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My Odyssey
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Odysseys Unlimited
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From $6,684
total price from Los Angeles
$5,995 air & land inclusive plus $689 airline taxes and fees
Tour Days
13 days
Tour Membership
12-24 guests
Post-Tour Extension

Overview

It’s a land of delicate art and bustling commerce, of rich traditions and dizzying modernity; a jumble of sights, sounds, and tastes that for visitors are truly foreign – and truly fascinating. This well-crafted tour features the highlights of Tokyo and Kyoto, engages us in local life, and takes us off the beaten path to the lovely historic cities of Takayama and Kanazawa.

Tour Details

Insider's Japan

From $6,684

total price from Los Angeles
$5,995 air & land inclusive plus $689 airline taxes and fees

Tour Days
13 days

Tour Membership
12-24 guests

Optional Extension

Tour Days
13 days

Tour Membership
12-24 guests

Optional Extension

Overview

It’s a land of delicate art and bustling commerce, of rich traditions and dizzying modernity; a jumble of sights, sounds, and tastes that for visitors are truly foreign – and truly fascinating. This well-crafted tour features the highlights of Tokyo and Kyoto, engages us in local life, and takes us off the beaten path to the lovely historic cities of Takayama and Kanazawa.

Small Group Highlights

  • Tokyo touring, including Imperial Palace District and Meiji Shrine
  • Stunning scenery of Mt. Fuji and Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
  • Overnight stay in traditional ryokan
  • Takayama’s ancient streets and houses
  • Hands-on cooking class
  • Culturally rich Kanazawa
  • Tour of Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital
  • Traditional tea ceremony

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Please note: This trip involves full days of sightseeing and significant amounts of walking on stairs and uneven surfaces. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

In 2024 dinner will be included on Days 8 and 10 instead of Days 9 and 11.

B
= Breakfast Included
L
= Lunch Included
D
= Dinner Included
1
Depart U.S. for Tokyo, Japan
Depart U.S. for Tokyo, Japan
2
Arrive Tokyo
Arrive Tokyo

Upon arrival in Japan’s financial, commercial, and political capital, we transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary, we have no scheduled activities or meals planned.

Upon arrival in Japan’s financial, commercial, and political capital, we transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary, we have no scheduled activities or meals planned.

3
Tokyo
B
D
B
D
Tokyo

After a briefing about the journey ahead, we set out to discover a small part of this amazing city that covers a staggering 840 miles. Our sightseeing features the Meiji Shrine, a peaceful enclave of Shinto temples and gardens. We also visit the gallery of preeminent calligrapher Koshun Masunaga, where we learn about this ancient art of artistic writing and browse the collection. Our tour ends in Ginza, Tokyo’s famed shopping, dining, and entertainment district, where we can stay to explore as we wish or return to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, we gather for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant

After a briefing about the journey ahead, we set out to discover a small part of this amazing city that covers a staggering 840 miles. Our sightseeing features the Meiji Shrine, a peaceful enclave of Shinto temples and gardens. We also visit the gallery of preeminent calligrapher Koshun Masunaga, where we learn about this ancient art of artistic writing and browse the collection. Our tour ends in Ginza, Tokyo’s famed shopping, dining, and entertainment district, where we can stay to explore as we wish or return to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, we gather for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant

4
Tokyo
B
B
Tokyo

Our tour of Tokyo continues this morning at the Imperial Palace, surrounded by moats and ramparts and home of the Imperial Family. Here we visit the East Gardens, part of the innermost circle of defense of the historic Edo Castle that once stood here. We continue on to the Buddhist Asakusa Kannon, Tokyo’s oldest temple (c. 645 CE), and the adjacent Nakamise shopping arcade, dating to the 17th century. Lastly, we visit the Tokyo National Museum, housing an extensive collection of art and antiquities from Japan and other Asian countries. This afternoon is free for independent exploration; lunch and dinner are on our own in this city with endless dining options.

Our tour of Tokyo continues this morning at the Imperial Palace, surrounded by moats and ramparts and home of the Imperial Family. Here we visit the East Gardens, part of the innermost circle of defense of the historic Edo Castle that once stood here. We continue on to the Buddhist Asakusa Kannon, Tokyo’s oldest temple (c. 645 CE), and the adjacent Nakamise shopping arcade, dating to the 17th century. Lastly, we visit the Tokyo National Museum, housing an extensive collection of art and antiquities from Japan and other Asian countries. This afternoon is free for independent exploration; lunch and dinner are on our own in this city with endless dining options.

5
Tokyo/Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park/Hakone
B
D
B
D
Tokyo/Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park/Hakone

Japan’s pastoral side is on tap as we leave Tokyo for Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Here sits imposing Mt. Fuji, a dormant volcano (it last erupted in 1707) with a perfectly symmetrical cone that rises to 12,388 feet. We learn about environmental and conservation efforts on the mountain at the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center and then enjoy a relaxing cruise on Ashi Lake, with Mt. Fuji in the background. Leaving the park, we travel to the town of Hakone, where we spend the night at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn where we take off our shoes upon entering. After enjoying a Japanese-style Kaiseki dinner, we spend the night sleeping on a futon.

Japan’s pastoral side is on tap as we leave Tokyo for Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Here sits imposing Mt. Fuji, a dormant volcano (it last erupted in 1707) with a perfectly symmetrical cone that rises to 12,388 feet. We learn about environmental and conservation efforts on the mountain at the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center and then enjoy a relaxing cruise on Ashi Lake, with Mt. Fuji in the background. Leaving the park, we travel to the town of Hakone, where we spend the night at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn where we take off our shoes upon entering. After enjoying a Japanese-style Kaiseki dinner, we spend the night sleeping on a futon.

6
Hakone/Takayama
B
D
B
D
Hakone/Takayama

Today we travel first by bullet train then by Wide View Hida express train to lovely Takayama in the Japanese Alps, considered one of the country’s most attractive places with its beautifully preserved Old Town and historic buildings. Our explorations center on three narrow streets in the San-machi-suji district where, in feudal times, merchants lived amidst the authentically preserved small inns, teahouses, and sake breweries. This afternoon we attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony here, a historic ritual of form, grace, and spirituality.

Today we travel first by bullet train then by Wide View Hida express train to lovely Takayama in the Japanese Alps, considered one of the country’s most attractive places with its beautifully preserved Old Town and historic buildings. Our explorations center on three narrow streets in the San-machi-suji district where, in feudal times, merchants lived amidst the authentically preserved small inns, teahouses, and sake breweries. This afternoon we attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony here, a historic ritual of form, grace, and spirituality.

7
Takayama
B
L
B
L
Takayama

We pay an early visit to the riverside Miyagawa Morning Market, a blaze of dazzling colors and foodstuffs. Here we’ll gather ingredients for lunch then we will prepare it together at a nearby kitchen. After enjoying the fruits of our labors, we embark on a walking tour, visiting Takayama Jinya, an historic government house; the local sake brewery; and Takayama’s old town, whose well-preserved buildings and homes date to the Edo Period (1600–1868).

We pay an early visit to the riverside Miyagawa Morning Market, a blaze of dazzling colors and foodstuffs. Here we’ll gather ingredients for lunch then we will prepare it together at a nearby kitchen. After enjoying the fruits of our labors, we embark on a walking tour, visiting Takayama Jinya, an historic government house; the local sake brewery; and Takayama’s old town, whose well-preserved buildings and homes date to the Edo Period (1600–1868).

8
Takayama/Shirakawago/Kanazawa
B
L
B
L
Takayama/Shirakawago/Kanazawa

We leave Takayama this morning for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago Gassho-zukuri Village. Comprising buildings re­located from authentic villages nearby that were razed for a dam, the village is also a vibrant community whose residents work together to preserve the unique traditional architecture here known as Gassho style. Then we visit Gokayama Village to see how traditional Japanese washi paper is made. Late this afternoon we reach the castle town of Kanazawa, an alluring coastal city that survived the ravages of World War II.

We leave Takayama this morning for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago Gassho-zukuri Village. Comprising buildings re­located from authentic villages nearby that were razed for a dam, the village is also a vibrant community whose residents work together to preserve the unique traditional architecture here known as Gassho style. Then we visit Gokayama Village to see how traditional Japanese washi paper is made. Late this afternoon we reach the castle town of Kanazawa, an alluring coastal city that survived the ravages of World War II.

9
Kanazawa
B
D
B
D
Kanazawa

Today’s tour of this culturally rich city features renowned Kenrokuen Garden, a national landmark whose origins date to 1676. We also see Ishikawa Gate, the only remaining section of the town’s original castle; Hakukokan, a museum celebrating the art and craft of gold leaf technology; and the Higashi Chayagai teahouse and geisha area. Last, we visit the Kutani Kosen Kiln, where artists fashion the prized, highly decorated pottery. We dine tonight at a local Japanese restaurant.

Today’s tour of this culturally rich city features renowned Kenrokuen Garden, a national landmark whose origins date to 1676. We also see Ishikawa Gate, the only remaining section of the town’s original castle; Hakukokan, a museum celebrating the art and craft of gold leaf technology; and the Higashi Chayagai teahouse and geisha area. Last, we visit the Kutani Kosen Kiln, where artists fashion the prized, highly decorated pottery. We dine tonight at a local Japanese restaurant.

10
Kanazawa/Kyoto
B
B
Kanazawa/Kyoto

We depart this morning by train for Kyoto, formerly Japan’s Imperial Capital and now the country’s cultural and artistic center with more than 1,600 temples, hundreds of shrines, artful gardens, and historic architecture. Upon arrival, we visit Kinkaku-ji, the beloved lakeside Temple of the Golden Pavilion set on pillars suspended over the water. Next: Ryoanji, a Zen Buddhist temple whose acclaimed dry garden epitomizes the simplicity of Zen meditation. Late this afternoon we reach our hotel; dinner tonight is on our own.

We depart this morning by train for Kyoto, formerly Japan’s Imperial Capital and now the country’s cultural and artistic center with more than 1,600 temples, hundreds of shrines, artful gardens, and historic architecture. Upon arrival, we visit Kinkaku-ji, the beloved lakeside Temple of the Golden Pavilion set on pillars suspended over the water. Next: Ryoanji, a Zen Buddhist temple whose acclaimed dry garden epitomizes the simplicity of Zen meditation. Late this afternoon we reach our hotel; dinner tonight is on our own.

11
Kyoto
B
D
B
D
Kyoto

More of Kyoto is on tap today, beginning with a visit to the otherworldly Arashiyama Bamboo Grove; the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts (Fureaikan), showcasing all of Kyoto’s 74 different métiers in one place; and Nijo-jo Castle (ca. 1603), the extravagant residence and fortifications of the shoguns who ruled Japan for more than 250 years. Then the remainder of the afternoon is free for independent exploration in this traditional yet modern city before we gather for dinner together tonight.

More of Kyoto is on tap today, beginning with a visit to the otherworldly Arashiyama Bamboo Grove; the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts (Fureaikan), showcasing all of Kyoto’s 74 different métiers in one place; and Nijo-jo Castle (ca. 1603), the extravagant residence and fortifications of the shoguns who ruled Japan for more than 250 years. Then the remainder of the afternoon is free for independent exploration in this traditional yet modern city before we gather for dinner together tonight.

12
Kyoto
B
D
B
D
Kyoto

We continue our encounter with Kyoto today, first at the important Fushimi Inari shrine, with its trails straddled by red torii gates; Sanjyusangendo Hall (c. 1266), an important Buddhist temple housing 1,000 statues of the Thousand-Armed Kannon deity; and Nishiki Market, “Kyoto’s Kitchen” of restaurants, stores, and stalls selling everything food-related. Then this afternoon is at leisure; tonight we toast our Japan adventure at a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

We continue our encounter with Kyoto today, first at the important Fushimi Inari shrine, with its trails straddled by red torii gates; Sanjyusangendo Hall (c. 1266), an important Buddhist temple housing 1,000 statues of the Thousand-Armed Kannon deity; and Nishiki Market, “Kyoto’s Kitchen” of restaurants, stores, and stalls selling everything food-related. Then this afternoon is at leisure; tonight we toast our Japan adventure at a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

13
Depart Kyoto for U.S.
B
B
Depart Kyoto for U.S.

This morning we travel by motorcoach to Osaka, where we board our return flight to the United States.

This morning we travel by motorcoach to Osaka, where we board our return flight to the United States.

Tour Price Includes

  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 11 nights’ accommodations: 10 nights in Deluxe and First Class hotels; 1 night in traditional Japanese ryokan
  • 19 meals: 11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Rail transportation as described
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next ­Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)

Average Daily High by Month (°F )

  Mar Apr May Aug Sep Oct Nov
Tokyo 54 62 72 86 78 70 60
Kyoto 53 65 75 87 82 74 62

Average Temperature (°F )

  Mar Apr May Aug Sep Oct Nov
Tokyo 54 62 72 86 78 70 60
Kyoto 53 65 75 87 82 74 62

Dates & Prices

Please wait while we retrieve this information.

Post-Tour Extension

Hiroshima: City of Peace

3 days, 2 nights
From
$1,195
+ from $155 Single Supplement

Hiroshima: City of Peace

3 days, 2 nights
From
$1,195
+ from $155 Single Supplement

Discover the city reborn from the atomic destruction of World War II, now a modern and cosmopolitan urban center whose residents warmly welcome American visitors.

Post-Tour Extension Price Includes

  • Rail transportation Kyoto/Hiroshima, Hiroshima/Osaka
  • 2 nights’ accommodations at Hotel Granvia Hiroshima (First Class)
  • 3 meals: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch
  • Extensive included sightseeing: excursion to Miyajima Island and Daisho-in Temple; Hiroshima touring by local “Hiroden” train; visit to Peace Memorial Park and Museum; Atomic Bomb Dome
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, hotel porters, and all drivers

Pricing: Single Supplement: $155 in 2024; $245 in 2025.

Accommodations

Tour Directors

Kazuko Watanabe

“Kazuko-san was a perfect host – informative, thoughtful, and charming. Her attention to detail was impressive and … put everyone at ease that we were to be in very capable hands.”

Dr. Rhonda Karp
Wynnewood, PA

Tomomi Shimazu

“What a delightful person. Graciously insightful with an encyclopedic knowledge of history and culture with a charming sense of humor and great interpersonal skills.”

Louise & Craig Ripley
New Orleans, LA

Sumiyo Terai

“Cannot speak too highly about Sumiyo! Fantastic tour director; made the country, culture, and history come alive for us. Shared personal experiences and was great with recommendations.”

Robert Rando
Monroe Township, NJ

Rie Oka ("Oka")

“Oka was superb – wish there was a category of 'Beyond Excellent' for us to check! Every day in every way, she went above and beyond to meet everyone’s needs.”

Darrell & Susan Mahler
Topanga, CA

Mariko Hirata

“Ms. Hirata was exceptional, providing personal perspective on living in Japan and going out of her way to acquaint us with the sites we visited.”

Karen Kessel
Cotati, CA

Ako Miyazaki

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Michio Akutsu

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Akira Sato

Wonderful tour director. Very knowledgeable and efficient. Made things run smoothly without any effort (though did much behind the scenes).”

Peter & Mardine Sibley
Kentfield, CA

Kondo Kiyotaka

“Kondo was a delight! A true professional!”

Andy & Dianne Ross
Baltimore, MD

Saeko Yamashita

“Sae was an excellent tour manager. She is smart, friendly, and very organized. We really enjoyed our travels with her. She is a keeper!”

Wayne & Barbara Jarosh
Nevada City, CA

Tomoko Sugimoto

“Sharing her personal lifestyle was exceptional. She was very attentive, efficient, and knowledgeable.”

Deborah Gandt
Setauket, NY

Akane Shinohara

“Akane was superb in all aspects. Her humor, adaptability, and personal sharing were a bonus!”

Peter Lam
Sunnyvale, CA

Akiko Shimada

“We have been on many tours during our retirement years and Akiko is our number one.”

Anita & Ray Chavez
San Dimas, CA

Hiroko Kara

“Hiroko was fabulous. Couldn’t ask for a better tour director. Funny, patient, knowledgeable, and omnipresent to help! Loved her!”

Bonnie Phillips
Edina, MN

Yumi Ueda

“Yumi probably was the best Odysseys tour director we’ve had (and we’ve had some good ones). She is knowledgeable and energetic.”

Blaine O’Connell
Mainville, OH

Masako Takenaka

"She is an exceptional guide, historian, and very knowledgeable of all the areas we visited…She is the best guide we have ever had and we have traveled a great deal."

James & Judith Roach
Studio City, CA

Emiko Sakurai

“Emiko was excellent in every way… We felt we were well cared for at all times. Emiko is one of the very best if not the very best guide I have had in my 9 Odysseys trips.”

Carol Skornicka
Milwaukee, WI

Sam Okada

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Sammy Tanida

“Sammy is a jewel. He went above and beyond to share his knowledge, pride, and love of Japan.”

Debra Ankeles & Bob Freedman
Swampscott, MA

Rumi Yamaguchi

"Rumi was a joy, always upbeat, able to impart excellent cultural and historical information, having a infectious personality, full of laughter, and going above and beyond the call of duty."

Donald & Agnes Leathe
Needham, MA

Atsuko Iketsu

“Absolutely OUTSTANDING. Patient, professional, organized, and knowledgeable.”

Rigoberto & Eva Dapena, Lisa Sciacca
Miami, FL

Naoko Takahashi

“Naoko was excellent! A real star in your organization. She was calm; clear in her explanations of Japanese history; a delightful and friendly person to know.”

Ron & Anne Taylor
Lake Forest, IL

Kenji Murakami

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Makiko Kumazawa

“Makiko is very professional, knowledgeable, and extremely courteous, caring for all guests’ individual needs.”

Michele Macauda & Richard Burke
Monroe, CT

Tour Directors

Rumi Yamaguchi

"Rumi was a joy, always upbeat, able to impart excellent cultural and historical information, having a infectious personality, full of laughter, and going above and beyond the call of duty."

Donald & Agnes Leathe
Needham, MA

Sammy Tanida

“Sammy is a jewel. He went above and beyond to share his knowledge, pride, and love of Japan.”

Debra Ankeles & Bob Freedman
Swampscott, MA

Masako Takenaka

"She is an exceptional guide, historian, and very knowledgeable of all the areas we visited…She is the best guide we have ever had and we have traveled a great deal."

James & Judith Roach
Studio City, CA

Kazuko Watanabe

“Kazuko-san was a perfect host – informative, thoughtful, and charming. Her attention to detail was impressive and … put everyone at ease that we were to be in very capable hands.”

Dr. Rhonda Karp
Wynnewood, PA

Akira Sato

Wonderful tour director. Very knowledgeable and efficient. Made things run smoothly without any effort (though did much behind the scenes).”

Peter & Mardine Sibley
Kentfield, CA

Makiko Kumazawa

“Makiko is very professional, knowledgeable, and extremely courteous, caring for all guests’ individual needs.”

Michele Macauda & Richard Burke
Monroe, CT

Ako Miyazaki

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Rie Oka ("Oka")

“Oka was superb – wish there was a category of 'Beyond Excellent' for us to check! Every day in every way, she went above and beyond to meet everyone’s needs.”

Darrell & Susan Mahler
Topanga, CA

Hiroko Kara

“Hiroko was fabulous. Couldn’t ask for a better tour director. Funny, patient, knowledgeable, and omnipresent to help! Loved her!”

Bonnie Phillips
Edina, MN

Yumi Ueda

“Yumi probably was the best Odysseys tour director we’ve had (and we’ve had some good ones). She is knowledgeable and energetic.”

Blaine O’Connell
Mainville, OH

Saeko Yamashita

“Sae was an excellent tour manager. She is smart, friendly, and very organized. We really enjoyed our travels with her. She is a keeper!”

Wayne & Barbara Jarosh
Nevada City, CA

Naoko Takahashi

“Naoko was excellent! A real star in your organization. She was calm; clear in her explanations of Japanese history; a delightful and friendly person to know.”

Ron & Anne Taylor
Lake Forest, IL

Akiko Shimada

“We have been on many tours during our retirement years and Akiko is our number one.”

Anita & Ray Chavez
San Dimas, CA

Tomomi Shimazu

“What a delightful person. Graciously insightful with an encyclopedic knowledge of history and culture with a charming sense of humor and great interpersonal skills.”

Louise & Craig Ripley
New Orleans, LA

Sumiyo Terai

“Cannot speak too highly about Sumiyo! Fantastic tour director; made the country, culture, and history come alive for us. Shared personal experiences and was great with recommendations.”

Robert Rando
Monroe Township, NJ

Sam Okada

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Atsuko Iketsu

“Absolutely OUTSTANDING. Patient, professional, organized, and knowledgeable.”

Rigoberto & Eva Dapena, Lisa Sciacca
Miami, FL

Mariko Hirata

“Ms. Hirata was exceptional, providing personal perspective on living in Japan and going out of her way to acquaint us with the sites we visited.”

Karen Kessel
Cotati, CA

Kenji Murakami

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Akane Shinohara

“Akane was superb in all aspects. Her humor, adaptability, and personal sharing were a bonus!”

Peter Lam
Sunnyvale, CA

Emiko Sakurai

“Emiko was excellent in every way… We felt we were well cared for at all times. Emiko is one of the very best if not the very best guide I have had in my 9 Odysseys trips.”

Carol Skornicka
Milwaukee, WI

Tomoko Sugimoto

“Sharing her personal lifestyle was exceptional. She was very attentive, efficient, and knowledgeable.”

Deborah Gandt
Setauket, NY

Kondo Kiyotaka

“Kondo was a delight! A true professional!”

Andy & Dianne Ross
Baltimore, MD

Michio Akutsu

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Destination Insights

Exploring...

Recommended Books & Films

Exploring...

Guest Photos & Testimonials

The pace and the guide both contributed greatly to the tour. I especially enjoyed the cultural experiences, such as the calligrapher, making the gold leaf-decorated plates, and the cooking.
Dr. Rhonda Karp
Wynnewood, PA
The entire trip was so enjoyable that it is difficult to single out any one or two particular aspects as being the most enjoyable.
James & Suzette Hodges
Abingdon, VA
The pace and the guide both contributed greatly to the tour. I especially enjoyed the cultural experiences, such as the calligrapher, making the gold leaf-decorated plates, and the cooking.
Dr. Rhonda Karp
Wynnewood, PA
The entire trip was so enjoyable that it is difficult to single out any one or two particular aspects as being the most enjoyable.
James & Suzette Hodges
Abingdon, VA
Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET

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