Japan Express: Osaka to Tokyo
From Buddhist monks of Koyasan to the high rollers of Tokyo, capture the many faces of Japan on this condensed tour beginning in Osaka. Savour the region’s culinary delicacies and the beautiful views at Mt Fuji. You’ll stay in a traditional ryokan and really soak up local culture in onsen hot springs. A great combination of included activities and free time, this adventure provides a taste of the rich culture of Japan.
Overnight in a temple on Mt Koya with traditional meals. Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum visit. Miyajima excursion with floating torii gate visit. Nijo Castle and gardens visit (Kyoto). Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion visit. Daisen-in Temple and Zen garden visit. Fushimi Inari shrine visit. Lake Ashino-ko boat ride (Hakone). Traditional ryokan stay with kaiseki meal. Japan Rail (JR) pass (7-day). All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Take in the views of Mt Fuji, stay in temple lodging and a traditional ryokan, gaze at the famous floating torii gate in Miyajima, explore Kyoto’s Nijo Castle
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour.
Please note that only foreigners traveling as a tourist are able to use a Japan Rail Pass and that you will not receive the pass until the trip begins. If you are a Japanese citizen/resident or traveling on a student/business visa please advise us at time of booking as you will not be able to take advantage of the Rail pass.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 15, avg 12
Eating is a big part of traveling. G Adventures knows that worldwide, local cuisines define the cultures. We think sampling regional delicacies are intrinsic to truly experiencing the country. We want you to be able to try foods according to your individual tastes, comforts, and budgets.
Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility. At times, meals will be taken together as a group. Other times, your CEO will point you in the direction of several delicious options, and you will have free time to pick and choose at will. Often in Japan it is fun to get some snacks and beverages with the salarymen in the evenings at small restaurants, and other times it is fun to sit with a few friends at a sushi train.
Your CEO will always strive to cater for all dietary requirements/preferences, but please keep in mind that Vegetarianism/Veganism is very uncommon in Japan so this may mean a more limited selection for you.
Please refer to the Meals Included and Budget Information for information regarding included meals on your trip. Japan’s kitchen is at your fingertips!
Bullet train, tram, ferry, public bus, walking.
About our Transportation
Japan’s reliable public transportation is the best option for both the environment and for experiencing Japan like a local! We will ride several forms of transportation throughout the country, from Shinkansen bullet trains, to subways, funiculars, local trains, and buses. Note that often times we will have to carry our luggage from one mode of transport to another, so please consider this whilst packing.
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (6 nts), mountain monastery (1 nt), Japanese-style ryokan accommodation with hot springs (1 nt).
Japan is one of the most populous countries in the world and space is at a premium. Therefore, hotels rooms are small! Additionally, most Japanese hotels do not have designated non-smoking rooms. Therefore, we ask hotels to deoderise rooms before check in.
Ryokan are traditional inns found across Japan. Featuring tatami floors (soft mats of woven straw), futon beds, Japanese-style baths, cotton kimono (casual robe worn to lounge around or to head to the bath), and elaborate meals (often served in the comfort of your own room), a ryokan is the perfect place to experience traditional customs and hospitality. As ryokan are usually top tier accommodations, most guests stay only one night, often to celebrate a special occasion or holiday. Don’t be intimidated by the formalities inherent to a stay at a ryokan, your hosts will welcome you the same way they do all their guests. Have fun and enjoy this relaxing opportunity to learn more about Japan’s unique customs.
Minshuku are Japan’s answer to the Western bed and breakfast. Similar to ryokan, they have traditional features like tatami floors, futon beds, and Japanese-style baths. Minshuku are often family-run, and as such they offer a great opportunity to interact with local people and learn more about the nation’s customs. More affordable and simpler than ryokan, minshuku tend to have smaller guestrooms, shared bathroom facilities, and any included meals (traditional, local, and delicious) are served in a communal dining room.
From Kansai Intl Airport (KIX) to Osaka Namba Washington Hotel Plaza
First, get some cash.
After passing through the customs, stop by a bank counter or an ATM machine on the first floor to get some Japanese Yen. This may be your last chance to exchange cash easily in Japan as only certain banks do currency exchange.
Airport Limousine Bus
Buses run twice hourly to the Namba OCAT bus station near your hotel. Journey time is 48 minutes and costs 1000 Yen.
The bus departs from Stop 11 at the International Arrival Lobby on the first floor of the airport. Tickets for buses can be purchased from vending machines located near the bus stops.
On arrival at OCAT, you can either take a taxi (recommended. 5min, 1000 Yen) or the subway. To take the subway you will need to walk to Namba subway station (NOT JR Namba station). Follow the subway signs; you will walk through the OCAT Walk and Namba Walk underground shopping plazas. It should take about 5 minutes.
See the instructions below about getting to the hotel from Namba station.
Nankai Line Train
The Nankai Line runs extremely regular trains to Namba station.
1. Follow the sign “Railways” to the second floor, exit the terminal building, then cross the pedestrian bridge outside to walk into Kansai Airport Station.
2. Go to Nankai Railways counters #1-3 under the orange sign “Ltd. Exp. Rapi:t Reservation Tickets and General Tickets” on your left.
3. Purchase a ticket for the next Rapi:t (pronounced ‘rapeet’) or Airport Express to Namba. The ticket costs 1390Yen for Rap:t (44min) or 890Yen for Airport Express (38min) .
4. Go through a gate under the orange sign, which says “Nankai” by inserting the ticket into the gate. Retrieve the ticket, which will be returned to you at the other side of the gate. You will need it when leaving the Railway.
5. Go down to a platform, and get on the train. The seats are reserved on the Rap:t and non reserved on the Airport Express. The departure time, car number and the seat number are written on the ticket.
6. Follow the signs for "Subway Sennichimae Line " down to the subway station.
1. After passing by the gates for the subway, you will find ticket vending machines.
2. Deposit 200 Yen or more (the machine will return any change) into the machine, and press the button displaying “200” to buy a ticket to Nippombashi.
3. Go to the gates with the Sennichimae Line sign. Go through a gate by inserting the ticket into it. Retrieve your ticket, which will be returned at the other end of the gate. You will need it when you leave the subway.
4. Take a train bound for Nipponbashi. It is the next (and final) stop.
5. Take Exit 2, you can see your hotel across the main road on the left hand side.
To get to the Hearton Hotel Nishi Umeda:
Walk – 3 mins from Sakurabashi Exit of JR Osaka Station . The route to the hotel passes through Umesan Koji, an interesting little mall with all sorts of little shops.
Bus – 82 mins from Kansai International Airport to Herbis Osaka by Limousine Bus (a few mins walk to the hotel).
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Japan)
During office hours, Mon-Fri 9:30-18:00 Local Time
From outside Japan: 1st contact – +81 3-3830-0451 ( 2nd contact – +81 80 2725 5133)
From within Japan: 1st contact – +81 3-3830-0451 (2nd contact = +81 80 2725 5133)
After office hours emergency number
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574
After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to carry your own luggage. Our trips in Japan use public transport and most transport has limited luggage storage space. You will also be walking with your luggage in busy public train stations to catch connecting trains, so it is highly recommended that you travel light and have easy to handle luggage and are capable of walking up and down the stairs with your luggage without any assistance.
We recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips. Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. A large bag will be an inconvenience to you and will slow you down!
Takuhaibin – Japan’s takuhaibin service is a convenient and reliable way to transfer luggage from one location to another throughout the country. Pick-up/drop-off/delivery dates and times can be easily scheduled (usually overnight) and costs are moderate. Service can be arranged at most hotels and airports. Using Takuhaibin to send your luggage between hotels, or from hotel to airport, is a great way to travel light and avoid hauling large bags on crowded trains or up and down stairs – just be sure to pack an overnight bag with everything you’ll need until you’re reunited with your luggage the following day.
-Passport (with photocopies)
-Travel insurance (with photocopies)
-Airline tickets (with photocopies)
-Cash and debit card (see personal spending money)
-G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
-Day pack for daily personal items
-Small overnight bag (for convenience while using Takuhaibin service – see “What to Take” for details)
-Toiletries (soap and shampoo are provided in all accommodation)
-Sport sandals or other easy to slip on/off shoes (for temple visits)
-Clothes that cover knees and shoulders (long pants/sarong)
-First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, aspirin, band aids, anti-histamine, imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
-Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
- Note: During the colder months (Oct-Apr) the mountains can be very cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels but this is very expensive. Your leader can show you self service coin laundries in larger cities. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler.
The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your governments foreign ministry website or with your travel agent as rules do change.
JAPAN: Most nationalities receive A 90-DAY PERMIT ON ARRIVAL,
Detailed Trip Notes
Travel in Japan is easy, clean, fast and efficient, however please be aware that English is still not widely spoken, however a lot of patience, a sense of humour and a respect for the local culture goes a long way in any Asian country and will greatly enrich your experience.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.
Every Post Office and 7-11 Convenience store has an ATM machine that accepts Visa, Mastercard and Debit Cards. At times, Maestro/Master Card/Cirrus have been problematic at these machines, so please bring a back-up card.
Credit Cards should not be relied upon for purchases as they are not widely accepted, except in some restaurants and department stores. Money can be exchanged at Post Offices and some banks and hotels in major cities, however it can be a very slow process.
Departure tax is included in all international and domestic flight tickets.
Tipping is not practiced in Japan. Leaving money at restaurants, in taxis etc will simply cause confusion!
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is highly appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $5 USD per person, per day can be used.
We suggest you bring along USD 100 – 150 for additional sightseeing.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical information pertaining to the country you are travelling to well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as a full supply of any personal medical requirements. In Asia, you will not find the same drugs as you get at home. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities. Also note that for legal reasons our Leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if, in the reasonable opinion of the CEO, they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Trip Specific Safety
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org
Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our G Adventures for Good projects.
To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)
In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or other holy sites.
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD400-520 for meals not included.
2 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 2 dinners
PRODUCT_LINE: AJJR, ID: 22801
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Osaka
Arrive at any time.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Osaka/Kōyasan (1D)
Journey to Mt Koya, a religious centre founded in 816 by the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. The train ride up the mountain is possibly one of the finest rail journeys in Japan. For the final steep ascent, switch to funicular.
In the evening, dine on shojin-ryori, typical vegetarian cuisine, and relax in a yukata, or kimono.
Overnight in Mount Koya Temple
Oku-no-in Cemetery Visit
Train (2.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Kōyasan/Hiroshima-shi (1B)
Early morning offers the chance to observe the monks praying. Before a vegetarian breakfast, breathe in some fresh mountain air and journey back down the mountain.
Travel by train to Hiroshima, a historically significant city, marked with the explosion of the first atomic bomb in 1945.
We will also take a trip together to Miyajima Island, famous for being one of Japan’s most scenic spots.
Bullet train (5.00 hour(s))
Day 4 Hiroshima-shi
Visit the Peace Park and Memorial Museum and take a ferry ride over to the sacred island of Miyajima to see the famous floating torii gate.
Peace Park and Museum Visit
Miyajima Island Visit
Hop a ferry to reach the island and journey back in the evening.
Day 5 Hiroshima-shi/Kyoto
Visit zen gardens and pavillions, and the Gion area in the evening. WIth plenty of time to explore, opt to visit museums, palaces, temples, zen gardens, and restaurants.
Take long walks along the river, through the Inari Gates, or along the Philosopher’s path to Nanzen-ji. Stroll around Gion, catch a traditional tea ceremony, get a fantastic meal, and see locals dressed in traditional kimono.
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine Visit
Bullet train (1.50-2.00 hours)
Day 6 Kyoto
Visit the impressive Nijo Castle and gardens along with the famous Kinaku-ji Golden Pavilion, and practice meditation in Daisen-in’s Zen rock garden.
Nijo Castle and Gardens Visit
Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion Visit
Daisen-in Zen Rock Garden Visit
Day 7 Kyoto/Hakone (1D)
Travel to Hakone, a town in the hills famous for its onsens, or natural hot springs. Stay in a traditional ryokan, with its own private onsen.
In the evening, enjoy the ryokan, savouring a complex meal of traditional Japanese foods, followed by a recommended soak in the onsen.
Lake Ashino-ko Boat Ride
Traditional Ryokan Stay with Kaiseki Meal
Bullet train (3.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Hakone/Tokyo (1B)
Arrive before noon to Tokyo, with time to explore this energetic metropolis.
Opt to visit Ueno park and the museums, Akihabara for cutting edge electronics, Harajuku for funky fashions, Ginza for the highest of the high end, walk the grounds of the Imperial Palace East Garden, or just stroll the streets, looking for the traditional life that still lies just under the modern surface.
Bullet train (2.00 hour(s))
Day 9 Tokyo
Depart at any time.
We highly recommend booking post-accommodation to fully experience this vibrant city.