13-Day Budget Group Tour In Japan | The Dragon Trip

13-day Budget Japan Tour

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13 days Tokyo to Tokyo

13-day Budget Japan Tour

Every day on our epic 2 week budget Japan tour you’ll see a different side to this fascinating country. The daily contrast makes travelling here completely unique and – if done the right way – very ‘doable’ on a budget.

Travel by high speed bullet train, sleep in dorm rooms in hostels, sing your heart out at karaoke bars, stock up on sushi and sake, visit Tokyo’s quirky cafes, and immerse yourself in Japanese culture. This is a trip for the young – and the young at heart – to really get under the skin of Japan.

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MARCH 2020 FROM £459 Last few places!

APRIL – JUNE 2020 FROM £509

What's included on your trip

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Accommodation

Including hostels & guesthouses

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Adventure Leader

Epic Adventure Leaders in each city

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Local transport

Transport within Japan, including a 7-day Japan Rail pass

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Activities

Tonnes included & optional activities can be added.
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Itinerary & map

Japan Budget Tour

Day 1: Welcome to Tokyo 

On the first day of your 13-day budget Japan tour, you will meet your Adventure Leader in the lobby of the Tokyo hostel in the morning. You’ll drop off your luggage and have a briefing, where you’ll discuss the itinerary and get to know your fellow travellers. 

After this, we’re off to your first destination – the Tsukiji Outer Market. We’ll be visiting over lunchtime, so be sure to try some delicious fresh sashimi while you’re there! Next, we’re heading into the Asakusa District, where we’ll visit the stunning Sensō-Ji temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. 

Next, soak up the incredible views from the top of the Metropolitan Government Building and then take part in some optional activities. You can either experience one of Japan’s national obsessions (baseball, at a local batting cage) or kick back and relax with a drink – or bathe with the locals at a nearby bathhouse. 

Day 2: Tokyo 

In the morning, you’ll discover the Japanese art of sushi-making with an unforgettable lesson from a sushi chef, and then sample your creations.  

Later, you’ll visit Akihabara, Japan’s ‘Electric Town’ and hub of Anime. It’s also home to Japan’s most famous J-pop group, AKB48. You will find venues specialising in manga and games, including the Tokyo Anime Center. Here, you can take part in an optional ‘Made in Tokyo’ experience at one of the Akihabara’s maid cafes. You can either spend your afternoon exploring the city some more under your own steam, or you can opt for a rip-roaring optional activity: Kartoon Karting!  

In the evening, you’ll all head to Golden Gai – here, you’ll get a walking tour of the street, before diving into a local bar and sampling the Japanese nightlife.  

Day 3: Tokyo 

Kick off your morning with an early trip to the Tokyo Imperial Palace. While here, you’ll explore the Nijubashi Bridge, and the Imperial Palace’s stunning gardens.  

Once we’ve finished exploring, we’ll head off to the Sumo District. Spend some time exploring with your Adventure Leader, which is filled with stadiums, stables, and all things summer. Over lunch, you can either spend some time exploring by yourself, or join an additional optional activity and meet ex-sumo wrestlers for a traditional sumo lunch of tonkatsu and chanko-nabe.  

In the early afternoon, we’ll pay a visit to the Sumo Museum, a treasure trove filled with all things sumo wrestling. [Note: on occasion the Museum may be closed, so we’ll instead visit Edo Noren.] 

We’ll head back to the accommodation in the mid-afternoon, where you’ll be well placed to spend the rest of the day exploring Tokyo by yourselves. This evening, we’d recommend taking to the streets of Roppongi to experience some more of the city’s great nightlife.  

Day 4: Tokyo 

We’ll start our day at the Meiji Shrine, an iconic location in Tokyo dedicated to the beloved Emperor Meiji – who was famed for thrusting Japan into the industrial age. It’s also importantly dedicated to his wife, the Empress Shōken. 

After this, we’ll head to Harajuku – in Tokyo’s number one fashion district, you will encounter punks, goths, technicolour hair – anything goes! Here, we’ll spend some time exploring everything the bustling streets have to offer, from secondhand shops like Chicago to famous restaurants. We’ll then head to the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing – Shibuya! It’s one of the most famous sights in the entire city, with millions of people crossing here every day. 

On your last afternoon in Tokyo, you’ll have the afternoon to explore. What you choose to do is up to you – you might even want a break! However, if you’re up for more exploring, we recommend: 

  • The Hokusai Museum in Ryogoku, which is dedicated to the work and life of the famed painter of the Great Wave of Kanagawa.  
  • In Odaiba, you might want to head to Joypolis, the vast indoor amusement park,or spend some time on the waterfront.  
  • One of the hottest attractions in Tokyo is teamLab Planets – a huge art gallery made up of immersive installations that combine the natural world with the digital age.  
  • If Tsukiji left you wanting more, a visit to Toyosu Market will help you try some of the freshest fish in the city.  

Day 5: Tokyo to Kamakura 

Bid farewell to the nation’s capital and transfer to your next destination on the budget Japan tour – the beautiful coastal Kamakura. You’ll arrive in the late morning, with enough time to check into the accommodation before heading out to find some lunch.  

Once you’ve eaten, we’ll take you around the town, exploring some of the area’s most beautiful locations. You’ll see the many ancient shrines, before we hike over to Kotoku-in Temple to see the giant Great Buddha statue – a UNESCO World Heritage site. From there, we’ll hike over to the Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku shrine, a beautiful example of the Buddhist-Shinto fusion. We’ll then hike back to Kamakura itself, where you can either stay to enjoy the town yourself or head back to rest up. 

Your evening is yours to spend as you see fit – we’d recommend exploring the town’s stunning sandy beaches, taking in the sun as it sets over the shoreline. From there, you can explore many of the local area’s restaurants to try some delicious local seafood and produce.  

Day 6: Kamakura to Hakone 

From the seas to the slopes – this morning, you’ll transfer to Hakone by train and bus. Once we’ve arrived in the late morning, we’ll start off by stretching our legs with a hike along the Old Tokaido. Once an important route connecting Tokyo with Kyoto, the section around Hakone is well-preserved and dates back centuries! We’ll end up in Moto-Hakone, where we’ll grab lunch.  

Afterwards, it’s time to take to the waters of Lake Ashi for a sightseeing cruise with a twist – it’s a pirate ship! From the deck of this man-of-war ship, you’ll cross the Lake’s clear blue waters – on a cloudless day, you’ll get unforgettable views of the iconic Mount Fuji.  

Once we’re off the ship, we’re not back on land for long. We’ll take the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani, an active volcano zone! Here, try black eggs – they’re cooked in the area’s sulfuric waters, and are rumoured to add seven years to your life.  

You’ve got an amazing afternoon and evening laid out ahead of you. We’re taking you to a traditional Japanese outdoor bath – an onsen – where you can spend time soaking in the waters. They’re meant to have healing properties – in addition to how relaxing it is!  

This evening, change into your yukuta after a long bathing session, ready to learn about the art of Japanese rice wine. However, we all know that the best way to learn is by doing – so the sake tasting session that’s included should make sure you leave knowledgeable!  

Day 7: Hakone to Kyoto 

This morning, it’s time to depart Hakone for the nation’s former capital city, Kyoto.  

However, you’ve got time to spend a couple of hours exploring the area before we head to the train station. You can either hunt for delicious Japanese snacks for your journey, or pay a visit to the stunning Odawara Castle.  

At around midday, we’ll jump on the bullet train for a short transfer, before arriving early afternoon and checking into our next accommodation. Drop your luggage here before joining us on your next unmissable activity – a visit to the iconic Kiyomizu Temple. It’s another of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, and is arguably one of the most iconic temples in the entire country.  

After spending some time exploring the temple, we’ll give you some free time to explore the Gion Area under your own steam. While here, you might want to visit the bustling Pontocho Alley or see the Geisha District. After this, you can either continue exploring the city, or head back to the hostel for a good night’s sleep!  

Day 8: Kyoto 

Start your day with a morning visit to the beautiful Fushimi Inari Shrine. While you’re here, following the trails – lined with thousands of iconic red torii gates – leads you to a beautiful hike through the foothills and up Mount Inari. You can either choose to join us for a hike to the top, or stay a little closer to sea level and explore the local area’s street food offerings. If you’re staying here, you could also explore other attractions like the Manga Museum or the Shimogamo Shrine.  

In the mid-afternoon, we’ll reconvene, ready to depart for an amazing immersive cultural experience – a traditional calligraphy class in the city. Spend some time with your group learning the art of Japanese calligraphy, and its rich history.  

After that, it’s time for dinner! Head out into the local area to find yourself some truly delicious food – and if you want to, you can opt to reconvene with your group to spend an evening taking part in another of Japan’s important cultural pastimes… karaoke!  

Day 9: Kyoto 

Today, you’ve got a full free day to explore Kyoto as you see fit. If you haven’t already visited them, you might want to explore the Manga Museum or the Shimogamo Shrine. Alternatively, we’d recommend: 

  • Admiring the many majestic temples that adorn the Philosopher’s Path, a canalside walk known for its beauty.  
  • Heading west to Arashiyama, to visit the iconic bamboo forests that tower above the pathways. While you’re here, you might also want to pay a visit to Tenryu-ji Temple.  
  • Venturing out of the city to visit the famous Todaiji Temple and deer park in Nara.  

Like all free time, you can of course ask your Adventure Leader for their local suggestions and recommendations on how to spend your time.  

Day 10: Kyoto to Hiroshima  

This morning, explore Kyoto like a local – by bike! We’ll spend a half-day exploring the city on a cycling tour. We’ll first ride over to a local Zen temple, where you can discover your inner peace in a meditation session led by a Buddhist monk. After this, you’ll join them for a traditional tea ceremony.  

Back on your bike, and off to grab a quick lunch before heading to see the iconic image of Kyoto – the Golden Pavillion at Kinkaku-Ji! From there, we’ll shoot off to take a look around the Imperial Palace, to get your last look at this amazing city before we move on. 

This afternoon, we’ll jump on board another bullet train bound for our next destination. We’re heading west to the next stop on our budget Japan tour – Hiroshima. After arriving in the evening, your group has the option of dining together at Okonomiyaki Village for some traditional local cuisine.  

Day 11: Hiroshima 

Our morning starts with a visit to the most important place in Hiroshima – the Peace Memorial Museum & Atomic Bomb dome. Dedicated to educating the public on the devastating atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the reflective and powerful museum includes surviving artefacts from the period, and offers in-depth information on the events and the politics of the time.  

We’re then heading off-shore to pay a visit to Miyajima Island. Our first stop is the iconic Itsukushima Shrine, an enormous torii gate that stands in the sea. If you’re there at low tide, you can walk across the sand to take a closer look. We’ll then give you some free time to grab lunch, before reconvening to take the Miyajima Ropeway for spectacular views of the island and back across the water.  

In the late afternoon, we’ll transfer back to Hiroshima. You’ll have time to explore the city under your own steam – meaning your evening can be as relaxing as you’d like!  

Day 12: Hiroshima to Osaka 

We’re off to our final destination on our budget Japan tour: Osaka! We’ll hop on the bullet train again this morning, arriving into the city in time for lunch. Osaka is known as ‘Japan’s stomach’ – so be sure to try some of the finest food the city has to offer!  

Your group will head to Osaka castle this afternoon, where you’ll be able to stroll around the local area before spending some time exploring Osaka on your own time. If you’re in the market for souvenirs, a trip to Shinsaibashi is what you’re after – alternatively, you can grab some snacks or drinks and explore the city’s bustling streets.  

It’s the last night of your trip and we want to celebrate in style! You’ll meet back up with your fellow Dragons this evening as we take you to the neon paradise of Dotonbori. It’s a foodie’s heaven here, and we’ll end our trip in style at some local bars.  

Day 13: Farewell 

This morning, we’ll have a final breakfast before jumping on the bullet train back to Tokyo. It’s here that your budget Japan tour comes to an end in the early afternoon, so bid farewell to your new friends and prepare to head home! 

[Note: if you’d like to stay on in Japan, we can help organise accommodation for you.] 

Photos

Our Japan budget tour package price includes the following features:

  • A bilingual, epic Adventure Leader throughout the entire trip
  • Transport within Japan, including a 7-day Japan Rail pass
  • Accommodation (including hostels and guesthouses)

Please note: Accommodation is in dorm rooms as a standard on our Japan budget tours.
Upgrade options (to single, twin, or double rooms) are available, please contact us for more information. Please note that accommodation upgrades are not available in Hakone and Osaka.

Our included activities on Japan budget tour:

  • Tsukiji Outer Market (Tokyo) 
  • Sensō-Ji Temple (Tokyo) 
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Tokyo) 
  • Sushi-making class (Tokyo) 
  • Guided exploration of Akihabara (Tokyo) 
  • Visit to Tokyo Imperial Palace (Tokyo) 
  • Visit to Sumo District (Tokyo) 
  • Sumo Museum visit (Tokyo) 
  • Meiji Shrine visit (Tokyo) 
  • Guided exploration of Harajuku (Tokyo) 
  • Visit to Shibuya Crossing (Tokyo) 
  • Hike to Kotoku-In Temple & Great Buddha (Kamakura) 
  • Hike to Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine (Kamakura) 
  • Hike along Old Tokaido (Hakone) 
  • Boat cruise on Lake Ashi (Hakone) 
  • Ropeway & visit to Owakudani (Hakone) 
  • Japanese onsen visit (Hakone) 
  • Sake tasting session (Hakone) 
  • Kiyomizu Temple visit (Kyoto) 
  • Fushimi Inari Shrine visit & hike (Kyoto) 
  • Traditional calligraphy class (Kyoto) 
  • City cycle tour, with visits to the Golden Pavilion and Imperial Palace (Kyoto) 
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Hiroshima) 
  • Miyajima Island visit, including visit to Itsukushima Shrine and Ropeway (Hiroshima) 
  • Osaka Castle visit (Osaka) 

Drones

The use of Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is prohibited during activities organized by The Dragon Trip. If you are in possession of a drone when entering the country it is your responsibility to be informed of and follow all local laws. This may include registering your drone with authorities. If you violate this policy or operate a drone illegally you are subject to removal from the tour as per our terms & conditions.

Unless specified otherwise, food and drinks throughout the tour are not included.

Activities that aren’t included:

  • Baseball batting cages (Tokyo) – 500 JPY 
  • Bath house visit (Tokyo) – 460 JPY 
  • ‘Maid in Tokyo’ Maid Café Experience (Tokyo) – approx. 2,500 JPY 
  • Kartoon Karting (Tokyo) – if you want to learn more about booking this, please reach out to our Bookings team on info@thedragontrip.com as soon as possible.  
  • Sumo Lunch Experience (Tokyo) – if you want to learn more about booking this, please reach out to our Bookings team on info@thedragontrip.com as soon as possible. 
  • Any activities during free time in Tokyo (Tokyo) 
  • Sunset visit to the beach (Kamakura) 
  • Any activities during free time in Kamakura (Kamakura) 
  • Visit to Odawara Castle (Hakone) 
  • Exploring the Gion Area/Geisha District (Kyoto) 
  • Any activities during free time in Kyoto (Kyoto) 
  • Karaoke (Kyoto) – 3,000 JPY 
  • Group dinner at Okonomiyaki Village (Hiroshima) 
  • Any activities during free time on Miyajima Island (Hiroshima) 
  • Any activities during free time in Osaka (Osaka) 

Optional Activities

Most of our optional activities can be booked during your trip through your Adventure Leader. However, there are a couple that are so popular, that they must be booked in advance to guarantee availability. They are listed below:

  • Kartoon Karting (Tokyo)
  • Sumo Lunch Experience (Tokyo)

To find out more about these activities and to reserve your space, please contact a member of our reservations team. Please note that to secure a place on the Kartoon Karting experience, you need to book at least 4 weeks before the trip starts, and must apply for International Driving Permits to join.

Sumo Experience Optional Extra

Please let us know if you are vegetarian, as this can be catered to. Unfortunately, we regret to note that vegans are unable to eat the Sumo Lunch – however, your Adventure Leader will be able to help make suitable arrangements. Due to supplier availability, the Lunch is unavailable on some departure dates. For more information on any of these, contact info@thedragontrip.com.

Room Upgrades

On this budget Japan tour, accommodation is in hostel dorm rooms as standard. The price of a single room upgrade for the trip is £620 and a twin room upgrade is £750 for two people. Please note that accommodation upgrades are not available in Hakone and Osaka.

Additional Services

This trip includes a seven day Japan Rail pass which expires on the last day of the tour. If you’re staying on in Japan after the group tour has ended, you can upgrade your Japan Rail pass to 14 days for £165 or 21 days for £275. If you wish to upgrade and extend this pass, please contact The Dragon Trip at least two months prior to your trip starting.

We can also arrange for additional accommodation before or after the group tour to allow you to acclimatise to the jet lag – or relax after an action packed couple of weeks.

We do not book airport transfers. The best and more affordable way of getting to/from Tokyo’s airports is by public transport. Our sales team can recommend the best way of reaching our hostels depending on the airport you are flying in to, and you’ll also get specific information on making your way to the accommodation in your Booking Pack.

A deposit is required to make a reservation on our Japan tours, with the balance due 70 days prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply).

The deposit is 10% of the group tour price (unless stated otherwise). If you book on to our Japan tours less than 70 days prior to departure, the full balance will be due within 3 days of booking.

No bookings can be accepted within 40 days of a trip departure date.

Visit our FAQs page. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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