Japan Backroads - Independent Adventure Tour
Number Of Nights: 9
Operates: Every Friday (Holiday Exceptions Apply)
Starts/Ends: Tokyo (Narita Airport)
Type Of Tour: Land Only
Visits: Tokyo (2 Nights) / Takayama (2 Nights) / Kanazawa (2 Nights)
Visits: Kyoto (2 Nights) / Tokyo (1 Night)
Meals: 2 Japanese Breakfasts (JB) & 2 Japanese Dinners (JD)
Minimum: 2 Persons
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What Is A “Independent Adventure Tour”?
For the most part, a Independent Adventure Tour is a “Self-Guided Tour, they are designed for people who don't need a lot of hand holding, but want to leave nothing to chance. We make all the arrangements for you, train and bus tickets (when the tour includes a Japan Rail Pass, you have to make your own train reservations, we will explain where and how to do this), guided sightseeing tours where available, hotel accommodations, and we provide you with written instructions every step of the way.

Before you leave home you will receive a tour book created just for you along with a daily itinerary. Your information book includes instructions on how to ride the trains and buses, about dining, cultural information and self-guided sightseeing suggestions for each city you will visit. We also include airport maps for arrival and departure; train station maps; city maps showing your hotel, train stations and sightseeing spots; plus a hotel information sheet for every hotel with the name and address in both English and Japanese along with instructions on how to reach each hotel.

We have been a pioneer when it comes to independent travel in Japan and we've been doing this a long time, next year will be our 30th anniversary. Our tour itineraries may feature a path less taken, but we think that‘s the way to really experience a country. If you have an adventurous spirit and an open mind, then a “Backroads Adventure Tour”, may just be the tour for you.

We will share with you our years of experience, knowledge and insider tips. With a little reading on your part, we will make you a Japan expert.

Day 1 (Fri): Arrive Tokyo (Narita)
After entry procedures, transfer to your hotel by Airport Limousine Bus on your own. We provide you with a pre-paid bus coupon and detailed instructions with an airport map.
Two nights’ accommodations at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel (Main Tower).
Sensoji Day 2 (Sat):Join Tokyo Morning Tour / Afternoon At Leisure
This morning join a sightseeing tour of Tokyo which will include a visit to the Tokyo Tower Observatory for a panoramic view of the city. Drive by the Imperial Palace Plaza (a short photo stop at the outer garden), visit Asakusa Kannon Temple with bustling Nakamise Shopping Arcade. Drive by Akihabara. Tour ends at Tokyo Station. Return to your hotel on your own, transfer not included. The local guide will explain how to use the local train to return to your hotel. Afternoon and evening at leisure.

This afternoon is at leisure for you to explore Tokyo on your own. This would be a good time to visit the nearest Japan Rail (JR) Travel Center (Shinagawa Station, a 3-minute walk) to exchange your 7-Day Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order for the actual Japan Rail Pass and to make advance train reservations on your own (passport required).

Day 3 (Sun): Tokyo To Nagoya To Takayama By Trains (JD) / Japan Rail Pass
Walk to Shinagawa Station on your own. Board Bullet train for Nagoya on your own. Change train at Nagoya and board a Limited Express train for Takayama, an ancient city dubbed “Little Kyoto” on your own. Get off at Takayama Station and walk to your Japanese Inn (ryokan) on your own. Remainder of day on your own to stroll the ancient streets of Kami Sannomachi lined with traditional Japanese wooden houses. Japanese dinner at the ryokan.
Two nights’ accommodations at the Seiryu Ryokan (Japanese-style room).

Takayama Day 4 (Mon): Takayama Day At Leisure (JB,JD)
Japanese breakfast and dinner at the ryokan. Complete day at leisure to explore Takayama on your own. Highlights: lively morning markets, Kusakabe Folkcraft Museum and the open-air Hida Folk Village (a collection of more than 30 traditional farmhouses and buildings) where you can watch demonstrations of local crafts such as weaving, dyeing, woodcarving, lacquer work and making of straw baskets, hats and sandals.
Day 5 (Tue): Takayama To Kanazawa via Shirakawago By Express Bus (Bus Ticket Included) (JB)
Japanese breakfast. Walk to the Bus Stop in front of Takayama Station and board a bus on your own for a scenic drive to Shirakawago (World Heritage Site), famous for its unique farmhouses called Gassho-Zukuri or joined-hands farmhouses. Explore Shiragawago before getting on another bus for Kanazawa on your own. Upon arrival at Kanazawa, walk to your hotel on your own.
Two nights’ accommodations at the Kanazawa Miyako Hotel.
Kenrokuen Day 6 (Wed): Kanazawa Day At Leisure
Complete day at leisure to enjoy Kanazawa on your own. Highlights: Kenrokuen Garden (1 of 3 best traditional gardens in Japan), Seisonkaku Mansion, Museum for Traditional Products & Crafts, Kosenyo pottery kiln (Kutani), Saihitsuan (Kaga Yuzen Dyeing factory) and the Nagamachi district of samurai houses. Take a walk down Chaya-machi street, lined with former Geisha houses built in the early 19th century or stroll through the bustling Omicho open-air market.
Day 7 (Thu): Kanazawa To Kyoto By Limited Express Train / Japan Rail Pass
Walk to Kanazawa Station and board a Limited Express train for Kyoto on your own. Upon arrival at Kyoto Station, take the complimentary hotel shuttle van to your hotel on your own.
Two nights’ accommodations at the Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto.
Temple Day 8 (Fri): Join Kyoto Morning Tour / Afternoon At Leisure
This morning join a sightseeing tour of Kyoto: Nijo Castle, Golden Pavilion and Kyoto Imperial Palace. Tour terminates at New Miyako Hotel. Walk or take the complimentary hotel shuttle from Kyoto Station back to your hotel on your own.
Optional Nara Afternoon Tour is available for purchase.

Note: On Tuesdays in Jan, Jul, Aug & Dec, Nijo Castle is closed and you will visit Ryoanji Temple instead. Kyoto Imperial Palace is closed on Saturday, Sunday, national holidays and a few other days, visit Nishi Honganji Temple instead.

Day 9 (Sat): Kyoto to Tokyo by Bullet Train / Japan Rail Pass
Walk to Kyoto Station and board a Bullet train for Tokyo on your own. Upon arrival at Shinagawa Station, walk to your hotel on your own.
Overnight accommodations at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel (Main Tower).
ALB Day 10 (Sun): Depart Tokyo (Narita)
Transfer to the airport by pre-paid Airport Limousine Bus on your own.
Note: This tour may be extended by adding extra nights in Tokyo only. Please e-mail for more information.

Please E-mail For The Current Price
Please send us an email for the current price for this tour itinerary. For an accurate price quote, please advise your tentative dates of travel along with the total number of people in your party and your rooming requirement. For instance, 3 people traveling together, 2 people sharing 1 room and the 3rd person in a single room.

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Visa: Not required for U.S. citizens for stay up to 90 days. A valid passport is required for international travel. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your intended stay.

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Photos on this page are used with permission from JNTO. All images ©JTA/©JNTO.