19 days Tokyo Loop
19-day Budget Japan Tour
Want to see even more of Japan? Our 19-day Japan Budget Tour takes you even further off the beaten path.
Our 13-day tour with an extra couple of days to pack in some extra highlights at the end, whether you’re spending a peaceful night in a Buddhist temple on a sacred mountain or your heart is racing while stand-up white water rafting and hiking through the breathtaking Japanese Alps – we’ve managed to pack in more incredible experiences than you could imagine.
Fast-paced, no two days are the same and each town and city visited comes with its own quirky features. Japan is like nowhere else in the world and it’s worth spending as long as possible exploring this fascinating country.
Including hostels, a traditional Ryokan, a Shukubo Temple & a gassho-zukuri farmhouse
Epic Adventure Leaders throughout the trip
Transport within Japan, including a 14-day Japan Rail pass
Itinerary & map
Day 1 – Tokyo:
On the first day of your budget Japan tour, you will meet your Adventure Leader in the lobby of the Tokyo hostel in the morning, and drop off your luggage, have a briefing, discuss the itinerary and get to know your fellow travellers.
After your briefing you will head to the Asakusa District and visit the Sensō-Ji temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple.
At lunchtime, you will feast on the freshest sashimi you’ve ever eaten! This will take place at Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji Outer Market, where you’ll also be amazed by the variety of fish on offer and catch a glimpse of the famous blue-fin tuna. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry, your Adventure Leader will let you know where you can grab a bite to eat.
After lunch, you will soak up incredible views from the top of Metropolitan Government Building and then take part in some optional activities – 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 for lunch!
Later, you will visit Akihabara, Japan’s ‘electric town’ and hub of Anime, which is also home to Japan’s most famous J-pop group, AKB48. You will find venues specialising in manga and games such as the Tokyo Anime Center. Here, you can take part in an optional ‘Made in Tokyo’ experience at one of the Akihabara’s maid cafes and
If you’re up for something fun and different, you’ll also have the option to bring your favourite video game to life with Street Kart! This activity allows you to choose a costume- such as Mario or Luigi- and race down the streets of Tokyo! (Please note: to participate, you must secure an international driver’s permit valid in Japan before the start of the trip).
In the evening, you can head to Golden Gai and experience Japanese nightlife!
Day 3 – Tokyo:
Start the morning with a trip to the unmissable Tokyo Imperial Palace – an abundance of gardens and galleries, with guided tours and castle ruins. Surrounding the home of the Emperor, the grounds are perfectly maintained and are a top attraction for visitors to the capital. Here, you’ll learn more about why Japan’s Imperial Family is so unique.
It’s another afternoon of traditional-modern contrast in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. Your first stop will be Harajuku, which is Tokyo’s fashion district, you will encounter punks, goths, technicolour hair – anything goes in Harajuku. Take in the industrial vibes and if you want, grab some hair dye and get involved!
After this, you will make your way to Shibuya to visit the Meiji Shrine. This shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.
Then, you’ll head to the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world and iconic landmark, Shibuya Crossing. This is where you will find the Hachiko Statue. After, why not stop by the Cat Café MoCHA to make some furry friends while enjoying a cup of tea and slice of cake?
If you want to experience some more nightlife, you can explore the streets of Roppongi. If not, you can have a relaxing evening at the hostel.
Day 4 – Tokyo:
First thing in the morning, you will head to Ryōgoku to discover Tokyo’s fascinating history at Edo-Tokyo Museum. If you want, you will also have the option to visit the Sumo Museum, as Ryōgoku is known as Tokyo’s Sumo District. Why not learn about the history of the Japanese sport?
In the afternoon, you’ll have the option to learn the ancient art of Samurai and have a chance to see a live sword demonstration in Tokyo’s Samurai Museum. The Samurai Museum not only exhibits samurai swords, armor and guns, but also allows visitors to join in by trying on samurai outfits and having a go at the sport themselves!
If you’re into the latest technology trends, you also have the option to experience a Robot Show in the evening.
Day 5 – Tokyo & Kamakura:
Off to a new destination: Kamakura! After brunch in Tokyo, it’s time to say goodbye to the modern capital and hop on a train to Japan’s medieval center. Kamakura is a seaside Japanese city south of Tokyo. As the political center of medieval Japan, today, Kamakura is a resort town with many Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines.
Upon arrival you have the option to rent a surfboard and head to the beach, as the hostel is moments away from the coast, or you can make the most of this opportunity to sunbathe. There are beachside bars where you can relax, enjoy a drink, and watch the sunset later on.
Later on, you will explore some of the town’s many ancient shrines, and then hike over to Kotoku-in Temple to marvel at the Great Buddha statue, which stands at nearly 45ft tall, even after a tsunami, and is made of solid bronze! Afterwards, you will travel to Enoshima, a small offshore island where you can spend some time exploring the temples or you can kick back in one of the many beach front bars and watch the sun go down.
Day 6 – Hakone:
Say goodbye to Kamakura as you hop on a series of trains and buses to Hakone station. When you arrive you will hike along the Old Tokaido and enjoy lunch near Moto-Hakone. Hakone used to be a checkpoint to control traffic along the Tokaido, the highway which linked Tokyo with Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period. Today, a passage of the old Tokaido is located along the shore of Lake Ashi.
Later, you will climb aboard a sightseeing cruise with a twist – it’s a pirate ship! From the deck of this ship, you’ll cross the Lake Ashi’s clear blue waters and, on a cloudless day, get an unforgettable view of the famous Mount Fuji.
You’ll take the Hakone Ropeway for a great cable car journey that drops you at Owakudani, an active volcanic zone where you can try black eggs – a local delicacy coloured by the sulphuric water they’re boiled in.
Spend the evening soaking in the sulphuric water of a traditional Japanese outdoor bath, called an ‘Onsen’. (Please note: those with tattoos may not be able to enter an ‘onsen’ in Japan as tattoos are associated with gang culture – you can read more about it here)
Change into your kimono after a long hot bath ready to learn about the art of Japanese rice wine during a Sake tasting session! You’ll listen to an introduction about how sake is made, the different varieties and top it off with tasting opportunities to truly understand the art.
Day 7 – Kyoto:
Next, you’re off to Kyoto via bullet train. You’ll zoom across the country, covering around 273 miles in two hours, leaving plenty of time to experience Kyoto later in the day and evening.
In the afternoon, wander the hillside streets to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which leads into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari.
In the evening you will have the option to attend a live geisha performance, which also features a tea ceremony, puppet show, traditional music and more. For something quintessentially Kyoto, you can also wander through Pontocho alley, full of lanterns and intimate wood-panelled restaurants – quietly sip on sake and look out for geishas wandering past!
Day 8 – Arashiyama, Kyoto:
You’ll start the day with a two-hour boat trip down the Hozugawa River. In a traditional wooden raft, driven by guides, you’ll cruise through rocky ravines and experience the rush of rapids as you meander through the Arashiyama Hills. Later, you’ll head across to the Arashiyama Monkey Park. It’s a tough climb up, but at the top, you can feed monkeys or simply enjoy the panorama of Kyoto below.
After, you’ll visit the Tenryu-Ji Temple, one of the most important Zen temples. With this, you’ll walk around the temple’s gardens, that were designed in the 14th century and are a real show-stopper. Finally, you’ll hike through Arashiyama’s famous Bamboo Forest.
In the evening, let your hair down and enjoy some Japanese karaoke with the rest of your group!
Day 9 – Kyoto:
Take a breather and relax your vocal cords after the previous night’s exertions – you have a free day to enjoy!
If you feel you have the energy, we would suggest taking a look at the majestic temples that adorn the Philosopher’s path. Alternatively, you could check out the International Manga Museum.
Day 10 – Kyoto & Hiroshima:
Today you will cycle around Kyoto like a local! First, you’ll ride over to a Zen temple where you can discover your inner peace with meditation led by a Buddhist monk.
Continuing your Kyoto adventure, admire an iconic image of Kyoto: The Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-Ji. Walk around the mirror pond and prepare to be mesmerised by the shimmering golden reflection of the pavilion on the water.
After lunch, jump on your bike and cycle around to the Imperial Palace, before bidding farewell to this magical city. In the afternoon, you’ll take another bullet train and venture further west for Hiroshima.
Day 11 – Hiroshima:
Hiroshima, a modern city on Japan’s Honshu Island, was largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during World War II. Today, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park commemorates the 1945 event. Here, you will find out how this city came to suffer the consequences of the world’s first atomic bomb, but you will also learn that Hiroshima is now the standard bearer for a peaceful and nuclear-free world.
After a train ride and a short ferry trip to Miyajima Island, you’ll reach the Itsukushima shrine. To avoid angering the gods on the island, the main temple buildings were built on stilts on the shores of the island. Just offshore, you will see an enormous torii gate standing in the sea. At low tide, you can walk across the sand to take a closer look.
Make your way back to the hostel and enjoy a free evening to relax.
Day 12 – Osaka:
Today, another bullet train will take you to Osaka – you’ll arrive in time for lunch in the Shinsaibashi area.
After enjoying your typically Japanese lunch of yakitori, ramen, sushi or whatever takes your fancy, it’s a short subway ride to the Osaka Castle. The castle is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks as it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the 16th century. Take a stroll around the castle that rises above the moat, and don’t forget to check out the 9-level dungeon.
Time for a free afternoon! You can choose to explore more of Osaka on your own, have the ultimate Japanese shopping experience in Shinsaibashi or have a rest.
Your evening you will start the night off by seeing if you can be The Dragon Trip Arcade Challenge Champion, or eat, drink, game and enjoy the endless Dotonbori and Namba night scenes.
Tonight, you will sleep at a capsule hotel – small, private and quintessentially Japanese.
Day 13 – Mount Koya:
Say goodbye to Osaka before heading to Mount Koya. At Mt. Koya you will explore Okunoin Cemetery, one of the most sacred places in Japan and a popular pilgrimage spot. Being the largest cemetery in Japan, with over 200,000 tombstones; many people, including prominent monks and feudal lords, are laid to rest here.
In the evening, enjoy a complementary traditional Buddhist vegetarian meal at your Shukubo Temple Lodging. After dinner, you have the option to return to Okunoin Cemetery for a night tour.
Day 14 – Shirakawa-go:
Wake up early to experience a peaceful Buddhist morning prayer before having a complementary, traditional Buddhist breakfast inside the temple lodging – enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Arrive in Shirakawa-go and check in to your ‘gassho-zukuri’ farmhouse lodging just in time to explore the village as the sun sets over the valley. After this beautiful sight, enjoy an authentic Japanese dinner inside the farmhouse.
Day 15 – Kanazawa:
Today, you’ll wake up to another traditional Japanese breakfast inside your gassho-zukuri lodging and then you’ll get the chance to explore more of Ogimachi Village, including a visit inside a farmhouse-turned museum to learn about the history and go for a short hike to a nearby viewpoint for a breathtaking view of the valley.
Later, you will head to Kanazawa by bus and check-in to your new hostel. Kanazawa is known for its Edo-era districts, art museums and craft stalls. In the evening, enjoy the night scene at a nearby street filled with great restaurants and izakaya.
Day 16 – Kanazawa:
This morning, you will visit Kenrokuen, Japan’s most celebrated landscape garden, with ponds and streams, that dates back to the 17th century. You will also visit the adjacent Kanazawa Castle, that was built in the 1580s, along with a visit of Higashi Chaya, and a former Samurai District by bike.
Then, you will return to the hostel and need to pack an overnight bag for tomorrow as luggage will be sent independently to the next hostel.
Day 17 – Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route:
Today you will spend the full day crossing this magnificent mountain sightseeing route. Along the way, you’ll see the highest dam in Japan as well as the stunning Shomyo Falls; a large waterfall that boasts Japan’s longest drop of 350 meters. After hiking the surrounding peaks, you’ll see mesmerizing views along Japan’s longest one-span ropeway.
If you take the trip in May, you’ll have a chance to see the snow corridor, a span of road carved through walls of snow as high as 19 meters! While in September you will have the opportunity to see beautiful autumn colours as the foliage in the mountains begins the change.
Complete the Alpine route in Nagano, a town famous for the winter Olympics and head to the nearby village of Yamanouchi. After a long day of travelling, you have the option to relax in the atmosphere of a 200-year-old onsen with an outdoor bathing area.
Day 18 – Yamanouchi:
Today, you will pay a visit to The Snow Monkey Park and enjoy a spot of paddle boarding in the afternoon where you’ll be able to appreciate some incredible views. Afterwards, you will set off on a hike in the nearby hills and immerse yourself in wonders of the Yamanouchi.
In the afternoon you will have some free time to take part in some local activities such as; enjoy a picturesque teahouse or a craft brewery with excellent local brews on tap, sample some Sake at a local brewery or take the train into town and explore the city of Nagano.
Later, you will sit down for a group dinner at the Hakko Restaurant. All the items on the menu feature ingredients that have been fermented in some way, an inspiration from local cuisine. Afterwards you have the option to take some time to relax in a 200-year-old onsen – a Japanese hot spring.
Day 19 – Return to Tokyo:
This morning you will take part in some Miso Tasting – a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and kōji and sometimes rice, barley and seaweed. After this, you will say goodbye to your fellow Dragon Trippers and catch your train back to Tokyo to finish up or continue on your travels!
Our Japan tour package price includes the following features:
• A bilingual Adventure Leader throughout the entire trip
• Transport within Japan, including a 14-day Japan Rail pass
• Accommodation (including hostels, guesthouses, 1 night in a traditional Ryokan, 1 night in a Shukubo Temple & 1 night in a gassho-zukuri farmhouse)
Please note: Accommodation is in dorm rooms as a standard on our Japan tours, excluding the night spending a Capsule hotel.
Upgrade options (to single, twin, or double rooms) are available, please contact us for more information.
Our included activities:
• Panoramic city views from the Metropolitan Government building (Tokyo)
• Tsukiji Outer Market (Tokyo)
• Asakusa district and Sensoji Temple (Tokyo)
• Sushi-making class (Tokyo)
• Explore Akihabara (Tokyo)
• Tokyo Imperial Palace Nijubashi Bridge (Tokyo)
• Imperial Palace East Gardens (Tokyo)
• Head to Meiji Shrine (Tokyo)
• Visit the famous Shibuya Cross and Hachiko statue (Tokyo)
• Edo-Tokyo Museum (Tokyo)
• Sumo Museum (Tokyo)
• Visit the Daibutsu Buddha located in the Kotoku-in (Kamakura)
• Hike to Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine (Kamakura)
• Hike along the Old Tokaido (Hakone)
• Take the Hakone sightseeing cruise from Moto-Hakone to Togendai (Hakone)
• Ride the ropeway to Owakudani (Hakone)
• Sake tasting session, only for travellers aged 20+ (Hakone)
• Kiyomizu Dera (Kyoto)
• Take a cruise down the Hozugawa River (Kyoto)
• Visit the Iwatayama Monkey Park (Kyoto)
• Tenryuji Temple (Kyoto)
• Walk through Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (Kyoto)
• Cycling city tour (Kyoto)
• Daisen-in Temple: Meditation class (Kyoto)
• Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji (Kyoto)
• Visit the Peace Memorial Museum (Hiroshima)
• Day trip to Miyajima island (Hiroshima)
• The Great Torii (Hiroshima)
• Osaka Castle (Osaka)
• Visit Mt. Koya and explore Okunoin Cemetery (Mt. Koya)
• Enjoy a traditional Buddhist vegetarian meal for dinner at your Shukubo Temple lodging (Mt. Koya)
• Experience a Buddhist morning prayer before eating a traditional Buddhist breakfast (Mt. Koya)
• Arrive in Shirakawa-go and explore the village in the valley (Gifu)
• Eat a traditional Japanese dinner inside your gassho-zukuri farmhouse lodging (Gifu)
• Wake up to a traditional Japanese breakfast (Gifu)
• Visit a farmhouse-turned museum to learn about the history of Ogimachi Village (Gifu)
• Hike to a viewpoint for breathtaking views of the valley (Gifu)
• Cycle tour of Kanazawa, with visits to Kenrokuen, Kanazawa Castle, Higashi Chaya & the former Samurai district (Kanazawa)
• Hike the peaks and enjoy mesmerising views from the ropeway (Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route)
• Enjoy stand-up paddleboarding (Yamanouchi)
• Hike in the nearby hills (Yamanouchi)
• Miso tasting at a local shop (Yamanouchi)
• Sake tasting in a local brewery (Yamanouchi)
• Dinner at a one-of-a-kind fusion restaurant (Yamanouchi)
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.
Activities that aren’t included:
• Shopping, have snacks on Hoppy Street or go for Happy Hour Beers (Tokyo)
• Japanese Bathhouse – approx ¥5oo per person (Tokyo)
• Night out in Roppongi – approx ¥1000 if you go to a club with an all you can drink fixed fee from 7-11pm (Tokyo)
• Chanko-Nabe lunch – approx ¥1500-¥2000 per person (Tokyo)
• Cat Cafe MoCHA – Basic: ¥200/1o min + plus tax, Unlimited drinks: ¥350 + tax, Cat treats: ¥500 + plus tax (Tokyo)
• Maid Cafe – Entry fee: ¥500/60min excluding tax, food and drink aprox. ¥1500-¥2500 per person (Tokyo)
• Street Kart – $90 and must be booked before trip (Tokyo)
• Night out in Golden Gai (Tokyo)
• Tokyo Sumo District experience $70 (Tokyo)
• Robot Show – much be booked before trip (Tokyo)
• In Onsen, have dinner nearby (Hakone)
• Amazake – approx. ¥500 per person (Hakone)
• Walk along Pontocho Alley – all restaurants here are very expensive and need to be booked ahead, so we suggest having dinner nearby (Kyoto)
• Ramen dinner at Kairikiya – approx. ¥1000-¥1500 per person (Kyoto)
• Karaoke – approx. ¥1000-¥1500 per person (Kyoto)
• O Okonomiyaki at Okonomiyaki village – approx ¥1500-¥2000 per person (Hiroshima)
• Ekiben – lunch (Osaka)
• Shopping in Shinsaibashi and Namba areas near Capsule Hotel (Osaka)
• Visit Tsutenkaku, an iconic tower famous for its neon lights (Osaka)
• Night out in Osaka (Osaka)
• Takoyaki Dinner (Osaka)
• Arcade challenge (Osaka)
• Karaoke bar (Osaka)
• Nightclub (Osaka)
Our budget Japan tour includes dorm rooms in hostels as standard. The price of a single room upgrade for the trip is $945 (per person) and a double room upgrade is $415 (per person). Please note, in Osaka the accommodation is “private” but in a capsule hotel.
If you are staying longer in Japan at the end of your group tour, we are able to upgrade your Japan Rail pass to 21 days for $400.
We can also book additional accommodation for you in Tokyo before or after your trip for an extra charge.
We are unable to book airport transfers in Japan.
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.