Essential Japan

Immerse yourself in the unique and fascinating culture of Japan. Encompassing the essentials with futuristic cities, imperial heritage and magnificent nature, this tour incorporates a number of experiences that give your holiday a truly authentic edge.

Places Visited

SA (1N)-Tokyo (3N)-Fuji Five Lakes (2N)-Kyoto (4N)-SA(1N)

tour duration 12 Days from
tour price 75,542
tour grade Moderate
tour type Group Tour
tour style Classic
Fully inclusive
Days 1-2 Fly to Tokyo
Fly overnight to the dazzling metropolis of Tokyo, Japans capital city. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Day 3 Discover Tokyo
Todays city tour starts on the observation deck of the 634-metre Skytree, the worlds tallest tower, before seeking out the tranquility of the ancient Buddhist Sensoji Temple. Glimpse Tokyos historical heritage at the Edo-Tokyo Museum and explore Tokyos Imperial Palace. This evening take a relaxed dinner cruise on the Sumida River for some excellent city vistas.
Day 4 Meiji Shrine
The city tour continues with a relaxed morning wandering around the classical landscapes of the Hamarikyu Garden. Explore the huge evergreen forest that encompasses the Shinto Meiji Shrine. The afternoon is free for you to explore as you wish.
Day 5 Fuji Five Lakes
Journey through the foothills of the iconic Mt Fuji to its base where we find the Fuji Five Lakes. Continue to Oshino Hakkai, a scenic area of ponds full of crystal clear spring water created by Fujis melting snow, where there is also a small museum. Later, try your hand at making traditional Japanese soba noodles before tucking in to your creations.
Day 6 Mt Fuji
Ascend Mt Fuji to the 5th Station. Return to the beautiful Five Lakes region and explore Iyashi no Sato. Destroyed by a landslide in 1966, the remaining thatched-roofed houses of this old Japanese village have been transformed into an open-air museum and craft village, exhibiting plenty of local, and traditional handicrafts.
Day 7 Bullet train to Kyoto
Transfer to the station at Mishima. Sit back and relax in the cool comfort of a bullet train as you speed across the country to Kyoto. An enchanting city, Kyoto was capital for a thousand years; today it is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens. The geisha is both an intriguing and integral part of Japanese history - enjoy afternoon tea with either a maiko or geisha at a typical teahouse.
Day 8 Explore Kyoto
Spend the day soaking up some of Kyotos delightful sights, starting at Kinkakuji Temple, known as the Golden Pavillion. Continue to Ryoanji, a Zen temple with an excellent example of a dry landscape garden, and Kiyomizu Temple, a 17th century Buddhist temple. This afternoon visit a restored wooden townhouse to learn the traditional Japanese arts of origami and calligraphy, witness Ikebana and enjoy a tea ceremony.
Day 9 Hiroshima and Miyajima
Take a day trip by bullet train to Hiroshima and Miyajima. Hiroshima needs no introduction. The city today is vibrant and modern with a forward-thinking, sunny outlook. Find a moment to reflect at the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Hopping on a ferry, make the short trip to the holy island of Miyajima. Visit the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Japans most recognisable, it rises majestically out of the waters of the inland sea.
Day 10 Himeji
Jump on the bullet train again today for a day visit to Himeji. The feudal era fort, one of the most impressive in Japan, towers over the city recognisable as the backdrop to several major films. Appreciate its turbulent past before strolling around Kokoen, the Edo-style gardens just across the castle moat.
Days 11-12 Fly Osaka to SA
Transfer to Osaka and fly overnight to South Africa, arriving home the following day.

Also Available

Private Departures for this tour

If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Departure would be more ideal. Based on exactly the same itinerary as the group tour, our Private Departures give you the freedom to choose your own departure date and simply enjoy your holiday with your family, your partner, or your friends. On most Private Departures your tour will be led by an English speaking driver and you will be met by local guides at each site.

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 9884 888 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Additional Price Information:

Fully Inclusive and based on Johannesburg departures
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only price on request (Tokyo - Osaka)
Single room supplement from R10,335

Wendy Wu Tours, inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. If the hotels details below for your tour are not available, hotels of a similar standard will be used.

Tokyo Royal Park Hotel
Tokyo Royal Park Hotel - Tokyo, Japan (3 Nights)
star rating

Directly connected to Suitengumae Subway Station, Royal Park Hotel features comfortable luxurious accommodations, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. Modern rooms at Park Royal Hotel are air-conditioned and equipped with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV and a minibar. The hotel boasts 9 elegant restaurants/bars with a variety of cuisines serving high quality steaks, seafood and traditional Japanese and Cantonese Chinese dishes.

Kawaguchi-ko Fuji View Hotel
Kawaguchi-ko Fuji View Hotel - Yamanashi, Japan (2 Nights)
star rating

Overlooking Mount Fuji, the Fuji View Hotel offers spacious rooms equipped with a flat screen satellite television, a minibar and an en-suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries. Some rooms feature tatami flooring and traditional futon bedding. Guests can enjoy French, Western and Japanese cuisines at its three onsite restaurants, which offer views of Mount Fuji.

Kyoto Daiwa Roynet Hotel
Kyoto Daiwa Roynet Hotel - Kyoto, Japan (4 Nights)
star rating

Situated within walking distance from Tou-ji Temple and Kyoto Terrsa, Kyoto Daiwa Roynet Hotel offers guests contemporary en-suite rooms with a sophisticated decor and splash of colour. Modern amenities include a fridge, a trouser press and an electric kettle. The hotel also features an on-site restaurant serving delicious Japanese and Western cuisines.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. To call the UK the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 44, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. To call Wendy Wu Tours it is 00 44 207 403 7860. Emergency 24 hour telephone (out of office hours) is 00 44 7984 041 625.
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are growing in popularity and you will find high quality coverage. There are active roaming agreements with all phone carriers; however SMS and call rates can be expensive. We recommend that you contact your mobile supplier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated costs before you leave the UK.
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and Japan is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure. In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is a combination of local and western food, usually served buffet style at the hotel you are staying in. Lunches and dinners consist of traditional cuisine and are served at reputable local restaurants. As is traditional in this region, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on the table for everyone to share so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
Drinks will be at each tour members’ own expense and paid for at the end of each meal. Beer is widely available and cheap. Western style wine is very expensive to import and is not widely available except at upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice or fruit juices from a trusted restaurant, where they will use boiled or bottled water.

Why Book This Tour?

Ideal for those with a short amount of time in Japan looking to see the most famous cities and scenic spots in the country. This tour is suited for those who are interested in the train system in Japan, as this tour incorporates train travel throughout.



Other Tours You Might Like


South Africa's Asia Specialist

Over 17 years of experience

Friendly, knowledgeable regional specialists

Experienced English speaking tour guides

Peace of Mind

Everything's included in the price

Award winning service

Carefully planned itineraries

Fully IATA and ASATA protected

Don't just take our word for it

99% Customer Product Satisfaction

99% Customer Service Satisfaction

Gold Award Feefo Accreditation

feefo reviews