Backroads of Japan

Classic, Tokyo to Kyoto

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Tokyo and Kyoto—the modern and imperial capitals of Japan, respectively—represent the perfect merger of the ancient and the contemporary. On this trip, you’ll thoroughly explore both and everything in between, from traditional villages and miles of rice fields to ancient temples and the stunning vistas of the Japanese Alps. Snow monkeys, geishas, the teeming pedestrian scrambles of Tokyo’s Shibuya district, and the impossibly friendly staff of your traditional ryokan are just a few of the locals you’ll meet and never forget.

What’s included

  • Your Discover Moment: Tokyo
  • Modern Tokyo walking tour
  • Zenkoji Temple visit (Nagano)
  • Jigokudani Monkey Park visit (Matsumoto)
  • Matsumoto Castle visit
  • Hida No Sato folk village visit (Takayama)
  • Sake street visit
  • Kibi Plains bike ride (outside Kurashiki)
  • Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine visit
  • Visits to Kiyomizu and Chion-in temples
  • Japan Rail (JR) pass (7 days)
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities


  • Experience the bustle of modern tokyo
  • Visit the zenkoji temple in the japanese alps
  • Discover the snow monkeys bathing in the hot springs
  • Cycle the kibi plains
  • Explore kyoto's temples.


Day 1 Tokyo There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting. Included Activities: Meet Your CEO and Group
Day 2 Tokyo Take a CEO-led walking tour of eclectic modern Tokyo from the hub of Shinjuku to Shibuya through Yoyogi Park and Harajuku. Included Activities: Orientation Walk
Day 3 Tokyo Enjoy a free day to experience the city or venture out to Mt Fuji.
Day 4 Tokyo/Nagano Journey to the Japanese Alps and Nagano, host city of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Visit the historic Zenkoji Temple. Included Activities: Zenkō-ji Temple Transport: Bullet train (3.00 hour(s))
Day 5 Nagano/Matsumoto Matsumoto is a quaint castle town featuring one of Japan's most treasured castles. Included Activities: Jigokudani Monkey Park Visit Transport: Local train (1.50-2.00 hours)
Day 6 Matsumoto/Takayama Visit one of Japan's most treasured castles maintaining it's original wooden interior and stone exterior. Explore the castle where 16th century samurai once roamed. Continue past the mountains, rice fields and traditional homes to Takayama. Discover the traditional Japanese way of life in a family-run guesthouse. Included Activities: Matsumoto Castle Visit Transport: Local bus (3.00 hour(s))
Day 7 Takayama (1D) Visit the ‘Praying Hand’ houses, huge thatched homes and well-preserved Edo samurai era dwellings nestled beneath the mountain peaks. From the Hida No Sato Folk Village to saki tasting at local traditional brewery Takayama offers a great opportunity for exploration. With free time in the afternoon opt to walk a forested trail, go for a bike ride, have a nap on the Tatami mats at the Ryokan or relax in a Japanese Onsen (hot spring) before enjoying a traditional dinner together as a group. Included Activities: Hida no Sato (Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village) Visit Sake Street Visit
Day 8 Takayama/Kurashiki (1B) Get a real glimpse of old Japan at Kurashiki, a picturesque town in central Japan which has retained much of its old world charm with beautifully preserved black and white walled merchants’ homes and storehouses. Many of the storehouses have been converted into museums, souvenir stores, boutiques and cafés. Most famous among the museums are the Ohara Museum of Art and the Museum of Folkcraft. Transport: Bullet train (5.50-6.50 hours)
Day 9 Kurashiki Enjoy a bike tour through the Kibi Plains, surrounded by rice fields and ancient burial grounds. On this scenic ride, glide past shrines and temples and get a glimpse of rural Japanese life. Included Activities: Bicycle Tour of the Kibi Plains
Day 10 Kurashiki/Kyoto Journey to Kyoto and visit some of the most magnificent temples in the country, dating back centuries. There are said to be 2,000 temples, shrines, palaces, museums and traditional gardens in Kyoto. Included Activities: Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine Visit Transport: Bullet train (2.50-3.00 hours)
Day 11 Kyoto (1B) Spend the morning discovering Buddhist, Zen, and Shinto nuances in some the beautiful Kiyomizu Temple (Love Temple) and the breathtaking Chion-in Temple. Opt to explore more zen gardens, palaces, and temples in Kyoto or venture to nearby Osaka. Another option further afield is to visit the peaceful gardens and ancient temples of Nara, home of Japan's largest Buddha. Included Activities: Kiyomizu Temple Visit Chion-in Temple Visit
Day 12 Kyoto (1B) Depart at any time. Included Activities: Departure Day