Japan small group vacation by bullet train

“Starting and finishing in Tokyo, spend two nights in the country’s top spots, with plenty of visits included and three nights in gorgeous traditional inns.”

Highlights

Tokyo | Hakone NP | Kamikochi National Park | Osaka | Kyoto | Tea ceremony with maiko | overnight stays in traditional ryokan inns | Hot spring baths | Takayama | Matsumoto

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
27 May 2017
£ 3245
excluding flights
Full
 
29 Jul 2017
£ 2850
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 29 Jul 2017 departure
19 Aug 2017
£ 2850
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Aug 2017 departure
16 Sep 2017
£ 2950
excluding flights
On Request
Click here to enquire about or book the 16 Sep 2017 departure
14 Oct 2017
£ 3245
excluding flights
Full
 
Our top tip:
Don’t be shy of hot spring baths. Learn the etiquette, immerse and converse.
Trip type:
Small group, max 14 people.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Surcharge for single rooms.
Accomm:
Good standard hotels and 2 nights in traditional ryokan inns.
Included:
Accomm., tour leader, rail and other transport passes, most activities.
Meals:
All breakfasts, 7 dinners included. Budget £3 for fast street food, £8-10 for modest dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Japan small group vacation by bullet train

Environment

Japan is probably most famous for its cities; neon-spangled skyscrapers, crowded zebra crossings, the bullet trains and human-esque robots. But on this tour we also head for the countryside, particularly the unspoiled landscape of Kamikochi National Park high in the Japanese Alps.

We’ll be following in the footsteps of Banryu, a priest who was the first person to scale the Kamikochi mountains to worship nature according to the Buddhist doctrines. On our tour we’ll continue in this tradition, respecting the Kamikochi country code: not to disturb animals, not to damage wild plants and not to leave any litter.

Since 1909 regulations for the preservation of mountain plants in Kamikochi has been enforced and the Japanese rock ptarmigan, antelope and char are all protected animal species. In 1965 the local community established “Kamikochi Preservation”, a volunteer group. By behaving in a responsible manner during our stay in Kamikochi, we’ll be supporting the group’s work and helping to maintain the virgin nature of the national park for future generations.

Community

We hate the idea of traveling in a ‘tour bus bubble’, talking only to your fellow travelers and not interacting with the communities we pass through. That’s why this tour is conducted entirely by public transport. Hopping on the Hiroshima trams and the Tokyo subway, or sitting next to commuters on the bullet train gives you plenty of opportunity to talk to local Japanese people. The Japanese are excellent hosts; polite, welcoming and proud of their traditional culture. So why not ask a local how to write your name in Japanese or fold an origami crane?

On this tour we’ll spend 6 nights in traditional accommodation known as ryokan or minshuku. Here we’ll experience authentic Japanese living. Taking our shoes of at the door, we must wear slippers around the inn and just socks on the tatami mat floors in our guestrooms. Our beds are thick futon mattresses laid on the tatami. In Kamikochi there are no en-suite bathrooms; instead we’ll use the communal baths (men and women separately). Etiquette dictates that you must wash yourself fully before climbing into the big tub for a soak. And strictly birthday suits only! But don’t worry, the tour leader will explain all these social rules and the reason behind them to deepen our understanding of Japanese culture.

Reviews of Japan small group vacation by bullet train

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 26 Nov 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Autumn colours were wonderful and the temples were most interesting.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Need to be reasonably fit for all the walking.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Money spent locally and entry fees to parks.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent, with attention to detail, which made the tour very easy for the group. Hotels very good.

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Reaching the summit of Mount Fuji Kamikochi National Park
Hiroshima Peace Park
Traveling on the Shinkansen and using the impressive Japanese railway system

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Pack as light as possible and keep an open mind with regard to local food and customs

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, definitely

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very good itinerary that included cities and countryside and a variety of types of
accommodation. There was plenty of optional free time to explore one your own if you wanted. Brian, the tour leader was conscientious and helpful, we were particularly impressed that he met us at our hotel on arrival in Japan in spite of the very late hour.

Reviewed on 31 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


We particularly liked Takayama. We had the experience of staying in Ryokan and were fully exposed to Japanese breakfasts (which we are not keen on but it is good to have the experience). We visited the local heritage folk centre where traditional houses and ways of life are collected together, and then had a ramble to the ruins of an old castle (about5 KM with longer options available). When we returned to the town we were able to follow some interesting town trails taking us away from the crowds to see Temples, Shrines and houses in daily use.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


With a good appreciation of the background to Japanese culture, Shinto, confusionism and Bhudism: traditional role of Samurai, Castles, Emperor. The politics of the Unification of Japan in the mid 17th century and the opening up of Japan from 1850's . This will help put all you see into context. Use the IC card not just for the metro in Tokyo but also for your purchases in the Family shops and 7/11 's to purchase drinks and snacks. Do try the Onsen particularly if you go to Hakone.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Probably benefited locals. Would have prefered our leader to be Japanese.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very good itinary, Good logistics. Our tour leader was good company but may have been inexperienced. We were not left fans of Japanese food although we found the raw fish good, the rice , traditional soup, noodles and toffu inclined to be bland and monotonous.

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It's so difficult as there was something special about everywhere we went. The early morning in Nagano at the temple, and the first experience of an onsen - which was local, relaxing and well worth overcoming any physical shyness.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bear in mind that Japan in October is still pretty warm, around UK summer temperatures, so light clothing is most useful. It's easier to find cash machines at 7-11, Citibank and post office outlets than I had thought from reading the literature. There seemed to be a 7-11 or more in almost every town.


3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The benefit to locals would be that we were purchasing food, gifts etc locally, and most hotels give you the option of not changing sheets and towels daily.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A ten plus. The whole trip was fantastic, from the neon lights of Tokyo to the countryside around Takayama. David, our tour leader was excellent, both organised and willing us to strike out on our own to experience and find what we each wanted to do and see. It's the first tour group I've have ever been on and I feel very fortunate to have landed with such an excellent group and guide.

Read the operator's response here:

Many thanks for your comments Catherine, and welcome home! Glad you had such a fantastic time on our Japan Unmasked group tour. We pride ourselves on the quality of our Tour Leaders, as we know they really make the trip. Well done David for looking after you so well. We would love to welcome you back to Japan one day to see more! Or perhaps one of the other Asian destinations we offer. Harry Sargant..

Reviewed on 25 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The beauty of the countryside, the friendliness of the people. Exciting and different food experiences.


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Travel lightly.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We visited craftsmen enabling them to showcase and sell their beautiful crafts which directly benefited the local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was fabulous and everything and more than we expected

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


the whole vacation was memorable as we went from the busy metropolis of Tokyo to the quiet of the Japanese Alps.
The travel was easier than expected due to the Japanese efficiency and all accommodation was satisfactory.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Not as expensive as expected and Wi-Fi more available than anticipated.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Local travel and local businesses were encouraged.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Amanda,

Thank you for your comments and I am very glad you had such a great time! Thank you very much for traveling with us and we would be more than happy to welcome you back to Japan sometime in the future!

All the best,

Katharina

Popular similar vacations

Japan tailor made tour on a shoestring

Japan tailor made tour on a shoestring

Japan's classic sights on a shoestring

From US $1320 8 days excluding flights

Japan golden route vacation

Japan golden route vacation

9 night classic Japan trip: Tokyo, Fuji, Kyoto

From US $2420 10 days excluding flights

Japan cultural immersion vacation

Japan cultural immersion vacation

Cultural activites and traditional experiences galore

From £2915 15 days excluding flights

China and Japan vacation, Beijing to Tokyo

China and Japan vacation, Beijing to Tokyo

Incredible journey showcasing the best of two ancient cultures

From US $4999 - US $5399 18 days excluding flights

Convert currencies