Discover Japan


  • Destination:
  • Duration: 12 days
  • Price: from $3,699


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    Save up to $800 per couple!!!

For a limited time only save up to $800 per couple on this remarkable journey to Japan. Reserve by January 29, 2015 to qualify for the early booking discount. Space is limited so please reserve early.

Experience the true beauty of Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Travel to Tokyo, Japan’s capital, to explore ancient architecture and modern landmarks. Visit the famous Mount Fuji in all its glory, discover the region of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and tour the historic Imperial Palace district. Call smarTours today to book your next vacation!
Itinerary at a glance Highlights Your tour includes
  • 4 Nights in Tokyo
  • 2 Nights in Takayama
  • 1 Night in Kanazawa
  • 3 Nights in Kyoto
  • Imperial Palace (Tokyo)
  • Mt. Fuji
  • Hakone National Park
  • Shirakawago (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Sightseeing in Kyoto
  • Round trip airfare from Los Angeles via scheduled Korean Air flight. (New York departure add $200)
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • Intra-Japan ground transportation and transfers
  • Super-Express “bullet” train between Tokyo and Nagoya
  • Accommodations at Superior First Class hotels
  • 12 meals: Full buffet breakfast daily (B), 2 dinners (D)
  • Comprehensive sightseeing tours as indicated in itinerary
  • English-speaking tour guides throughout

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Land + Air 
(Land Only Prices Available Upon Request)

Tour cost airfare included


Reserve by
Jan 29 2015

Reserve after
Jan 29 2015




After Sale

Mar 23

Apr 3

$ 3799

$ 3899

$ 4199

Apr 5

Apr 16

$ 3899

$ 3999

$ 4299

Apr 20

May 1

$ 4099

$ 4199

$ 4499

May 4

May 15

$ 4099

$ 4199

$ 4499

May 11

May 22

$ 3899

$ 3999

$ 4299

Sep 7

Sep 18

$ 3699

$ 3799

$ 4099

Oct 5

Oct 16

$ 3799

$ 3899

$ 4199

Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
Single room supplement is $699.
The Apr. 5 departure will be staying at the Takayama Green Hotel in Takayama.
For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:30-5:30 EST) at 800-337-7773.
Reservations and Payments 
Reservations can be made by phone (1-800-337-7773) and will be confirmed upon receipt of $300 per person non-refundable deposit (by check) which must be received within 7 days of reservation. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Baggage fees may apply. Space and prices subject to availability. For complete booking information and terms & conditions click here.


Day 1
Depart USA.
Your fascinating sojourn to mysterious Japan begins as you depart today on your overnight flight.
Day 2
Arrive Tokyo (Japan).
Welcome to Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun“. Evening arrival in Tokyo, Japan’s vibrant capital. Tokyo is a great mix of ancient Japanese culture and modern, dazzling architectural landmarks which you’ll be able to explore over the next few days. Your tour host warmly welcomes you upon arrival and escorts you to your conveniently located hotel. Your host will share with you some vital information about Japan, Tokyo and your upcoming tour program. Hotel New Otani.
Day 3
Morning guided tour to explore some of the highlights of amazing Tokyo. Start with a visit to the 1093 ft tall Tokyo Tower. From here you may enjoy bird’s eye views of the sprawling metropolis. Then, tour the historic Imperial Palace district dating back to the 15th century. The emperor and his family still live in the western part of the Imperial Palace. You’ll see the charming East Outer Garden with views of the ancient castle walls and ruins. Your tour continues with a visit to Asakusa Kannon, Tokyo’s most spectacular and sacred Buddhist temple. Narrow alleys filled with small shops, restaurants and tranquil gardens surround the temple. Stroll along Nakamise Street nearby, filled with stores stocking treasure troves of traditional Japanese wares and crafts. You’ll also visit the nearby exciting Ginza district renowned for its superior shopping, dining and entertainment. The balance of the day is free for independent pursuits (B)
Day 4
Mt. Fuji & Hakone Excursion.
Japan’s pastoral countryside unfolds as you depart Tokyo today for Mt. Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. The main attraction here is majestic Mt. Fuji, a dormant volcano that last erupted almost 300 years ago. The mountain’s perfectly shaped cone has inspired artists and poets for centuries. Weather permitting, drive up to the fifth station of the snow capped peak for panoramic vistas. Visit the nearby hot spring resort town of Hakone before embarking on a scenic boat ride on tranquil Lake Ashi. Later, drive through Owakudani Valley for a sweeping view of Hakone National Park and Mt. Fuji before returning to Tokyo late this afternoon. (B)
Day 5
Spend a day at leisure to explore Tokyo from your conveniently located hotel. For a real taste of Japan, get up early and head for the colorful wholesale fish market! You may also join an optional excursion outside Tokyo to Nikko. Nikko is a magnificent complex of shrines dedicated to the first shogun, adorned with some of the finest woodcarvings in all of Japan. (B)
Day 6
This morning, embark on a thrilling train ride via the super-express Bullet “Shinkansen” train headed for Nagoya. Here, transfer to a limited-express train for a scenic ride to Takayama, a delightful small town nestled in the majestic Japanese Alps. Over the next few days you’ll travel back in time as you explore rural Japan where traditional-style architecture, ancient culture and fascinating customs have been proudly preserved. After settling into your hotel in the heart of Takayama, embark on a guided walk through the enchanting narrow streets of the Kami-sannomachi district graced with beautiful old wooden homes, delightful small shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, many of which have been in business for centuries. You’ll also view the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall featuring huge floats, decorated with intricate carvings, gilded wood and detailed metalwork, that are paraded through the streets of Takayama during festival times. Visit the Folkcraft Museum, formerly a private residence that is a prime example of Meiji Era architecture. Savor dinner at your hotel tonight. Hida Plaza Hotel (B,D)
Day 7
After breakfast, join your guide for a stroll through the fascinating Jinya-mae Morning Market along the Miyagawa River in the old town. This 200-year old colorful market bustles with farmers selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and traditional local crafts. Proceed to the Takayama Jinya, a complex of 17th century buildings that once housed officials of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Today, it is a museum with historical displays from the time of direct rule to the Meiji Era. The balance of the day is at leisure to explore the quaint old town on your own, delight in the unique atmosphere Takayama is renowned for and possibly relax in a soothing traditional hot spring bath! (B)
Day 8
Today enjoy a scenic drive through the picturesque countryside to the rural region of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you’ll discover fascinating examples of old steep thatched roof houses. This unique architectural style, harmonized into the magnificent mountain landscape, was developed over 100 years ago to survive the harsh winters. You’ll visit one of these houses and learn more about daily life in this remote area. Proceed to the village of Gokayama where you’ll enjoy a demonstration of traditional Japanese papermaking techniques. Later this afternoon arrive in the Kanazawa, blending modern living with traditional heritage. Kanazawa New Grand Hotel (B,D)
Day 9
Today enjoy a visit to the historic Oumicho Market, a busy and colorful market and explore along with local residents some of the 200 shops selling seafood, vegetables, fruits, flowers, regional specialties and more. Later you’ll be whisked back in time to the exciting Edo period when you visit the Nagamachi district, a small neighborhood of narrow, cobblestone streets where brave samurai warriors once lived. Many homes are still occupied by the samurai descendants but you’ll visit the Nomura Family house that is open to the public where you can admire the stone lanterns and bridges in the garden as well as the cypress-wood ceiling in the residence. Proceed to the beautiful Kenrokuen Garden, one of the finest gardens in Japan and marvel at the waterfalls, ponds and charming tea-houses. Later, stroll through the charming Higashi Geisha district before transferring to the station for your train ride to splendid Kyoto. Embodying Japan’s rich culture and complex history, Kyoto has over 2000 temples and shrines, delightful gardens and exceptionally preserved wooden buildings. The sights, wonderful local cuisine and exceptional arts and crafts are certain to enchant you! Upon arrival in Kyoto, transfer to your centrally located hotel. Rihga Royal Hotel (B)
Day 10
The capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, Kyoto is a world-class gem, a true oasis. Today, a local expert leads you on a guided tour exploring some of the city’s highlights. Begin at Nijo Castle, renowned for its ornate interiors. Built by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early 17th century, the castle symbolizes the power and riches of the newly established Edo-based Shogun. Your next stop is one of Kyoto’s most inspiring sights, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, also known as Kinkaku-ji. As you approach the temple via a tree-shaded path, emerge into an exquisite Japanese-style garden on the other side of which stands the fabled pavilion. It is built on pillars magnificently suspended over a lake. Proceed to the colorful Handicraft Center where you can see demonstrations of traditional Japanese arts and crafts. This afternoon visit renowned Kiyomizu Temple, founded in the 8th century. Situated halfway up the Otowayama Hill it encompasses a vast area and affords stunning views of Kyoto. Wander along the narrow winding alleys leading up to the temple, lined with magnificently preserved old houses, craftmen’s workshops and tea houses. Soak up the flavor of traditional Japanese atmosphere, and perhaps purchase some exquisite locally crafted souvenirs. Later, return to your hotel. (B)
Day 11
A day to explore ancient Kyoto’s grace and beauty on your own or join an optional tour. You may visit some of the smaller and serene temples, marvel at splendid classical Japanese gardens, see the exquisitely dressed geishas at the colorful Gion corner, or join a traditional tea ceremony. Perhaps visit the acclaimed Miho Museum, built on a wooded mountain-top outside Kyoto. Also available is an optional excursion to Nara, Japan’s first capital and symbol of tranquility, where you may see the world’s largest indoor Buddha. (B)
Day 12
Transfer to the airport for your return flight. Your amazing journey ends on arrival in the USA. (B)

Optional Tours

To enhance and make your visit to Japan more complete and memorable, your tour guide will offer you several optional tours. All rates are in Japanese Yen. You are also given the approximate equivalent in US dollars, however, please keep in mind that the US dollar rates will fluctuate based on the prevailing exchange rate at the time of travel. Payment should be made by major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) or by cash – Japanese Yen (you may exchange US dollars to Japanese Yens at your hotel). Optional tours are subject to a minimum number of participants and may therefore not be offered if this minimum is not met. Also, tours are subject to availability, capacity limitations and operation of the services on the dates you are traveling on.

Nikko Full Day Excursion with Lunch (14,000 Yen, approx. $140 per person, lunch included)
Enjoy a full day guided excursion to the World Heritage Site of Nikko, a magnificent complex of shrines dedicated to the first shogun. After arriving in Nikko, located high up the mountains, visit Toshogu Shrine, famous for its magnificent complex of colorful structures featuring the superb craftsmanship of Japan’s 17th-century artisans. Drive up a zigzag road with 20 hairpin curves before arriving at the restaurant where a Japanese style lunch is served. Later, visit Tamozawa Imperial Villa and see the impressive Kirifuri Waterfalls. Return to Tokyo this evening.

Important note: This tour is subject to availability and cannot be confirmed until payment is made upon arrival in Japan.

* In case more than twenty smarTours passengers sign up for this optional tour, it will be operated on an exclusive basis for smarTours passengers only and will start and end at your hotel. If there are less than 20 smarTours passengers interested in this optional tour, they’ll join in with non- smarTours passengers. In the event that 15 to 19 smarTours passengers join this tour, you’ll be picked-up and dropped off at your hotel. If fewer than 15 smarTours passengers sign up for this optional tour, transportation from the hotel to the tour departure point is included however, transportation back to the hotel from the termination point in downtown Tokyo is not included. You will need to take a taxi or public transportation back to the hotel at your own expense. 

Takayama Afternoon Excursion (2,500 Yen, approx. $25 per person)
On this guided optional afternoon tour visit two famous attractions on the outskirts of Takayama’s. After a short (15 minutes) local train ride, walk from the local train station with your guide to the Takayama Festival Museum, housing six festival stalls. Inside, three floats and their portable shrines are on display and performances featuring the Japanese traditional arts and crafts are presented.  Then proceed on foot to white wall clay storehouse quarter along with the flow of Seto River. The Seto River was constructed as an irrigation canal dividing the town into samurai and merchant neighborhoods. The row of majestic warehouses standing along the Seto River with various colors of Japanese carps is a view representative of Furukawa. Return to your Takayama hotel later this afternoon.

Nara Afternoon Tour (6,900 Yen, approx. $69 per person)
On this optional half-day excursion, travel outside Kyoto to Nara, Japan’s first capital and symbol of tranquility. Here, see the world’s largest indoor Buddha, the Kasuga Shrine surrounded by 3000 stone and bronze lanterns and the nearby Deer Park. Later, return to Kyoto.

Trip Preparation


Your departure flight from the U.S. to Japan and back are on Korean Airlines. You are expected to check-in for your flight at least 3½ hours before the scheduled departure. Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting flight.  We recommend at least 3 ½ hours.  Also keep in mind that flight schedules are always subject to change.  Schedules are as follows:

Los Angeles (LAX) New York (JFK)
Depart Return Depart Return
11:00AM 10:00AM 12:30PM 9:00PM


Korean Air does not assign seats in advance. Seat assignment can only be arranged upon check-in at the airport. Please note that smarTours is not involved with your seat assignment. It is between you and the airline!


You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. Visa is not required for American passport holders visiting Japan. Non U.S. citizens should check with the respective consulates as to the most current visa requirements to all their travel destinations. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.


Your airline tickets along with final instruction and additional travel tips will be sent to you 10 – 7 days before the scheduled departure of your tour.  Please make sure to advise us in case your address changes.


Immunizations are NOT currently required; however, you should consult your personal physician, local public health authorities or the Center of Disease Control (CDC) as to their suggestions.


You may expect daytime high temperatures averaging in the 60’s in April and November; 70’s in May, June and October; 80’s in July through September. Overnight temperatures are cooler.


The hotels used on this tour have several dining choices from coffee shop to specialty restaurants. You may also dine in local restaurants near your hotels that may furnish less expensive menus.  Average cost for dinner (excluding drinks) in the coffee shop is about $25-35 per meal per person. In some local restaurants such as Noodle Shops, you may pay less. Your hotel will accept credit cards for your non-included meals.


Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards.  However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency. Your hotel will be able to exchange for you cash to local currency or you may be able to use ATM machines.   It is recommended that you bring along cash in small denominations.


Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (suitcase), max. 44 pounds and one carry-on piece. Carry on must not exceed 18”x10”x8”.  As your trip to Japan is informal, we recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of casual separates with climate and comfort in mind.

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