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Among other cultural gems, there’s a karate lesson, calligraphy class, a visit to the sumo district, an anime masterclass, trips to local bath houses, exploration of beautiful countryside, endless shrines, temples and hiking trails. For the time and money, this is a budget Japan backpacker tour at its very best. See our route below…
- Hangout and explore mega city Tokyo! There’s nowhere else like it on earth!
- Tribe Japanese baseball, live like a local the nearby Japanese bathhouse and check out impressive cityscape views from rooftop bars.
- Faster than a bullet! Ride the infamous Japanese bullet train.
Stay in a capsule hotel. When in Japan….
- Check out the Imperial Palace juxtaposed with quirky K pop culture!
- From a modern metropolis to mediaeval Japan. Explore Kamakura Japan’s medieval capital.
- Pirate ship adventures under the shadow of Mount Fuji.
- Discover Japanese temples galore and lots of different destinations.
- Wander through Pontocho alley, full of lanterns and intimate wood-panelled restaurants.
- Get lost in ancient bamboo forests in Kyoto
- Sample the finest Sake! We take you to a Sake brewery where you can enjoy a tasting experience.
- Visit ground zero in Hiroshima. Humbling experience.
- Shop till you drop in Osaka with a visit to the Umeda sky tower.
Day 1 Tokyo
Take in the cityscape from the top of a skyscraper, then head back down to earth to experience one of Tokyo’s buzziest districts, Shinjuku. Cap off your first day with a relaxing tea in a cat café before exploring the endless eating and drinking options – both budget and high end – on offer in Tokyo by night.
Day 2 Tokyo
Prepare your own sashimi breakfast under the watchful eye of a local sashimi master at Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji fish market. Get your first taste of Japan’s beautiful outdoors with a hike up the sacred Takaosan Mountain on the city’s outskirts.
Day 3 Tokyo
Head to Tokyo’s sumo district to see where the wrestlers live and train and check out the fascinating history of the nation at the Edo-Tokyo museum. Try your hand at Samurai in the afternoon before sampling the delights of Okonomiyaki in the evening.
Day 4 Tokyo
Head to the Imperial Palace gardens to see the ornate buildings and then – for a total contrast – make your way afterwards to the quirky centre of J-Pop culture in Harajuku. Wash it all down with a beer overlooking the neon madness of Shibuya. What backpacker could refuse?
DAY 5 Kamakura
Leave the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and take a train to Kamakura, the country’s medieval capital. Explore the town’s shrines and finish off at the Great Buddha statue at Kotoku-in temple. Relax by the beach and even try surfing at sunset.
DAY 6 Mount Fuji Hakone
Enjoy your first stunning view of Mount Fuji on the Hakone cable car. At Oowakudani you can gaze at the mountain to your heart’s content while sampling eggs cooked Fuji-style – in the sulphuric water beneath you. Cap off the day crossing Lake Ashi on a pirate ship, with Mount Fuji providing the perfect backdrop.
Day 7 Kyoto
After taking in the morning’s mountain air, take the bullet train to Kyoto. Experience the timeless traditions of ancient Japan in Kyoto’s Geisha district before settling in for an cheap, authentic and delicious meal surrounded by wood panels and lanterns in Pontocho alley. Budget food is so often the best 🙂
Day 8 Arashiyama
Hike through the Arashiyama bamboo forest and the Arashiyama Monkey Park where your exertions will be rewarded with great views of Kyoto. Visit the Tenryu-ji temple and relax in the pristine gardens after a rafting adventure tour down the Hozugawa River. Spend the evening in the Gion district spotting Geishas or being transformed into one for the evening.
Day 9 Kyoto
It’s temple time! Witness Kyoto’s devotion to zen by exploring the Philosopher’s Path and backpack your way round the many typical Japanese temples that adorn the hills surrounding the city.
Day 10 Kyoto to Hiroshima
Shutterbugs will adore the Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji temple and a slice of mindfulness to start the day with a meditation session in a local temple. Cycle round the imperial palace before continuing the journey on a bullet train bound for the West.
DAY 11 Hiroshima
Learn about the Hiroshima’s tragic past and its subsequent recovery and pacifist mission at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Take a ferry to the Itsukushima shrine, built on stilts above lapping water before ascending the ropeway for marvellous vistas.
DAY 12 Osaka
Another Japanese mega-city with endless eating, drinking and cheap entertainment options. There’s also an impressive castle. Be sure to visit Shinsaibashi and the Dotonbori riverfront in the evening. Hit the arcades and sprawling shopping malls before settling in for your final night out at the Kamikaze bar.
Another bullet train will take you to Osaka, your final destination before heading back to Tokyo.
You’ll arrive in time for lunch in the Nanba or Shinsaibashi area. After enjoying your fill of yakitori, ramen, sushi or whatever takes your fancy, it’s a short train ride to Osaka Castle.
- Take a stroll around the castle that rises above the enormous moat and then check out the nine-level donjon.
- Shenanigans in Shinsaibashi and the Dotonbori riverfront await next… for the ultimate Japanese shopping experience, dive into the covered shopping arcade at Shinsaibashi.
- See if you can be the Xtreme Gap arcade challenge champion and then walk through Dotonbori and prepare to be blasted by neon.
- The eating, drinking, gaming and clubbing options around Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi are endless – fill your boots! Why not kick-start your night with a beer on us at the city’s famous Kamikaze bar?
- In the evening, you will sleep at a capsule hotel- small, intimate, private and quintessentially Japanese.
DAY 13 Osaka, saying goodbye´s
- Say goodbye to your fellow Dragon Trippers over a farewell trip up the Umeda Sky Tower.
- Brunch in Osaka before catching your final bullet train back to Tokyo to finish up or continue on your travels!
Please arrive into Tokyo on the first day of the tour. Airport transfers are not included. Japan has a super easy transport system that is easy to navigate. You simply need to catch a train to Tokyo city centre for a cost of around £10.
Your tour ends in Tokyo on day 13. Return airport transfers are not included. Let us know your onward travel plans and we can advise you about the best transfer options.
TRIP FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- 12 nights’ accommodation in hostels
- All transport between activities
- Karate class
- Anime drawing class
- Sensou-ji temple visit
- Japanese-style bath house experience
Sashimi lesson from Sushi chef
- Shinto shrine visit
- “Made in Tokyo” experience
- Sapporo brewery visit
- Visit to Sumo district
- Baseball batting cage experience
- Takaosan Mountain hike
- Great Buddha visit
- Hakone Ropeway ride
- Pirate ship cruise across Lake Ashi
- Visits to Kyoto temples
- Hot springs experience in Kyoto
- Day trip to Arashiyama bamboo forest
- Boat trip down the Hozugawa River
- Meditation in Buddhist temple
- Day trip to Hiroshima
- Calligraphy class
- Osaka Castle visit
- Beginners Japanese tuition
- Western and Japanese tour guides
- 24 hour emergency support
- International flights
- Airport transfers
- Travel Insurance
- Meals, snacks and drinks
- Optional activities
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2018 start dates
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