Highlights of Japan in a small group tour

9 Days, from AU $2,999


Ancient Entrance to Koyasan

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From Buddhist monks of Koyasan to the high rollers of Tokyo, capture the many faces of Japan on this condensed tour beginning in Osaka. Savour the region’s culinary delicacies and the beautiful views at Mt Fuji. You'll stay in a traditional ryokan and really soak up local culture in onsen hot springs. A great combination of included activities and free time, this adventure provides a taste of the rich culture of Japan.

This is a small group and cannot be customised. However, our Asia Experts can arrange pre and post trips according to your schedule and interest.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Osaka

Tonight, the adventure begins. Feel free to explore — but make sure you're back in time to meet your group. After introductions, your tour leader will review the details of your trip.

Day 2: Osaka/Kōyasan

Journey to Mt Koya, a religious centre founded in 816 by the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. The train ride up the mountain is possibly one of the finest rail journeys in Japan.

During the overnight stay in the mountain temple, witness the routines of the monks and dine on typical fare. Explore the temples and moss covered Oku-no-in cemetery in the afternoon.

Oku-no-in is the most sacred site in Koyasan and the location of the mausoleum for Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), the founder of Shingon Buddhism. The area is surrounded by a massive cemetery, the largest in Japan. With over 200,000 tombstones lining the almost 2km path to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum, there is plenty of area to explore. Be sure to see Torodo Hall (Hall of Lamps), the main place of worship, where more than 10,000 lanterns are kept burning day and night.

In the evening, savour a traditional dinner of shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) and relax in a yukata, or kimono.

Day 3: Kōyasan/Hiroshima-shi

Early morning offers the chance to observe the monks praying. Before a vegetarian breakfast, breathe in some fresh mountain air and journey back down the mountain.

Travel by train to Hiroshima, a historically significant city, marked with the explosion of the first atomic bomb in 1945.

We will also take a trip together to Miyajima Island, famous for being one of Japan's most scenic spots.

Day 4: Miyajima

Today, visit the Peace Park and Memorial Museum, a living memorial dedicated to the tens of thousands who died from the atomic bomb blast in 1945. Visit the statue of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who died of leukemia as a result of the bomb blast, despite folding 1,000 origami paper cranes to appeal to the gods to make her well. See the frame of the Gembaku Dome, the sole building to withstand the explosion. Reflect, remember, and be reminded of the power we all hold to create peace.

Hop a ferry to reach Miyajima Island, famed as one of Japan's most scenic spots, with a free afternoon to explore. See the famous floating Torii Gate, set out in the bay, which glows extraordinarily at sunset. The island is dotted with shrines and temples, populated by deer and monkeys, and traversed with hiking trails for those who want to get some exercise. There are also lanes full of souvenirs and tasty treats. Visit Miyajima at your own pace, and have the option to hike up to the peak of the island, Mt Misen, to see spectacular views of the surrounding islands.

Optional Activity

Set out for the summit of Mt. Misen, Miyajima’s highest peak at 500m (1,640 ft) above sea level. Opt to hike one of three trails through the forest and keep an eye out for wild deer or catch a ride on the ropeway and walk the remaining distance to the top. Take in great views of the Seto Inland Sea and on a clear day see as far as the city of Hiroshima.

Day 5: Hiroshima-shi/Kyoto

Visit zen gardens and pavillions, and the Gion area in the evening. WIth plenty of time to explore, opt to visit museums, palaces, temples, zen gardens, and restaurants.

Take long walks along the river, through the Inari Gates, or along the Philosopher's path to Nanzen-ji. Stroll around Gion, catch a traditional tea ceremony, get a fantastic meal and see locals dressed in traditional kimono.

Day 6: Kyoto

Visit the impressive Nijo Castle and gardens along with the famous Kinaku-ji Golden Pavilion, and practice meditation in Daisen-in's Zen rock garden.

Day 7: Kyoto/Hakone

Take a cable car up Mt Owakudani for views of Mt Fuji, a boat ride on Lake Ashino-ko, and a walk along the Old Tokaido Highway.

In the evening, enjoy the ryokan, savouring a complex meal of traditional Japanese foods, followed by a recommended soak in the onsen.

Day 8: Hakone/Tokyo

Arrive before noon to Tokyo, with time to explore this energetic metropolis.

Opt to visit Ueno park and the museums, Akihabara for cutting edge electronics, Harajuku for funky fashions, Ginza for the highest of the high end, walk the grounds of the Imperial Palace East Garden, or just stroll the streets, looking for the traditional life that still lies just under the modern surface.

Day 9: Tokyo

Depart at any time.

Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Standard:from AU $2,999
Luxury:from AU $3,260

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information


Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). 

  • Overnight in a temple on Mt Koya with traditional meals
  • Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum visit
  • Miyajima excursion with floating Torii Gate visit
  • Nijo Castle and gardens visit (Kyoto)
  • Kinaku-ji Golden Pavilion visit
  • Daisen-in Temple and Zen garden visit
  • Mt Owakudani cable car ride (Hakone)
  • Lake Ashino-ko boat ride
  • Traditional ryokan stay with kaiseki meal
  • Japan Rail (JR) pass (7-day)
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities 
  • 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners.
  • Hotels (6 nts), mountain monastery (1 nt), Japanese-style ryokan accommodation with hot springs (1 nt).
  • English-speaking tour leader throughout
Price Dependent:

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"My tour was splendid- excellent guide and everything was run like clockwork and great value for Summer tour in Japan. Love the culture. This was my fifth trip with Getaboutasia and Chimu Adventures and already planning next one in September Thanks for your work. " — Mr Bouman , Mullumbimby, June 2018

"I had a wonderful time first time to Japan with a great group of people. Loved the tea ceremony, geisha searching in Kyoto and quirkiness of Tokyo." — Ms Long, Maroochydore, May 2018

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