Japan holiday, ancient and modern

Taking advantage of Japan’s extensive rail network, this Japan holiday is also one of our bestsellers, allowing you to visit all the key sites between Hiroshima and Tokyo whilst staying overnight in traditional family-owned ryokans and modern locally-run hotels.
Osaka Kyoto Gion geisha district Nara Zen gardens Hiroshima Miyajima Island Peace Memorial Park Takayama Hida Mountains Miyagawa River Matsumoto Tsumago Snow Monkey Park Hakone Tokyo Tsukiji Market
£6495To£7575including UK flights
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16 Days
Small group
More info
From £4195 - £5495 excluding flights.
Optional single supplement from £750 - £850.
Minimum age 16.
Make enquiry

Description of Japan holiday, ancient and modern

Join a small group tour of Japan travelling from Kyoto to Tokyo via Osaka, Hiroshima and the forts and spa resorts of the Japanese Alps.

This 16 day holiday incorporates the very best of Japan’s ancient and modern sites with everything from sacred temples and shimmering skyscrapers to Buddhist monks and bullet trains, creating an eclectic experience that helps to piece together links between the past, the present and the future.

The shrine-filled gardens of Nara and Kyoto are, without doubt, an essential highlight of any holiday in Japan with the last stop on the tour, Tokyo, conjuring up a fast-paced neon whirl to ensure you leave Japan with newfound friends and unforgettable memories.


Price information

£6495To£7575including UK flights
Convert currency:
From £4195 - £5495 excluding flights.
Optional single supplement from £750 - £850.
Minimum age 16.
Make enquiry

Check dates, prices & availability

Travel guides

History holidays suffer from an image problem. They conjure up a picture of a sedate older crowd crammed into coaches, ticking off a list of antiquity...
If you haven’t been there, just talk to someone who has. People get hooked on Japan. On their rituals, quirkiness, history and innate welcoming nature...

Holiday information

Small group tours:
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modeled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. Those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.


7 Reviews of Japan holiday, ancient and modern

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 03 May 2023 by

A good break as well as an appreciation of what Japan has to offer. Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Apr 2023 by

I enjoyed everything - lots of walking, shrines, temples, history, culture, and also the day-to-day things like learning about the different regions of Japan and how to enjoy the onsen… I would very happily do it again! Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Apr 2019 by

From the cherry blossoms in Tokyo to the the snow monkeys in the snow to the wonderful gardens and temples of Kyoto - it was all so interesting and varied Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Dec 2019 by

The most memorable part of the holiday was the day trip to Arashiyama, in Kyoto suburbs. Lovely combo of temples, gardens and shopping. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2017 by

Fabulous people - so welcoming and polite. Loved the Onsens - open air thermal baths where you bathe naked! Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Nov 2017 by

Difficult to pick one experience above all others but probably the visit to the Snow Monkeys was the most enjoyable. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 May 2014 by

Excellent... 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.


Accommodation & Meals:
On this trip we spend some nights in comfortable hotels and others in traditional style ‘ryokans’ (local inns). These are usually family run and locally staffed, which means we are benefiting the smaller businesses instead of some of the huge, multi-national hotels you can find in Japan. Many also have environmental policies like optional sheet and towel washing in order to save water and energy. Locally sourced ingredients will be used where meals are provided; where not provided clients will be eating at local shops and restaurants under the guidance of their tour leader. There are some incredible eating opportunities like the Miyagawa River morning market. This is a great chance for cultural exchange as you will become acquainted with some really unusual agricultural produce.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.


Local Craft & Culture:
Having a largely cultural focus, this tour has many opportunities to learn about the crafts of Japan. Visiting Tsumago post town in Nagano and Hida Folk Museum in Takayama may benefit the locals as well as the preservation of their cultural assets because the group have chance to buy products made in the areas as well as learning about traditional methods and structures of production. There is also a small museum in Nagano devoted to Japan’s best known artist, Hokusai Katsushika. Hokusai is famous for his risquι cartoons and traditional woodblock pictures of Mt. Fuji and you will find these reproduced on souvenirs all over the area.

A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise on the wildlife, environment and culture that they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help you understand how you can help reduce your impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from your visit.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

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