QUINTESSENTIAL JAPAN

Simply the best of the best. On this private tour of Japan, journey from cosmopolitan Tokyo and historic Kyoto to the majesty of Takayama

14 Days, 13 Nights     FROM JPY 327,175 / PERSON

Ever dreamed of a private tour of Japan? Here’s your chance to be totally immersed in quintessential Japanese experiences—all guided by locals. This tailored tour takes you to the mega-tropolis of Tokyo, as well as the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara. You’ll also journey to Osaka, the lively seat of the south, and visit the historical sites of Hiroshima. Between these highlights, you’ll see first-hand the nature of the Japanese Alps in Takayama and Kanazawa.

On your private Japan tour, jump right into the best of Tokyo, with a guided visit to Meiji Shrine, a cruise on the Sumida River, and a walk through Asakusa, Tokyo’s oldest geisha district. Next, you can opt to take a day trip to coastal Kamakura or mountainous Nikko. Then, continue to Takayama and Kanazawa, a quaint village and an ancient castle town nestled in the Japanese Alps.

Before being whisked away to Kyoto by the famous bullet train, take a moment to relax in your own private onsen at an old-fashioned ryokan—a quintessentially Japanese experience that’s not to be missed. In Kyoto you’ll glimpse Japan’s proud historical past. Kyoto is home to an astounding 2,000 shrines and temples and 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Finally, round off your custom Japan tour with a privately guided exploration of lively Osaka and historical Hiroshima. Taste the famed snacks and specialties of Osaka and wander through the Peace Museum in Hiroshima. In both cities, you’ll get to see different, lesser-known sides of Japan before catching your return flight home.

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“This is hands-down the best private tour of Japan available. You’ll be immersed in countless iconic experiences and get a taste, feel, and sense for quintessential Japan.”

Matthias, Backyard Travel Japan Specialist

UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES

Explore Tokyo’s famed shitamachi and duck into atmospheric lanes and shops
Stay at a traditional ryokan high up in the Japanese Alps
Eat your way through Osaka and visit the local eateries foodies dream of
Explore the 17th-century castle town of Kanazawa and the sacred island of Miyajima
Visit the best of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites guided by a local expert

Daily Itinerary

QUINTESSENTIAL JAPAN

  • Daily Itinerary
  • Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo

    Welcome to your private Japan tour! Upon arrival in Tokyo, your local guide will meet you at the airport and help you onto the appropriate transport to your hotel (via shuttle bus or train). The remainder of your day will be spent at your leisure.

    Overnight in Tokyo

    No meals included on this day.

    Japan-private-tour-1
  • Day 2: Tokyo

    Begin your Japan private tour in earnest today with a full-day exploration of Tokyo’s most interesting districts and iconic sites. At 9:00am, your guide will pick you up at your hotel and you’ll start the morning with a stroll through Hama-Rikyu Teien, the former private garden of an Edo Period lord. Stop for a cup of matcha green tea at the Nakajima No Chaya teahouse, which appears to float in the middle of the park’s serene lake.

    Then, it’s on to a boat cruise on the Sumida River, where you’ll get to see Tokyo from a unique, riverine perspective. The next stop will be Asakusa, a charming part of Tokyo’s shitamachi, or “low town.” Asakusa is home to Tokyo’s oldest geisha district, as well as Senso-ji, the oldest and most colorful of Tokyo’s Buddhist temples. The little alleyways surrounding Senso-ji are filled with shops selling delightful arts, crafts and regional knick-knacks.

    Your final stop on this day of highlights will be Meiji Shrine. Tokyo’s most famous Shinto shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. The park contains a forest made of approximately 120,000 trees of a varying species—a green lung in a jungle of concrete buildings and neon lights.

    (Note: The order of this itinerary may change depending on the location of your hotel.)

    Overnight in Tokyo

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Japan-private-tour-2
  • Day 3: Tokyo, Optional Day Trip to Kamakura

    Today is a self-guided day.

    Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:
    Today is free to explore Tokyo at your leisure or to participate in an optional day trip. If you choose to enjoy a self-guided day, we recommend visiting the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market, which deals in more than 2,000 tons of fish and seafood every day. It is one of the world’s largest markets and a fascinating sight. You may also want to wander through Akihabara, Tokyo’s “electronics district.” Here you’ll discover the latest gadgets and technology. Tokyo is also home to world-class museums and art galleries that can round out your day with a good dose of culture.

    Alternatively, choose to use the included Japan Rail Pass to venture outside Tokyo on day trip:

    OPTIONAL DAY TRIP 1: Kamakura
    Once an ancient capital of Japan, Kamakura has much to offer in history, culture, art and architecture. This delightful seaside town is replete with ancient temples, shrines, and other sights, such as the famous Daibutsu, a massive bronze statue of a seated Buddha that stands 13 meters tall. On the JR train line, the journey from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station takes an hour.

    OPTIONAL DAY TRIP 2: Nikko
    The city of Nikko lies just north of Tokyo in the mountainous Tochigi Prefecture. This beautiful region is famous for its national park. Some of the most popular attractions within the park include the Tamozawa Imperial Villa and the Toshogu Shrine complex. On the JR train line, the journey from Tokyo Station to Nikko Station takes roughly 2 hours.

    Please note: Return train tickets to Kamakura or Nikko must be arranged in advance at an additional fee.

    Overnight in Tokyo

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    cherry blossom in Japan - statue at kamakura
  • Day 4: Tokyo – Takayama

    Today is a self-guided day.

    Today your Japan private tour whisks you away on a 4-hour journey to Takayama, a small, alpine town located high up in the Hida region of Gifu Prefecture. The first leg of your journey will be by bullet train, then you’ll transfer to the “Wide View” limited express train, which is regarded as one of the most picturesque train journeys in Japan.

    Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:
    Take a relaxing stroll in Takayama’s charming shitamachi, where century-old merchants’ homes and sake breweries line the streets. Pop into one of the local breweries to sample the local brew, or stop at a special food stall to try the famed Hida beef sushi.

    Your accommodation in Takayama will be a ryokan, a traditional inn with tatami mats, sliding doors made of rice paper and fluffy futon bedding. This is an authentic Japanese accommodation and a truly unique experience.

    Overnight in Takayama

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and dinner

    take the shinkansen during your honeymoon in japan to see the Mt. fuji - backyard travelRyokan: the Onsen in a traditional japanese inn and guesthouse
  • Day 5: Takayama

    Today is a self-guided day.

    Optional Tour: Food & Culture Walking Tour and Cycling through Hida
    Guided by a knowledgeable local, duck into some of Takayama’s most atmospheric food shops, learning about this mountain town’s intriguing history as you go. On this walking tour, you’ll visit a tofu vendor, a rakugan shop (traditional Japanese sweet shop) and a sake brewery. (Please note: Some stores may be closed on certain days). Food and sake tastings are included so you can familiarize your taste buds with local delicacies.

    Afterward, head out on a cycling tour in the small, quaint farming hamlet of Hida Furukawa, located just 15 minutes from Takayama. The village is well known for its impressive views of the Japanese Alps, as well as its traditional architecture and machiya-style houses that have stood for centuries. And, like many other towns in the Hida region, Hida Furukawa is also famed for its high-quality sake.

    Explore Hida Furukawa and its outskirts on a bicycle tour accompanied by a local guide. Spend a half day cycling through the village and take a closer, immersive look at the lifestyles of this mountainous region.

    Time:
    Start: 09:30
    Duration: 6.5 to 7.5 hours

    Availability:
    April to October: 09:30 – 17:00
    November to December: 09:30 – 16:00

    (Please note: Tour dates, especially around winter, may be altered depending on a variety of factors, such as snow, unfavorable weather, and sunset times.)

    Overnight in Takayama

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and dinner

  • Day 6: Takayama – Kanazawa, Day Trip in Shira

    Today is a self-guided day.

    This morning, your private Japan tour continues by bus to UNESCO-listed Shirakawago, an area famed for its gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Literally meaning “constructed like hands in prayer,” gassho-zukuri farmhouses are designed to withstand heavy snows. Their steeply pitched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks in prayer. Constructed without the use of nails, these roofs also provide spacious attics that were traditionally used for silkworm cultivation.

    These houses—some of which are more than 250 years old—are private homes of the locals, but some are open to the public, such as Wada House. This building was the seat of the Wada family, one of the wealthiest families in Ogimachi. Their status as community leaders is represented by the size of their house, as it is the largest gassho-zukuri farmhouse in town.

    In the afternoon, take the 2-hour bus trip to Kanazawa, a 17th-century castle town that was once a cultural and artistic center of Japan. Its buildings and gardens have been beautifully preserved.

    Overnight in Kanazawa

    Meals included: Breakfast

    best time to visit Japan: summer - Shirakawago village nearby Takayama
  • Day 7: Kanazawa

    Today is a self-guided day.

    Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:

    Start with a highlight of Kanazawa, the famed Kenroku-en garden. In a nation of breathtaking gardens, Kenroku-en is ranked as one of the top three most beautiful. Aside from the stunning landscaping, several charming teahouses and a large villa, you’ll also find the oldest functioning fountain in the country.

    Just next door, Kanazawa Castle is an interesting reminder of the town’s history. The Ishikawa-mon gate at the castle’s entrance is designated as an Important National Cultural Asset.

    Stop for lunch at Omicho Market, which is renowned throughout the country for its fresh seafood and sushi.

    Finally, head to Kanazawa’s old samurai district, where a visit to Nomura House will cap off the day. This restored residence of a prestigious samurai family is open to visitors and offers a lovely way to unwind, with a cup of hot green tea enjoyed on the second floor overlooking the Japanese garden below.

    Overnight in Kanazawa

    Meals included: Breakfast

    visit Higashi chaya district on a kanazawa tour, Japan - Backyard Traveltour kanazawa and see Girls in Japanese Kimono looking at the river, Japan
  • Day 8: Kanazawa – Hiroshima

    Today is a self-guided day.

    Spend the morning at your leisure until it’s time to depart for the historical city of Hiroshima. After a 4.5-hour train journey, you’ll check into your hotel and have the option to take it easy or begin exploring the town.

    Overnight in Hiroshima

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 8
  • Day 9: Hiroshima and Miyajima

    Today is a self-guided day.

    Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:

    Today your custom Japan tour gives you the opportunity to take a beautiful daytrip via sea from mainland Hiroshima the small, sacred island of Miyajima in the Seto Inland Sea. After a 10-minute ferry ride, explore this historical and spiritual island, stopping for local delicacies such as saltwater eel, oysters and maple leaf cakes along the way.

    We recommend beginning at Itsukushima Shrine, which is the home of the world-famous “Floating Torii Gate” that rises from the sea. This site is officially recognized as one of Japan’s three “most beautiful views.”

    Then, take a stroll to Daisho-in, the island’s most popular Buddhist temple. Spin the prayer wheels here to receive the blessing of the wheels’ sutras.

    In the afternoon, ferry back to Hiroshima and visit Peace Memorial Park and Museum. These historical sites offer much to learn. Continue on to the A-Bomb Dome and the Children’s Peace Monument, both very moving sights.

    Overnight in Hiroshima

    Meals included: Breakfast

    http://www.dreamstime.com/-image14991933http://www.dreamstime.com/-image899593
  • Day 10: Hiroshima – Kyoto

    Today is a self-guided day.

    Today, your Japan private tour brings you to the cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto, which is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and countless photographic moments. After the 2-hour train ride from Hiroshima Station to Kyoto Station, check-in to your hotel and feel free to begin exploring this unforgettable city.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 10
  • Day 11: Kyoto

    Discover Kyoto today with your knowledgeable guide. Starting at 9:00 a.m., your first stop will be Nijo Castle, famous for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors, “chirping” nightingale floors and stunning gardens. The building was completed in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

    Next up is Ryoan-ji Temple, home to Japan’s most famous rock garden. Although the complex was originally built as a royal villa during the Heian Period, in 1450 it was converted into a Zen Buddhist temple.

    Continue to the “Golden Pavilion,” or Kinkakuji, which was originally constructed to be the shogun’s retirement villa. After his death it was turned into a Buddhist temple at his request. Today it is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto.

    Finally, pay a visit to the iconic Kiyomizu-dera, or “Pure Water” Temple. This beautiful, sacred site is located on the steep face of Mount Otowa. Its veranda offers famously magnificent views of Kyoto. The temple is also noted for the fact that the veranda, along with the main hall, was constructed entirely without the use of nails or joiners. (Please note: Some parts of Kiyomizu-dera are currently undergoing renovations.)

    We’ll end the day with a stroll through the little lanes of Higashiyama, where warrens of traditional shops sell such souvenirs as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, pickles and sweets.

    (Please note: Kiyomizu-dera is undergoing partial renovations.)

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included: Breakfast

    visit kiyomizu temple during a family holiday in Japan - Backyard TravelDay 11
  • Day 12: Kyoto,Cultural Experience,Opt to Nara

    Discover Kyoto today with your knowledgeable local guide, who will take you to the best sites using the local form of transport, the city’s comprehensive, efficient bus system.

    First visit Nijo Castle, which is famous for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors. The building was completed in 1603 and is set in stunning gardens. Next is the Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji, originally constructed as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death and at his request it became a Buddhist Temple, and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous. Before lunch we’ll go to Daitoku-ji Zen temple complex, which consists of a main temple and 22 sub-temples, one of which, Daisen-in, is home to one of Japan’s best Zen rock gardens.

    After lunch, visit Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. This beautiful, iconic temple is famous for the magnificent views of Kyoto its veranda offers, and also for the fact that the veranda, along with the Main Hall, was constructed entirely without the use of nails or joiners. We’ll end the day with a stroll through the busy little lanes of Higashiyama, whose shops sell traditional souvenirs including Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets and pickles.

    Spend another night in your ryokan.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Kyoto tour of Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Zen temple
  • Day 13: Kyoto – Osaka

    Today is a self-guided day.

    Today your customized Japan tour gives you the freedom to spend the day at your leisure. After arriving in Osaka, check-in to your hotel and, by all means, start exploring the lively streets of Osaka!

    Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:

    From Namba Station, stroll through some of Osaka’s liveliest shopping and dining streets, including Doguyasuji Shopping Arcade, a truly niche market where you’ll find everything related to the food industry—including the plastic models of food that you see displayed outside restaurants all over Japan!

    Right across from Doguyasuji is Sennichimae, a foodie lane lined with tiny eateries that serve famed Osaka delicacies, such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki and fugu (blowfish). Sennichimae also hosts several game centers as well as the Namba Grand Kagetsu Theater, which serves as the headquarters of the famed Japanese comedy conglomerate, Yoshimoto Kogyo.

    Just before the end of Sennichimae, make a left turn into an alley. Here you’ll see Hozen-ji Temple, a little temple dedicated to one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas. You may see worshippers making offerings, splashing water on the statue of the deity, and praying.

    Nearby, you’ll find the modest yet fascinating Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, as well as Hozenji Yokocho, a tiny alley lined with fine-dining establishments.

    Come out onto busy Dotonbori, a street widely recognized as a restaurant mecca today but was once Osaka’s entertainment and pleasure district. A short walk from here will bring you to Ebisubashi pedestrian bridge, which is popular with tourists and crowned with the famed, giant billboard of the Glico Running Man.

    Overnight in Osaka

    Meals included: Breakfast

    japan culinary tour: men cooking traditional japanese street food in Osaka, Japan - Backyard Travel
  • Day 14: Departure from Osaka

    We hope you enjoyed your Japan private tour! Spend your final day in Japan at your leisure until it’s time for your scheduled transfer to Kansai International Airport.

    (Please note: The Japan Rail Pass can be used for transfers at JR trains with exceptions.)

    Meals included: Breakfast

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Local vietnamese woman

Tour Details

This amazing Japan private tour can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect trip just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your trip and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your trip. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

icon Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles, where mentioned
Service of English speaking guides in every location, where mentioned
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

icon Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)



Talk to us about Your Holiday

Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.


 

 

 

Why Backyard Travel?


Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.

We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.

With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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Backyard Travel Head Office: Level 18, Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Bangkok, Thailand 10330. Tel: +66 (0) 26339074

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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
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What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Start Planning your Trip!

 

 

Start Planning your Trip!
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Start Planning your Trip!
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Start Planning your Trip!
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.
Start Planning your Trip!
What's your ideal vacation? Let us know and a Travel Specialist will be in touch within 12 working hours to start planning a tailor-made trip just for you.