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Sensory Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto and the Hakone Mountains
Cycle the backstreets of Tokyo, hike through the Hakone Mountains with traditional onsen bathing, and uncover the cultural sights of Kyoto
Choose your dates for your trip to Japan
13 day trip from £4199 - £4499
Sun 17 Nov - Fri 29 Nov
Sun 8 Mar - Fri 20 Mar
Sun 22 Mar - Fri 3 Apr
Sun 29 Mar - Fri 10 Apr
Thu 2 Apr - Tue 14 Apr
Sun 12 Apr - Fri 24 Apr
Thu 16 Apr - Tue 28 Apr
Sun 3 May - Fri 15 May
Thu 21 May - Tue 2 Jun
Sun 7 Jun - Fri 19 Jun
Sun 28 Jun - Fri 10 Jul
Thu 2 Jul - Tue 14 Jul
Thu 9 Jul - Tue 21 Jul
Thu 20 Aug - Tue 1 Sep
Sun 6 Sep - Fri 18 Sep
Sun 20 Sep - Fri 2 Oct
Sun 18 Oct - Fri 30 Oct
Sun 14 Mar - Fri 26 Mar
About your trip
From ultra-modern Tokyo to historic Kyoto, uncover Japan’s most iconic cities on this 13-day adventure.
Your adventure will begin in Tokyo, where you’ll cycle its vibrant backstreets and learn how to make sushi at the Tsukiji Fish Market. From there, you’ll head into the Hakone Mountains, home to pristine lakes and Mount Fuji. Then, journey down to Kyoto and Osaka to immerse yourself in mindful meditation and sea-kayaking.
Japan is where ancient tradition meets electrifying modernity, a contrast you might just fall in love with.
- Local transport
- Most meals included
- Max 14 Flashpackers
- Atol protected
Remember, flights aren't included. We're happy to help you find the best ones for you.
Day 01 Konnichiwa, Japan
Touch down in Tokyo, Japan’s future-forward capital and its most animated city. Your first stop will be the artsy district of Nakameguro, lined with boutique galleries, cafes and bars. Despite being one of Tokyo’s most stylish neighbourhoods, it remains a largely undiscovered area. Enjoy a welcome feast with your fellow travellers, before heading to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to admire the panoramic views.
Day 02 Sushi-making and Japanese whisky
You’re off to an early start this morning as you head out to Tsukiji Fish Market. Step into the largest fish market in the world, where you’ll learn the fine art of sushi-making under the guidance of a master. Take this afternoon to explore Tokyo at your own pace, or join your guide in the lively Akihabara District. With its manga and anime stores and countless electronics retailers, encounter the neon jungle known as Tokyo’s ‘Electric Town’. In the evening, you’ll sample some of Japan’s finest liquor in the Tokyo Whisky Library.
Day 03 Cycle Tokyo's hidden district
Head east to the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa District this morning, where you’ll encounter a charming but forgotten neighbourhood. Over coffee at a nearby cafe, meet Ito – a born and bred local – who will show you the sights of her hometown on a backstreet cycling tour. Weave your way through a warren of alleys, making your way to a hidden temple, where you can catch a glimpse of a traditional Buddhist ceremony. Then, as evening falls, replenish with our favourite combination: a bowl of ramen and a craft beer.
Day 04 Lunching with a sumo wrestler
Resist the temptation to indulge at breakfast today, because lunch will be shared with a real, working sumo wrestler over a typical sumo meal of Chanko Nabe Hot Pot. Learn what life is like for a traditional Japanese wrestler, before spending the rest of the afternoon exploring Tokyo as you please. From cat cafes to Samurai museums, there are endless sights to uncover in this city of contrasts.
Day 05 Walk the Old Hakone Trail
Today’s adventure is all about the Hakone Mountains, home to spectacular lakes, forests and sweeping views of snow-capped Mount Fuji – best appreciated on a leisurely hike. Follow the trail of Tokaido until you reach a 17th-century teahouse, where you’ll refuel with some traditional tea. This evening, bathe your tired muscles in a steamy onsen, with water streaming from a natural hot spring. It’s single sex, optional and sadly anyone with tattoos can’t take part due to their association with the Japanese mafia (we suggest covering small tattoos with a plaster). Dinner will be comprised of fresh Pacific fish and vegetables cultivated from the Hakone Mountains.
Day 06 Hiking in the Hakone Mountains
This morning, embark on a wander through the alpine landscape. Providing the weather is on your side, enjoy panoramic views of Mount Fuji as you follow dappled forest trails. Spend the rest of the day exploring the quaint town around Mount Hakone, complete with boutiques and museums. Our favourites? The Open Air Museum with its quirky assortment of sculptures; or the Museum of The Little Prince – the world’s only gallery dedicated to the novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Day 07 Learn the art of ninja warfare
Today you’re off to Kyoto, Japan’s celebrated cultural capital. Quaint streets, traditional huts and delicate paper lanterns create a distinctive atmosphere of Old Japan, with Buddhist temples and ninja heritage all part of the local culture. You’ll come face-to-face with Kyoto’s cultural heritage this afternoon, as you channel your inner ninja in a hands-on introduction to Japanese combat. Spend your evening in an izakaya – Japan’s equivalent of a gastro-pub – where you can enjoy a steady stream of sake and local dishes.
Day 08 Hike to Fushimi Inari Shrine
Start the day with a visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. You’ll pass through thousands of majestic red gates (known as torii), that open onto beautiful walking trails along Mount Inari. Spend the next few hours trekking through the gentle wooded hills, until you reach the peak of the mountain for uninterrupted views. At midday, head to Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum to learn all about the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle of the beloved Japanese spirit. Later, we recommend exploring the old Gion District, with its historic charm and wandering geishas. As evening falls, indulge in one of Japan’s favourite past-times (and ours too) as you become acquainted with the karaoke bars of Kyoto – the drinks are on us.
Day 09 Adventures in Arashiyama bamboo forest
This morning, head west to Arashiyama and the famous bamboo forest. Meander through these 14th-century gardens, which have remained pristine despite wars, fires and various historical dramas. Scattered with temples and shrines, weave your way through the enchanting landscape, before catching a train to Hozugawa River. Here, you’ll board a traditional riverboat for a scenic two-hour ride, rural life unfolding around you.
Day 10 Cycle Kyoto and meditate with monks
Begin your day in Kyoto with a meditation class at Daisen-in Temple under the guidance of a Buddhist monk, followed by a traditional tea ceremony. Then, it’s on to Kinkaku-ji Temple – a pavilion completely coated in gold leaf, overlooking a serene lake. From here, you’ll cycle to the Imperial Palace – a lovely way to say goodbye to Kyoto before catching a bullet train to Hiroshima. Dive straight into the city’s cuisine with a feast of ‘okonomiyaki’ (meaning ‘grilled as you like it’). Think of them as savoury pancakes with all the great flavours of Japanese cuisine.
Day 11 Sea kayaking, oysters and Chablis
You can’t visit the revived city of Hiroshima without confronting its tragic past, so this morning you’ll visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. From there, make your way to the scenic island of Miyajima – home to the iconic Great Torii floating shrine. Kayak through the serene island waters, then enjoy a leisurely evening overlooking the waterfront. We recommend sampling the excellent oysters that this region is famed for, paired with a glass of Chablis. As night falls, your traditional ryokan hotel (and futon bed) awaits.
Day 12 A foodie tour of Osaka
Take a morning stroll through Miyajima’s scenic streets, before catching the bullet train to Osaka. Known as the city of ‘kuidaore’ (meaning ‘eat till you drop’), there are countless foodie delights to be experienced here. Your expert guide will show you the finest local eateries, hidden away down backstreets; places that look like apartments or office blocks from their exteriors, but where you’ll actually find the tastiest food in town. Savour a variety of local delicacies, from octopus dumplings to the best kitsune udon in Japan.
Day 13 Sayonara, Japan
Enjoy a final breakfast at the hotel, before making your own way to the airport. Not quite done with East Asia? We recommend combining this trip with our adventure in China to fully explore this enchanting region.
Our Favourite Hotels
Browse a selection of our favourite hotels, for a flavour of where you may stay on this trip.
Karaksa Hotel, Kyoto
Contemporary rooms in Nakagyo
Located next to Omiya train station and only 10 minutes’ taxi ride from Kyoto train station.
Why we stay here
Spacious rooms (by Japan’s standards – there are much, much smaller, we promise), a simple breakfast buffet, wifi, flatscreen TVs and USB ports in every room make Karaksa an ideal base for exploring Kyoto.
Aki Grand Hotel, Miyajima
Unequalled views of the Itsukushima Shrine
This water-front hotel looks out at the iconic shrine across the sea, as well as boasting communal and open-air baths.
Why we stay here
Unwind in hot springs looking out at the sea and let off some steam in the sauna, before heading out across the water to Miyajima Island.
Smart hotel overlooking the Sukumo River
Just a 12 minute walk from Hakone Yumoto Station are these compact but well appointed guest rooms, with an excellent restaurant serving kaiseki, a traditional Japanese tasting menu.
Why we stay here
Make the most of the tranquil onsen spa, which is available for private hire – it will be the most relaxing 45 minutes of your trip.
Fly into Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) or Narita International Airport (NRT) and fly out of Osaka International Airport (ITM).
Alternatively, you could catch the bullet train to Tokyo and fly out from Haneda or Narita Airports. Tokyo is over three hours away from Osaka, where your adventure ends, so we suggest avoiding a morning flight home.
Upon arrival on day one, please arrive at the airport at 3pm and make your own way to the hotel. You will meet your dedicated guide and fellow travellers at 4.30pm in the hotel lobby.
This itinerary makes extensive use of public transport, as it is the fastest and most reliable way to see Japan.
We spend three nights in a ryokan, which is a traditional Japanese inn. Flashpackers looking for a truly Japanese experience will love it, however it is lacking the facilities of a typical Flash Pack hotel. Please get in touch with our Sales Team if you would like further information on this.
Please be aware that hotel rooms in Japan are small and the hotels on this particular adventure are not luxurious.
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
We take safety very seriously on Flash Pack adventures, read more here.
Joining the Flash Pack community comes with a few special guarantees...
Our trips are for like-minded people in their 30s and 40s – and 98% of them join us solo. It’s almost a given you’ll make friends.
We know the world’s best bits, so your adventure will always be immersive and authentic, and your accommodation hand-picked.
Our guides on the ground know their destinations better than anyone, so expect unprecedented access to local living and cultural secrets.
We take all the hassle out of travel planning for you. Unique accommodation? Activities? People? Sorted.
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