13-day Budget Tours of Japan | The Dragon Trip
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13-day Budget Japan Tours

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13 days - £1,499

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 Tokyo’s sumo district to see where the wrestlers live and train and check out the fascinating history of the nation at the Edo-Tokyo Museum and try your hand at Samurai. Learn About Tokyo

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Day 4: Tokyo

Head to the Imperial Palace Gardens to unwind and drop by at the 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 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

After an un-guided morning off (after karaoke night!), it’s time to head to Fushimi Inari where we will see shrines, shrines ,and again, more shrines. This is a truly remarkable place with a whole host of shrine-covered walkways. The day ends at the sake breweries; with both a tour and tasting experience! 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

 

Day 1: Tokyo

  • Arrive in Tokyo and meet your Adventure Leader in the lobby of the hostel. 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 lunching in Shinjuku, the first stop is the Asakusa temple.
  • Wander up the shrine and explore the charming streets around it before trying your hand at one of Japan’s national obsessions – baseball, at a local batting cage. (400 JPY)
  • Optional: You can either kick back with a drink or relax like a local at nearby bathhouse. (460 JPY)

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 produce.
  • 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.
  • Suggested independent activity: Real life Mario Kart! Choose a costume and race through the streets of Tokyo! (6,000 JPY) (PLEASE NOTE: to participate, you must secure an international drivers permit valid in Japan BEFORE the start of the trip.)

Day 3: Tokyo

  • First thing in the morning, head to Ryōgoku (sumo district) to discover Tokyo’s fascinating history at Edo-Tokyo Museum.
  • While in Ryōgoku and with luck on your side, witness a Sumo wrestling training session in the morning.
  • For lunch, enjoy a typical Sumo wrestlers lunch.
  • Learn the ancient art of samurai and have the chance to see a sword demonstration in Tokyo’s Samurai Museum.
  • Optional: Robot show experience in the evening. (7000 JPY)

Day 4: Tokyo

  • Kick off the morning with a trip to the Imperial Palace’s gardens, and marvel at the grandeur on show.
  • It’s another afternoon of traditional-modern contrast in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. First stop is the Shinto shrine to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Wander through acres of forest until you reach the shrine to the Emperor who began Japan’s transformation from feudal to modern society in the early 20th century.
  • After that, go to Harajuku, Tokyo’s fashion district, to see the fruits of the transformation started by Meiji. French maids, punks, goths, lolitas, technicolour hair – anything goes in Harajuku. Stand back and watch or grab some hair dye and get involved!
  • Walk to Shibuya just in time for rush hour to see the sheer scale of one the world’s most famous people crossings – featured in Hollywood films like Lost in Translation and Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

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.
  • 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.
  • The hostel is moments from the beach and you can relax on the sand or try your hand at surfing. Surf board rental options close by. (3000 JPY for a day)
  • There are lots of beachside bars where you can watch the sun go down.

Day 6: Hakone

  • Start off by taking the Hakone Ropeway – an epic cable car journey that drops you at Oowakudani. On a clear day, you can gaze at Mount Fuji in all its glory.
  • There, you can also sample black eggs – a local delicacy coloured by the sulphuric water they’re boiled in.
  • Next up is 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.
  • Spend the evening soaking in the sulphuric water of a traditional Japanese outdoor bath, called an onsen.(Please note: those with tattoos cannot enter the onsen.)

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 temple.
  • The city is famous for its history, temples, shrines and – of course – stunning geishas.
  • It also has a large student population and thriving music scene… Kawaramuchi 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)
  • Hike in the morning through Arashiyama bamboo forest on the western outskirts of Kyoto.
  • After getting lost in the maze of bamboo paths and shrines, 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.
  • Then take a look around the Tenryu-ji temple. It’s the most important of the area’s five great zen temples. The temple’s gardens are the real show-stopper. Designed in the 14th century, they have survived the fires and wars that damaged the buildings and have remained in pristine condition for centuries.
  • Make sure you also visit the Dharma Hall. Look up at the dragon’s eyes in the mural on the ceiling – they’ll follow you everywhere!
  • 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, all night! The karaoke comes with a twist, but you’ll have to come on the tour to find out what it is… (3000 JPY)

Day 9: Kyoto

  • Take a breather and relax your vocal cords after the previous night’s exertions – or if you feel you have the energy we would suggest taking a look at the majestic temples that adorn the Philiospher’s path.
  • If you want to ensure your morning is truly relaxing, dive into the Eikando and Nanjenzi temples to experience a dose of tranquility.
  • Alternatively, you could check out the International Manga Museum.
  • In the afternoon, we head over to Fushimi where you will see shrines, shrines and more shrines. This is a truly remarkable place with a whole host of shrine-covered walkways.
  • To get onto the beautiful hiking trails at the back of the complex, you’ll pass through corridors of thousands of bright red gates.
  • After this, we head over to the sake breweries. A tour is followed by a tasting experience

Day 10: Kyoto

  • It’s an early start to see an iconic image of Kyoto: the Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji temple.
  • Start the day with a slice of meditation. Discover your inner peace with a Buddhist monk taking you on a journey of tranquility in a city temple.
  • Walk around the lake and prepare to be mesmerised by the shimmering golden reflection of the pavilion on the water.
  • Jump on bikes to 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 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. Pass through the corridors and look down at the ocean beneath your feet.
  • 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.
  • Get incredible views of the water and city in the background. It is also a lovely walk amidst the forested route atop this visually stunning island.

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 Nanba or Shinsaibashi area. After enjoying your fill of yakitori, ramen, sushi or whatever takes your fancy, it’s a short train ride to Osaka Castle.
  • Take a stroll around the castle that rises above the enormous moat, and then check out the nine-level donjon
  • Shenanigans in Shinsaibashi and the Dotonbori riverfront await next… For the ultimate Japanese shopping experience, dive into the covered shopping arcade at Shinsaibashi.
  • See if you can be the Dragon Trip arcade challenge champion, and then walk through Dotonbori and prepare to be blasted by neon.
  • The eating, drinking, gaming and clubbing options around Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi are endless – fill your boots! Why not kick-start your night with a beer on us at the city’s famous Kamikaze bar?
  • In the 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 a farewell trip up the Umeda Sky Tower.
  • Brunch in Osaka before catching your final bullet train back to Tokyo to finish up or continue on your travels!

Departures 2017/2018

Departing Finishing Price Status
20th Feb, 2017 4th Mar, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
13th Mar, 2017 25th Mar, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
20th Mar, 2017 1st Apr, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
27th Mar, 2017 8th Apr, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
8th May, 2017 20th May, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
15th May, 2017 27th May, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
22nd May, 2017 3rd Jun, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
12th Jun, 2017 24th Jun, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
26th Jun, 2017 8th Jul, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
10th Jul, 2017 22nd Jul, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
28th Aug, 2017 9th Sep, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
11th Sep, 2017 23rd Sep, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
18th Sep, 2017 30th Sep, 2017 £1,499 Nearly full!
25th Sep, 2017 7th Oct, 2017 £1,499
2nd Oct, 2017 14th Oct, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
9th Oct, 2017 21st Oct, 2017 £1,499 FULLY BOOKED
16th Oct, 2017 28th Oct, 2017 £1,499
23rd Oct, 2017 4th Nov, 2017 £1,499
30th Oct, 2017 11th Nov, 2017 £1,499
6th Nov, 2017 18th Nov, 2017 £1,499
13th Nov, 2017 25th Nov, 2017 £1,499
19th Feb, 2018 3rd Mar, 2018 £1,599
26th Feb, 2018 10th Mar, 2018 £1,599
5th Mar, 2018 17th Mar, 2018 £1,599
8th Mar, 2018 20th Mar, 2018 £1,599
12th Mar, 2018 24th Mar, 2018 £1,699
15th Mar, 2018 27th Mar, 2018 £1,699
19th Mar, 2018 31st Mar, 2018 £1,699
26th Mar, 2018 7th Apr, 2018 £1,699
7th May, 2018 19th May, 2018 £1,599
10th May, 2018 22nd May, 2018 £1,599
14th May, 2018 26th May, 2018 £1,599
21st May, 2018 2nd Jun, 2018 £1,599
24th May, 2018 5th Jun, 2018 £1,599
28th May, 2018 9th Jun, 2018 £1,599
4th Jun, 2018 16th Jun, 2018 £1,599
11th Jun, 2018 23rd Jun, 2018 £1,599
18th Jun, 2018 30th Jun, 2018 £1,599
25th Jun, 2018 7th Jul, 2018 £1,599
2nd Jul, 2018 14th Jul, 2018 £1,599
9th Jul, 2018 21st Jul, 2018 £1.599
16th Jul, 2018 28th Jul, 2018 £1,599
27th Aug, 2018 8th Sep, 2018 £1,599
3rd Sep, 2018 15th Sep, 2018 £1,599
6th Sep, 2018 18th Sep, 2018 £1,599
10th Sep, 2018 22nd Sep, 2018 £1,599
17th Sep, 2018 29th Sep, 2018 £1,599
24th Sep, 2018 6th Oct, 2018 £1,599
1st Oct, 2018 13th Oct, 2018 £1,599
8th Oct, 2018 20th Oct, 2018 £1,599
15th Oct, 2018 27th Oct, 2018 £1,599
18th Oct, 2018 30th Oct, 2018 £1,599
22nd Oct, 2018 3rd Nov, 2018 £1,599
29th Oct, 2018 10th Nov, 2018 £1,599
5th Nov, 2018 17th Nov, 2018 £1,599
12th Nov, 2018 24th Nov, 2018 £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.
  • 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 or twin 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.

To book or find out more, contact us

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