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Grand Tour of...
 

Grand Tour of Japan

14 days |  18 days with Okinawa & Tokyo extension
Group size1535 travelers
bright yellow temple of kinkaku ji on a river in kyoto japan
itsukushima shrine in hatsukaichi japan
bright yellow temple of kinkaku ji on a river in kyoto japan
close up of japanese containers
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsHotels, flights & FAQ
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Stand in awe of everything “The Land of the Rising Sun” has to offer.

Few countries blend ancient customs with modern-day innovations as seamlessly as Japan. On this journey, find your Zen in the Japanese Alps and step inside shrines built by emperors in Kyoto. Savor dishes the Japanese have perfected—ramen and sushi, anyone?—and enjoy guided meditation, geisha sightings, and a sake tasting. Then, when you think things can’t get any more astounding, look to the horizon in Tokyo, where skyscrapers and iconic Mount Fuji anchor the skyline.

Your tour package includes

  • 12 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 12 breakfasts
  • 1 lunch with beer or wine
  • 3 dinners with beer or wine
  • 1 liquor tasting
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Included highlights

  • Osaka Castle
  • Itsukushima Shrine
  • Himeji Castle
  • Golden Pavilion
  • High-speed bullet train rides
Read more
Start planning today

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Talk to a Tour Consultant

Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Osaka today.

Osaka2 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Osaka

Welcome to Japan! Get settled in to your hotel this evening.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Osaka
Included meals: Breakfast, Welcome lunch

Join your Tour Director and set out to explore Osaka, the birthplace of many  of Japan’s well-known arts, such as Kabuki theater and the tea ceremony.

  • Visit the massive Osaka Castle, which houses a museum dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the legendary leader who built it
  • Stroll through Kuromon Ichiba Market, famous for its selection of fresh fish, vegetables, fruit, and other Japanese specialties

This afternoon, gather with your Tour Director and fellow travelers for a welcome lunch in the city.

Spend a free evening in Osaka or add an excursion.

Osaka by Night: Cruise & Dinner

From $119 per person

Hiroshima1 night
Day 4: Train ride to Hiroshima & sightseeing tour
Included meal: Breakfast

Board a high-speed bullet train and travel to Hiroshima. Then, get to know this renowned “City of Peace” on today’s guided sightseeing tour with your Tour Director.

  • Visit Peace Memorial Park to see the Peace Memorial Museum and the Atomic Bomb Dome, which was the only structure to withstand the infamous atomic bombing of the city during World War II
  • Take a short ferry ride to Miyajima Island to view the 12th-century, UNESCO-listed Itsukushima Shrine
Kyoto3 nights
Day 5: Kyoto via Himeji Castle & Kōko-en
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Make your way to Kyoto today, stopping along the way for a guided tour of the UNESCO-listed Himeji Castle and its surrounding garden, Kōko-en.

  • Enjoy free time for lunch in the quaint city of Himeji before visiting Himeji Castle, a wooden masterpiece that’s comprised of over 80 buildings
  • Snap photos of the Otemon Gate as you enter and admire the castle’s white facade, elegant pinnacles, and striking 17th-century architecture
  • Round out your visit with free time to explore Kōko-en, a stunning garden that’s designed to be aesthetically pleasing through all four seasons

Continue on to Kyoto, where you’ll enjoy a traditional shabu-shabu (hot pot) dinner.

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of Kyoto
Included meal: Breakfast

A local guide leads a tour of Kyoto, the city that served as the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years—and is still considered its spiritual capital.

  • Tour the 17th-century Nijo Castle, which boasts intricate architecture and a unique alarm system: floors that sound like a nightingale when walked on
  • See one of Japan’s most famous temples, the glittering Golden Pavilion
  • Travel on to Ryoanji Temple, which houses the country’s finest Zen gardens

Spend a free afternoon in Kyoto or add an excursion.

Arashiyama District & Nishiki Market

From $115 per person

Day 7: Zen meditation class
Included meal: Breakfast

This morning, learn about one of Japan’s most important spiritual practices: Zen meditation.

  • Tap in to your unconscious mind during a guided Zen meditation session
  • Sit down to sip Matcha green tea alongside a traditional Japanese sweet
  • Enjoy an included lunch

Spend a free afternoon in Kyoto or add an excursion.

Nara

From $99 per person

Kanazawa2 nights
Day 8: Train ride to Kanazawa, sightseeing tour & sake tasting
Included meals: Breakfast, Liquor tasting, Dinner

Board a high-speed bullet train and make your way to Japan’s west coast to visit  the historic city of Kanazawa, where you’ll join an expert guide for a sightseeing tour.

  • Stroll around the Higashi Chaya District, which is known for its teahouses and geisha performances
  • Pay a visit to Kenrokuen, the country’s most famous landscape garden, where  you’ll enjoy free time after your guided walk
  • Make your way to Myouryuji, known as “the Ninja Temple” due to its secret defenses, doors, and traps

Tonight, learn about Kanazawa’s over 400-year-old sake tradition. You’ll taste local sake and then sit down for dinner with your fellow travelers.

Day 9: Japanese Alps & Shirakawa-go region
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a full day uncovering the beauty of the Japanese Alps and the surrounding areas, including the famous Shirakawa-go region.

  • Make your way to the city of Takayama to stroll through the Old Town with your Tour Director
  • Continue on to the Shirakawa-go region to admire UNESCO-listed villages that are famous for their Gassho-style houses, which have unique thatched roofs
  • Take in sweeping village views from the Shiroyama Viewpoint
  • Stop in Ogimachi Village, where you’ll visit an open-air museum to get an up-close look at the region’s thatched-roof farmhouses
Tokyo4 nights
Day 10: Train ride to Tokyo & sightseeing tour
Included meal: Breakfast

Board a high-speed bullet train to Tokyo this morning. Then, spend the afternoon exploring Japan’s bustling capital with your Tour Director in the lead.

  • View the Imperial Palace and its impressive grounds
  • Pass through the Shinjuku District
  • Head to the top of the Metropolitan Building to get a bird’s-eye view of the city
Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Tokyo
Included meal: Breakfast

Join a local guide and embark on another immersive tour of Tokyo.

  • Pass the iconic Shibuya crossing as you drive through the central part of the city
  • Set off on a short walk from Yoyogi Park to the Meiji Shrine, final resting place  of Emperor Meiji
  • Stroll through the colorful Harajuku neighborhood, where Tokyo’s history and present-day pop culture intertwine
  • Explore Tokyo’s old town, including the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most sacred temple
  • Peruse a vibrant variety of handmade crafts and local fare at the centuries-old Nakamise Shopping Arcade

Spend a free evening in Tokyo or add an excursion.

Japanese Cooking Class & Dinner

From $115 per person

Day 12: Free day in Tokyo
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a free day in Tokyo or add an excursion.

Kamakura

From $125 per person

Day 13: Free day in Tokyo
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

Spend a free day in Tokyo or add an excursion.

Tonight, celebrate your trip at a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers.

Mount Fuji

From $95 per person

Flight Home
Day 14: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast

Transfer to the Tokyo airport for your flight home, or extend your stay in Japan to explore Okinawa.

Extension to Okinawa & Tokyo
Okinawa's white-sand beaches and turquoise water make it seem like a world away from mainland Japan—which makes it just the place to round out your trip. Leave mountains and skyscrapers behind as you fly to the island, where local experts will show you the highlights.
Okinawa3 nights
Day 14: Flight to Naha
Included meal: Breakfast

Transfer to the airport this morning and board your flight to the city of Naha on the island of Okinawa, located to the southwest in the East China Sea.

Day 15: Sightseeing tour of Naha
Included meal: Breakfast

Join a local guide for a tour of Naha, Okinawa’s capital city.

  • Explore the UNESCO-listed Shikinaen Gardens, which were built to entertain envoys of the Chinese Emperors, in 1799
  • Enjoy a self-guided audio tour inside the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum, which brings centuries of Okinawan history to life

Spend a free afternoon in Naha or add an excursion.

Okinawa World War II History Tour

From $75 per person

Day 16: Free day in Naha
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a free day in Naha or add an excursion.

Kerama Islands Sailing & Snorkeling

From $125 per person

Tokyo1 night
Day 17: Flight to Tokyo
Included meal: Breakfast

Fly back to Tokyo this morning and enjoy a free afternoon. 

This evening, enjoy a farewell drink as you celebrate your trip with your group.

Flight Home
Day 18: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the Tokyo airport for your flight home.

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Hotels, flights & FAQ

Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.

Hotels

We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
Citadines Namba Osaka
Citadines Namba Osaka

This modern styled hotel is located in high-energy Namba district of Osaka. Guests enjoy comfortable rooms, fitness center and lounge. Nearby you’ll f...

Read more +
Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel
Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel

This modern hotel is located in the Wakakusacho neighborhood of Hiroshima. Guests enjoy restaurant options, a fitness center, and spa. Nearby you’ll f...

Read more +
The General Kyoto Bukkoji Fuyacho
The General Kyoto Bukkoji Fuyacho

This quiet boutique hotel is located in the Shimogyō Ward of Kyoto. Guests enjoy the escape from the bustle of the city, yoga classes, and complimenta...

Read more +
Pullman Tokyo Tamachi
Pullman Tokyo Tamachi

This colorful hotel is located in the Tamachi area of Tokyo. Guests enjoy the Kabuki themed design, rooftop bar with city views, and fitness center. N...

Read more +
Mercure Okinawa Naha
Mercure Okinawa Naha

This contemporary hotel is located in the Asahimachi neighborhood. Guests enjoy a restaurant, bar, and WiFi access. Nearby you’ll find Naha Fukushūen ...

Read more +

Flights

Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.
Add our airfare package and you'll get:
  • Round-trip flight for your tour
  • Airport transfers at your destination
  • A great price locked in today
  • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
  • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
  • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
  • Find out more about flights

Local weather

Higashi-Osaka, Japan
Weather averages
Today
High 60 °FLow 47 °F
/
46°48°54°63°72°78°85°89°82°71°61°50°36°37°41°49°58°65°73°76°69°59°50°41°
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Kyoto, Japan
Weather averages
Today
High 58 °FLow 45 °F
/
42°45°52°61°72°77°84°88°79°68°58°46°31°32°36°44°53°61°70°72°65°54°45°35°
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Kanazawa, Japan
Weather averages
Today
High 60 °FLow 45 °F
/
48°49°55°62°71°75°82°85°79°70°62°53°39°40°44°52°61°67°74°77°71°62°53°44°
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Tokyo, Japan
Weather averages
Today
High 56 °FLow 50 °F
/
46°48°54°62°72°76°83°86°79°69°60°51°35°36°41°49°59°65°72°75°69°59°50°40°
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

FAQ

Print FAQ
Passport & visa requirements 
  • In order to enter Japan, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact Japan’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Tour pace 
  • You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads and gravel paths, with few hills. You may need to climb stairs when visiting temples.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of trains and ferries.
  • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Director is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
Transportation & arrival information 
  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in Osaka and depart from Tokyo. A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
  • Train rides from Osaka to Hiroshima, Kyoto to Kanazawa, and Kanazawa to Tokyo are included in the price of your tour. (The tour extension also includes one round-trip flight between Tokyo and Naha, Okinawa.)
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
Baggage allowance 
  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.
  • Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that our travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
  • You will need a small overnight bag (such as your carry-on bag) for your stay in Hiroshima. Your luggage will be transferred for you from Osaka to Kyoto directly.
Clothing & packing tips 
  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
Electricity & air conditioning 
  • Japan operates on 100 volts and uses a Type A plug, the same as in the U.S.
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
  • The strength of the air conditioning in Asian hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
Health 
  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Japan.
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
Cuisine 
  • Most Japanese meals are based around rice or noodles with fish, meat, and vegetables flavored with soy sauce and miso. You may recognize popular dishes like sushi, tempura, and hot pot.
Connectivity 
  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
Time zones 
  • Japan is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time (ET).
  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 1am on the following day in Japan.
Currency 
  • You will use the Japanese yen in Japan.
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
Tipping 
  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD per local guide.
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.
Purchasing excursions on tour 
  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

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