From $5489 with flightsPayments as low as $159
If you can think of somewhere else you can tour ancient Buddhist temples and watch a robot cabaret show in under 24 hours, please let us know. Like stepping off a plane on another planet, this trip is a crash course in Japan’s wonderfully-unique culture.
Uncovering centuries of Buddhist tradition at ancient temples
Coming face to face with the sacred deer of Miyajima Island
Frolicking amongst the famous cherry blossoms of Tokyo
Time traveling to old-world Japan in Kyoto
What you'll get
Round-trip flights & airport transfers
12 nights in handpicked accommodations
Expert Tour Director
2 insider tours with a local guide
Entrance to shrines, temples, and other local attractions
- Day 1: Overnight Flight
Hop on a plane bound west for Japan—where the lights are bright, the ramen is plentiful, and the shrines are shrining.
- Day 2: Arrive in Tokyo
Say konnichiwa to Tokyo, home to more people, vending machines, and Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else. Settle in, meet your fellow travelers, and get ready to explore.
- Land at the airport and meet an EF representative.
- Transfer to your accommodations and check in.
- Meet your Tour Director and get deets on tomorrow’s schedule.
- Day 3: Explore Tokyo + Welcome Dinner
Only in Tokyo can you visit the busiest intersection in the world, an ancient Shinto shrine, and the palace of real-life royalty in a matter of minutes. And today, you’re doing exactly that.
- Read your fortune and see your future at Sensoji Temple.
- Soak up the sights, sounds, and styles of Shibuya and Harajuku.
- Enjoy a Welcome Dinner with your group at an authentic local spot.
- Day 4: Free day in Tokyo + optional sushi-making experience
Today, you’re free to explore Tokyo on your own. And if that means eating nothing but noodles while searching for Pokémon souvenirs—so be it.
- Use your time to explore the various districts of Tokyo.
- Hit up some of the same spots that Shoshana did in Girls.
- Keep a lookout for mochi ice cream, delicious little balls of ice cream wrapped in gummy rice. It tastes better than it sounds.
- Eat all the ramen. All of it.
Free time suggestions
Tokyo Skytree: Head way, way, waaay up to the observation deck of the world’s tallest tower. At 2,080 feet, it’s safe to say this is the best view in Tokyo.
Ghibli Museum: Showcasing the work of one of the GOAT animation studios, there’s no other place that’ll connect you with Japanese pop culture like this.
Tokyo Sushi Experience (extra cost)
Bop around the stalls of Tsukjii Market before a private sushi-making (and eating) class.
This excursion is pre-book only: If your trip is less than 30 days away, please call 800-766-2645 to purchase.
- Day 5: Travel to Hakone via Mt. Fuji
Say sayonara to Tokyo, we’re off to Hakone. On the way, set your eyes (and your camera) on Mt. Fuji—an active volcano and the tallest peak in Japan.
Note: This overnight is a hotel with ryokan-style accommodations, and the bathroom facilities are private. You may have to share your ryokan-style accommodation rooming experience with 4-5 other people.
- Pit stop at Mt. Fuji for some epic views and once-in-a-lifetime photos.
- Check into your ryokan-style hotel (you’ll sleep on a traditional futon).
- Pop on a kimono for an included kaiseki ryori dinner.
Free time suggestions
Japanese hot springs: Hakone is a hotbed for hot springs—aka onsen. Unwind and decompress at your ryokan or a nearby public bathhouse.
- Day 6: Lake Ashi excursion
Ride a cable car for unrivaled views of Mt. Fuji from the peak of a neighboring mountain. Then cruise on Lake Ashi and see its iconic torii gate from the water.
- Get a cheesy pic of you posing with your finger on the peak of Mt. Fuji.
- Check out the Hakone Shrine and the legendary Gate of Peace.
- Grab your chopsticks for an included group dinner at your hotel.
- Day 7: Travel to Hiroshima via bullet train
Continue on to Hiroshima and look back at the city’s tragic past while exploring its vibrant, culturally-rich present.
- Hop aboard the bullet train and head to Hiroshima at 200 mph.
- Join your group for an okonomiyaki (kinda like hibachi) dinner at a local spot.
- Spend the evening exploring the city on your own.
- Day 8: Tour Hiroshima and visit Miyajima Island
Today, you’ll travel back to 1945, when Hiroshima was hit with an atomic bomb. Hear the story and view the impact at the Peace Memorial Museum. After, explore nearby Miyajima Island.
- See the Atomic Bomb Dome, all that remains of a building after a near-direct hit.
- Walk the Itsukshima Shine and see its famous floating torii gate.
- Explore the food stalls (grilled oysters, pls) and shops of Omotesandō shopping street.
- Day 9: Travel to Kyoto
If you’re looking for traditional Japan, you’ll find it in Kyoto. See zen temples, geishas, and old-world townscapes as you seemingly time travel from street to street.
- Snap photos under the thousands of bright-orange gates of the Fushimi Inari shrine.
- Look out at all of Kyoto from the 1,200+ year-old, hilltop Kiyomizu Temple.
- Visit Kinkakuji, a Zen Buddhist temple covered in actual gold leaf.
- Day 10: Free day in Kyoto + Nishiki Market optional
Keep getting to know Kyoto on your own. Between the quaint streets, high-end shops, and bustling markets, there’s a ton to see and do. And eat. And drink.
Free time suggestions
Kyoto clubbin’: One of the best nightlife cities we’ve found, Kyoto is loaded with bars and clubs, and the party doesn’t stop until the early morning.
Explore Nishiki Market (extra cost)
Blink and 400 years goes by like THAT. That’s how long vendors have been perfecting delicacies for hungry customers in Nishiki Market. Take a deep dive into local treats and see why chefs call it Kyoto’s Kitchen.
Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.
- Day 11: Travel to Mount Koya via Nara
Make your way to Mount Koya, where you’ll spend the night in a traditional Buddhist monastery. You won’t have many nights like this, ever, so embrace all that beautiful silence.
Note: This overnight is a monastery temple-stay, and the bathroom facilities may be shared and not private. Like Hakone, you’ll be sleeping on a traditional futon. You may have to share your ryokan-style accommodation rooming experience with 4-10 other people, however the rooms are large and the experience is unique. Think reed mats, low tables, and sliding doors.
- Tour Nara and see the massive, 49-foot tall statue in the Great Buddha Hall.
- Eat like a monk as you join your group for an included, vegetarian dinner.
- Find your zen in the temple gardens, onsen, and sauna.
- Day 12: Travel to Osaka via Mount Koya
It’s a good thing you just spent the night centering yourself at a Buddhist monastery, because today you head to Osaka—one of the liveliest and most dynamic cities in the world.
- Stop at Osaka Castle to see the ancient side of Japan’s second most populous city.
- Check into your accommodations and get to know your neighborhood.
- Day 13: Free day in Osaka + Farewell Dinner
It’s your last full day in Japan—make it count. Fill up on sushi, hit up a few vending machines, grab those last souvenirs, and try (we dare you) to keep up with the pace of Osaka.
- Get adventurous and eat your way through “the kitchen of Japan.”
- Get lost in the labyrinth of neon-lined streets and alleyways.
- Share some laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included Farewell Dinner with your group.
Free time suggestions
Dontonbori: This place is teeming with bars, restaurants, shops, and entertainment. Think neon signs, bright lights, and octo-pops (exactly what it sounds like).
- Day 14: Fly home
Translation: goodbye, friends! Your next destination awaits—home. But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?
EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS
1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.
2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.
Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.
Traveling with us helps the EF community plant trees, at no extra cost to you.
Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5
Based on 80 authentic traveler reviews
A dream come trueJacob, traveled May 2023
I just wish I could have stayed longer. Or live in Japan the people, transportation, business, food, etc. was all more than I could have hoped for. On top of having an excellent guide in Mari I could not have asked for a better get away vacation!
1000/10 recommendAnonymous, traveled May 2023
Maki was amazing and being able to experience the food and culture was great. I recommend taking this trip if you want to experience Japan. You get to see so much and learn so much and there’s always so much opportunity to learn something new.
Best experience ever!!!Brianna, traveled Apr. 2023
Just do it!! You won’t regret it!!! I did so many more things in Japan than if I have planned my trip on my own. Our tour director, Hiro, is so knowledgeable and always answered our questions! He made everything run smoothly! The friends I made on this trip are amazing too! We plan on going on another together soon!
Loved it! Such a fun adventure!!Alyssa, traveled Apr. 2023
Hirosan was the best tour guide! We saw so much to Japan, ranging from the cities to the country. So much to offer and so much to do. 10/10 would recommend!