What makes Japan unique is its extraordinary blend of tradition and modernity. This MT Sobek adventure begins and ends in Tokyo, where pockets of tradition sit alongside cosmopolitan districts, comprising a stimulating urban tapestry unlike anywhere else. Head into the mighty mountains to experience the powerful, lasting connection with nature that permeates Japanese life and culture. From Nikko's UNESCO-listed temples and spectacular hinterland to scenic Hakone and its gorgeous surroundings with views of Mount Fuji, you'll hike along sparkling lakes, soak in delightful onsen, and relish the traditional hospitality of ryokans.
Soak up Tokyo's heady blend of traditional and modern delights, from Senso-ji to Harajuku
Escape to the mountain town of Hakone, marvel at majestic Mount Fuji, and hike the Old Tokaido Highway
Discover Nikko's UNESCO-listed sites, unwind in natural hot springs, and overnight in traditional ryokans
Welcome to Japan! After arrival at the airport, take a limousine bus to your hotel, where you meet your guide and the rest of the group for orientation and a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Take a full-day tour of Tokyo, beginning with Nezu and Yanaka, an old quarter that still retains the Edo-period charm, with traditional wooden houses, narrow streets, and small temples. Continue on to Asakusa and Senso-ji, a large Buddhist temple with a five-story 7th-century pagoda. After lunch, proceed to Tokyo's modern side, starting in Harajuku, known for globally trend-setting boutiques and fashion houses. Walk along fashionable Omotesando - the Champs-Elysees of Tokyo - to Shibuya, home to the world's busiest crossing. Return to the hotel and enjoy dinner on your own.
Journey to Hakone, a delightful mountain town famed for its onsen (hot spring resorts), traditional inns, and majestic views of Mount Fuji. Walk along a portion of the Old Tokaido Highway, aka the East Sea Road. There is an ascent with some steep sections from Hatajuku to Motohakone. On the way, pass a centuries-old traditional teahouse that still serves guests today. Once in Motohakone, walk among towering cedars on the scenic sugi-namiki (Japanese Cedar Avenue) to Lake Ashi. If Mount Fuji is visible, catch her beautiful reflection in the lake.
Travel to historic Nikko, a town set against a stunning backdrop of sacred wooded hills and national parklands. The extravagantly ornate buildings of Nikko's Toshogu Shrine, built in 1617, are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour this complex of spectacular shrines, which was created in commemoration of Tokugawa Ieyasu, a shogun venerated for uniting feuding lords to create the nation of Japan in 1600. See the intricate temple carvings full of whimsy - including a lifelike cat and "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys.
Embark on a circular, scenic hike that skirts Mount Mitsudake, taking in the lovely Nikko marshlands and Karikomi and Kirikomi lakes. Pass grazing animals, and monkeys and deer that frequent this route. The walk meanders through fragrant forests along dirt trails and wooden boardwalks; explore marshlands and their array of birds. The Karikomi Lake area is famous for its natural sulfur hot springs. Monks have harnessed these waters for their healing properties since 788 - and at your ryokan in the Nikko Yumoto Onsen area, you can experience these waters for yourself!
This morning set out by bus to explore Oku Nikko, "the hinterland of Nikko," a wooded mountainous area of outstanding natural beauty and now a protected national park. Take a gentle walk through sacred forests, passing two gorgeous waterfalls and following the Yukawa River back toward the rural hot spring village of Nikko Yumoto. Your exploration of Nikko will end here, as you then return to Tokyo, arriving in the city in the early evening. Dinner is on your own tonight; your guide will provide recommendations.
This morning, visit Hama-Rikyu Gardens. Once a duck hunting ground, the area was transformed into beautiful parklands that include a teahouse on a tranquil pond and vistas over the Sumida River. The peaceful garden stands in juxtaposition to the modern skyscrapers that lie just beyond it. Continue on to Ginza, Tokyo's most famous upmarket shopping and dining district, filled with elegant boutiques, department stores, art galleries, restaurants, theaters, and cinemas. This afternoon is at your leisure, and there's plenty of time to make your own discoveries or shop for souvenirs.
After breakfast, bid farewell to Japan and the group as you transfer to Narita airport for your flight home.
MT Sobek has been operating well-paced itineraries in Japan for 15 years, working with expert local guides who go the extra mile.
Our itinerary has been crafted for personal achievement, allowing you to carry nothing but a daypack as we transport your belongings to each inn.
This new 8-day Japan adventure has been specially crafted for short-on-time visitors, who want to blend hiking with must-see highlights.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Easy to moderate hikes on wooded and mountainous trails, plus cultural city touring and scenic train rides.
Rejuvenate at traditional ryokans (inns) - many with onsen (hot springs) - and a comfortable Japanese-style hotel with modern amenities.
Autumn daytime temperatures range from the low 50°F to mid-70°F, with cooler temperatures in Nikko, which is in the mountains.
You will take a limousine bus to the hotel, where your guide will meet you in the evening for a trip briefing and dinner.
No, American citizens do not need a visa for Japan for stays of up to 90 days.
Yes, you can, but please let us know as soon as possible so we can manage your request.
Fish is a more challenging allergy to manage due to the ubiquitous nature of dashi (fish broth), but we do inform the restaurants along the way of fish allergies.
The ryokans vary significantly, but almost always have tatami mats for flooring and futon beds that are laid out each night. On this trip the ryokans all have en-suite baths.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
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