From Mount Fuji to Tokyo, Kyoto, hiking, skiing, bullet trains, Disneyland and more, Japan is filled with fun things to do, natural wonders to explore, zen hot springs to soak in, and incredible food. The latest Japan travel restrictions mean you can only visit the country as part of a group tour – so we’ve pulled together the best tour packages to book right now.
The whole package
The best part of booking a group tour is that you get to relax while everything is organised for you. From accommodation, to meals, all the activities and site visits – this 10-day adventure even includes flights to Japan with Qantas from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth.
On the Unbeatable Japan 2022 tour, with departure dates this November, you’ll enjoy the bright lights of Tokyo, eat your way through Osaka’s neon-lit Dotonbori district at your leisure, embark on a cruise through picturesque Lake Ashi in Hakone, soak up views of Mount Fuji and visit the free-roaming deer in Nara Park (you might even get to feed them). Seven nights’ hotel accommodation is included, along with English-speaking guides. Designed for travellers of all ages (from families with young children to older couples), it’s a terrific way to enjoy Japan stress-free.
The insider’s gourmet getaway
Japan is home to over 400 restaurants celebrated by the Michelin Star guide, making this country the ultimate gourmet destination. But finding a seat at some of the nation’s culinary jewels can be a challenge. Plan Japan’s Food Tour can help you with that, hosting around six to 10 guests at a time with expert guide Rachel Lang organising exclusive access to a number of Japan’s best diners.
What can you expect? The two-starred sushi restaurant Amamoto, which seats just eight guests (by invitation only), is likely to be on the itinerary. A sitting at Torishiki, a starred yakitori eatery in Tokyo, might also feature. And you might even score a seat at newcomer Été, where chef Natsuko Shoji serves four guests each day on the first floor of a tucked away apartment building. Unwind afterwards with a spa treatment at your luxury accommodation – the Palace Hotel and Mandarin Oriental are just a few of the options available.
Hike through Japan’s beautiful backcountry
There’s far more to Japan than neon-lit metropolises like Tokyo. Take this 15-day tour focusing on trekking through beautiful natural areas for instance.
Ideal for keen adventurers who love the great outdoors and those who enjoy trekking through back-country bush, highlights include exploring Mount Fuji’s surrounds and the five lakes skirting it, hiking through small towns along the forested trails of the ancient Nakasendo Way (which connects Japan’s previous capital city, Kyoto, with its present capital city, Tokyo), and following the pilgrim trails in Nara that lead to the sacred peak of Omine. The tour begins in Tokyo and finishes up in the bustling city of Osaka.
Departure dates are in September, October, March, April and May. Fourteen breakfasts, three lunches and eight dinners are included, as is an expert guide. Accommodation at traditional wooden ryokan country inns – replete with tatami mats and sliding doors – is available along the way.
The action-packed family adventure
Kids (and kids at heart) will love this seven-day tour highlighted by a trip to Tokyo Disneyland. It’s one of Japan’s most popular attractions for a good reason: board a space cruiser and fight evil robots on Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters ride; sail through the jungle on the Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions; or drop down a 16-metre high waterfall at Splash Mountain.
When you’re not seeking thrills, there are leisurely visits to Osaka, Mount Fuji and Hakone as well as a trip on a bullet train. Breakfast and accommodation are included in this package too, which is customisable and has year-round departures. This makes it ideal for families and larger groups of friends – especially those who’d like their holiday to include Disneyland’s Cinderella Castle as well as the Tokyo Imperial Palace and Osaka Castle, too.
For the powder hounds
Japan’s powder-covered slopes in winter make for excellent skiing – the ultimate escape during the hot Australian summer. Whiteroom has several tours specifically for skiing, for all ability levels. Their nine-day Powder Progression Tour is perfect for beginners, and guests will receive plenty of guidance since there are only four spots available per tour.
The tour is based at Niseko, on the northern island of Hokkaido. Guests stay at the Pension Full Note, a Japanese-style bed and breakfast with a sunken lounge, fireplace and wood floors – a cosy escape after hitting the slopes all day. Tours run in December, January and February, when the snow is at its deepest.
An all-women cherry blossoms tour
The stunning colours of Japan’s cherry blossoms in spring are world-famous – and this eight-day tour lets you see them this March with a group of like-minded women. Meals and accommodation are included and the group size is capped at 12 – so there’s a good chance you’ll make some new friends, too.
Aside from the cherry blossoms, you’ll have a chance to explore Tokyo, see Mount Fuji, visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, soak in an onsen (hot springs) at a ryokan, enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Kawaguchi, ride first-class on a bullet train, try on a traditional kimono and much more.
The classic way to visit Japan
Luxury outfit Abercrombie & Kent’s 13-night “classic” tour will let you see the best of Japan in style. The expert travel team will create a tailored itinerary just for you (while ensuring you still have plenty of time to relax in between activities). Key highlights include bathing in hot springs in Hakone in front of Mount Fuji, a scenic railway journey down to Takayama, and visiting the sacred island Miyajima where the Five Tier Pagoda stands tall and the Itsukushima Shrine’s torii gate appears to float on water.
Expect ultra-luxe accommodation every night and decadent eats throughout. The tour’s customisable itinerary makes this package especially appealing to couples and families.
SEE ALSO: How to Make the Most of a Visit to Kyoto
Image credit: TripADeal (Shibuya Crossing); JNTO (Lake Yamanaka and Japan Ski); Abercrombie & Kent; Jean Vella (Kinkaku/Golden Pavilion in Kyoto).