Japan during Cherry Blossoms! + Post Trip to Okinawa

15 Days

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March 22, 2024 - April 5, 2024 Guaranteed $7,580 USD
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Tour of Japan including Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe and Hiroshima


Please join us as we tour Japan in this 15 day both over & under-the-radar immersion into the culture and customs of this unique country. We’ll visit the lights and food of Tokyo, tour historic and cultural sites in Kyoto, Nara and Osaka, and even stay in a 1200-year-old ryokan in Kobe where we will taste the delicious marbled beef Kobe Steak. We will complete our Japan immersion in Hiroshima, where we will take a ferry boat ride to Miyajima island, known for its giant torii gate, and ranked as one of the best views in Japan. There will be an optional 4-day extension tour to Okinawa, where we will visit historical and cultural sites, as well as enjoy the beautiful beaches and various maritime attractions.

Japan is a 2,000-year-old resilient nation with a fascinating culture and people. This country beautifully represents the best of both ancient and modern worlds. Traditional customs sit side-by-side with cutting edge technologies and trendy pop culture. Be it walking through the immaculate gardens, enjoying a ride in one of the bullet trains, being awe-struck viewing the magnificent Mt. Fuji, trying the sumptuous sushi or just admiring the vibrant streets, there is so much to explore and experience!

Check out Highlights (below) to see all the amazing sights and experiences you’ll have visiting these 6 major cities on our tour:

  • Tokyo is the capital and the largest city of Japan. Despite of being the world’s most populous nation, Tokyo is still considered to be one of the safest & wealthiest places. The world’s first hotel run by an all-robot staff can be found right here in this high-spirited capital.
  • Kyoto is known as the cultural heart of Japan. It is home to many Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, palaces, and gardens, many of which are listed collectively by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. From bamboo groves to food markets and shopping streets, Kyoto is the most rewarding city and a place all travelers should visit at least once in their lives.
  • Nara is Japan’s first permanent capital city and was established in the year 710. Due to its historical importance, this ancient city is filled with world heritage sites, natural beauty, and cultural treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest and largest temples.
  • Osaka is one of the largest cities in Japan, with its history spanning over 1,400 years. This city offers a unique blend of ancestral traditions and incredible technological innovations. From housing the oldest Buddhist temple in the country to one of the largest aquariums and Ferris wheels in the world, Osaka has much to offer to its visitors.
  • Kobe is the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture and a prominent seaport city in Japan. Located between the sea and the Rokko mountain range, the city has an enviable number of must-visit attractions and is most famous for its namesake beef.
  • Hiroshima is a beautiful city that has recovered greatly from its bomb-scarred past. The city offers a number of historical and cultural attractions highlighting the past and how the citizens managed to rebuild the city on its own.


  • Tokyo - Geisha Performance with Kaiseki dinner, Sensoji Temple, The Imperial Palace, Meiji Shrine, Tsukiji Market, Immersive Digital Art Experience, Guided tour to Mt. Fuji 5th station, Hakone Ropeway Ride, Lake Ashi Cruise
  • Kyoto - Kinkakuji Temple, Sushi making session, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kaiseki Ryori dinner, Samurai Exhibits & Samurai attire experience, Ninja lesson and competition, Guided Walking City Tour of Kyoto. Street Food Tour, Traditional Tea Ceremony, Maruyama Park
  • Nara - Nara Park, Todaiji Temple, Nara National Museu,m Kasuga Taisha, Yakushi Temple
  • Osaka - Osaka Castle, Dotombori, Kuromon Market, Shitenno-Ji Temple, Floating Garden Observatory
  • Kobe - Onsen Experience, Nunobiki Herb Garden, Hakutsuru Sake Brewery, Museum Port Cruise, Chinatown (Nankinmachi)
  • Hiroshima - Interactive Calligraphy Workshop, Peace Museum and Park, Ferry to Miyajima Island, Itsukushima Shrine Complex


Depart for overnight flight, arriving in Tokyo the next day.

Upon arrival at the international airport, our guide will welcome all our group and escort us to the hotel in Tokyo. We will check-in at the hotel and relax for the evening so that we can begin the next day with an exciting tour.


We’ll start our day early today, as we will be exploring Tokyo’s significant historical, religious and political landmarks.

Today we will visit the Buddhist temple of Sensoji, the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo, with its 55-metre high pagoda. We will also see the Imperial Palace, where the emperor and his family still live in the western part of the grounds. We get to witness the beauty of cherry blossoms at Tokyo’s largest park covering an area of approx. 58 hectares, combining Japanese and French gardens – Shinjuku Gyoen. There are 75 varieties and 1500 cherry blossoms. Walk through the gates of Meiji Shrine, which is one of the most famous Shinto shrines in Tokyo, built in 1921 for the Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Honten. A trip to Tokyo is incomplete without seeing the biggest fish market in Japan – Tsukiji market. We will find over 400 shops lining the streets selling fresh foods and kitchen utensils.

Later, we will proceed for an immersive digital art adventure experience. Here we will experience large-scale artwork spaces, gardens and multi-sensory, full-body immersive art displays that combine, touch, sight, sound and forward-thinking creativity to formulate an experience unlike any other.

Breakfast, Lunch

It’s an early breakfast as today we will be visiting UNESCO-listed Mount Fuji and witness the scenic views of its surrounding areas. Board our private vehicle for a drive to Mt Fuji’s 5th Station, which is located at 7,545 feet (2,300m) about halfway up the mountain. Enjoy a traditional Japanese lunch before driving to the serene Lake Ashi for a short cruise across the lake. Admire the scenic landscape from the lake, which is surrounded by mountains including Mt. Fuji and Mt. Komagatake. Hop on the ropeway that lifts off from the shores of the Lake Ashi and takes us up in an enclosed cabin with 360-degree views. Spend some time at the top to enjoy the captivating views of Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji.

Post sightseeing, we’ll be transferred to the station to board a train for Kyoto via Odawara. On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy the morning at leisure.

In the afternoon, we will visit the famous Zen temple – Kinkakuji temple, also known as the ‘Golden Pavilion’ as the top two floors are covered in gold leaf. This temple was built to echo the extravagant Kitayama culture that developed in the wealthy aristocratic circles of Kyoto during Yoshimitsu’s times. Each floor of this temple represents a different style of architecture.

Post visit, we will join an interactive cooking session and learn how to make the famous Japanese cuisine – Sushi. We will get to learn about the ingredients as well as the cooking tools and techniques used to prepare sushi. Participate in preparing sushi under the guidance of an experienced chef.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, we will first see the sprawling Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. We’ll walk through the paths that cut through the bamboo groves and cross the Togetsukyo Bridge, which embodies the dynamic relationship of Japanese art and aesthetic.

After lunch, we visit Kiyomizudera temple, which is famous for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. It is a popular spot in Kyoto for viewing the Cherry blossoms. We will also visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is home to over 10,000 red tori gates and was used as a location for the movie ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’.

In the evening, we enjoy a traditional Japanese multi-course meal Kaiseki Ryori which is only served at high-end Japanese restaurants/inns and is prepared with the freshest produce of the season, with each ingredient carefully crafted to highlight its essence.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We’ll start our day with a Samurai and Ninja experience. The Samurais are known as world’s best warriors from the ancient times, with their intriguing sagas being an integral part of the Japanese history and culture. We will take a guided tour through the medieval exhibits, learning about their history and culture. Those interested can try on a Samurai Armor and get pictures dressed as a Samurai.

The ninjas, also called shinobi, were covert agents, spies, and mercenaries during the feudal periods in Japan in the 15th century and as early as the 12th The ninjas, unlike the samurai, were normally common folk or farmers by day who were hired as mercenaries and spies at night. We will learn about their history and what kind of weapons and tools they used for their covert missions.

Enjoy a walking tour in Kyoto’s most charming and historical areas that are known for its tea houses, restaurants and eatery shops. On this tour, we will get a chance to try several seasonal and regional Japanese cuisine at different eateries, including yakitori, handmade noodle dishes, sumi grilled meat and seafood skewers, local sake (rice wine), etc.

We will proceed to witness a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony and also a performance by a Geisha or Maiko. Geisha and apprentice geisha, called maiko, train for years to perfect the traditional Japanese arts.

We will also take a stroll at the famous Maruyama Park, which is Kyoto’s most popular hanami spot, and a local favorite.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, we will leave Kyoto and proceed for our next destination – Osaka. En-route, we will explore the beautiful city of Nara.

On arrival in Nara, we will first proceed to visit a large park of Nara. We will see deer freely roaming in the park. We will visit the ancient temple complex of Todaji which was founded in 738 CE and officially opened in 752 CE when Nara was the capital city. The temple has a 500-ton sculpture of the Buddha, best known in Japan as the Nara Daibutsu, which is the largest bronze statue in the world, housed in the largest wooden building in the world. The temple is home to thousands of precious art objects and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, we visit the Nara National Museum, an art museum which was built in 1889 and primarily displays Japanese Buddhist art including Buddhist statues, paintings, scrolls and ceremonial objects mainly from Japan. We will then visit Nara’s most celebrated shrine – Kasuga Taisha. It is a distinguished shrine with 3,000 auxiliary shrines across the country and 3,000 donated lanterns, demonstrating how widely and deeply worshipped the shrine is.

Next is one of the most famous imperial and ancient Buddhist temples in Japan – Yakushi-ji. The temple was built by Emperor Tenmu in the late 7th century for the recovery of the emperor’s sick wife. The temple is known as a place where you can soothe your mind and hone your mental and spiritual being.

In the evening, we will drive to Osaka and check-in at the hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, we will visit the Osaka Castle, dating back to almost 450 years. Spend some time strolling through Dotonbori street with its huge billboards, hundreds of restaurants and food stalls selling local foods including the famous Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. Take a stroll around the Kuromon Market that dates back to the Edo Period and has about 150 shops that predominantly sell fish, meat and produce, with other shops also purveying traditional sweets and low priced clothes and home ware.

Later, we will visit the Shitennoji temple, one of Japan’s oldest temples founded in 593 and also the first ever to be built by the state. This temple’s buildings were burned down several times throughout the centuries but were always reconstructed with its original 6th century design. We will then visit the Floating Garden Observatory at the top of the Umeda Skya building, 173 meters above ground level. Umeda Sky Building is an imposing futuristic landmark and consists of two separated towers, joined together by a ring-like observation deck. We will be able to enjoy the magnificent view of Osaka from the Observatory.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We’ll enjoy a lovely breakfast in the morning before heading to the next destination – Arima via Kobe. On arrival, we check-in at a ryokan, a Japanese-style inn and get to enjoy taking a bath in a hot spring.  We’ll enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Post an early breakfast, we will check-out and proceed to Kobe for the sightseeing tour. Start the tour by visiting the Nunobiki Herb Garden by taking a ropeway ride up the mountain. Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens are Japan’s largest herb gardens with around 75,000 herbs and flowers of about 200 kinds blooming throughout the year. There are 12 extensive garden areas where visitors are welcomed by seasonal herbs and flowers arranged according to different themes. Next, we will visit the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum. We’ll see the various stages of making sake depicted in detail, with displays of the cooling apparatus, koji culture room and many other types of equipment. Enjoy a freshly pressed, unpasteurized sake that cannot be found anywhere else.

Later, enjoy cruising around Kobe port area viewing the beautiful scenery of Kobe city and Rokko mountain range.

We will then visit the town of Nankinmachi. This town was founded in 1868 at the end of the Edo period and is now known as one of Japan’s largest Chinatown, with over 100 restaurants, street food stalls and shopping facilities.

In the evening, we will check-in at a Kobe city hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Begin our day with an early breakfast as today we will leave Osaka and proceed to the next destination – Hiroshima.

On arrival in Hiroshima, we will go to a fun interactive calligraphy workshop where we’ll get to learn the art of Japanese calligraphy. Appreciate the practice of artistic writing and its connection to Zen meditation from an experienced Japanese teacher. Our teacher will show us how to inscribe our name and family name in calligraphy on a colored paper that we can take home. Later, we will check-in at our hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, we will board our private vehicle for the sightseeing tour.

We will first visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial This park is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack, and to the memories of the bomb’s direct and indirect victims. Next, we will board an eco-friendly ferry to the Miyajima Island. The island is known for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on the water. The sight is ranked as one of the three best views in Japan. We will visit the Itsukushima Shrine which is known for the unique and bold concept of being built in the sea as well as its elegant architectural style called “Shinden Zukuri”. The shrine complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After sightseeing, we will return to Hiroshima by ferry and drive back to the hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we will leave Hiroshima and board train for Tokyo. On arrival, we will make a quick stop for lunch and then transfer to an airport hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We bid farewell as today we will be transferred to the international airport in a private vehicle, to board our international flight back home.


What electrical plug will I need in Japan?

For Japan there are two associated plug types, A and B. Plug type A is the plug which has two flat parallel pins and plug type B is the plug which has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin. Japan operates on a 100V supply voltage and 50/60Hz.

What kind of documentation will I need?

All you need is a passport.

What are the COVID restrictions?

Japan has fully halted all restrictions. You’re free to come and go with just your passport.



Details coming soon!


Okinawa is a dreamy archipelago in southern Japan, comprising of 160 subtropical islands. This place is known for its broad beaches, coral reefs as well as World War II sites.

HIGHLIGHTS – Shuri Castle | Kokusai Dori Market | Tsuboya Yachimun | Marine Activities (optional)

DAY 1: Fly to Okinawa [B,L,D]

Post breakfast, we proceed to the airport to board flight for Naha, Okinawa. On arrival, check-in at a hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at our leisure.

DAY 2: Sightseeing tour [B,L,D]

Have a sumptuous breakfast before proceeding for a sightseeing tour of Okinawa. We start the tour by first visiting Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Sire that had served for the Ryukyu kings for several centuries until Okinawa became a Japanese prefecture in 1879. This castle has been destroyed many times over the centuries, each time rising again from the ashes. We will then proceed to the pottery street of Tsuboya Yachimun and explore the delightful designs of Tsuboya-yaki pottery—a style of pottery that uses enamels and clays unique to Okinawa.

Later, enjoy walking through the heart of Naha and discover Kokusai-dori, a narrow shopping street that features a farmer’s market selling local produce.

DAY 3: Leisure day for beach activities [B,L,D]

This day will be at our leisure. We can choose to participate in various optional marine activities like snorkeling, kayaking, glass bottom boat ride, etc. on a direct payment basis, or simply relax at the beach.

DAY 4: Fly to Tokyo [B]

We will be transferred to the airport to board our flight for Tokyo and further connect to our international flights back home.

Tokyo – Sensoji Temple

Kyoto – Fushimi Inari Shrine

Nara – pathway to Todaji Temple

Osaka – Dotombori

Kobe – Nankinmachi

Hiroshima -Miyajima Island & Shrine

Past trip – our group with kimonos on!

Joyce Grizzle

I was born in Okinawa as a military kid, then went back at age 18 and climbed Mt Fuji! I recently went back to Japan (April 2023) and did a very similar trip as this one, and absolutely loved getting re-acquainted with my birthplace. Japan is amazing – people are gracious and kind, the cities are safe and clean, the countryside is gorgeous, and the food is incredible! This trip is truly delightful, and I’m looking forward to visiting The Land of the Rising Sun again, with you!

From $7,580 USD
/ Shared Room (Double Occupancy)
From $8,975 USD
/ Private Room (Single Occupancy)
  • Small Groups of 8 - 15 people
  • Flexible Payments
  • Pre-trip Educational/Preparation Meetings
  • TravelAvidly Trip Leader
  • Immersive Experiences

Trip Information

Activity Level: Moderate (see all ratings)

Curator: Jim Peacock

Trip Leader/CSR: Joyce Grizzle