The time we picked was perfect. The cherry blossoms were in their glory and we went to many places to see them-with the tour and on our own. Miyo, our tour director, was absolutely great because she told us so much about the places we visited, the history, culture and beliefs of the Japanese people.
So Amazing! Forget what you think you know about Japan!
05/29/2018 by 4-time traveler Liz O.
I thought I had the best possible trip with Go Ahead Tours when I went to Thailand and Cambodia in 2014. I loved everything about Thailand.... I loved Japan more. The people are friendly and helpful, our tour director went above and beyond at every step.
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Your local Tour Director will meet you and your group on the first day, and be your go-to for the best sites, flavors, and stories of the region.
Travel tips for Japan trips
When to visit Japan
If cherry blossoms as far as the eye can see spark your wanderlust, then spring is the ideal time to go on Japan guided tours. Cherry blossom season varies by location, but for Tokyo and Kyoto, the blooms pop up in late March or early April. Cherry trees peak just one week after the blossoms begin to open, so set off on our Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto tour in March to see the best of the best. Just keep in mind that you may need to contend with higher crowds of people hoping to admire this beautiful springtime sight on tours to Japan.
April and May are also pleasant times to go on escorted tours of Japan. June and July mark the height of Japan's rainy season, but are also the time when Japan gets the fewest visitors. So, if you're not a fan of crowds and don't mind a bit of rain and humidity, the summer season can be an enjoyable time to see the country. It's also around this time that the country's music festivals and beer gardens start to open.
Japan trips departing September through November also have so much to offer. Although the season can come with a little rain, it brings colorful autumnal leaves that can be considered on par with the famous cherry blossoms. Plus, the fall's mild temperatures are ideal for exploring. Just keep in mind that visiting Japan in the fall also means you'll experience a higher amount of visitors.
Where to go in Japan
Our Japan guided tours bring you from the city to the countryside to give you a true sense of this dynamic island. See soaring skyscrapers and unmatched views of Mount Fuji in Tokyo, and step inside shrines built by powerful emperors in Kyoto. In Osaka, learn about one of Japan's most important traditions: the tea ceremony.
Want to get outside on group trips to Japan? There are endless opportunities to enjoy nature. In Nara Park, you'll stroll alongside thousands of sacred deer. Or, admire stunning works of art at the Hakone Open-Air Museum in Hakone, which boats 17 acres of sculptures. If the ocean calls, add the Okinawa extension on our Grand Tour of Japan to relax on white-sand beaches. Beyond these beautiful sites are the Japanese Alps, the Bamboo Grove of Arashiyama, and more.
Dining tips for Japan
Out of all our Asia tours, Japan group tour packages are sure to introduce you to some of the continent's most delicious cuisine. Common Japanese meals are based around rice or noodles with fish, meat, and vegetables flavored with soy sauce and miso. Here are some of the can't-miss specialties to seek out on all Japan trips:
Sushi, a go-to meal of seasoned rice and raw fish that's popular for locals and visitors alike
Ramen, a broth-and-noodle dish that was invented in Japan and can be tasted at countless ramen shops throughout the country
Miso soup, an important part of any Japanese meal that's made with miso paste and dashi broth
Deep-fried seafood or vegetables called tempura
Shabu-shabu, or hot pot, which entails cooking meat and vegetables in a boiling broth right at the table
Mochi, a sweet rice dough
Sake, Japan's signature alcoholic drink that's been brewed in the country for centuries
Matcha, a finely ground powder made from green tea leaves
A popular street food called takoyaki, which are fried balls of dough with a small piece of octopus inside
Packing tips for Japan
Knowing what to pack is an important step in planning a trip to Japan. Since the temperature can shift depending on where you are, it's always a good idea to pack layers. More modest clothing that covers shoulders and legs is appreciated and often expected in temples and other religious sites. Plus, a small umbrella can come in handy in the event of an unexpected rain shower.
Good news: There's no need to stress about outlets if you're thinking about Japan tour packages! Two-pronged Type A plugs that are used in the U.S. and Canada fit into Japanese outlets. However, packing a universal adapter can be helpful if you have any three-pronged plugs, such as a computer charger.
Comfortable shoes are a must for sightseeing on Japan guided tours, and shoes that are easy to slip on and off come in handy when visiting temples and other sites when you're required to be barefoot.