Discover Japan

  • $4499
  • 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.

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

DepartReturnDepart - ReturnBest Value Pricing - Reserve by Oct 31, 2020Reserve after
Oct 31, 2020
Select Tour
20212021w/ eCheck DiscountSaleAfter Sale
April 4April 15Apr 4 -
Apr 15
$4,799$4,899$5,199 Book Now
April 25May 6Apr 25 -
May 6
$4,699$4,799$5,099 Book Now
May 16May 27May 16 -
May 27
$4,599$4,699$4,999 Book Now
May 23June 3May 23 -
Jun 3
$4,499$4,599$4,899 Book Now
June 13June 24Jun 13 -
Jun 24
$4,499$4,599$4,899 Book Now
September 5September 16Sep 5 -
Sep 16
$4,499$4,599$4,899 Book Now
October 3October 14Oct 3 -
Oct 14
$4,799$4,899$5,199 Book Now
October 10October 21Oct 10 -
Oct 21
$4,699$4,799$5,099 Book Now
November 7November 18Nov 7 -
Nov 18
$4,799$4,899$5,199 Book Now

Rates are based on double occupancy.
Single room supplement is $899.

For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:00-9:00 EST and Sat-Sun, 10:00-6:30 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 $300 per person non-refundable, non-transferable deposit which must be received at the time of reservation*. A second non-refundable, non-transferable deposit of $300 is due 60 days after the date of your reservation. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. *If the reservation date is within 70 days of the final payment due date, both first and second deposits are due at the time of reservation. Baggage fees may apply. Space and prices subject to availability. For complete booking information and terms & conditions click here.

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.



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.

Debra D

We just returned from our tour of Japan two days ago (October, 2015). There were 33 of us on our tour. Accommodations provided are all very nice, exceptionally maintained and well located. The buses are in perfect condition and immaculately clean. Breakfast buffets are generous; both Japanese and western breakfast options are plentiful. We enjoyed exceptional weather and good luck in experiencing a few serendipitous surprises – the Autumn Festival in Takayama, and a moving religious ceremony in the Great Buddha Hall in Nara that involved incense, smoking braziers, dozens of monks chanting, and a raptly attentive, kimono clad congregation. Our ogling and photo snapping was tolerated with usual Japanese courtesy. Our tour guide, Yukari, was organized, well-informed, kind, conscientiously hard-working and gentle. She is always courteous, positive, and patient. Her English is excellent, but significantly accented. Everything in Japan is astonishingly tidy and safe, beautiful and highly organized. The sense of complete personal safety is unparalleled in our extensive travel experiences and even at home! The even, unbroken sidewalks, low curbs, signage, metered pedestrian traffic crossings all contribute to an enjoyable walking experience. Toilets!!!! Clean. Free. Fully-supplied. Readily available. Heated seats! The Japanese are extremely honest, courteous and welcoming. I must mention the many children and families that we met while touring historical sites: smiling, charming, eager to interact in order to practice their English, respectful, and happy to be photographed – this was a particularly delightful and unexpected part of our tour. The children were themselves visitors to the sites – usually with school groups. Despite what we have all heard, food costs are not overly expensive and options in a range to suit your pocket are readily available. Their cuisine is very interesting and fun – not to mention gorgeously presented. Shopping is terrific as everything is of high-quality, perfect, and available within a range of prices. Highly recommended!
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