Japan on a Shoestring – Tokyo to Kyoto
Get a taste of both old and new Japan with this six-day tour. We’ve kept it simple with an itinerary of the country’s most iconic cities. Experience everything from the bustling energy of Tokyo’s city centre to the rolling countryside of Takayama. And don’t forget Kyoto, a city of peaceful gardens and stunning temples. This trip is a quick and affordable one, so you can tack on more time to go deeper into Japan. Because after this tour, we know you’ll want to.
Orientation walks in Tokyo and Takayama. Overnight stay in a traditional inn (Takayama). Free time in Tokyo, Takayama, and Kyoto. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Explore lively Tokyo, spend a night in a traditional ryokan, travel to culturally-rich Kyoto
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. Core Tour
This tour combines with other G Adventures tours to form a longer combo tour. As such, the CEO and some group members on your tour may have previously been travelling together prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, the CEO and some group members may continue on another tour together after your tour concludes.
2. Rail Pass
This tour doesn’t include a Japan rail pass. However, our longer ‘Epic Japan’ tour includes a 7-day rail pass. You’ll notice members of your group booked on the longer combo tour will have a valid rail pass for a portion of your time together and that it grants them unlimited access to some forms of transport. If you’re interested in exploring more of Japan with G Adventures, be sure to check out our ‘Epic Japan’ tour!
3. Multi-share Accommodation
18-to-Thirtysomethings accommodation in Japan is multi-share. For more information, see About Accommodation.
Tattoos are not common or widely accepted in Japan. There is no cause for concern, but do your best to cover your tattoos when possible and note that you may not be permitted to enter public spas or onsens (hot springs).
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 14.
No meals included
Train, bus, walking.
About our Transportation
Japan’s reliable public transportation is the best option for both the environment and for experiencing Japan like a local! We will ride several forms of transportation throughout the country, from Shinkansen bullet trains, to subways, local trains, and buses. Note that often times we will have to carry our luggage from one mode of transport to another, so please consider this whilst packing.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hostels (4 nts, multi-share), traditional inn (1 nt, shared facilities).
Japan is one of the most populous countries in the world and space is at a premium. Therefore, hotel and hostel rooms are small. Additionally, some Japanese hotels do not have designating non-smoking rooms. Therefore, we ask hotels to deodorize rooms before check-in.
Multi-share Accommodation: Multi-share same-sex accommodation (typically 4-6 travellers per room) is used on this tour, as such, if you are travelling with someone of a different gender you will not be in the same room. The majority of accommodations will have shared bathroom facilities. For private accommodation please see the Japan tours in our Classic Travel Style.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Tokyo Sumidagawa Youth Hostel
From Asakusabashi station
1. Go out from the east exit（JR）, or A3 exit(Toei Asakusa Line).
2. Cross “Edo-Dori” street and turn left.
3. Walk along “Edo-Dori”.
4. After passing 7-ELEVEn, turn right at second corner.
5. Find signboard 「Tokyo Sumidagawa Youth Hostel」.
6. Go as signboard says.
From Haneda Airport
Get on a train Keikyu Line ( which will be connected to Toei Asakusa Line) to Asakusabashi . ( bound for Takasago, Aoto, Oshiage or Inbanihon-idai )
From Narita Airport
1. Get on Keisei Narita Line(toward Tokyo).
2. Get off at Oshiage station to transfer.
3. Get on Toei Asakusa Line.
4. Get off at Asakusabashi station).
5. Go out from A3 exit.
We always recommend printing out the address of the hotel (in the native language as well as English if available), to show to your taxi driver.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other than your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Japan)
During office hours, Mon-Fri 9:30-18:00 Local Time
From outside Japan: 1st contact +81 3-6432-0195 (2nd contact +81 80 2725 5133)
From within Japan: 1st contact +81 3-6432-0195 (2nd contact +81 80 2725 5133)
After office hours emergency number
Yuri: +81 70-3607-8937 (from within Japan: 070-3607-8937)
Toshimi: +81 70-3607-8936 (from within Japan: 070-3607-8936)
G Adventures Asia Manager: Julie Fitzgerald
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574
After hours emergency number (SE Asia Manager)
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to carry your own luggage. Our tours in Japan use public transport and most transport has limited luggage storage space. You will also be walking with your luggage in busy public train stations to catch connecting trains, so it is highly recommended that you travel light, have easy to handle luggage, and are capable of walking up and down the stairs with your luggage without any assistance. A large bag will be an inconvenience to you and slow you down!
We recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg (22-30 lbs). Large suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips. We suggest travellers bring a rucksack or rolling bag of small to medium size. You will also need a day-pack to carry daily essentials like water, cameras, passport, etc.
Luggage Transfer – Japan’s “takuhaibin” service is a convenient and reliable way to transfer luggage from one location to another throughout the country. Pick-up/drop-off/delivery dates and times can be easily scheduled (usually overnight) and costs are moderate. Service can be arranged at most hotels and airports. Using takuhaibin to send your luggage between hotels, or from hotel to airport, is a great way to travel light and avoid hauling large bags on crowded trains or up and down stairs – just be sure to pack an overnight bag with everything you’ll need until you’re reunited with your luggage the following day.
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: From November to April the region can be very cold and some areas are snowy, make sure you pack warm clothes. From June to September temperatures are high and the air can be very humid – lightweight, breathable clothing is recommended.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels but this is very expensive. Your leader can show you self service coin laundries in larger cities. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements
Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler.
The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your governments foreign ministry website or with your travel agent as rules do change.
JAPAN: Most nationalities receive A 90-DAY PERMIT ON ARRIVAL,
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.
Every Post Office and 7-11 Convenience store has an ATM machine that accepts Visa, Mastercard and Debit Cards. At times, Maestro/Master Card/Cirrus have been problematic at these machines, so please bring a back-up card.
Credit Cards should not be relied upon for purchases as they are not widely accepted, except in some restaurants and department stores. Money can be exchanged at Post Offices and some banks and hotels in major cities, however it can be a slow process.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Tipping is not practiced in Japan. Leaving money at restaurants, in taxis etc will simply cause confusion.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is highly appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $5 USD per person, per day can be used.
- Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingū) Visit (Free-1000JPY per person)
- Yoyogi Park Visit (Free)
- Sensō-ji Temple Visit (Free)
- Tsukiji Fish Market Visit (Free)
- Akihabara Visit (Free)
- Harajuku Visit (Free)
- Ginza Shopping (Free)
- Imperial Palace East Gardens Walk (Free)
- Japanese Onsen (Hot Spring) Visit (Free)
- Hida no Sato (Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village) Visit (700JPY per person)
- Biking (200-1000JPY per person)
- Nijo Castle and Gardens Visit (600JPY per person)
- Zen Gardens of Ryōan-ji (500JPY per person)
- Gion Walk (Free)
- Silver Pavilion Visit (500JPY per person)
- Kiyomizu Temple Visit (400JPY per person)
- Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion Visit (400JPY per person)
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure.
We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit, hand sanitizer/antibacterial wipes, and a full supply of any personal medications. In Asia, you will not find the same drugs as you get at home. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities. Also note that for legal reasons our CEOs (tour leaders) are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your tour, carefully read the itinerary and note the physical demand rating and assess your ability to cope with the demands of the tour and travel style.
G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a tour without refund if, in the reasonable opinion of the CEO, they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Trip Specific Safety
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
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Minimum age of 18 years for this trip.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: AJTK, ID: 24815
Day 1 Tokyo
We highly recommend booking pre-accommodation to fully experience this metropolis.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Tokyo
Get your bearings with an orientation walk before enjoying free time to explore buzzing Tokyo. Opt to check out Yoyogi Park, Asakusa shrine, quirky Harajuku, Shibuya Crossing, or explore the city’s myriad shops and cafés.
Day 3 Tokyo/Takayama
Travel to picturesque Takayama and take in the quaint streets of the old town – lined with sake breweries and craft shops – on a CEO-led orientation walk. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore the area. In the evening, kick back and relax in a traditional inn – complete with tatami floors and Japanese futons.
Takayama Orientation Walk
Bullet train (4.00 hour(s))
Day 4 Takayama/Kyoto
Board a train to Japan’s imperial capital. Arrive in Kyoto and spend the rest of the day discovering this historic city. In the evening, opt to pick up a local brew and chill out riverside or check out one of Kyoto’s many bars.
Bullet train (3.50-4.00 hours)
Day 5 Kyoto
Explore this culturally-rich city with a free day. Opt to visit some of Kyoto’s beautiful temples, participate in a tea ceremony, or take a calligraphy class. Enjoy a final night out in Kyoto with the group.
Day 6 Kyoto
Depart at any time. We highly recommend booking post-accommodation to fully experience this iconic city.