tour types

Please take a few moments to read through our tours and discover how to make your dream a reality.
Custom

Just let us know what destinations you like or what kinds of sights or activities you enjoy. We will create a custom tour for you.

Independent

These are preset tours that allow you to experience the best of a country with the freedom to go at your pace and visit sights that are interesting to you.

Private

Our Private Tours are designed to give you the convenience of a group tour with the freedom and privacy of independent travel.

Small Group

These tours are fully guided with set dates for up to 12 travelers.

experiences

destinations

To get an idea of where you can go when you visit Japan, please take some time to browse our destinations pages. Click on any of the links below for a short description of the destination's location, history and characteristics.

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Itinerary Details:
Day 1 - Osaka - (Hotel)

Meet your guide and other group members at the hotel in Osaka in the evening. There will be a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

Learn more about Osaka

Day 1 - Osaka - (Hotel)

Meet your guide and other group members at the hotel in Osaka in the evening. There will be a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

Learn more about Osaka

Day 1 - Kyoto - (Hotel)

Meet at the tour hotel in the centre of Kyoto. There will be a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

Learn more about Kyoto

Day 1 - Tokyo - (Tour Ends)

The tour ends today after breakfast. Your guide will be on hand to offer assistance and advice for travelling to the airport if you have homeward flights, or on onward travel in Japan if you are extending your stay.

Learn more about Tokyo

Day 2 - Koyasan (Mount Koya) - (Shukubo - Pilgrims Lodging)

We travel by train along the scenic Nankai Railway Line to Mount Koya, a bowl-shaped valley filled with cedars high in the mountains of the Kii Peninsula. Mount Koya is the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism, founded in 9th centurey by the monk Kobo Daishi, father of the Shikoku pilgrimage. Pilgrims on the Shikoku 88 Temple route traditionally visit Mount Koya to pray and ask Kobo Daishi to bless their journey; we will follow the tradition. We stay in one of the elegant temples and dine on shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine). We walk through the Okuno-in cemetery and see Kobo Daishi’s mausoleum.

Learn more about Koyasan (Mount Koya)

Day 2 - Magome - (Minshuku - Family-run Guesthouse)

Today we travel by train to Nakatsugawa, one of the old post-towns on the Nakasendo Trail. The original main road through the town retains its Edo-Period heritage with traditional sake shops, restaurants in period wooden buildings and old storehouses. We start our walk here and head towards the next post-town of Ochiai. From Ochiai we ascend through cedar forests and traverse a section of the trail whose cobblestones date right back to the Edo Period. Over the next four days we explore the best-preserved portions of the ancient Nakasendo Trail through villages and hamlets, all set against the magical winter scenery. Our lodging tonight is a charming family-run inn in the post town of Magome.

Day 3 - Tsumago - (Minshuku - Family-run Guesthouse)

From Magome, we walk to Tsumago along one of the prettiest and best-preserved parts of the Nakasendo Trail. We'll likely encounter snow over the Magome Pass with fine opportunities for photographs. After the walk, there's time for lunch in Tsumago and then an afternoon to explore the many small shops along the picturesque main street with its lovely old wooden architecture. Try gohei-mochi, skewered sticky rice covered in a sweet paste of miso, sesame and walnuts. Tsumago is a living museum, which is still home to local residents whose families might have lived here for generations. We stay overnight in Tsumago at a family-run inn with a real sense of history.

Learn more about Tsumago

Day 4 - Kiso - (Hot-spring Ryokan - Travellers inn)

This morning we continue our exploration of Tsumago including a visit to the Wakihonjin museum housed in a building which dates back to the 19th century. Today's walk begins after lunch and is a short but enjoyable stroll from Tsumago to Nagiso along country lanes. From Nagiso we board a local train for the brief journey to Kiso-Fukushima, a delightful post- town which was once an important Sekisho checkpoint on the Nakasendo. We stroll through the town before heading out to our comfortable Ryokan inn on the outskirts of the community. The Ryokan prides itself on its wonderful cuisine and its terrific indoor and outdoor thermal baths - a perfect way to warm up on a winter evening.

Day 5 - Narai - (Minshuku - Family-run Guesthouse)

On our fourth day on the Nakasendo Trail, we walk from Yabuhara to Narai over the Torii Pass. This section is likely to have the deepest snow on the tour and if the snow is deep enough, we'll provide snow shoes to make the crossing of the pass easier. This is a rewarding journey through trees to the charming village of Narai. We arrive in time to explore Narai and have lunch at one of the small local restaurants. Our overnight accommodation is in Narai at a family-run inn in the village.

Day 6 - Asama - (Hot-spring Ryokan - Travellers inn)

Our walk on the Nakasendo Trail ends today with a short stroll from Narai to Kiso Hirasawa. Kiso-Hirasawa is famous for its locally-produced lacquerware. The walk takes around an hour and there may be a chance to see the craftsmen at work. We then travel by train to Matsumoto, a castle town nestled in the central alps region. We visit Matsumoto Castle, one of four castles designated as National Treasures of Japan before boarding a local bus to nearby Asama Onsen. The spa town has a history dating back 1,300 years and we stay overnight at one of the most elegant, authentic Ryokan inns, with beautiful wooden architecture from the Meiji era.

Day 7 - Tokyo - (Hotel)

After breakfast, we leave Asama Onsen and travel by train to Tokyo. We leave our luggage at the city-centre hotel and enjoy a half-day walking tour of Tokyo, visiting Hama-Rikyu gardens, located near the mouth of the Sumida-gawa river. There is a striking contrast between the gardens and the gleaming towers of the new Shiodome business area beyond. Next we visit Nihonbashi (the ‘Japan Bridge’) considered to be the ‘centre of Japan’ and the zero marker point for all Japan’s main roads since the Edo period. This is where the Nakasendo Trail would once have finished. In the evening, there is a Farewell Dinner with your guide.

Learn more about Tokyo

Map:
Guest Reviews:
5.0

I would like to commend you for the excellent preparations made for my family's Shikoku Tour. Although I was not able to join them, my wife and daughter enjoyed themselves thoroughly through out the seven-day tour. All of the accommodations were top class, and your independent tour instructions were very effective in helping them to get around all the interesting sights. Best of all was the assistance that they got from Takeo-san who went out of his way to be a very good host to them. I will certainly recommend services of Japan Roads to my friends who are planning to visit Japan.

-- C. H.
4.5

Just got back from a fantastic trip. Everything worked out perfectly. Your staff and associates in Japan were hugely helpful and provided lots more very useful information. Not to diminish anyone's contribution to this excellent experience but I would like to single out for special praise whoever chose and booked the Hotels/Ryokans. I suspect it might have been Mizue, who's handwriting was on all the cards, and most of the added information. There was only one Hotel I would have called average. Many were good, several were outstanding and a couple were truly memorable, and I say this from the perspective of a man who has traveled the world for 35yrs (well over 2 million miles at the last count) and stayed in some of the best.

-- Anon
5.0

Please convey my heartfelt thanks to those involved, but especially to the person who arranged the superb accommodations; it is, as you know, not just (or even) a matter of the infrastructure that makes an accommodation outstanding, it is mostly to do with ambience, staff, location and that indefinable something. Whatever "it" is your accommodations person can spot it.

-- Anon
5.0

Once again, many thanks for arranging everything, and effusive praise for all your staff. I would unhesitatingly recommend your company to any like minded folks who want to explore for themselves, need guidance and want the assurance of top quality accommodation at the end of the day.

-- H. B.
4.0

I believe the Shoguns and Samurai Tour was the best we went on after 5 previous Tour of Japan especially the Minshukus and Ryokans.

-- P. Fujimoto
5.0

We want to commend Mari Ohara in the highest terms possible. She said "Yes, of course!" to every request anyone made and followed through. You couldn't possibly have come up with a better ambassador of Japanese culture than Mari. It was a terrific trip. The food, the variety of sites, the pace: everything was superb. Hats off to everyone involved, and, again, thanks especially to Mari-san for sharing her love of Japan with us.

-- D. Kirby
4.5

Aria is a golden asset. When I first met her I was surprised that such a relatively young person would shoulder so much responsibility. But she is well up to the task. She accommodated a wide variety of requests and requirements with the most practical aplomb I could imagine. And even when taxed beyond what I would have thought reasonable, she remained chipper and upbeat. The trip lived up to my expectations or exceeded them on many levels. Thanks for the great memories.

-- R. Patterson
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Destinations:
Osaka - Modern Japan with a long history in commerce
Kyoto - Imperial Japan in a city founded in 794 AD with 17 World Heritage Sites
Tokyo - Seat of the Tokugawa Shogun during the Edo Period and modern capital
Koyasan (Mount Koya) - Spiritual Japan on a holy Buddhist mountain also a World Heritage Site
Magome -
Tsumago - A former post town which connected Edo (now Tokyo) with Kyoto

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