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Kyoto's old streets are well preserved.

The

Japan
 
trip

Tokyo's neon skyline.

For the love of

ANCIENT ROOTS

 

JAPANESE ART 

MAKI

 

TEMPLES AND SHRINES

MODERN WONDERS

 

VIRTUAL REALITY

 

KARAOKE

 

CREATIVE CUISINE

 

MEDITATION

NATURE

JAPAN

WHAT TO EXPECT

Our small group trip to Japan caters to travelers in their 20s and 30s looking for sacred temples in Kyoto, mouth-watering sushi in Tokyo, and moving history in Hiroshima.

Japan’s a highly modern and innovative country rooted in ancient traditions and culture. For first-time visitors, it can be a total culture shock, complete with the quirky, the wonderful, and the unusual. You’ll explore everything from ancient shrines and traditional remote villages, deeply connected with the natural world, to the fast-paced and futuristic capital city of Tokyo. Along the way, you’ll meet an entire crew of new friends, sample some of the country's most famous cuisine, explore mythical mountain landscapes, and expand your boundaries across new borders.

Expect a mix of bewildering neon nightlife and new experiences, from booming karaoke to nude Japanese hot springs!

9 days/8 nights

starting at $5,299 USD

Limited single room upgrades starting from $1,129 are available and can be added during booking, subject to availability.

 

P.S. All payments can be broken up into a

$975 deposit + 3 additional installments.

*Please note: Due to requirements from our suppliers, the Japan Trip follows a 91-Day Cancellation Policy.

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Included

  • All accommodations on your small group trip to Japan are in a shared room with one other person with the option to upgrade to a private room (limited availability)

  • 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners with some drinks included

  • Bullet train tickets

  • E-bike tour through Kyoto's streets

  • Day trip to Hiroshima

  • Night out at iconic themed bars

  • Shrine and temple experience, including visit to famous Fushimi Inari Shrine

  • Nozawa Stamp Trail tour

  • Peace Memorial Park guide

  • Guided Tokyo city tour

  • Traditional sushi-making class

  • Japanese karaoke evening

  • FTLO Trip Leader

 

*All activities are weather dependent; in the unlikely event that we are unable to run an activity, we will have a suitable alternative in place.

not included

  • Flights (fly into Osaka or Kansai International Airport and out of Tokyo) 

  • Airport transfers

  • Mandatory trip insurance

  • Meals not mentioned (budget around $450+, depending on eating/drinking habits)

  • Incidental expenses (like taxis - budget $300)

The cherry blossoms in Japan.

day by day

*Itinerary is indicative and is subject to minor changes

Day by day
 
 
Day 1 - Kyoto
Konnichiwa

After you land at Kansai International Airport or Osaka International Airport, make your way to Kyoto. This charming, historical city used to be the capital of Japan; today, it's famous for its gardens, parks, temples, and shrines.


Check in to your hotel in the late afternoon and get ready to experience the culture, heritage, and history of one of Asia's most fascinating nations.

To kick off your trip, you'll enjoy a popular contemporary dinner at a local izakaya as you meet your new Japanese travel crew.

arrive

 
 
Day 2 - Kyoto
MEDITATIOn + adventure

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before jumping on an e-bike and riding out into some of Kyoto's beautiful and meticulously landscaped parks.

You'll explore an ancient temple with the crew and even participate in a Zen meditation lesson. After soothing the mind and body, fuel up on a ramen lunch before you continue on.

The evening is yours to explore the nightlife in one of Japan's most charming major cities. If you're up for it, wander over toward the Geisha District and stroll along the banks of the Kamogawa River.

Pork ramen in Japan.

DEVOUR

 
 
Day 3 - Hiroshima
GLIMPSE OF HISTORY

Today, we're heading to the train station and riding over to Hiroshima. You'll get a front-row seat into the city's history as you discover how it recovered from tragedy and, in turn, developed into one of the most dynamic metro regions in the world.

For lunch, you'll enjoy a savory local dish called Okonomiyaki. Literally translating to "grilled as you like it," this Japanese-style omelet is one of our favorites in the entire country.

The afternoon is yours to continue exploring the area, including the romantic island of Miyajima and its massive torii gate, or to head back to Kyoto at your own leisure.

Orange gates outside of Kyoto.

VENTURE

*

 
 
Day 4 - Kyoto
Up for Anything

Kyoto's full of magical shrines, temples, and forests, and today's free for you to explore them all with friends.

You could head to the Nishiki Market for a fresh sushi lunch and then make your way over to the picturesque bamboo forest of Arashiyama. Or you could check out the sacred ceremonial spaces of the ancient Shimogamo-jinja Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (of course, there are 16 others in Kyoto!).

In the evening, grab your new crew and head to the famous orange gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine for a beautiful sunset over the city. At night, continue the fun and take the party to Kyoto's funky little izakayas scattered throughout town.

Arashiyama bamboo forest outside of Kyoto.

EXPLORE

 
 
Day 5 - Nozawaonsen 
In the Onsen

After breakfast in Kyoto, we’re hopping on a train and heading north through leafy-green countryside for Nagano prefecture and the magical mountain town of Nozawaonsen. With snow-capped winters and flower-filled summers, the scenery’s stunning year-round.

A local guide will introduce you to the Stamp Trail—a uniquely Japanese journey leading you through meandering streets lined by Edo-era architecture and spiritual temples surrounded by three-hundred-year-old Japanese cedars. Mix in steaming pools at a mystical cooking onsen, and you’ll get the idea: in Nozawa, nature’s everywhere.

Unwind with some local gin (made with Nozawa’s own crystal-clear freshwater) and then hop into an onsen yourself to round out the afternoon with the crew in relaxing style. That evening, we’ll kick back in our traditional Ryokan (which has been around for 18 generations!) for mouthwatering local delicacies and umami flavors.

Meditating in Japan's gardens.

RETREAT

Day 6 - Nozawaonsen, Tokyo
Nature to Nightlife

Breakfast is an authentic spread whipped up by our expert chef at the Ryokan, so eat up before you check out the rest of Nozawa.


Your morning’s free, and depending on the season, you could hike up into the hillsides to try out Shinrin-yoku, the therapeutic, near-spiritual practice of reconnecting with nature, or even hit Nozawa’s famous slopes for a morning of skiing with epic views.

In the afternoon, catch a train and ride out of the mountains and into the neon future. Hello, Tokyo! Welcome to one of the largest, most exciting cities on earth, where the term “sensory overload” has never meant so much. Tokyo’s home to some of the world’s greatest nightlife, so drop your bags and then head to Golden Gai’s maze of tiny bars and restaurants for lantern-lit fun!

Fresh sushi on a bed of lettuce.

EAT

 
 
Day 7 - Tokyo
TASTE OF TOKYO

In the morning, you’ll head out with the crew to explore some of Tokyo’s most colorful neighborhoods and charming parks on a guided city tour.

Then, after working in more than a few morning steps, it’s time to hit the kitchen for a real taste of the town—we’re going to learn how to roll up sushi as only Japanese do. Toss down some of Tokyo’s freshest tuna and then wander the streets with friends.

That evening, we’ll all get together and head out to soak up the neon nightlife as we explore more of the city’s iconic nightlife, from tiny dives to karaoke hubs.

MARVEL

 
 
Day 8 - Tokyo
Kanpai!

Today's free for you to explore one of the most exciting cities on the planet with friends or solo.

With everything from sumo wrestling to rocking J-Pop (looking at you, Babymetal), Tokyo’s always got something going on, so get out there and try to see it all. We highly recommend visiting Teamlab to experience the futuristic digital art exhibits. Alternatively, if you're after a bit more history, head over to the Imperial Palace to explore what was the ancient residence of Tokugawa shoguns and what's currently home to the emperor!

In the evening, we'll share celebratory cocktails and dinner with the group as we say kanpai (cheers) to an awesome trip!
 

Neon lights on Tokyo streets.

DISCOVER

Day 9 - Tokyo
FAREWELL

Our Japan trip may be wrapping up, but there's always more Asia to see.

We'll share one last breakfast with the group before we say farewell and head our separate ways.

If you're sticking around these parts, consider grabbing a Japan rail pass to explore the rest of the country. For more variety, fly down to Vietnam and soak up history in Hanoi, or jet a bit farther south for more tropical rays and preposterously beautiful sunsets in Bali.

"I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world." -MARY ANNE RADMACHER

Fast facts

FAST FACTS

Just for fun

Japan travel for millennials

Japan's volcanoes make up 10% of the world's total volcanoes.

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Sumo wrestling is Japan's national sport.

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Tokyo has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world!

Trip notes

  • While we can’t guarantee private rooms, you should book your trip earlier if you prefer one, as they usually fill up.

  • Book your arrival flight into Kansai International Airport, or Osaka International Airport, and take public transportation to Kyoto; Book your departure flight out of Tokyo from either the Narita International Airport or the Haneda International Airport

  • In Japan, you'll find everything from hotel rooms to portion sizes to be smaller.

  • Public transportation: Japanese trains are very efficient, and traffic in the major cities is bad, so this whole trip is done on public transport. Try to pack lightly.

  • When visiting Japan, we stay as close to historic city centers as possible. This means your accommodations will often be on the small side, quirky, and unique (we love this!).

  • Cherry Blossom season usually falls between April and May.

  • June is the rainy season, but it usually does not rain every day

  • Seafood is a staple of Japanese cuisine and can be found in many dishes. If you are a selective eater, please be aware that meals will often include seafood.

  • Note for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free: In Japanese culture, foods without the actual meat of an animal (such as beef broths) are considered vegetarian. This may present difficulties for travelers with dietary restrictions, as it is hard to adjust foods or find foods that don't use grains or fish. While your guide can help you understand what you're ordering, it will be up to you to do your research on foods that meet your dietary preferences. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to find meals that fit your needs during the group meals that are included.

  • All activities are weather-dependent; in the unlikely event that we are unable to run an activity, we will have a suitable alternative in place.

  • More information regarding visa requirements and Covid restrictions can be found here.

* The Japan Trip follows a 91-Day Cancellation Policy, different from other FTLO Trips

about Japan

Japan is home to a rich cultural heritage steeped in tradition. Its history, spanning millennia, melds ancient practices with modern innovations. The nation reveres traditions like tea ceremonies, sumo wrestling, and cherry blossom festivals while also placing huge importance on cutting-edge technology and urban sophistication. Major cities pulse with energy, housing futuristic skyscrapers alongside historic temples.

GOod to know

  • The national language is Japanese.

  • The currency in Japan is the yen.

  • Everything is very, very small. Though cleverly designed, expect small spaces for accommodation. 

  • Japan is one of the most expensive places to visit in the world, and therefore will not be a luxury trip, despite the higher costs.

  • Japanese cuisine is delicious, creative, and stunning, but it will definitely challenge your palette’s comfort zone.

  • Japanese culture is completely different from anything else you’ve experienced before; be ready to expand your horizons.

  • This trip will offer a mix of ancient and modern, old and new.

  • Manners are important in Japan and showing respect, as you would in any country.

  • It is generally a quieter country, despite bustling cities and tourist-heavy areas.

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flights

Flights

Fly into OSAKA (ITM) or Kansai (KIX)

You'll need to be in Kyoto by 2pm on Day 1. We do recommend flying in earlier to have some time to explore the city on your own!

Fly out of Haneda (HND) or Narita (NRT)

Fly out of Tokyo at any time on day 9 or extend your trip and enjoy a few more days in Japan.

Want to check out flights for your trip?

Feel free to also set up flight alerts to Osaka and from Tokyo so you can grab the best deal!

*FTLO is not responsible for any fees or costs related to flights. We strongly suggest that all travelers wait until they receive the official FTLO Greenlight Email to book flights. This will be sent 3-4 months prior to the start date of your trip.

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