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Backroads of Japan

Wander off the beaten path away from Japan's big cities and popular sites with this 11-day tour that takes you to destinations that are often overlooked. Visit the treasured castle of Matsumoto and learn about samurai culture, relax in a traditional hot spring-fed onsen, and explore the quaint city of Hagi by bicycle, and settle in at a community homestay to truly immerse yourself in the local culture. Of course, there's time before and after to explore Tokyo and Kyoto, making this trip a well-rounded glimpse into Japan's past and present.

  • Duration: 11 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: AJBR/226397
  • Starts: Tokyo, Japan
  • Finishes: Kyoto, Japan
  • Age requirement: 12 +
You will Visit
  • Tokyo
  • Nagano
  • Ōtsu
  • Hagi
  • Tottori
  • Kyoto

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Tokyo

Arrive at any time.
There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.

02

Day 2: Tokyo

Take a CEO-led walking tour of eclectic modern Tokyo from the hub of Shinjuku to Shibuya through Yoyogi Park and Harajuku. The rest of the day is free for exploring more of the city.

03

Day 3: Tokyo/Nagano

Journey to Nagano, located in the Japanese Alps and host city of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Discover the world-famous Jigokudani Monkey Park and watch Japanese snow monkeys bathing in the natural hot springs.

04

Day 4: Nagano

Enjoy a day-trip to quaint Matsumoto and visit one of Japan's most treasured castles. Return to Nagano and explore historic Zenkoji Temple.

05

Day 5: Nagano/Otsu

Travel to Otsu in Shiga prefecture. Located on the banks of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake, the area is known for the Ogoto hot springs. Settle in and relax with a dip in the healing waters of the onsen and dine on traditional fare.

06

Day 6: Otsu/Hagi

Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the inn this morning before a long travel day. In the evening, arrive in the quaint city of Hagi, a former castle town that boasts feudal architecture.

07

Day 7: Hagi

Explore rural Hagi on a guided morning cycle and spot samurai architecture along the way. Later, travel to your community homestay, a G Adventures for Good project. Meet your host family and get to know each other as you enjoy dinner together.

08

Day 8: Hagi/Tottori

Bid farewell to your host family after enjoying breakfast together. Later, travel to Miho-misumi by train, taking in scenic views along the way. Learn the art of making "washi," a UNESCO-recognized traditional Japanese paper before continuing to the seaside town of Tottori.

09

Day 9: Tottori/Kyoto

Spend the morning exploring Tottori's scenic sand dunes, some reaching 50m (164 ft) in height. After, visit the local fish market and opt for a fresh seafood lunch. In the evening, travel to Kyoto for two nights in the traditional heart of Japan.

10

Day 10: Kyoto

Visit the iconic Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, famed for an impressive 10,000 red torii gates. This afternoon, enjoy free time in this picturesque city. Opt to experience zen gardens, teahouses, shrines, and local gift shops – and maybe even spot a real-life geisha.
Kyoto is home to over 2,000 temples, including some of the most magnificent in the country, dating back centuries. Use free time to continue exploring, the options are endless – the city also boasts museums, castles, and traditional gardens – or opt to visit neighbouring Nara or Osaka.

11

Day 11: Kyoto

Depart at any time.
We highly recommend booking post-nights to explore more of this beautiful city.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • G Adventures for Good: Hagi Community Homestay, Hagi Hands-on: Traditional Paper-making Lesson, Mihomisumi-eki
    • Modern Tokyo walking tour
    • Zenkoji Temple visit (Nagano)
    • Jigokudani Monkey Park visit (Matsumoto)
    • Matsumoto Castle visit
    • Hagi cycling tour
    • Tottori sand dunes visit
    • Tottori fish market visit
    • Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine visit
    • Japan Rail (JR) pass (7 days)
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels (8 nts), traditional inn (1 nt, shared facilities), homestay (1 nt, multi-share)
    • 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners
    Transport
    • Bus, bullet train, local train, bicycle, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout
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Tour Highlights:
  • Spot snow monkeys in Nagano
  • Relax in the healing waters of an onsen
  • Explore a 16th-century samurai castle
  • Cycle through the rural town of Hagi
  • Experience a homestay in a traditional Japanese community.