Elusive Japan, May 2009

This tour offers a glimpse into traditional Japan. We venture out of the cities to explore rugged coastlines, forested mountains, and peaceful lakes. We walk ancient highways, meditate with the monks at mountain temples, and try our hand at traditional crafts and cookery. Designed for those who want to stretch their legs and learn about Japan hands-on, without sacrificing the luxury our tours are known for, we stay at a mix of luxury hotels and traditional ryokan, with one night in a Buddhist temple.

For newcomers to Japan this tour includes the must-see sights in an original and exciting tour; for those returning to Japan this tour has many original elements and interesting options as an alternative to sights you may have already visited.

May has some of Japan's best weather for travelling, with highs in the low twenties and cool nights.

All the details in the schedule and hotel accommodation with be reconfirmed 60 days before departure.

Elusive Japan itinerary map

View larger map >>

Brief itinerary description

Day Schedule Main Transport Accommodation Meals
May 6th You'll be met on arrival in Japan and assisted with your transfer to Kyoto and then on to your hotel Flight & Airport Train Kyoto hotel B, L
May 7th We spend the morning exploring the fantastic Nijo Castle and the Heian Shrine. In the afternoon you'll have a choice of visiting the Golden Pavilion, and Ryoanji Temple - famous for its Zen garden - or trying cooking lessons. Private Coach / Taxi Kyoto hotel B
May 8th In the morning we visit Byodoin, and the Fushimi Inari Shrine with its tunnel of gates. In the afternoon you can choose to explore Kiyomizu Temple and Gion, or participate in a fabric dyeing workshop - a traditional Kyoto art. Taxi Kyoto hotel B
May 9th Today we move by train to the holy mountain, Koyasan via Osaka. Once on the mountain, we'll visit Kongobuji, the Okunoin Cemetery, and try zazen meditation. Local Train Mt Koya Temple B, D
May 10th After morning prayers and a traditional breakfast at the temple, we move on to the mountain town of Takayama, where we'll take an evening tour of the old town before spending a relaxing night at our ryokan. Train Takayama Ryokan B, D
May 11th Today we make a day trip to the world heritage village of Shirakawago, known for its distinctive thatched farm houses. We'll have a chance to explore the town, as well as the opportunity to learn the art of making traditional buckwheat noodles, a specialty of the region. Coach Takayama Ryokan B, D
May 12th An early start allows us to explore Takayama's famous early morning market, which sells everything from produce to souvenirs, before we move on to Tsumago. Private Coach / Train Tsumago Minshuku B, D
May 13th The old Nakasendo Road runs through Tsumago, and walking the low pass between here and Magome allows us to experience Japan as it was in the Edo Period. Walking Tsumago Minshuku B, D
May 14th Today we move on to the Izu Peninsula, a lovely costal area famous for views of Mount Fuji across the water, to spend a relaxing afternoon at our seaside ryokan. Bullet & Local Train
Izu Ryokan B, D
May 15th North of Tokyo, Nikko is home to incredible natural beauty as well as one of Japan's best shrines. We tour the Toshogu Shrine before moving on to our lakeside ryokan. Bullet & Local Train Nikko Ryokan B, D
May 16th After a relaxing morning at our ryokan, we spend the day hiking in the hills around Lake Chuzenji, and work up an appetite for another excellent dinner! Walking
Nikko Ryokan B, D
May 17th After visiting one of Japan's spectacular festivals, we move on to Tokyo, our final destination, for an exciting afternoon at the Sumo wresting - the most exciting of Japan's traditional sports. Bullet & Local Train Tokyo hotel B
May 18th An early morning start to see the Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auctions. After breakfast we visit the Sensoji Temple at Asakusa, followed by a cruise on the Sumida River to the super-modern Odaiba area. From there we move on by elevated monorail to explore the Ginza. You'll have the afternoon free to shop or sightsee as you please. Bullet & Local Train Tokyo hotel B
May 19th After breakfast at the hotel, we escort you to Narita Airport and assist with check-in for the flight back to the States Coach   B, L

Back to top >>

Elusive Japan, May 2009 Tour Price and Booking Details

Please note that tour dates and prices will be confirmed approximately 10 months before departure.

Price per person: $6190
Single supplement $1790

*A single supplement is necessary for all single bookings

*Prices are valid for exchange rates exceeding $1 = 90 yen

Minimum number of people: 10
Maximum number of people: 16

The tour is guaranteed as soon as we receive 10 guaranteed bookings. In the unlikely event there are less than 10 confirmed bookings 60 days before departure the tour may be cancelled or offered to you with modified conditions.

Please note that there is a small chance that the price will change due to taxes or the pound - yen exchange rate (see above & booking conditions). However all prices are guaranteed from 60 days before departure.

Tour Dates: Wednesday May 6th, 2009 to Tuesday May 19th, 2009

Included in Tour Package Price

  • Assisance on arrival in Japan, throughout the tour, up to and including the end of the tour.
  • Emergency assistance from our Japan Office throughout tour
  • Local Japanese guides in addition to group escort above
  • All accommodation
    (total 13 nights in Japan)
  • All meals as shown on itinerary
    (total 13 breakfast, 0 lunch, 2 dinner)
  • All train travel in first class including the bullet train
  • All other transport except during free time as shown on itinerary
  • All entry fees and any other necessary fees and tips except during free time (Free time when you may need to pay some transport/entry fees on this tour is on the final full day in Tokyo)
  • Luggage courier service whenever changing tour location

Not included in the Tour Package Price

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals not listed on brief itinerary
  • Incidental costs such as personal laundry, drinks, snacks
  • Passport and other visa document fees
    (US citizens do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days in Japan)

Full tour details including confirmed hotels will be sent to you by 1st February 2009.

Optional extras

We will be happy to make a personal quote for any of the following:

  • Requests for additional services during the tour including theatre tickets
  • Additional accommodation or personal tours before or after the scheduled tour
  • The scheduled tour as listed without the international flights from the UK.
  • Any flight upgrades to premium economy, business or first class (one-way upgrades are possible)


Bookings are confirmed by sending a signed and completed booking form which includes all participants and making the deposit payment of $1000 per person by credit card or international bank transfer.

Once we have received the booking form and the deposit payment has been cleared we will send you booking confirmation with tour details within 2 working days.

We can accept a provisional booking which hold a place on the tour. To keep a provisional booking we must receive a completed booking form within 7 days. This will be held until you confirm or cancel. If we contact you before that, you will be given at least 7 days to decide. If you wish to confirm we must receive your deposit as cleared funds within 14 days.

Total Payment Protection (topp) Policy cover:

An insurance policy has been arranged with Travel & General Insurance Company plc to protect customers' prepayments in the unlikely event of our financial failure.

These are paid in respect of:

  1. a refund of such prepayments for all arrangements in Japan if clients have not yet travelled
  2. making arrangements to enable the holiday to continue if clients have already travelled

Back to top >>