JAPAN MULTI-CITY TOUR: How to Plan a Budget Trip

JAPAN MULTI-CITY TOUR: How to Plan a Budget Trip

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It was as though life was preparing me for Japan.

When I was a High School sophomore and our History teacher assigned everyone in class a country for a report, I was given Japan. When I was a college sophomore, I was assigned Japan in both our World Cinema and Asian History classes. When my sister became an OFW (overseas Filipino worker), she moved to Tokyo and has since sent us balikbayan boxes filled with Japanese products from instant ramen to a bokken (wooden training sword).

Still, Japan was never in my bucket list. Sure, I grew up gluing my eyes to countless anime series, but I wasn’t really drawn to the country itself. Back then, I wasn’t a fan of Japanese food, I couldn’t care less about its attractions, and I never saw myself being there. Perhaps because I had it carved on my defeatist, unambitious young brain that I would never set foot in it. In a sea of possible destinations, Japan was THE expensive one and their immigration policy at the time was the strictest. It was unrealistic, impractical, impossible. So why bother?

But life had other plans.

Between Vins (my co-blogger) and I, we’ve been to Japan over 20 times, spanning over 20 prefectures including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Sapporo, Okinawa, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, and Tottori. And I don’t think we’re done yet. We’re looking forward to more journeys!

A lot has changed over the years. Cost of airfare has gone down drastically and it’s relatively easy to get a visa these days. Japan is no longer an unattainable dream but a reachable goal for many, even those with not-so-deep pockets.

If you have a lot of time, you might be considering visiting multiple destinations. Here’s how we usually plan ours.

If you’re interested in just one destination, here are our specific posts:

  • Tokyo Travel Guide
  • Osaka and Kyoto Travel Guide
  • Sapporo Travel Guide

WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?

1. Determine your budget and travel duration.

How long will you be backpacking in Japan? Note that the usual single-entry visa issued to Filipinos allows only 15 days maximum. You can request for a longer stay but there is NO GUARANTEE it will happen. If you’re a first-timer, it’s safe to assume you have up to 15 days.

Aside from the visa, your budget will also dictate how long you can stay in Japan. How much are you willing to spend on this trip?

Let’s assume that you have USD1400 (P70,000 or ¥156,000) for this trip and that you have 15 days.

Subtract ¥26,000 (P12,000) for the airfare. The truth is, you can find much cheaper tickets.

Last year, I spent P12,000 on a roundtrip Tokyo ticket and plenty of baggage allowance, but tickets to Nagoya and Osaka (Kansai) tend to be cheaper so it can still go lower.

You can even find round trip fares for only P6000 at airlines’ seat sales.

But for this post, let’s assume it costs P12,000.

2. Pick your travel dates

Do you have a specific event that you want to see? Make sure you take it into consideration when choosing your travel dates.

  • Are you after cherry blossoms? Go in the first week of April.
  • Want to experience Sapporo Snow Festival? Early February.
  • Do you want to see the Emperor? Make sure you’re in Tokyo on December 23 or January 2.
  • Will you go skiing? Most ski resorts open in December and close in early April.

If you want to avoid the crowds, stay away from these dates:

  • Golden Week (April 29 – May 5)
  • Obon Festival (August 13–15)
  • Cherry Blossoms Season (Late March-Early April)

Consider the season, too! Japan is beautiful year-round, but each season has a distinct character.

Spring (March-May) is the best time to visit. It is crowded, but the weather is often pleasant and comfortable. And if your timing is right, CHERRY BLOSSOMS! In Tokyo, the first bloom usually happens in March Week 3-4, full bloom at the end of March, and the last fall within Week 1 of April. Emphasis on usually. These days, you can never be too sure. Make sure you check Cherry Blossoms forecast before you book your flight. The downside: it’s peak season so expect fares and hotels to be much pricier than usual.

Summer (June-August) is hot and humid and crowded. I don’t really recommend it unless you want to see or participate in festivals, most of which happen in summer.

Autumn (September-October) is great, too. Not too cold, not too hot. I find the autumn colors to be a nice treat.

This brings us to winter (December-February). It isn’t really a bad option. I love walking around in the cold as long as it doesn’t snow. The first snowfall of the season usually happens in January. It has a lot of pros:

  • Flights and hotels are cheaper.
  • Most attractions are not as crowded.
  • Shopping districts go on NEW YEAR SALE (January Week 1), offering amazing deals.
  • The Emperor of Japan comes out to the balcony of the Imperial Palace and addresses the crowd only twice a year, and both dates are in winter: December 23 (his birthday) and January 2 (for the New Year greeting).

3. List down all your must-visits.

Are there specific attractions that you want to see? Studio Ghibli and Disneyland in Tokyo, Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki, Mt. Fuji, Ramen Museum in Yokohama, Dotonbori in Osaka, Arashiyama in Kyoto, Shirakawa-gō Historic Village? List them all down.

Note that these are places that you MUST visit. Meaning, these are the reasons why you’re flying to Japan in the first place. Don’t include places that you can do without.

For example, let’s assume these are your NON-NEGOTIABLE MUST-VISIT places. In this post, let’s call them as simply “MUST-VISITS”:

  • Akihabara and Harajuku in Tokyo
  • Lake Kawaguchi to see Mt. Fuji
  • Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki
  • Shirakawa-go near Takayama

My map looks like this:

Japan Map

4. Plot your route.

After listing down your target attractions, it’s time to build your itinerary.

Get a map and mark your must-visits. If we use the example above, mark Tokyo, Lake Kawaguchi, Ibaraki, and Kyoto.

Figure out where it makes sense to spend your nights. For example, Hitachi Seaside Park can be easily accessed from Tokyo. Is that the only place you wanna see in Ibaraki? If so, maybe it’s better to just visit that on a day trip. Same with Lake Kawaguchi. If you decide to just go on a day tour of Lake Kawaguchi, Hitachi Seaside Park, your must-visit cities are now down to two: Tokyo and Kyoto.

Now look at the areas surrounding these marked places and the areas in between. Are there any other destinations that would be nice if you could visit? Osaka is within close proximity to Kyoto. Nagoya lies in between. Maybe these places merit a visit too? Also, Shirakawa-go is best accessed by train via Nagoya!

So now we have the following stops:

Japan Backpacking Route

Decide how many days you want to stay in each city. Personally, I find 4 days per stop the minimum for the trip to still be comfortable. But that’s just me. I know travelers who stay for only 2-3 days per stop. For this post, let’s place the minimum at 3.

4. Research lodging costs.

Hotel rooms are generally expensive in Japan, which is why it gave birth to capsule rooms. But there are also hostel and AirBnB options for those traveling on a budget.

Are you traveling alone or with a group? This will affect the cost of your accommodations considerably.

  • If you’re traveling alone and you’re concerned about the budget, consider booking dorm beds. It’s waaay cheaper than booking a private room. (Even single rooms can be pricey.) It’s also a great way to meet other travelers and make new friends.
  • If you’re a pair, you may consider booking two dorm beds or a private room, depends on the situation. If you’re a duo wanting to meet people, the dorm is still a good choice. If you’re a couple on a romantic getaway or a honeymoon, my god, please get a private room (haha!). Note, though, that in many hostels, the bedrooms may be private but the toilet and bath are sometimes shared. Check the arrangement before booking.
  • If you’re a group of three, you may find Triple Rooms. You may also check their policy on extra person on Double/Twin rooms. It’s a great way to save!

Since we’re in the budgeting stage, DON’T BOOK YET . Just find out the costs!

A good way to do it is to visit Agoda , enter the city, and check if there’s something that interests you. You can also sort it by PRICE.

You may also search here: Japan Hotels

Here are the lowest rates that we found in the cities we’re using as example.

japan city tour youtube

That’s PhP 12,800 (USD 260) for the entire 14 nights.

Useful Links:

  • Where to Stay in Tokyo
  • Top 10 Budget Hotels in Tokyo
  • Top 10 Hostels in Kyoto

5. Build your itinerary.

Now it’s time to build a specific itinerary. Even if you’re not the itinerary-type traveler, know that it is a requirement when applying for a visa. Here’s a sample:

japan city tour youtube

If you want to save more, you can replace Toei Movie Park (which costs Y2200) with a cheaper or free attraction.

We will be creating a separate post featuring more sample detailed itineraries. Watch out for that.

6. Get a Japan visa.

Japan Multiple Entry Visa

We two separate posts dedicated to the whole visa process!

  • How to Apply for a Japan Visa
  • Japan Visa Frequently Asked Questions

Visa fee: P1200

7. Book Flights, Hotels, and JR Pass.

Once your visa is approved, book the flights and hotels that you had eyed!

As for the JR Pass, let me explain it first. More formally known as Japan Rain Pass, it allows the holder unlimited use of the JR long-distance train system across Japan. If you have it, you won’t need to pay for individual ticket per journey, which can mean BIG SAVINGS, supposedly. It is offered to foreign tourists only and is not available for Japan residents.

There are two types of JR Passes: ordinary and green car (first class). And they are available in different validity durations: 7 days, 14 days, and 21 days. These days are consecutive and NOT flexible!

As of April 2017, the rates are:

japan city tour youtube

Children aged 6-11 enjoy 50% discount.

Pretty steep, huh? But once you see the usual train fares and seat fees, looking at these numbers will feel better.

Did I just say “seat fees”? Yes, I did. Most long-distance trains in Japan charge for seats separately, sometimes even the unreserved ones. But if you have a JR Pass, you can make seat reservations for free!

Sounds good! Does that mean you need to purchase a JR Pass?

Not so fast! There are instances when a JR Pass isn’t really necessary. If your trip is shorter than 7 days or if your itinerary is contained mostly within one or two cities. For example, if the only long distance journey you’re gonna take is Tokyo to Osaka, there may be no need for it because flights and buses are much cheaper compared to the JR Pass.

When does it make sense to buy a JR Pass? When your trip calls for a lot of long-distance train rides. But the JR Pass can only be used for JR Lines, and although it is a pretty extensive train system, it does not cover ALL of Japan.

For more info, read: Is the JR Pass Worth It?

Japan JR Pass

In our example — 15 days in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka — getting a JR Pass is a wise choice because it requires several long distance train rides: Tokyo to Nagoya, Nagoya to Kyoto, Nagoya to Takayama (Shirakawa-go), Tokyo to Ibaraki, and Tokyo to Kawaguchi (Kawaguchiko).

If you decide to buy, Klook offers the cheapest JR Passes available. You can check the updated rates or purchase one here: Check JR PASS Rates Here

But should you buy the 14-day pass given that you’ll be in Japan for 15 days? Not necessarily. In our example, the first long distance trip won’t happen until Day 5 when you’re bound for Lake Kawaguchiko. The days before that, the JR Pass is of no use. Start counting from Day 5 and your pass will expire in Kyoto. By then, there won’t be any pricey ride. Kyoto to Osaka ticket is cheap so it’s not really an issue.

7. Allocate budget for food, tours, and other transportation modes.

A. transportation.

Set aside ¥1000 per day for transpo. That’s ¥15,000 or P6700.

Not all modes of transportation are covered by the JR Pass. In Tokyo alone, your pass won’t work for the subway lines of Toei and Metro. Buses are often not covered, either. That’s the average. There will be days when you will be spending much more and other days much less.

The Japanese public transportation system is so clean, comfortable, and freakishly reliable that you won’t need to book or join a tour. You can easily pull a DIY in many destinations. You just need to spend on the transpo and entrance fees, but heck most attractions can also be enjoyed free-of-charge!

Here are the corresponding entrance fees for the attractions listed in our sample itinerary:

  • Sensoji Temple – FREE
  • Tsukiji Market – FREE but prepare to splurge on food (I’ll explain below)
  • Shinjuku Gyoen – ¥200
  • Harajuku – FREE
  • Meiji Shrine – FREE
  • Yoyogi Park – FREE
  • Shibuya – FREE
  • Ueno Park – FREE
  • Akihabara – FREE
  • Lake Kawaguchiko Kachi Kachi Ropeway – ¥800
  • Hitachi Seaside Park – ¥410
  • Nagoya Castle – ¥500
  • Shirakawa-go (Museum Budget) – ¥1000
  • Osu Kannon – FREE
  • Fushimi Inari Shrine – FREE
  • Gion District – FREE
  • Arashiyama – FREE
  • Tenryuji Temple – ¥500
  • Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) – ¥400
  • Osaka Castle – ¥600
  • Umeda Sky Building – ¥1000
  • Tempozan Food Park & Ferris Wheel – ¥800
  • Dotonbori – FREE (splurge on food)

That’s a total of ¥6,210 (P2,850) . But for good measure, let’s round it off to P3000 .

But the biggest chunk of your budget will probably be spent on food.

If you’re traveling on a shoestring, I would tell you to just hit the supermarket and get your food from there, but that would be a crime because Japanese food is irresistible! You have to experience a proper meal! To keep my expenses low, what I do is follow this rule:

Keep daily FOOD expenses below ¥2000 per day.

Here’s how I do it:

First, choose a hostel that serves breakfast. If you can’t find one on your chosen dates, hit the supermarket and buy food that you can easily munch on for breakfast. For lunch, unless you’re in a theme park, you’ll often find a good foodie place within reasonable price range. You’ll find soba or ramen bar serving an unforgettable bowl for ¥500 to ¥1000, gyoza bars offering sets of 6 for only ¥200-¥350, or some random kerbside restaurant. And if you really can’t find one, only then do I allow convenience stores to come to the rescue.

For dinner, this is when you can spend whatever is left of your daily food and transpo allowance. If you decide to splurge one evening, balance it out by going for cheap options the next day. This is much easier to do if you’re not alone! Japanese servings are HUUUGE and if you want to try at least 2 dishes per meal, at least you have someone to split the food and the bill with.

Again, that’s ¥2000 per day. Total of ¥30,000 or P13,500.

This rule has kept us afloat during our stay while still enjoying the best of what the city has to offer.

Recap: Breakdown of Expenses

Using our example, here’s how much the whole 15-day journey needs to become reality.

Airfare: P12,000 Hostel/Hotel Expenses: P12,800 Visa Fee: P1,200 JR Pass: P13,000 Additional Transpo: P6700 Attractions: P3000 Food: P13,500 TOTAL: P62,200

It still is a big amount, but considering that Japan is an expensive country, that the trip lasts 15 days, and that it already includes airfare, it’s pretty good.

You can still bring down the cost if you’re able to snag a promo fare and if you don’t eat out every day. Also, notice that each day is filled with activities. To be honest, it’s a pretty tiring itinerary. Having 2-3 rest days will not only reduce the cost but also make the whole trip more comfortable. Most travelers I know would usually skip Nagoya and just go straight to Kyoto from Tokyo.

Again, this post isn’t supposed to be prescriptive. It’s just a guide to show you how I planned my multi-city tours across Japan. At the end of the day, it’s up to you.

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guest

hello, first time to go to Japan. Osaka is our base (Mnl-Osaka/Osaka-Mnl) – June 19 – 24, 2017. IT would be 2-days Osaka 1-Kyoto 2-Tokyo Do you recommend we get JRPASS? Thank you. BTW, you have a very informative blog – Again.Thank you.

Teresita

Hello me& husband wanted to go to Osaka ,Japan 4days & 3nights it’s our first time and we don’t know how to go about it . We tried getting quotes but it’s so expensive it’s like going on a mediterranean cruise and even expensive from our round trip ticket from Las Vegas to Manila !Please advice on the airlines, hotel that are reasonable and most of all I wanted to go where shopping is,NAMBA ? The hotels that’s reasonable for 4days& 3nights only , the food we could do soups &sushi or anything we could grab in grocery stores . Thank you if you can help ! We plan to go in Isaka Japan May 28,2018 .

Yosh Dimen

Hi! You’ll find the answers here: https://www.thepoortraveler.net/2018/03/what-to-do-in-osaka/

Sorry forgot to add we’re coming from Manila -Osaka ) then Osaka-Manila . Thank you

Tetski

Hello! Just want to ask if you’ve tried using PASMO. Is it more economical than the JR pass? Thank you!

Hi tetski. Yep, I’ve tried PASMO and JR PASS.

PASMO and JR PASS are not in the same category. PASMO is a stored-value card covering all lines. It’s different from JR Pass, which is an unlimited pass for JR Lines. In a nutshell, JR PASS only makes sense for me for long-distance travel. PASMO/SUICA or any other IC card for short distance.

Thank you so much!

Nichole Looi

May I know if I arrive at New Chitose airport around 4.05pm and is going to Otaru, what time should I book for the JR train to Otaru. Do i need to book

New Chitose (Hokkaido) to Sappora, change to JR Hokodate to Minami-Otaru New Chitose (Hokkaido to Minami-Otaru

Please advise. Thank you

Hi Nichole, best to just buy tickets once you’re there to be flexible.

I&Mon

Can you please help me decide kung worth it and pag avail ng JR Pass? Starting point is Tokyo since manila to tokyo ang binook namin vice versa. Tokyo-kyoto-osaka-nara-tokyo-niigata(planning for day trip only)-shirakawa-go(planning for day trip only)-tokyo. Medyo naguguluhan po kasi kami how to save sa transpo namin. Any recommendation naman Sir and help. January 10 2019 to 19 po kami naka booked sa Japan. Thank you po! =)

Hi! Yepppp! Get a JR Pass. Without JR Pass, super mahal nyan. :)

Lovely

Good day! If maluwag po sa time nyo pwede po ba magpa advice sa plan namin mag trip sa japan..ang gusto lang po ng family is maka experience ng snow ( and im thinking sapporo po yata ang sure na meron)… And then tokyo na po (para sa disneyland and disneysea) pa suggest po pano magandang plano at kung ano pa po itinerary magandang idagdag..by month of december po. At paano maka tipid po:) salamat po sa time.

Anong week sa December? If gusto nyo talaga ng sure na sure na snow ng December, Hokkaido is the destination for you. Meron din sa mountainous regions like Nagano.

Naomi

Hi Sir. Ask ko lang po..kung need pa ba iphotocopy ng passbook ng bnk acct. including bank cert.

Kahit bank cert lang po ay ayos na.

Zeb Alam

Hello Sir! I have japan temperary visiter visa of 15 days, How can I extend my visa in japan.thank u.

Hi Zeb, unfortunately, we have no idea about extension. :(

Acee

Hi I wonder if you can use the JR pass from osaka to sapporo vice versa? Thanks

It’s going to be a very looong journey by train, but yeah, you can use the JR Pass for that.

Viva Mayo

Is it worth it to buy JR pass from Tokyo to Osaka then day trips to Kyoto and Nara po then back to Osaka?

No. You may check out this post for other pass recommendations: https://www.thepoortraveler.net/2019/04/best-japan-passes/

Roselle

Hi! We’re planning for a 6 days tour in Japan, Our flights will be Manila- Nagoya, Nagoya-Manila. Any tour recommendations / tips in touring around Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Kyoto? I dont even know if its possible that we can visit 4 cities in just 6 days. Thank you!

Hi Roselle, are you dead set na on visiting 4 cities in 6 days? What I recommend is to focus on Nagoya and the destinations around it. There’s a lot of places to see there especially Shirakawa-go! Our Nagoya Travel Guide might help: https://www.thepoortraveler.net/2017/05/nagoya-japan-travel-guide/

J

Hi We’ll be travelling to Tokyo for 8 days (July 2 arrival and departure on July 11 (both Tokyo, Narita Airport), , I plan to do solo trip for 3 days (included in 8 days) going to Osaka and Kyoto. Any recommendations or itinerary?

Eden

Thank you so much. Your post is very informative. It also makes me feel so excited about the anticipated trip.

EBUKA MALACHI

Please sir , i wish to apply for a tourism visa for japan i need an invitation letter how do i go about it.

Reynaldo Opiso

We are supposed to leave the country for Japan on 19 April 2023. Can we still purchase a JR Pass now which is only eight days left before our scheduled flight. How about the recommended booking at Klook for at least 10 days before the scheduled flight?

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Visit Fushimi Inari, one of the most famous shrine in Kyoto

Visit Fushimi Inari, one of the most famous shrine in Kyoto

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Golden Pavilion Kinkaku-ji : a must-see in Kyoto ancient capital

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Bamboo grove in Arashiyama : famous touristic site to visit in Kyoto

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Nara Sika deers are sacred, and protected as National Treasures.

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Himeji Castle, UNESCO world heritage, easy access from Kyoto for a 1-day excursion

Himeji Castle, UNESCO world heritage, easy access from Kyoto for a 1-day excursion

©Sean Pavone/123RF

Jizo statue in Enko-ji temple, Kyoto

Jizo statue in Enko-ji temple, Kyoto

©structuresxx/123RF

Enjoy comfortable 3 * hotels, well located, with impeccable Japanese service

Enjoy comfortable 3 * hotels, well located, with impeccable Japanese service

©Tsugu 京都三条 Kyoto

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  • Japan Experience

City break - Kyoto tour

  • Duration : 8 days
  • Locations : Kyoto
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Kyoto , the former imperial capital, is Japan's must-see city .

With 17 UNESCO heritage sites, 2,000 temples and sanctuaries , and plenty of gardens , this city never ceases to fascinate those who explore it. Visiting Kyoto is an opportunity to discover the soul of Japan in every way!

This one-week city break tour includes a transport pass and a guided tour.

1 week itinerary in Kyoto and its surroundings (8 days)

  • Departure city/Airport : Osaka (Kansai International Airport : KIX )
  • Kyoto  (7 nights, including 1 day trip to  Nara )
  • Return city/Airport : Osaka (Kansai International Airport : KIX )

Please find below the itinerary details.

Tour length : 7 nights / 8 days ( + 1 day at the beginning if you leave from Europe )

PLEASE NOTE : The departure and end dates shown on this page only apply to your stay in Japan. You must therefore leave Europe the day before the first day of your tour. The date of your return flight and that of your return to Europe are identical due to the time difference.

Example : 

  • Departure from Europe : January 1st
  • Arrival in Tokyo ( = the date to be selected in the calendar when booking ) : January 2nd
  • Return flight from KIX airport / Return to Europe : January 9th

Please note that flights are not included in the price of your tour.

This tour information was  last updated on May 14 , 2024.

Why this trip to Japan?

  • Welcomed at the airport by our team, you will be taken to your hotel in Kyoto by shuttle bus
  • Settle in the heart of Kyoto in your 3* hotel chosen for its comfort and location
  • Take advantage of 5 days of transport to visit Kyoto and its region
  • At nightfall, a guided tour of the traditional geisha quarter awaits you
  • Enjoy unlimited internet access thanks to your pocket Wi-Fi
  • If needed, contact our bilingual Japanese/English-speaking assistance team available 7/7
  • A number of guided days or other optional activities are available (tea ceremony, etc.)
  • Benefit from the expertise of Japan Experience , European leading travel agency in Japan.

Your trip to Kyoto and Kansai in detail

Day 1 : wake up in kyoto 京都.

Night falling on Gion and Yasaka pagoda - Gion

Night falling on Gion and Yasaka pagoda - Kyoto

Sorasak Unsplash

Arrival at Kansai International Airport ( KIX ). Welcome to Japan! Yokoso 日本へようこそ!

Welcome through customs by our airport assistant, who will give you all your travel documents and your Pocket WiFi. Unaccompanied transfer from the airport to Kyoto (see details).

The transfer is done in a shared shuttle or bus, with other guests departing for the same hotel or a hotel close to yours. These transfers depart between 1.5 and 3 hours after your scheduled flight arrival, and stops may be made before your hotel.

If you would like a private, non-stop transfer directly after the arrival of your flight, feel free to take the " Private Taxi from the Airport " option.

Check into the RAKURO 京都 by THE SHARE HOTELS or equivalent (rooms available from 3pm).

Day 2 : First steps in the old capital

Nijo castle during cherry blossom - Spring in Kyoto

Nijo castle during cherry blossom - Spring in Kyoto

Sean Pavone

You have 4 days to visit Kyoto. Start in the afternoon in the historic Gion district, close to your accommodation : - Kiyomizu-Dera , the impressive water temple ; - The historic lanes of Sannen-zaka & Ninnen-zaka ; - Kôdai-ji , Kyoto's temple of maple trees and bamboo. Finish your day with a stroll through the Gion district and enjoy the sunset. Meet your guide at 7 p.m. to start your evening walk around Gion , Kyoto's historic district. More details on the exact day and meeting point can be found in your travel guide.

At the end of this 1h30 walk, your guide will be able to recommend the best places to eat dinner! Please note that it is strictly forbidden to take pictures in the historic district of Gion.

Day 3 : Gold and Silver Treasures

Visit gold temple Kinkakuji in Kyoto

Visit gold temple Kinkakuji in Kyoto

For your second day in Kyoto, we recommend the following itinerary: - The Zen garden of Ryôan-ji ; - Kinkaku-ji ( Golden Pavilion ) ; - Ginkaku-ji ( Silver Pavilion ) - The enchanting Philosopher's Path ; - Nanzen-ji temple.

Then, step into a serene tea room and be graciously welcomed by a tea master for a traditional tea ceremony . Witness the meticulous preparation and presentation of matcha, a vibrant green tea, served in exquisite handcrafted pottery. Savor the delicate flavors of wagashi, a traditional Japanese sweet, alongside the frothy tea. This enchanting experience promises a glimpse into the heart of Japanese culture.

One of our many experienced English-speaking guides can accompany you on a tour of these iconic sites (available as an option, from 9am to 5pm).

Day 4 : Between tradition and modernity...

Fall leaves on Arashiyama river - Kyoto

Fall leaves on Arashiyama river - Kyoto

Tawatchai Prakobkit

Continue your visit to Kyoto by heading west: - Nishiki , Kyoto's culinary market ; - Nijô Castle , former residence of the shogun ; - Arashiyama , with its bamboo grove and monkey mountain.

Don't hesitate to book an English-speaking guide for the day (optional) to visit Kyoto off the beaten path!

Day 5 : Now for some activity...

Ryoan-ji zen garden in Kyoto

Ryoan-ji zen garden in Kyoto

Philippe Voisin

This is your last full day to visit Kyoto, so why not make the most of our many optional activities : - Want to enjoy nature ? Discover our cycling activities along the Kamo-gawa river or hiking in the Takao gorges! - If you're more into the Japanese arts , you'll love our tea ceremony, meditation activities or private visits to secret gardens! - If you're in the mood for the Japanese countryside , let yourself be tempted by a trip to Ohara or try our popular activity: on the Tea Road!

If you wish to visit at your own pace, continue exploring Kyoto's 2000 unique temples, shrines and gardens!

Day 6 : Between temples and deer

Deers walking around lanterns in Nara Park

Deers walking around lanterns in Nara Park

For that first day out of Kyoto, we recommend taking the 50 minute journey to Nara, which is included in your package.

For the last day, we recommend taking the 50 minute journey to Nara, included in your package.

Visit Nara , Japan's first fixed capital in the 8th century. Discover : - The Kasuga-taisha Shinto shrine and its thousands of lanterns ;  - Tôdai-ji , with its great bronze Buddha and the imposing Nan-Daimon gate ;  - Kôfuku-ji temple and its delightful pagoda.

Return to Kyoto and stop to see the sunset at the Fushimi Inari-taisha , Kyoto's immense shrine of 10,000 torii .

If you wish to be accompanied on this day, one of our English-speaking guides will reveal all the secrets of Japan's first capital (optional).

Day 7 : On the trail of the Samurai

Visit Himeji castle - 1h30 from Kyoto / 45 minutes from Osaka

Visit Himeji castle - 1h30 from Kyoto / 45 minutes from Osaka

Natthapon Ngamnithiporn

For your final day before departure, we recommend a captivating journey that combines historical wonder and vibrant nightlife.

Immerse yourself in history with a visit to Himeji Castle , a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Revered as Japan's most perfectly preserved castle, its elegant white facade earns it the nickname " White Heron Castle ". This journey takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes by train from Kyoto (including two transfers, all covered in your package).

After your historical exploration, take a train and metro ride (included) to Osaka 's energetic Dôtonbori district . Indulge in a delicious dinner and immerse yourself in the city's vibrant nightlife before returning to Kyoto. Trains depart frequently (every 10 minutes) until 11:30 pm, ensuring a comfortable return journey (approximately 50 minutes).

Let our English-speaking guides craft the perfect itinerary , whether it's a full-day adventure, a half-day exploration, or a delectable evening focused on Osaka's culinary delights.

If you have more time and are interested in exploring further, consider these additional destinations:

- Embrace tranquility in Uji , the city of tea , and visit the stunning Byôdô-in Temple , also known as the "Phoenix Hall" (approximately 30 minutes by train) ; - Explore Hikone Castle , a magnificent example of Japanese castle architecture. Don't miss the captivating beauty of the surrounding gardens (approximately 30 minutes by train) ; - Step into a postcard-perfect scene in Miyama , a village renowned for its traditional thatched-roof houses (approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes by bus) ; - For a refreshing break, head to Lake Biwa , Japan's largest freshwater lake. Enjoy the scenic beaches during the summer months (approximately 20 minutes by train).

Day 8 : Sayonara, and see you next time!

A geisha walking at night in Gion - Kyoto

A geisha walking at night in Gion - Kyoto

Take a direct transfer to Kansai International Airport (included but not accompanied).

Return flight to your home country.

Don't hesitate to extend your trip by a few days, in Kansai or elsewhere... Get in touch and we would be happy to advise you!

Night falling on Gion and Yasaka pagoda - Gion

Included in your self-guided tour

Accommodation

- 7 nights in a 3* hotel in the heart of the city, close to public transport

The basic rate includes a twin room for two people.

- Return airport transfers <> Osaka (KIX)

- Prepaid public transport card

- Kansai Area Pass 3 days 

Experiences

- Airport welcome

- Night guided tour of Gion, Kyoto

- Tea ceremony in Kyoto

Additional services

- Unlimited internet access with Pocket WiFi

- Complete digital travel guide sent before your departure

- Telephone assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in English and Japanese bilingual. The number will be given to you in your travel pack. This phone number is valid for telephone calls and also for WhatsApp.

Not included in the price of your trip

- Flights Europe <> Japan

- Optional insurance

- Personal expenses, including meals (breakfasts can sometimes be added as an option at your hotel reception, see details). For other meals, you will find addresses selected by us in your travel pack.

- Public transport once your transport cards have run out (see details)

- Everything not mentioned in the section "Included in your tour".

More about your trip

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.
  • 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.
  • Pets are not allowed.
  • 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.
  • Travel diary by email 3 weeks before departure
  • Paper documents (airport transfer ticket, transportation card, Kansai Area Pass voucher) and Pocket WiFi upon arrival at the airport by our airport assistant.
  • N.B.: no ticket for airport transfers to and from the airport. The reservation is registered in the name of the tour reservation.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 departure and end dates shown on this page are for your stay in Japan. You will arrive in Japan via Kansai International Airport KIX (not Itami ITM) and will also depart from KIX. You will have to leave Europe the day before and land at 6:00pm at the latest to make the most of the airport services of your tour (welcome and transfer to Kyoto). The return flight is on the same day due to the time difference, with a departure time of 9am at the earliest. Please do not hesitate to consult us for any uncertainty or need for precision in the choice of international flights.
  • 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: The shared shuttle bus leaves from the airport and stops in front of your hotel, and vice versa on the return journey. Our airport assistant in Kansai 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".
  • Included in your tour is a pre-paid transport card with 1500¥ loaded in advance (about £10.30 / 14.54$) (Suica or Pasmo brand) and a 3-day Kansai Area Pass. These 2 cards should cover the vast majority of your journeys in this tour of Kyoto and its region, Kansai. Please note that apart from the prepaid transport card, where the journey is charged to you, the other 2 cards are not usable on the JR network but rather on the private network (about 2/3 of the total network in Kansai). The 3-day Kansai Area Pass is valid for 3 consecutive or non-consecutive days. When the passes and the 1,500¥ prepaid transport card expire, you will have to pay for all your journeys by reloading your prepaid transport card (in the ticket machines at all stations and metro stations. A metro ticket in Kyoto costs around  £1.71 / 2.42$, depending on the length of the journey).

Your trips :

  • 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).
  • The guided tour of Gion lasts around 2 hours and departs at 7pm. Please note that the tour will be conducted in English if your group is made up of travellers of different nationalities. More details on the meeting point in your travel pack. Dinner is not included, but your guide will be able to recommend the best places to eat.
  • For the tea ceremony, you will be welcomed into an authentic tea room, and served by elegant Japanese ladies who have made the tea ceremony their way of life. You will taste traditional Japanese pastries (wagashi) and tea will be served in specially made pots. The exact location and time of your tea ceremony will be communicated to you at a later time. Please make sure to check your emails.

Your meals :

  • No meals are included in your package. 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 savoury. However, if you would like to add breakfast to your offer when you make your reservation, you can select it as an option.

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.

When you buy, Japan Experience offers you 2 types of protection:

Japan Experience Flex :  Cancellation insurance before departure under conditions.

Japan Experience Protect : Pre-departure cancellation insurance under conditions and on-site assistance under conditions. COVID protection included.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a visa? Do I need vaccinations?

As of October 11, 2022, Japan will open its borders to all Europeans (including the European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland) and North Americans (Canada and the United States) without requiring a visa.

Only non-triply vaccinated travelers need a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to departure.

Do I still need a visa to travel to Japan as a tourist?

No, no visa is required for blue countries including all European countries (European Union, United Kingdom and Switzerland included) and North American countries (Canada and United States). List of blue countries: https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html . If you have another nationality, please contact the Japanese embassy in your country of residence to obtain this visa.

Do I still need a PCR or antigen test to go to Japan?

No, if you are triple vaccinated with the vaccines approved by Japan (Pfizer, Moderna, ...exhaustive list here : https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page24e_000317.html ) there is no need for any test.

I do not have 3 doses of vaccine or I am not vaccinated against COVID, can I enter Japan?

Proof of Covid vaccines is no longer required for travelers from "blue" countries. Therefore, unvaccinated travelers can enter Japan if they live in blue countries. But a negative PCR test is required at embarkation for travelers who are not vaccinated 3 times.

Is there still a quarantine upon arrival in Japan?

Quarantine and testing on arrival have been eliminated for travelers from blue countries.

Is insurance mandatory?

No, but it is recommended. Japan Experience, as an option of its tours, provides appropriate travel insurance solutions.

What anti-covid measures are still in place in Japan?

The mask must be worn indoors (except in exceptional cases) and in transportation.

What applications should I download before entering Japan?

For tracking the evolution of the coronavirus epidemic, the Japanese government recommends downloading several applications:

MySOS, the health and location tracking app (it will be used to confirm your location, health status and accommodation).

COCOA, the COVID-19 contact confirmation app (this will be used to notify you of possible contact with a COVID-19 positive person).

For more information, please visit: https://www.hco.mhlw.go.jp/manual/pdf-en/summary.pdf 

How do I book a tour?

It's very simple and easy, just book directly online through our website: (1) Choose the tour of your choice, your departure date and indicate the number of participants. Several options are available to you. (2) Pay a deposit of 35% of the total amount* online and confirm your reservation. (3) You will then receive an e-mail confirming the conditions of your registration. (4) Book your flight ticket, either with Japan Experience or by yourself (taking into account the necessary schedules for your tour) (5) One month before departure, settle the balance of your booking. For more information on the tours or to make a reservation, please contact our advisors on +33 (0)1 42 61 60 83 or at [email protected] , or come and visit us at our agency in Paris. * travel insurance and options included

When is the best time to see the cherry blossoms? And the autumn leaves?

Recommended dates for seeing the spring flowers: - plum blossoms: mid-February to mid-March - cherry blossoms (sakura): between 20 March and 15 April (dates vary from year to year) - wisteria, iris, azaleas: mid-April to end of May - hydrangeas: June - lotus flowers: August Recommended dates outside of spring : - Autumn leaves: mid-November - Observation of Zen gardens under the snow: mid-December to mid-February

What are the procedures for entry?

Due to the current crisis, we advise you to visit the website of the Japanese embassy in your country to find out about the procedures for entry. Normally, for citizens of the European Union, Switzerland and Canada, you just need a valid passport (for the duration of your stay). A visa is not necessary for a tourist stay of less than 90 days.

Is it safe to travel in Japan? What about solo travellers and children?

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, ranked in the top 10 by the Global Peace Index. Therefore travelling alone is safe. Women and girls can travel alone without fear of being harassed or solicited in public places. The same goes for children, who can be seen going to school alone in the metro from the age of 7. This can give you an idea of the country's level of safety. Last but not least, Japan is a haven for children: the safety, the amusement parks, the friendly attitude of the population.

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

Optional services

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Our activities in Kyoto, Nara

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Fushimi Inari, the mountain sanctuary Activities in Kyoto

  • Duration : 3 hour
  • Location : Kyoto

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Shodo, Japanese calligraphy Activities in Kyoto

  • Duration : 1 hour

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Culinary tour in Kyoto Activities in Kyoto

  • Duration : 8 hour

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Kyoto Discovery, half day Activities in Kyoto

  • Duration : 4 hour

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Ikebana, the art of flower arrangement Activities in Kyoto

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Butoh Dance Activities in Kyoto

  • Duration : 45 minute

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Onlyfans model claims she got nyc portal to dublin shut down over flashing, onlyfans model i got nyc-dublin portal shut down ... for flashing my cans.

An OnlyFans model claims she's responsible for a cool new portal in New York City -- which lets you see people across the world -- shut down ... all 'cause she showed off the goods.

Ava Louise took credit for the pause handed down by Portals Organization -- the European company behind this nifty art installation in the city ... which streams a 24/7 live feed lets you see folks in different cities far, far away. In this instance, the portal connected to Dublin.

Of course, we can't have nice things ... which is where AL enters the chat. She was one of many who started displaying inappropriate content to the Irish ... including her boobs.

Indeed, video is going around that shows her flashing her breasts to the folks on the other side -- just one of several different stunts people have pulled -- and now ... it appears the portal is shut down for the time being, which Ava says is all her doing.

Ava posted a separate video that shows what she says is her boyfriend trying to use the exhibit later on -- and he's confronted by an apparent handler who tells him the portal was turned off, and that it'll remain off for quite some time ... as a result of inappropriate behavior.

Like we said ... Ava thinks is mostly her doing, but frankly -- she was just been the tip of the iceberg. There were a ton of other randos over the course of a week who were showing off just as equally shocking material ... including porn, the Twin Towers up in smoke, etc.

Reports indicate some Dublin-ites were also partaking in showing off crazy crap -- but the Americans were certainly doing their fair share ... and now, it looks like this thing's over.

Even before the shutdown, there were rumblings of issues with the portal not working and glitching out -- so, technical difficulties, it seems. Unclear if they'll get it up and running again with more security around to stop folks from acting a fool ... but here's hoping they do.

TBH, it's a pretty cool concept -- and it'd be great to connect with people internationally.

As much as we're sure Ava is appealing to all ... might we suggest she keep the nudity in a different digital space. On the streets of New York ... it's not really the time or the place.

For more viral news check out TMZ Verified , available on all podcast platforms.

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  11. 20 YouTubers to Watch Before Going to Japan

    We compiled a list of Youtube channels that all do a great job in introducing Japanese life, its culture, and its attractions to viewers all over the world. Check out these 20 YouTube channels about Japan! Table of contents. 1. Abroad in Japan. 2. Sharla in Japan. 3. Ryotaro's Japan.

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  13. Travel Japan

    The official site of Japan National Tourism Organization is your ultimate Japan guide with tourist information for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hokkaido and other top Japan holiday destinations. We offer travel information to make your Japan travel more comfortable and enjoyable.

  14. Japan Tour

    This city break tour allows you to visit Tokyo and its surroundings (Mount Fuji, Nikko) over 1 week.From your centrally located hotel, discover the different districts of Tokyo: historic Asakusa, electric Akihabara, cosmopolitan Shinjuku, trendy Ginza and nightlife in Shibuya !Enjoy an inclusive guided tour and many optional activities.

  15. THE TOP 10 Tokyo City Tours (UPDATED 2024)

    509. Combine the cultural delights and delectable bites of Tokyo on this 3.5-hour food tour of Japan's capital. Accompanied by a guide, delve into the culinary scene of the city by visiting several popular bars and restaurants. Sample traditional treats from Ningyoyaki cakes to rice crackers.

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  19. Japan City Tour

    Japan City Tour (powered by Tokyo City Tour) was established as an official travel agency in 2005. Since then, we have already welcomed customers from over 60 countries and have arranged unique, tailor-made tours such as tours focused on hidden hot springs, Japanese subcultures, home visits, seasonal festivals and various cultural experiences.

  20. THE TOP 10 Japan City Tours (UPDATED 2024)

    509. Combine the cultural delights and delectable bites of Tokyo on this 3.5-hour food tour of Japan's capital. Accompanied by a guide, delve into the culinary scene of the city by visiting several popular bars and restaurants. Sample traditional treats from Ningyoyaki cakes to rice crackers.

  21. The Kyoto Tour

    The Kyoto Tour is a fully-guided tour suitable for anyone who is an occasional walker and can walk for more than three to four hours in comfort. Read more on Tour Levels here. A fully-guided one-day city tour exploring Kyoto's Higashiyama district starting at 8am and finishing at 4pm. This tour is open to anyone but an ideal precursor for ...

  22. Japan Tour

    Kyoto, the former imperial capital, is Japan's must-see city. With 17 UNESCO heritage sites, 2,000 temples and sanctuaries, and plenty of gardens, this city never ceases to fascinate those who explore it. Visiting Kyoto is an opportunity to discover the soul of Japan in every way! This one-week city break tour includes a transport pass and a guided tour.

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