13 day backpacking tour of Japan
Want to tour Japan without breaking the bank? Join our 13 day adventure, travelling from Tokyo, and learn what makes Japan so special! This backpacking tour is carefully created to ensure that your experience is authentic and different, while also making sure that you get to see the sites that make Japan so famous.
Are you looking to experience Japan with a friendly group and an enthusiastic, experienced guide? Not only is this tour extremely affordable, but it also offers you the opportunity to take part in some incredible experiences and activities. This tour to Japan will take you to the many famous destinations in Japan that this iconic country has to offer, but it will also include hidden gems, found by the team on the ground. The expertise of the team in Japan is what makes this backpacking tour truly unique.
Please note that all our tours show the activities that typically take place. However, the itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions, transport, city wide events and the rest of your tour group.
On arriving in Japan you will begin your tour in Tokyo…
Day one – Tokyo
- Start the adventure with panoramic views of Tokyo from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office
- Head to Shinjuku – famous for the giant Godzilla that looms over the neon lights and many shoppers
- Visit the Sensou-ji temple in Asakusa
- Optional activities: relax at a Japanese-style bath house, enjoy a drink in Hoppy Street or head to the baseball batting cages.
Day two – Tokyo
- Experience the famous Tsukiji fish market and take part in a sushi making master class
- Visit Akihabara – home of Japanese Anime and Manga
- Optional activities: eat at one of Akihabara’s quirky maid cafes or drive around Tokyo with MariCar – go-karting in fancy dress!
Day three – Tokyo
- Walk around the grounds surrounding the Imperial Palace
- Wander through acres of forest to the shrine of Emperor Meiji
- Soak up the crazy clothing and vibrant colours in the Harajuku Fashion District
- Optional activities: have a cup of tea at Cat Cafe – Mocha
Day four – Tokyo
- Explore the fascinating Edo-Tokyo Museum and watch a samurai sword demonstration – even take part if you feel brave!
- Optional activity: Watch live sumo wrestlers train and, if available, opt to eat their traditional lunch, watch a weird and wonderful Tokyo robot show
Day five – Kamakura
- Take a train to Kamakura – home of the first Japanese shoguns
- Witness the 45ft bronze Great Buddha Statue in Kotoku-in Temple
- Watch the sunset on the beach
- Optional activity: surf the waves on at the beach
Day six – Hakone
- Sample black eggs, cooked in sulphuric water
- Climb on-board a pirate ships and glide across tranquil Lake Ashi
- Travel on the Hakone Ropeway and view Mount Fuji from Oowakundi
- Relax in the forest and experience an Onsen – a Japanese hot spring
- Stay overnight in a Ryokan
- Sample the local sake
Day seven – Kyoto
- Travel on the efficient bullet trains to Kyoto
- Meander through the city and explore Kiyomizu Temple
- Optional activities: spend the evening at Pontocho Alley and eat at a traditional, wooden-paneled restaurant – near the Geisha district or head to the buzzing student area.
Day eight – Kyoto
- Raft down the Hozugawa River, guided by a driver
- Hike through a bamboo forest on the way to Arashiyama Monkey Park with panoramic views of Kyoto
- Spend time in the stunning gardens of the Tenryu-ji Temple
- Take part in a calligraphy class with a master
- Optional activities: Sing at one of Japan’s famous karaoke bars.
Day nine – Kyoto
- This day is unguided to give you a chance to do some exploring. Your leader will provide you with suggestions
- Optional activities: Choose to spend your morning exploring the many temples along the Philosopher’s Path or at the International Manga Museum, travel to Fushini Inari Taisha to trek the paths behind the well-known Shinto shrine complex
Day ten – Kyoto/Hiroshima
- Rise early to see the iconic Golden Pavilion
- Learn the art of meditation with a Buddhist monk
- Hop on a bike and tour Kyoto – last stop is the Imperial Palace
- Say goodbye to Kyoto and jump back on the bullet train to Hiroshima
Day eleven – Hiroshima
- Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial which documents the stories of the World War 2 atomic bomb
- Take a ferry to visit the Itsukushina shrine – temples on stilts – on Miyajima Island
- Ascend the rope-way to see panoramic views of the forest, island and ocean
Day twelve – Osaka
- Board the final bullet train and head to Osaka
- Explore Osaka Castle and descend into the donjon that spans across nine floors
- Sleep in a capsule hotel – a snug experience
- Optional activities: Enjoy a drink at the infamous Kamikazi Bar or enjoy the many shops, arcades, bars and clubs on your final night!
Day thirteen – Osaka
- Meet the group for brunch before saying your goodbyes.
- Your Japan Rail Pass expires at the end of today. You can use this to get the bullet train back to Tokyo, the airport, or anywhere else in Japan!
Accommodation and food
All accommodation is included for the duration of the tour. You will be staying in hostels along the tour route with the rest of your group. Expect to share a room with 4-8 people, depending on where you are staying. If you would like to have your own room, you can pay a supplement for this.
You will need to budget money for food. Your guide will take you to good local restaurants each day where you will be able to eat cheaply. You are also welcome to choose your own restaurants.
- Meet an amazing group of like-minded travellers
- Experience all that Japan has to offer without breaking the bank
- Take part in optional activities – such as Mario Karting through the streets of Tokyo!
- Eat your fill of sushi, yakitori and ramen
- Explore iconic sites – the Golden Pavilion
Whyshould I do this?
Backpacking trips to Japan are very popular. Mixing ancient temples with modern technology, traditional cuisines with vibrant shopping malls, Japan has so much to offer all types of traveller.
What makes this Japan tour stand out is the price! The team on the ground are country experts and have created this budget tour to make Japan accessible to all. You will use Japan’s efficient and modern public transport throughout the trip – which not only keeps the costs down, but will also give you a more authentic travelling experience. Budget travel in Japan is the way forward.
This group tour ensures you will not only visit the ‘unmissable’ tourist sites, but you will also head off the beaten track to see and experience the lesser known parts of Japan. This short trip to Japan provides a great stop off point if your plan is to travel the world on your gap year of career break.
Book your trip with Oyster today and start looking forward to your travel to Japan!
If you are flying, the nearest airport is Haneda Airport (HND) – the international airport in Tokyo. Narita International Airport (NRT) is also a good option.
You will meet up with your group and leader at 10am on the arrival day. Full details regarding where to meet will be provided in good time prior to your departure.
What is provided
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the tour, learn from our travel tips and manage your booking
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst in Japan
- English speaking adventure leaders
- Free Japanese tuition suitable for complete beginners
- All accommodation – hostels and hotels
- Internal travel – train, boat and bus tickets
- All included activities
- All taxes and charges
- Full financial protection through our ATOL (if we book flights) or IPP (if you book your own)
What do I need
- International flights
- Airport transfer
- All optional activities – highly recommended!
- Cost of food and drink
- Any additional travel, food or accommodation organised before or after the tour