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Land of the Rising Sun

Trip type: 
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 
Avg user rating: 
Awaiting reviews
Asia, Japan | 15 days
Trip code: 
What's included: 

Transport - Bus, Train, Ferry, Boat, Cable car

Accommodation - Guesthouse (5 nts), Ryokan (7 nts), Hotel (1 nt)

Meals - 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Trip Highlights: 
Tokyo & bullet train
Cultural Kyoto
Hiroshima’s Peace Park
see full itinerary >>

Trip notes

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Trip guide

Essential information regarding your trip, including map, itinerary & what to pack

Itinerary options

Main Description

Japan presents something of a conundrum - it is both familiar and foreign at the same time. This trip provides glimpses through the keyhole of a nation in flux, coping with the transition from being a manufacturing giant to becoming a mature regional power of the Pacific Rim. You make your way between some of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world, which cover the lowland plains, into the mountains and to historic towns with medieval pasts. You step with ease from the 21st century back into the 10th century, and then re-emerge in another entirely different era. Great wooden temples, the largest in the world, contain effigies of Buddha which have been revered for centuries, yet stand not too far removed from modern skyscrapers of concrete, stainless steel and smoked glass.

Adventure Level

Graded ‘gentle’. There is only the optional activity to visit Miyajima [near Hiroshima] where the walk to the top of the Island can take up to 3 hours, however most people just catch the cable car. Travelling by train is amazingly fast, so you can cover large distances with relative ease and for some journeys we’ll transfer your luggage for you so you don’t have to carry it. Heat and humidity can be tiring in summertime. Note: Clients are required to obtain a Japanese Rail Pass voucher prior to arrival in Japan; we will send details nearer to your date of travel of how this is easily arranged.

This trip is operated by our sister company Intrepid.  You may find there are international travellers on the holiday and a varied age range.

Narita Airport is approximately 60 km from Tokyo and a taxi will cost you approximately US$250.

An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure.

For a cheaper option we recommend you take the train. It's not complicated and there are plenty of people around to help you if you need to ask for directions. The train station is located under the airport, very close to the exit from immigration.

If you have a Japan Rail Pass and want to validate it you can do this before you get on the train. (Before you validate your rail pass, though, consider any travelling you might want to do after the trip concludes in Kyoto.) Then take the JR Narita Express train to Tokyo Station (1 hr) and from there change on to the Yamanote loop line (green line) going toward Ueno. This is also a JR line so you can use your JR Pass. From Tokyo Station, Ueno is the 4th stop and should take about 8 minutes. On arrival at Ueno Station, follow signs to the Shinobazu exit. Don't go out the central exit. If you find yourself in a large concourse with a Starbucks coffee shop and an Anderson´s bakery, you´ve gone the wrong way.

At the Shinobazu exit of Ueno Station, you should see a Spanish restaurant on your right. Stand with your back to the Spanish restaurant. You should see a crosswalk in front of you and one on your right. Cross the crosswalk on your right and turn left after you get across the street. Walk about 50m. You should see a staircase on your right that leads to Ueno Park. Don´t go up the stairs. Walk another 15m and you will see the entrance to Keisei Ueno Station. The station name is written on a large sign in white letters on a blue background.

Go down into the station and walk past the ticket gates you´ll see you your right. Go up the stairs and out the Ikenohata Exit. The Kinuya Hotel is right in front of you across the street.

If you do not have a Japan Rail pass or don´t want it validated yet we suggest you take the Keisei line train and get off at the final stop, Keisei Ueno. The fare is 1,920 yen for the express Skyliner train (about 1 hour) or 1,000 yen for the normal train (about 1.5 hours). When you get off at Keisei Ueno go out the ticket gates (there is only one set of ticket gates at this station) and turn right. Go up the stairs and out the Ikenohata Exit. The Kinuya hotel is across the road at the top of the stairs.

Your leader can help you validate your rail pass on Day 2 in Tokyo. This will enable you to use the JR system to reach either Narita or Kansai airport from Kyoto (considerably more expensive than Narita Airport to Ueno Keisei on the Keisei Line) on Day 14 or Day 15 for those staying an extra night in Kyoto at the end of the tour. If you are flying in on Day 1 - arrival day - and flying out Day 14 - departure day - you can validate your rail pass at Narita Airport on arrival and still use the JR system to reach either Narita or Kansai airport from Kyoto.

Although it is our intention to operate the itinerary as printed in the brochure and detailed below, it may be necessary to make some changes as a result of alterations to flight schedules, climatic conditions, limitations of infrastructure or other operational factors. As a consequence, the order or location of overnight stops may vary from those outlined. Included meals are indicated in the daily itinerary i.e. BLD = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

The decision to partake in any activity not listed as an optional activity is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to The Adventure Company.

Top Tips

Top Tips

There is traditional etiquette that surrounds some public places in Japan. You will be expected to remove your shoes when entering some temples – the usual indicator is the presence of a tatami mat on the floor. While in Onsens (hot springs) bathing is done naked, in ryokans you will usually be offered a kimono to wear (although this is not compulsory). Your Group Leader will be on hand to advise on etiquette during your trip

Suggested reading:
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden.
Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata

Useful phrases:
How do you do? Hajime-mashite
Thank you. Arigato
You’re welcome. Do-itashi-mashite
What is this? Kore-wa nan-desu-ka?
Where is the toilet? Toire-wa doko-desu-ka?

Responsible Travel

Responsible Travel

Your flight will have the largest environmental impact on your holiday. Climate Care offers you the opportunity to offset your carbon dioxide emissions with set amounts from £5. Since the increase in popularity of bottled water, many countries are experiencing a problem of litter especially where adequate recycling is not available

Please could you try, where possible, to use purification tablets or filters for water or buy bigger bottles of water between group members and decant into your individual water bottles.

This trip uses lots of local buses, trains, boats and trams, plus two nights are spent at a ryokan - Japanese style accommodation with Japanese style food and thus a very traditional experience! You'll also visit a couple of markets in Tokyo, and put money into the hands of local traders. Your stay in a temple will provide income to the monks (the temples are run by them and the money goes directly to them) and gives you a unique insight into this incredible life through accommodation and traditional food.

Packing List

Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store.

Lightweight cottons or poly-cottons for summer
Shorts & T-shirts are quite acceptable - especially in summer
Warm fleece for the mountains in Spring/Autumn 
Gloves in Spring/Autumn
Lightweight waterproof jacket
Lightweight walking/trail boots 
Comfortable trainers or lightweight trail boots/shoes for city walking
Sandals for relaxing
Sun-hat for summer
Sunglasses for summer
High factor sun-screen & lipsalve for summer
Small personal first aid kit

It will be cooler in the mountains, particularly during the Spring and Autumn, so ensure you have plenty of layers during this time.  

Please note that the use or possession of Vicks inhalers and some other common prescription and over-the-counter medicines (e.g. for allergies and sinus problems or even certain mild painkillers, such as those containing certain levels of codeine) are banned under Japan’s strictly enforced anti-stimulant drugs law.


For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase). 
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.


We advise you bring around $400 with you for meals not included in your trip.

Optional Excursions

A selection of optional activities are listed below. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.Many sights and attractions are closed on Mondays.

  • Hamarikyu Garden, Tokyo - JPY300.00
  • Shinjuku Garden, Tokyo - JPY200.00
  • Edo Museum, Tokyo - JPY300.00
  • Bus to Chuzenji Lake (return), Nikko - JPY2200.00
  • Imperial Villa, Nikko - JPY500.00
  • Checkpoint Museum, Hakone - JPY500.00
  • Onsen (hot spring bath), Hakone - JPY1200.00
  • Open Air Museum, Hakone - JPY1600.00
  • Bike hire (per day), Takayama - JPY800.00
  • Merchant House, Takayama - JPY700.00
  • Festival Float Museum, Takayama - JPY820.00
  • Peace Park and Museum, Hiroshima - JPY40.00
  • Tram to Miyajima (return), Hiroshima - JPY450.00
  • Itsukushima-jinja Shrine, Miyajima - JPY300.00
  • Bike hire (per day), Kyoto - JPY800.00
  • Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto - Free
  • Sanjusangendo Temple, Kyoto - JPY600.00
  • Home-cooking class, Kyoto - JPY3800.00
  • Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto - JPY400.00
  • Tea Ceremony, Kyoto - JPY2000.00

Rooming Arrangements

For most trips prices are based on sharing a twin room. Therefore, if you’re a solo traveller you’ll be paired with someone from the group of the same sex, unless you decide to pay a single room supplement.  Details of this supplement can be found on the Extensions & Extras tab on our website. Occasionally we use multiple-share or dormitory accommodation – particularly when stating in remote places.

Rooming arrangements – Family trips

If you’re a family of 2 you’ll be accommodated in a twin room. If you’re a family of three you will usually be accommodated in a triple room. If you’re a family of four you’ll probably be accommodated in two twin rooms and we’ll do our best to ensure they’re as near as possible. We cannot always guarantee a triple room. If a triple room is not available, an adult from your family will automatically be roomed with a fellow adult member of the group of the same sex. If you prefer to have a room of your own we can sometimes offer a single room for the entire trip or on selected nights within a trip. However a single room supplement applies, ask our Travel Consultants for details.



Currency - Japan

Japanese yen. Any major currency can be changed with ease. ATMs are fairly widespread and are a convenient way of obtaining cash. Debit and credit cards are widely accepted - even for relatively small amounts. There are approximately 168 yen to one British pound (as at March 2014). Money exchange must be made at an authorised bank or money changer: it is illegal to exchange money in the street.

Local Costs - Japan

Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment. 
Coffee/tea UK£1.00
Soft drink £1.50
Medium beer £2.00
Bottle of wine £10.00
Local snack lunch £5.00
3-course set dinner* £15.00
* in a reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant


On all our trips to Japan, your train travel for the duration of your trip is included in the tour price.

For our Worldwide trip “Land of the Rising Sun” (CJST) the tour price includes a 14 day Japan Rail Pass. If you are planning on staying longer in Japan and wish to extend this to a 21 day Rail Pass, please ask one of our Travel Consultants for a quote to upgrade.

For our Family Trip, “Essence of the Orient” (CJFP) this does not come in the form of a Japan Rail Pass, but simply as rail tickets pre-purchased by our local operator. For this reason  we are unfortunately unable to book additional train travel for our Family customers.

Visas & Permits - Japan

Holders of UK & IRL passports do not require a visa. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Since November 2007, in accordance with a partial amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, all foreign visitors entering Japan will be fingerprinted and digitally photographed during entry procedures.  Those refusing to be fingerprinted or photographed will be denied entry to Japan.  

For the most up-to-date information and to purchase a Visa via our partner Visa Machine visit www.adventurecompany.co.uk/visa 

Vaccinations - Japan

None are compulsory. The following are recommended:   Polio  Tetanus
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.

International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.