Discover Japan

  • $4599
  • 12
  • Average Tour Review


Experience true beauty in the “Land of the Rising Sun” on this guided Japan tour with airfare included. All around Tokyo you’ll explore ancient architecture and amazing cultural sights. Discover Japan’s scenic countryside as you travel through Hakone and stop to admire the splendors of Mt. Fuji. In Takayama, enjoy this small town’s quaint history, colorful markets, and stunning views of the Japanese Alps. Take a picturesque drive to visit the historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, then head to Kanazawa where you’ll delight in even more traditional charms. On your last days of this trip, take a beautiful and exciting journey through Kyoto—admire serene temples, wander through Japanese gardens, and take in all this extraordinary culture has to offer.

4/5 stars on Tripadvisor!

Itinerary at
a Glance

  • 4 Nights in Tokyo
  • 2 Nights in Takayama
  • 1 Night in Kanazawa
  • 3 Nights in Kyoto


  • Sushi-making class (Tokyo)
  • Mt. Fuji
  • Ancient town in Takayama
  • Sake Tasting at a Sake Brewery
  • Shirakawago (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Sightseeing in Kyoto
  • Tea Making & Tea Tasting Experience

Activity Level: Discoverer 

Your Tour

  • Round-trip airfare from Los Angeles
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • Intra-Japan ground transportation and transfers
  • Super-Express “bullet” train between Tokyo and Nagoya
  • Accommodations at Superior First Class hotels
  • 14 meals: Full buffet breakfast daily (B), 1 lunch (L), 3 dinners (D)
  • Comprehensive sightseeing tours as indicated in itinerary
  • English-speaking Tour Director and local guides

Tour Itinerary

Click the Day by Day itinerary above (or swipe on mobile devices) to see the experiences that await on each day of your tour.

Depart USA

Your fascinating sojourn to mysterious Japan begins as you depart today on your overnight flight.

Arrive Tokyo (Japan)

Welcome to Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun.” Evening arrival in Tokyo, Japan’s vibrant capital. Tokyo is a great mix of ancient Japanese culture and modern, dazzling architectural landmarks which you’ll be able to explore over the next few days. Your tour host warmly welcomes you upon arrival and escorts you to your conveniently located hotel. Your host will share with you some vital information about Japan, Tokyo and your upcoming tour program. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Keio Plaza or similar | Dinner


Today, enjoy a full-day guided tour of Tokyo, exploring some of the amazing highlights. Start with a visit to the 1093 ft tall Tokyo Tower. From here you may enjoy bird’s eye views of the sprawling metropolis. Then, stop at the Imperial Palace Plaza for a photo opportunity before we enjoy a sushi-making class with a sushi chef. Afterwards, we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy our sushi for lunch. Your tour continues with a visit to Asakusa Kannon, Tokyo’s most spectacular and sacred Buddhist temple. Narrow alleys filled with small shops, restaurants and tranquil gardens…

Mt. Fuji & Hakone Excursion

Japan’s pastoral countryside unfolds as you depart Tokyo today for Mt. Fuji and Hakone. The main attraction here is majestic Mt. Fuji, a dormant volcano that last erupted almost 300 years ago. The mountain’s perfectly shaped cone has inspired artists and poets for centuries. Weather permitting, drive up to the fifth station of the snow capped peak for panoramic vistas. Embark on a scenic boat ride on tranquil Lake Ashi. Later, enjoy a gondola ride on the Komagatake Ropeway for a sweeping view of Hakone and Mt. Fuji before returning to Tokyo late this afternoon.

| Breakfast


Spend a day at leisure to explore Tokyo from your conveniently located hotel. For a real taste of Japan, get up early and head for the colorful wholesale fish market! You may also join an optional excursion outside Tokyo to Nikko. Nikko is a magnificent complex of shrines dedicated to the first shogun, adorned with some of the finest woodcarvings in all of Japan.

| Breakfast


This morning, embark on a thrilling train ride via the super-express Bullet “Shinkansen” train headed for Nagoya. Here, transfer to a limited-express train for a scenic ride to Takayama, a delightful small town nestled in the majestic Japanese Alps. Over the next few days you’ll travel back in time as you explore rural Japan where traditional-style architecture, ancient culture and fascinating customs have been proudly preserved. After settling into your hotel in the heart of Takayama, embark on a guided walk through the enchanting narrow streets of the Kami-sannomachi…


After breakfast, join your guide for a stroll through the fascinating Miyagawa Morning Market along the Miyagawa River in the old town. This 200-year old colorful market bustles with farmers selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and traditional local crafts. We’ll enjoy a sake tasting at the oldest Sake Brewery in Japan while we learn more about how sake is made. Proceed to the Takayama Jinya, a complex of 17th century buildings that once housed officials of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Today, it is a museum with historical displays from the time of direct rule to the Meiji Era. The…


Today enjoy a scenic drive through the picturesque countryside to the rural region of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you’ll discover fascinating examples of old steep thatched roof houses. This unique architectural style, harmonized into the magnificent mountain landscape, was developed over 100 years ago to survive the harsh winters. You’ll visit one of these houses and learn more about daily life in this remote area. Proceed to the village of Gokayama where you’ll enjoy a demonstration of traditional Japanese papermaking techniques. Later this afternoon arrive in…


Today enjoy a visit to the historic Oumicho Market, a busy and colorful market and explore along with local residents some of the 200 shops selling seafood, vegetables, fruits, flowers, regional specialties and more. Later you’ll be whisked back in time to the exciting Edo period when you visit the Nagamachi district, a small neighborhood of narrow, cobblestone streets where brave samurai warriors once lived. Many homes are still occupied by the samurai descendants but you’ll visit the Nomura Family house that is open to the public where you can admire the stone lanterns and bridges in…


The capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, Kyoto is a world-class gem, a true oasis. Today, depart on a guided tour exploring some of the city’s highlights. We’ll begin at the renowned Kiyomizu Temple, founded in the 8th century. Situated halfway up the Otowayama Hill it encompasses a vast area and affords stunning views of Kyoto. Wander along the narrow winding alleys leading up to the temple, lined with magnificently preserved old houses, craftsmen’s workshops and tea houses. Soak up the flavor of traditional Japanese atmosphere, and perhaps purchase some exquisite locally…


A day to explore ancient Kyoto’s grace and beauty on your own or join an optional tour. You may visit some of the smaller and serene temples, marvel at splendid classical Japanese gardens, see the exquisitely dressed geishas at the colorful Gion corner, or join a traditional tea ceremony. Perhaps visit the acclaimed Miho Museum, built on a wooded mountain-top outside Kyoto. Also available is an optional excursion to Nara, Japan’s first capital and symbol of tranquility, where you may see the world’s largest indoor Buddha; or an optional excursion to…


Transfer to the airport for your return flight from Osaka. Your amazing trip to Japan ends on arrival in the USA.

| Breakfast

Guided Tour Pricing

Depart Return Depart - Return Best Value Pricing - Reserve by Apr 30, 2021 Reserve after
Apr 30, 2021
Select Tour
2021 2021 w/ eCheck Discount Sale After Sale
September 5 September 16 Sep 5 -
Sep 16
$4,599 $4,699 $4,999 Book Now
October 3 October 14 Oct 3 -
Oct 14
$4,799 $4,899 $5,199 Book Now
October 10 October 21 Oct 10 -
Oct 21
$4,699 $4,799 $5,099 Book Now
November 7 November 18 Nov 7 -
Nov 18
$4,799 $4,899 $5,199 Book Now
2022 2022 w/ eCheck Discount Sale After Sale
March 6 March 17 Mar 6 -
Mar 17
$4,699 $4,799 $5,099 Book Now
April 3 April 14 Apr 3 -
Apr 14
$4,999 $5,099 $5,399 Book Now
April 17 April 28 Apr 17 -
Apr 28
$4,899 $4,999 $5,299 Book Now
May 1 May 12 May 1 -
May 12
$4,699 $4,799 $5,099 Book Now
May 15 May 26 May 15 -
May 26
$4,699 $4,799 $5,099 Book Now
June 12 June 23 Jun 12 -
Jun 23
$4,599 $4,699 $4,999 Book Now
September 11 September 22 Sep 11 -
Sep 22
$4,899 $4,999 $5,299 Book Now
October 2 October 13 Oct 2 -
Oct 13
$4,899 $4,999 $5,299 Book Now
October 16 October 27 Oct 16 -
Oct 27
$4,899 $4,999 $5,299 Book Now

Rates are based on double occupancy.
2021: Single room supplement is $899.
2022 Mar. 6, Jun. 12: Single room supplement is $799.
2022 May. 1, May. 15: Single room supplement is $899.
2022 Apr. 3, Apr. 17, Sep. 11, Oct. 2, Oct. 16: Single room supplement is $999.

For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:00am – 5:30pm EST) at 800-337-7773.

Reservations and Payments 
Reservations can be made by phone (1-800-337-7773) and will be confirmed upon receipt of your non-refundable, non-transferable deposit, which must be received at the time of reservation. Deposits are $99 per person for all 2021 departures, and $300 per person for all 2022 departures. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Baggage fees may apply. Space and prices subject to availability. Please see the smarTours Terms and Conditions for complete booking information.

Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.

To enhance and make your vacation in Japan more complete and memorable, your tour guide will offer you several optional tours. All rates are in Japanese Yen. You are also given the approximate equivalent in US dollars, however, please keep in mind that the US dollar rates will fluctuate based on the prevailing exchange rate at the time of travel. Payment should be made by major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) or by cash – Japanese Yen (you may exchange US dollars to Japanese Yens at your hotel). Optional tours are subject to a minimum number of participants and may therefore not be offered if this minimum is not met. Also, tours are subject to availability, capacity limitations and operation of the services on the dates you are traveling on. Note that optional tours are non-refundable.

Nikko Full Day Excursion with Lunch

  • From approx. 15,300 Yen, $155 Per Person, lunch included

Enjoy a full day guided excursion to the World Heritage Site of Nikko, a magnificent complex of shrines dedicated to the first shogun. After arriving in Nikko, located high up the mountains, visit Toshogu Shrine, famous for its magnificent complex of colorful structures featuring the superb craftsmanship of Japan’s 17th-century artisans. Drive up a zigzag road with 20 hairpin curves before arriving at the restaurant where a Japanese style lunch is served. Later, visit Lake Chuzenji created by an eruption of Mt. Nantai and see the impressive Kegon Waterfalls. Return to Tokyo this…

Nara Afternoon Tour

  • Kyoto
  • From approx. 7,700 Yen, $75 Per Person

On this optional half-day excursion, travel outside Kyoto to Nara, Japan’s first capital and symbol of tranquility. Here, see the Todai-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s largest wooden structures with the bronze Great Buddha, also the Kasuga Taisha Shrine surrounded by 3000 stone and bronze lanterns and the nearby Deer Park where deer are thought to be the shrine messengers. Later, return to Kyoto.


  • Kyoto
  • From approx. 39,500 Yen, $370 Per Person

On this full-day optional tour, travel to Hiroshima by bullet train. You’ll begin at Hiroshima Orizuru Tower located beside the world-famous Peace Park. you’ll visit the Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and walk by Shima Hospital, Hiroshima’s “ground zero.” Enjoy an Okonomi-yaki making experience for lunch and afterwards you’ll visit Hiroshima Castle before returning to Kyoto by bullet train.


Mayuri P

This was my first tour to Japan with Smartours. It was great experience from start to finish. The tour guide ‘Hero’ was very knowledgeable, humorous and kind. In our spare time she would voluntarily suggest places and go with us and give little history about it too! We went on April 10-21, 2017. Weather was awesome and cherry blossoms were stunning. All the hotels were great too! Being vegetarian they made sure I had enough of it. I would definitely travel with this company again and recommend to my friends. The big plus was the flight was from LAX!!

Mayuri P

This was my first tour with Smartour. April 10-21, 2017 perfect season for cherry blossoms. So pleased with the tour and the tour guide was awesome. Her name is Hero. She was very knowledgeable and kind hearted. She took very good care of everyone. She managed to arrange vegetarian food for me everywhere we went. All the hotels were great. Great value for money. Great experience and definitely will do more tours with Smartour.


All the hotels were very good. The guide Yoko was excellent. She went out of the way to make us all comfortable.


Our tour director, May was outstanding. My pre- conceived ideas about her country of Japan were totally reversed with succinct, informative illustrations brought to life by our incredible tour !!


This is our 4 th trip with Smartours and have always been delighted by the experiences and by our tour guides. This trip to Japan was no exception. Kudos to Smartours for putting together such excellent itineraries, lodgings, transports and guides.


The excursion to Nara tour company needs to have head sets. Huge crowds made listening very difficult to hear our very knowledgable guide. The tour was very rushed - -left quite late (maybe waited for some "no-shows"?), left Nara in the dark. We needed more time!! Suggest not scheduling the Nara trips against the same time for the excursion to Hiroshima. Then we could do both. I have more photos I would be willing to share is request. Did the image post here? Can't tell. Julie Kirby You replied that you would like me to send more photos. Sending one at a time, is not a solution here, Your reply, was a "no reply" address. Please send me and email address where I can send more Japan trip photos. Thanks, Julie Kirby


Good overview of Japan with many great stops (Kanazawa, Takayama). Our tour was a little on the large side with 38 people. The hotels were fine - some great, some good enough. Overall it was a very worthwhile experience.

Manfred R

It is 2 weeks ago that we returned from our "Discover Japan" tour. What a great enjoyment it was, and how lucky we were! We managed to experience the cherry blossoms (Sakurai) in all the towns on the agenda. Even our guide, graceful Yoshimi Ozawa, was amazed about our great luck and exclaimed that two weeks before there was nothing to see. To add to our enjoyment, we were able to see Mount Fuji's upper cone above the clouds. Yoshi (as she wanted to be called by us) was extremely well organized and very eager to share her extensive knowledge of Japans history, customs and living conditions with us. We were duly impressed by the cleanliness of the cities, streets and people. Especially the rail road stations in Tokyo, Kanazawa and Kyoto are far and above in architecture and organization over any that we seen in Europe (let alone here in the US). The visit to the Mitsukushi department store was eye opening. The quality and quantity of the products on offer exceeded anything here in the US. Even more so were the the great number of sales clerks available to help, but not at all "pushy". The hotels were very good and the breakfasts quite sufficient. The included meals were also good. Our concerns of having to spend extensively for meals were unfounded since there were a great variety of lower costs options. Just the long and congested breakfast lines at the New Otani Hotel dimmed the outlook for the day. Having to wait up to 40 minutes, even though there were empty tables, should not be an acceptable condition. Transportation in general , be it by bus or train, was very good. However, We did not understand why the suitcases were moved from Takayama directly to Kyoto, depriving us of them in Kanazawa. We came away from this journey admiring the Japanese people that went through such dramatic changes since the middle of the last century.


We just returned last week from our fabulous trip to Japan, and we cannot stop thinking about our incredible adventure. We chose Smartours because a friend of ours has been traveling with them for years going to amazing places such as India, Thailand, and Colombia. She advised us the tour company is very reasonable, a really good value including airfare from NYC, and she guaranteed we would enjoy a safe guided trip which sounded wonderful since we do not speak or read Japanese. On arrival at Tokyo, we met our tour guide, Haruko, who was just amazing. She not only knew about each shrine and temple we visited, but she could answer any question about Japanese culture, history, and legends. She even sang to us one day!! She was just a lovely person who was very patient with all of us. The trip included not only the places we’ve all heard of but also places we NEVER heard of. The scenery in the Japanese Alps was just breathtaking. The Japanese people are just so kind and gracious. We never felt unsafe even in the big cities. We were totally exhausted each night from the day’s activities. There was a lot of walking involved, but my 82-year old Mother did just fine, but she is VERY active. We visited Tokyo, Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Kanazawa and Kyoto using buses and trains to get us around (including the Bullet Train). All of the transportation was top notch and so clean. A full buffet breakfast was included at each hotel which had both Western and Japanese cuisine. Only two dinners were included, but that gave us plenty of time to explore on our own. Our hotel in Takayama even included an Onsen hot springs bath which was heavenly!! Smartours was an excellent value for all that we got. All the hotels were high end. We booked a triple room which worked out GR8. The non-stop flight from NYC was not so grueling on Japan Airlines as they fed us constantly (with wine) and we saw plenty of movies. Anyone considering Japan, certainly consider smarTours.com!!

Ute F

This was an excellent fast paced and all too short tour of a beautiful amazing country. I wish I had visited it much earlier. It is the cleanest and safest place in Asia with the most honest,polite and helpful people. You are never pushed to make a purchase in any of the stores or souvenir shops, no hawkers or children tucking at you to gain their attention. The hotels were excellent and especially the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo would be worth to spend a relaxing vacation in its luxurious surroundings. Our guide was knowledgeable and accommodating. It was a wonderful experience.

Jay C

Pretty good tour, least interesting was Tokyo. The smaller cities were fascinating. Tour guide was excellent and hotels were fine.

Lydia S

This was an amazing experience and the tour guide was informative, up-to-date with what was happening in the area and knew her history of Japan well. I will recommend this trip to all my friends because it is a definitely "must see" travel.

Jacquline H

We just got back three days ago from the Discover Japan Tour. This was my first Smartours trip, and my first trip using a tour/guide company. I must say I was very satisfied. I will say the amount of things we saw would be better stretched out over two more days, there were some things I really wanted to stay at longer, but due to time constraints we had to move on. Also, really enjoyed the older homes/houses/and buildings. However, one or two of them would have been enough as they pretty much looked alike once inside. Really really enjoyed the thatched roof village, our tour guide ( who asked us to call her May due to her slightly complicated Japanese name ) was fantastic! I also learned that I am in much worse physical shape, I was fully exhausted at the end of each day we walked and saw so much. I can truly say I was impressed with Smartours, the quality of our lodgings, tour buses, audio devices used during touring, etc. And, May had good knowledge of her subject, Japanese history, and quite a sense of humor. I hope to go with Smartours to Israel in 2017 if I can get the time off, and if political climate allows it. Thanks for supporting a great trip and sister time with my sister Smartours. Will be touring with you again!!


The trip was filled with wonderful sights to see. Our guide Yoko was very knowledgeable and accommodating. She gave us a great insight into the wonderful country.

Jack S

Excellent overview of Japanese culture across the centuries, with large cities and World Cultural sites.
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