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.
Arrive at any time.
There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.
Take a CEO-led walking tour of eclectic modern Tokyo from the hub of Shinjuku to Shibuya through to Harajuku. The rest of the day is free for exploring more of the city.
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.
Enjoy a day-trip to quaint Matsumoto and visit one of Japan's most treasured castles. Return to Nagano and explore historic Zenkoji Temple.
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 Onsens. Settle in and relax with a dip in the healing waters of these Japanese style hot springs, and dine on traditional fare.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the Ryokan this morning before a long travel day. In the early evening, arrive in the quaint city of Hagi, a former castle town that boasts feudal architecture. Take part in a welcome ceremony with the local residents, and meet your host family at a community homestay, a G Adventures for Good project. Get to know each other as you enjoy dinner together.
Explore rural Hagi on a guided morning cycle and spot samurai architecture along the way. Enjoy free time to wander the narrow streets or opt to visit some of the beautiful old samurai and merchant residences which are open to the public. In the late afternoon, return to your homestay and enjoy dinner with your host family.
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.
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 late afternoon, travel to Kyoto for two nights in the traditional heart of Japan.
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.
Want to feel like a real Samurai? Pre-book the Samurai Spirit Full Kembu Lesson on the checkout page to include this optional activity on your tour or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.
Depart at any time.
We highly recommend booking post-nights to explore more of this beautiful city.
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Trip Name: Backroads of Japan
Duration: 11 Days
From Price: $3,887
Supplier Tour ID: AJBR.B/250971
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