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Sample Itinerary

The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.

Tokyo

Our representative will meet you at Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport (assuming your flight arrives after 8:00am and before 21:30) and taken to your hotel in Tokyo by public transportation. They will hand you all your transportation tickets including an IC Card with an initial credit of 2000 yen. They will also hand you a pocket internet device and give you an orientation. When you arrive at your hotel they will check you in and show you where you can find some food and the like. The train from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station will take approximately 1 hour.

Tokyo is home to approximately 12 million people and can be a bit overwhelming. Beneath this surface lies a city of contradictions: ancient temples and shrines beside high-tech department stores; traditional festivals held in modern neighborhoods; peaceful Japanese gardens below intelligent skyscrapers. For its size and sprawl, Tokyo is an incredibly safe, efficient city with a low crime rate, the trains running on time. Tokyo is a vibrant metropolis overflowing with many fascinating sights, sounds, and experiences for you to enjoy.

Tokyo

Today you will have time to explore Tokyo on your own. We recommend visiting Rikugien, an 18th century landscape garden, arguably the most beautiful Japanese garden in Tokyo. Next you will visit the Meiji Imperial Shrine, where you can relax in the forested setting and enjoy the traditional Shinto architecture of this oasis nestled within one of the world’s busiest modern metropolises. Just next to Meiji Shrine you will find Harajuku which is one of the most fashionable parts of Tokyo. Finally, you will end your day in Ginza, the upscale downtown district with huge department stores, fancy restaurants, the Sony Building where you can look at the company’s newest cutting-edge gadgets, and more. Your tour organizer will have other recommendations and includes an internet map to make getting around easy. We can also arrange a private guide to meet you at your hotel and show you Tokyo.

Kakunodate

Kakunodate is a former castle and samurai town. Though the castle no longer remains, its samurai and merchant districts are relatively unchanged from its founding in 1620. Well preserved former residences that now serve as museums offer a glimpse into the samurai lifestyle. The Aoyagi House, with its thatched roof, is one of the most interesting. The Ishiguro House has a collection of samurai armor and clothing on display. The bullet train from Tokyo Station to Kakunodate will take a little over 3 hours.

Kakunodate

With its hundreds of cherry trees, Kakunodate is one of the region’s most popular places to enjoy spring blossoms. The industry of cherry-bark veneer handicrafts, called kabazaiku, thrives here and visitors can purchase locally crafted items as souvenirs. Kabazaiku demonstrations are given in the Denshokan Museum, where these and other regional crafts are on display.

Matsushima

Today you will travel to Matsushima, a group of about 260 shima, small islands, covered in matsu, pine trees. Along with Miyajima and Amanohashidate, Matsushima Bay is considered one of the most scenic places in Japan. The islands can be viewed from various lookout points, or by taking a local cruise. Please let us know if you wish to take a bay cruise and we will add this to your trip. Godaido temple, located next to Matsushima Pier, is interesting, for its outer walls are decorated with carvings. Zuigan-ji temple is well known for its caves carved into the rock which are used for memorial services. An art museum on Zuigan-ji’s temple grounds displays calligraphy, fusuma paintings, tea cups and portraits. Oshima Island, close to Matsushima Pier, can be reached on foot by crossing a bridge. The island has caves which were used by monks to pray and meditate in. Overlooking Matsushima Bay, Karantei is the largest Momoyama-style tea house in Japan. Originally built in Kyoto, it was moved to Matsushima in 1645. Behind Karantei the Matsushima Museum has tools, armor and weapons on display. The trains from Kakunodate to Matsushima will take about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Hoshi Onsen

You will travel to Hoshi Onsen and stay at a family-owned ryokan that was built in the 1870’s and is managed by fifth generation family members. Considered one of the best in Japan, this onsen (hot spring) site is located in the mountains of Minakami and situated directly at the source, where water flows up through a filter and into the ryokan’s hot spring baths. The trains from Matsushima to Jomokogen will take about 3 hours and then it is a 40 minute to Sarugakyo Onsen and then a 15 minute taxi ride. This is a long day but the ryokan make it worth it.

Hoshi Onsen

Minakami is best known for its hot springs and outdoor activities, but if you’d like to explore the area there are some interesting sites. The Takumi no Sato Craft Village, made up of 27 houses, offers a variety of Japanese crafts that visitors can learn to create onsite.

Obuse

Obuse (oh – boo – say) is a lively city of culture and the arts, where good food, sake, and the company of friends are appreciated. Katsushika Hokusai, internationally renowned ukiyo-e (woodblock printing) artist, lived in Obuse during his later years. His huge ceiling painting of a Chinese Phoenix, done in 1848 when he was 89 years old, can be seen in Gansho-in Temple. Many of the artist’s paintings are on display at the Hokusai Museum. Joko-ji Temple, built in the early Muromachi period (1392 – 1573), stands at the foot of Mt. Karida. The temple’s forested setting provides a quiet atmosphere. The Japanese Lamp Museum has a collection of almost 1,000 antique lanterns, lamps, and candle stands used through 1926. The fertile countryside surrounding Obuse abounds with orchards. The trains and bus from Hoshi Onsen to Obuse will take about 3 hours.

Matsumoto

Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan’s original castles, was built in 1504 and used until 1868 when the Meiji Emporor regained control of Japan from the Edo Shogunate. Located near the castle is the Nakamachi District, where some of its well preserved buildings have been converted into shops and restaurants. The trains from Obuse to Matsumoto will take about 2 hours.

Tsumago

Tsumago is a former post town along the Nakasendo Trail which connected Edo (modern Tokyo) with Kyoto. With its historical sites and structures, Tsumago has been designated an Architectural Preservation Site. Rurisan Kotoku-ji Temple was founded in 1500. Its Nightingale floors chirp when walked upon, and the weeping cherry tree out front is about 500 years old. Part of the original Nakasendo trail from Tsumago to Magome, which had been the next post town, has been preserved and provides a quiet, scenic walk through forests. The train from Matsumoto to Nagiso near Tsumago will take a little over 1 hour.

Mt. Fuji

Mt. Fuji is the largest mountain in Japan. Long worshiped as sacred, Mt. Fuji is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains.” Its almost perfectly symmetrical shape attracts artists and photographers, although it’s rare to get a clear picture since clouds often block the view. A popular destination for climbers and hikers, Mt. Fuji is also enjoyed by visitors who simply want to experience the region’s natural beauty. With its unobstructed views, Lake Kawaguchiko is a popular location to photograph Mt. Fuji. Mt. Tenjo Ropeway is an aerial lift that extends from Lake Kawaguchiko to the observatory on Mt. Kachi Kachi. From here visitors can view the Aokigahara forest and Mt. Fuji. The trains from Nagiso to Kawaguchino near Mt Fuji will take a little over 4 hours.

Tokyo

Today you will head back to Tokyo. The train from Kawaguchiko near Mt Fuji to Tokyo will take about 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Today will be your last day in Japan and your last chance for sightseeing and shopping. Please make sure you arrive at Narita Airport or Haneda Airport at least 2 hours before your scheduled flight. The trip to either airport will take about 1 hour.

What Our Customers Have To Say

The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.

John Moawad

Classical Japan Tour

It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...

Marina Boyer

North Central Exploration

Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...

Edan Ecker

Shoguns and Samurai

I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank you for the marvelous vacation we recently enjoyed in Japan. The entire experience exceeded...

Our Team Of Local Experts

Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build your tour just the way you want it.

Jeff Aasgaard


Tour Sales Director

Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training and teaching Aikido.

Michiyo Kakiuchi

Tour Arrangement Manager

Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.

Izumi Yamauchi

Tour Arrangement team

Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.

Why Rediscover Tours

Great trips don't just happen; it takes expert knowledge and years of experience to create a truly memorable holiday. You can rely on Rediscover Tours to make your perfect Japanese experience. Our dedication to excellence makes the difference.

Trips Made for You


Your Japan travel expert will create your trip just for you


Your interests and travel style will be front and center when designing your tour


Accommodations will be selected based on your style and we will inform them of all your special meal and physical requirements


Japan Experts


Your Japan expert has lived in Japan or is Japanese


They know the hidden treasures of Japan that you will love and most tourists miss


Most of our team lives in Japan giving them first hand knowledge of the latest trends and experiences for you to enjoy


Finest Guides


Private local guides add a whole new depth to your Japanese tour


We only hire the best guides and review each trip with them insuring excellent experience


Your private guide will listen to you, show you sights of interest and will make on the fly changes to match the weather and crowds


With Confidence


Our office in Japan is here to assist and support you


Rediscover Tours has been organizing travel to Japan since 2000


You will arrive comfortable in the knowledge that all details are taken care of and that our Japan office is just a call away