Essential Japan

Call Us 800.528.9300

Essential Japan

Tour Description:

Itinerary also travels in reverse.

Map for Essential Japan
Click for larger view.

Dates & Pricing

Tuesday 07 Mar 23 — Thursday 23 Mar 23Starting at $15,395Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Tuesday 28 Mar 23 — Thursday 13 Apr 23Starting at $20,835Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Tuesday 11 Apr 23 — Thursday 27 Apr 23Starting at $15,895Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Tuesday 09 May 23 — Thursday 25 May 23Starting at $15,895Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Friday 16 Jun 23 — Sunday 02 Jul 23Starting at $15,395Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Tuesday 26 Sep 23 — Thursday 12 Oct 23Starting at $15,895Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Tuesday 17 Oct 23 — Thursday 02 Nov 23Starting at $16,395Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Check Mark Icon Disclaimer: Prices listed are per person, based on double occupancy, and in USD. All promotions are valid for new bookings only, capacity controlled and valid on select dates and departures. Individual Terms and Conditions will apply to all promotions. Any promotion can be withdrawn at any time without notice. Please speak with your Pavlus Travel Planner for complete vendor terms and conditions, including eligible tour and cruise dates.


Welcome to Tokyo, Japans capital and the worlds most populous metropolis. Check-into your hotel, your home for the next three nights. With direct access to four subway lines, the hotel was recently rated in the Forbes Travel Guide as Tokyo’s exclusive Japanese decor 5 star luxury hotel. Rooms overlook the most picturesque sites in Tokyo, such as the Imperial Palace, the 500-year old Hie Jinja Shrine and beautiful landscaped Japanese gardens. This evening meet for your welcome reception and dinner.

Begin the day in the beautiful Imperial Palace’s East Gardens, part of the inner palace area and the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defence when the Tokugawa shogun ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Afterwards visit the epicentre of Tokyo’s teenage youth as you wander along Takeshita Street Harajuku, known for its colourful street art, youth fashion, quirky vintage clothing and cosplay stores and dessert shops and carts that specialise in sweet crêpes, donuts, and bubble tea. Enrich Given by Taiko Masters, partake in an interactive, private group demonstration and lesson in playing the Taiko drums. Freechoice Dining: Choose from dining at a ninja themed restaurant or culturally immerse yourself in the traditional Japanese evening Izakaya bar scene serving Yaki-tori and Kushiyaki with your Tour Director as they show you their favourite places to go.

Visit the Asakusa district, known as the centre of Tokyo’s shitamachi or ‘low city’ capsulizing the atmosphere of Tokyo’s past, paying your respects at Sensoji temple, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple. Freechoice: Visit the Imperial Shinto Meiji Shrine, before walking across the often-referred to as ‘the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing’ and seeing the famous Hachiko dog statue in Shibuya. Alternatively, wander through picturesque Shinjuku-Gyoen Gardens before witnessing the Shinjuku entertainment district come alive at dusk where you can choose to stay into the night.

Tokyo > Hakone
Gather your bearings of Tokyo from above as you take in the view from Tokyo Sky Tree, the worlds tallest tower at 634 meters. Then in Ginza, dress up in your chefs clothes to make your own sushi lunch with the help of a local chef. Venture into the countryside on your drive to Hakone and study the art works and sculptures at the Hakone Open Air Museum, Japan’s first open air museum. Enjoy a Special Stay overlooking Lake Ashinoko.

Hakone > Five Lakes
Walk around the hot springs at the summit of the Owakudani geothermal area and admire the stunning scenery during your cable car ride down to your Lake Ashinoko cruise on the First class deck of your pirate ship with Mt Fuji as a backdrop. Later, discover the craftsmanship involved in creating kimonos during the Muromachi Period (1333-1573) at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park surrounding your hotel for the night.

Five Lakes > Takayama
En route to Takayama, learn how wasabi is made at the Daio Wasabi Farm. Stop at the Hida Folk Village to partake in Sarubobo mascot-making. Enjoy a two night stay with amazing views overlooking Takayama.

Discover the historical farmhouses of the mountain villages in Shirakawa-go, now a World Heritage-listed Site. Back in Takayama, enjoy a sake tasting and visit a sake museum, then view the impressive Yatai festival floats before moving to Takayama’s old quarter. Dating from the Edo Period (1600-1868), when the city thrived as a wealthy town of merchants, explore the small alleyways and shops on your own. Freechoice Dining: Choose between Le Midi, a French-Italian-inspired bistro in town famed for its Hida Beef, or Sakanaya, a fine Japanese restaurant set in a renovated sake brewery.

Takayama > Tsumago Juku > Nagoya
Drive to Nagoya via Tsumago Juku, a fully restored and preserved Edo era post town in the Kiso Valley. Upon arrival in Nagoya explore the restored Hommaru Palace, a masterpiece of castle palace architecture at Nagoya Castle. Enjoy your overnight stay at Nagoya. Tonight enjoy Nagoya’s famous chicken wings.

Nagoya > Kyoto
Relax in your Green (Business) Class seats on the Shinkansen train to the culturally rich city of Kyoto, home to many World Heritage-listed sites. This afternoon walk through the impressive Nijo Castle, built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). Settle into your hotel for the next four nights. Tonight enjoy Teppanyaki at the hotel’s Himorogi Restaurant.

Begin the day at the famous zen temple Kinkaku-ji or known as the Golden Pavilion because it is completely covered in gold leaf.  Afterwards, glide through the surreal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove by traditional rickshaw before exploring and enjoying a vegetarian meal at the World Heritage listed Tenryu-ji Temple. This evening stroll through the Gion area before dinner. Freechoice Dining: Enjoy the option of dining at Fortune Garden or traditional Kaiseki at Gion Sekiya located in the famous Gion District.

Freechoice: Revel in the atmosphere of the ancient preservation districts or visit the Silver Pavilion before strolling along part of the famous Philosopher’s Walk, an approximately two kilometre long, beautiful stone path walk along a canal through the northern part of Kyotos Higashiyama district. Enrich Partake in a Japanese tea ceremony while dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono, a great photo opportunity. This afternoon enjoy some free time in Nishiki Market for shopping or relaxation. Enrich Tonight’s dinner will allow you to interact with a Geiko and Maiko who’ll host your meal presentation in a nearby traditional Japanese restaurant. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about what is involved in becoming a Geisha and the art of Japanese hospitality.

Kyoto > Nara
Begin your day with an early visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates and its appearance in the film ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’.  Then continue to Nara, where you’ll visit Todaiji Temple, one of the most historically influential temples in Japan and see deer in Nara Park. Ryokan Upgrade - Choose to stay in a Ryokan (at additional cost, must be pre-booked before departure). This is a traditional Japanese Inn with futon beds and private facilities, and includes dinner and breakfast.

Kyoto > Hiroshima
Relax on the Shinkansen train to Hiroshima. Enrich Experience an emotional visit to the Peace Park and Museum, dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack. Move to Orizuru Tower to learn how to create your own special origami crane offering for the Orizuru Wall. Check into your hotel in Hiroshima, located within walking distance of the World Heritage Atomic Bomb Dome and downtown Hiroshima. Tonight, sample Okonomiyaki, a delicious savoury Japanese-style pancake and specialty of the region.

Hiroshima > Miyajima Island
Sail by ferry to Miyajima Island to visit Daisho-in Temple and its famous floating Torii Gate at the Itsukushima Shrine, also built over the water. CONSTRUCTION NOTICE: Renovation works on Miyajimas famous floating torii gate started in June 2019. During the renovation works, the torii gate is covered up by scaffolding. A date for the completion of the renovation works has not been set yet. In addition, renovation works are currently conducted on the western side of the complex (around the entrance) from September 2020 to December 2022. On return to the mainland visit at the Mazda car factory and see the industrial robots at work on the cars on the production line.

Hiroshima > Himeji > Osaka
Travel by Shinkansen to marvel at Himeji Castle, an original and Japan’s most spectacular castle and one of the few remaining original feudal castles, before continuing to Osaka. Enjoy a two night Special Stay. This evening catch the Osaka Metro to wander around the lively entertainment area of Dotonbori and Hozenji Yokocho food alley, where you can have the opportunity to choose your own meal from one of the many traditional food stalls. You are free to make your way back to hotel in your own time or return with your Tour Director.

Osaka > Asuka
Drive to the birthplace of the Japanese state and cradle of Japanese culture in Asuka, in Nara Prefecture. Wander through the Inabuchi terraced rice paddy fields, the ancient Tobiishi stone bridge, famous in Japanese folklore and visit Ishibutai tumulus, the largest known megalithic structure in Japan. Enrich Learn about the history, life and training routine of a sumo wrestler during a private visit to a Sumo Museum in Kehayaza, where Sumo originated. After the welcome ceremony, see a demonstration of Jinku and the wrestlers in action in the dohyo. Enjoy your Club Floor benefits before reliving your experiences at your farewell dinner.

Bid a fond farewell to the ‘land of the rising sun’. The itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons. As such Scenic cannot guarantee the journey will operate unaltered from the itinerary stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please note: Preview itinerary subject to change.

Check Mark Disclaimer: Prices listed are per person, based on double occupancy, and in USD. All promotions are valid for new bookings only, capacity controlled and valid on select dates and departures. Individual Terms and Conditions will apply to all promotions. Any promotion can be withdrawn at any time without notice. Please speak with your Pavlus Travel Planner for complete vendor terms and conditions, including eligible tour and cruise dates.