• Best Time to Visit

    March, April, September & October

  • Duration

    10 Days

  • Theme

    Food & Shopping, History & Architecture, Living Like a Local, Nature & Landscape

  • Accommodations

    Luxury boutique hotels


Cruise the continuum from traditional to futuristic in the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan is a world apart, a place where ancient rituals are fused with contemporary life as if it were the most normal thing in the world. From skyscrapers, neon-lit streets and subterranean restaurants to matcha tea ceremonies, century-old shrines and cherry blossoms gardens, Japan offers a seamless blend of contrasting experiences. Bustling metropolis vibe and sedate state of zen blend in equal doses to create this one-of-a-kind Asian itinerary.


Day 1: TOKYO

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Have a brush with Tokyo’s past in the narrow lanes of Asakusa, lined with tea houses, local restaurants and kimono stores enroute to the iconic red gates of the 7th century Senso-ji Temple, where locals toss coins and burn incense at the main altar. Reserve a couple of hours for a private lesson on Shodo, the Japanese calligraphy. Gaze at the urban sprawl from the top of the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world. Wander through the oasis of Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, which were once reserved for royalty, then be seen at the Shibuya Crossing, the world's busiest crosswalk. Close the day with an indulgent sunset helicopter cruise over Tokyo.

Day 2: TOKYO

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Zip like a bullet at 320 kilometres per hour in the super-slick Shinkansen and discover two of the most epic attractions of Japan on a day trip to Hakone and Mount Fuji. Learn about the feudal history and retro atmosphere of Hakone town. Ride a cable car up Mount Komagatake to see a lava dome and marvel at uninterrupted views of Mount Fuji. Hike the natural wonderland of hot springs, lakes, volcanic islands, and soaring peaks that make up the Hakone National Park. Top up the glorious day with the ultimate Onsen experience at KAI Sengokuhara, with private baths opening up to views of the vast Sengokuhara plains.

Day 3: TOKYO

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Embark upon a sensory adventure at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s largest wholesale fish market. Fulfil culinary dreams with steaming yakitori skewers, noodle dishes, tamagoyaki and sushi. Do the museum-hop at Ueno Park for a glimpse into the art and history of country. Delight in retail therapy at Ginza, one of the top shopping districts here. Change gears to catch a classic Japanese performance, Kabuki which is an interesting blend of music, dance, mime, along with spectacular staging and costuming. Lighten up in the evening at a funky dive bar in Golden Gai.

Day 4: TOKYO

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Reserve a day to explore the mountain town of Nikko. Savour the ambience of the World Heritage site of the Tosho-gu shrine complex and pose by the vermillion coloured Shinkyo Bridge. Soak in the purity of the cedar and pine woodland of the Nikko National Park, and uncover a lesser-known treasure, the 70 stone statues of the Bodhisattva Jizo dressed in red bibs, before seeking bliss at the Kegon Waterfall. Bump up the snob-value with a fancy meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Effervescence, that promises innovative Japanese cuisine.

Day 5: TOKYO

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Get acquainted with Tokyo's architectural and cultural evolution at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. Later, encounter royalty at the Imperial Palace Gardens, surrounded by original moats, walls and guardhouses built by the Tokugawa shogun. Continue the tryst with peace at the Meiji Jingu shrine, dedicated to modern Japan's first emperor and empress. Evening is a good time to watch a sumo match at Ryogoku Kokugikan stadium. Look forward to an exclusive masterclass with a professional sake (Japanese rice wine) sommelier and learn which varieties pair best with your choice of Japanese or Western gourmet dishes.

Day 6: KYOTO

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Dig deep into Higashiyama to see Kiyomizu-dera temple and soak in the milieu at Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka, the unspoiled historical alleys of Kyoto. Wander the streets of Gion, the famous geisha district and spot the elusive geisha. Capture gastronomic flavours, aromas and sights at Nishiki Market, relish local delicacies like tsukemono and buy artisan knives at Aritsugu. Prep for a multi-course Kaiseki tasting menu and a private dance performance by graceful geishas to the soundtrack of the three-stringed shamisen.

Day 7: KYOTO

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Start the day with the phoenix city of Hiroshima for fascinating insights into World War II history. Visit the epicenter of the tragic atomic blast, the Atomic bomb dome, before getting a complete lowdown on nuclear weaponry at the Peace Memorial Museum. Continue to the picturesque island of Miyajima, to see the bright red Great Torii gate of the Itsukushima Shrine floating over water. Drop in to the Daisho-in Temple complex, which is known for over 500 mysterious statues.

Day 8: KYOTO

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Plan to spend a day at Osaka, one of Japan’s culinary capitals. Ogle at the magnificent Osaka Castle to learn about its 450-year-old history. Make a pit stop at the Shitenno-ji, the oldest Buddhist site in the country, recognizable by its five-story pagoda. Seek out a host of Japanese National Treasures at the Shitenno-ji Treasure House and stroll the neon-lit Dotonbori, considered to be the mecca for the kuidaore food culture of Osaka. Taste regional specialties like takoyaki, the octopus snack and okonomiyaki, the savoury pancakes at Sennichimae Lane.

Day 9: KYOTO

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Take the romantic Sagano train to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove for a surreal session of forest bathing among thousands of bamboos soaring to heights of over 1000 feet. Pay homage to the most iconic Zen temples of Japan’s old imperial capital, Kinkaku-ji, whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Visit the home of a local tea master to participate in an exclusive Japanese tea ceremony. Pamper your palate at an Izakaya (Japanese-style pub) with tempura, sashimi, and gyoza accompanied by nama biiru (draft beer) or sake.

Day 10: KYOTO

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Head to Daigoji Temple, one of the largest temple complexes in Kyoto, home to the Bentendo Hall that is famous for the beautiful coloured leaves in the fall when maples and ginkgos turn red and yellow. Brace for an extraordinary visual spectacle at the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, famed for its 10000 vivid vermillion torii gates. Visit Japan's first permanent capital, Nara, that is known for its grand Golden Buddha and expansive deer park. Wrap up the extraordinary trip with an authentic Japanese sushi dinner at the cozy family-owned Teppan Tavern Gion Tenamonya restaurant.


Pricing is indicative and subject to change depending on travel month, duration and selected accommodations.


  • Return International Airfare to Tokyo
  • Inter-city train transportation in Japan
  • Accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
  • Private Airport and Station Transfers in all cities
  • Activities & Excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Travel Insurance


  • Lunch & Dinner unless specified in the itinerary
  • Visas
Teresa Fisher

Teresa Fisher is a National Geographic author and freelance travel writer based in Portsmouth, UK. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Exeter University, she initially worked in London for Sotheby’s auction house; then in Europe as a cross-cultural communications trainer, living in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland and Taiwan. While residing in Bavaria, she commenced a career in travel writing, focusing initially on Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy – destinations which still hold a special place in her heart. Teresa has since penned more than 30 guidebooks and children’s educational books on a wide variety of destinations from Europe to Japan, for publishers such as Lonely Planet, Frommer’s and Fodor’s, and including National Geographic Traveler Switzerland. She specializes in European cities, adventure travel to far-flung destinations and all things Alpine, dividing her time between her family-oriented website,, and photojournalism. Her stories have taken her round the globe, documenting wildlife and culture in some of the world’s more remote places. Highlights include tracking jaguars by dugout canoe in Guyana, tracking orangutan in eastern Sabah, backpacking round Japan, and being part of the first team of husky mushers to cross from Finland into Russia. When she’s not travelling or skiing, Teresa spends summer months aboard her houseboat in the world’s largest natural harbour, Poole Harbour. Teresa speaks French, German and some Italian, plays the violin and piano, and is a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and The Arts Society. She has been leading expeditions for National Geographic in Europe for more than half a dozen years.

  • Jul 19-28, 2020
  • Sep 6-15, 2020
Patrick Hunt
Archaeologist Author

Award-winning archaeologist, author, and National Geographic grantee Patrick Hunt earned his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and has taught at Stanford University for nearly 30 years. Patrick directed the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project from 1994 to 2012, and has continued project-related fieldwork in the region in the years since. His Alps research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Society, and he frequently lectures for National Geographic on Hannibal and the European mummy nicknamed Ötzi the Iceman. He is also a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club. He is the author of 21 published books, including the best-sellers Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History and Hannibal. He has a lifelong love of the Alps, having lived there for several months each year since 1994.

  • Aug 2-11, 2020
  • Aug 16-25, 2020
Tim Jepson

Tim Jepson is a British, London-based writer, traveler, and broadcaster. He began his traveling life at the age of 12, exploring the mountains of Britain and Ireland. After graduating from Oxford University, he lived and worked in Italy, writing for a variety of British newspapers and leading high-level expeditions in the country’s remotest corners. His experiences were recorded in a book, Wild Italy. He has since written more than 20 books, including several titles for National Geographic, and numerous articles for publications worldwide. Tim worked as a travel editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, and continues to travel extensively, with a passion for the farthest-flung destinations and the untrammeled cultures of Bhutan, Laos, Tibet, and Myanmar. He recently completed The British World: An Illustrated Atlas for National Geographic.

  • Jun 21-30, 2020
Alexander Murphy

Alexander (Alec) Murphy is at the forefront of the movement to combat geographical illiteracy in the United States. A geography professor at the University of Oregon, Alec is Senior Vice-President of the American Geographical Society, a past president of the American Association of Geographers, and a frequent advisor on National Geographic education initiatives. Research, speaking invitations, and travel have taken him to more than 100 countries on six continents. Throughout his career, much of Alec’s work has focused on Europe; his book, The European Culture Area (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), is the most widely used classroom text on the geography of Europe in the United States. In the late 1990s he began extending his focus to the Middle East and North Africa, and by the early 2000s Alec found himself increasingly drawn to various parts of Asia. He is now a regular visitor to China, and he recently became the first foreigner to give a plenary lecture at the opening session of the Chinese Geographical Society’s annual meeting. Alec holds a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from Yale University, a law degree from the Columbia University School of Law, and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Chicago. Drawing on his expertise in political, cultural, and environmental geography, he will offer his insights into the human and physical forces shaping the places we visit.

  • Aug 30-Sep 8, 2020
Everett Potter

Travel writer Everett Potter has been covering the globe for three decades in pursuit of great stories. For the past 15 years, many of his pieces have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, including a recent feature, “Swiss Tracks,” for which he traveled by rail, cog-railway, tram, and lake steamer around the country. He’s also written about various destinations in the Caribbean, Canada, Central America, and other European destinations for the magazine. Everett received his B.A. in English from Boston University in 1974 and his M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976. He was a longtime columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, Smart Money, and Ski, and his work has appeared in most major publications, including Outside, The Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post, and Forbes Life. He is the author of The Best of Brazil and has been awarded four Lowell Thomas Awards for his travel writing. He lives in Pelham, New York, and spends summers in a rustic cabin in Western Maine.

  • Jul 5-14, 2020
  • Sep 13-22, 2020
William Saturno
Educator Archaeologist

William Saturno is an archaeologist and storyteller specializing in the myths and histories of early civilizations and the politics of empire. A National Geographic Explorer and a former NASA research scientist, he has conducted fieldwork around the globe, both on the ground and from space, to understand the ideological and environmental foundations of how the great Czars, Khans, Emperors, and Ajaws of the past ruled over their societies. As an avid student and scholar of the ancient world, Bill weaves together data from archaeology, anthropology, and history spanning from the jungles of Central America and Southeast Asia to the deserts and grasslands of Eurasia and from the shores of the ancient Mediterranean to those of Scandinavian fjords, narrating the tales of adventurers, artists, commoners, and kings alike to bring the past vividly to life. He has joined numerous National Geographic Expeditions over the years in diverse geographies, including Mexico, Guatemala, China, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, and beyond.

  • Jun 14-23, 2020
David Silverberg
Geographer Geologist Conservationist

David Scott Silverberg is a geographer working on conservation projects spanning six continents. His mix of exploration, research, and digital photo-video storytelling has been popular with National Geographic travelers for many years. A fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Asia Society, David was the executive science director at Earthwatch Institute, set up and managed Boston University environmental field research programs in British Columbia and eastern Africa, and was a founding White House staff member for AmeriCorps. David has worked in more than 100 countries, manages the Environmental Learning Institute, and teaches at several international universities.

  • Jun 7-16, 2020