Heading to Japan? Want to Find the Best Japan Tours for 2018? Read This.

Best Japan Tours

Japan is an awesome place to visit, however due to the language barrier it can be a bit more complicated to work out your trip than many other destinations.  For many people the option to book a package tour is attractive as you only need to make one booking rather than many, and you also usually have the benefit of the tour being escorted so you don’t need to work everything out by yourself.

With that philosophy in mind I have put together a detailed article on how to find the right tour to suit you for travel in 2018, which includes overviews for some of the major reputable tour operators in Japan.  Most Japan tours use the extremely good Japan Rail or JR shinkansen or bullet train system.

Check out my Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group – you are welcome to join and it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Japan!

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Understanding Japan Distances and Travel Times

When you think about visiting Japan it is a good idea to get your head around the size of Japan and the typical places people visit, and how long it will take you to get around.  The majority of first time visitors to Japan will typically visit Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka with many also visiting Hiroshima.  The four cities can be visualised as a straight west to east line as you can catch a single train line which stops in all 4 cities.  The distances are travel times are as follows:

  • Tokyo to Kyoto is a 457km / 284 mi distance which takes approximately 2:30 hours on the Shinkansen bullet train. Kyoto does not have an airport, so flights arrive in Osaka
  • Kyoto to Osaka is a 55km / 34 mi distance which takes approximately 30 minutes on the train. The train from Tokyo to Osaka takes approximately 2:50 hours.  Flights from Tokyo to Osaka take approximately 1 hour.
  • Osaka to Hiroshima is a 326km/203km distance which takes approximately 1:45 hours on the Shinkansen bullet train.

The majority of tours of Japan explore the area between Tokyo and Hiroshima with quite a few itinerary variations and a diverse range of experiences, mostly in the comfort of the high speed shinkansen bullet trains and other local transport options.

Best Japan Tours Using Tour Radar for 2018

The best option to find the package tour which will best fit your needs in 2018 is to use the Tour Radar booking site.  Tour Radar is a great site which has details of tours from over 28 tour companies which operate in Japan.

Some great news is that Tour Radar is running their next Online Travel Expo over 19 – 26 September 2017 where they are offering travel deals up to 60% off tours around the globe from the industry’s top tour operators!  Click on the banner below to see the tour options available so that you are ready to book once the sale commences.  By registering early you can also go into the draw to win a $US1000 prize to spend on a tour during the expo!

Tourradar

How to Find Your Tour Using Tour Radar

After you click through, on the left hand side is the filter bar where you can select your specific travel dates, your age range, travel style, regions of Japan you would like to visit, your preferred starting an ending location plus a few more options.  There is also a filter option to see both early bird and last minute deals!

Check here for Japan tour options and prices

How to Book Your Tour Using Tour Radar

When you find a tour of Japan which meets your preferences, you can then go ahead and book directly through the Tour Radar website and obtain an instant confirmation.  To confirm your booking you will have to pay a deposit of $250 (the amount varies slightly depending on your country of origin) with your final payment for the balance of the tour cost being due 30-60 days prior to departure,  The final payment is paid automatically from the credit card you used to pay for your deposit.  The specific date for final payment will be provided after you have confirmed your booking.

What If You Need to Cancel Your Tour Radar Booking?

An important question is what happens if you need to cancel your tour after you have already paid the deposit or final balance?  Each Tour Radar booking is made using the specific terms and conditions of the tour company.  Before you book I recommend that you read the terms and conditions so that you understand the key dates that you can cancel and still receive some or all of your money back.

I also strongly recommend that immediately before or after you book your tour that you purchase a travel insurance policy to ensure that you have coverage in the event that something occurs which causes you to have to change or cancel your trip.  If you have any pre-existing medical conditions you will need to take action early to obtain a policy – sometimes before you book your flights and your tour to ensure that you can get coverage.

If you have not already purchased travel insurance I recommend that you get a quote from World Nomads travel insurance using the below quotation tool and then book your travel insurance.  Ensure that you check the terms and conditions to ensure that this product is suitable for your needs.  World Nomads provides travel insurance coverage for people from over 150 countries.

Best Japan Tour Options for 2018

If you prefer to book directly with a reputable tour company I have put together a detailed list of options to consider in the following categories.  In each category I have included a table which enables you to compare each tour in that category, which includes duration, cost (note prices were last updated in Aug 17 and are subject to change), accommodation level, inclusions and meals.  After the table is a greater level of detail about each tour option and the links for you to go and have a closer look at that tour.

  • Small Group Deluxe Package Tours
  • Small Group High Inclusion Package Tours
  • Small Group Low Inclusion Package Tours
  • Package Tour Options for Younger Adults
  • Package Tour Options for Families
  • Active Japan Package Tour Options
  • Japan Package Food Tour Options
  • Japan Winter Package Tour Options

The tours I am recommending are all reputable travel companies.  G Adventures, Intrepid, Peregrine, Contiki and Gecko Adventures are all reputable worldwide tour companies.  Govoyagin is a reputable Asian travel company which often has a few more options available in Japan than the other companies.  Govoyagin also offers an extensive range of English language and other language day trip tour options for Japan so is worth checking out to round out your itinerary.

Best Japan Small Group Deluxe Package Tours for 2018

Japan Deluxe Package Tours Comparison Table

Japan Deluxe Package Tours Comparison Table

  • The G Adventures Iconic Japan is a 12 day National Geographic Journeys small group deluxe tour for ages 12 and above which visits Tokyo, Tsumago, Kanazawa, Hiroshima and Kyoto. This tour uses higher quality hotels for 10 nights and a traditional Ryokan for one night.  This tour includes accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness.  This tour has a higher number of included activities and has 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the G Adventures Iconic Japan Tour.
  • The Govoyagin Tokyo to Osaka Tour is a 7 day English speaking private group tour for adults which visits Tokyo, Mt Fuji/Hakone area, Osaka and Kyoto. This tour includes accommodation at either Standard, Deluxe or Premium levels.  This tour includes public transport tickets, private walking tours of Tokyo, Kamakura, Mt Fuji/Hakone, Kyoto and Uji/Fushimi, attraction entrance fees, group airport transfers from the Tokyo airports and finishing in Osaka airport.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Govoyagin Tokyo to Osaka 7 Day Tour.

Best Japan Small Group High Inclusion Package Tours for 2018

Japan Standard Package Tours Comparison Table

Japan Standard Package Tours Comparison Table

  • The G Adventures Discover Japan Tour is a 14 day Classic small group tour for ages 12 and above which visits Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Mt Fuji region and then returns to Tokyo. This tour uses hotels for 9 nights and traditional Ryokens for 4 nights.  This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness.  This tour has many included activities and has 2 breakfasts and one dinner included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the G Adventures Discover Japan Tour.
  • The Peregrine Explore Japan is a 12 day small group tour for ages 15 and above which visits Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Takayama and Tokyo. This tour uses hotels for 9 nights and traditional Ryokens for 2 nights.  This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness to carry your own luggage and the ability to walk 10-15km on some days.  This tour has many included activities and has 11 breakfasts and two dinners included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Peregrine Explore Japan Tour.
  • The Intrepid Classic Japan Tour is a 12 day Comfort small group tour for ages 15 and above which visits Kyoto, Mt Koyasan, Hiroshima, Tsumago, Matsumoto and Tokyo. This tour uses hotels and traditional Ryokans for 10 nights and a temple stay for one night.  This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness to carry your own luggage and the ability to walk up to 10 km on some days.  This tour has many included activities and has 11 breakfasts and 2 dinners included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Intrepid Classic Japan Tour.
  • The G Adventures Backroads of Japan Tour is a 12 day Classic small group tour for ages 12 and above which visits Tokyo, Nagano, Matsumoto, Takayama, Kurashiki and Kyoto. This tour uses hotels and traditional Ryokens for 9 nights and traditional inns for 2 nights.  This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness.  This tour has many included activities and has 1 breakfast and one dinner included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the G Adventures Backroads of Japan Tour.
  • The G Adventure Japan Express Tour is a 9 day Classic small group tour for ages 12 and above which visits Osaka, Mt Koyasan, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Hakone/Mt Fuji Area and Tokyo. This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness.  This tour has many included activities and has 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the G Adventures Japan Express Tour.
Views over Matsumoto Castle, Japan

Views over Matsumoto Castle, Japan

Best Japan Small Group Low Inclusion Package Tours for 2018

Japan Basic Package Tours Comparison Table

Japan Basic Package Tours Comparison Table

  • The Intrepid Japan Express Tour is a 9 day Basix small group tour for ages 15 and above which visits Tokyo, Nikko and Kyoto. This tour uses mostly Ryokan and small guest house accommodation.  This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness to carry your own luggage and the ability to walk up to 10km on some days.  This tour is structured to maximise your independent travel time with very few included activities and no meals included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Intrepid Japan Express Tour.

Best Japan Tour Options for Younger Adults for 2018

Japan Young Adult Package Tours Comparison Table

Japan Younger Adult Package Tours Comparison Table

  • The Contiki Japan Unrivalled Tour is a 13 day tour for 18-35 year olds which visits Tokyo, Hakone (Mt Fuji area and onsen stay), Takayama, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Wakayama (temple stay) and finishes in Osaka. This tour uses a combination of hotels and traditional Ryokan and Shukubo stays, as well as a combination of train and private Contiki coach to get around.  14 meals are included in the tour package.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Contiki Japan Unrivalled Tour.
  • The Geckos Discover Japan tour is a 10 day tour for 18-29 year olds which visits Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka. This tour uses a combination of hotels and traditional Ryokans, as well as public train and bus transport options.  This tour requires a moderate level of fitness to carry your own luggage and to do a lot of walking (up to 10km each day).  No meals are included in the tour package.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Geckos Discover Japan Tour.
  • The G Adventures Epic Japan tour is a 9 day tour for 18-39 year olds which visits Tokyo, Mt Fuji/Hakone area, Kyoto and Osaka. This tour uses multi share hostels for accommodation, as well as public transport to get around.  This tour includes some activities and no meals are included in the tour package.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the G Adventures Epic Japan Tour.

Best Japan Package Tour Options for Families for 2018

In the other tour descriptions in this article I have included details of the minimum ages to participate in the tours.  The majority of G Adventure tours will take children aged 12 and above, as long as they are in the company of an adult who is at least 18 years old.  Other tour operators have minimum ages of 15 and 16 years old, also in the company of an adult.

For younger children the below tour options are available:

Japan Family Package Tours Comparison Table

Japan Family Package Tours Comparison Table

  • The Intrepid Japan Family Holiday Tour is an 11 day Original small group tour which visits Tokyo, Mt Fuji/Hakone Area and Kyoto. To participate children must be at least 5 years old.  This tour uses hotels for 8 nights and traditional Ryokans for 2 nights.  This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness.  This tour includes many activities and 10 breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Intrepid Japan Family Holiday Tour.
  • The Govoyagin Tokyo to Osaka Tour is a 6 day English speaking private group tour which visits Tokyo, Mt Fuji/Hakone area, Osaka and Kyoto. Babies and young children can participate in this tour, however it is also suitable for adult travellers.  This tour does not include accommodation, however there are a range of accommodation options you can purchase as a tour add on.  I reviewed the accommodation options available and they do not appear to be suitable for young children so you may want to book your own alternative accommodation.  This tour includes public transport tickets, private walking tours of Tokyo and Kyoto, and group tours of Osaka and Mt Fuji/Hakone, attraction entrance fees, airport transfers from the Tokyo airports and finishing in Osaka airport – note that you can move the final airport transfer from Kyoto to accommodate additional days of travel.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Govoyagin Tokyo to Osaka Tour.
Hogwarts School in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter USJ, with the reflection over Black Lake

Hogwarts School in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter USJ, with the reflection over Black Lake

Best Active Japan Package Tour Options for 2018

Japan Active Package Tours Comparison Table

Japan Active Package Tours Comparison Table

  • The Intrepid Cycle Japan Tour is a 14 day Original small group tour for ages 16 and above which visits Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kanazawa, the Noto Peninsula and Tokyo. This tour uses mostly Ryokan (8 nights) and hotel (5 nights) accommodation.  This tour provides accommodation, a bicycle, support vehicle and train tickets and requires a good level of fitness to ride a bicycle between 35 – 65km each day.  This tour includes many activities and 13 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners are included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Intrepid Cycle Japan Tour.
  • The G Adventures Japan Hike, Bike and Kayak Tour is a 13 day Active small group tour for ages 12 and above which visits Osaka, Chikatsuyu, Katsuura, Wakayama, Kyoto, Onomichi, Ikuchi Jima, Matsuyama, Hiroshima and Tokyo. This tour uses hotels (9 nights) and traditional Ryokans (3 nights).  This tour provides accommodation, a bicycle and kayaks and public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness.  This tour includes many activities and 12 breakfasts and 3 dinners are included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the G Adventures Japan Hike, Bike and Kayak Tour.
  • The Govoyagin Mt Fuji Climbing Tour is a two day tour which is suitable for both adults and children from 6 – 15 years of age, as long as they are accompanied by an adult of at least 20 years old. Children aged 16-19 can climb Mt Fuji by themselves as long as they have a letter of permission from their parents.  The Mt Fuji climbing season typically runs from early July to early September each year.  The tour is conducted as a group tour with Japanese speaking participants, however for this specific tour an additional English speaking guide will accompany the tour participants for the full journey.  A mountain guide will also provide support to all members of the group.  The tour departs from Tokyo, which enables you to climb to the 7th hut on the first day and have a short sleep, before then continuing your climb overnight so that you can view the sunrise from the peak of Mt Fuji.  For an additional fee (and an extra 90 minutes) there is an option to walk around the crater of Mt Fuji. On the return journey you can visit the Benifuji no Yu hot spring.  The tour subsequently returns to Tokyo.  You can either bring your own mountaineering equipment or hire everything you need – rental gear can be collected in Shinjuku in Tokyo and returned to the Mt Fuji 5th station.  Note that mountain insurance is not included and should be purchased by the participants prior to this tour.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Govoyagin Mt Fuji Climbing Tour.
Murodo on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route in Japan

Murodo on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route in Japan

Best Japan Package Food Tour Options for 2018

Japan Food Package Tours Comparison Table

Japan Food Package Tours Comparison Table

  • The Intrepid Real Food Adventure – Japan Tour is a 12 day original small group tour for ages 15 and above which visits Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Osaka, Mt Koyasan and Kyoto. This tour uses hotels for 6 nights, traditional Ryokans for 4 nights and a monastery for one night.  This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness and the ability to walk up to 10km on some days.  This tour includes many food related and other activities and 11 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners are included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the Intrepid Real Food Adventure – Japan Tour.

Best Japan Winter Package Tour Options for 2018

Japan Winter Package Tours Comparison Table

Japan Winter Package Tours Comparison Table

  • The G Adventures Sapporo Snow Festival and Japan Winter Highlights Tour is a 13 day Classic small group tour for ages 12 and above which visits Tokyo, Shirakawa, Kanazawa, Kawayu, Osaka, Kyoto, then flies to Sapporo, Noboribetsu and Sapporo. This tour uses hotels for 9 nights, traditional inns for 2 nights and a farmhouse for 1 night.  This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets, the flight to Sapporo and requires a moderate level of fitness.  This tour includes many activities and 3 breakfasts and 3 dinners are included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the G Adventures Sapporo Snow Festival and Japan Winter Highlights Tour.
  • The G Adventures Japan Winter Highlights Tour is a 9 day Classic small group tour for ages 12 and above which visits Tokyo, Shirakawa, Kanazawa, Kawayu, Osaka and Kyoto. This tour uses hotels for 6 nights and traditional inns for 2 nights.  This tour provides accommodation, public transport tickets and requires a moderate level of fitness.  This tour includes many activities and 3 breakfasts and 2 dinners are included.  Click here to check out the latest prices and availability for the G Adventures Japan Winter Highlights Tour.

Best Japan Tours

Here is a final reminder to check out my Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group – you are welcome to join and it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Japan!

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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