Onsen Japan

Hot Spring Heaven Japan

11 nights from £9,425pp (excl. international flights)

Kyoto  – Yamanaka Onsen  – Tokyo  – Hakone

A luxurious way to experience traditional Japanese culture

This 11-day Japan itinerary immerses travellers in quintessential elements of Japanese culture across Japan's main island of Honshu.

Discover shrines and temples in Kyoto and bamboo forests before learning to prepare perfect bento box lunches. Relax at a traditional ryokan in Yamanaka Onsen, soaking in rejuvenating hot spring baths and sampling sake. Take a scenic train to explore the samurai district, teahouses, and serene gardens of Kanazawa. Zip to Tokyo to see top sites and learn bonsai techniques from a master. Ride the bullet train and stay in a ryokan in Hakone with access to soothing onsen baths as well as a ropeway ride for stunning views of iconic Mt. Fuji. The trip balances guided tours of key attractions with hands-on activities like a private Zen meditation, exclusive tea ceremony, and cooking lessons. With luxurious ryokan stays and ample opportunities to unwind in therapeutic hot springs, along with cultural experiences like temples, shrines, gardens, and more, travelers are immersed in the traditional side of Japan.

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Managing Director
01768 603 715

I created this trip - call me to create yours

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The itinerary…

Day 1: International departure

Head to your nearest international airport and board your overnight flight to Japan.

Day 2: Arrive Kyoto

Sunset cruise in Kyoto with sakura Japan min

Sunset cruise in Kyoto

Upon arrival at Kansai International Airport (KIX), an assistant will greet you at the exit and escort you to either a private car or the train station for transportation to Kyoto. The service does not include purchasing or exchanging your JR rail pass. A Japanese-speaking driver will take you by private car to the Genji Kyoto hotel for check-in, and you will stay here for three nights. The evening is free for you to explore Kyoto at your leisure after hotel check-in. The rooms include private baths and a stunning view of the river.

Day 3: Kyoto day tour

Kyoto Fushimi Inari Thousands of vermilion Torii Gates 4

Fushimi Inari Shrine

After breakfast, meet your English-speaking guide at the hotel to begin you full-day private guided tour of Kyoto. Visit top sites like Kiyomizudera Temple, Ninenzaka, and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Experience a private Zen meditation session at Santei Room to sample Buddhist culture. Afterward, partake in an exclusive tea ceremony at Kodaiji Temple’s secluded tearoom open only to special guests. You will be dropped back at the hotel at the end of the tour around 5 pm. The evening is free to further explore mesmerizing Kyoto on your own after a day discovering top attractions with a knowledgeable local guide.

Day 4: Bento-making and Bamboo forests

Arashiyama bamboo forest near Kyoto Japan

Arashiyama bamboo forest

Spend a memorable morning learning to make quintessential Japanese dishes at a private 3-hour bento class. Create aesthetically pleasing boxed lunches, gaining insight into cultural food traditions. Follow along as instructors demonstrate cooking tricks, then try your hand at crafting favorites like sushi, tempura, miso soup and more. After assembling beautiful bento boxes, delight in eating the freshly made creations you prepared. Then visit serene temples like Tenryuji, Ryoanji, and Arashiyama Bamboo Forest to complement your morning of culinary and cultural discoveries. Return to your hotel by 6pm after an enriching day.

Day 5: To Yamanaka Onsen

Kayotei onsen Yamanaka Japan

Onsen view at Kayotei

After breakfast, your luggage will be transferred to your next destination, Yamanaka Onsen. Bring an overnight bag for the first night there. A private car takes you to Kyoto Station to board the express train to Kaga Onsen Station, arriving just before noon. Meet your guide to tour Kaga's highlights like Kakusenkei Gorge by private vehicle. Make an afternoon stop at sake master Noguchi Naohiko's institute for an intimate tasting and to learn traditional methods of crafting delicate rice wine. Visit Natadera Temple before arriving at Kayotei hotel by 6pm for check-in and dinner, concluding your guided tour. You will stay at Kayotei for the next two nights.

Day 6: Kanazawa and Kenrokuen Gardens

Nagamachi Samurai District Kanazawa Japan

Samurai district in Kanazawa

After breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide in the lobby for a full day exploring Kanazawa's top sites. Travel by private car for about an hour to Kanazawa. Visit the sprawling grounds of Kenrokuen Garden, considered one of Japan's most beautiful landscape gardens. Wander through the lively Omicho fish market to see the catch of the day. Explore teahouses and craft shops in the historic Higashichaya district. You will be dropped back at Kayotei around 6 pm to wash up and enjoy dinner at the hotel after a day discovering Kanazawa's culture and scenery. Revel in the ryokan's hot springs as the perfect way to relax after a full-day's excitement.

Day 7: Bullet train to Tokyo

Shibuya crossing drone shot Tokyo Japan min

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo

Start the day with breakfast, then pack an overnight bag for your night in Tokyo, and send your main luggage ahead to Hakone. You will then be transferred from the hotel to Kaga Onsen station. Take the express train to Kanazawa Station, enjoying an ekiben (a station bento lunch box) along the way. Transfer to the bullet train to Tokyo. Arrive in Tokyo around 2 pm and meet your guide on the platform for a guided tour of the city's top sites like Meiji Shrine, Harajuku's Takeshita Street, and the famous Shibuya Crossing, all via private vehicle charter. The tour concludes upon arriving at the Tokyu Capitol Hotel around 7pm, with the evening free for leisure.

Day 8: Heading to Hakone

Hinoki no yu hero Gora Karaku Hakone Japan

Onsen at Gora Karaku

Meet your guide in the hotel lobby for a half-day tour of Tokyo before continuing to Hakone. Ride by private vehicle charter to Tsukiji Market and the exclusive Shunkaen Bonsai Garden for a private tour. At the Shunkaen museum, founded by award-winning bonsai master Kunio Kobayashi, learn techniques he uses to shape the miniature trees and appreciate his pursuit of beauty, including a 1000-year-old pine tree. Depart Tokyo on the bullet train to Odawara, then transfer by private car to your Hakone hotel, the Gora Karaku where you will stay for two nights. Arrive and check-in, with dinner at the hotel, and make the most of your access to the hotel's excellent onsen.

Day 9: Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani

Fuji and Hakone Japan

Fuji and Hakone

After hotel breakfast, meet your English-speaking guide for a full-day tour of the Hakone area. Ride by private charter vehicle to the Hakone Shrine, take a scenic cruise on Lake Ashi, ride the Hakone Ropeway up to see the volcanic Owakudani Valley, and visit the renowned Hakone Open-Air Museum. Return to the hotel around 5pm, concluding the guided tour for the day with dinner at the hotel, allowing for more onsen time to relax and absorb the myriad benefits of Hakone's hot springs.

Day 10: Okada Art Museum and Japan departure

Tomura breakfast at Gora Karaku Ryokan Hakone Japan

Breakfast at Gora Karaku

It's time for your final Japanese breakfast at the Gora Karaku hotel, before checking out. At 11am, meet your guide who will join you for the morning museum visits. Visit the Okada Museum of Art, then take in views of Fuji from the Enoura Observatory. After finishing at the observatory around 2:30pm, continue the approximately 1-1.5 hour drive to Haneda Airport, arriving by 4:25pm for your flight to your onward destination.

Day 11: Arrive home

Land back in your home country with incredible memories of your relaxing journey of Japan

Duration: 10 nights

Location: Japan holidays, North Asia

Price: £9425pp

From £9,425pp based on two people sharing, excluding international flights.

The trip includes all accommodations and activities specified above. Rooms and meals are as below:

  • 3 nights at Genji Kyoto Hotel, Kyoto - river balcony deluxe room, breakfast included.
  • 2 nights at Kayotei Ryokan, Yamanaka Onsen - Japanese room with open-air bath, half-board included.
  • 1 night at The Capitol Hotel Tokyo – deluxe room, breakfast included.
  • 2 nights at Gora Karaku, Hakone – Japanese room, half-board included.

Also includes

  • Any transfers mentioned in the itinerary as included.
  • Private English-speaking guides where mentioned.
  • Any activities and entrance fees mentioned as included.

This trip excludes:

  • Single Supplements.
  • International flights to/from Japan.
  • Meals not mentioned as included.
  • Entrance fees and activities not mentioned as included
Tailor-made holidays
Make this trip your own.

Tailor this trip around your preferred dates, your budget and your ideas.

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When to go to Japan

A month-by-month guide of when to visit Japan

  • Best
  • Good
  • Mixed
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec


January is ideal for winter sports in Hokkaido and northern regions, with plenty of snow. Tokyo and Kyoto remain chilly but offer clear skies for sightseeing. Explore Sapporo's Snow Festival and soak in an onsen for the ultimate winter experience.



February is the best time for skiing and snowboarding in Nagano and Hokkaido. The Sapporo Snow Festival is a major attraction, featuring stunning ice sculptures. Other areas are generally cold and dry and good for sightseeing.



March marks the beginning of spring, with cherry blossoms starting to bloom in southern regions like Kyoto and Tokyo. Enjoy hanami picnics under the pink blossoms. It's a great time for hiking and outdoor adventures.



April is the peak of cherry blossom season. Witness Tokyo's Ueno Park and Kyoto's Maruyama Park come alive with vibrant sakura. Golden Week, late April to early May, offers festive parades and events.



May offers pleasant weather for outdoor activities and hiking. Explore Tokyo's International Food Festival and enjoy the comfortable climate for sightseeing in Kyoto.



June is the start of the rainy season, known as tsuyu, lasting until mid-July. Although it's wet, explore Kyoto's temples and gardens amid light crowds. Festivals like the Sanno Matsuri in Tokyo showcase Japanese traditions.



July continues the rainy season, but the Tanabata Star Festival brightens the skies. Hokkaido hosts the Lavender Festival with fields of purple blooms. Kyoto's Gion Matsuri features grand floats.



August offers festivals and fireworks. The Obon Festival celebrates ancestors with lanterns and dances. Enjoy the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival in Tokyo. Hokkaido's summer flower festivals are perfect for nature enthusiasts.



September brings comfortable weather and the iconic Kunchi Festival in Nagasaki. Explore the Sapporo Autumn Festival in Hokkaido. It's a great time for sightseeing with fewer tourists.



October features stunning autumn foliage in Kyoto and Nikko. Visit Tokyo's Meiji Shrine during the Meiji Jingu Festival and enjoy Oktoberfest celebrations. Ideal for hiking and outdoor adventures.



November showcases autumn foliage, with Kyoto's temples and parks ablaze in red and orange. Yoyogi Park in Tokyo hosts the International Food Festival, and Kyushu's hot spring resorts offer relaxation.



December marks the onset of winter, with holiday illuminations in cities and festive lights. Explore Hokkaido's Sapporo Snow Festival with breathtaking ice sculptures. Ski resorts open for winter sports enthusiasts.


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A tailor-made itinerary just for you.

  • Alistair


    Managing Director

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