8 Day Essential Japan
8 days with
Gate 1 Travel
DAY 1, Saturday - Depart for Japan
Depart for Japan.
DAY 2, Sunday - Arrive in Tokyo
Arrive in dynamic Tokyo, the ultra high-tech and fascinating metropolis. Balance of the day is at leisure to rest and relax. This evening, attend an orientation meeting at approximately at 7:00 pm with your Tour Manager on the exciting adventure that awaits you in Japan, followed by a Welcome Drink with your fellow travelers. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm on Day 2 of the itinerary, if possible.
DAY 3, Monday - Full Day in Tokyo
Spend the day at leisure to explore all of the delights of Tokyo on your own, or join the optional Full Day Tokyo Tour. Witness the stark contrasts of this dazzling city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology. Begin, with a visit to the hectic Tsukiji Fish Market, one of the largest wholesale markets in the world, famous for fish and seafood. Afterward, travel to the imposing Asakusa Kannon Temple (Sensoji) enshrining a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy; its entrance is dominated by a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red and black colors. Walk along Nakamise, a centuries-old shopping area, where you can find everything from souvenirs to genuine Edo-style crafts. Next, stroll through the Imperial Palace East Garden, located next to the Tokyo Imperial Palace, considered the largest castle in the area. This was the former site of Edo Castle and is now the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. Your tour concludes at the famous Ginza shopping district, Tokyo's most celebrated shopping and amusement area. (Breakfast)
Optional: Tokyo City Tour
DAY 4, Tuesday - Full Day in Tokyo
The day is free, to further explore the enormous metropolis of Tokyo independently. As a premier global city, Tokyo offers incredible cuisine, and a vast array of art and fashion venues. For a different view of the city, take a stroll in the beautiful Ueno Park and visit the Tokyo National Museum, housing a collection of fascinating artifacts from across Asia. Perhaps, participate in the optional Nikko Tour, a small historical city at the entrance of the Nikko National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site served as a center for Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for centuries. Visit Nikko Toshogu shrine and marvel at the splendor of this sanctuary, surrounded by lush forests. Stop for an authentic Japanese-style lunch at a local restaurant. Afterward, view the sacred red lacquered Shinkyo Bridge, that arches elegantly across the Daiya River. Continue with a sake tasting at a local brewery and learn about the process of making sake, before your return drive to Tokyo. (Breakfast)
Optional: Full Day Nikko Tour with Lunch
DAY 5, Wednesday - Travel to Hakone, Owakudari Valley, Lake Ashi Cruise
This morning, depart Tokyo and drive south to Hakone, the most famous National Park in Japan, admiring the breathtaking scenery along the way. Stop for a visit to the Hakone Open-Air Museum, a 200-acre park that is located on a hillside and surrounded by majestic mountains and green valleys. Explore the museum's vast sculpture collection from the 19th and 20th century, including artworks by Japanese and Western artists. After lunch on your own, continue with a gondola ride on the Hakone Ropeway that takes you to the Owakudani Valley’s extraordinary volcanic zone. Here, the bubbling pools cook eggs in the hot waters blackened by sulfur, and are said to prolong one's life by at least seven years. Enjoy a relaxing cruise around placid Lake Ashi. Proceed to your hotel in the Hakone area. Enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 6, Thursday - Bullet Train to Kyoto
After breakfast, transfer to Mishima station for your bullet train to historic Kyoto, a city that once served as the imperial capital of Japan and home of the country’s most treasured remnants of Japanese imperial life. Upon arrival, take a short walking tour and spend free time for lunch on your own, before checking into your hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure. You may choose to participate in the optional Half Day Kyoto Tour. Begin with a visit to the celebrated gold-gilded Kinkakuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as the “Golden Pavilion’ surrounded by trees and nestled on a reflective pond. The temple was constructed in the 14th century by the Ashikaga clan. Next, take a walk in Gion, Kyoto's most famous Geisha district; view the shops, restaurants and tea houses where Geisha entertain. Conclude the tour in Kawaramachi, the city's bustling center that is loaded with shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. This evening, discover Kyoto's diverse cuisine. (Breakfast)
Optional: Kyoto City Tour (PM)
DAY 7, Friday - Full Day in Kyoto
Spend your day at leisure in Kyoto to explore this fascinating city on your own or, join the optional tour to Kyoto & Nara. Visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine located at the base of Inari mountain, that is famous for its thousands of vermilion colored torii gates. Afterward, travel via the Nara Keinawa expressway to the 8th century Imperial capital of Nara, repository of Japan's cultural heritage, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a wealth of historic treasures. Arrive at the exquisite Todai-ji Temple, one of the world’s largest wooden structures and home of the impressive Great Buddha bronze statue, rising over 50 feet high. You then continue to Nara Park to see the over 1,000 tame deer roaming freely in the peaceful park. The tour concludes with a visit to the famous and beautiful Kasuga Taisha Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, displaying over 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns. Return to Kyoto and enjoy leisure time this afternoon before a Farewell Drink and light dinner at the hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Optional: Kyoto & Nara Tour (AM)
DAY 8, Saturday - Depart Japan
Your vacation ends after breakfast. Please select flights that depart between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm. (Breakfast)
All This Included
6 nights accommodations
Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
High-Speed Bullet Train: Mishima-Kyoto
8 meals: 6 breakfasts, 2 dinners
Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
Entrance fees per itinerary
Explore the Hakone Open-Air Museum's vast array of sculptures
Discover Owakudani Valley’s extraordinary volcanic zone
Embark on a cruise on Lake Ashi and admire the stunning scenery
Board the famous Shinkansen, or “bullet train” that whisks you to Kyoto
†Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates
Tokyo: Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro
Izu, Shizuoka: Laforet Shuzenji & Country Club
Numazu, Shizuoka: Numazu Riverside Hotel
Naka District, Kanagawa: Oiso Prince Hotel
Kyoto: RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers.
Passengers should select flights that arrive between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm; and depart hotel between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm due to scheduled bus transfer times. Passengers arriving or departing outside of these times will be required to either purchase a private transfer or take a taxi locally.
Hotel rooms in Japan cannot comfortably accommodate 3 adults; therefore, a double, plus a single room configuration should be purchased
In many ways Japan, the most "western" of Asian nations, has clear cultural differences. It is not our wish to generalize, but rather point out traits you may notice, and prepare your expectations. The English language can be challenging for the Japanese. It may take some time for your ear to adjust to the accent. As a nation, the Japanese are very formal and polite. Easily embarrassed by behavior to the contrary, their response can be silence, sometimes mistakenly interpreted as being "cold". Few have traveled outside of Japan, and therefore their understanding of other behavior patterns and languages is limited. We believe that a little understanding goes a long way, and hope that this explanation will help make your experience more pleasant.
This value program provides the comfort of an escorted tour, with the freedom to explore on your own. Minimal inclusions plus a variety of optional excursions allow maximum customization.
This program is minimally active, unless all optional tours are selected. If so, this moderately active program covers a good amount of ground each day. The pace is moderate, however you will encounter some uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Some tours require walking in the open air with no shade. Due to specific driving regulations, the set drop off and pick up points, may result in extra walking to and from the sights.
Please be aware that Japan is an expensive destination.
This is an Value program.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
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The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.