|Day 1 Arrive Tokyo
Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan.
Upon arrival at Narita International Airport, please follow the instructions listed to get to Tokyo's old downtown area
(Intrepid Travel does not arrange transfers in Tokyo so please make your own way to the starting-point hotel). Our
accommodation, a comfortable traditional Japanese-style inn (ryokan), is located in this area and you'll be pleased
to know that you are only a few minutes walk from the scenic Sumida River and busy Asakusa, with its famous
Senso-ji Temple, shops, bars, amusement arcades and restaurants.
To stay in a ryokan is a traditional Japanese experience, as this is how a typical family lives. Rooms have a tatami
(straw) mat floor and are sparsely furnished, often with just a low table. You will sleep in the traditional style, using
a futon, which is spread out on the tatami mat. During the day the futon is kept in the closet, then in the evening the
ryokan staff will prepare your bed for you. Shoes are removed at the main entrance to the ryokan, where you put on
the slippers provided. Slippers are used for walking around but should be removed before stepping onto the
tatami mat. A yukata (Japanese bathrobe) is also provided, to be worn during your stay. The yukata can be used for
both walking around the ryokan and as pajamas. All these customs may take a bit of getting used to, but travellers
find staying in ryokans a trip highlight, and don't worry, every room is equipped with modern conveniences,
including air-conditioning, private bathroom facilities, minibar, TV and IDD telephone. There's also complimentary
Japanese tea for your comfort.
Today is arrival day and there are no activities planned. When you check into your hotel there will be a welcome
note detailing what time to meet the leader in the lobby on day 2.
Day 2 Tokyo
After meeting the leader, discussing the itinerary and your interests and taking care of some paperwork we take a
trip out to Tokyo Disney, the world’s third most popular theme park. Visit Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland
and Tomorrowland and say hello to all your favourite Disney characters. The first Disney theme park to be built
outside the United States, Tokyo Disney is hugely popular with local Japanese people and there are many
opportunities to make new friends as you enjoy the rides which have made Disney theme parks famous all over
the world such as Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and the haunted mansion.
If you’re still in the park as night falls there’s the chance (schedule permitting) to see the magical evening
Dreamlights Parade as well as a fireworks display. Please note that the included ticket is valid for either Tokyo
Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea. You cannot visit both theme parks in one day on this ticket.
Day 3 Tokyo
This morning we make a visit to the Studio Ghibli Museum. Creators of much loved classics such as “Spirited
Away”, “My Meighbour Totoro” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, the studio Ghibli Museum is designed around its motto
“Let’s get lost together”. The imaginatively designed museum takes you through the creative process involved in
making an animated picture: gathering inspiration, initial sketches, development and the artistic of finishing a
project. There is also a display showing how animation works (including an amazing animated 3D display based
on “My NeighbourTotoro” and a free short animation specially made by Studio Ghibli artists for the museum (which
is different every month). For fans of Studio Ghibli or other animated movies this museum is not to be missed.
The afternoon is free to explore Tokyo’s many options. Depending on your interests the guide can help you see a
traditional Japanese theatre performance, take a river cruise, explore the electronics are of Akihabara or wander
around Asakusa’s many pedestrian shopping streets on your way to Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist Temple, Senso-ji.
Day 4 travel to Kyoto
This morning we go to a local house and learn the secrets of Japanese home cooking in an interactive lesson.
The local host will teach you how to roll your own sushi, make miso soup and other easy to recreate Japanese
We then hop on a bullet train to Kyoto (2.5 hours), travelling at over 250kmph through the Japanese countryside.
Keep an eye out for the elusive Mt Fuji as we pass but be warned that it’s a very shy mountain and a view is never
guaranteed. Rising majestically from the surrounding plain, Mt Fuji is Japan’s tallest and most sacred mountain.
Snow capped for most of the year and traditionally revered as the home of Japan’s native Shinto gods it is an
instantly recognisable icon of Japan.
On arrival in Kyoto we will drop our bags at our conveniently located hotel before going on an evening walk around
Gion, the largest Geisha district in Kyoto. Often misunderstood by the west, these elusive artisans are employed
for their mastery of traditional Japanese arts such as dance and playing of musical instruments as well as the
international art of conversation. Wandering around the traditional alleyways of Gion where the geisha live, train
and work we try to catch a glimpse of these elusive women as they flit from one social event to another.
Day 5 Osaka day trip
Today we take a day trip to Osaka, Japan’s third largest cities and one it’s most vibrant. Known amongst the
Japanese for it’s down to earth citizens who quite simply love their food we have the chance to make one of their
local specialties. Takoyaki is a small ball of batter into which one pops a square of octopus and seasoning such
as tempura drops and ginger. Served with a thick sweet sauce and garnished with seaweed and shaved bonito
flakes this is one of the most popular street foods in Japan and after crafting and devouring your own you’ll know
The afternoon is free to visit either Osaka Aquarium or Universal Studios depending on your interests and your
guide will assist you in buying tickets and accessing the attraction of your choice. Of course if you want to spend
your time doing something else entirely then the guide will help you organise any activity you prefer.
Osaka Aquarium contains one of the world’s largest aquarium tanks in the world which is home to a whale shark
swimming amongst an incredible variety of other fish. The displays focus on the ring of fire and the many sea
creatures living in this area. Learn more about the plate tectonics that affect these areas and the fascinating
animals that live in these environments.
The other option, Universal Studios, is the second most popular theme park in Japan after Tokyo Disneyland and
includes rides such as The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. As well as
these there are regular shows throughout the day 3D and even 4D movies showing.
In the evening you will meet up with your guide again for an included dinner of Osaka’s second most famous food
– okonomiyaki. Known overseas as Japanese omelette or Japanese pancake okonomiyaki is made from batter,
cabbage, egg, green onion and then topped with the topping of your choice – cheese, meat, vegetables and
mocha (pounded rice) all come highly recommended. The finished product is then topped with similar sauces and
garnishes to the takoyaki we made earlier today and devoured with gusto.
Day 6 Kyoto
We spend this morning exploring some of the sites that have made Kyoto famous throughout Japan and the world.
Kinkakuji, the temple of the Golden Pavilion, is Japan’s most popular tourist attraction for both local and
international guests and a chance to see the glistening building reflected in the surrounding pond is not to be
missed. Nearby Ryoanji rock garden is the epitome of Zen raked pebble garden design. Try to count all 15 grey
stones from a single place – good luck! It’s said to be impossible to see all 15 at once until you’ve gained
The afternoon is free for activities to suit your interests and your guide can take you to Arashiyama with its bamboo
forests and monkey park, walk the endless tori gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine, explore the backstreets leading to
Kiyomizu Dera, wander the philosopher’s path or see some of the more modern parts of this ancient city.
In the evening we treat ourselves to an included dinner of Shabu Shabu, a hotpot where you cook your own food at
the table, thinly sliced beef and a variety of vegetables is dropped into the hot water until cooked and then dipped
into your choice of sauce. It’s a wonderfully communal and relaxing way to enjoy a meal and a perfect way to finish
off your week travelling in Japan.
Day 7 Kyoto
Today is departure day and there are no included activities planned. Your guide can help you with plans for this day
as well as assist you in booking tickets for any onward journeys (and to the airport).
Departures to suit your
6 breakfasts, 2
lunches, 2 dinners
Disneyland 1 day ticket