Highlights of Japan

Highlights of Japan

8 Days



Highlights of Japan

8 Days Starting in Kyoto and ending in Tokyo

Visiting: Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Meiji Jingu, Harajuku, Omotesando, Asakusa, Nikko, Kyoto, Nishiki Market, Geishas, Hanamikoji Street, Arashiyama, Ryōan-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Japan, Himeji Castle, Hiroshima, Itsukushima, Floating Torii Gate of Oouo Shrine, Osaka

Tour operator:


Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

6 - 16

Physical rating:


Age range:

16 to 99

Special diets catered:

Please inform Exodus of specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:
$4376 (USD) Operator discount: -$523 The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$124 -13%
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Tour Overview

Commencing in electrifying Tokyo, this cultural highlights adventure is the ideal way to experience some of Japan's most iconic cities and sites in just 8 days! Visit atmospheric Kyoto to delve into the heart of Japan's cultural heritage, taste the amazing and diverse cuisine, uncover the beautiful Japanese nature and UNESCO world heritage sites of magical Nikko before discovering historic Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park and Museum and captivating Miyajima. This rich journey through the land of the rising sun ends in vibrant and lively Osaka before heading home with memories that will last a lifetime!


  • Discover iconic cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka!

  • Enjoy Nikko's natural beauty and UNESCO sites

  • Take the high speed Shinkansen- 'bullet train'

  • Experience cherry blossom season or beautiful autumn colours

  • Taste a variety of Japanese cuisine

  • 8 day trip covering Japan's cultural highlights


Expand All
Day 1 : Start Tokyo
Location: Tokyo, Shinjuku City
Meals Included: No Meals

The trip starts this afternoon in the futuristic capital of Tokyo. 

Later this afternoon, there will be a group welcome meeting with your tour
leader followed by an optional group dinner in the evening and casual tour
around Shinjuku, the famous nightlife district of Tokyo!

Day 2 : A Full Day Tokyo City Tour By Metro Including Senso-Ji Temple
Location: Tokyo, Meiji Jingu, Harajuku, Omotesando, Asakusa
Meals Included: Breakfast

Today we utilise Tokyo's efficient metro system and enjoy a full day tour of
the city. 

We start the day with an early morning visit to Meiji Shrine. Tokyo’s most
famous shrine is dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji while the
park that surrounds the shrine is a forest of some 120,000 trees of 365
different species, making you forget that you are in the world’s largest

Outside of Meiji Shrine is Harajuku, the shopping haven for all fashionistas
and the popular meeting place for teenagers who are usually in eccentric
clothing. The landmark of Harajuku is Takeshita Street, a 400-meter long
alley filled with boutiques, shops, and cafes.

Neighbouring Harajuku is Omotesando, commonly referred to as Tokyo’s
Champs-Elysee. This broad, tree-lined avenue features a number of fashion
flagship stores designed by internationally renowned architects like TOD’s
Omotesando, designed by Toyo Ito.

From Omotesando, we can take the metro to Ginza, one of Tokyo’s most famous
upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment districts. It is said that 1sqm
of land in Ginza is worth over 10 million yen (€ 90,000)!

Our last stop Asakusa, is Tokyo’s oldest Geisha district and home to
Senso-ji Temple which is the city’s oldest Buddhist temple. The streets
around Senso-ji feature many traditional shops that sell Japanese crafts and
souvenirs and are a delight to wander through.

Please note that the order of activities and areas visited today in
Tokyo may change depending on the weather conditions and other
factors. Your tour leader will provide full details of the schedule during
the initial trip briefing.

Day 3 : Travel By Train To Nikko; Enjoy The Town's Nature And Unesco Sites; Overnight In Traditional Style Guesthouse
Location: Tokyo, Nikko
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we bid farewell to Tokyo and travel by train (approx. 2
hours) to beautiful Nikko, famous for its towering cedar trees and the UNESCO
World Heritage sites such as the Toshogu Shrine.

Upon arrival we set out to visit a few of Nikko's most popular sites. 

The Shinkyo Bridge is one of the most iconic sights and landmarks of Nikko.
This bright, vermillion bridge spans a river on the outskirts of the main
shrine complex, and is, aside from Toshogu Shrine, the most photographed
attraction in Nikko. Often featured in traditional Japanese art prints known
as /ukiyoe/, it is considered to be one of Japan’s top three most beautiful
bridges, and is photogenic in all seasons.

No visit to Nikko would be complete without a visit the the Toshogu
Shrine, which was built as a mausoleum for Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the
Tokugawa Shogunate who ruled Japan for over 250 years. This lavishly
decorated shrine complex consists of more than a dozen Shinto and Buddhist
buildings located in a beautiful forest setting.

We spend the night in Nikko in a traditional style guesthouse. 

Day 4 : Train To Kyoto; Delight Your Senses In Nishiki Market; Explore Traditional Gion District
Location: Kyoto, Nishiki Market, Geishas, Hanamikoji Street
Meals Included: Breakfast

Today we set out on a longer journey (approx. 4.5 hours) west to the
historical former capital of Japan, Kyoto by local train and shinkansen. As
we will arrive in Kyoto after 14:00, we can enjoy a bento lunch on the train.

After checking into our hotel, we visit the Nishiki Market, where we embark
on a tour that will delight your senses. Here we walk the narrow, mile-long
Nishiki covered food markets, where you’ll find many interesting food shops
to explore. This is a great opportunity to learn about local Japanese produce
and snap some photos of goods you won’t find back home. Some of the shops
give out or sell samples, so make sure to keep some space in your stomach!

The late afternoon is the best time to visit the Gion District – also known
as the “Geisha District” for being one of the city’s hanamachi (flower
towns) where Geisha live and work. The highlight of the area is Hanami-koji,
the most popular street in Gion where lavish teahouses and machiya (old
houses) are lined up. Usually in the early evening you may have a chance to
catch a glimpse of a Geiko or Maiko in the streets on the way to her
engagement, if you are lucky!

Day 5 : Experience Some Of Kyoto's Highlights By Foot And Public Transport
Location: Kyoto, Arashiyama, Ryōan-ji, Kinkaku-ji
Meals Included: Breakfast

Today, along with your tour leader, enjoy an exploration of the highlights of
Kyoto whilst using the comprehensive bus and metro systems to visit some of
Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites.

The tour starts with an early morning visit to one of the most unusual Shinto
shrines in Japan. Fushimi Inari is composed of thousands of vermilion torii
gates following trails inside the forests of Mt Inari. The Shrine, also
featured in “Memoirs of a Geisha”, is very famous for the impressive
contrast and mystical atmosphere created by the colours of the Torii and
those of the surrounding nature.

Next on our schedule is Arashiyama, one of Kyoto’s richest areas for
sightseeing, Arashiyama contains some of the area’s most stunning scenery.
Starting at Togetsukyo Bridge, one of Arashiyama’s most recognizable
landmarks, we make our way to the bamboo forest path on the west side of the
river before stopping at Nonomiya Shrine.

After a lunch break we continue to the serene Ryoan-ji Temple, which is
famous for its well-maintained rock garden and known to be the Myoshinji
School of the Rinzai Buddhist sect.

Just a short distance from Ryoan-ji is the stunning golden pavilion
collectively known as Kinkaku-ji Temple. The temple grounds are relatively
smaller than that of most temples and shrines found in Kyoto but what is
undoubtedly impressive is the pavilion that is completely covered in handmade
gold leaves.

Day 6 : On To Historic Hiroshima To Visit The Peace Park And Museum; Discover The Beautiful Himeji Castle Enroute
Location: Japan, Himeji Castle, Hiroshima
Meals Included: Breakfast

Following breakfast, we move further west by shinkansen (bullet train) to the
city of Hiroshima (approx. 3 hours). Along the way we will break our journey
for a visit to one of the most beautiful and most famous castles of
Japan, Himeji Castle. Also called “Shirasagi-jo” (the White Heron
Castle) or “Hakuro-jo” (the White Egret Castle) by some of the locals,
Himeji Castle resembles a white bird in flight due to its white exterior and
distinctive roof design.

After visiting the castle, we pick up lunch to enjoy on the train and
continue our way to Hiroshima.

Perhaps more than any city in the world, Hiroshima is famous for one moment
in history; on 6 August 1945, it became the first target of an atomic bomb.
However, Hiroshima has risen phoenix-like from its ashes, and rebuilt itself
as one of Japan's most laid back and vibrant cities, full of wide boulevards
and museums and famous for its great food and friendly, welcoming people.

This afternoon we visit the Peace Memorial Museum for a sobering reminder of
the events of 1945 before experiencing the surrounding Peace Park, where the
atmosphere is one of hope and peace.

Tonight we spend the night in Hiroshima.

Day 7 : Morning Trip By Ferry To Miyajima: Bullet Train To Osaka For Final Evening
Location: Itsukushima, Floating Torii Gate of Oouo Shrine, Osaka
Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning, we take a short trip by ferry to Miyajima, a famous wooded
island located in the Inland Sea near Hiroshima. Here you will find perhaps
the most photographed site in Japan - The Floating Torii Gate. Please note,
whilst the ‘floating’ tori of Itsukushima-jinja Shrine is currently
undergoing renovation works, we still recommend a visit to this enchanting
island. Deer are roaming freely on this lovely island where we spend some
time at leisure before we make our way by shinkansen (approx. 2.5 hours) to
our final destination on our tour of Japan, Osaka.

The 2nd largest metropolitan area in Japan, Osaka has a very distinct and
vibrant character, the locals are colourfu. l and lively and are known to
work hard and play hard. Osaka is also known as the shopping, dining and
nightlife capital of Japan. A good place to buy some last souvenirs and enjoy
a last dinner together with your fellow travellers or sing a song in a
karaoke box before heading home!

Day 8 : End Osaka
Location: Osaka
Meals Included: Breakfast

The tour ends this morning after breakfast for land only clients. 

If you have a late flight or are staying longer, you tour leader will be
happy to give suggestions for your sightseeing plans.

What's Included

  • Meals
    7 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 1 dinners.

* All breakfasts and 1 dinner
* All accommodation
* All transport (including 7 day Japan Rail Pass) and listed activities
* Flights from London (if booking flight inclusive)
* Free shared shuttle arrival transfer (for group flight and Land only
clients- must be booked in advance before trip commences if you wish to
utilise this service)
* Group departure transfer (for group flight)


What's Not Included

  • Visas or vaccinations

  • Travel insurance

  • Single accommodation (limited availability & on request). Only available for 6 nights, not available 1 night in Nikko.


All breakfasts and 1 dinner included.

Japanese cuisine is usually one of the main highlights of any trip to Japan.
It is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes which are usually
prepared with seasonal ingredients. Seafood is very is common, and it
usually comes grilled or deep fried. Sushi and sashimi aside, other staple
dishes include Soba, Ramen or Udon noodles, Sukiyaki (meat, fish and
vegetables cooked in broth) and Yakiniku (grilled meat).

When food is not included, your leader will always be on hand to recommend
the best local eateries and arrange some group meals for a full immersion in
Japan's varied and excellent cuisine. 

Please note that in Japan the availability of certain specialised products
for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free, strict vegetarian (no fish/seafood)
or vegan is minimal or non-existent. The group meals arranged by the tour
leader will be in traditional eateries where the choices of vegan dishes may
be limited to simple salads or boiled rice. However in Kyoto and Tokyo a
number of vegan restaurants are available.  It may also be a good idea to
bring with you some foodstuffs that you normally consume, or to supplement
meals with snacks purchased in the local convenience stores.


In Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka, our hotels are centrally located with excellent, modern facilities and English-speaking staff. Please note, room sizes in standard Japanese hotels are normally smaller than in Europe or North America. If you request a double bed, these can be smaller than Western double beds so couples may prefer twin beds.

For the one night in Nikko, we stay in a traditional inn/guesthouse where we can feel the timeless rhythms and customs of the Japanese countryside. Ryokans and minshukus, while comfortable and full of local character, do not run along the same lines as Western hotels and all have their own unique style. Some are more like Japanese B&Bs (minshukus) with a homestay/guesthouse feel (guests make their own Japanese-style beds up), while others are managed more like a standard hotel (ryokans) with bedding made up for guests. Rooms do not generally have private facilities and bedding is usually in the Japanese style with thick futon mattresses placed on tatami mats on the floor. Rooms are always doubles or twin-share but bathrooms and showers are generally communal. Please be advised, while females and males have access to separate gender-specific bathrooms, inside showering and bathing facilities can lack the level of privacy you would be used to in a Western-style shared bathroom.

2024 departures

The below accommodations are the standard hotels used for 2024 departures. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at different hotels of a similar standard and quality.

Tokyo (two nights): Dormy Inn Kodenmacho

Nikko (one night): Turtle Inn Nikko or Annex Turtle Hotorian

Kyoto (two nights): Resol Kyoto Shijo Muromachi

Hiroshima (one night): Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hiroshima Ekimae

Osaka (one night): Karaksa Hotel Osaka Namba

Onsen (Japanese public bath)

For many visitors to Japan, the onsen is a somewhat unfamiliar territory. An onsen is a Japanese hot spring and the bathing facilities and inns frequently situated around them. The combination of a strict bathing etiquette, that nudity compulsory, and that the water temperature is often hotter than most hot tubs can cause some reluctance for first timers. However, once the courage is mustered, you may discover that an onsen dip is likely to be a trip highlight. You may have the opportunity to try a public onsen. Please be aware, you may be refused entry if you have large and visible tattoos.

Single supplements

Single supplements can be pre-booked for six nights only. In Nikko, single supplements are not available and rooming is based on twin share (sharing with another group member of the same gender).

Please be advised, single supplements are limited and payable at the time of booking. In Japan, often single supplements can be accommodated in either an actual single and/or double for sole-use room.


Check out our Q&As

  • Who is Exodus Travels?

    At Exodus Travels, we've been exploring the world for nearly 50 years. From Walking and Trekking, Cultural and Cycling, Responsible Wildlife, to Polar and our new Premium Adventures, we are proud to offer award-winning small group and self-guided tours to 100+ countries worldwide.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, our local guides are English speaking.

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    We are happy to assist with pre and post tour accommodation. Please enquire for detailed information.

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    If you would like to be paired with a tour member of the same gender, there is no additional charge. A single supplement can be requested if you would like your own room.

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    The minimum age for this tour is 16 years old.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    International flights are not included with this tour.

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    If you wish to make any changes to your booking, particularly if you need to alter any flights booked through us, please let us know as soon as possible. There is a booking or flight amendment fee of £40 per change and flight amendments often incur extra airline costs depending on the changes to be made and if the ticket has been issued or not.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Exodus has been trading since 1974

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Your final joining instructions and flight details, if booked with us, will then be sent out 2 to 3 weeks before departure. If you would like a hard copy posted, or if you require these any earlier, please contact the customer operations team. We advise that if you are booking connecting travel before receiving these, please ensure you leave plenty of time.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Travellers are welcome to opt to share a room with a tour member of the same gender for no additional charge. If you'd like your own room, we can request a single supplement so that you will have your own room throughout.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    You are welcome to meet the group after the tour has departed however there is no reduction in rate for joining a tour after the departure date.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

Highlights of Japan

Great holiday. Great guide.

Highlights of Japan

Great holiday. Great guide.

Highlights of Japan

Great holiday. Great guide.

Dates & Availability

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Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

May 11, 2024 - May 18, 2024
$5023 $4376 (USD)

Operator discount: -$523 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$124 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 28, 2024 - Oct 05, 2024
$5100 $4960 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$140 (USD)

Autumn Colours

Saturday - Saturday

Oct 19, 2024 - Oct 26, 2024
$4500 $4376 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$124 (USD)

Autumn Colours

Saturday - Saturday

Nov 09, 2024 - Nov 16, 2024
$5025 $4887 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$138 (USD)

Cherry Blossom season

Saturday - Saturday

Mar 22, 2025 - Mar 29, 2025
$5550 $5397 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$153 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Apr 12, 2025 - Apr 19, 2025
$5250 $5106 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

May 10, 2025 - May 17, 2025
$5250 $5106 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 27, 2025 - Oct 04, 2025
$5250 $5106 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Autumn Colours

Saturday - Saturday

Oct 18, 2025 - Oct 25, 2025
$4950 $4814 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$136 (USD)

Autumn Colours

Saturday - Saturday

Nov 08, 2025 - Nov 15, 2025
$5250 $5106 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Exodus allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform exodus, 43 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Exodus requires a minimum deposit of 25% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 90 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of exodus charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

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