Japan tailor made tour on a shoestring

One of our top 3 Japan holidays and certainly our best value, using infamous bullet trains to see as much as possible, including a stay at a locally-owned ryokan where you can experience the ritual of hot-spring bathing.
Tokyo Hakone National Park Hot spring baths Night in traditional ryokan or inn Kyoto Bullet train journey
£1170excluding flights
8 Days
Tailor made
More info
Price is per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room and based on low season.
We are happy to accommodate solo travellers - please contact us for pricing.
Make enquiry

Description of Japan tailor made tour on a shoestring

Japan has long been thought of as one of the world’s most expensive holiday destinations, but this needn’t be the case with our 7 night Price Cruncher package. This exciting self-guided trip takes you to Japan’s must-see cities Tokyo and Kyoto, as well as Hakone National Park in the shadow of Mount Fuji.

It’s a joy to travel in Japan on a shoestring; everywhere is clean and spotless, trains are always on time and there’s no such thing as a rip-off ‘tourist price’. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality; in Tokyo and Kyoto you’ll stay in well located business hotels, and in Hakone your accommodation is a traditional Japanese ryokan (guest house) complete with hot spring baths. A light breakfast is included every morning. We've even thrown in a tea ceremony experience in Kyoto - an traditional Japanese art form that is a thing of beauty.

All transport between destinations is included and one of your journeys will be on the world famous Shinkansen bullet train, an essential Japan travel experience! Also included are local transport passes in Tokyo (the Manaca card) and a Hakone Freepass which covers the local buses, mountains railways, cable cars and even a pirate boat which take you through spectacular scenery and great Fuji-san views.

All of our customer receive a detailed Info-Pack. This includes all the essential information you will need to make your transfers and get to your hotels, as well as all manner of useful sightseeing and cultural tips to help you along your way e.g. where to spot a geisha, how to visit an early morning sumo stable and the best cheap, local food to eat. You will also have the security of our Japan office - on hand at any time should you experience any sort of difficulty during your holiday.

Please note: In order to keep travel costs down, this trip is designed to start in Tokyo (either at Tokyo Narita or Tokyo Haneda Airports) and finish in Kyoto with a departure from Osaka Kansai Airport. For this you will need an "open-jaw" flight ticket into Tokyo and out of Osaka Kansai. Alternatively if you would prefer to fly home from Tokyo we can tailor the itinerary to take you back to the capital.


Day 1:TOKYO (no meals) | Arrive Tokyo Narita Airport and use the included Manaca Intercity transport card to take a train into Tokyo. Your accommodation is a business hotel in the historic Asakusa district near Senso-ji Temple.
Day 2:TOKYO (breakfast) | A free day of sightseeing in Tokyo. You Info-Pack will have lots of ideas and advice such as taking in the views from the top of the Skytree, wandering around Hamarikyu Garden or browsing the crazy fashion shops in Harajuku.
Day 3:TOKYO (breakfast) | Another free day in Tokyo. Be sure to check out the nightlife in the neon-lit Shinjuku and Shibuya districts.
Day 4:HAKONE (breakfast) | Take a highway bus to Hakone National Park (2 hours). Explore the national park with the included Hakone Freepass which is valid on the mountain railways, cable cars, local buses and a pirate ship which criss-cross this beautiful region which offers stunning views of Mount Fuji. Tonight’s accommodation is a traditional Japanese ryokan with an outdoor hot spring bath.
Day 5:KYOTO (breakfast) | Take the world famous Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto (2 hours). Here you will stay in a business hotel in Kyoto’s downtown area among charming local restaurants and craft shops.
Day 6:KYOTO (breakfast) | There is so much to see in the imperial capital from the Golden Temple to Kiyomizu-dera, the bamboo groves of Arashiyama and the tunnels of red torii gates lining the mountain at Fushimi Inari. In the evening head to Gion and you might just spot a geisha scuttling between tea houses.
Day 7:KYOTO (breakfast) | A free day to further explore Kyoto or pay on the day for a day trip to Nara, home of the big Buddha statue, the original samurai castle of Himeji, or infamous Hiroshima for a moving visit to the Peace Park.
Day 8:DEPART (breakfast) | Shared shuttle bus transfer to Osaka Kansai Airport (2 hours).

Price information

£1170excluding flights
Price is per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room and based on low season.
We are happy to accommodate solo travellers - please contact us for pricing.
Make enquiry

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary

Leader interview

“Up in the Hakone National Park, they boil eggs in the naturally hot water. They say that eating one of those eggs lengthens your life by five years.”

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Holiday information

Our top tip:
Bathe as much as you can – it is a massive part of Japanese culture and very cheap if you seek out the public sento bathhouses.
Trip type:
Self-guided, tailor-made trip.
Solo travellers welcome. Surcharge for single room.
Budget city hotels plus one night in traditional ryokan or inn.
Accomm., airport transfers, public transport passes, Kyoto guide, Tea ceremony.
All breakfasts, 1 dinner included. Budget £3 for fast street food, £8-10 for modest dinner.
Dietary requirements:
We can cater for vegetarian and vegan diets.


21 Reviews of Japan tailor made tour on a shoestring

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2019 by

Memorable moments included practising calligraphy and wood block printing, sitting on the 14th floor open air rooftop overlooking the peace park in Hiroshima, sitting admiring Matsumoto black crow castle after dark. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 May 2019 by

The snow monkeys, the city lights of Tokyo, the local restaurants and bars, the food and the friendliness & helpfulness of the people were memorable. Read full review

Reviewed on 23 Nov 2018 by

We had an amazing holiday. Japan is unique. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Mar 2018 by

The most memorable was Hakone. Beautiful views and hot spring bathing in the wonderful ryokan. Read full review

Reviewed on 31 Jan 2018 by

We loved the varied nature of our trip, We took in history, beautiful, nature, exciting cities and great food. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Jun 2017 by

Our whole trip was memorable and exciting! We loved the Disney Sea park and Cafe Eorzea. We also enjoyed Zauo (fishing restaurant), our guide in Kyoto, our Ryokan, Arashiyama monkey park, and so much more! Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2017 by

Meeting a Maiko (trainee Geisha) in Kyoto was a fantastic experience! Exploring the old city of Kyoto with an amazing guide was also wonderful! Fantastic, the absolute best holiday we have been on! Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Oct 2016 by

Absolutely brilliant. We were a little anxious beforehand as we had not participated in a group tour before but we certainly do so again provided it was with your organisation! Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Aug 2016 by

Excellent!...Taking a day out between the big cities to relax in a traditional style Ryokan was fantastic. Something we wouldn't have considered if we'd tried to book everything ourselves. Read full review

Reviewed on 31 May 2016 by

A holiday of a lifetime...Dinner in the evening was the best kaiseki of our trip - the fish salted and fresh with the most minimal food miles - straight from the fish ponds outside. Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Apr 2016 by

Best bit: The food! Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Apr 2016 by

Experiencing Japan- a fascinating, different and wonderful country to visit. We loved Tokyo and Kyoto and all the sights there. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Apr 2015 by

I absolutely adored Hakone...That entire leg of the journey was my favourite. I wish we'd had more time there. It was so relaxing, but at the same time there was mountain to explore! ...Our tour operators were fantastic, they couldn't do enough for us. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2015 by

This was an excellent and memorable holiday and both my daughter and I judged it a great success. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2015 by

This was an excellent and memorable holiday and both my daughter and I judged it a great success. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2015 by

The most memorable part is hard to identify as the whole experience was fantastic. Excellent! Read full review

Reviewed on 28 May 2015 by

4 star. Best bit: To visit Hiroshima Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Apr 2015 by

Japan is an interesting country with some great things to see and do. Maiko makeover was such fun! Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Mar 2015 by

Excellent! Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Jun 2014 by

10/10...Hiroshima, sumo , Magome and Koyasan were the highlights Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Aug 2013 by

Excellent. We had a nice mix of major cities, the Hakone National Park Region, and Miyajima Island. Read full review

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.


All journeys on this trip are by public transport and you’ll be amazed at how many different forms of transport you’ll use! Train, subway, local bus, mountain railway, cable cars, funicular railway, pirate boat, tram and you could even hire bikes to explore Kyoto – details of which will be in the Info-Pack.

Hotel staff in Japan are aware of environmental issues, so do look out for recycling bins in the hotels and also outside convenience stores. We give all clients phrases in Japanese for how to refuse a plastic bag and other non-essential plastic items.

All of our customers receive a list of tips for going green in Japan. We encourage clients not to overuse the air conditioning in summer or heating in winter. Tap water is safe to drink in Japan so you can avoid buying bottles of water from the ubiquitous vending machines. Our Info-Pack provides lots of recommendations for local restaurants and shops.


The Fuji Hakone Guest House has been welcoming international visitors to Hakone National Park for more than 30 years. Run by the very hospitable Takahashi family, you are sure to receive a warm welcome - as well as an introduction into traditional Japanese culture. Rooms here are Japanese-style; that means you'll need to take your shoes off before stepping on to the soft tatami mat floors. Simple instructions are provided in English to guide you through your stay in a traditional inn; where to take your shoes off, how to lay out your futon bedding and how to use the outdoor hot spring bath (hint: you have to take all your clothes off and wash thoroughly before getting in the bath!). The staff organise various cultural events including kimono wearing and Shamisen music performances. They'll also happily teach you how to make origami crane or write your name in katakana!

In July and August, the Fuji Hakone Guest House is a convenient springboard for climbing Mount Fuji. Please ask if you would like to fit this in your Price Cruncher package.

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