13-day Budget Tours of Japan | The Dragon Trip

13-day Budget Japan Tours

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13 days - £1,599

Every day on our epic 2 week 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 with us through major regions, top destinations, epic sites and off-the-beaten-track to discover countless hidden gems. Any questions? Take a look at details here or contact us below :)

Itinerary

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Day 1: Tokyo

Take in the cityscape from the top of a skyscraper, then head back down to earth to experience one of Tokyo’s buzziest districts, Shinjuku. Cap off your first day with a relaxing trip to a local bathhouse before exploring the endless eating and drinking options on offer in Tokyo by night. Learn About Tokyo

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Day 2: Tokyo

Prepare your own sashimi breakfast under the watchful eye of a local sashimi master at Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji fish market. Visit Akihabara – Japan’s “electric town” and finish the day with a visit to one of area’s popular maid cafes. Learn About Tokyo

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Day 3: Tokyo

Head to the Imperial Palace Gardens to unwind and drop by the Museum of Imperial Collections. For a complete contrast, visit the quirky centre of J-Pop culture in Harajuku. Wash it all down with a beer overlooking the neon madness of Shibuya. What backpacker could refuse? Learn About Tokyo

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Day 4: Tokyo

Head to Tokyo’s sumo district and learn about the fascinating history of Tokyo at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. See Japan’s National Sumo Stadium and try your hand at being a samurai at the Samurai Museum. Learn About Tokyo

 

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Day 5: Kamakura

Leave the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and take a train to Kamakura, the country’s medieval capital. Explore the town’s shrines and finish off at the Great Buddha statue at Kotoku-in temple.  Relax by the beach and even have the option to try surfing at sunset.

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Day 6: Mount Fuji, Hakone

Start your day with a trip on the Hakone cable car. On a clear day, you can gaze at Mount Fuji in all its glory while sampling eggs cooked Fuji-style – in the sulphuric water beneath you. Cap off the day crossing Lake Ashi on a pirate ship for some stunning views.

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Day 7: Kyoto

After taking in the morning’s mountain air, take the bullet train to Kyoto. Experience the timeless traditions of ancient Japan in Kyoto’s Geisha district before settling in for a cheap, authentic and delicious meal surrounded by wood panels and lanterns in Pontocho alley. Budget food is so often the best 🙂 Learn about Kyoto

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Day 8: Arashiyama

Hike through the Arashiyama bamboo forest and the Arashiyama Monkey Park where your exertions will be rewarded with great views of Kyoto. Visit the Tenryu-ji temple and relax in the pristine gardens after a rafting adventure tour down the Hozugawa River. In the evening, come and sing your heart out at one of Japan’s favorite past times – karaoke!

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Day 9: Kyoto

Enjoy a free day (after karaoke night!) to spend at your pleasure. Why not head to Fushimi Inari where you will see shrines, shrines, and again, more shrines. This is a truly remarkable place with a whole host of shrine-covered walkways. Or spend your evening at a sake brewery! Learn about Kyoto

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Day 10: Kyoto

A day cycle around Kyoto is on the agenda! Bike round the imperial palace before continuing your journey on a bullet train bound for the West. Learn about Kyoto

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Day 11: Hiroshima

Learn about the Hiroshima’s tragic past, its subsequent recovery and pacifist mission at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Take a ferry to the Itsukushima shrine, built on stilts above lapping water, taking in some incredible vistas.

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Day 12: Osaka

Get immersed in another Japanese megacity, with an infinite choice for eating, drinking and entertainment. Be sure to visit Shinsaibashi and the Dotonbori riverfront in the evening. Hit the arcades and sprawling shopping malls and make sure to enjoy a dinner overlooking the water! Learn about Osaka.
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Day 13: Osaka

Say goodbye to your fellow Dragon Trippers over a farewell brunch in Osaka before catching your final bullet train back to Tokyo to finish up or continue on your travels! Learn about Osaka

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Extend your trip: Classic Japan

Want to see even more of Japan? Our new 19-day Japan Budget Tour takes you even further off the beaten path. Check out the 19- Day Japan itinerary here.

Day 1: Tokyo

  • Arrive in Tokyo and meet your Adventure Leader in the lobby of the hostel at 10am. Listen to your Japan briefing and hear about the itinerary and introduce yourself to the group. You will be able to drop off your bag at this point as well.
  • Take in the cityscape with an incredible view from atop the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
  • After lunch in Shinjuku, head to Asakusa to visit Sensō-Ji temple and explore its charming streets.
  • Optional: You can either kick back with a drink on a nearby Hoppy Street or relax with the locals at a nearby bathhouse. (460 JPY)
  • Experience one of Japan’s national obsessions – baseball, at a local batting cage.

Day 2: Tokyo

  • Breakfast is the freshest sashimi you’ve ever eaten at Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji fish market. Marvel at the variety of fish and shellfish on offer and catch a glimpse of the Tokyo fleet’s latest haul of prized blue-fin tuna.
  • Discover how to make it all yourself with a lesson from a sushi chef, and then sample your creations.
  • In the afternoon, visit Akihabara – Japan’s “electric town” and hub of Anime and Manga, and also home to Japan’s most famous J-pop group, AKB48.
  • Have a “Made in Tokyo” experience at one of Akihabara’s maid cafes. The cost of entry and an order of food and drink is likely to be around 2000 JPY.
  • Optional: Real-life Mario Kart! Choose a costume and race through the streets of Tokyo! (£65) (PLEASE NOTE: to participate, you must secure an international driver permit valid in Japan BEFORE the start of the trip).

Day 3: Tokyo

  • Kick off the morning with a trip to the Tokyo Imperial Palace Nijubashi Bridge and the Imperial Palace’s gardens to learn about why Japan’s Imperial Family is so unique.
  • It’s another afternoon of traditional-modern contrast in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. First stop is Harajuku, Tokyo’s fashion district. French maids, punks, goths, lolitas, technicolour hair – anything goes in Harajuku. Stand back and watch or grab some hair dye and get involved!
  • Pay a visit to the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, Shibuya Crossing and find the Hachiko Statue.
  • Optional: Stop by Cat Café MoCHA to make some furry friends while enjoying a cup of tea and slice of cake.

Day 4: Tokyo

  • First thing in the morning, head to Ryōgoku to discover Tokyo’s fascinating history at Edo-Tokyo Museum.
  • Ryōgoku is known as Tokyo’s Sumo District; you will have a chance to visit the Sumo Museum to learn about the history of the sport.
  • In the afternoon, learn the ancient art of samurai and have the chance to see a live sword demonstration in Tokyo’s Samurai Museum.
  • Optional: Robot Show experience in the evening. (£55)

Day 5: Kamakura

  • After brunch in Tokyo, it’s time to say goodbye to the modern capital and hop on a train to Kamakura – Japan’s medieval capital and home to the first shoguns.
  • Optional: The hostel is moments from the beach, and you can relax on the sand or try your hand at surfing. Surfboard rental options nearby. (3000 JPY for a day)
  • Check out 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 and is made of solid bronze.
  • Embark on a hike to the Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine, where people go to wash their money in the shrine’s spring.
  • There are lots of beachside bars where you can watch the sun go down.

Day 6: Hakone

  • Take a series of trains and buses to the beautiful Lake Ashi, where you’ll board a pirate ship! From the deck of this triple-decker man-of-war, you’ll cross the lake’s clear blue waters and get an unforgettable view of Mt. Fuji on a cloudless day.
  • Hike along the Old Tokaido and enjoy a lunch near Moto-Hakone.
  • Hop on board the Hakone sightseeing cruise and take in the sights of Mt. Fuji from the water.
  • Take the Hakone Ropeway – an epic 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 onsen in Japan).

Day 7: Kyoto

  • Next stop is the station to board your first bullet train – to Kyoto. You’ll zoom across the country, covering around 440km in little more than two hours, leaving plenty of time to experience Kyoto later in the day and at night.
  • In the afternoon, wander the hillside streets to the stunning Kiyomizu Dera temple.
  • The city is famous for its history, temples, shrines and – of course – stunning geishas.
  • It also has a large student population and a thriving music scene… Kawaramachi is a good place to start. There are bars, jazz clubs and plenty of Izakaya pubs.
  • Attend a live geisha performance, which also features a tea ceremony, puppet show, traditional music, flower arranging and more.
  • For something quintessentially Kyoto, you can 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

  • Start the day with a two-hour boat trip down the Hozugawa River. In your 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 (weather dependent).
  • 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.
  • Visit Tenryu-Ji Temple, one of the most important from the areas five great Zen temples. The temple’s gardens, designed in the 14th century, are a real show-stopper.
  • After leaving the temple, hike through Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest.
  • Take part in a calligraphy class as you learn the art from a master.
  • Enjoy a dinner of one of Japan’s signature dishes, Ramen!
  • Optional: In the evening, sing your heart out doing one of Japan’s favourite pastimes – karaoke. As part of the price, you’re able to drink as much as you like! The karaoke comes with a twist, but you’ll have to come on the tour to find out what it is… (2100 JPY for 90 minutes)

Day 9: Kyoto

  • Take a breather and relax your vocal cords after the previous night’s exertions – You have a free day to enjoy as you please!
  • Suggested Independent: if you feel you have the energy, we would suggest taking a look at the majestic temples that adorn the Philosopher’s path.
  • Suggested Independent: Alternatively, you could check out the International Manga Museum.
  • Suggested Independent: Head to Fushimi Inari Shrine where you will see torii, torii and more torii. This is a truly remarkable place where a beautiful hiking trail will take you through a corridor of thousands of bright red gates.

Day 10: Kyoto

  • Today we cycle all day around Kyoto like a local!
  • First, we ride over to a Zen temple where you can discover your inner peace with meditation led by a Buddhist monk.
  • After your journey of tranquillity, see 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 most magical of cities.
  • Another bullet train will see you venture further west, bound for Hiroshima.

Day 11: Hiroshima

  • At the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 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

  • Another bullet train will take you to Osaka, your final destination before heading back to Tokyo.
  • You’ll arrive in time for lunch in the Shinsaibashi area. After enjoying your fill of yakitori, ramen, sushi or whatever takes your fancy, it’s a short subway ride to Osaka Castle.
  • Take a stroll around the castle that rises above the enormous moat, and then check out the nine-level donjon.
  • In the afternoon, explore more of Osaka on your own, have the ultimate Japanese shopping experience in Shinsaibashi or rest up. Shenanigans in Namba await in the evening…
  • Start the night off by seeing if you can be the Dragon Trip Arcade Challenge Champion, and then walk through the Dotonbori riverfront and prepare to be blasted by neon. The eating, drinking, gaming and clubbing options around Dotonbori and Namba are endless – fill your boots!
  • This evening, you will sleep at a capsule hotel – small, intimate, private and quintessentially Japanese.

Day 13: Osaka

  • Say goodbye to your fellow Dragon Trippers over brunch in Osaka before catching your final bullet train back to Tokyo.
  • The train will arrive in Tokyo at 16:30.

Departures Dates

Departing Finishing Price Status
18th Feb, 2019 2nd Mar, 2019 £1,599 FULLY BOOKED
25th Feb, 2019 9th Mar, 2019 £1,599
4th Mar, 2019 16th Mar, 2019 £1,599
11th Mar, 2019 23rd Mar, 2019 £1,599
14th Mar, 2019 26th Mar, 2019 £1,599
18th Mar, 2019 30th Mar, 2019 £1,799
21st Mar, 2019 2nd Apr, 2019 £1,799
25th Mar, 2019 6th Apr, 2019 £1,799 FULLY BOOKED
1st Apr, 2019 13th Apr, 2019 £1,799 FULLY BOOKED
8th Apr, 2019 20th Apr, 2019 £1,799 FULLY BOOKED
15th Apr, 2019 27th Apr, 2019 £1,699
22nd Apr, 2019 4th May, 2019 £1,699
29th Apr, 2019 11th May, 2019 £1,699
2nd May, 2019 14th May, 2019 £1,699
6th May, 2019 18th May, 2019 £1,699
9th May, 2019 21st May, 2019 £1,699
13th May, 2019 25th May, 2019 £1,599
20th May, 2019 1st Jun, 2019 £1,599
27th May, 2019 8th Jun, 2019 £1,599
3rd Jun, 2019 15th Jun, 2019 £1,599
10th Jun, 2019 22nd Jun, 2019 £1,599
17th Jun, 2019 29th Jun, 2019 £1,599
24th Jun, 2019 6th Jul, 2019 £1,599
1st Jul, 2019 13th Jul, 2019 £1,599
8th Jul, 2019 20th Jul, 2019 £1,599
15th Jul, 2019 27th Jul, 2019 £1,699
22nd Jul, 2019 3rd Aug, 2019 £1,699
29th Jul, 2019 10th Aug, 2019 £1,599
5th Aug, 2019 17th Aug, 2019 £1,599
12th Aug, 2019 24th Aug, 2019 £1,599
19th Aug, 2019 31st Aug, 2019 £1,599
26th Aug, 2019 7th Sep, 2019 £1,699
2nd Sep, 2019 14th Sep, 2019 £1,599
5th Sep, 2019 17th Sep, 2019 £1,599
9th Sep, 2019 21st Sep, 2019 £1,599
16th Sep, 2019 28th Sep, 2019 £1,599
23rd Sep, 2019 5th Oct, 2019 £1,599
30th Sep, 2019 12th Oct, 2019 £1,599
7th Oct, 2019 19th Oct, 2019 £1,599
14th Oct, 2019 26th Oct, 2019 £1,599
17th Oct, 2019 29th Oct, 2019 £1,599
21st Oct, 2019 2nd Nov, 2019 £1,599
28th Oct, 2019 9th Nov, 2019 £1,599
4th Nov, 2019 16th Nov, 2019 £1,599

  • A deposit is required to make a reservation, with the balance due 60 days prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply). The deposit is £200 GBP / $300 USD / $300 AUD / €300 EUR.
  • For peak season spring trips the deposit is £300 GBP / $420 USD / $450 AUD / €410 EUR.
  • Please note, if you have a different kind of visa to the standard temporary visa then you will be liable to an additional charge of £90 for your JR Pass.
  • Looking for assistance booking pre/post trip accommodation? Just let us know what you need!
  • For customers making payment from the UK: please note that when you are making a payment into our US dollar account you must request your bank to send the money directly to our US dollar account at HSBC UK. Otherwise they may use an intermediary bank resulting in an added wiring fee charged to you of $25.00.
  • If you would like to alter your trip itinerary from the one provided to you by us then please contact us more than 60 days before your trip departs so that we can make your trip the perfect one for you! When you tell us, we can relay all information to our on the ground staff and make the appropriate arrangements.
  • The price of a single room upgrade for the trip is £690 and a double room upgrade is £245 per person. Please note this is for 11 out of the 12 nights. Osaka is “private” but in a capsule hotel.
  • The group will be in sex-segregated dorms for most of the trip but may at points be in mixed dorms. In Osaka, the capsule hostel is sex-segregated even if a room upgrade is booked - all Dragon Trippers stay in individual capsules on female-only and male-only floors.
  • On Day 1 the group meets at 10am at the Tokyo House Inn - this is where the trip will start. Tokyo House Inn, 169-0072 Tokyo Prefecture, Shinjuku-ku, Okubo 1-12-27, Japan [+81 3-6205-5121]
  • Please take note if you wish to use your own camera/phone to take photos and videos that is absolutely fine. However, The Dragon Trip runs a no drone policy for our Japan trips.
The Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan from 20th September to November 2nd During this period we are anticipating bigger crowds around major tourist sites. Public transportation is also likely to be very crowded in the afternoons and, on bullet trains, we may not always be able to reserve seats meaning the group may have to stand during the trip. Crowded bars and restaurants may also mean the group will not always be able to eat and drink together. The Dragon Trip will do our upmost best to ensure the trip runs as smoothly as possible and to our usual high standards. Whilst it may be busy, the energy in the country during this period is likely to be incredible!

To book or find out more, contact us

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