Itinerary Details

Upon your arrival at Narita International Airport (NRT), you will be welcomed by a Rahhalah representative. Once the whole group assembles, you will head to your hotel in Shinjuku via train (approx. a 1.5-hour ride), having the opportunity, with the help of your local guide, to get acquainted with the world-famous train system of the country (distance from the Shinjuku train station to the hotel: approx. 5 minutes walking distance).

Shinjuku is a special ward in the Japanese Metropolis: a major commercial and administrative center, housing the northern half of the busiest railway station in the world and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (the administration center for Tokyo’s government). Its neon-lit streets are lined with buzzing bars, karaoke rooms, upscale restaurants, galleries, theaters, and bookstores.

Enjoy the first day in Japan, exploring your neighborhood at your own pace.

Accommodation: Shinjuku Prince Hotel (3-star) or similar.

After breakfast, you will head to some of the most prominent sites of the city including the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, the Meiji Jingu Shrine, the Imperial Palace, and the Harajuku district.

Shinjuku Gyoen (a short walk from Shinjuku Station) is one of Tokyo's largest and most popular parks. It was almost completely destroyed during World War II but was eventually rebuilt and reopened in 1949 as a public park.

Meiji Jingu, in the middle of the megacity, is one of the Shinto shrines of Japan, surrounded by vast forest land (70 ha.). Once you step into the precinct, you forget the noise of the metropolis and, instead, get immersed in the beauty of traditional Japanese landscapes. The shrine was completed in 1920 and was dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken, to commemorate the leadership of the Emperor that modernized Japan at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, positioning the country amidst the world’s major powers.

Harajuku is located next to Meiji Jingu and historically, was a post town, which is reflected in the kanji characters that make up its name: “meadow lodging.” Today, Harajuku has a completely different, global, appeal as the birthplace of kawaii (cute) culture. Harajuku is also home to Tokyo’s oldest wooden station building. In June 2020, the area surrounding Harajuku Station was further upgraded with shops and restaurants, turning into ‘A New Stage in Tokyo for Global Culture and Creation.’ This trend-setting hotspot is well-known for its cuisine, shopping areas, and events.

Final stop: the Tokyo Imperial Palace and its beautiful gardens, located a 10-minute walking distance from Tokyo Station and the Marunouchi financial district. Its green oasis covers an impressive 1.15 square kilometers in the central Chiyoda Ward. Built on the site of the former Edo Castle, the palace became the permanent home of the Imperial Family in 1869. While the palace itself is not open to the public, the surroundings, carefully manicured lawns, topiary trees, and meticulously maintained gardens are not only visually enchanting but also offer a glimpse into the beauty enjoyed by the Japanese royal family.

Note: all transportations are done either by foot or via the metro.

Enjoy the rest of the day, exploring the fascinating districts of Tokyo at your own pace.

Accommodation: Shinjuku Prince Hotel (3-star) or similar.

After breakfast, you will head towards Shinjuku Railway station from where you will take the train to Okutama (approx. a 1h 20 min ride).

When in Okutama, you will walk to the starting point of the rafting adventure (a 15-minute walk), enjoying the majestic nature of the Tokyo suburbs.

After gearing up and going through the safety instructions, you will embark on your rafting adventure along the Tama River which is famous for its clear waters. The activity is fun and relaxing, and the experienced guides will help you enjoy it to the maximum.

You will then retrace your steps to the train station, and return to your hotel in Tokyo.

Accommodation: Shinjuku Prince Hotel (3-star) or similar.

After breakfast, you will take the train once again and head to Asakusa (around 20 - 30 minute ride) where, with the help of sushi masters you will hone your sushi-making skills while learning about the history of the famous dish of the region (the activity will last for about 2 hours)

Next, you will explore Asakusa: the center of Tokyo's shitamachi (literally "low city"), where you can still feel the ambiance of the bygone times. Asakusa's main attraction is Sensoji, a very popular Buddhist temple, built in the 7th century. The temple is approached via Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing for centuries temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries.

After strolling around the picturesque streets of Asakusa, you will head to the train station from where you will take the bullet train to Kyoto (approx. a 2-hour ride).
Riding the bullet train (or “Shinkansen”) is a remarkable experience. The train operates on Japan’s high-speed railway network and may reach a speed of up to 320 km per hour. The Shinkansen trains run on dedicated tracks and stop only at major stations.

Upon your arrival in Kyoto (the cultural capital of Japan), you will take the subway to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.

Accommodation: Agora Kyoto Karasuma (3-star) or similar.

After breakfast, you will be picked up by your local guide and head (with a private car) to Arashiyama: a popular tourist spot and one of the most photographed sights in Kyoto, thanks to its bamboo forest. 

Next stop: the famous Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku), which is a pagoda made to host the sacred relics of the Buddha. It is known around the world as Kinkaku-ji, that is, the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, however, its official name is Rokuon-ji. The temple was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

You will then enjoy an authentic tea ceremony in a nearby place (a short drive away), which will help you immerse in the Japanese culture using all five senses. During the ceremony, you will learn the meaning of each tea utensil or movement and how they change depending on the season.

The last stop for the day will be Nijo Castle, built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). His grandson Iemitsu completed the castle's palace buildings 23 years later and further expanded it by adding a five-story castle keep. After the Tokugawa Shogunate fell in 1867, Nijo Castle was used as an imperial palace for a while before it was donated to the city and was turned into a public historical site. These buildings are arguably the best surviving examples of Japan’s feudal era castle palace architecture and, as such, the whole castle was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994.

Accommodation: Agora Kyoto Karasuma (3-star) or similar.

After breakfast, you will head take the train to Kurama, where your hiking adventure begins.

Kurama is a mountain town north of Kyoto and connects with Kibune, its neighboring town, via a beautiful trail. Although Kurama remains under the radar of the average tourist, it is a beloved destination for locals and foreigners who wish to enjoy its mountain temples.

The hike from Kurama to Kibune is one of the best hikes in Kyoto (approx. 2.5 hours, moderate difficulty). On the way, you will pass by Kurama-dera Temple, located at the top of the mountain between the two villages.

At Kibune, you will find beautiful shops and the Kibune shrine. From there, you can take the bus (a 20-min ride) back to the train station and, from there, back to Kyoto and your hotel.

Accommodation: Agora Kyoto Karasuma (3-star) or similar.

After breakfast, you will be picked up by a private car and head to Kiyomizu Temple: a UNESCO World Heritage Site, best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside. The busy shopping street that leads down the hill is full of little shops where you can find some uniquely Japanese souvenirs such as traditional fans and items made of wood.

Next stop: the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, which is dedicated to Inari, the deity of good harvest and business success, and represents the head of all Japan's Inari shrines. It is famous for its thousands vermillion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari (233 m high) that belongs to the shrine grounds. The magical, seemingly endless path of over 5000 vibrant orange torii gates carries the wind from the hills down to Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine and is one of the most iconic sites in Japan.

You will then head to the nearby city of Osaka, where you will visit Osaka Castle Park: a beautiful site that stands out in the skyline of the city. The original castle was completed in 1583 and, over the years, was attacked and destroyed several times, most recently during the air raids of WWII. The present castle is a concrete reconstruction that was finished in 1995.

You will end the day in your hotel in Osaka, spending the rest of the day at leisure, exploring the new city at your own pace.

Accommodation: Fairfield BY MARRIOTT Osaka Namba (4-star) or similar.

Enjoy your last day in Japan at leisure, exploring Osaka and its bustling shopping area or engaging in some of the activities that are available in the area.

Then, depending on your departure time, you can take the train to Kansai International Airport (KIX – approx. a 45-min drive) for your flight back home.

Alternatively, you can extend your stay for one day to visit Hiroshima.

Optional Extension: A day-trip to Hiroshima

After an early breakfast, you will head to Hiroshima, using the metro and the bullet train (approx. traveling time: 3 hours, one way).

Upon your arrival there, you will first explore Miyajima: a small island less than an hour outside the city of Hiroshima. It is most famous for its giant torii gate, which, when the tide is high, seems to float on the water. The sight is so magical that is has been ranked as one of Japan's three best views.

You will then visit the centuries-old Itsukushima Shrine, taking the ferry, and strolling around.

Finally, you will head to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum, which commemorates the impact of the World War II atomic bomb and represents the most popular of destination in the area for international visitors.

You will then return to Osaka by train.

Accommodation: Fairfield BY MARRIOTT Osaka Namba (4-star) or similar.

Enjoy your last day in Japan at leisure, exploring Osaka and its bustling shopping area or engaging in some of the activities that are available in the area.

Then, depending on your departure time, you can take the train to Kansai International Airport (KIX – approx. a 45-min drive) for your flight back home.