Essential Japan

17 Days
Tokyo to Osaka
From (CAD)
$ 19,895
Dates & Pricing

2021/2022 Tokyo > Osaka

The essence of Japan

This distillation of all things Japanese is designed to provide you with a truly unforgettable travel experience.
In the shadow of Mt Fuji, Hakone presents you with the opportunity to see the nearby Owakudani geysers and the unusual Hakone Open Air Museum. Try your hand at Sarubobo mascot-making at Hida Folk Village and origami in Hiroshima. From the large neon-filled, modern cities of Tokyo and Osaka to the historic villages of Shirakawa-go, Takayama and Tsumago Juku, you will see all aspects of Japanese culture and lifestyle during your journey. Enjoy the very best the ‘land of the rising sun’ has to offer, from feudal castles to traditional gardens, sporting traditions to tea ceremonies, from sake to sushi, and everything quintessentially Japanese in-between.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
17 days
Departure City:
Return City:

17 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Tokyo

    Welcome to Tokyo, Japan's capital and the world's most populous metropolis. Check-into your hotel, home for the next three nights. Rooms overlook the most picturesque sites in Tokyo, such as the Imperial Palace, the 500-year old Hie Jinja Shrine and beautiful landscaped Japanese gardens. This evening meet for your welcome reception and dinner.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Tokyo

    Begin the day in the beautiful Imperial Palace’s East Gardens, part of the inner palace area and the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defence when the Tokugawa shogun ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Afterwards visit the epicentre of Tokyo’s teenage youth as you wander along Takeshita Street Harajuku, known for its colourful street art, youth fashion, quirky vintage clothing and cosplay stores and dessert shops and carts that specialise in sweet crêpes, donuts, and bubble tea.


    Given by Taiko Masters, partake in an interactive, private group demonstration and lesson in playing the Taiko drums.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose from dining at a ninja themed restaurant or culturally immerse yourself in the traditional Japanese evening Izakaya bar scene serving Yaki-tori and Kushiyaki with your Tour Director as they show you their favourite places to go.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Tokyo

    Visit the Asakusa district, known as the centre of Tokyo’s shitamachi or ‘low city’ capsulizing the atmosphere of Tokyo’s past, paying your respects at Sensoji temple, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple.


    Visit the Imperial Shinto Meiji Shrine, before walking across the often-referred to as ‘the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing’ and seeing the famous Hachiko dog statue in Shibuya. Alternatively, wander through picturesque Shinjuku-Gyoen Gardens before witnessing the Shinjuku entertainment district come alive at dusk where you can choose to stay into the night.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  4. Day 4 - Tokyo > Hakone

    Gather your bearings of Tokyo from above as you take in the view from Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's tallest tower at 634 meters. Then in Ginza, dress up in your chefs clothes to make your own sushi lunch with the help of a local chef. Venture into the countryside on your drive to Hakone and study the art works and sculptures at the Hakone Open Air Museum, Japan’s first open air museum. Enjoy a Special Stay overlooking Lake Ashinoko.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Hakone > Five Lakes

    Walk around the hot springs at the summit of the Owakudani geothermal area and admire the stunning scenery during your cable car ride down to your Lake Ashinoko cruise on the First class deck of your pirate ship with Mt Fuji as a backdrop. Later, discover the craftsmanship involved in creating kimonos during the Muromachi Period (1333-1573) at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park surrounding your hotel for the night.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Five Lakes > Takayama

    En route to Takayama, learn how wasabi is made at the Daio Wasabi Farm. Stop at the Hida Folk Village to partake in Sarubobo mascot-making. Enjoy a two night stay at your hotel located in the centre of Takayama.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Takayama

    Discover the historical farmhouses of the mountain villages in Shirakawa-go, now a World Heritage-listed Site. Back in Takayama, enjoy a sake tasting and visit a sake museum, then view the impressive Yatai festival floats before moving to Takayama’s old quarter. Dating from the Edo Period (1600-1868), when the city thrived as a wealthy town of merchants, explore the small alleyways and shops on your own.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose between Le Midi, a French-Italian-inspired bistro in town famed for its Hida Beef, or Sakanaya, a fine Japanese restaurant set in a renovated sake brewery.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Takayama > Tsumago Juku > Nagoya

    Drive to Nagoya via Tsumago Juku, a fully restored and preserved Edo era post town in the Kiso Valley. Upon arrival in Nagoya explore the restored Hommaru Palace, a masterpiece of castle palace architecture at Nagoya Castle. Enjoy your overnight stay in Nagoya.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Nagoya > Kyoto

    Relax in your Green (Business) Class seats on the Shinkansen train to the culturally rich city of Kyoto, home to many World Heritage-listed sites. This afternoon walk through the impressive Nijo Castle, built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). Settle into your hotel for the next four nights. Tonight enjoy Teppanyaki at the hotel’s Himorogi Restaurant.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  10. Day 10 - Kyoto

    Begin the day at the famous zen temple Kinkaku-ji or known as the Golden Pavilion because it is completely covered in gold leaf.  Afterwards, glide through the surreal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove by traditional rickshaw before exploring and enjoying a vegetarian meal at the World Heritage listed Tenryu-ji Temple. This evening stroll through the Gion area before dinner.

    Freechoice Dining

    Enjoy the option of dining at Fortune Garden or traditional Kaiseki at Gion Sekiya located in the famous Gion District.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  11. Day 11 - Kyoto


    Revel in the atmosphere of the ancient preservation districts or visit the Silver Pavilion before strolling along part of the famous Philosopher’s Walk, an approximately two kilometre long, beautiful stone path walk along a canal through the northern part of Kyoto's Higashiyama district.


    Partake in a Japanese tea ceremony while dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono, a great photo opportunity.

    This afternoon enjoy some free time in Nishiki Market for shopping or relaxation.


    Tonight’s dinner will allow you to interact with a Geiko and Maiko who’ll host your meal presentation in a nearby traditional Japanese restaurant. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about what is involved in becoming a Geisha and the art of Japanese hospitality.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  12. Day 12 - Kyoto > Nara

    Begin your day with an early visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates and its appearance in the film ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’.  Then continue to Nara, where you’ll visit Todaiji Temple, one of the most historically influential temples in Japan and see deer in Nara Park.

     Ryokan Upgrade - Choose to stay in a Ryokan (at additional cost, must be pre-booked before departure). This is a traditional Japanese Inn with futon beds and private facilities, and includes dinner and breakfast.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  13. Day 13 - Kyoto > Hiroshima

    Relax on the Shinkansen train to Hiroshima and check into your hotel for two nights enjoying the view from your Deluxe Corner View rooms.


    Experience an emotional visit to the Peace Park and Museum, dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack. Move to Orizuru Tower to learn how to create your own special origami crane offering for the Orizuru Wall.

    Tonight, sample Okonomiyaki, a delicious savoury Japanese-style pancake and specialty of the region.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  14. Day 14 - Hiroshima > Miyajima Island

    Sail by ferry to Miyajima Island to visit Daisho-in Temple and its famous floating Torii Gate at the Itsukushima Shrine, also built over the water. On return to the mainland, on your guided visit at the Mazda car factory, see the industrial robots at work on the cars on the production line.

    Note: Renovation works on Miyajima's famous floating torii gate started in June 2019. During the renovation works, the torii gate is covered up by scaffolding. It is not known yet exactly how long the renovations will take, but they are expected to take at least one year.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  15. Day 15 - Hiroshima > Himeji > Osaka

    Travel by Shinkansen to marvel at Himeji Castle, an original and Japan’s most spectacular castle and one of the few remaining original feudal castles, before continuing to Osaka. Enjoy a two night Special Stay. This evening catch the Osaka Metro to wander around the lively entertainment area of Dotonbori and Hozenji Yokocho food alley, where you can have the opportunity to choose your own meal from one of the many traditional food stalls.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  16. Day 16 - Osaka > Asuka

    Drive to the birthplace of the Japanese state and cradle of Japanese culture in Asuka, in Nara Prefecture. Wander through the Inabuchi terraced rice paddy fields, the ancient Tobiishi stone bridge, famous in Japanese folklore and visit Ishibutai tumulus, the largest known megalithic structure in Japan.


    Learn about the history, life and training routine of a sumo wrestler during a private visit to a Sumo Museum in Kehayaza, where Sumo originated. After the welcome ceremony, see a demonstration of Jinku and the wrestlers in action in the dohyo.

    Enjoy your Club Floor benefits before reliving your experiences at your farewell dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  17. Day 17 - Osaka

    Bid a fond farewell to the ‘land of the rising sun’.

    The itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons. As such Scenic cannot guarantee the tour will operate unaltered from the itinerary stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

The Scenic Difference
  • Visit Tsumago Juku, a fully restored and preserved Edo era post town in the Kiso Valley
  • Personal origami crane offering in Peace Park
  • Private sumo wrestler demonstration
  • Private group dinner hosted by a Geisha/Maiko
  • Visit Asuka – the cradle of Japanese civilization
  • Partake in a Japanese tea ceremony while dressed in a kimono, in Kyoto
  • Play the Taiko drums in an interactive, private group demonstration and lesson
  • Dining options include a Ninja themed restaurant and Izakaya bar scene, in Tokyo
  • Visit the Mazda car factory in Hiroshima

5-star luxury inclusions
  • The intimacy of small group touring with a maximum of 24 guests
  • 5 exclusive Scenic Enrich experiences
  • Your choice of 10 Scenic Freechoice activities and dining
  • 2 memorable Scenic Special Stays
  • 42 meals – 16 breakfasts (B), 14 lunches (L) and 12 dinners (D)
  • Expert Tour Director
  • All internal transport
  • Return airport transfers

Pricing & Availability