Backpacking Japan

Project Overview

This 13-day Japanese tour will show off the many of sides of one of the world’s most ancient and complex cultures, with an action-packed itinerary introducing travellers to a whole range of activities, sights, sounds and experiences.
Not only will you be able to see the landmarks of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, but you will also get the chance to immerse yourself in the culture of an ancient country with an endlessly interesting history.
There are karate and calligraphy lessons, a visit to the sumo district, an anime masterclass, trips to the local bath houses and karaoke nights. This 13-day trip includes opportunities to explore Japan’s beautiful countryside and modern cities, whilst learning more about a culture that combines tradition and modernity into a unique range of experiences.
What's included
  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Some meals
  • Tour Guide
  • Transport
What's not included
  • Flights
  • Most meals
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa

Project Itinerary


Take in the Tokyo city-scape from the top of a skyscraper and then head back down to earth to visit Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s busiest districts that also plays host to the world’s busiest train station.

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End your first day with a relaxed tea at a cat cafe before exploring and trying something new in one of the huge range of eating and drinking venues.


Day 2 in Tokyo will start with you preparing your very own sashimi breakfast under the guidance of a local expert at the city’s famous Tsukiju Fish Market. Later, you will get your first taste of Japan’s beautiful landscape as you hike the sacred Takaosan Mountain that overlooks Tokyo from the city limits. The mountain has been a centre of religious tradition for over 1000 years and boasts some incredible views of both the city and its surroundings.


Head to Tokyo’s sumo district to see where the wrestlers live and train, and take a look into the incredibly history of both the sport and the nation at the Edo-Tokyo Museum.  In the afternoon you will learn about the Samurai lifestyle before trying one of Japan’s delicacies: Okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake dish that contains a variety of ingredients.


On day 4 you will head to the Imperial Palace, the primary home of Japan’s Emperor located in the located in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. The ornate buildings are surrounded by large areas of park where visitors can walk and discover the beauty of the royal household’s estate. After the palace, travellers will head to Harajuku to experience the quirky center of J-Pop culture. Here they can have some drinks while taking in the neon madness of Shibuya, one of the city’s busiest areas for shopping, fashion and nightlife.


After 4 days among the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, you will board a train and head out to Kamakura, Japan’s medieval capital that lays on the coastline south of Tokyo. Here you will take in the culture and traditions that make Japan unique whilst exploring the city’s shrines. Finish the day off by visiting the monumental Great Buddha statue at Kōtoku-in Temple. This statue dates back to around 1252, and no trip to the area is complete without seeing it. After the temple visit you can relax by the beach and even try surfing at sunset if you’d like.


Mount Fuji is famous the world over and synonymous with Japanese culture. Enjoy your first view of it on the Hakone Tozan cable car, a roughly 40-minute journey that lies on the only mountain railway in Japan. At Oowakudani you can view Mount Fuji to your heart’s content whilst sampling eggs cooked ‘Fuji-style’ in the sulphuric water beneath you.  Finish the day by crossing Lake Ashi on a pirate ship with the view of the mountain still providing a beautiful and majestic backdrop.


After having the morning to take in the mountain air, you’ll take the Bullet Train to Kyoto, a journey which is amazing in itself. Once in the city you can experience the timeless traditions of ancient Japan, with the Geisha District standing out as one of the most memorable cultural icons that the world has to offer. Then set out and find a cheap, authentic and delicious meal down Pontocho Alley, arguably one Kyoto’s most vibrant and memorable areas.


On day 8 you will hike through the Arashiyama bamboo forest and the Arashiyama Monkey Park where your efforts will be rewarded with amazing views of Kyoto. Visit the beautiful Tenryu- ji temple and relax in its pristine gardens after enjoying a rafting adventure tour down Hozugawa River. Then you can spend your evening in the Gion district, where you can Geisha spot or else be transformed into one for the night.


Day 9 gives you a chance to visit some of the city’s incredibly temples. See first-hand Kyoto’s devotion to zen as you walk between the blossom trees and canals of the Philosopher’s Path, and then backpack your way around the temples that adorn the hills surrounding the city.


Visit the Golden Pavilion at Kinkaky-ji Temple and get your slice of mindfulness as you start your day with a peaceful meditation session. Next, cycle around the Imperial Palace’s grounds before boarding your next Bullet Train and heading out west.


Hiroshima is a landmark that everyone should visit. A spectral reminder of the horrors of the past century, visitors to Hiroshima have the opportunity to learn about the city’s tragic past as well as about the road to recovery that it has traveled down since. Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and remember what the site stands for. Next, travelers will take a ferry to the Itsukushima Shrine, a beautiful Shinto monument built on stilts. Travelers will then ascend the ropeway to see marvellous vistas.


Another Japanese megacity with endless opportunity for eating, drinking and entertainment, Osaka is the next stop on your journey. The city also plays host to an impressive castle which travellers can explore. Also be sure to visit Shinsaibashi and the Dotonbori riverfront in the evening. Hit the arcades and the sprawling shopping malls before in for your final night at the Kamikaze bar.


Say goodbye to your fellow travellers during a farewell trip up the Umeda Sky Tower followed by brunch in Osaka. Finally, you will catch your last Bullet Train on to Tokyo where you are free to either head home or carry on your adventure on your own.

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