Japan honeymoon tour on a shoestring

“One of our top Japan holidays and an excellent value honeymoon, using infamous bullet trains to take you from hot spring valleys to the foot hills of Mount Fuji, staying at family-owned Minshukus where you’ll experience home-cooked delights. 38 words”


Tokyo | Hakone National Park | Bullet train journeys | Nakasendo Walking Trail | Kiso Valley | Tsumago | Kyoto | Mount Koya | Osaka

Description of Japan honeymoon tour on a shoestring

Classic sights and rural heartland
Don’t believe the hype; a 12 night trip to Japan needn’t cost an arm and a leg. This wonderful journey across Honshu (Japan’s main island) takes you through the neon-lit mega-cities of Tokyo and Osaka, as well as enchanting Kyoto – home to gardens, geisha, temples and much more.

You’ll also explore the countryside: visit the hot spring valleys of Hakone National Park in the foothills of Mount Fuji, walk the old Nakasendo Way to reach the tiny village of Tsumago, and do as the pilgrims do in Buddhist temple lodgings on sacred Mount Koya.

Simple hotels and romantic ryokan
The city stays are in simple Western-style hotels that are clean, comfortable and well located. We figure you’ll be out and about all day (and half the night!) in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, so these hotels are really somewhere just to lay your head.

In contrast, the rural stays are something to write home about. Your Hakone guest house has an outdoor hot spring bath that you can book for private use - ideal for honeymooners. In Tsumago you’ll be hosted by the wonderful Daikichi family in their five-room minshuku, with a home-cooked dinner included in your stay. And to round of the trip, the temple stay on Mount Koya will be an enchanting experience.

Hands on cultural experiences
In Kyoto we’ve thrown in a hands-on tea ceremony lesson in a gorgeous authentic tea house. And in Tokyo you’ll have a very special breakfast of Japan’s freshest sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market.

Please note this trip is designed to start at a Tokyo airport (either Narita or Haneda) and ends at Osaka Kansai Airport in order to cut down land transport costs.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Dietary requirements:
We can cater for vegetarian and vegan diets.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Tsumago, the jewel of the Kiso Valley, was once a post town on the old Nakasendo highway linking the ancient capital of Kyoto with Matsumoto. Today the village is notable for the residents’ efforts to preserve the town’s Edo Period ambiance. Power lines are hidden away and cars banned from the main roads during the daytime so that the beautiful, traditional buildings and flag-stone streets can be seen in their true glory – and that’s why we recommend this destination to our clients.

Small guest houses are family run and are run in tune with their environmental surroundings (along the lines of simplicity and tradition). On this itinerary you’ll stay in a tiny family-run minshuku in the centre of Tsumago run by the ever hospitable Mrs Daikichi. The best way to reach the accommodation is from neighbouring Magome village – from here it’s a three hour walk along the old Nakasendo samurai trail through unspoiled farmland and tea fields. Slowing down to appreciate the Kiso Valley on foot offers an unrivalled insight into everyday life in the Japanese countryside. Full details of the walking trail will be in your complimentary Info-Pack.

Travel is by train and on foot where possible, minimising carbon emissions as much as possible.

The Impacts of this Trip

Buddhism (and Shintoism) is the backbone of Japanese society and we’re keen to offer our clients the chance to stay in Buddhist temple lodgings on Mount Koya. A great opportunity to put tourist money back into this very special community.

At first glance, the lodgings are very similar to any ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). You'll stay in a private room with sliding fusuma doors and sleep on futon mattresses on tatami-matted floors. Some rooms may have en suite bathrooms, although at most shukubo, communal baths (separated into male and female facilities) are common. Heaters are provided in winter which are essential for mountaintop temple stays.

It's at mealtimes that things get a little different. The included breakfast and dinner are shojin ryori - that's strict vegetarian Buddhist cuisine. Ingredients are fresh and simply dressed, making the most of the subtle, natural flavours of the tofu and vegetables. In the early morning guests are invited to join the monks in a morning meditation service, which typically lasts around 30 minutes. You may also view the temple's cultural treasures, halls and gardens.

Many locally-run businesses, accommodation and restaurants are visited along the way - such as an authentic tea house which not ensures money goes into local pockets but also helps visitors to immerse themselves in and gain an understanding of Japanese culture.


5 Reviews of Japan honeymoon tour on a shoestring

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 16 Dec 2019 by

We loved Nijo Castle in Tokyo, also staying at the ryokan in Hakone, the food was fantastic and the area was beautiful! Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Jun 2019 by

Hiking the section of the Nakasendo Samurai Trail from Magome to Tsumago was amazing! We loved walking through really beautiful countryside, listening to the birds and frogs and fortunately not encountering any bears! Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2018 by

Amazing holiday Read full review

Reviewed on 04 May 2017 by

Walking the old samurai trials was incredible, as well as exploring the many temples and shrines in Kyoto. Amazing, we loved every moment. Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Apr 2016 by

Excellent, stunning, huge variety of tastes, sights and experiences. We went budget but it was definitely first class! Read full review

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