A Forgotten Japan

Upon arrival into the metropolitan city of Tokyo, you may find it difficult to imagine the old Japan, once associated with samurai and geisha. A Forgotten Japan tour captures the Japan everybody wants to see; the ancient postal routes linking villages to towns from Tsumago to Magome; the four-hundred year old thatched-roof farm houses in the UNESCO Gokayama in Toyama prefecture; the tea houses and geisha streets in Kanazawa and Kyoto; the castle towns and samurai houses of Matsumoto; and not neglecting the city that never sleeps: Tokyo. This tour of Japan is sure to remind you of the Japan that once was.

Category:
Duration: 14 Nights / 15 Days
Route: Tokyo - Nagano/Jigokudani - Matsumoto - Takayama - Kyoto - (Optional day trips to Hiroshima/Nara) - Tsumago & Magome - Tokyo

Prices and Inclusions

 

ServiceStandardSuperiorDeluxe
Airport Transfers (Arrival & departure)Shared Transfers (Door-to-door)Shared Transfers (Door-to-door)Private Transfers (Door-to-door)
14 Nights Accommodation3* Western (8 nights) +  Ryokan (3 nights) + Self-Catering Traditional Townhouse (3 nights)4* Western (8 nights) + Superior Ryokan (3 nights) + Self Catering Traditional Townhouse5* Western (11 nights) + Deluxe Ryokan (3 nights)
Meals14 breakfasts + 3 dinners14 breakfasts + 3 dinners14 breakfasts + 3 dinners
Transport
  • Japan Rail Pass (14 day Ordinary)
  • Reserved seats on bullet train journey’s
  • Matsumoto to Takayama Highway Bus One/Way
  • Tokyo City Transport Card
  • Kyoto City Transport Card
  • Japan Rail Pass (14 day Ordinary)
  • Reserved seats on bullet train journey’s
  • Matsumoto to Takayama Highway Bus One/Way
  • Tokyo City Transport Card
  • Kyoto City Transport Card
  • Local taxi’s in Kyoto and Tokyo on private day tours
  • Japan Rail Pass (14 day Green)
  • 1st Class Reserved seats on all bullet trains
  • Chartered Vehicle from Matsumoto to Takayama
  • Chartered Vehicle in Tokyo (one day)
  • Chartered Vehicle in Kyoto (one day)
  • Local taxi’s in Kanazawa/Tsumago/Magome/Takayama
Tokyo GuidePrivate/Full DayPrivate/Full DayPrivate/Full Day
Kyoto GuidePrivate/Full DayPrivate/Full DayPrivate/Full Day
Authentic Tea CeremonyTea Ceremony at local Kyoto tea housePrivate Tea Ceremony + Geisha Meet & Greet at local Kyoto Tea HousePrivate Tea Ceremony + Geisha Meet & Greet at local Kyoto Tea House
Kanazawa Guide
 X
X
Private/Half Day + Transport
UJT’s Essential Travel PackReceived 2 weeks prior to departureReceived 2 weeks prior to departure Received 2 weeks prior to departure

Per Person Prices from:

Tour CategoryEURGBPUS$AU$
Standard€2,945£2,700$3,450$4,850
Superior€3,745£3,350$4,400$6,150
Deluxeon request
Prices are per person and based on two people sharing a Twin or Double Room. Single room supplements apply. Triple room discounts available. Exchange rate fluctuations may lead to price changes. Peak Season Supplements may apply during Cherry Blossom Season, Autumn Leaf Season, National Holiday Weekends inside Japan however we always try our best to get you the best price available. Early booking (up to 12 months preferred) during busy seasons is highly recommended (but not essential) to avoid higher supplements.

Details


Dates: Available all year round
Duration: 14 Nights / 15 Days
Starts: Tokyo
Ends: Tokyo
Route: Tokyo - Nagano/Jigokudani - Matsumoto - Takayama - Kyoto - (Optional day trips to Hiroshima/Nara) - Tsumago & Magome - Tokyo
Tour Type: Self Guided ­­­­­­with local guides in places and Essential Travel Pack
Prices from: From €2,945 / £2,700 / USD3,450 / AUD4,850 per person
Accommodation Category: Standard & Superior Hotels - Prices vary accordingly. Deluxe Plans are quoted on a request basis.

Tour Highlights

Walk the original Samurai Trails from Tsumago to Magome

Once a post route on the old Nakasendo Highway linking Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto, Tsumago has maintained much of its old Edo Period charm. Your time in Tsumago will transport you to a world far beyond modern Japan. The 8km hike through the mountain trail of Magome is well worth the effort on your free day. Whether you walk this route or take the local bus, your visit here will be a memorable one. Perfectly preserved streets selling local foods and crafts with stunning views of the Kiso Valley. You can choose to stay in a well-known ryokan with a top class onsen or a traditional minshiku – depending on your budget. Two nights at either one will guarantee that you’ll experience the most amazing introduction to rural Japan.

Matsumoto: Samurai Swords & Sake Distilleries

From Tsumago you will follow in the footsteps of this Edo trail and make your way to Matsumoto, an alpine city surrounded on all sides by the towering peaks of the Japanese Alps. This small city is most famous for its castle, one of the few remaining original structures in Japan. Capture a sense of how the samurai used to live and fight as you tour Matsumoto’s “Crow Castle”. From here you will continue on by bus, along one of the most scenic routes we know, to the picturesque town of Takayama. Established in the 16th century as the castle town of the Kanamori family, it is now famous for its narrow streets containing well-preserved inns, tea houses, merchant houses, and sake distilleries.

Gokayama: Where the Past is Still the Present

Nestled away in the deep gorge of the Sho River Valley, thirty-three gassho zukuri (thatched farm houses) are protected as national treasures in the historic village of Gokayama. Blanketed in snow during winter and beautifully coloured by cherry blossom trees in spring, these villages have maintained all of their four hundred year old charm. With our local guide to accompany you, you will go on a cultural journey like no other. Spend the morning making soba noodles – a local specialty – to be tried and tested over lunch. Stop off at a local washi paper making factory and try your hand at this ancient craft. All of this, plus a private dance by a local Toyama farmer, whilst you drink hot tea and listen to takes of a time gone by.

Kanazawa's Contemporary Art, Grand Gardens & Sublime Sushi

Kanazawa, also know by many as “little Kyoto”, is a jewel by the sea that can boastsome of the finest seafood options in all of Japan (meaning all of the world). In this lovely town, like a smaller Kyoto, you will find a well-preserved Geisha District (called Higashi-chaya) with original tea and samurai houses on display. It is perhaps more famous for housing one of Japan’s top three gardens, Kenrokuen Garden. This is the perfect place to spend an afternoon strolling among the pretty ponds and beautiful bonsai.  Located next to the garden is the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, also a major attraction if seeking a bit of quirkiness on your trip!

Kyoto - Golden Temples, Serene Gardens
& one-of-a-kind Geisha

Kyoto has an astonishing wealth of culturally significant sites with no less than 16 UNESCO World Heritate Sites. We recommend staying at least three nights to get a real sense of Kyoto’s true charm, which you will soon discover by walking the narrow back streets of Gion and visiting the many impressive temples and shrines. You will be assisted by a local guide who will take you around Kyoto and teach you the history of this ancient city. No trip to Kyoto is complete unless you get to meet a real Geisha, up close and personal. This is one of our many treats for you along the way!

The Eclectic Treasures of Tokyo

After ten incredible days traveling through Forgotten Japan you will be ready to return to the bright lights of Tokyo for two final nights before making your way home. Our Essential Travel Pack will make sure you make the most of your time as you visit the fashion capital Ginza, the Imperial Palace gardens, ultra-modern Roppongi Hills (Observatory Tower & museum), parks, busy street crossing at Shibuya and more. If you wish, you will have time to escape the hustle and bustle for one more day trip into a selection of destinations just beyond the city limits.

Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo – Welcome to Japan!


Arrive on your own scheduled flight into one of Tokyo’s two airports, Narita or Haneda International Airport. If you have a choice, we usually say Haneda is better as it’s closer to central Tokyo. Eitherway, we will arrange a pick up for you to drop you straight to your hotel. Leave out the hassle on arrival to a new, what will seem, strange place! Watch out for your driver who will hold your name sign up in arrivals hall.

Free time today with lots of ideas in your travel pack on where to go and how to get there!

Accommodation:

Standard: Shinjuku Villa Fontaine (or similar)

Superior: Century Southern Tower (or similar)

Deluxe: Hyatt Regency Tokyo (or similar)

Day 2: Tour Tokyo’s Past, Present, and Future


After breakfast, our local Tokyo guide will meet and greet you in the hotel lobby. Ready for a full day of exciting new scenery, our guide will come prepared with his/her own suggestions, or, will listen to where or what you want to see/do and take you there. The idea for today is that you travel around Tokyo with a local, like a local! Using the public transport, buying your own lunch/snacks, etc. mainly to familiarize yourself with Japan and what things are. Having our guide with you will speed up some curios notions you will get as well as educate you on what’s what in town! It usually lasts 8 hours but if you need to cut it short (jet lag), there will be no offence taken!

Accommodation:

Standard: Shinjuku Villa Fontaine (or similar)

Superior: Century Southern Tower (or similar)

Deluxe: Hyatt Regency Tokyo (or similar)

Day 3: Escape to Nagano: Home to Onsen Bathing Monkeys

After two days of Tokyo, you will start your journey into a Forgotten Japan that this tour so clearly exemplifies. Today will be full of new experiences. From boarding the super fast shinkansen, to meeting the most famous monkeys in the world, before finishing up at the ultimate rural retreat in Kanbayashi or nearby at a local ryokan. Sample your first night of traditional Kaiseki dinner and the relaxing onsen baths.
Dinner & onsen (hot springs/spa) at your hotel

Accommodation: Senjugaku Ryokan (Japanese experience)

Day 4: Time travel to Matsumoto Samurai Castle & Traditional Takayama

After a nice early morning soak in the onsen followed by Japanese breakfast, you will continue on to Matsumoto to visit one of Japan’s best preserved Samurai castles. Matsumoto has a life of its own and is worth strolling around to capture this atmosphere.

Later, you will take a local highway bus (although no highways exist on this journey) and be exposed to some of the most magnificent views you will find in Japan. Mountains views with rivers flowing along side the journey make this one a pleasure.

Arrive into Takayama in the early evening. Relax and enjoy walking around the town in the evening. Also a great place for Hida-Beef, considered almost as good as Kobe-beef.

Accommodation:

Standard: Best Western Takayama

Superior: Hoshokaku Ryokan or Hotel Associa (or similar)

Deluxe: Hanaougi Ryokan (or similar)

Day 5: Explore Takayama's Preserved Heritage & Savour its Local Delicacies

Enjoy a day of self-exploration around Takayama. Your travel pack will be packed with ideas on where to go and see today, the first stop being the Takayama Morning Market, and perhaps a brief stop in a back street Sake Distillery? Takayama is quite famous for Sake (rice wine) too!

Accommodation:

Standard: Best Western Takayama

Superior: Hoshokaku Ryokan or Hotel Associa (or similar)

Deluxe: Hanaougi Ryokan (or similar)

Day 6: From Historical Takayama & Shirakawago to Kanazawa; a Seafood Paradise

Today you will move north by bus to Shirakawago, a village filled with 400 year old thatched houses scattered about at the foot of the Hida Mountain range. These houses are still lived in by local traders and families who are only too happy to show off their ancient craftsmanship in this rural life setting. After lunch, continue on to the city of Kanazawa, also known as ‘Little Kyoto’.

Accommodation:

Standard: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kanazawa (or similar)

Superior:  ANA Crowne Plaza (or similar)

Deluxe: Chaya Ryokan (or similar)

Day 7: Kanazawa; Japan’s Jewel on the Sea
 onto Kyoto

After a traditional breakfast, spend the morning visiting the sights in Kanazawa. Probably the most famous of places to see here is one of the Great Three Gardens of Japan – Kenrokuen Garden. Nearby is a modern art museum which, if you like contemporary pieces, you will love this!

In the afternoon, hop on the express “bullet train” to Kyoto for three nights in Japan’s ancient capital.

Accommodation:

Standard & Superior: Kyoto Machiya (Converted Traditional Townhouse (self-catering)

Deluxe: Hotel Granvia (or similar)

Day 8: Tour Japan's Finest Temples & Participate in its Ancient Arts

You will meet our local guide after breakfast and begin an exciting day of touring this ancient city. Learn deeper insights into Japan’s history and rich culture and finish the day at a local Kyoto tea house, learning the art of how to prepare and participate in an authentic tea ceremony. If you chose the Superior plan, you will also get a chance to meet with a local Kyoto Geisha.

 

Accommodation:

Standard & Superior: Kyoto Machiya (Converted Traditional Townhouse (self-catering)

Deluxe: Hotel Granvia (or similar)

 

Day 9: Kyoto - A Day of Many Possibilities

Free Day to further explore Kyoto’s alleyways or perhaps to a day trip to historic Hiroshima & splendid Miyajima or perhaps to the ancient capital city of Nara or to Japan’s largest original samurai castle at Himeji. If you are unsure of what to choose, our travel consultants (& local guide in Kyoto) can discuss your options in more detail to help you make the best use of this day. What ever route you choose, it shouldn’t cost you too much as you will have use of your Japan Rail Pass which also covers the bullet train to Hiroshima, and local ferry across to the UNESCO Miyajima Island. This can be done as a day trip which we highly recommend, if you are not been there before.

Accommodation:

Standard & Superior: Kyoto Machiya (Converted Traditional Townhouse (self-catering)

Deluxe: Hotel Granvia (or similar)

Day 10: Tsumago & Magome: The ancient samurai villages on the Nakasendo Trail

Departing Kyoto after breakfast, you will take a train ride to the Kiso Valley, most famous for the Nakasendo Way (original dirt-road that linked Tokyo to Kyoto). Enjoy hot spring open-air baths (onsen) surrounded by the aroma of Hinoki (Japanese cypress) while watching the beautiful view, different in all four seasons. This evening you can relax in the open air hot springs before or after your dinner feast!

Accommodation:

Standard, Superior & Deluxe: Hotel Kisoji

(room categories in hotel will differ depending on your tour category)

­­­­­­­­­

Day 11 - Walk The Nakasendo Trail

Afterbreakfast at your Ryokan, you will follow in the footsteps of ancient times as you hike along the centuries-old highway through scenic mountains and forests. This involves an 8km leisurely walk through nature along a pilgrim route between the traditional villages of Tsumago and Magome. All levels of fitness will get you through this hike. It may take you up to 3-4 hours depending on your fitness level. There are no major elevations and if you really can’t make the last few kilometres, there are other ways we can get you home (all tips provided in your travel pack)!

Relaxing in hot spring onsen will be all the more enjoyable to sooth muscles from the physical activity earlier that day.

Accommodation:

Standard, Superior & Deluxe: Hotel Kisoji

(room categories in hotel will differ depending on your tour category)

Day 12: Back to the Future in Tokyo

After breakfast, you will start making your way back to the capital Tokyo. The journey will be approx. 5 hours in total using a few different modes of transport – all of which will be outlined and explained in your Essential Travel Pack.

Accommodation:

Standard: Shiba Park Hotel (or similar)

Superior: Park Hotel (or similar)

Deluxe: Imperial Hotel (or similar)

Day 13: Tokyo - The World's Most Vibrant City at Your Fingertips

Today you will be ready for a well deserved break from moving or doing much. Enjoy relaxing / strolling around the area where we base you. Like all days on your itinerary, we will give you options on what to do and where to go, outlined in your Essential Travel Pack.

Accommodation:

Standard: Shiba Park Hotel (or similar)

Superior: Park Hotel (or similar)

Deluxe: Imperial Hotel (or similar)

Day 14: Tokyo - Optional day trip out to Mt Fuji or Kamakura

Another free day awaits you today but we will most likely recommend you take one last trip out of town to the port city of Yokohama which is also home to a very lively China town. Kamakura, steeped in history and home to the giant Stone Buddha statue is not too far from here too. Or, if you really want to see the iconic Mt Fuji, we can arrange a day trip from Tokyo for you.

Accommodation:

Standard: Shiba Park Hotel (or similar)

Superior: Park Hotel (or similar)

Deluxe: Imperial Hotel (or similar)

Day 15: Sayonara Tokyo. Hopefully We'll Meet Again!

Your airport transfer will pick you up at a time that suits your departing flight. Be sure to tell us your flight details as soon as you know them, in order for us to get the best options available for your journey out of Tokyo!

Sadly, your tour ends today and you will travel home with a treasure trove of great memories of unique experiences to last you a lifetime! Give yourself plenty of time to roam the international airport (Haneda or Narita)! You can find lots of quirky Japanese souvenirs, including multi-flavoured KitKats…..the perfect gift for your co-workers or family members!

How to Book

Step 1: Pay Your Booking Deposit (€250/£200/USD300/AUD400)

By paying your deposit today allows our team get started on booking your tour and services in Japan. Booking Terms and Conditions

arrow

Step 2: Book Your Flight

Once you have decided your route in Japan we recommend you book your flights then. To find the best available routes and flights, check out skyscanner.com.arrow

Step 3: Manage your Booking

You will be provided with a unique and secure Travel Portal. Check your documents and fill out as much information as possible, to ensure we give you the best service possible (dietary requirements, passport info, flight details, and so on). You can also pay your tour in Instalments if you prefer through this portal.

arrow

Step 4: Final Payment Due 8 Weeks Prior

Your tour balance is due 8 weeks prior to your start date. If you are traveling within these 8 weeks at time of paying your deposit, we will request your full payment as soon as we have your tour confirmed. Your travel consultant will be in touch with you about this. All of our tours are financially protected by the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust (ABTOT), no matter what country you are traveling from.

arrow

Step 5: Receive your Essential Travel Pack

All of our clients receive an Essential Travel Pack which is sent to your home address (worldwide) 2-3 weeks before your departure date. If your starting date is less than 2 weeks, you will receive it on arrival in Japan. All documents will be sent via email in advance also.

Got a Question?

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.

  • This form collects your details above so we can contact you back in relation to your enquiry. Please see our privacy policy for more information.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Total price of this tour

per person

Top
WooCommerce Themes Free