12 days


Our Culture and Cuisine tour through Japan is a unique journey. If you want to learn more about Japanese cultural and historical heritage but also want to grasp the smells and tastes of Japanese cuisine, you’re in the right place. Spirit Journeys’ team knows how to make your tour through Japan unforgettable.
Japan is a fascinating country with an interesting mixture of modern and traditional. You notice this at every step. On one hand, Japan is a powerful country, constantly pushing the boundaries of the possible. On the other hand, its rich tradition dates back thousands of years.
Our experienced team will walk with you through the busy streets of Tokyo, show you the city’s nightlife with all its contrasts . We’ll travel through time in Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital, learn about Japanese Buddhism, visit the world’s most famous and oldest temples, travel to Takayama, Kajasan.
We’ll take you to Osaka- Japan’s kitchen capital. Japan is a food lover’s paradise, with the most varied cuisine in the world. In our kitchen workshops and cooking classes, you’ll experience the excitement of preparing sushi, soba, miso soup.
Prepare your palate, sense the difference, meet Japan with Spirit journeys.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATIONFlights available on request – please contact us for a quote including flights
INCLUDED11 Nights accommodation at the hotels mentioned on Twin/Double Sharing as per hotels mentioned. Single rooms available at a supplement. (for ryokan, minshuku, and other traditional accommodation, rooms are Japanese-style with futon and meals are half board)

Meal Plan as stated; [B: Bed & Breakfast]
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
Meet and greet at the airport and return transfers to the airport.
PASMO Transport Pass at a value of 2,500 JPY for Days 2 and 3.
7-Day Japan Rail Pass in ordinary class, activated on Day 4.
2-Day Kyoto Bus and Subway Pass for Days 7 and 8.
2-Day Kansai Thru Pass for Days 9 and 10.
English-speaking guide in Tokyo (Day 2), Kyoto (Day 7), Koyasan (Day 9, half-day), and Osaka (Day 11, half-day (for other languages, supplementary charges apply).
All entrance fees and public transportation fees as mentioned in the itinerary on Days 2, 7, 9, and 11.
Soba-making workshop in Tokyo on Day 3.
Food market tour and cooking class in Kyoto on Day 8.
Information Pack.

NOT INCLUDEDExpenses of personal nature like tipping, laundry, telephone / fax calls, alcoholic beverages, camera / video camera fee at all monuments, medical expenses, airport departure taxes, etc.;

Meals other than those specified above
Optional tours.
Some local transport (e.g. some local city buses, taxi transfers, etc.).
Any insurance;
International and domestic air-fares
Any other services not mentioned in the inclusions;

Additional information

ItiineraryAs this is a private tour the itinerary can be amended to suit. Please contact us for a tailor made quote.
Hotel CategoryDeluxe Hotels, First Class Hotels, Superior Hotels

Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo (-/-/-)

Upon arrival at Tokyo Airport, a Spirit Journeys representative will meet you and help you board the right train or shuttle bus to the hotel. You have free time to relax from travel or explore the surrounding.

Overnight in Tokyo.

Distance and journey time:

Narita International Airport (NRT) to Tokyo City (95 km): approx. 90mins
Haneda International Airport (HND) to Tokyo City (25 km): approx. 50mins

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 2: Tokyo (B/L/-)

Early this morning, you will go to the Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world. After exploring the outer markets, you will stop at one of the nearby local restaurants for a sushi breakfast. Next, you will go to Hama-Rikyu Teien, the former private garden of an Edo Period lord. After walking around the garden, you will be able to take a break in the tea house known as ‘Nakajima No Chaya’ which stands elegantly in the park’s lake. Here, you will have the chance to taste matcha, or Japanese green tea, paired with a Japanese sweet. Afterwards, it’s time to see Tokyo from a different angle with a boat cruise on the Sumida River. You will visit Asakusa, the city’s oldest Geisha district and the Senso- ji Temple. It’s Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. You can buy some souvenirs and Japanese crafts here. Asakusa is also famous for its tempura, and guests will stop at one of the area’s local restaurants for a set course lunch.Afterwards, you will visit Kappabashi, also known as the ‘Kitchenware Town’. Here, the streets are lined with dozens of stores selling everything that restaurateurs need. The last stop of the day is at Ueno’s Ameyoko-cho, a busy market street underneath the train lines. There’s a wide variety of products such as fresh fish, dried food and spices, and is a great place to try some local snacks. Overnight in Tokyo.

Start (tour): 08:30
Duration: 8hrs
*including pick-up/drop-off and transfer times

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 3: Tokyo (B/L/D)

This morning, you will go to the cooking studio in Tsukiji Fish Market for a soba-making workshop (comprehensive directions will be provided).The class will be held by either Akila Inouye, founder and master chef of the Tsukiji Soba Academy, or one of the academy’s graduates.At the end of the lesson, you will cook your handmade soba and dine with the teacher and the rest of the class in tachi- gui style, which means eating while standing up.The rest of the afternoon is then free at leisure. You can simply relax at your hotel, or go out and discover the busy streets of Shibuya (Tokyo’s iconic “scramble crossing”).

In the evening: Tokyo by Night Tour

Tonight, enjoy a walk around some of Tokyo’s brightest and liveliest districts and experience the city’s most famous nightlife spots.After meeting the tour leader at your hotel, you will first head to Ebisu, where modern, western-style nightlife meets Japanese tradition.Here, guests can choose a bar and have a drink while the tour leader explains the history and the characteristics of the area (first drink included – other orders on own expense).Your guide will explain the history and other characteristics of the area. Later, a 20-minute walk (or three-minute train ride) will take guests from Ebisu to Shibuya, one of the hearts of Tokyo’s nightlife scene.This area is home to the world-famous Shibuya crossing, considered the world’s busiest intersection with more than a thousand people crossing every time the traffic lights change. This is one of the most famous sights in Japan and definitely one of the best spots to take a souvenir photo. Next, you will go by a train to Shinjuku, which is home to the world’s busiest railway station and a very popular entertainment and shopping district. You will have a dinner( included) and enjoy the amazing view at  Japanese izakaya located on the 29th floor. After dinner, if time permits, the tour leader can take you to Shinjuku’s Golden Gai, a network of small alleys and narrow passageways famous for its unique atmosphere and tiny bars. From here, guests can either continue exploring Tokyo’s nightlife on their own or ask the tour leader to take them back to the station.

Start (guided tour): 18:00
Duration: 5hrs
Overnight in Tokyo
Time:Start (activity): 10:30 or 11:30
Duration: 3.5-4hrs

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 4: Tokyo – Takayama (B/_/D)

Today is a self-guided day.

Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:

We recommend you to visit Takayama’s shitamachi (old town), where the streets are lined with sake breweries, old merchants’ homes and local stores. Visit one of the breweries and taste the local drop, try one of the famous restaurant that sells Hida beef sushi, or stop by a café for some afternoon tea. While in Takayama, you will be staying in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style accommodation furnished with zaisu (no-leg chairs), a low table, shoji (sliding doors), and tatami flooring.This evening, dinner will be in a traditional Japanese style. A soak in the onsen (hot spring) before bed is recommended, as it will help guests relax after a long day of traveling and sightseeing.

Distance and journey time:
JR Tokyo Station to JR Takayama Station (481 km): approx. 4hrs

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 5: Takayama (B/_/D)

Today is a self- guided day.

Suggested Self- Guide Itinerary:

Takayama is famous for its morning markets. After breakfast, you may go to the Miyagawa Morning Market where locals sell their handmade crafts and local products. This is also the perfect place to purchase some souvenirs. You may also visit Takayama Jinya, known as the Historical Government House- now a museum. Afterwards, you may go to the Takayama Festival Floats Museum to see the colorful floats that parade through the town during the famous Takayama Festivals in spring and autumn.

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 6: Takayama – Kyoto (B/_/_)

Today is a self- guided day.

Suggested Self- Guide Itinerary:

Take one last soak in the onsen before starting the journey to Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto. Kyoto is home to around 2,000 shrines and temples, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites.The rest of the day is at leisure.Overnight in Kyoto

Distance and journey time:
JR Takayama Station to JR Kyoto Station (314 km): approx. 3hrs

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 7: Kyoto (B/L/_)

Today, you will explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide,The day starts with a visit to Nijo Castle. This ornamental castle was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning gardens.Then you will go to Ryoan-ji Temple, the site of Japan’s most famous rock garden. This temple originally served as an aristocrat’s villa during the Heian period, and was converted into a Zen Buddhist temple in 1450.After lunch, you’ll visit Kinkaku-ji Temple, or the ‘Golden Pavilion’, which was originally built as a retirement villa for the shogun. After his death, it became a Buddhist temple at his request and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples.Next on the list is Kyomizu- dera, or the ‘Pure Water Temple’, where you can enjoy amazing views of Kyoto.Before the tour ends, you can go to Higashiyama district and buy some souvenirs.

Note: Kiyomizu Temple is currently undergoing partial renovations.

Overnight in Kyoto.

Start (guided tour): 09:00
Duration: 8hrs

*including pick-up/drop-off and transfer times

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 8: Kyoto (B/_/D)

The morning is free at leisure.In the afternoon, you will take part in a cultural culinary experience after visiting one of Kyoto’s most famous markets.After meeting your local guide in Nishiki Market, you will learn about the Japanese products and buy all needed ingredients for the cooking class. Then the guide will take you to the local brewery for a refreshment.

Note: In case the brewery is closed, the admission ticket to the brewery is offered so that clients can visit on other days during their stay in Kyoto

The cooking class will take place in a machiya, a well-restored wooden house that is typical of Kyoto. You will learn how to make rolled sushi, miso soup and salad, with seasonal fruit for dessert. After the class, you will share the meal with the teacher. The activity finishes at the venue, with the rest of the evening free at leisure.Overnight in Kyoto

Start (activity): 14:30
Duration: 3.5hrs

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 9: Kyoto – Koyasan (B/_/D)

Today, you will visit Koyasan, a home to more than 100 temples and a UNESCO World Heritage site.The journey to Koyasan is one of the highlights of the visit. You will take several local trains and a cable car at the end, which offers one of the most scenic journeys in Japan as it winds its way up into the mountains.The guide will meet you at Koyasan Station and take you to a couple of popular sites, providing an insight into Japanese Buddhism.The first stop will be at Kongobu- ji Temple, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism and home to Japan’s largest rock garden. There you might see a small group of worshippers led by a monk, chanting scripts in front of the temple. Afterwards, you will go to Okuno-in, Japan’s largest cemetery that holds the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. At the end of the cemetery guests will also see the Gokusho Offering Hall, Torodo Hall of Lanterns, and Kobo Daishi’s Mausoleum.After the tour, the guide will escort you back to your accommodation.The accommodation for tonight is a shukubo, or Japanese temple lodge, and the dinner will be shojin ryori, a traditional Buddhist cuisine.Overnight at Koyasan.

Distance and journey time:
JR Kyoto Station to Koyasan Station (112 km): approx. 3hrs 52 mins

Start (guided tour): upon arrival at Koyasan Station (around 11:30)
Duration: 4hrs

*including pick-up/drop-off and transfer times

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 10:Koyasan – Osaka (B/_/_)

Today is a self- guided day.To have a complete experience of Koyasan, we recommend joining the morning prayer, which usually starts at 6:00 a.m. This way you can see the inside of the worship room ( taking photos inside the prayer room is not allowed). Afterwards, you will have a traditional shojin ryori breakfast. The rest of the morning is free for guests to further explore Koyasan before departing for the journey to Osaka, Japan’s “Kitchen Capital”. Osaka’s flamboyance, fun-loving people and amazing food make up for what it lacks in tourist attractions.Overnight in Osaka.

Distance and journey time:
Koyasan Station to Nankai Namba Station (in Osaka) (65km): approx. 118 mins

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 11: Osaka (B/_/D)

The morning is free at leisure.This afternoon, the guide will take you on a half-day tour to explore some of Osaka’s most popular street food spots.First, you will visit the Doguyasuji shopping arcade, a unique market that sells anything related to the food industry, including the plastic food models that are often found outside Japanese restaurants.The next stop will be in Dotonbori, a restaurant mecca which serves as Osaka’s entertainment district and former “pleasure district.” Here, a wide choice of food stalls and restaurants are available and guests can choose to order either takoyaki (octopus balls) or okonomiyaki (a Japanese pancake with cabbage, pork, ginger, nori, and a special sauce).In Dotonbori, you can see many tourist attraction. After taking some photos, the tour continues to Hozenji Yokocho, an area of narrow alleyways filled with more than 60 traditional restaurants and izakaya (traditional Japanese pubs). At the end of one of these alleys lies the Hozenji Temple, where worshippers splash water on the statue of the deity instead of tossing coins.Next, you will take the train to Shinsekai, a small old town in Tennoji area, based on the design of New York and Paris. It is one of the favorite places for food lovers.Before sampling some of the local delicacies, you will first go to Tsutenkaku, a replica of the Eiffel Tower and one of Osaka’s most iconic landmarks. Now it’s finally time to discover the delicious flavors of Shinsekai! For dinner, we recommend kushikatsu, a skewer of meat and vegetables dipped in batter, rolled in breadcrumbs and then deep fried. The guide can offer alternative suggestions and will be happy to show you to the restaurant of your choice.

Start (guided tour): 16:00
Duration: 4hrs

*time includes pick-up/drop-off and transfer time

Overnight at your hotel First Class/Superior/Deluxe


Day 12:Departure from Osaka(B/_/_)

The rest of the day is at leisure until the time comes for you to transfer via train or airport shuttle bus to Kansai International Airport.

Distance and journey time:
JR Namba Station to Kansai Airport (50 km): approx. 49mins
JR Shin-Osaka Station to Kansai Airport (61 km): approx. 48mins
Namba (OCAT) bus terminal to Kansai Airport: approx. 50mins


We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips to Japan

Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, National Holidays) may be subject to supplementary charges. Please contact us for trips over this period

Contact Numbers

Email ID


Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.

If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.

Copy of passport

• Tsukiji Market is closed on Sundays, National holidays, and occasionally on Wednesdays.

• Most of the shops in Kappabashi are closed on Sundays and National holidays.

• The soba-making workshop in Tokyo is a join-in activity, so there may be other participants in the activity. Vegetarian and gluten-free options can be arranged but supplementary charges will apply.

• Some of the sake breweries in Takayama are closed on some days and the restaurant that sells Hida beef sushi is closed on Tuesdays.

• The food tour in Takayama allows maximum of 6 persons only. It is also a join-in activity, so there may be other participants in the tour. Please always check with your Travel Consultants the available travel dates.

• Wada House and other gassho-zukuri farmhouses in Shirakawago are closed on some days.

• Nijo Castle is closed on Tuesdays (or if Tuesday is a National holiday, closed the following day).

• The market tour and cooking class in Kyoto is a join-in activity, so there may be other participants present. It is only available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Maximum of 7 persons apply. And, in case the brewery is closed, the admission ticket to the brewery is offered so that you can visit on another day. Please always check with your Travel Consultants the available travel dates.

• For safety reasons, some public transport may stop operating in case of unfavorable weather conditions.

• Please inform us of any special dietary requirements that you may have.

Baggage handling is not included in the above rates, but Japan has a fabulous luggage forwarding service which you can use to send your luggage to your next destination. It will take between 24 and 72 hours to get the luggage to the next point so we recommend preparing an overnight bag when using this service. Luggage can be sent between any two points in Japan and the bell desks or receptions at your hotel will be happy to assist you with arranging this luggage transfer.


City/Destination Hotel Hotel Category Room Type
TokyoVilla Fontaine ShiodomeFirst ClassStandard room
TakayamaMinshuku SosukeFirst ClassJapanese-Style Room
(shared bath & toilet)
KyotoVista PremioFirst ClassStandard Room
KoyasanNan-InFirst ClassJapanese-Style Room
(shared bath & toilet)
OsakaCross HotelFirst ClassStandard Room


City/Destination Hotel Hotel Category Room Type
TokyoPark HotelSuperiorCity room
TakayamaHonjin Hiranoya BekkanSuperiorRiver-View Japanese-Style Room
(with ensuite bath)
KyotoHotel GranviaSuperiorStandard Room
KoyasanNan-InFirst ClassJapanese-Style Room
(shared bath & toilet)
OsakaCross HotelFirst ClassStandard Room


City/Destination Hotel Hotel Category Room Type
TokyoConradDeluxeCity room
TakayamaHonjin Hiranoya KachouanDeluxeJapanese-Style Room
(with ensuite bath)
KyotoHyatt RegencyDeluxeDeluxe Room
KoyasanNan-InFirst ClassJapanese-Style Room
(shared bath & toilet)
OsakaSt. RegisDeluxeDeluxe Room
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