Our Japan vacations
Our vacations to Japan start out in cities like Tokyo before taking you out to explore islands and countryside that give you a broader understanding of the country. Walk the Nakasendo Way, staying in locally run ryokan inns that serve seasonal home-cooked feasts. Cycle between gleaming rice paddies, shrines and little-visited villages in the satoyama alongside local guides who give real insight into this biodiverse landscape. One of the main joys of Japan vacations? Traveling by public transport, including the legendary bullet trains. They’re not just one of the most environmentally sound ways of traveling – they’re also the most fun.
Our top Japan vacations
From US $1150 to US $18055 days ex flights
Self-guided walking along Japan’s ancient Nakasendo trail
From US $1395 to US $400010 days ex flights
Shikoku 88 Pilgimage route self-guided walking
From US $5499 to US $670012 days ex flights
Throw yourself into the whirl of Japan
Small group2024: 28 Mar, 30 Mar, 1 Apr, 3 Apr, 4 Apr, 6 Apr, 10 Apr, 13 Apr, 27 Jun, 28 Jun, 30 Jun, 2 Jul, 4 Jul, 6 Jul, 10 Jul, 13 Jul, 15 Jul, 22 Jul, 27 Jul, 29 Jul, 19 Aug, 19 Sep, 21 Sep, 23 Sep, 26 Sep, 28 Sep, 30 Sep, 2 Oct, 19 Oct
From US $2488 to US $302610 days ex flights
An independent tour, perfect for first time visitors!
About our Japan vacations
Culture on a vacation in Japan
The culture of Japan is a highlight of any visit; from the ancient art of the Japanese tea ceremony to sushi etiquette, and from Gion, Kyoto's geisha district, to enlightening walks along the Golden Route, following in the footsteps of samurai warriors. Other highlights of Japan’s ever-intriguing culture include meditation, solitude and vegetarian cuisine at a mountain monastic retreat, and the pleasures of staying in a ryokan. These traditional country inns often have an onsen (hot spring bath) attached, and the intricate rituals involved in taking a dip could almost fill a guidebook on their own.
The Cherry blossom in Japan
Japan’s iconic sakura (cherry blossom) bloom from south to north as the climate warms, draping parks and gardens the length of the archipelago in delightful shades of pink and white, and prompting hanami (cherry blossom-viewing parties) throughout the spring. The cherry blossoms have been revered in Japan for centuries, and have inspired the works of countless poets, artists and philosophers. Since different regions all-too-briefly come into bloom at different times, it pays to learn the best time to see the cherry blossom in Japan and how to avoid the crowds.
Walking in Japan
Walking in Japan is a unique combination of history, spirituality, and remote mountain landscapes. Long distance routes vein the islands, including the Nakasendo Trail along which samurai once escorted their masters between Kyoto and Tokyo. The Kumano Kodo Trail is a legendary pilgrimage route lined with ancient shrines, while walkers ticking off Buddhist temples on the Shikoku Pilgrimage are easily identifiable in their white robes. Both take you through spectacular alpine scenery. For those with less time, there are also many shorter Japan walking vacations across Honshu, the romantic Nikko National Park a sublime place to escape the Tokyo crowds.
Bullet trains on Japan vacations
Not quite as fast as a speeding bullet but fast enough to acquire the nickname, Japan’s famous shinkansen network spans the country, enabling you to get between cities comfortably, rapidly and cost-effectively too. Almost all Japan vacations will feature travel by rail, with some getting around entirely on the train, and tour operators should be able to assist you in organising a Japanese Rail Pass (unlimited travel for seven days). Watching as the scenery zips past the windows of these sleek, modern and accessible trains is as essential to vacations here as sushi and shopping.
Types of tours & vacations in Japan
Exploring Japan as part of sociable small group vacations is a fun way to embrace the unique culture and traditions here, but there are also tailor made tours for those wanting more flexibility in their itinerary. And don’t fall for the misconception that traveling in Japan is always expensive – it’s never cheap but there are plenty of budget Japan vacations that are more forgiving on the bank account. A perfect example is walking vacations that tend to avoid cities, keeping to inns and restaurants in rural areas and offering fewer opportunities to blow your cash on gourmet sushi or high-spec gadgets.
Further reading about Japan
Our Japan walking vacations guide goes into greater detail on some of the classic long distance routes and pilgrimage trails that thread the archipelago. Japan is an unforgettable destination for family vacations, with Studio Ghibli a charming introduction to anime for the kids, ancient castles and samurai lore to uncover, and endless bowls of ramen to slurp through. Delicious Japanese cuisine is just one aspect of our Japan cultural vacations guide which also covers sumo stables, cherry blossoms and geishas. And for an introduction to getting around by bullet trains, our Japan railway vacations travel guide is an essential resource.