12 Day Japan, Then & Now



Land Only


Air & Land

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2017 Dates & Prices
Dates Land Only Air & Land
$4939 $6649*
$4939 $5789*

*Not Included:
Optional tours.

Additional Information:
Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers.

Passengers should select flights that arrive in Narita Airport no later than 4 pm in order not to miss the welcome dinner and trip briefing.

Accommodation Details:
Aug 30, Sep 20 & Nov 15 departures will be accommodated at Hotel Monterey Hanzomon in Tokyo.


Oct 18, Nov 1, Nov 8 and Nov 22 departures will be accommodated at Associa Takayama Resort in Takayama.

Hotel rooms in Japan cannot comfortably accommodate 3 adults; therefore, a double, plus a single room configuration should be purchased.

Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.

Is This Trip Right for You?

This moderately active trip covers a fair amount of ground each day. Expect from three to four hours walking every touring day. The pace is moderate, however you will encounter some uneven surfaces, stairs and steps.

Extend Your Stay

Flight Details

Accommodation Details

  • Requests are not guaranteed and are subject to each hotel's discretion and availability

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • International flights Los Angeles-Tokyo, Osaka-Los Angeles
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 10 nights First Class accommodations
    • 4 nights Tokyo
    • 1 night Kaga
    • 1 night Takayama
    • 4 nights Kyoto
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 19 meals: 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions
  • Services of local English-speaking Tour Manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Tour dazzling Tokyo, a city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology
  • Culinary demonstration led by a professional chef -- learn the art of creating sushi and sashimi
  • Visit the serene Meiji Shrine honoring the first Emperor of modern Japan and his Empress
  • A day of breathtaking natural scenery as you drive to the National Park of Hakone and Mt. Fuji
  • Board the famous Shinkansen, or "bullet train" that takes you to Kanazawa on the Noto Peninsula
  • Travel to the UNESCO site of Shirakawa-go, known for its village of gassho-zukuri farmhouses
  • In Kagaonsen, stay at a traditional Ryokan (inn) and dress in an authentic kimono
  • A walking tour of Takayama’s historic district reveals its traditions dating back to the 9th century
  • Discover enchanting Kyoto, founded in the 7th century, one of the early capitals of Japan
  • Visit Kyoto’s Nijo Castle, residence of Shoguns, and the magnificent gilded Golden Pavilion
  • Experience the cultural heritage of Kyoto at a traditional Tea Ceremony at the Gesshin-in Temple
  • Dinner and traditional Maiko (Geisha) dance performance reflects the core of Japanese culture
  • Travel to the Imperial capital of Nara, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites

DAY 1, Tuesday - Depart for Japan
Depart for Japan

DAY 2, Wednesday - Arrive in Tokyo
Arrive in dynamic Tokyo in the "Land of the Rising Sun"; transfer to your hotel. Time for rest and relaxation before an afternoon briefing by your Tour Manager on the memorable journey that lies ahead. Tonight, a buffet dinner together with your fellow travelers welcomes you to Japan
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Thursday - Tsukiji Fish Market, Asakusa Kannon Temple
On today’s tour of Tokyo, witness the stark contrasts of this dazzling city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology. To begin, walk the lanes of the hectic Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world! You then travel to the imposing Asakusa Kannon Temple (Sensoji) enshrining a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy; its entrance is dominated by a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red and black tones. Walk along Nakamise, a major shopping area, centuries-old, where everything from souvenirs to genuine Edo-style crafts is sold. Lunch on your own before visiting the serene Meiji Shrine nestled in a forested area, honoring the first Emperor of modern Japan and his Empress. Time to stroll the manicured paths before continuing to Harajuku district lined with trendy shops and fashion boutiques. The afternoon concludes with an Origami lesson. Tonight, a great opportunity to discover some of this city’s trendsetting and vibrant nightlife on your own
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4, Friday - Tokyo Tower, Imperial Palace, Akihabara District & Sushi Demonstration
You begin the day with astounding panoramic views of Tokyo from the Observation Deck of the Tokyo Tower - on a clear day you can see Tokyo Bay, Yokohama and even Mt. Fuji! On to the Imperial Palace, former site of Edo Castle, where Samurai warriors lived from the 17th to 19th centuries. This huge parkland, surrounded by water-filled moats and massive stone walls, is now the residence of Japan's Imperial Family and a precious jewel of nature within the hectic city center. Stop at the lovely Nijubashi Bridge that stretches over the moat in the outer gardens with its colorful displays of seasonal flowers. Next, a distinct change of scenery as you arrive at the Akihabara shopping district, a wonderland of electrical equipment shops, computer shops and animation studios that are attracting world attention. The tour concludes at the Ginza district, Tokyo's most celebrated upscale shopping, dining and amusement area. Afterwards, enjoy a culinary demonstration led by a professional Sushi Chef -- learn the art of creating different varieties of sushi and sashimi! Tonight, enjoy dinner at a Japanese style pub
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5, Saturday - Hakone National Park and Mt. Fuji Excursion
A full day of breathtaking scenery as you drive south to Hakone, the most famous National Park in Japan. This morning, travel along the scenic roads of rural Japan with its striking natural scenery. Ascend Mt. Fuji to the 5th Station*; stop to admire the gorgeous landscape of the park and lake. After a scenic boat cruise around placid Lake Ashi, a gondola takes you on the Mt. Komagatake Ropeway to the Owakudani Valley’s extraordinary volcanic zone. A short walking trail leads you to bubbling pools where you can purchase eggs cooked in the hot waters blackened by sulfur, said to prolong one's life by at least seven years. End your visit in Hakone with a traditional hands-on Japanese handicrafts experience in this area known for the creation of small puzzle boxes and other Yosegi-Zaiku products. Tonight, be adventurous! Explore Tokyo’s incredible variety of cuisine, from simple noodle dishes and sushi to gourmet Kobe beef prepared by some of the world's top chefs
*Visits to the 5th Station of Mt. Fuji are subject to favorable weather conditions which are often unpredictable until the last moment. In those instances, the itinerary may be amended locally.
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6, Sunday - Kenroku-en Gardens, Kagaonsen Ryokan Experience
Board the famous Shinkansen, or "bullet train," that takes you to Kanazawa on the Noto Peninsula, with its winding cobblestone streets, Samurai residences, Geisha houses, lavish gardens and a flower filled open-air market. Stroll through Kenroku-en Garden, one of the country’s most elite gardens with its elaborate water sculptures and designs. Continue to the Nomura Family House, where Samurai once dwelled. In Kagaonsen, an exceptional experience is awaiting you. Spend the night at a traditional Ryokan (inn), where you dress in yukata (bathrobe) that you wear to the onsen (hot spring spa.) You overnight in authentic Japanese rooms with tatami mats and sleep on a futon bed. Dinner together at the Ryokan is a full course Kaiseki Dinner highlighted by regional specialties
Overnight: Kaga
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, Monday - Thatched Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go, Takayama’s Old Town
You travel from Kagaonsen to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, known for its village of thatched gassho-zukuri (praying hands) farmhouses. Visit the historic village of Ogimachi and the ruins of its castle, dating back to medieval times. From atop the observation desk, see the amazing view of an entire settlement of thatched style houses. Lunch at local restaurant before driving past the rock-filled Miboro Dam to 16th century Takayama, with its meticulously preserved Old Town. Upon arrival, visit Takayama Jinya, a historic government house converted to a museum and the Yatai Kaikan Hall housing intricately designed wooden floats brought out only for major festivals. Later, you arrive at a scenic mountain resort for overnight
Overnight: Takayama
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8, Tuesday - Takayama's Historic District, Morning Farmer’s Market, Bullet Train to Kyoto
The delightful town of Takayama, with its wealth of museums, galleries and impressive temples, is often called "Little Kyoto." A walking tour includes the remarkably preserved Edo-period merchants’ shops and houses in the Sanno-machi Historic District. Visit the morning market along the Miya River with farmers and craftsmen selling everything from vegetables to clothing and hand carvings. Across the river lies the Sanmachi-suji (district) of sake breweries, cafes and immaculately preserved old private houses. Lunch en route before boarding the express train to Nagoya. Upon arrival, you will change and board the bullet train to enchanting and historic Kyoto, founded in the 7th century, one of the early capitals of Japan
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9, Wednesday - Nijo Castle, the Golden Pavilion, Ryoan-ji Temple’s Rock Garden
Your first discovery in Kyoto is Nijo Castle, residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun, with its ornate interior handcrafted with Japanese cypress. At the celebrated Kinkaku-ji Temple, "the Golden Pavilion," you understand why this magnificent gold leaf covered temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After walking through the exquisite Japanese Gardens, continue to Ryoan-ji Temple with its mysterious Rock Garden and the imperial Shinto Heian Shrine, boasting the largest torii (gate) in Japan. Dress in an authentic kimono during a visit to a Kyoto-style home. Linger over a Tempura-style lunch. Leisure time this afternoon to explore on your own. View the Zen Buddhist Temple of Kodai-ji’s richly decorated interior, the surrounding zen gardens and the Yasaka Shrine (Gion Shrine) with hundreds of colorful welcoming lanterns that glow at sunset. Tonight, perhaps journey into town to explore some of the many fine restaurants
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Thursday - Kyoto’s Cultural Heritage, Tea Ceremony, Zen Meditation
Discover the beautiful cultural heritage of Kyoto that has spanned the centuries. You begin your day at a traditional Tea Ceremony at the Gesshin-in Temple, where you participate in the ritualized art of preparing and serving tea, savoring several different varieties. Next, familiarize yourself with Zen meditation, a calming practice deeply rooted in Japanese culture. As you stroll through the ancient streets of Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, you’re transported back in time to "old" Japan on these distinctive streets crowded with old wooden storefronts and tea houses. Then, a visit to the Kiyomizu Temple, known for its sacred waters believed to bestow health and longevity. At the shrine, one can also ensure success in love by walking between a pair of stones with closed eyes! We stop at the Fushimi Inari Shrine before having lunch en route to the hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to pursue individual interests
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11, Friday - Imperial Nara, Great Buddha Statue, Deer Park, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Maiko Dance Performance
Travel by private bus to the 8th century Imperial capital of Nara, repository of Japan's cultural heritage, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a wealth of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples. Arrive at the exquisite wooden Todai-ji Temple, home of the impressive Daibutsu (Great Buddha) bronze statue, rising over 50 feet high. You then continue to Nara (Deer) Park to see the over 1,000 tame deer roaming freely in the peaceful park. (You can feed them!) Visit the famous and beautiful Kasuga Grand Shrine displaying over 3,000 antique hanging bronze lanterns. Return to Kyoto and enjoy leisure time this afternoon before a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant, featuring a traditional Maiko (Geisha) dance performance that reflects the core of Japanese culture
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Saturday - Depart Japan
Sayonara! Transfer to Osaka for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
Book your Optional Tours before you travel. See more, save time, save money.
  • Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
  • Tours often sell out. Avoid disappointment
  • Save your cash. Credit card processing may not be possible locally
  • Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure
  • Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
  • The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week

Japan, Then & Now, October 2016
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Everything about the trip was wonderful!! I think I like the small groups in Discovery Tours rather than the 45 people in a larger tour, and it's easier to navigate on the tours with a small group. The hospitality, respect, daily tours, our guide ('Yumi') the variety of places we visited....on and on....were all great! It's a trip to be remembered and cherished.

Susan L. Bronx, NY
Japan, Then & Now, October 2016
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Good morning, as always we had an awesome trip, the places where we were taken in Japan were incredible, really nice tour guide and an awesome tour group. Looking forward for our next tour to Morocco. Thanks for helping us get to know the world!!

Maritza R. Davie, FL