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Backroads of Japan

Backroads of Japan


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Overview

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Itinerary

Countries Visited

Japan

Cities Visited

Hagi, Kyoto, Nagano, Tokyo

Tour Itinerary

Spot snow monkeys in Nagano, Relax in the healing waters of an onsen, Explore a 16th-century samurai castle, Cycle through the rural town of Hagi, Experience a homestay in a traditional Japanese community.

Wander off the beaten path away from Japan's big cities and popular sites with this 11-day tour that takes you to destinations that are often overlooked. Visit the treasured castle of Matsumoto and learn about samurai culture, relax in a traditional hot spring-fed onsen, explore the quaint city of Hagi by bicycle, and settle in at a community homestay to truly immerse yourself in the local culture. Of course, there's time before and after to explore Tokyo and Kyoto, making this trip a well-rounded glimpse into Japan's past and present.

Day 1: Tokyo
Arrive at any time.
Activity: Your opportunity to meet your CEO and fellow travellers, and learn more about your tour. Opt to join the group for a local meal afterwards. Don't forget to see the notice in the lobby (or ask reception) for the official time and place to meet up with the group.
Accommodation: The B Ikebukuro Tokyo (or similar)

Day 2: Tokyo
Take a CEO-led walking tour of eclectic modern Tokyo from the hub of Shinjuku to Shibuya through to Harajuku. The rest of the day is free for exploring more of the city.
Activity: Let your CEO guide you around eclectic and modern Tokyo.
Free Time: Explore this exciting city.
Accommodation: The B Ikebukuro Tokyo (or similar)

Day 3: Tokyo/Nagano
Journey to Nagano, located in the Japanese Alps and host city of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Discover the world-famous Jigokudani Monkey Park and watch Japanese snow monkeys bathing in the natural hot springs.
Transport: Get to your next destination faster than the speed of light (ok maybe not that fast) aboard a high-speed train.
Activity: Visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park, where wild snow monkeys can be seen bathing in the natural hot springs. The pool where most of the monkeys soak is man made, fed by the hot springs. Along the walking paths up to the pools other monkeys tend to stop and watch visitors curiously.
Accommodation: Nagano Tokyu REI Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: Nagano
Enjoy a day-trip to quaint Matsumoto and visit one of Japan's most treasured castles. Return to Nagano and explore historic Zenkoji Temple.
Transport: Climb aboard, take your seat, and get around like the locals do.
Activity: Stop at the castle of Matsumoto one of Japan's most treasured castles, maintaining it's original wooden interior and stone exterior. Explore this castle where 16th century Samurai once roamed before venturing out with the group to wander Matsumoto's ancient streets and or dine in a traditional storehouse.
Transport: Climb aboard, take your seat, and get around like the locals do.
Activity: Visit the Buddhist temple of Zenkō-ji, one of the last remaining pilgrimage sites. Built in the 7th century, the city of Nagano was built around the already standing structure.
Accommodation: Nagano Tokyu REI Hotel (or similar)

Day 5: Nagano/Otsu
Travel to Otsu in Shiga prefecture. Located on the banks of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake, the area is known for the Ogoto Onsens. Settle in and relax with a dip in the healing waters of these Japanese style hot springs, and dine on traditional fare.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Accommodation: Biwako Grand Hotel (or similar)
Meal(s): Dinner

Day 6: Otsu/Hagi
Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the Ryokan this morning before a long travel day. In the early evening, arrive in the quaint city of Hagi, a former castle town that boasts feudal architecture. Take part in a welcome ceremony with the local residents, and meet your host family at a community homestay, a G Adventures for Good project. Get to know each other as you enjoy dinner together.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Activity: Get to know a local family at this G Adventures for Good-supported community homestay in Hagi, a farming, fishing and historical heritage town. In recent years, due to the rapidly aging population and limited income opportunities in many of the rural areas of Japan, many community members have had to leave Hagi in order to make a living. Learn about local history and customs, and enjoy a home-cooked meal with your hosts.
Accommodation: Homestay in Hagi (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Dinner

Day 7: Hagi
Explore rural Hagi on a guided morning cycle, spotting samurai architecture along the way. On return, experience authentic Japanese countryside life by partaking in seasonal activities with the community. Return to your homestay in the late afternoon and enjoy dinner with your host family.
Activity: Explore Hagi on a cycling excursion led by your CEO. Enjoy the slow pace of life as you pedal past the city's samurai era architecture, and cycle along the Japanese Sea.
Activity: Get to know a local family at this G Adventures for Good-supported community homestay in Hagi, a farming, fishing and historical heritage town. In recent years, due to the rapidly aging population and limited income opportunities in many of the rural areas of Japan, many community members have had to leave Hagi in order to make a living. Learn about local history and customs, and enjoy a home-cooked meal with your hosts.
Accommodation: Homestay in Hagi (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Dinner

Day 8: Hagi/Tottori
Bid farewell to your host family after enjoying breakfast together. Later, travel to Miho-misumi by train, taking in scenic views along the way. Learn the art of making "washi," a UNESCO-recognized traditional Japanese paper before continuing to the seaside town of Tottori.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Activity: Learn the traditional art of "washi" paper making. Take home your handmade washi as a memento.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Accommodation: New Otani Tottori (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 9: Tottori/Kyoto
Spend the morning exploring Tottori's scenic sand dunes, some reaching 50m (164 ft) in height. After, visit the local fish market and opt for a fresh seafood lunch. In the late afternoon, travel to Kyoto for two nights in the traditional heart of Japan.
Activity: Located along the coast of the Sea of Japan, the Tottori Sand Dunes (or "Tottori Sakyu") were formed thousands of years ago when sand was washed away from a nearby river. Walk amongst the dunes and opt to climb one to take in scenic views of the coastline.
Activity: Check out Tottori's harbour fish market, home to fresh seafood and some of Japan's best crab. Walk amongst the stalls and watch the locals in action. Opt to try a tasty dish in the market's restaurant section.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Accommodation: The b Kyoto Sanjo (or similar)

Day 10: Kyoto
Visit the iconic Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, famed for an impressive 10,000 red torii gates. This afternoon, enjoy free time in this picturesque city. Opt to experience zen gardens, teahouses, shrines, and local gift shops - and maybe even spot a real-life geisha.
Activity: Visit the Fushimi Inari shrine, located just outside of Kyoto. Walk under the thousands of iconic torii gates (as seen in the film Memoirs of a Geisha) and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The shrine itself is at the base of the Inari mountain but includes many trails up to smaller shrines in the area.
Free Time: Explore more of this cultural hub.
Accommodation: The b Kyoto Sanjo (or similar)

Day 11: Kyoto
Depart at any time.
Activity: Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Inclusions

Meals Included
3 breakfasts, 3 dinners

Transport
Bus, bullet train, local train, bicycle, walking.

Inclusions
Your G for Good Moment: Hagi Community Homestay, Hagi Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your Hands-On Moment: Traditional Paper-making Lesson, Mihomisumi-eki. Modern Tokyo walking tour. Zenkoji Temple visit (Nagano). Jigokudani Monkey Park visit (Matsumoto). Matsumoto Castle visit. Hagi orientation walk. Hagi cycling tour. Tottori sand dunes visit. Tottori fish market visit. Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine visit. Japan Rail (JR) pass (7 days). All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Accommodations

Hotels (7 nts), traditional inn (1 nt, shared facilities), homestay (2 nts, multi-share).

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

G Adventures Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.1
Professional Staff
4.3
Repeat with Operator
4
Value for Money
3.9

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Ratings based off 450 reviews about G Adventures Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

This was my 8th tour with this operator and I have a 9th scheduled. Obviously I am happy with this operator.

It was a great tour and are guides were very knowledgeable.

A Gadventures tour is a great affordable way to see the country and get the opportunity to meet and interact with the local people

It was a dream vacation.Thank you.

The G-Adventures travel guides were excellent

All 100% perfect, nothing to be done better

The G Adventures tour was fantastic.

Very satisfied with tour, enjoyed it very much.

I liked the variety of activities and the chance to opt out without undue pressure. I met some really fun people on this tour.

Everyone connected with the tour went above and beyond. The tour was more than I ever dreamt!

Our CEO Solofo for this trip is fantastic. He is patient and very nice. He went extra ways to help me and other members. I really enjoy this trip because of him! He is an excellent CEO. I definitely will recommend to other friends about him. Pls let him know that we really enjoy his introduction. He is also very informative and knowledgeable. In a word, he is excellent!

Great trip at a reasonable price.

Awesome trip in a great country. Our CEO was professional and fun!!!

G adventures offers hands down some of the best tour packages out there!

The Japan vacation was better than I expected!!!! It was an active "moving" trip, which I truly enjoyed. I've done "coach tours" where you sit on the bus and they take you -- this experience was "hands on" riding the buses, trains and running through the streets -- it was amazing !!!!! We got the full feel of Japan and the people. This trip is not for the weak or slow pace crowd - you drag your luggage through the streets, up and down stairs --- it was truly exciting and exhilarating. G adventures has a fan for life. The instructions and assistance was outstanding -- Great job - Steve (AffordableTours.com) was outstanding !


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