FROM $8,995

Japan Autumn Odyssey Small Group Escorted Tour

Discover Japan's temples and shrines on this small group tour starting in Kyoto. Walk through Arashiyama's bamboo groves and strolling down the Philosopher's Path for breathtaking views. Visit the world's largest wooden building in Nara and see Japan's largest bronze Buddha statue. Hike a segment of the iconic Nakasendo Trail in Nagoya and explore castles and gardens in Kanazawa. Finally, take the shinkansen to Tokyo, featuring Shibuya crossing and the bustling energy of the city.

Japan Autumn Odyssey Small Group Escorted Tour

DEPARTURE DATE: November 12, 2024
Countries Visited: Japan


Your 12-day fall vacation through Japan starts in Kyoto, the nation’s most beautiful city, where you’ll tour famous temples and shrines, including Kinkaku-ji and Fushimi Inari Taisha, as well as the bamboo groves of Arashiyama. In nearby Nara, enter the world’s largest wooden building and gaze upon Japan’s largest bronze Buddha statue before you ride the train north to Nagoya to hike a portion of the iconic Nakasendo Trail. Onwards into the Japanese Alps to enjoy the charming mountain atmosphere of Takayama and tour the traditional grass-roofed farmhouses of Shirakawago. In coastal Kanazawa, explore gardens and castles before you ride the shinkansen to Tokyo to spend several days in the world’s largest city and the global icon for technological advancement and urban infrastructure.

Travel Dates & Pricing

November 12, 2024from $8,995 CADPer Person

What's Included

  • 11 night small group escorted tour (maximum 16 guests)
  • 11 night first class accommodations (3 nights in Kyoto, 2 nights in Nagoya, 1 night in Matsumoto, 2 nights in Kanazawa, 3 in Tokyo)
  • English-speaking Tour Guide for full duration of trip
  • Meet and Greet on arrival at Osaka Airport
  • Airport bus arrival and departure transfers (unguided)
  • Small group touring and experiences including:
  • Guided sightseeing of Northern & Western Kyoto including Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and Tenryu-ji Zen temple
  • Guided sightseeing in Kyoto including Fushimi Inari shrine and Gion area
  • Guided sightseeing in Nara including Todai-ji Temple
  • Walking tour of Magome and Tsumago post towns along Nakasendo trail
  • Guided sightseeing in Matsumoto including Matsumoto Castle and Wasabi Farm
  • Walking tour of Kanazawa including sake micro-breweries
  • Wagyu beef lunch
  • Guided sightseeing of Shirakawa-go, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Guided sightseeing in Kanazawa including Nagamachi Samurai District and Higashi Chaya Geisha district
  • Temari sushi making experience
  • Guided sightseeing in Tokyo including Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine and Shibuya
  • Transportation by bus, Bullet train, Limited express train and private coach
  • Luggage transfers on Day 3 and 8
  • Breakfast daily (excluding day 1), 9 Lunches, 4 Dinners (including welcome dinner and farewell dinner)
  • Taxes


1Tue Nov 12Kyoto, Japan
2Wed Nov 13Kyoto, Japan
3Thu Nov 14Kyoto, Japan
4Fri Nov 15Nara Sightseeing, Kyoto to Nagoya
5Sat Nov 16Magome and Tsumago Sightseeing
6Sun Nov 17Nagoya to Matsumoto
7Mon Nov 18Matsumoto to Takayama to Kanazawa
8Tue Nov 19Kanazawa Sightseeing
9Wed Nov 20Kanazawa to Tokyo
10Thu Nov 21Tokyo Sightseeing
11Fri Nov 22Tokyo at Leisure
12Sat Nov 23Depart Tokyo

Day 1 – Kyoto

Arrive Kyoto

Welcome to Japan! Upon arrival at Kansai or Itamil Airport , our representative will welcome you and assist you to transfer by airport bus to Kyoto station. Check into your hotel and the rest of the day is free at leisure.

Hotel: Rihga Gran Kyoto

The RIHGA Gran Kyoto is a new RIHGA Royal Hotels Group hotel, located a three-minute walk from Kyoto Station Hachijo-East Exit. Every room has a pocket coil bed developed in conjunction with Simmons, a bathroom with a wash area, and a stand-alone sink, ensuring that you have a relaxing stay. The “Shikisai-bako” (“Four Seasons Box”) breakfast, made with a bountiful selection of local ingredients such as local vegetables from the Kyoto area, creates a delicate impression of refinement. This hotel is one to savor with all five senses, naturally reflecting Kyoto’s atmosphere.

Day 2 – Kyoto

Kyoto Sightseeing

Today spend the day in the foothills of Northern and Western Kyoto. You will visit Kinkaku-ji, a Zen temple also known as the Golden Pavilion. The top two floors of the building completely covered in gold leaf. Our guide will lead you through the beautiful gardens to the tea house where you will exit the temple.

A short walk down the street is Ryoan-ji. The attraction of this temple is its famous rock garden with its deceptively simple and clever arrangement of 15 stones. After some contemplative moments at the rock garden, you will leave the area and travel to the western side of Kyoto.

In Arashiyama, you will tour Tenryu-ji Zen temple with one of the finest gardens in Kyoto. You will exit the temple by the north gate which brings you right onto the famous verdant bamboo groves of Arashiyama.

After a short rest and refresh at the hotel, the group will head out on foot to a local restaurant to enjoy a welcome dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 – Kyoto

Today, start the day with a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, renowned for its iconic torii gates, captivates visitors with its mystical allure. Afterward, immerse yourself in the vibrant hues of autumn at Eikan-do (Zenrinji) Temple, a serene sanctuary adorned with breathtaking foliage. Continue with a visit Kiyomizu temple known for its stunning panoramic views and traditional Japanese architecture.

In the afternoon enjoy some free time to rest and recharge, before heading out to explore the Gion district, where the mesmerizing Kodaiji Temple beckons with its illuminated beauty amidst the autumn foliage.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4 – Nara Sightseeing, Kyoto to Nagoya

Today, journey to Nara, where you can delve into the rich history and cultural splendor of Todai-ji Temple. Here, marvel at the magnificence of Japan’s largest bronze Buddha statue, a testament to ancient craftsmanship and spiritual reverence. Afterward, wander through the tranquil grounds of Kasuga Taisha Shrine, renowned for its enchanting ambiance illuminated by thousands of sacred lanterns, each one whispering tales of bygone eras.

Later, travel by Bullet train from Kyoto to Nagoya.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Nagoya Tokyu Hotel

This grand and luxurious international hotel is located in the heart of Nagoya – a dynamic city with a richly diverse culture, advanced technology and a fascinating history. Fusing the modern with the traditional, European and Oriental, the Nagoya Tokyu is the natural choice for discerning travellers, whether visiting for business or leisure.

Day 5 – Magome and Tsumago Sightseeing

Today, travel from Nagoya to Nakatsugawa, where you’ll step back in time to explore the charming historic post towns of Magome and Tsumago. Delve into the nostalgia of yesteryears as you explore these two picturesque settlements, once bustling stops along the Nakasendo route. Dating back to the Edo Period, this historic path meanders through the enchanting landscapes of the Kiso Valley, connecting Tokyo with Kyoto.

Optionally, walk a portion of this ancient trail, where each step whispers tales of bygone travelers and ancient traditions.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6 – Nagoya to Matsumoto

Today, travel by Limited Express train from Nagoya to Matsumoto.

Upon arrival, start your tour at Matsumoto Castle which is one of the most complete and beautiful among Japan’s original castles. A short walk from the castle, Nakamachi-dori is a small section of Matsumoto’s town center with streets lined by nicely preserved, old buildings. The buildings include a number of warehouse-type buildings (kura) with large white-painted walls.

Afterwards, travel to Azumino city for a visit to Daio Wasabi Farm. Immerse yourself in the verdant landscapes as you meander along trails weaving through lush wasabi fields, nourished by the pristine waters of the Japanese Alps. Gain insight into the intricate cultivation process of this prized plant, essential to Japanese cuisine. Conclude your visit with a delightful stop at the farm shops, where an array of tantalizing wasabi-related products beckon for sampling and purchase, from fresh wasabi to delectable wasabi paste, pickles, and crackers, each offering a unique taste of this beloved condiment.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Matsumoto Marunouchi Hotel

A 6-minute stroll from Matsumoto Castle, this elegant hotel is a 10-minute walk from Kita-Matsumoto train station and 1 km from the Matsumoto City Museum of Art. The warmly decorated rooms come with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs; some have castle and mountain views. Upgraded rooms add sitting areas, while suites offer living areas and canopied 4-poster beds.

Day 7 – Matsumoto to Takayama to Kanazawa

Today, travel by private coach to Kanazawa with stops in Takayama and Shirakawago.

Discover the charm of Takayama Old Town, adorned with historic buildings and winding streets that harken back to its heyday as a bustling hub of affluent merchants. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of bygone eras as you wander through this well-preserved district. Additionally, indulge in the local flavors by visiting a selection of sake micro-breweries, where you may partake in sampling some of the finest sakes the region has to offer.

Enjoy delectable wagyu beef lunch, savoring the unparalleled flavor and tenderness of this renowned Japanese delicacy. Wagyu, derived from several meticulously bred cattle varieties, embodies the epitome of culinary excellence. Each region of Japan boasts its own distinct wagyu brand, with Hida beef standing out as a prized example of Kuroge Wagyu Beef originating from the picturesque Gifu region in central Japan.

Later, visit Shirakawa-go a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled within the serene landscapes of Japan’s mountainous terrain, Shirakawa-go is a historic mountain settlement, once shrouded in wilderness and mystery. Shielded by towering peaks and abundant snowfall, this secluded enclave remained relatively isolated from its neighboring regions, fostering the emergence of distinctive cultural traditions and ways of life.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa City Centre

Spanning 400 years of history and culture, stay in the beautiful cityscape of Kanazawa at the ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa moments from the station. Our rooms are designed for comfort, connectivity and flexibility with plush bedding for the best night’s sleep. Settle in and power down for the evening at one of our bars and restaurants with menus that follow the seasons.

Day 8 – Kanazawa Sightseeing

Today, immerse yourself in the rich history of the Nagamachi Samurai District as you stroll along its narrow lanes, flanked by traditional residences that housed samurais and their families during the Edo period. Explore the meticulously restored Nomura Samurai house, where an exquisite tiny garden awaits your admiration, best observed from the tranquil confines of the second-floor tea room.
Kenrokuen Garden, a masterpiece of Japanese landscape design, beckons with its harmonious blend of spaciousness, seclusion, serenity, subtlety, panoramic vistas, and meandering watercourses. As you wander through this strolling park-like oasis, each corner reveals a new dimension of beauty and tranquility.

Following a brief bus ride, you’ll arrive at the impeccably preserved Higashi Chaya Geisha District, a testament to Kanazawa’s cultural heritage. Admire the graceful wooden tea houses where geishas once entertained nobility and affluent merchants. While the number of geishas has diminished over time, a handful of tea houses still host nightly entertainment for their discerning clientele. Your guide will point them out and offer insight into the enduring allure of geisha culture in this enchanting district.

Today you will also have the opportunity to get hands on and create your own gold leaf masterpiece. A gold leaf is made by beating gold into an extremely thin sheet with a thickness of 0.1 to 0.125 millionths of a meter. It is so thin that it will disappear when you rub it with your fingers. The production of gold leaf started in Kanazawa at the end of the 16th century.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9 – Kanazawa to Tokyo

Today, visit Omicho market, a bustling market offering a feast for the senses, showcasing an array of fresh seafood, seasonal produce, and artisanal goods. Afterwards, join a temari sushi making course where you will learn to make your own temari sushi at a Kanazawa machiya house (traditional Kanazawa syle house). Lunch today will be the result of your own creation, and also a mini-tea ceremony to finish off the lesson.

Later, travel by bullet train from Kanazawa to Tokyo.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo

The Keio Plaza Hotel is the ideal location to explore the delights of the city of Tokyo. Only minutes away from the most popular shopping and entertainment spots, the luxury hotel provides stunning views over central Tokyo. The Keio Plaza Hotel offers a wide variety of home-away-from-home hospitality, with 1,435 guest rooms to choose from to accommodate your every need. Located in Shinjuku, in the very heart of the Tokyo metropolis, the Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo extends top rated services and facilities, features that guests come to expect of a world class hotel.

Day 10 – Tokyo Sightseeing

Today, embark on a full day of Tokyo exploration, immersing yourself in the local experience with public transportation. The first stop is the tranquil Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine, followed by a journey through the vibrant streets of Omotesando and Shibuya. Finally, delve into the historic charm of Asakusa, where the iconic Senso-ji Buddhist Temple awaits amidst the quaint neighborhood streets.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11 – Tokyo at Leisure

Today, enjoy Tokyo at leisure, where every street corner offers a new discovery, from tranquil gardens to bustling markets. Explore the city’s vibrant energy as you adventure into its diverse neighborhoods and iconic landmarks at your own

In the evening, enjoy a final group farewell dinner .

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12 – Depart Tokyo

Sayonara, farewell, our tour concludes today. You will be transferred to Haneda or Narita airport for your departure flight.

Meals: Breakfast

Sounds Like Your Kind of Trip?
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