Best Value Japan
A guided 'hostel' tour of Japan
This 11-day Best Value Japan tour, staying in hostel-style accommodation, offers a fantastic insight into the modern and historic culture of Japan and is led by an English speaking tour leader from days 2 to 10. The clean and comfortable hostel accommodation, means the tour offers excellent value for money. Some of the hostels will be capsule-style, enabling you to experience this uniquely Japanese type of accommodation! Experience the sights and sounds of Tokyo, the buzzing capital city, learn about the popular Manga culture and a Samurai Kembu teacher will instruct you in the art of the Japanese sword. See the dazzling sight of iconic Mount Fuji and walk through the characterful streets of Takayama. Visit the vibrant cities of Osaka and Hiroshima, and spend time in the charming city of Kyoto, seeing some of the city’s most famous and historic sights. This itinerary includes a 7-day Japan Rail Pass (ordinary class), enabling you to travel on the country’s efficient and high speed rail network, making the most of your time in Japan.
YOUR TOUR ITINERARY
DAY 1 Arrive Tokyo
Upon arrival at Haneda or Narita Airport, make your own way to the Airport Limousine Bus to the Asakusa area where your accommodation is located. On arrival, walk to your hostel (approx. 10 minutes). You might not be able to take the limousine bus all of the way to Asakusa, depending on your flight schedule. If not, then disembark at the T-CAT Bus Terminal and take a taxi to the hostel (approx. GBP10/per way). Check-in to your hostel, and the rest of the day is at leisure.
DAY 2 Tokyo Full Day Tour
This morning, meet your fellow travellers and tour leader, who will escort you on a tour in Tokyo by foot and public transport. Visit Senso-ji Temple, a traditional Buddhist Temple and Tokyo’s oldest. Discover the vibrant Shibuya and Harajuku areas of the city, not just the centre of Japan’s teenage pop cultures and fashion styles, but also where a wide range of shops and historic sights are found. Walk across the famous Shibuya crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world, made famous by the film Lost in Translation, and take a Purikura (photo sticker) together, a popular craze in Japan! Continue to Akihabara, the colourful and neon-lit electric town area of Tokyo, the home of electronics, Anime, Manga and idols – a fun and futuristic area of the city! Visit one of Tokyo’s popular Maid Cafes (one drink and photo included), for a unique experience. Tonight, there will be a casual dinner party at your hostel, where you will cook traditional Japanese cuisine with your tour leader (drinks not included).
- Meals included: Dinner
DAY 3 Tokyo
Start your morning with a unique Samurai experience, where you will be taught the basic techniques of Japanese Katana, by a Samurai Kembu teacher. Kembu is a traditional Japanese performance art, using poems which were written by samurai. In feudal times samurais performed Kembu to give themselves courage or to aid mental concentration. In the movie “The Last Samurai” you can see one of the characters performing Kembu on the day before the battle. Return to your accommodation on your own, the remainder of the day is at leisure. Your tour leader can give you some insider tips for the rest of the day and evening, like checking out some of the local bars, trying some of Japan’s culinary specialities such as sushi or ramen, having a go at karaoke or visiting a local bathhouse.
DAY 4 Hakone Day Trip
Explore in Hakone with your tour leader using your Hakone free pass. Travel to Hakone by Limited Express Train, and on arrival enjoy a tour of some of the highlights in this area such as the Owakudani Ropeway and a cruise on Lake Ashi in a pirate ship, from where you can enjoy fantastic views of Mount Fuji. Return to Tokyo by train for another night in this vibrant capital city.
- Transport: Train
DAY 5 Hakone to Takayama
Today starts with a transfer to Takayama (journey time approx 4.5 hours) by Japan Rail trains, using your included Japan Rail pass. Takayama lies within the dramatic Japanese Alps region and offers some fabulous sights and great photo opportunities. Visit the charming and traditional Kanisanomachi Street area with its preserved streets dating back to the Edo period. Enjoy a tasting of sake, a Japanese rice wine and the national drink of Japan! Rest of the day is free at leisure.
- Transport: Train
DAY 6 Takayama to Osaka
Why not head out early this morning for a visit to the morning market. Travel from Takayama to Osaka by train (journey time approx 4 hours). This afternoon pause at the beautiful Osaka Castle for a photo stop, one of Japan’s oldest landmarks. Continue to the Shinsekai area of the city, an old neighbourhood dating back to 1912, then explore the Dotonbori district, the popular neon-lit entertainment, shopping and dining area, which runs along the Dotonbori Canal. Perhaps grab a bite to eat here in one of the many restaurants or try some of the tasty street food on offer!
- Transport: Train
DAY 7 Osaka to Miyajima and Hiroshima
Hop on a morning train to Hiroshima and take a ferry ride to the wonderful Miyajima Island (journey time approx 2 hours 40 minutes). Visit the famous Itsukushima shrine, a shinto shrine famous for its “floating” torii gate, one of Japan’s most iconic images. Take the short ferry ride back to Hiroshima and check in to your hostel for the evening. Perhaps try Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki, a Japanese savoury pancake and a speciality of this area.
- Transport: Train
DAY 8 Hiroshima to Nara and Kyoto
Immerse yourself in Hiroshima’s history with a morning visit to the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Memorial Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Travel by train from Hiroshima to Nara (journey time approx 2 hours 50 minutes) and visit the Todai-ji Temple, the Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall), which is one of the world’s largest wooden buildings and one of the best known temples in Japan. It enshrines a gigantic bronze statue of Buddha. In front of the Todai-ji Temple is Nara Deer Park, where the deer roam freely. Visitors may feed or pet them (special food is sold in the park grounds). Travel to Kyoto and check-in to your hostel. This evening is free so perhaps check out some of Kyoto’s lively bars or go Geisha spotting in the Gion district.
- Transport: Train
DAY 9 Kyoto Full Day Tour
This morning discover the Byodo-in Temple with your tour leader, located in the area of Uji, a Buddhist temple founded in 1052. Afterwards enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony before visiting the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, home to thousands of bright orange torii gates, a sight to behold! The next stop is at the stunning Kiyomizu-dera Temple, built in 780 in the hills east of Kyoto, this celebrated temple offers wonderful views over the city. This evening we will visit a karaoke bar to join in one of Japan’s favourite pastimes!
DAY 10 Arashiyama Half Day Tour
This morning catch a train to Arashiyama, a picturesque area outside of Kyoto where the river cuts through the mountainous valley. Visit the Tenryu-ji Temple, a Zen Buddhist temple, where you can explore and relax in the lovely garden. See the Togetsu Bridge, an old wooden, picturesque bridge that spans the Katsura River. Continue to the stunning Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, where the bamboo towers above you on either side! Make a visit to the Arashiyama Monkey Park, home to a troop of over 170 Japanese Macaque monkeys. You can choose to feed the monkeys or simply enjoy the views of Kyoto from here. The tour ends in Arashiyama (make your own way back to your hostel). The rest of the day is at your leisure to further explore Kyoto and the surrounding area if you wish.
DAY 11 Transfer to Airport
Make your own way to Kyoto Station to take the train to Kansai Airport, using your Japan Rail pass.
- Meals included: Breakfast
Optional Extras - Cultural Experiences
There is some free time in your itinerary for you to explore on your own, or treat yourself to an excursion. Use the links below to create a to-do list, or, if you’d prefer us to book you onto one of these or any other excursions, please let us know when booking your tour.
Japan: Tokyo Sumo Experience & Chanko Lunch
Be a sumo wrestler for a day! Learn from the Sumo wrestlers about the history, practice and the tournaments. Try on a Sumo costume and challenge a Sumo wrestler to a match. Enjoy the traditional and symbolic meal Chanko-nabe.
Japan: Sushi Workshop Morning Tour, Tokyo
Experience hand-shaping and rolling sushi from a Tsukiji sushi chef and tour around Tsukiji Outer Fish Market to have an insight into how chef selects their fish for sushi.
Japan: Dinner with Maiko, Kyoto
Enjoy a traditional dinner with a Maiko, or apprentice Geisha and enjoy two traditional dance performances. Opportunity to ask questions and take photos with Maiko.
Japan: Calligraphy and Meditation
Relax your mind and soul at a Buddhist temple overnight. Try ancient writing technique of Calligraphy join the monks for meditation in the morning.
Your holiday details
Departures and Prices 2019/20
Prices and products are subject to availability at the time of booking.
The deposit for these arrangements is £300 per person. Balance is due 10 weeks before departure.
- Accommodation is provided in hostel-style accommodation based on 1 bunk bed or 1 capsule, in a mixed gender dormitory room. Facilities include shared showers, kitchen and free WiFi. Private rooms or female only dormitories available on request basis (an additional charge may apply).
- No meals are included except for dinner on Day 2. Most accommodation has kitchen facilities for preparing light meals. Convenience stores are plentiful in Japan, selling items for breakfast including some hot food.
Japan: Best Value Japan
- Accommodation in shared dormitories in hostels
- Services of an English speaking tour leader (Day 2 – Day 10)
- 7 Days Japan Rail Pass (Ordinary Class)
- 2-Day Hakone Free Pass
- Arrival transfer
- Maps of the local areas where you will be staying and Japan travel information
- Entrance fees to sights listed
- Dinner on Day 2 (drinks not included)
- International flights
- Meals (except dinner on Day 2)
- Personal expenses
- Travel insurance
- Luggage transfers
When making an enquiry or reservation we will request your contact details, however no payment will be required at this stage. We will contact you for payment details and to confirm your booking, your details and the details of those travelling with you along with any extras you’d like to add.
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