Japan small group holiday by bullet train

“Starting and finishing in Tokyo, spend two nights in the country’s top spots, with plenty of visits included and three nights in gorgeous traditional inns.”

Highlights

Tokyo | Hakone NP | Kamikochi National Park | Osaka | Kyoto | Tea ceremony with maiko | overnight stays in traditional ryokan inns | Hot spring baths | Takayama | Matsumoto

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Check dates

2016: 15 Oct
2017: 27 May, 29 Jul, 19 Aug, 16 Sep, 14 Oct
Our top tip:
Don’t be shy of hot spring baths. Learn the etiquette, immerse and converse.
Trip type:
Small group, max 14 people.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Surcharge for single rooms.
Accomm:
Good standard hotels and 2 nights in traditional ryokan inns.
Included:
Accomm., tour leader, rail and other transport passes, most activities.
Meals:
All breakfasts, 7 dinners included. Budget £3 for fast street food, £8-10 for modest dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Japan small group holiday by bullet train

Environment

Japan is probably most famous for its cities; neon-spangled skyscrapers, crowded zebra crossings, the bullet trains and human-esque robots. But on this tour we also head for the countryside, particularly the unspoiled landscape of Kamikochi National Park high in the Japanese Alps.

We’ll be following in the footsteps of Banryu, a priest who was the first person to scale the Kamikochi mountains to worship nature according to the Buddhist doctrines. On our tour we’ll continue in this tradition, respecting the Kamikochi country code: not to disturb animals, not to damage wild plants and not to leave any litter.

Since 1909 regulations for the preservation of mountain plants in Kamikochi has been enforced and the Japanese rock ptarmigan, antelope and char are all protected animal species. In 1965 the local community established “Kamikochi Preservation”, a volunteer group. By behaving in a responsible manner during our stay in Kamikochi, we’ll be supporting the group’s work and helping to maintain the virgin nature of the national park for future generations.

Community

We hate the idea of travelling in a ‘tour bus bubble’, talking only to your fellow travellers and not interacting with the communities we pass through. That’s why this tour is conducted entirely by public transport. Hopping on the Hiroshima trams and the Tokyo subway, or sitting next to commuters on the bullet train gives you plenty of opportunity to talk to local Japanese people. The Japanese are excellent hosts; polite, welcoming and proud of their traditional culture. So why not ask a local how to write your name in Japanese or fold an origami crane?

On this tour we’ll spend 6 nights in traditional accommodation known as ryokan or minshuku. Here we’ll experience authentic Japanese living. Taking our shoes of at the door, we must wear slippers around the inn and just socks on the tatami mat floors in our guestrooms. Our beds are thick futon mattresses laid on the tatami. In Kamikochi there are no en-suite bathrooms; instead we’ll use the communal baths (men and women separately). Etiquette dictates that you must wash yourself fully before climbing into the big tub for a soak. And strictly birthday suits only! But don’t worry, the tour leader will explain all these social rules and the reason behind them to deepen our understanding of Japanese culture.

Reviews of Japan small group holiday by bullet train

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the summit of Mount Fuji Kamikochi National Park
Hiroshima Peace Park
Traveling on the Shinkansen and using the impressive Japanese railway system

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Pack as light as possible and keep an open mind with regard to local food and customs

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, definitely

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good itinerary that included cities and countryside and a variety of types of
accommodation. There was plenty of optional free time to explore one your own if you wanted. Brian, the tour leader was conscientious and helpful, we were particularly impressed that he met us at our hotel on arrival in Japan in spite of the very late hour.

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It's so difficult as there was something special about everywhere we went. The early morning in Nagano at the temple, and the first experience of an onsen - which was local, relaxing and well worth overcoming any physical shyness.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Bear in mind that Japan in October is still pretty warm, around UK summer temperatures, so light clothing is most useful. It's easier to find cash machines at 7-11, Citibank and post office outlets than I had thought from reading the literature. There seemed to be a 7-11 or more in almost every town.


3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The benefit to locals would be that we were purchasing food, gifts etc locally, and most hotels give you the option of not changing sheets and towels daily.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A ten plus. The whole trip was fantastic, from the neon lights of Tokyo to the countryside around Takayama. David, our tour leader was excellent, both organised and willing us to strike out on our own to experience and find what we each wanted to do and see. It's the first tour group I've have ever been on and I feel very fortunate to have landed with such an excellent group and guide.

Read the operator's response here:

Many thanks for your comments Catherine, and welcome home! Glad you had such a fantastic time on our Japan Unmasked group tour. We pride ourselves on the quality of our Tour Leaders, as we know they really make the trip. Well done David for looking after you so well. We would love to welcome you back to Japan one day to see more! Or perhaps one of the other Asian destinations we offer. Harry Sargant..

Reviewed on 25 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The beauty of the countryside, the friendliness of the people. Exciting and different food experiences.


2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Travel lightly.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We visited craftsmen enabling them to showcase and sell their beautiful crafts which directly benefited the local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was fabulous and everything and more than we expected

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


the whole holiday was memorable as we went from the busy metropolis of Tokyo to the quiet of the Japanese Alps.
The travel was easier than expected due to the Japanese efficiency and all accommodation was satisfactory.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Not as expensive as expected and Wi-Fi more available than anticipated.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Local travel and local businesses were encouraged.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Amanda,

Thank you for your comments and I am very glad you had such a great time! Thank you very much for traveling with us and we would be more than happy to welcome you back to Japan sometime in the future!

All the best,

Katharina

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