Unforgettable Travel Company

Luxury Japan Vacations & Tours

As a destination, Japan really can offer it all. Urban escapades in Tokyo and Osaka really are unbeatable; heritage sightseeing in Kyoto, Nara, Nikko, or Hiroshima throws up insights into both ancient and modern history. Takayama and Kanazawa offer beautifully preserved samurai quarters, artisan craft stores, and stunning gardens. Gorgeous hikes and thrilling outdoor adventures can be found in the Alps, Miyajima, and Kii or Noto peninsulas. Nowhere else provides such striking contrasts as Japan.

For a more memorable travel experience, consider our private tours of Japan and start planning your getaway today!

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Centuries-old customs meet advanced technology; serene monasteries sit alongside strikingly futuristic public spaces; sprawling neon-lit cities fold out to dense forests and soaring mountains; intricate multi-course kaiseki dinners pair with mouth-watering street food and vibrant nightlife.

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Luke Stapylton-Smith

Asia Specialist
Luke 257 246

Curated Japan Tours, Exquisitely Crafted for Your Exploration

Our specialists have traveled extensively throughout Japan, and have curated a selection of sample itineraries to showcase its key destinations and experiences and provide inspiration for your luxury tailor-made Japan tour.

Ready to plan your trip?

What ever you want from your dream trip, our team of
experts are ready to help.

Why we love private tours of Japan

Luke SS 184x184

Luke

Asia Specialist

Each new day in Japan brings fresh surprises. Get lost in Tokyo’s 1000 neighborhoods, discover a treasure trove of heritage sites in Kyoto, drink and dine yourself to ruin in Osaka, observe Buddhist monks at their serene work in Mount Koya, walk in rich natural scenery in the Kiso Valley, or soak in the hot springs of Hakone National Park.

In Japan’s busiest cities, you’re never far from a tranquil park or majestic garden; in the sleepiest rural village, there’s always that tiny antique store or noodle stand that becomes the highlight of your day.

The food is incredible, from the humblest stand-up ramen joint to the most lavish and precisely-executed sushi extravaganza; and the people, most of all, are extraordinary – enthusiastic, excitable, and open-hearted.

Best places to go in Japan

Japan is made up of four main islands: Honshu, by far the largest and most populous, housing Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hakone, and the Alps; Shikoku, just across the Seto Inland Sea from Hiroshima; Hokkaido to the north, great for skiing and wild nature tours; and Kyushu to the south, boasting volcanoes and hot springs galore.

  • Tokyo, Japan

    Tokyo

    Tokyo, the gateway to Japan, is one of the world’s great cities. A bustling metropolis where traditional elegance harmonizes with futuristic innovation.

  • Kyoto, Japan

    Kyoto

    Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital for over 1,000 years, is steeped in centuries of cultural heritage, where ancient temples and serene gardens whisper tales of Japan’s rich history.

  • Hakone National Park, Japan

    Hakone National Park

    Situated between Tokyo and Kyoto, Hakone is a picturesque haven of elegant ryokan accommodation, bubbling hot springs, lush landscapes, and views of Mount Fuji.

  • Kanazawa, Japan

    Kanazawa

    Possibly Japan’s most charming city, Kanazawa, steeped in samurai history, offers a glimpse into Japan’s refined artistry and historical charm.

  • Hiroshima, Japan

    Hiroshima & Miyajima

    Hiroshima, a city of resilient spirit, and neighboring Miyajima, an island of sacred tranquility, twin perfectly to offer a typically Japanese contrast of old and new.

  • Japanese Alps, Japan

    The Japanese Alps

    Attractive alpine cities in Takayama and Matsumoto, hikes through impossibly idyllic postal villages along the ancient Nakasendo Highway, or world-class skiing in Hakuba.

Autumn, Kanazawa, Japan

Best time to visit Japan

Japan is incredibly diverse in both landscape and climate. Japan’s technicolor metropolitan hubs can be visited any time, but outdoor Japan includes everything from exquisite parks and gardens in the heart of busy cities, to dramatic mountain ranges, dense forests, and tropical beaches. When planning your trip we know you’ll want to be across the very best time to take in these exceptional spaces. The good news is that whenever you do time your visit to Japan there will always be spectacular scenery and plenty of exciting things to see and do.

Check out The Best Time to Travel to Japan for more details.

What to do in Japan

Embrace the culture shock: a trip to Japan is all about getting to grips with its captivating culture and customs. Tea ceremonies, food tours, sumo matches, neighbourhood walking tours – we can organise a plethora of enticing activities to help get under the skin of this enthralling destination.

  • Ryokan, Japan

    Experience ryokan accommodation

    The most quintessential of Japanese experiences, stay in ryokan to enjoy centuries-old Japanese hospitality, indulging in exquisite multi-course kaiseki meals, and slipping into bubbling outdoor hot spring baths.

  • Tea Ceremony, Japan

    Take part in a tea ceremony

    Meet a Japanese tea master to enjoy the centuries-old ceremony, and learn about Japanese tea and its profound connection to Zen Buddhism. Each movement is meticulous and significant, and best experienced in a serene temple of traditional machiya home.

  • Tsukiji Market, Tokyo, Japan

    Gourmet tour of Tsukiji market

    A walking tour through Tokyo’s legendary Tsukiji market offers you the best sushi breakfast you’ve ever had, plus first-hand interaction with chefs and restauranteurs who have made this place the heart of the city for generations.

Japan advice from the experts

  • Kuwanoki Falls Japan Listing

    The 10 Most Beautiful National Parks in Japan

     

    Japan’s natural beauty is highly underrated. Many visitors to the Land of the Rising Sun imagine Japan to be all neon-drenched cities and cultural touring, but this is far from the case.

    We believe getting out in the great outdoors to be a key part of any tour of Japan. The countryside - mountains, forests, streams, rugged coastline - is rich from tip-to-toe, with numerous protected reserves to explore. 

    We’ve compiled a list of our favorite national parks throughout Japan. Some - such as those in northern, southern, and far off-shore Japan - are more of a specialist nature, but others can be easily folded into a typical highlights tour. 

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    Ultimate Guide to Cherry Blossom in Japan

    Japan’s legendary sakura cherry blossoms attract visitors in their droves, both from within Japan and from all across the wider world. Our guide on where, when, and how best to enjoy hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is below. 

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  • Quiet streets in Yanaka distict Tokyo Listing

    The Best Hidden Neighborhoods in Tokyo

    Tokyo is without question one of the world’s greatest travel destinations. Dedicated travelers could spend a week or more and feel like they have barely scratched the surface. 

    The most commonly visited areas - Marunouchi, Shibuya, Asakusa, Ginza - will easily fill 2-3 days of sightseeing on their own. This leaves little opportunity to explore the Japanese capital’s more unique, traditional, or downright unusual districts. 

    Should you find yourself with some valuable extra time, or are simply curious to stray a little, below is our list of hidden gems in Tokyo - away from the beaten path. We’ve picked just five neighborhoods here, with many more sadly not making the cut. If you’re looking for ideas on how to spend your time in Tokyo, particularly if you have specific interests (food, history, arts, shopping, technology, anime...), please let your consultant know and they will be very happy to discuss!

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    Honeymooning in Japan

    Japan offers honeymooning couples everything from culture and history to spectacular scenery, including soaring mountains and white sand beaches. While it’s not the place to go for the typical beach holiday spent lounging around with a drink in hand, there are endless settings for romance, like an enchanting boat ride along Kyoto’s cherry blossom-lined Okazaki Canal in the spring.
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  • Nachi temple Wakayama Listing

    15 Must-See Shrines and Temples in Japan

    Japan is certainly not short on epic cultural sites. As well as world-beating museums and soaring castles, your tour will likely take in some remarkable Shinto and Buddhist temples. 

    Visiting temples and shrines is an important part of any tour here; we’ve put together an overview of the most impressive religious sites all across Japan.

    Scattered widely across the islands, most of the below are genuine national treasures. Speak to our passionate consultants to discover how these temple experiences - and much, much more - can be included on your luxury tour of Japan!

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  • Tea ceremony Japan Listing

    Our Guide to the Japanese Tea Ceremony

     

    Drinking tea is an essential part of Japanese culture. In Japan, tea is more than just a refreshing beverage: the drink itself is believed to have restorative and curative properties, and the ceremony of preparing tea represents the typically Japanese virtues of respect, harmony, purity, and tranquility. 

    Partaking in an authentic tea ceremony experience in a traditional Japanese tea house is an absolute must-do during any tour of Japan. When building your tour, make sure to ask your specialist for their recommendations! 

    To whet your appetite we’ve put together our overview guide to all things tea in Japan. Read on below...

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  • Preparing sushi rolls Listing

    Top 10 Cooking Classes in Japan

    Japanese cuisine is one of the most revered in the world. Japanese restaurants have become an increasingly popular feature in towns and cities worldwide, bringing favorites such as sushi, teppanyaki, ramen, and gyoza to a global audience. 

    Many visitors to Japan now consider food tours and an absolute must-do. Join a knowledgeable host in a traditional local home or established cookery school to create a full range of authentic Japanese dishes. After your class, you’ll be taking home skills as well as memories...and a full belly!

    We work with a wide range of food tours and cooking classes across Japan. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Japanese cooking classes across the country, offering a range of experiences and culinary specialisms. Ask your dedicated Japan specialists if you’d like to include any of the below in your luxury tailor-made tour!

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  • View over old Kyoto Listing

    The Perfect 3 Days in Kyoto

    It’s impossible to visit Japan without calling in on Kyoto. With countless temples and shrines, endless heritage sites, gorgeous architecture, and immersive activities it is an absolute must in any tour of Japan.

    Planning your visit to Japan’s cultural capital can be overwhelming. Managing your time is key: you’ll never run out of things to see and do - travel geeks will want to plan each day down to the hour and minute!

    No matter how long your wider tour, we’d always recommend a stay of 3 or 4 nights in Kyoto, giving yourself the best part of three days to explore the city and surrounds. Below we’ve detailed our perfect 3-day Kyoto itinerary, balancing the best of the city’s heritage attractions, cultural activities, and slices of local life. For more inspiration, make sure to speak to our dedicated Japan specialists!

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    Top 10 Hot Spring Destinations in Japan

    Top 10 Hot Spring Destinations in Japan

    Any time in rural Japan should include onsen (hot springs). The islands of Japan were formed by volcanic movement; seams of geothermal activity continue to bubble away underground, rising to the surface as naturally warmed, mineral-rich hot spring water - onsen

    These natural hot baths are usually found in incredibly scenic corners of rural Japan. Hot spring bathing is a quintessential experience when traveling. And really what is better after a day spent traveling between villages, walking in the forests, or pottering through craft centers than slipping into a roten-buro – a luxuriously warm outdoor bath - and gazing out upon the scenery? 

    We’ve compiled a list of our favorite onsen destinations in Japan - read our guide below. 

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  • View of Asakusa Tokyo Listing

    The Perfect 3 Days in Tokyo

     

    Your time in Tokyo is precious. However long you spend in the city, you’ll never run out of attractions to visit, new neighborhoods to explore, or mouthwatering food to sample. 

    For first-time visitors we typically recommend a three-day stay in the Japanese capital. Your trip will most likely be starting (and possibly concluding) here, so this length of stay gives a decent amount of time to discover the city, whilst also providing a warm-up for your oncoming adventures through Japan. 

    If we were asked to describe the perfect three-day Tokyo itinerary it would run something like the below. There’s no end to the fun and adventures to be had in the city though; so if you have specific tastes or interests make sure to run them past our enthusiastic Japan experts.

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Your Japan questions answered

What is the best month to go to Japan?

Japan experiences surprisingly bitter winters and steamy summers, so generally, the best time to visit Japan is in the spring or autumn months when the weather is clear, dry, and warm. These periods also see Japan at its most photogenic: either with pink and white sprays of cherry blossom in March and April, or an autumnal wash of oranges and reds in October and November.

How many days are enough for a Japan trip?

There’s enough in Japan to travel for a month or more and still find surprises on each new day. Generally, however, we find clients traveling for anything between a short but sweet 7 days, to a comprehensive 21. A compact Japan highlights tour covering Tokyo, Kyoto, and perhaps Kanazawa or Hakone, can be achieved in 7 nights. Up to 10 could see you include Hiroshima and Osaka, while a Japanese grand tour of around 14 days would allow time to begin straying into the Alps, Mount Koya, or Shikoku.

Can I travel in Japan without speaking Japanese?

Absolutely. Signage in all major towns and cities is in both Japanese and English, ensuring Japan’s outstanding public transport is easily accessible for Western visitors. Although spoken English may be patchy among the general public, Japanese people are enthusiastically helpful and polite to a fault – you’ll never struggle to find someone willing to offer advice or assistance or to strike up a conversation at an attraction or in a bar.

What are the must-sees for a first-time trip to Japan?

Tokyo of course – you’ll almost certainly be flying in or out of the capital, and as one of the world’s greatest cities, it demands thorough exploration. Kyoto is also a must – Japan’s former capital, littered with UNESCO heritage sites and offering a wealth of enticing cultural experiences. Hiroshima and attractive offshore neighbor Miyajima, buzzing second city Osaka, and stunning Hakone National Park, in the shadow of Mt Fuji, are also all worthy inclusions. There are plenty of incredible things to do in Japan for everyone.

How far in advance should I book my tour?

For certain periods it is very important to book in good time. Tours during cherry blossom season – March to May – should be booked at least 9 months in advance to secure first-choice accommodation and guides, longer still if you’re keen to travel during the absolute peak weeks of late March and early April. Summer holidays in August, Christmas holidays in December, and the national ‘Golden Week’ holidays in early May are busy times for domestic tourism so again need a healthy lead time to avoid missing out on preferred hotels.

Isn’t Japan expensive for private touring?

Despite Japan’s reputation as a costly destination, at UTC we’ve traveled extensively throughout the country and know that this simply does not have to be the case. By taking a more thoughtful approach, and employing a little ingenuity, we’ve developed a style of operation that ensures we provide our usual exemplary standard of service, without passing on sky-high costs. This involves a little more independence and self-guiding than our tours in other parts of Asia but is backed up with exceptionally comprehensive travel documents, meticulous planning from our specialists, and first-class assistance from our local representatives as you move through your trip.

What are your Japan Tour Guides like?

As with most Japanese – thoughtful, knowledgeable, and good fun! All our guides are certified by the JTGS (Japan Tour Guide Service) and are enthusiastic, well-experienced, and genuine local experts. They will help you get to monuments before the crowds, unlock the secrets of a hidden neighborhood, or provide invaluable assistance with general queries – topping up a transport card, getting to the train station, locating a specialist souvenir, or finding out what the local specialty is and which place does it best. We’re also always careful to match guests and guides accordingly: some guides are especially good with families for example, while others have a particular flair for history, food, or hiking.

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Why book with Unforgettable Travel Co.

  • 100% Financial Protection

    100% Financial Protection

    We are a licensed and fully bonded tour operator financially protected by both the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL) and the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust (ABTOT). All clients that travel with us are fully financially protected.

  • Destination Experts

    Destination Experts

    Our travel experts live and breathe the destinations they specialise in. This shows in their passionate to create hand crafted trips for our clients. We don’t offer cookie cutter trips, just truly unforgettable journeys unlike any other.

  • The Best Guides

    The Best Guides

    What makes our trips extraordinary is the unique immersive experiences we include. We pride ourselves in our black book of sought after expert guides, game rangers and local contacts who believe in our philosophy, unforgettable.

  • We Care

    We Care

    From the moment you book your trip, we are on hand 24/7 to assist you throughout your journey. With regional offices around the world, we have ground logistics teams on hand to help you every step of the way.

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Ready to plan your trip?

What ever you want from your dream trip, our team of
experts are ready to help.