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Reviews of Global Basecamps

Global Basecamp's trips to Asia are authentic travel experiences rated 5 stars out of 5 stars, based on 66 reviews collected by third-party review site Yotpo.com. Also, see our reviews on Google and Facebook.

Trips to Japan with Rich History & Contemporary Culture

Authentic Japan tours truly have it all. From cosmopolitan urban centers to breathtaking natural beauty, secluded hot spring resorts to traditional fishing villages, there is something for everyone. Whether you're an adventurer looking for pristine natural beauty, or a traveler looking for Zen-like tranquility and relaxation, Japan is the perfect destination. Famous for the beauty of its seasonal transformations, Japan tours at any time of year are filled with wonder. Japan's diverse landscapes offer travelers a wide range of travel options. Explore bustling Tokyo, snow capped peaks of Mt. Fuji, and the culture and temples of the ancient city of Kyoto. Japan’s natural beauty makes it a great country to visit anytime of the year.

Sample Tours

**All of our tours can be customized to match your specific travel priorities and dates.

Kyushu North to South (14 days)

Looking for a different side of Japan? This tailor-made itinerary showcases the best of Kyushu, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Yakushima, and more.
Classic Highlights Off the Beaten Path Cultural

Shikoku and Honshu Cultural Explorer (15 days)

If you're yearning for an adventure that is truly off the beaten path, this trip will dive into highlights of central Japan and the smallest of Japan's major islands, Shikoku.
Classic Highlights Cultural Temples Off the Beaten Path

Authentic Japan: Old & New (12 days)

Experience Japan's unique blend of modern and ancient culture as you explore Tokyo, Matsumoto, Tsumago, and Kyoto.
Cultural Cycling Temples Classic Highlights

Classic Japan Explorer - Cities, Country & Culture (13 days)

Experience the highlights that Japan has to offer with this comprehensive 13 day highlights itinerary including time in: Tokyo, Hakone, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Kyoto.
Culinary Cultural Temples Classic Highlights

Japan's Golden Triangle (8 days)

The classic "Golden Triangle" route allows first time visitors to experience Japan's key highlights: Tokyo, Hakone & Kyoto.
Cultural Temples Classic Highlights

Luxury Japan Explorer (11 days)

Stay in Japan's finest hotels and ryokans, enjoying the metropolis of Tokyo, the cultural mecca of Kyoto, the quaint village of Takayama and the hot springs of Hakone.
Classic Highlights Culinary Cultural Temples Luxury

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Highlights of Japan

Japanese Tours: Ryokans and Hotels

Japanese Tours: Ryokans and Hotels

One of the best ways to experience everything that Japan tours have to to offer, is by staying in a traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan. During a stay in one of our exquisite ryokans, you will be pampered with incredible Japanese cuisine, beautiful architecture and gracious service. Japan's modern hotels are also some of the world's best, combining high-end amenities with world-famous Japanese service. Japan's hotels feature futuristic design, luxurious amenities and memorable service.

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Private Guided Japan Tours

Private Guided Japan Tours

Although there is nothing like exploring a new country on your own, the opportunity to experience Japan tours with our professional guides provides authentic cultural insight and will show you a Japan that would otherwise remain under the surface. We help you create an itinerary that combines your interests with our Japan tours expertise. Explore Japan's bustling cities and its laid back fishing villages, cycle through Kyoto's old alleyways, or hike in the lush mountains of Japan's countryside - we work with expert guides in all aspects of Japanese culture.

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Japan Tours: Dynamic Cities

Japan Tours: Dynamic Cities

Travel to Japan's cities offers futuristic technology, remarkable architecture, modern and traditional arts, a dizzying array of fashion and design, and much, much more. Enjoy the world's best sushi and Japanese cuisine, not to mention some of the world's best French and Italian restaurants; venture out for some of the most unique and fascinating shopping experiences you will ever have; and top it all off by staying in one of the world's most exciting hotels or a lovely traditional ryokan.

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Photos from Our Japan Travelers

Japan’s reputation is well-known throughout the world as an incredibly safe, welcoming, and distinct country to visit. While it is high on most travelers bucket lists, it also draws more repeat visitors each year who have fallen for the charm of this fascinating place.

A typical visit for first time Japan tours is inclusive of Tokyo, Kyoto, and the Hakone National Park region. Collectively, this route is known as the Golden Triangle as it hits so many highlights and provides a diverse view of both urban and rural regions. Even with just a week to explore the country, these locations give you access to myriad sites of interest, temples, shrines, museums, markets, local onsen, historic hiking trails, views of Mount Fuji and much more.

If you have a longer trip, we highly recommend venturing deeper into the 47 prefectures, using the efficient and incredibly punctual rail system with shinkansen (bullet trains) that connect the country. From the rocky coastlines of the island of Kyushu to the stunning mountain views of the Northern Alps and beyond, you’ll never find yourself lacking for new adventures Japan tours have to offer.

Tokyo, the modern capital, has a long history that is woven into the fabric of the city. Many travelers spend several days here to take in the diverse neighborhoods, excellent museums, fish markets, both Michelin-rated and small specialty restaurants, and to get a taste of the nightlife. With reknowned party spots like Roppongi and Shinjuku’s Kabukicho, you can devour yakitori ata standup restaurant, squeeze into a tiny hip cocktail bar, check out the Robot Restaurant, admire night views of the city, or dance the night away at a popular club. Options are endless and there is something for everyone!

In the daytime, Tokyo is dotted with peaceful gardens and parks like Hamarikyu, Shinjuku Gyoen, and the 100 year old Meiji Jingu Forest that surrounds this beautiful shrine of the same name. Harajuku, the youth fashion capital of the city, is merely steps from the zen of Meiji Jingu and provides an incredible juxtaposition to the quiet forest with eye popping colors and kawaii (cute) shops. During a Japan tours experience you'll feel these contrasts between the ancient and the cutting edge. Electronic and technical oases of Odaiba and Akihabara with their gadget stores and giant Gundam statue are just a train ride away from the quiet residential streets of Yanaka where you can enjoy a glass of sake and a stroll through the picturesque cemetery lined with cherry trees that doubles as a green space. These Japan tours are truly like no others.

Hakone National Park encompasses several smaller towns, and has excellent tourist infrastructure with trains, buses, ropeways, and even a boat to traverse Lake Ashi. Views of Mt. Fuji are striking in clear weather, and light hikes are accessible in the mountainous region. These outdoor activities are essential for Japan tours. There is even a portion of the Tokaido Trail you can walk along in the footsteps of history on the path linking the shogunate capital of Edo (modern day Tokyo) to the imperial capital of Kyoto. After a day of wandering, be sure to soak in the famous onsen (hot spring) waters of the region, perhaps while relaxing at your traditional ryokan stay.

Kyoto, considered the cultural heart of Japan, still maintains some well preserved districts with stone paved streets, wooden lattice storefronts, and geisha (known locally as geiko) making their way to work in the evenings. Days can be spent investigating the shrines and temples that are found throughout the city with moss gardens, zen rock gardens, and unique displays to make each special. Cultural experiences abound with tea ceremonies, sake tastings, martial arts, calligraphy, and ikebana (flower arranging) available. Day trip options include the ancient capital of Nara with its friendly deer, UNESCO sites, and Daibutsu (Great Buddha), as well as Himeji where you can visit Himeji-jo, often described as the best example of castle architecture in the country.

Other fascinating cities to consider on the main island of Honshu are Kanazawa, which is home to Kenrokuen, one of the top three landscape gardens in Japan, as well as delicious seafood, local crafts, samurai, and geisha history. Takayama, a smaller town to the north boasts nigori sake production, woodworking prowess, traditional architecture, and proximity to both to mountains and the village of Shirakawago’s gassho houses. On Miyajima, an island just a 40 minutes train journey from Hiroshima, you can get up close and personal to the cheeky macaques on Mt. Misen, taste the freshest oysters in winter, and gaze at Itsukushima Shrine’s picture worthy “floating” torii at high tide. This just scratches the surface of one island, and Japan has many more to explore!

Cultural Insights for Japan Tours

Spirituality

Japan has a unique blend of Buddhism and Shinto that runs through their history. Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are found throughout the country and have developed a harmony where many Japanese practice some aspects of both beliefs. While other religions are present, during your Japan tours you'll notice Buddhist and Shinto influences are prevalent throughout the country's culture, government history, architecture, cuisine, and more.

Cuisine

Having over 230 Michelin-star rated restaurants has made Japan tours a top request for foodies throughout the world. We do recommend checking out some of these restaurants for a palette altering experience, but the country’s food scene has much more to offer. Tokyo alone has over 160,000 restaurants ranging from the humble bowl of ramen or udon to an elaborate kaiseki-ryori feast. Kyoto’s specialty cuisine is Shojin-ryori, based around Buddhist meatless principles. Kansai cuisine, in and around Osaka follows the kuiadore (eat till you’re broke) philosophy that leaves no stomach empty. There is no doubt you will be eating well during the duration of your Japan tours.

While some cities are famous for a specific type of food like beef in Kobe, or ramen in Fukuoka, each prefecture and many cities are fiercely proud of their seasonal offerings. These can be summer fruits like nashi (Asian pear) from Toyama, sea urchin from Hokkaido, or wild boar from Shimane. The variety to sample during Japan tours is endless!

Conbini (convenience stores)

Walking into a conbini in Japan is a step into culture, cuisine, and a window into daily life. One can find anything from a spare t-shirt or pair of socks to a bento lunch, cup ramen, or assortment of beverages. The snack aisle offers flavors only found in Japan like kinako (ground roasted soy bean) covered mochi rice cakes or dried squid with caramel, and beyond. These stores offer an excellent way to cheaply graze the flavors of Japan without committing to a full meal. Try an individually packed umeboshi (pickled plum), an exquisite chestnut and matcha mont blanc, or a wasabi kit-kat. An onigiri (rice ball) is a typical snack or even small meal, and most conbini offer a wall of options to choose from.

The snacks and drinks you'll find during Japan tours vary regionally and seasonally, so it’s hard to get bored with how much is at your fingertips! In the summer, these stores are a delightful air-conditioned respite from the heat and humidity, and the cooler full of fun flavored drinks (alcoholic and non) are enough to keep you entertained your whole trip. Melon chu-hai (shochu drinks), mugicha (barley tea), and peach coca cola are just a few seasonal flavors to try.

Wa (Harmony)

With densely populated urban centers, it’s easy to imagine the cities being mayhem with everyone rushing to and fro. Japanese culture has a strong sense of harmony, however, that helps keep the typical madness of most large cities at bay. There is a proverb that translates to “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” This does not mean that the entirety of the populace conforms in all ways, as there is great diversity and innovation throughout. Rather, the local people have an overwhelming respect for the personal space and peace of one another. This leads to even rush hour packed subway trains being nearly silent with everyone focusing on their devices and keeping to themselves. Not rocking the boat, so that everyone can maintain a level of comfort, is expected. There are exceptions, of course, to every rule, but following suit as a visitor is best, and will allow you to enjoy your Japan tours with comfort and a sense of calm even in the busiest of places.

Japan Tours: Further Reading

Lost Japan
Rice Noodle Fish
Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
Shogun
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Spring Snow
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