Japan itinerary North to South
- Duration : 21 days
- Locations : Sapporo, Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Takayama, Kyoto, Okayama, Miyajima, Fukuoka, Ishigaki
A 3 week trip to Japan and you feel like touring Japan from North to South?
This organised tour with its optimised itinerary is made for you! Start from the natural island of Hokkaido and descend to Tokyo. After passing by Mount Fuji and the Japanese Alps, discover ancient Kyoto.
Visit the artists' island of Naoshima and the sacred island of Miyajima, off the coast of Hiroshima, and finish by relaxing on the beaches of Okinawa.
3 week itinerary
- Sapporo (2 days)
- Tokyo (3 days)
- Hakone Mount Fuji (1 day)
- Takayama (2 days)
- Kyoto (4 days)
- Okayama (1 day)
- Miyajima (1 day)
- Fukuoka (1 day)
- Ishigaki (2 days)
The first and last day are reserved for your arrival and departure from Japan (and for the last bit of souvenir shopping!).
Please find below the itinerary details.
WARNING : The tour departure and end dates presented on this page relate to your stay in Japan. On departure, you will have to leave Europe on the day before. The return flight is on the same day due to the time difference. For further details, refer to "More about your trip".
Why this trip to Japan ?
- A 3-week tour that allows you to visit the major tourist sites all over Japan!
- Welcomed at the airport by our team, you will make your own way for 3 days in Hokkaido
- Travel to Honshu and Tokyo via a comfortable cruise ship
- After 3 days in Tokyo, leave for Mount Fuji for an unforgettable dinner and night in a ryokan
- Take a nature stop in the Japanese Alps: Takayama and Shirakawa-go
- Head for Kyoto by high-speed Shinkansen : a guided tour of the Gion district awaits you
- In Kyoto and Tokyo, a travel angel will welcome you to a traditional Japan Experience house
- Reach Hiroshima and the sacred island of Miyajima, before arriving on the island of Kyushu
- The Okinawa archipelago will have you seduced by its natural beauty and white sandy beaches
- Transport included: Japan Rail Pass, Hakone Free Pass, flight to Okinawa, ferry
- Recommendations available in your travel diary
- Enjoy unlimited internet access thanks to your pocket Wi-Fi
- If necessary, contact our Japanese bilingual English-speaking assistance 24/7
- A number of guided days or other optional activities are available
- Benefit from the expertise of Japan Experience, European leading travel agency in Japan.
Your trip in detail
Day 1 : Wake up in Sapporo 札幌
Arrival at Sapporo Airport (Sapporo International Shin Chitose CTS).
Welcome to Japan! Yokoso 日本へようこそ！
Reception at the exit from Customs in English by our airport assistant, who will give you all your travel documents and your Pocket WiFi
Unaccompanied transfer from Sapporo International Airport (5th Japanese airport, 20 km to the south) in 40 minutes by train to Sapporo central station, see details below.
Check-in at Hotel Unwind or equivalent 3*.
Spend your first evening strolling through the 4500 restaurants and bars of the lively Susukino district!
Day 2 : The North's big city
Huddled under a blanket of snow for most of the year, the city of Sapporo still bears the traces of its colonial past.
Don't miss :
- Ôdôri Park, a huge green border that stretches between the buildings and divides the city in two
- The Sapporo Beer Museum, created in Japan's first brewery (dinner available)
- The Clock Tower, Television Tower and Three-Eight Tower
- Nijo Seafood Market,
- The former seat of government and its botanical garden,
Your travel diary, included in your package, will show you many unusual places in Sapporo and its surroundings.
Day 3 : A glimpse of Hokkaido
For this second day in Sapporo, you have three options:
- Continue at your own pace to explore Sapporo's sights from your hotel.
- Explore the city's surroundings by public transport: Moerenuma Park, designed by the famous designer Isamu Noguchi or the impressive Takino Cemetery, where the architect Tadao Ando has installed monumental statues and a 13m high Buddha Hill covered with lavender
As both sites are located away from the city, you should allow for about 1 hour of public transport to get to each site
- Rent a car to explore the area around Sapporo, for example the Shikotsu-Toya Volcanic Park. Car rental is optional on this tour.
Third and final night in your hotel in Sapporo.
Day 4 : The sea air
In the morning, we advise you to check with the reception of your hotel to have your luggage sent to your house in Tokyo, so that you can travel light that day and the next day. Take a small bag for the night on the boat.
For the first valid day of your Japan Rail Pass, we advise you to go to the Sea of Japan with Russia in the distance:
- Otaru, a charming port city (45 min by JR train, included in your offer)
- And 20 minutes further by JR train, Nikka whisky distillery, the oldest in Japan: selected for its climatic similarity with Scotland
In the middle of the afternoon, go to the Otaru ferry terminal, 2 km from the city centre, and board a cruise ship (see details below). After a night cradled by the waves. Along the Japanese coast of Tohoku, you will spot Niigata the next morning! Possibility of breakfast and/or lunch on board the cruise ship (payment on site).
Day 5 : The dynamic port on the Sea of Japan
After arriving in Niigata harbour at around 9am, you will be able to go to the city centre located 3 km away. We advise you to spend the morning in this city, in this "reverse Japan" off the beaten path, by strolling along the banks of the Shinano-gawa river or in the urban park Hakusan. For lunch, head to one of the many bars and restaurants to sample some of Japan's most famous rice and sake. Just follow the Niigata culinary recommendations in your travel diary! In the afternoon, travel to Tokyo (2 hours by direct Shinkansen, with departures every 30 minutes, included in your package).
Not tempted by the boat trip? As an option, you can select the Sapporo -> Tokyo day trip by Shinkansen and train (1 change, about 8 hours, included in your Japan Rail Pass).
In Tokyo, check in before 8:00pm into your Japan Experience apartment. A Travel Angel will welcome you, show you some unique details and help you to have an unforgettable stay in Tokyo. You will be able to "live the Japanese way" for a few days, with a space much bigger than a hotel room and a kitchen to prepare good Japanese food!
Day 6 : First steps in the capital
We advise you to slowly start visiting Tokyo from its western districts:
- Harajuku: the avant-garde district
- Meiji Jingû, the imperial shrine
- Takeshita-Dori: the most famous street in Japan
- Omotesando: Tokyo's Champs-Élysées
- Shibuya and its unmistakable "crossroads"
Day 7 : The big loop
For this third day of visiting Tokyo, we recommend the following "loop".
Start from Tokyo Central Station, with its original architecture, then go to visit:
- Ginza, Tokyo's chic district
- Tsukiji, the small outdoor food market
- Hamarikyu, the Japanese garden between Tokyo's buildings
- Asakusa, a traditional district and place of pilgrimage, accessible by a cruise on the Sumida River
- Sensô-ji Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in the city
- Tokyo Sky Tree reaching a height of 643m, and its panoramic view of Tokyo at sunset
Enjoy a cruise on the Sumida River between Hamarikyu and Asakusa.
Day 8 : On the way to visit the emblem of Japan: Mount Fuji!
Leave for Hakone by train (1 hour 20 from Shinjuku station, 1 change, included in your Hakone Free Pass). It is also possible to reach the region via Shinkansen with your JR Pass. Transportation details in your travel diary.
You will be charmed by the magnificent scenery of this spa resort, Lake Ashi and its view of Mount Fuji (in good weather!). Not forgetting the volcanic site of Owakudani, accessible by cable car.
If you wish to be accompanied for this day, one of our English-speaking guides will reveal all the secrets of the Mount Fuji region.
Check-in at your ryokan. At night at the ryokan, you will be treated to a tasty traditional Japanese dinner before retiring to your tatami room.
Day 9 : The charm of the Japanese mountains
Traditional Japanese breakfast at the ryokan.
Destination Takayama in the heart of the Japanese Alps. 4 hour 30 train ride, 1 change in Nagoya, included in your offer. Check-in at your 3* hotel between the train station and the historic city centre.
Enjoy at your own pace the charms of Takayama, its century-old homes, temples and museums.
We recommend that you visit:
- The traditional Kusakabe and Yoshijima houses
- The Yatai Kaikan, where old religious festival floats (matsuri) are on display
- The picturesque Shôwa-Kan, museum of the 1940s to 1970s
- The old Sannomachi shopping district
- The Fuji Folk Art Museum
Day 10 : Rural & Mountain
Breakfast at the hotel.
Starting from Kanazawa, we propose a day trip to a typical village in the Japanese Alps, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Shirakawago!
Départ pour Shirakawago en bus (50 minutes, en option).
Walk through this typical Japanese Alpine village, to visit a minka (traditional Japanese house) or the Myôzenji, the village's Zen temple.
Return to Takayama by the same bus in the middle of the afternoon.
You can also choose to stay in Takayama.
Second night in your hotel in Takayama.
Day 11 : A short trip to Kanazawa or Nagoya
Breakfast at the hotel.
On this day, go to Kyoto to meet your travel angel and check into your Japan Experience house. Preferably before 8pm. Two routes are available, all covered by your Japan Rail Pass: one by Nagoya, the other by Kanazawa, on the Sea of Japan. Details of the possible stops in these two cities can be found in your travel diary. Don't hesitate to have your luggage sent the day before so that you can travel light.
You can settle into your traditional Japan Experience house. Just like in Tokyo, a travel angel will welcome you.
Day 12 : First steps in the old capital
We advise you to start your visit to Kyoto slowly by visiting the city centre and the Gion district:
- The Nijo castle, former shogun's residence
- Nishiki, Kyoto's culinary market
- Kiyomizu-Dera, the great water temple
- The historical streets of Sannen-zaka & Ninnen-zaka
- Kodai-ji, the maple and bamboo temple of Kyoto
Finish off seeing the sunset in Gion.
Meet your guide at 19:00 to start your late stroll around Gion, Kyoto's historic district.
More details on the exact time and location in your travel diary.
At the end of this 1 hour 30 walk, your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to eat out!
Please note that it is strictly forbidden to take photographs in the historic district of Gion.
Day 13 : Gold and Silver Treasures
We recommend the following itinerary for this second day's visit to Kyoto:
- Ryoan-ji Zen Garden
- The Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
- Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion)
- The bewitching path of philosophy
- The Nanzen-ji temple
One of our many experienced English-speaking guides can accompany you on a tour of these symbolic sites (optional, from 9:00 to 17:00).
Day 14 : Between temples and deer
For your last day in Kyoto and its surroundings, we recommend taking the 50 minute journey to Nara, which is included in your package.
Visit to Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan in the 8th century:
- The Shinto shrine Kasuga Taisha and its thousands of lanterns
- The Todaiji, its great bronze Buddha and the imposing Nan-Daimon gate
- Kofukuji temple and its beautiful pagoda
Return to Kyoto and stop for sunset at Fushimi Inari, the huge 10,000 torii sanctuary in Kyoto. If you wish to be accompanied on this day, one of our English-speaking guides will unveil all the secrets of Japan's first capital (optional, return trip from Kyoto).
Final night in your traditional Kyoto house.
Day 15 : A crossroads between two islands
Travel by Shinkansen to Okayama (about 1 hour 30, free with your Japan Rail Pass). Check into your hotel between the station and the castle.
We advise you to head out early to explore the castle and its magnificent Koraku-en park, before leaving in the middle of the afternoon for the romantic town of Kurashiki, a 17-minute train ride from Okayama (included with JR Pass):
Kurashiki, an old commercial metropolis lined with canals, will seduce you:
- Bikan, a district with typical architecture
- The Ohara Museum, keeper of paintings by Monet, Matisse, Renoir...
- The Museum of Popular Arts dedicated to regional history
There are two other options for this day (details in your travel diary): a stop at Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between Kyoto and Okayama, or a visit to the artists' island of Naoshima (but you will have to get up early!).
Overnight stay in Okayama.
Day 16 : The Sacred Island
Breakfast at the hotel.
Shinkansen train ride from Okayama to Miyajima (1 hour 15, 1 change) then boat (20 minutes). The train and boat included in the Japan Rail Pass.
Reach your ryokan near the island's ferry terminal.
Explore the island: its Itsukushima-jinja shrine and its large gate (ootorii) standing in the sea. (Please note: The ootorii is under construction until an unspecified date). Take the cable car up to Mount Misen and then descend on foot. A breathtaking view of Hiroshima Bay is waiting for you!
Traditional Japanese dinner at the ryokan.
Day 17 : Make way for history
Petit déjeuner traditionnel japonais au ryokan.
In the morning, make a stop in Hiroshima (30 minutes by train from Miyajimaguchi Ferry Station, included in your JR Pass), to visit the Peace Park and its memorial.
Continue from Hiroshima to the island of Kyushu and its capital, Fukuoka, in 1 hour by Shinkansen (included in your JRPass).
Arrive in the centre of the vibrant city of Fukuoka and check into your hotel near the central station.
With its 2000 years of history, the capital of Kyushu has always been the gateway to Asia (Korea and China) and Western culture (Portugal and its Jesuits, Holland). Another Japan, more Asian and further away from Tokyo, awaits you. Capital of a booming region, Fukuoka is now one of the most dynamic cities in Japan with its many high-tech companies and the hosting of a global event: the Rugby World Cup in October 2019.
Visit the lively Nakasu and Tenjin districts and their yatai - hundreds of delicious and welcoming open-air restaurants at low prices. A great way to spend one final evening!
Day 18 : The capital of Kyushu
In the morning, be sure to check out Fukuoka's picturesque little surprises, such as Shofoku-ji temple, the oldest Zen temple in Japan, or the Asian Art Museum.
At midday, transfer to Fukuoka International Airport (Japan's 4th largest airport, located in the heart of the city) in 5 minutes by metro from Hakata Central Station, see details below.
Flight to Ishigaki International Airport (direct (2h20) or 1 stopover (3h20). Arrival in the middle of the afternoon in Ishigaki, transfer by airport bus (€ 4, to be paid to the driver) to the city.
Settle in your 3* hotel in the heart of the seaside town of Ishigaki.
Day 19 : Beach umbrellas and coconut trees
Breakfast at the hotel.
In Ishigaki you can sunbathe on the white sand, swim in its turquoise waters and dive.
There are many activities available, to be discussed with your hotel upon arrival: diving with an English-speaking guide, snorkelling...and other suggestions in your travel diary!
Not to mention the famous cuisine and nightlife of this charming island.
Day 20 : A lovely village
Breakfast at the hotel.
It's your last day in Japan, so you might as well end on a high note! Discover the small island paradise of Taketomi (20 min ferry ride from the small town of Ishigaki, 5 ferries/hour, tickets included in your package).
On Taketomi, everything can be done on foot or by bike (many bike rentals - no need to book in advance) All the details are in your travel diary! Don't forget to see the "Hoshizuna" starry sand on the island's beaches, which is unique in the world!
Day 21 : Sayonara, and see you next time!
Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer back to Ishigaki International Airport (20 minute taxi or airport shuttle bus (£4.28 / 5.97$, to be paid on the spot to the driver, 2 buses/hour).
Return flight to Europe, North America, Australia, with changes in Tokyo, Fukuoka or major Asian cities like Hong Kong or Taipei.
- 3 nights in a 3* hotel in Sapporo
- 1 night on board the ferry (Sapporo-Niigata)
- 3 nights in a traditional Tokyo house
- 1 night in a 3* ryokan in Hakone, traditional half-board
- 2 nights in a 3* hotel in Takayama
- 4 nights in a traditional Kyoto house
- 1 night in a 3* hotel in Okayama
- 1 night in a 3* ryokan in Miyajima, traditional half-board
1 night in a 3* hotel in Fukuoka
1 night in a 3* hotel in Ishigaki
The basic rate includes a twin room for two people.
- Airport transfer one way (see details below)
- Prepaid public transport card
- Japan Rail Pass for 14 days
- Hakone Free Pass for 2 days
- Domestic flight from Fukuoka -> Ishigaki
Experiences and meals
- Airport welcome
- Traditional dinner and breakfast in the ryokan in Hakone and Miyajima
- Breakfast except in major cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka and Sapporo)
- Welcome to Kyoto by a travel angel
- Guided night tour of Gion (1h30)
Included in your self-guided tour
- Unlimited Wi-Fi access with pocket wifi
- Complete e-travel diary sent 20 days before your departure
- 24/7 telephone assistance in English and bilingual Japanese
Not included in the price of your trip
- Flights Europe <> Japan
- Optional insurance policies
- Personal expenses including meals (breakfasts optional)
- Public transport when all 3 cards are exhausted (see details)
- Anything not included in the "included in your tour" section
Your tour :
- The prices displayed on this page may vary according to the exchange rate of the Japanese ¥.
- Unfortunately, this tour is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.
- Pets are not allowed.
- Children and babies accepted. From 3 to 11 years old a child rate is offered. In each accommodation, a standard adult bed will be offered to them, and a standard seat will be allocated to them in transport. From 0 to 2 years old inclusive, a "baby" rate is offered. This price corresponds to the allocation of a cot in the majority of the accommodation of the chosen circuit. However, we cannot guarantee a baby cot in each accommodation.
- This programme is subject to change due to circumstances such as weather conditions or any other case of force majeure. Please note that due to the current circumstances, any information mentioned is subject to change or modification.
- Your travel documents will be given to you as follows:
- Travel diary by email 3 weeks before departure, and other electronic documents
- Paper documents (airport transfer ticket, transportation card, Japan Rail Pass voucher) and Pocket WiFi upon arrival at the airport by our airport assistant.
- This programme is subject to change due to circumstances such as weather conditions or any other case of force majeure. The order of visits may also be modified. Please note that due to the current circumstances, any information mentioned is subject to change or modification.
Your accommodation :
- Some hotels may ask you to pay a tourist tax on arrival. This depends on the city and even the hotel, as some do not include it in the booking price. Normally, it is 200¥/night/person (about £1.37/1.93$) but can be slightly higher in 4* hotels. It must be paid in cash at the hotel reception. For traditional Japan Experience accommodations, it is included in the initial tour price.
- Room size: in Japan, a densely populated country where everything is compact, 3-star luxury hotels are of very good quality but the rooms are often quite narrow (12 to 20m2/129 sq ft to 215 sq ft) depending on the hotel. Please note the size of the single room, between 10 and 16m2 (107sq ft and 172 fq ft). For more comfort, you can choose our luxury 4* accommodation upgrade option.
- Double room: Rooms for two people in western hotels have 2 single beds (twin rooms) by default, which can usually be joined together. As an option, you can select a double room instead of a twin if you prefer a double bed. This option is not valid in the Japan Experience house in Kyoto nor in the ryokans (on individual futons).
- Single room: People travelling alone and wishing to book a single room must pay a supplement at the time of booking. The single room supplement is compulsory for orders with an odd number of participants. Please note that if you request more than two people in a single room, the single room supplement will be applied to all accommodation except for the ryokans (3 and 4*). In fact, as this is traditional accommodation, people with the same reservation are grouped together in spacious rooms for up to 5 people.
- 3-person room: If there are 3, 5 or more of you and you do not select the single supplement, a triple room will be allocated to you.
- In the case of a group order (> 5 people), it is possible, depending on hotel availability, that not all members of the group will be accommodated in the same hotel. Nevertheless, we aim to keep you close.
- Names of the hotels : The names given on the site are for information only. In the event of unavailability, an establishment of equivalent standing will be scheduled. Hotels, corresponding to local standards, are given as an indication and may be changed on site for hotels of a similar category.
- In the ryokan, the rooms have a private sink and toilet. The single-sex collective Japanese baths ("onsen") then act as shared bathrooms, with showers and thermal baths. They are freely accessible, at the times in force on the site. These baths are often not accessible to people with clearly visible tattoo (s). The latter are invited to contact us to evaluate the possibilities of accommodation with private baths or shared baths that can be reserved.
OPTION only valid for Hakone ryokan : Enjoy a private Japanese bathroom (traditional or modern onsen) in your room. This option is recommended for mixed couples, families, people who are modest or have visible tattoos.
The 4* ryokan (see 4* option) have comfortable futons raised on either western beds in a traditional tatami room. The bathrooms and toilets of the 4* ryokans are private.
- Bedroom on the ferry to Hokkaido: standard room with 2 bunk beds, a TV and small bathroom. No porthole. Option for a higher quality room with balcony.
- Traditional apartment in Tokyo: located in an apartment building with a lift in the lively, well-connected district of Ikebukuro. Close to all amenities.
- All lodgings have at least one Japanese tatami room and are equipped with a minimum of 3 beds, either in a single western bed (not double) or on a futon. Do not hesitate to specify in your comments that you want to sleep in a western bed.
- Traditional house in Kyoto: each house has been chosen for its location (transport, shops, temples...) and thus to facilitate your stay. Most of them are either located in the historical district of Gion or on the edge of the Path of Philosophy and the Silver Temple. All lodgings have at least one Japanese tatami room and are equipped with a minimum of 3 beds, either in a single western bed (not double) or on a futon. Do not hesitate to specify in your comments that you want to sleep in a western bed.
Your transport :
- Flights are not included in this tour. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to include flights in your order: Flights in economy class with stopovers or direct flights, eco-premium or business air upgrades, provincial departures or abroad: we will be able to advise you.
- The tour departure and end dates presented on this page relate to your stay in Japan. You will arrive in Japan through Shin Chitose International Airport (Sapporo, CTS) and depart from Ishigaki International Airport (ISG). Initially, you will have to leave the day before from Europe and land at 7 p.m. maximum to benefit from airport services. On the other hand, the return is made the same day taking into account the favorable time difference. Do not hesitate to consult us for any uncertainty or need for clarification on the choice of international flights. Please note for outward and return flights : you will have to make a change in Tokyo, Helsinki or one of the main cities in Asia. In Tokyo and Seoul, please check that the transit airports are the same. It happens that Ishigaki -> Tokyo and Ishigaki -> Seoul flights land at different airports (Tokyo Haneda HND or Seoul Gimpo GMP) from those from which international flights take off to reach Europe (Tokyo Narita NRT or Seoul Incheon ICN ). The domestic flight Fukuoka -> Ishigaki is included in your offer, either direct or with 1 stopover. 1 piece of checked baggage accepted.
- If the flights have been purchased by your care without the intervention of Japan Experience, it is necessary to send us by mail 1 month before your departure your flight information (flight number, airport, date and time of arrival) to allow us 'Organize your welcome and airport transfer.
- Airport transfers:
- Outbound: Our airport assistant in Shin Chitose Airport will drive you to the platform to take the airport transfer. Afterwards, this hotel transfer is unassisted. If you would like to be accompanied from the airport to your hotel reception please choose the option "Accompanied Airport Transfer". The return transfer from Sapporo International Airport is by public transport from the central station (40 minutes by train) It's a straightforward journey, with the train arriving directly at the airport. Cost: 1150¥ (about €10, paid with your pre-paid transport card, already loaded with the amount for the transfer). From 5:50am to 9:50pm, with train every 10 to 15 minutes. If you want door-to-door transport, we recommend that you contact your hotel reception to order a taxi. It will cost you approximately £38.56 / 53.65$ for a 45 minute journey.
- Transfer Fukuoka -> Fukuoka airport (domestic flight to Ishigaki) : This transfer is by public transport from the central station. 5 minutes by metro from Hakata Central Station, located near your hotel. It's a straightforward journey, with the train arriving directly at the airport. There are 2 terminals connected by a free shuttle bus.
Cost: 260¥ (about £1.71 / 2.42$, paid with your pre-paid transport card, already loaded with the amount for the transfer). From 5:30am to 12:25am, with metros every 4 to 8 minutes.
If you want door-to-door transport, we recommend that you contact your hotel reception to order a taxi. It will cost you approximately £12.85 / 17.83$ for a 20 minute journey.
- Transfer from Ishigaki Airport to Ishigaki City and back. Airport bus (1 line, 2 buses/hour, from 8.30am to 6pm). About £3.42, 4.75$, to be paid to the driver. Details in your travel diary.
If you want door-to-door transport, we recommend that you contact your hotel reception to order a taxi. It will cost you approximately £17.14 / 23.84$ for a 25 minute journey.
- Included in your tour is a pre-charged transport prepayment card of ¥ 1,500 (around £10.30 / 14.54$) (suica or Pasmo brand);a transport pass for the Tokyo Shinjuku -> Hakone route and all transport in the Hakone region (excluding taxis) and a 14-day Japan Rail Pass. These cards should cover a large part of your trips during the stay. Upon expiry of the 1,500¥ Transport Prepayment Card, or if the line you are travelling on is not covered by your Japan Rail Pass, any travel will be at your own expense by recharging your pre-paid transport card (at vending machines in all stations and metro stations).
- The Japan Rail Pass is a personal train pass for foreign travellers who wish to visit Japan. This pass allows unlimited travel for 14 consecutive days on all Japan Railways (JR) trains throughout Japan. You will receive a voucher to be exchanged at a JR office when you are welcomed at the airport by our assistant (list of addresses provided in your travel guide). You will be asked to show your passport and fill in a form. During this exchange, you will select the start date of your pass. Once your Pass has been activated, it will be valid for 14 consecutive days from the date chosen. To prevent wasting time when you arrive at the airport, you are requested to exchange your voucher upon arrival in Tokyo City. This is because exchanging it at the airport could delay your airport shuttle. With your Japan Rail Pass in hand, just go to the station, show your pass to the ticket inspector at the entrance gates and board any JR train. Trains in Japan are almost all open seating. If you are worried about not having a seat (on a shinkansen for example), simply go to a ticket office and reserve your seat at no extra charge. The Japan Rail Pass covers all JR and Shinkansen lines in Japan. The following journeys are not covered:
- Travel by metro and bus in the cities (payable by pre-paid transport card, included in your package)
- Transfers from the train station to the hotels (by foot, bus, metro or taxi)
- Travel on private train lines (other than JR)
- Travel on Nozomi and Mizuho high-speed trains (shinkansen)
- Trips made outside the validity period of the Japan Rail Pass
- Japan Rail Pass: It is not necessary to possess a Japan Rail Pass which covers your entire stay. This is only cost-effective if it is used for long journeys between the different stages of your stay (especially in shinkansen) which are very expensive. In large cities like Tokyo, only about ⅓ of public transport is covered by the Japan Rail Pass and getting around is relatively cheap (Tokyo metro tickets: £1.71 / 2.42$; Kyoto daily bus card: £4.28 / 5.97$). Thus, providing you with a Japan Rail Pass for more than 14 days (21) would not be cost-effective and, on the contrary, would significantly increase the cost of your trip.
- If a person taking part in the tour is a Japanese national and a resident of Japan, or a foreigner with tax residence in Japan (including a student), then that person is not eligible for the Japan Rail Pass. Please contact us to get the price of the tour without a Japan Rail Pass. They will have to buy the train tickets for the tour directly in Japan. The Kansai Thru Pass is also subject to the same nationality/residency requirements. This is not the case for the Hakone Free pass. If this person is a Japanese citizen but not a resident of Japan, then he/she can benefit from the Japan Rail Pass under certain conditions (see https://www.japan-experience.com/frequently-asked-questions).
- Travel by boat to Hokkaido: the ferry leaves at 5:00 pm from Otaru harbour, located 2,5 km from the central station. You can travel on foot, by local bus or by taxi at your own expense. There is a large waiting room where you can wait for the ferry. The ferry has a restaurant, theatre and spa, which are available at no extra charge. Unfortunately, people with visible tattoos are not permitted in the spa. When the ferry arrives the next afternoon, a shuttle bus (to be paid for locally) will be waiting to drive you to the JR Niigata. If the ferry from Niigata is not available, we will provide you with a ferry from Tomakomai (1 hour 20 south of Sapporo, accessible by JR train) to Oarai, 1 hour 30 from Tokyo (included in your offer). Same transportation time. No surcharge.
Your activities :
- Airport reception is in English. Your airport assistant will be waiting for you at the customs exit holding a sign with the name of the reservation. They will give you your travel documents and take you to your airport transfer. They will not accompany you to Kyoto (this is possible, but optional).
- An English speaking Travel Angel who is a specialist in Japan will be there to welcome you to your traditional house in Kyoto. They will give you the keys, explain how the house and its facilities work, give you a tour of the area (tourist sites, supermarkets, bike rental...) and answer all your questions. They will be available throughout your stay in case of any problems or questions. The same for the traditional Tokyo flat.
- The guided tour of Gion takes place in groups of 12 people maximum, from 6pm to 7:30/8:00pm. In English. More details on the meeting place in your travel journal. Dinner is not planned but your guide will be able to give you their best spots.
Your meals :
- Traditional Japanese dinner and Japanese breakfast (mostly savory) are included in your ryokan. Do not hesitate to indicate any dietary requirements you may have, we will pass them on to the ryokan so that they can take them into account when planning the meals. If the ryokan does not take any of these dietary requirements into account, we cannot be held responsible and no compensation will be issued.
- Breakfasts which are not included in your package can be added at the reception when you arrive at the hotel. However, you will find many cafés near your hotel serving copious breakfasts, often tastier than those in the hotels, which sometimes have tight schedules and are predominantly savory. However, if you would like to add breakfast to your offer when you make your reservation, you can select it as an option.
- The traditional Japan Experience houses are equipped for cooking and are located close to supermarkets and markets.
- Meals on the ferry to Hokkaido are served in the large restaurant. They are optional, in the form of a buffet and must be paid for on the spot.
Your additional services:
- A pocket wifi is included in your tour. It allows unlimited high-speed internet access. Your Pocket WiFi will be given to you at the airport of arrival.
- It comes with a small booklet to operate your device (don't panic: simple operation) and a prepaid envelope to return your device at the end of your stay. Your pocket wifi will work naturally until the last day of your trip to Japan.
- A maximum of 5 devices can be connected to a pocket wifi (phone, tablet, computer).
- A single pocket wifi is provided for a circuit order of 1 to 5 people. For an order of 6 people or more, a second pocket wifi will be added automatically and at no extra cost to your reservation.
Which protection for your tour in Japan ?
At the time of your purchase, Japan Experience offers you 3 types of protection :
- Japan Experience Flex :
Free cancellation of your trip for any reason up to 35 days before your departure date with our partner Koala.
No residency or nationality requirements.
Refund: 100% of your cancellation fees (excluding airfare costs).
No reason or proof to provide. Cancellation in 1 email. Transfer made within 3 days. More informations here
- Japan Experience Protect :
Cancellation insurance before departure and on-site assistance, subject to conditions. COVID protection included.
- Japan Experience Full coverage :
All the benefits of 'Flex' and 'Protect' plans, combined.
Frequently asked questions
Our commitments as Japan Experience, Europe No. 1 travel in Japan
- The guarantee of the first tour operator specialised exclusively in Japan for 40 years
- A wide range of products to let you Experience Japan from the inside
- Competitive prices thanks to a single team in UK, Europe, USA and Japan, with no intermediaries
- Assistance available in Japan throughout your trip
- A specialised team is available 7 days a week by phone or email
- The best advice thanks to the 3,500 articles available on our website
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