Japan at a Glance

Japanese life is as distinct as it is refined: the art, the food, the architecture stand out uniquely from the rest of the world, balancing simplicity and deep aesthetic principles. Sushi, geisha, manga, Zen Buddhism…all distinctly Japanese and familiar, yet exotic and shrouded in mystery.

Today, Japan is at a crossroads of old and new, and no better time explore the vivid and contrasting wonders of modern Japan with its rich medieval legacy under a backdrop of incredible natural beauty. Explore Japan's ancient temples, shrines and castles and formidable natural treasures, including the lush mountain setting of Hakone beneath Mount Fuji, bamboo forests outside Kyoto, and the sublime cobbled footpaths beneath towering cedars on Mount Kōya.

Japan map Tokyo Takayama Hiroshima Naoshima Kyoto Kanazawa Mount Fuji Fukuoka Mount Koya

Tokyo

Ginza neon signs

What you've heard is true—there is no other place in the world like Tokyo, the world's most populous metropolis and pop-culture capital teeming with over 37 million people. The endless city consists of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages west of the city center and in so many respects, is a world capital city. "Only in Japan" is the saying, and one of a kind experience, sights and encounters come at one from all directions in Tokyo. But far from being overwhelming, it's a city packed with charms and contrasts, as long as you know where to look.

Tokyo offers an astounding variety of unique, world-class shopping, trend-setting entertainment, famous teen pop culture, and an unparalleled spectrum of cuisine. We'll help navigate you to the perfect sushi, places not to miss, all without feeling overwhelmed in the short time you may have.

Takayama

shirakawa go houses takayama

A sense of tradition dominates the ambiance in Takayama, where wooden merchant houses and flowing calligraphy fill a compact city center. Hidden among the Japanese Alps, the city is a rich insight into the Edo Period and the iconic place to truly taste Hida beef. Cross elaborate stone bridges, discover the fables of the central Sanmachi Suji neighborhood, wander the narrow streets, and hike the surrounding foothills.

The old city is also famous for the biannual Takayama Festival, where crafted floats are displayed throughout the city, each a testament to the region's history and craftsmanship – for traditional folk and arts this is an unmissable destination. Held in spring and fall every year, the festivals are widely regarded as one of Japan's most beautiful, as well as having an atmosphere from a mostly forgotten century.

Hiroshima

A symbol of world peace, Hiroshima is a place to contemplate profound historical events. The iconic bombed-out dome memorial at its heart is poignant and memorable in its revelation of the atomic bomb's destruction. Rather than being sorrowful, exploring Hiroshima creates a deep respect for the revitalization and hope of both a people and a city.

Throughout the city admire a re-designed and re-imagined side of urbanization, where care has been taken to maintain green space and wide streets. Our unique Hiroshima itinerary includes a stay at a nearby resort on sublime Miyajima Island.

Naoshima

Yellow Pumpkin on Naoshima

Known as the "art island," Naoshima, is tucked away on the picturesque Seto Inland Sea. If we've organized an arts-focused trip for you, then Benesse Art Site Naoshima, a collective name for the art activities on the island, will be a highlight. Sandy beaches and scenic bluffs on the remote island are a pleasant setting for unique installations in a series of museums showcasing Japan's contemporary art scene (although Monets are also exhibited here). The relaxing setting is an tranquil place to explore, and we've arranged for you to be guided around museums by their respective creative directors, providing an insider's perspective on architecture and design.

We've been guiding visitors here for over 20 years and hope that the new fame won't spoil the authentic ambiance. In addition to Naoshima, our unique itinerary also takes you to nearby Teshima, visiting the art museum on that island.

Kyoto

Japanese tea ceremony in Kyoto

There are a hundreds different ways to experience Kyoto, but we feel our itineraries are among the best, honed over 20 years of exploring the city. Our private Japan tours feature the 1,100 year-old ancient capital foremost, exploring both west and east sections of the city in a unique itinerary that divides time between a luxury ryokan and hotel. Kyoto is home to an astonishing 17 World Heritage Sites, along with more than 2,000 temples and shrines, but in the abundance of these treasures we will reveal to you what is most impressive about the city, including historic crafts at the heart of Japan's creativity, exploring the "five families" who are shepherding the city's traditional crafts into the present and future.

Children will delight in Monkey Park and enjoying a fun bicycle ride through the old districts of town.

Kanazawa

Located on a picturesque shoreline, Kanazawa features one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens, an ancient samurai and geisha district, historic houses and impressive museums. Kanazawa's setting of green-tea-colored landscapes, snow-dusted mountains on the shore of the Sea of Japan provide a contrast to other places you will be exploring.

The port city's sushi is regarded as the best in Japan while local teahouses give you a vivid glimpse of local culture. Here too is also a destination to experience a night an idyllic ryokan.

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji and cherry blossom tree

With its picture-perfect shape and shimmering snowy summit, iconic Mount Fuji has long been a dreamy pilgrimage destination for the Japanese. Standing majestic above the country, it continues to be the premier place to connect with nature and escape from busy city life. A single day in the area takes in the Five Lakes of Fuji, but also the unique Open-Air Museum, and outdoor space featuring works by Picasso and Rodin.

Hakone is where you can soak in an outdoor onsen spa, taste whiskey distilled with water from a pristine mountain spring, sleep in the country's finest traditional ryokan. Note: clear days can be scarce during some months, check with us when to go.

Fukuoka

Fukuoka has always been the key point of exchange between Japan and the rest of Asia. This ancient harbor town is ingeniously positioned, facing the Sea of Suo to the northeast, the Sea of Genkai to the northwest, and the Sea of Ariake to the southwest. It was where Japan was first exposed to the world and it continues to be a testament to local culture and design. However, perhaps surprisingly, nothing is specifically designed or put-on for visitors. Instead, explore a regional culture in all its untrammeled glory, from the flashing lights of rising malls to the lost temples where serenity reigns.

If you're looking for a journey into different ages then Fukuoka crams a lot into a couple of days. Fukuoka also serves as a stating point for our special pottery trail journey.

Mount Koya

monks in koya san Japan

Delve into Japan’s deep Buddhist spirituality—the most formative influence on Japanese history and culture—traveling outside Kyoto to sacred Zen setting Mount Kōya, a destination for not only pilgrims, but almost all Japanese at some point in their life. Mount Koya provides an effortless immersion into the world of Shingon Buddhism with a stay at Buddhist monastery—providing an idyllic interlude, a place to relax and re-energize as you hop between the cities. Wander down small pathways through towering cedar forests from a monastery, share an evening with monks in their sublime temple, then open your senses to their morning chanting ritual. Most travelers miss this important facet of Japanese culture. Our unique itinerary also includes a stop in Nara en route.

BEST TIME TO GO
November to March

NEED TO KNOW
Visa Required

COMBINES WITH
Angkor - Laos

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Luxury Custom Tours in Japan

Unique Experiences in Japan

Exceptional Hotels & Ryokan in Japan

Japan's famously insular culture was primed during hundreds of years of isolation and feudal conflict. Visitors can certainly enjoy the many unique charms of the country, but truly authentic experiences can be difficult to come by, if not impossible.

Handcrafted Travel Experiences

Indochina Travel can organize your Japan luxury tour to not only enjoy the finest the country offers, but unique, insider experiences that are the most enriching part of your journey. Visit a sumo training stable typically closed to the public, a private tour of the Mori Museum with the director, meet in the private studios of some of Tokyo's most notable artists, and dine in places typically frequented only by locals. We can arrange a classic Japan itinerary as the perfect introduction to the country, canvasing ultra-modern Tokyo, sublime Hakone, and the cultural capital, Kyoto, with our exceptional insider experiences in each destination. Travel in style through the country, exploring historic and vibrant cities, rustic villages, Zen gardens and ancient pagodas along with a distinguished expert.

Arts & Zen

If your interest is in the arts, spend time exploring Kyoto's rich crafts traditions, and canvasing the contemporary arts, visiting with curators, collectors, from Roppongi's famed art triangle to lesser known galleries and spaces throughout Tokyo. Those with more time can venture further afield to the "art island," Naoshima, or if you've specific interests, such as pottery, we can your trip to visit ancient kilns in beautiful Kyushu along the "pottery trail" or a journey aboard the Seven Stars, the world's most luxurious train.

Family & Romance

We particularly enjoy family trips as there is no other quite like Japan for kids. Relax and enjoy traveling in the safest and most reliable country on Earth while experiencing amazing activities we've organized, from mingling with monkeys in the mountain forests outside Kyoto, exploring ninja houses and feudal castles, Tokyo's futuristic hi-tech stores, witnessing Japan's famous youth culture, manga and animation, biking (yes, Tokyo is wonderful for family cycling), and thrilling to the Giants at the booming Tokyo Dome—all escorted by guides who are parents themselves. A honeymoon in Japan is unparalleled. The unfailingly polite Japanese are the perfect hosts, and the country an exotic mix of pristine Zen gardens, hot springs, ancient inns, incredible cuisine, and sublime landscapes.

Review some of our suggested luxury Japan tour ideas and experiences for inspiration and then contact us to plan your unique, custom tour of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Call us in San Francisco at (415) 680-3788 or submit your contact information below to have us contact you.

INDOCHINA Travel Company

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1283 12th Avenue San Francisco, California
Phone: (415) 680-3788