Discover Japan

With Airfare

Book By

Sep 30, 2020


15 Days

from USD


from CAD


Price Includes
  • Roundtrip airfare from North America on Cathay Pacific Airlines

  • 13 nights accommodation in moderate, first class or first class upgraded hotels

  • Japan Rail ordinary pass

  • Breakfast as per itinerary

Price Excludes
  • Airport transfers

  • Excursions

  • Travel insurance

  • Visas if required

  • Gratuities

  • Items of a personal nature

  • Meals not specifically noted in the itinerary

  • Beverages

  • All international and domestic airfares and airfare taxes unless specified

About this Trip

This 15-day Japanese vacation takes advantages of the Japan Rail pass to whisk you across the main island of Honshu. It can feature moderate or first-class accommodations depending on preferences, tailor-made excursions, and is perfect for travellers wanting to explore at their own pace.

Your trip to Japan begins in Tokyo, the nation’s capital and the largest city. There are futuristic cities and then there is Tokyo, a mind-blowing showcase of state-of-the-art technology, world-class transit, and looming skyscrapers all next to ancient temples and remnants of the imperial past. You’ll have two full days in Tokyo to explore the city and see its collection of landmarks, from grand temples like Senso-ji and the Meiji Shrine to the futuristic landscapes of Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Akihabara “Electric Town,” where manga, video games, and pop culture reign supreme. While in Tokyo, you’ll also head on two day trips to nearby temple towns. One day, head south to Kamakura, the lovely costal town that’s home to the Great Buddha and Hokoku-ji Temple alongside sandy beaches. The next day, head north to Nikko to see Toshogu, Japan’s most lavish shrine and the mausoleum for the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

From Tokyo, ride the rails into the Japanese Alps and the Hida region where you’ll find the small town of Takayama, one of the loveliest spots in all of Japan. Visit the Yatai Kaikan Museum to see the festival floats that are the highlight of the spring festival each year, and head down Kami Sannomachi Street to see the old wooden houses and sake breweries that define the town. Turn south and take the train to Kyoto, the former imperial capital and Japan’s most beautiful city. You’ll have two full days to see its many temples and imperial sights, from Nijo Castle and the Kyoto Imperial Palace to the golden pavilion of Kinkaku-ji and the thousand orange-red torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine, which climbs a mountain in the city’s east.

Discover Japan

Day 1: Depart North America

Depart North America today for your flight to Tokyo, Japan

Day 2: Arrive Tokyo

On arrival at the airport, please make your way to the Japan Rail Pass counter to activate your rail pass. Once you have your pass, you can use it to travel by express train from the airport to your chosen hotel.

Day 3: Explore Tokyo

Today is free for you to explore Tokyo. With such a great rail system and easy access to taxi's it is a very easy city to navigate. We can prearrange a Tokyo walking tour or morning tour if you prefer, just chat with our Asia experts to add it to your program.

Day 4: Visit Kamakura

Today you will be using your Japan Rail pass to travel out of Tokyo. Japan has one of the most extensive, comfortable and modern rail systems in the world. Our first suggested visit is Kamakura which is a coastal town in Kanagawa Prefecture, less than an hour south of Tokyo. The town became the political center of Japan, when Minamoto Yoritomo chose it as the seat for his new military government in 1192.
Today, Kamakura is a small city and a very popular tourist destination. Sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura offers numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments. In addition, Kamakura's sand beaches attract large crowds during the summer months. Top attractions include the Great Buddha, Hokokuji Temple, hiking trails and Enoshima beach just to name a few. You will return to Tokyo for your overnight.

Day 5: Visit Nikko

Nikko is a town at the entrance to Nikko National Park, and only 2 hours and 40 mins from Tokyo and is most famous for Toshogu, Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine and the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Nikko had been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries before Toshogu was built in the 1600s, and Nikko National Park continues to offer scenic, mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails. Nikko and the Okunikko area around Lake Chuzenji, in particular, are well known for their beautiful autumn colors (koyo). Return to Tokyo for your overnight.

Day 6: Tokyo

Another full day in Tokyo, a city with plenty to offer, from craft beer tours, ninja training, shopping, cooking classes or tea ceremonies. We have a full list of suggestions to discuss with you. Or keep it free and easy to explore on your own.

Day 7: Tokyo to Takayama

This morning travel to Takayama which is a 4 1/2 hour journey by train. Takayama is a city in the mountainous Hida region of Gifu Prefecture. To differentiate it from other places named Takayama, the city is also commonly referred to as Hida-Takayama. Takayama retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town. It now ranks as one of the prime candidates among travelers wishing to add a rural element into their itineraries. The Takayama Festival, held in spring and autumn, is considered one of Japan's best festivals. Overnight in Takayama.

Day 8: Takayama to Kyoto

Leave Takayama today for Kyoto which is a 3 1/2 hour journey. Kyoto served as Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. It is one of the country's ten largest cities with a population of 1.5 million people and a modern face. Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its exceptional historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and escaped destruction during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today. Some of Kyoto's main attractions are Nijo Castle, Sento Palace, Nishiki market, Kyoto Imperial Palace, Fushimi Inari Shrine and the preserved historic district of Higashiyama. There is so much to see, it may be worth extending your stay here. Overnight in Kyoto.

Day 9: Explore Kyoto

Today is free for you to explore Kyoto. We can prearrange a Kyoto walking or biking tour if you prefer, just chat with our Asia experts to add it to your program.

Day 10: Nara

Today we recommend you use your rail pass to visit Nara. Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara. As the influence and political ambitions of the city's powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784 and a few years later to Kyoto. Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples. Some sites of interest Todaiji Temple, Horyuji Temple, Heijo Temple and Omizutori to name a few. Return back to Kyoto for overnight.

Day 11: Visit Osaka

Osaka is Japan's second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai Region for many centuries. Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa. Before the Nara Period, when the capital used to be moved with the reign of each new emperor, Naniwa was once Japan's capital city, the first one ever known. In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose Osaka as the location for his castle, and the city may have become Japan's political capital if Tokugawa Ieyasu had not terminated the Toyotomi lineage after Hideyoshi's death and moved his government to distant Edo (Tokyo). Return back to Kyoto for overnight

Day 12: Kyoto

Today is your last full day in Kyoto, to explore free and easy. Overnight in Kyoto.

Day 13: Kyoto to Hiroshima

In the early morning, travel from Kyoto to Hiroshima which is a 2 hour train journey. When the first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the city became known worldwide for this unenviable distinction. The destructive power of the bomb was tremendous and obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometer radius. After the war, great efforts were taken to rebuild the city. Predictions that the city would be uninhabitable proved false. Destroyed monuments of Hiroshima's historical heritage, like Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Garden, were reconstructed. In the center of the city a large park was built and given a name that would reflect the aspirations of the re-born city: Peace Memorial Park. We suggest you visit the Peace Park before continuing on. Depending on the time you have left in the day, it is suggested you visit Miyajima this afternoon and if you are not able to, try tomorrow morning. It is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan's three best views. While officially named Itsukushima, the island is more commonly referred to as Miyajima, Japanese for "shrine island". This is because the island is so closely related to its key shrine, Itsukushima Shrine, in the public's mind. Like the torii gate, the shrine's main buildings are built over water. There are also wild deer on the island that have become accustomed to people. In the day the deer wander around the same sites as the tourists, and in the evening they sleep along the walking paths. Return to Hiroshima for overnight.

Day 14: Hiroshima to Tokyo

On your way back to Tokyo, a stop at Himeji which is 2 hours away on your way to Tokyo is a great idea. Here you can spend the afternoon exploring the Himeji Castle. Himeji Castle, also known as White Heron Castle (Shirasagijo) due to its elegant, white appearance, is widely considered as Japan's most spectacular castle for its imposing size and beauty and its well preserved, complex castle grounds. The castle complex as it survives today is over 400 years old and was completed in 1609. It is made up of over eighty buildings spread across multiple baileys, which are connected by a series of gates and winding paths. Return to Tokyo in the evening which is 3-4 hours journey.

Day 15: Depart Tokyo

Today make your own way to the airport for your onward flight. If you would like to extend any part of your stay, please inquire with our team.

Inquire about this Trip
Pricing Information
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If the city visited does not offer the class of hotel (moderate, first class or first class upgraded / deluxe) for the program, the best possible option was chosen. Please chat with you Asia Experts on the options available.

Please chat with our Asia Experts about upgrading your rail pass to the green pass which allows for some extra benefits. Green cars offer larger seats, more foot space and enhanced board service, and they tend to be less crowded than ordinary cars. They are available on most shinkansen and limited express trains and on a small number of local trains. Many travelers find the size and foot room of ordinary seats sufficient, but those who wish to have additional luxury, should go for the green car.  

The pass is valid on almost all trains operated on the nationwide network of JR (Japan Railways), including shinkansen, limited express, express, rapid and local trains. Below is a map showing the major train lines that can be used with the pass.   


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.

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