Japan - a perfect blend of old and new, with endless sites to see and so much to do! Join our 13-day tour and let an expert guide show you the best of Japan.
Stopping at top attractions as well as lesser-known areas, this tour perfectly blends the must-see hotspots with a more authentic experience. With an affordable itinerary, this tour is perfect for any one looking for a fun-filled backpacking experience.
Japan Budget Tour- Day 1 – Tokyo:
On the first day of your budget Japan tour, you will meet your Adventure Leader in the lobby of the Tokyo hostel in the morning, and drop off your luggage, have a briefing, discuss the itinerary and get to know your fellow travellers.
After your briefing you will head to the Asakusa District and visit the Sensō-Ji temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple.
At lunchtime, you will feast on the freshest sashimi you’ve ever eaten! This will take place at Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji Outer Market, where you’ll also be amazed by the variety of fish on offer and catch a glimpse of the famous blue-fin tuna. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry, your Adventure Leader will let you know where you can grab a bite to eat.
After lunch, you will soak up incredible views from the top of Metropolitan Government Building and then take part in some optional activities – either experience one of Japan’s national obsessions (baseball, at a local batting cage) or kick back and relax with a drink or bathe with the locals at a nearby bathhouse.
Day 2 – Tokyo:
In the morning, you’ll discover the Japanese art of sushi-making with an unforgettable lesson from a sushi chef, and then sample your creations for lunch!
Later, you will visit Akihabara, Japan’s ‘electric town’ and hub of Anime, which is also home to Japan’s most famous J-pop group, AKB48. You will find venues specialising in manga and games such as the Tokyo Anime Center. Here, you can take part in an optional ‘Made in Tokyo’ experience at one of the Akihabara’s maid cafes.
If you’re up for something fun and different, you’ll also have the option to bring your favourite video game to life with Street Kart! This activity allows you to choose a costume such as Mario or Luigi and race down the streets of Tokyo! (Please note: to participate, you must secure an international drivers permit valid in Japan before the start of the trip).
In the evening, you can head to Golden Gai and experience Japanese nightlife!
Day 3 – Tokyo:
Start the morning with a trip to the unmissable Tokyo Imperial Palace – an abundance of gardens and galleries, with guided tours and castle ruins. Surrounding the home of the Emperor, the grounds are perfectly maintained and are a top attraction for visitors to the capital. Here, you’ll learn more about why Japan’s Imperial Family is so unique.
It’s another afternoon of traditional-modern contrast in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. Your first stop will be Harajuku, which is Tokyo’s fashion district, you will encounter punks, goths, technicolour hair – anything goes in Harajuku. Take in the industrial vibes and if you want, grab some hair dye and get involved!
After this, you will make your way to Shibuya to visit the Meiji Shrine. This shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.
Then, you’ll head to the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world and iconic landmark, Shibuya Crossing. This is where you will find the Hachiko Statue. After, why not stop by the Cat Café MoCHA to make some furry friends while enjoying a cup of tea and slice of cake?
If you want to experience some more nightlife, you can explore the streets of Roppongi. If not, you can have a relaxing evening at the hostel.
Day 4 – Tokyo:
First thing in the morning, you will head to Ryōgoku to discover Tokyo’s fascinating history at Edo-Tokyo Museum. If you want, you will also have the option to visit the Sumo Museum, as Ryōgoku is known as Tokyo’s Sumo District. Why not learn about the history of the Japanese sport?
In the afternoon, you’ll have the option to learn the ancient art of Samurai and have a chance to see a live sword demonstration in Tokyo’s Samurai Museum. The Samurai Museum not only exhibits samurai swords, armor and guns, but also allows visitors to join in by trying on samurai outfits and having a go at the sport themselves!
If you’re into the latest technology trends, you also have the option to experience a Robot Show in the evening.
Day 5 – Tokyo & Kamakura:
Off to a new destination: Kamakura! After brunch in Tokyo, it’s time to say goodbye to the modern capital and hop on a train to Japan’s medieval center. Kamakura is a seaside Japanese city south of Tokyo. As the political centre of medieval Japan, today, Kamakura is a resort town with many Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines.
Upon arrival you have the option to rent a surfboard and head to the beach, as the hostel is moments away from the coast, or you can make the most of this opportunity to sunbathe. There are beachside bars where you can relax, enjoy a drink, and watch the sunset later on.
Later on, you will explore some of the town’s many ancient shrines, and then hike over to Kotoku-in Temple to marvel at the Great Buddha statue, which stands at nearly 45ft tall, even after a tsunami, and is made of solid bronze! Afterwards, you will travel to Enoshima, a small offshore island where you can spend some time exploring the temples or you can kick back in one of the many beach front bars and watch the sun go down.
Day 6 – Hakone:
Say goodbye to Kamakura as you hop on a series of trains and buses to Hakone station. When you arrive you will hike along the Old Tokaido and enjoy lunch near Moto-Hakone. Hakone used to be a checkpoint to control traffic along the Tokaido, the highway which linked Tokyo with Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period. Today, a passage of the old Tokaido is located along the shore of Lake Ashi.
Later, you will climb aboard a sightseeing cruise with a twist – it’s a pirate ship! From the deck of this ship, you’ll cross the Lake Ashi’s clear blue waters and, on a cloudless day, get an unforgettable view of the famous Mount Fuji.
You’ll take the Hakone Ropeway for a great cable car journey that drops you at Owakudani, an active volcanic zone where you can try black eggs – a local delicacy coloured by the sulphuric water they’re boiled in.
Spend the evening soaking in the sulphuric water of a traditional Japanese outdoor bath, called an ‘Onsen’. (Please note: those with tattoos may not be able to enter an ‘onsen’ in Japan as tattoos are associated with gang culture – you can read more about it here)
Change into your kimono after a long hot bath ready to learn about the art of Japanese rice wine during a Sake tasting session! You’ll listen to an introduction about how sake is made, the different varieties and top it off with tasting opportunities to truly understand the art.
Day 7 – Kyoto, Arashiyama
Next, you’re off to Kyoto via bullet train. You’ll zoom across the country, covering around 273 miles in two hours, leaving plenty of time to experience Kyoto later in the day and evening. Later, you’ll head across to the Arashiyama Monkey Park. It’s a tough climb up, but at the top, you can feed monkeys or simply enjoy the panorama of Kyoto below.
After, you’ll visit the Tenryu-Ji Temple, one of the most important Zen temples. With this, you’ll walk around the temple’s gardens, that were designed in the 14th century and are a real show-stopper.
Finally, you’ll hike through Arashiyama’s famous Bamboo Forest. In the evening you will have the option to attend a live geisha performance, which also features a tea ceremony, puppet show, traditional music and more. For something quintessentially Kyoto, you can also wander through Pontocho alley, full of lanterns and intimate wood-panelled restaurants – quietly sip on sake and look out for geishas wandering past!
Day 8: Nara, Kyoto:
Start the day by wandering the hillside streets to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which leads into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari.
Head to Nara- this treasure trove of cultural delights has a feast of highlights to gorge upon. We’ll wander through Nara Park, the grounds of the Kofuku Temple, Himuro Shrine, Todai Ji.
That evening, it’s time for ramen and Purikura. This is a classic Japanese experience – a photo booth with a whole array of gizmos. Then let your hair down and enjoy some Japanese karaoke with the rest of your group!
Day 9 – Kyoto:
Take a breather and relax your vocal cords after the previous night’s exertions – you have a free day to enjoy!
If you feel you have the energy, we would suggest taking a look at the majestic temples that adorn the Philosopher’s path.
Alternatively, you could check out the International Manga Museum. Fancy ending the day with some art? Pick up Japanese calligraphy skills with a lesson from a master
Day 10 – Kyoto & Hiroshima:
Today you will cycle around Kyoto like a local! First, you’ll ride over to a Zen temple where you can discover your inner peace with meditation led by a Buddhist monk.
Continuing your Kyoto adventure, admire an iconic image of Kyoto: The Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-Ji. Walk around the mirror pond and prepare to be mesmerised by the shimmering golden reflection of the pavilion on the water.
After lunch, jump on your bike and cycle around to the Imperial Palace, before bidding farewell to this magical city. In the afternoon, you’ll take another bullet train and venture further west for Hiroshima.
Day 11 – Hiroshima:
Hiroshima, a modern city on Japan’s Honshu Island, was largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during World War II. Today, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park commemorates the 1945 event. Here, you will find out how this city came to suffer the consequences of the world’s first atomic bomb, but you will also learn that Hiroshima is now the standard bearer for a peaceful and nuclear-free world.
After a train ride and a short ferry trip to Miyajima Island, you’ll reach the Itsukushima shrine. To avoid angering the gods on the island, the main temple buildings were built on stilts on the shores of the island. Just offshore, you will see an enormous torii gate standing in the sea. At low tide, you can walk across the sand to take a closer look.
Make your way back to the hostel and enjoy a free evening to relax.
Day 12 – Osaka:
Today, another bullet train will take you to Osaka – you’ll arrive in time for lunch in the Shinsaibashi area.
After enjoying your typically Japanese lunch of yakitori, ramen, sushi or whatever takes your fancy, it’s a short subway ride to the Osaka Castle. The castle is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks as it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the 16th century. Take a stroll around the castle that rises above the moat, and don’t forget to check out the 9-level dungeon.
Time for a free afternoon! You can choose to explore more of Osaka on your own, have the ultimate Japanese shopping experience in Shinsaibashi or have a rest.
Your evening you will start the night off by playing off to become The Dragon Trip Arcade Challenge Champion, or eat, drink, game and enjoy the endless Dotonbori and Namba night scenes.
Tonight, you will sleep at a capsule hotel – small, private and quintessentially Japanese.
Day 13 – Osaka:
Say goodbye to your fellow Dragons over brunch in Osaka before catching your final bullet train back to Tokyo – where you’ll arrive at 4.30pm.
- Boat / Ferry
- Internal Travel
- Trekking / Hiking
- Accomodation Included
- Hostel - Dormitory
- Hostel - Room
All hostel accommodation, internal travel, tour guide, taxes and charges, included activities, 24/7 support
All year round.