Best of Japan
If you were an alien who fell to Earth and wanted to understand Japan in just two weeks, first we’d tell you that’s impossible — and then we’d send you on this trip.
Combining what we consider to be Japan’s most representative cities, landscapes and cultural experiences — from Tokyo to Kyoto, and from Mount Fuji to onsen bathing — this itinerary won’t just show you Japan’s iconic heights, it’ll take you beneath the surface of everyday life. Think of it as a “bare bones” itinerary: it’s got the essentials but it’s just begging to be customised. Any experiences we’ve described as optional can be included for an extra cost – or you could go all-out and upgrade your whole trip. Just ask.
Transport in detail
All transfers are by limited express train and Shinkansen bullet train unless otherwise stated. If you’d prefer to travel a different way, there are lots of options – including first-class trains and private transfers with a driver and guide. Just let us know and we’ll tailor the trip to your preferences.
This itinerary combines what we consider to be Japan’s unmissable sights and experiences, making it the ultimate choice for first-timers
We’ve balanced city stays with some time in the countryside, so you’ll get to see both sides of Japan
We’ve kept included extras to a minimum to keep costs down and give you maximum flexibility, but there are endless experiences you could add
You’ll have the chance to see Mount Fuji (if she obliges!)
Things to consider
Though there is a good balance of different types of destination on this trip, don’t expect to stray far from the beaten path
Sticking to popular destinations means you’ll need to be prepared for some crowds
This is a “bare bones” itinerary, with simple accommodation and minimal experiences. You can customise it any way you like with a plethora of accommodation, transport and add-on options. Just chat to us and we’ll tailor the trip to your preferences
Mount Fuji is notoriously shy, so even in Hakone a sighting is far from guaranteed! December to March offer the best conditions for a sighting
Best of Japan makes the perfect building block on which to design your perfect trip. Want to add an experience? Swap out a destination? Just say the word.
Tokyo has an inexhaustible capacity to surprise and delight. Sprawling in every direction — including up into the skies and deep underground — we know nowhere else with so many different faces. Each neighbourhood is a city in itself, from the flashy fashion boutiques and out-there architecture of Ginza, to the traditional, incense-filled alleys of Asakusa, to the non-stop party in the bars and karaoke rooms of Shinjuku. Dip your toe in this ocean of possibility with a guided tour of the city, then run wild — or, if you prefer, escape the chaos to visit somewhere totally different. You can never “see it all” in Tokyo, so just sit back, stop trying, and see where it takes you.
Join a city tour led by an insider guide who knows Tokyo inside-out
Go on an optional day trip to the shrines of Nikko, the great Buddha of Kamakura, or the lush, green oasis of Mount Takao
Explore the historic district of Asakusa
Hakone is a strange old place, and that’s exactly why it deserves its spot on Best of Japan. Of course, it’s mainly here because of its beautiful scenery and stunning Fuji views, but it’s also here for its sheer, only-in-Japan bonkers-ness. Where else in the world would you find some of the finest onsen hot springs and ryokan inns next-door to pirate ships, rollercoaster theme parks and cutting-edge modern art? Shaped by 400 years’ worth of holidaymakers and still wildly popular today, Hakone isn’t Japan at its most unspoilt — but that’s kind of what we love about it. It’s about holidaying as only the Japanese know how. Seeing Fuji (if you’re lucky) is just the cherry on the cake.
Sleep at a traditional ryokan inn and relax in the healing waters of Hakone’s hot springs
Explore the lakes and mountains of this beautiful region by cable car, boat and funicular railway (included) — or have us arrange a guided tour with a private driver (not included in the basic trip price)
Enjoy a dizzying array of museums and attractions, including genuinely amazing open-air sculture park
The finer detail
- Breakfast every day
- Two evening meals: one in Hakone National Park; one at your inn in Takayama. More meals can be included in any destination – just ask us what’s available.
- One shared sightseeing tour in Tokyo
- One private half-day sightseeing tour in Kyoto
- One group experience: Traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto
- All accommodation
- All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
- All domestic transfers and transport
- 14-day Japan Rail Pass
- Hakone Free Pass for local transport in the Hakone region
- Manaca transport card with 2,500 yen credit for city transport
- Your personalised InsideJapan Info-Pack
Logistics & journey times
Day 1: Transfer by train and subway from Narita Airport to your hotel in Tokyo (80 min)
Day 4: Bullet train (35 min) and bus (40 min) transfer to Hakone National Park
Day 6: Bus (40 min) and bullet train (2 hours 10 min) transfer from Hakone to Kyoto
Day 9: Bullet train transfer from Kyoto to Hiroshima (2 hours)
Day 11: Bullet train transfer from Hiroshima to Osaka (90 mins)
Day 12: Bullet train and limited express train transfer from Osaka to Takayama (4 hours)
Day 14: Limited express and bullet train transfer from Takayama to Tokyo (4.5 hours)
Day 15: Subway transfer from your hotel in Tokyo to Narita Airport (80 min)
What's not included
- International flights
- Local transport (buses, subways, taxis) at any destination unless otherwise specified
- Any lunches or dinners unless stated
- Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
- Tipping and personal expenses
- Baggage handling