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Discover Japan


  • Destination:
  • Duration: 12 days
  • Price: from $4,199


    Save up to $800 per couple!

For a limited time only save up to $800 per couple on this tour to Japan. Reserve by December 13, 2018 to qualify for the early booking discount. Space is limited so please reserve early.

Experience true beauty on a trip to Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Experience our Tokyo tours, 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!

Japan, Endless Discovery

Itinerary at a glance Tour 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
  • Ancient town in Takayama
  • Shirakawago (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Sightseeing in Kyoto
  • Round trip airfare from Los Angeles
  • 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 Director and local guides

Click on the tabs below to learn more!

Guided Tour Pricing

Pricing includes land and airfare

(Land only pricing available upon request)



Best Value Pricing
Reserve by Dec 13 2018

Reserve after
Dec 13 2018




After Sale

Mar 11

Mar 22

$ 4199

$ 4299

$ 4599

Mar 25

Apr 5

$ 4299

$ 4399

$ 4699

Apr 1

Apr 12

$ 4499

$ 4599

$ 4899

Apr 8

Apr 19

$ 4499

$ 4599

$ 4899

Apr 15

Apr 26

$ 4399

$ 4499

$ 4799

Apr 22

May 3

$ 4399

$ 4499

$ 4799

May 6

May 17

$ 4299

$ 4399

$ 4699

May 20

May 31

$ 4399

$ 4499

$ 4799

Jun 17

Jun 28

$ 4199

$ 4299

$ 4599

Jul 8

Jul 19

$ 4199

$ 4299

$ 4599

Aug 19

Aug 30

$ 4199

$ 4299

$ 4599

Sep 2

Sep 13

$ 4299

$ 4399

$ 4699

Sep 16

Sep 27

$ 4199

$ 4299

$ 4599

Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
Single room supplement is $899.
For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:00-5:30 EST) at 800-337-7773.
Reservations and Payments 
Reservations for your vacation in Japan can be made by phone (1-800-337-7773) and will be confirmed upon receipt of $300 per person non-refundable, non-transferable deposit which must be received within 48 hours 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 or similar.
Day 3
Today, enjoy a full-day guided tour of Tokyo, exploring some of the amazing highlights. 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 and Hakone. 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. Embarking on a scenic boat ride on tranquil Lake Ashi. Later, enjoy a gondola ride on the Komagatake Ropeway for a sweeping view of Hakone 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 or similar (B,D)
Day 7
After breakfast, join your guide for a stroll through the fascinating Miyagawa 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. Ana Crowne Plaza Hotel or similar (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 hotel. Righa Royal Hotel Kyoto  (B)
Day 10
The capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, Kyoto is a world-class gem, a true oasis. Today, depart 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; or an optional excursion to Hiroshima and Miyajima. (B)
Day 12
Transfer to the airport for your return flight from Osaka. Your amazing trip to Japan ends on arrival in the USA. (B)

Optional Tours

To enhance and make your vacation in 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. Note that optional tours are non-refundable.

Nikko Full Day Excursion with Lunch (15,000 Yen, approx. $150 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 Lake Chuzenji created by an eruption of Mt. Nantai and see the impressive Kegon 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. 

Nara Afternoon Tour (7,400 Yen, approx. $75 per person)
On this optional half-day excursion, travel outside Kyoto to Nara, Japan’s first capital and symbol of tranquility. Here, see the Todai-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s largest wooden structures with the bronze Great Buddha, also the Kasuga Taisha Shrine surrounded by 3000 stone and bronze lanterns and the nearby Deer Park where deer are thought to be the shrine messengers. Later, return to Kyoto.

Hiroshima & Miyajima Tour (36,500 Yen, approx. $350 per person)
On this full-day optional tour, travel to Hiroshima by bullet train. You’ll begin at Hiroshima Orizuru Tower located beside the world-famous Peace Park. You’ll also visit picturesque Miyajima, considered one of the most scenic locations in Japan; the Atomic Bomb Dome and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Return to Kyoto by bullet train.

Trip Preparation


Your departure flight from the U.S. to Japan and back are the following 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 changeSchedules are as follows:

Departure Date


Los Angeles (LAX)



2019: Mar. 11

American Airlines


2019: Mar. 25, Apr. 1, Apr. 8, Apr. 15, Apr. 22, May 6, May 20, Sep. 16

United Airlines


2019: Jun. 17, Sep. 2

United Airlines


2019: Jul. 8, Aug. 19

United Airlines




The above airlines do 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!


International flights to/from the U.S. are not included. Land only travelers are responsible for arranging the entry and exit flights, as well as their arrival and departure transfers. smarTours cannot be held responsible for any damage caused by air schedule changes and delays. Unused land services are non-refundable.

Main Tour: Land services start upon independent check in at Tokyo hotel on Day 2 of the itinerary listed on the tour page. Land Only services end after breakfast at Kyoto hotel on Day 11 of the itinerary listed on the tour page.


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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 9 reviews
by Manfred Runkel on Blank Business Name
An impressive country

It is 2 weeks ago that we returned from our "Discover Japan" tour. What a great enjoyment it was, and how lucky we were! We managed to experience the cherry blossoms (Sakurai) in all the towns on the agenda.Even our guide, graceful Yoshimi Ozawa, was amazed about our great luck and exclaimed that two weeks before there was nothing to see. To add to our enjoyment, we were able to see Mount Fuji's upper cone above the clouds.Yoshi (as she wanted to be called by us) was extremely well organized and very eager to share her extensive knowledge of Japans history, customs and living conditions with us. We were duly impressed by the cleanliness of the cities, streets and people. Especially the rail road stations in Tokyo, Kanazawa and Kyoto are far and above in architecture and organization over any that we seen in Europe (let alone here in the US). The visit to the Mitsukushi department store was eye opening. The quality and quantity of the products on offer exceeded anything here in the US. Even more so were the the great number of sales clerks available to help, but not at all "pushy".The hotels were very good and the breakfasts quite sufficient. The included meals were also good. Our concerns of having to spend extensively for meals were unfounded since there were a great variety of lower costs options.Just the long and congested breakfast lines at the New Otani Hotel dimmed the outlook for the day. Having to wait up to 40 minutes, even though there were empty tables, should not be an acceptable condition.Transportation in general , be it by bus or train, was very good. However, We did not understand why the suitcases were moved from Takayama directly to Kyoto, depriving us of them in Kanazawa.We came away from this journey admiring the Japanese people that went through such dramatic changes since the middle of the last century.

by DJ Greco on Blank Business Name
Wonderful Japan

We just returned last week from our fabulous trip to Japan, and we cannot stop thinking about our incredible adventure. We chose Smartours because a friend of ours has been traveling with them for years going to amazing places such as India, Thailand, and Colombia. She advised us the tour company is very reasonable, a really good value including airfare from NYC, and she guaranteed we would enjoy a safe guided trip which sounded wonderful since we do not speak or read Japanese. On arrival at Tokyo, we met our tour guide, Haruko, who was just amazing. She not only knew about each shrine and temple we visited, but she could answer any question about Japanese culture, history, and legends. She even sang to us one day!! She was just a lovely person who was very patient with all of us.

The trip included not only the places we’ve all heard of but also places we NEVER heard of. The scenery in the Japanese Alps was just breathtaking. The Japanese people are just so kind and gracious. We never felt unsafe even in the big cities. We were totally exhausted each night from the day’s activities. There was a lot of walking involved, but my 82-year old Mother did just fine, but she is VERY active.

We visited Tokyo, Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Kanazawa and Kyoto using buses and trains to get us around (including the Bullet Train). All of the transportation was top notch and so clean. A full buffet breakfast was included at each hotel which had both Western and Japanese cuisine. Only two dinners were included, but that gave us plenty of time to explore on our own. Our hotel in Takayama even included an Onsen hot springs bath which was heavenly!!

Smartours was an excellent value for all that we got. All the hotels were high end. We booked a triple room which worked out GR8. The non-stop flight from NYC was not so grueling on Japan Airlines as they fed us constantly (with wine) and we saw plenty of movies. Anyone considering Japan, certainly consider!!

by Ute Forsythe on Blank Business Name

This was an excellent fast paced and all too short tour of a beautiful amazing country. I wish I had visited it much earlier. It is the cleanest and safest place in Asia with the most honest,polite and helpful people. You are never pushed to make a purchase in any of the stores or souvenir shops, no hawkers or children tucking at you to gain their attention. The hotels were excellent and especially the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo would be worth to spend a relaxing vacation in its luxurious surroundings. Our guide was knowledgeable and accommodating. It was a wonderful experience.

by Jacquline Horn on Blank Business Name
Great Trip!

We just got back three days ago from the Discover Japan Tour. This was my first Smartours trip, and my first trip using a tour/guide company. I must say I was very satisfied. I will say the amount of things we saw would be better stretched out over two more days, there were some things I really wanted to stay at longer, but due to time constraints we had to move on. Also, really enjoyed the older homes/houses/and buildings. However, one or two of them would have been enough as they pretty much looked alike once inside. Really really enjoyed the thatched roof village, our tour guide ( who asked us to call her May due to her slightly complicated Japanese name ) was fantastic! I also learned that I am in much worse physical shape, I was fully exhausted at the end of each day we walked and saw so much. I can truly say I was impressed with Smartours, the quality of our lodgings, tour buses, audio devices used during touring, etc. And, May had good knowledge of her subject, Japanese history, and quite a sense of humor. I hope to go with Smartours to Israel in 2017 if I can get the time off, and if political climate allows it. Thanks for supporting a great trip and sister time with my sister Smartours. Will be touring with you again!!

by Lydia St. John-Mellado on Blank Business Name
Discover Japan

This was an amazing experience and the tour guide was informative, up-to-date with what was happening in the area and knew her history of Japan well. I will recommend this trip to all my friends because it is a definitely "must see" travel.

discover Japan

The trip was filled with wonderful sights to see. Our guide Yoko was very knowledgeable and accommodating. She gave us a great insight into the wonderful country.

by Jack Simmonds on Blank Business Name
Discover Japan October 6-16, 2015

Excellent overview of Japanese culture across the centuries, with large cities and World Cultural sites.

by Debra D'Luna on Blank Business Name
Wonderful tour of Japan

We just returned from our tour of Japan two days ago (October, 2015). There were 33 of us on our tour. Accommodations provided are all very nice, exceptionally maintained and well located. The buses are in perfect condition and immaculately clean. Breakfast buffets are generous; both Japanese and western breakfast options are plentiful. We enjoyed exceptional weather and good luck in experiencing a few serendipitous surprises – the Autumn Festival in Takayama, and a moving religious ceremony in the Great Buddha Hall in Nara that involved incense, smoking braziers, dozens of monks chanting, and a raptly attentive, kimono clad congregation. Our ogling and photo snapping was tolerated with usual Japanese courtesy.

Our tour guide, Yukari, was organized, well-informed, kind, conscientiously hard-working and gentle. She is always courteous, positive, and patient. Her English is excellent, but significantly accented.

Everything in Japan is astonishingly tidy and safe, beautiful and highly organized. The sense of complete personal safety is unparalleled in our extensive travel experiences and even at home! The even, unbroken sidewalks, low curbs, signage, metered pedestrian traffic crossings all contribute to an enjoyable walking experience.

Toilets!!!! Clean. Free. Fully-supplied. Readily available. Heated seats!

The Japanese are extremely honest, courteous and welcoming. I must mention the many children and families that we met while touring historical sites: smiling, charming, eager to interact in order to practice their English, respectful, and happy to be photographed – this was a particularly delightful and unexpected part of our tour. The children were themselves visitors to the sites – usually with school groups.

Despite what we have all heard, food costs are not overly expensive and options in a range to suit your pocket are readily available. Their cuisine is very interesting and fun – not to mention gorgeously presented. Shopping is terrific as everything is of high-quality, perfect, and available within a range of prices.

Highly recommended!

by Jay Chalmers on Blank Business Name
Discover Japan

Pretty good tour, least interesting was Tokyo. The smaller cities were fascinating. Tour guide was excellent and hotels were fine.

Check out photos taken by smarTours travelers on this trip of a lifetime!

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