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Highlights of Japan

Highlights of Japan

14 days, 6 cities114
See dates and prices

From $3349 without flightsPayments as low as $140

A large crowd of people walking through a busy city street lit up with multi-colored neon signs at night
A large crowd of people walking through a busy city street lit up with multi-colored neon signs at night
A large calm body of water with mountains in the background and ornate red temple structures situated over the water
A large snow covered mountain top far off in the distance with autumn-colored foliage in the foreground
A tall multi-story temple structure next to shorter similar structures with a large blue mountain range in the background during dusk
Trip Type:
Activity Level:

Why go?

In Japan, there’s something unique around every corner. It could be a centuries-old shrine, it could be a street lit entirely in neon, but it’s probably a vending machine. Immerse yourself in the past and travel into the future as you explore every side of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Picture yourself

  • Uncovering centuries of tradition at ancient temples and shrines

  • Slurping ramen and popping sushi on repeat

  • Wandering the neon streets of Shibuya and Dotonbori

  • Traveling at 200 mph on the mind-blowing bullet train

  • Cruising around a lake in the shadow of Mt. Fuji

What you'll get

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers (or book 'em yourself)

  • 12 nights in handpicked accommodations

  • 12 breakfasts

  • 4 dinners

  • Expert Tour Director

  • 24/7 support

  • 2 insider tours with a local guide

  • Entrance to shrines, temples, and other local attractions

Map for the Highlights of Japan tour
Full trip itinerary


  • 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.

    Today's highlights:

    • 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

    Amidst the neon lights and towering skyscrapers of Tokyo, surprises wait at every corner. You’ll find relics of the ancient city sprinkled throughout, plus a pop culture community that’s off the charts. (Manga much?)

    Today's highlights:

    • Join a local guide for a bus and walking tour of Tokyo.
    • Check out the latest fashion trends as you walk through the Harajuku neighborhood.
    • Keep pure thoughts as you enter the Sensoji Temple and Shrine.
    • Enjoy a Welcome Dinner with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot.
  • Day 4: Free day in Tokyo

    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.

    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.

  • Day 5: Free day in Tokyo

    When you’re in the biggest city in the history of ever, it’s pretty much impossible to get bored. So fuel up on ramen at Ichiran (iykyk) and get exploring.

  • Day 6: 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.

    Today's highlights:

    • Ride a cable car for sprawling views of Mt. Fuji.
    • Cruise on Lake Ashi and see its iconic torii gate from the water.
    • 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 7: Travel to Kyoto via bullet train

    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.

    Today's highlights:

    • Hop aboard the bullet train and head to Kyoto at 200 mph.
    • 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 8: Free day in Kyoto

    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

    Nishiki market: Stock up on souvenirs and try all the best bites. This narrow, five-block shopping street has more than 100 shops and restaurants for you to explore.

    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.

  • Day 9: Free day in Kyoto

    It’s almost impossible to run out of things to do in Kyoto. Like, they even have a Starbucks in a traditional Japanese house. It’s even got tatami seating (you sit on the floor).

    Free time suggestions

    Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: You’ve seen the pics all over the internet, now yours chance to snap your own on one of the stunning pathways. PS–There are monkeys.

  • Day 10: Travel to Hiroshima & visit Miyajima Island

    Continue on to Hiroshima and look back at the city’s tragic past while exploring its vibrant, culturally-rich present.

    Today's highlights:

    • Hear the story of the atomic bomb at the Peace Memorial Museum
    • Walk the Itsukshima Shine and see its famous floating torii gate.
    • Explore the food stalls (grilled oysters, pls) and shops of Omotesandō shopping street.
    • Join your group for an okonomiyaki (kinda like hibachi) dinner at a local spot.
  • Day 11: Travel to Osaka

    You’ve already been to the biggest city in the world, and now it’s time to visit another in the top 10. Today you head to Osaka—one of the liveliest and most dynamic cities on the planet.

    Today's highlights:

    • Stop at Osaka Castle to see the ancient side of Japan’s second most populous city.
    • Taste Takoyaki, a fried Japanese snack that may or may not involve octopus.
    • Check into your accommodations and get to know your neighborhood.
  • Day 12: Free day in Osaka or optional Nara monastery experience

    Today, do whatever suits your mood. Continue to dive into the hustle slash bustle of the Osaka streets, or find zen at a peaceful, Buddhist monastery.

    Free time suggestions

    Osaka Aquarium: Here, each tank represents a different region of the Pacific Rim, so you’ll learn about what animals share the water, and where.

    Universal Studios Osaka: Enjoy wild rides, live shows, and attractions based on beloved movies and characters (hint hint: Harry Potter).

    Nara monastery experience (extra cost)

    See a massive Buddha statue at Todaiji Temple, then visit a monastery for zen meditation and lunch.

  • 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.

    Today's highlights:

    • 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

    Sayōnara, tomodachi!

    Translation: goodbye, friends! Your next destination awaits—home. But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?



    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 114 authentic traveler reviews
  • I Love Japan

      Luis, traveled Sep. 2023

    Wow, what an amazing experience! Couldn't have asked for more. Maybe just more days to keep exploring Japan. An amazing country full of the nicest people!

  • Would Go Again!

      Anonymous, traveled Aug. 2023

    Had such an amazing time on this trip! Mari was amazing and extremely knowledgeable / helpful with anything to do in Japan. Would definitely recommend this trip if its your first time going to Japan and you were scared to book everything/go alone, like I was! I was glad we got to see so many huge tourist attractions during this tour, it made me feel like I a... See more

  • Amazing Trip

      Jacquelynn, traveled Jul. 2023

    Japan was absolutely amazing! The people were so kind, the food was delicious, and the views were spectacular. There is a ton of walking and it was very hot and humid as I went in July but it was totally worth it in my opinion. I was a bit worried about traveling with a huge group (40) but everything was well planned and our tour director Ai made sure we all... See more

  • The trip of a lifetime!

      Allison, traveled Jul. 2023

    Ai was the best tour guide ever! She is so knowledgeable and made us feel really welcome and at home. The trip is fast paced and you get to see so much in just two weeks. I especially loved being in Kyoto during Gion Matsuri. Japan is so rich in culture and unique experiences. I already want to go back!

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Dates: Dec. 4, 2024 – Dec. 17, 2024December 4, 2024 – December 17, 2024

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