Essential Japan

On this 17 day Essential Japan luxury tour, discover the neon lights of Tokyo, partake in a tea ceremony in Kyoto and visit the Peace Park in Hiroshima.

17 Days
Tokyo to Osaka
From (AUD)
$ 20,690
Dates & Pricing

2019/2020 Tokyo > Osaka

The essence of Japan

This distillation of all things Japanese is designed to provide you with a truly unforgettable travel experience.
In the shadow of Mt Fuji, Hakone presents you with the opportunity to see the nearby Owakudani geysers and the unusual Hakone Open Air Museum. Try your hand at Sarubobo mascot-making at Hida Folk Village and origami in Hiroshima. From the large neon pulsing, modern cities of Tokyo and Osaka to the historic villages of Shirakawa-go, Takayama and Tondabayashi, you will see all aspects of Japanese culture and lifestyle during your journey. Enjoy the very best the ‘land of the rising sun’ has to offer, from feudal castles to traditional gardens, sporting traditions to tea ceremonies, from sake to sushi, and everything quintessentially Japanese in-between.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
17 days
Departure City:
Return City:

17 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Tokyo

    This evening meet for your welcome reception and dinner at your hotel in Tokyo, your Special Stay for the next three nights.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Tokyo

    Visit the Asakusa district, paying your respects at Sensoji, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple.


    Visit the Imperial Shinto Meiji Shrine, walk across the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world and see the famous Hachiko dog statue. Alternatively, visit Shinjuku-Gyoen Gardens before exploring the lively Shinjuku entertainment district, or sample local snacks while strolling through the Yanaka District


    Take in the bright lights of Tokyo during your evening dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay on a yakatabune, an old fashioned houseboat.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Tokyo

    Start your day walking through the peaceful Hama-Rikyu Gardens before visiting the National Sumo Museum, housed inside the Kokugikan Sumo Hall in the Ryogoku District. The museum showcases rotating exhibitions of art and paraphernalia related to the history of sumo wrestling.


    Given by Taiko Masters, partake in an interactive, private group demonstration and lesson playing the Taiko drums.

    Walk off your lunch in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, part of the inner palace area and the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defence.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose contemporary Asian at China Blue. Alternatively, join your Tour Director and immerse yourself in the traditional Japanese evening Izakaya bar scene serving Yakatori and Kushiyaki.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Tokyo > Hakone

    Wander through the Tsukiji old outer market, which still remains in business, to see the morning’s catch being distributed by the retail shops and myriad of restaurants and street food stalls located here.


    Immerse yourself in Japanese cuisine with the help of a local chef, as you prepare your own sushi lunch.

    Venture into the countryside on your drive to Hakone and study the art works and sculptures at the Hakone Open Air Museum. Enjoy a Special Stay at your hotel overlooking Lake Ashinoko.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Hakone > Five Lakes

    Walk around the hot springs at the summit of the Owakudani geothermal area and admire the stunning scenery during your cable car ride down to your Lake Ashinoko cruise with Mt Fuji as a backdrop. Later, discover the craftsmanship involved in creating kimonos at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. Overnight the Fuji View Hotel.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose from Japanese or French menus at the hotel restaurant.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Five Lakes > Takayama

    En route to Takayama learn how wasabi is made at the Daio Wasabi Farm. Stop at the Hida Folk Village to partake in Sarubobo mascot-making. Enjoy a two night stay at your resort with amazing views over Takayama.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  7. Day 7 - Takayama

    Discover the historical farmhouses of the mountain villages in Shirakawa-go, now a World Heritage-listed Site. Back in Takayama, enjoy a sake tasting and visit to a sake museum, then view the impressive Yatai festival floats before exploring the shops and backstreets of Takayama’s old quarter.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose between Le Midi, a French-Italian-inspired bistro in town famed for its Hida Beef, or Sakanaya, a fine Japanese restaurant set in a renovated former sake brewery.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Takayama > Nagoya

    Wander the Miyagawa morning markets before travelling by Express Train to Nagoya and exploring the rebuilt Nagoya Castle. Overlook the flood-lit Nagoya Castle and enjoy your Teppanyaki feast at your overnight Special Stay.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Nagoya > Kyoto

    Travel by Shinkansen train to the culturally rich city of Kyoto, home to many World Heritage-listed Sites


    Partake in a Japanese tea ceremony whilst dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono, a great photo opportunity

    Settle into your four night stay in Kyoto.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  10. Day 10 - Kyoto

    Begin with a visit to the Kinkaku-ji or Golden Pavilion before wandering through the classical Zen Garden at Ryoanji Temple. Then wander through the surreal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove before an afternoon at leisure.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose between Japanese cuisine at Shinensen Heihachi, or international cuisine at the historic Fortune Garden.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  11. Day 11 - Kyoto


    Revel in the atmosphere of the ancient preservation districts or visit the Silver Pavilion and then stroll along the Philosopher’s Walk, especially beautiful during blossom season.

    Later marvel at the architecture of Nijo Castle, a classic reminder of the fascinating Edo-period shogunate’s power, before letting yourself loose in the Nishiki Shijo Shopping District during your free afternoon.


    After strolling through the Gion District, tonight’s dinner will allow you to interact with a Maiko, an apprentice Geisha, who’ll host your meal presentation. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about what is involved in becoming a Geisha and the art of Japanese hospitality.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  12. Day 12 - Kyoto > Nara

    Enjoy an excursion to Nara to visit Todaiji Temple and Nara Park. Stop at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha.

    Ryokan Upgrade - Choose to stay in a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese Inn with futon beds and private facilities including dinner and breakfast. Must be pre-booked before departure.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  13. Day 13 - Kyoto > Hiroshima

    Board your Shinkansen train to Hiroshima.


    Experience an emotional visit to the Peace Park and Museum before visiting Orizuru Tower to create your own special origami donation.

    Enjoy two restful nights in Hiroshima.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  14. Day 14 - Hiroshima > Miyajima Island

    Sail by ferry to Miyajima Island to visit Daisho-in Temple and the iconic floating Torii Gate at the Itsukushima Shrine. On return to the mainland visit the Mazda car factory and see the robots at work on the cars on the production line. Tonight, sample Okonomiyaki, a delicious savoury Japanese-style pancake and specialty of the region.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  15. Day 15 - Hiroshima > Himeji > Osaka

    Travel by Shinkansen to marvel at Himeji Castle, an original and Japan’s most spectacular castle before continuing to Osaka. Enjoy a two night Special Stay.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  16. Day 16 - Osaka

    Located outside of Osaka is the timeless village of Tondabayashi Jinaimachi. Visit a traditional house and wander around this splendid historical time capsule, with houses and buildings that date back to the Edo period. Back in Osaka, marvel at the size of the city from Sky Garden before seeing how beer is produced at the Asahi factory. Tonight relive your experiences at your farewell dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  17. Day 17 - Osaka

    Bid a fond farewell to the ‘land of the rising sun’.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

5-star luxury inclusions
  • The intimacy of small group touring with a maximum of 24 guests
  • 5 exclusive Scenic Enrich experiences
  • 1 Scenic Sundowners event
  • Your choice of 12 Scenic Freechoice activities and dining
  • 4 memorable Scenic Special Stays
  • 43 meals – 16 breakfasts (B), 14 lunches (L) and 13 dinners (D)
  • Expert Tour Director
  • Return airport transfers
  • All tipping and gratuities

Pricing & Availability