Japan, Self-Guided

Japan, Self-Guided

A trip to yesterday and tomorrow

12 - 28 May 2023
17 days
Japan, Self-Guided
Price from €2870


Japan, also known as Nihon or Nippon (meaning "the beginning of the sun"), is often called the Land of the Rising Sun. It is a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural landmarks, ancient customs, modern technology, futuristic architecture, kimono-clad geishas, and suited businessmen.

Despite being home to the world's largest metropolitan area with 37 million inhabitants, Tokyo is made to feel small and easy to navigate by its well-connected rail network.

Each neighborhood is characterized by numerous old-school gaming arcades, where people of all ages, from young to retired, play video games non-stop.

Japan has a very high standard of living, with the lowest crime rates and the highest life expectancy in the world.

Geographically, it is situated in the Pacific volcanic belt, where three tectonic plates meet, resulting in frequent earthquakes in the region.

The terrain is primarily mountainous, with the Japanese Alps mountain range dividing the island of Honshu in half and Mount Fuji as the most prominent volcano.

This trip aims to explore some of the most representative aspects of Japan.

Day 1
Flight Athens - Tokyo
Day 2
Arrival in Tokyo, free afternoon
Day 3
Tokyo, Kanda Mitsuri celebration
Day 4
Tokyo Sightseeing & Tea Ceremony
Day 5
Kawasaki Open Air Museum & Kamakura
Day 6
Nikko, yogurt Toshogu Shrine Annual Festival
Day 7
Train to Nagoya - Matsumoto
Day 8
Japanese Alps, Takayama
Day 9
Kanazawa, Kenrokuen Garden
Day 10
Day 11
Koyasan, Kobo Daishi Mausoleum
Day 12
March on the Kumano Kobo Trail
Day 13
Osaka, Aquarium
Day 14
Osaka, sightseeing
Day 15
Day 16
Return flight
Day 17
Arrival in Athens

Activities / Schedule

Flight Athens - Tokyo with ETIHAD

Flight from Athens to Tokyo via an intermediate stop.

Arrival in Tokyo, free afternoon

Upon arrival at Tokyo airport, you will be transferred by van to the city where you will be accommodated in a 3-star hotel in double rooms with private bathrooms and breakfast included. You will have the afternoon free for relaxation and taking walks in the area.

Tokyo, Kanda Mitsuri celebration

We will dedicate a day to participate in Kanda Mitsuri, one of the three largest festivals in Tokyo that takes place every two years and reaches its peak this weekend. It involves a massive mikoshi parade that winds its way through various historic neighborhoods, so long that it lasts all day. The parade includes large floats, musicians, traditional costumes, dancing, and even monks on horseback, a tradition preserved since the Edo period. An English-speaking guide will lead us on a tour of the festival neighborhoods.

Tokyo & Tea Ceremony

We will visit Tokyo's popular attractions with the assistance of a guide and also have the opportunity to participate in a traditional tea ceremony while dressed in authentic costumes.

Kawasaki Open Air Museum & Kamakura

We will take a day trip to the Kawasaki Open Air Museum, where 25 traditional minka houses with special thatched roofs have been transported from eastern Japan.

Afterward, we will take the train to Kamakura, which served as the capital of Japan from 1185 to 1333. There, we will visit the Great Buddha (Daibutsu), a bronze statue of Amida Buddha located at Kotoku-in Temple. The statue stands 11.3 meters high and is the second tallest Buddha statue after the Great Buddha of Nara.

Nikko, Toshogu Shrine Annual Festival

We will depart by train to Nikko to attend their biggest celebration, the Toshogu Shrine Annual Grand Spring Festival.

We will also visit the Rin-no-ji Treasure House, a complex of Buddhist and Shinto temples dating back to 766 AD, and the historic Shinkyo Bridge.

Afterwards, there is an optional bus ride to the scenic mountain lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls.

In the afternoon, we will return to Tokyo and our hotel.

Train to Nagoya - Matsumoto

Today we will depart by train to Nagoya, a city where Toyota's headquarters are located and the only city in Japan where 70% of traffic is by car, unlike the rest of the country where the figure is 30%.

We will meet our Japanese English-speaking driver and depart by van to Magome, which is 95 km away and will take 1 ½ hours to reach. We will visit the village and hike for 3 hours on the historic Nakasendo trail to Tsumago village.

Afterwards, we will make a short visit to Narai, and then arrive in Matsumoto for an overnight stay at a 3* hotel in double rooms with bathroom and breakfast.

Japanese Alps, Takayama

We will start the day with a visit to Matsumoto Castle, and then transfer to Kamikochi in the Japanese Alps for a 3-4 hour hike. After the hike, we will head to Takayama where we will stay overnight in a 4-star hotel with an Onsen-type hot spring, in double rooms with bathroom and breakfast included.

Kanazawa, Kenrokuen Garden

On this day, we will start by visiting the Old Town of Takayama, the Takayama Yatai Kaikan, the Hida Folk Village, the Matsuri no Mori Festival Museum, and the beautiful villages of Shirakawa-go, Ogimachi, Ainokura, and Suganuma. In the afternoon, we will transfer to Kanazawa to visit the Kenrokuen Garden, which is one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. We will spend the night in a 4* hotel in en-suite rooms with breakfast.


We will transfer to Kyoto covering a distance of 260 km which will take around 3 ½ hours. During our stay in Kyoto, we will explore the city's sightseeing spots.

We will stay in a 4* hotel with double rooms that have en-suite bathrooms and breakfast.

Koyasan, Kobo Daishi Mausoleum

Let's get ready to explore Nara before embarking on a one-of-a-kind adventure to Koyasan! Our accommodation for the night will be at an original lodging, which happens to be housed in a Buddhist temple. Get ready for a unique experience sleeping on a futon mattress without a bed, in traditional Japanese-style rooms with shared bathroom facilities. And the best part? Dinner will be served by the monks themselves!

After dinner, we'll take an enchanting evening stroll to Okunoin Temple. Here, lies the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. Legend has it that Kobo Daishi is not dead, but in eternal meditation, awaiting the Future Buddha, Miroku Nyorai. Okunoin is one of the most sacred places in Japan and a top pilgrimage site.

As we cross the Ichinohashi Bridge (aka the First Bridge), we'll make sure to show respect to Kobo Daishi by bowing before entering. The Okunoin cemetery, located on the other side of the bridge, is the largest in Japan with over 200,000 tombstones along a nearly two-kilometer path leading to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. Many famous monks and feudal lords have been buried here since the 8th century, hoping to be close to Kobo Daishi in death for salvation.

March on the Kumano Kobo Trail

Rise and shine! Wake up early to catch the monks' morning prayer. Breakfast will be served at 07:00 sharp, then we're off to the Kumano Kodo area. Did you know that one of the two pilgrimage trails in the world is located here and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List? (Yep, the other one is Santiago de Compostela).

We'll start our adventure by transferring to Hosshinmon-0ji (81 km 1:53') and then hike 7 km up the trail to Kumano Hongu Taisha (2 hours downhill). It's going to be a workout, but the breathtaking scenery will make it all worth it!

Next up, we'll visit Kumano Hayatama Taisha temple (35 km 40') and then Kumano Nachi Taisha & Seianto-ji Temple (22 km, ½ hour), where you can witness Japan's tallest waterfall, Nachi falls, from a stunning viewing platform.

After a day full of adventure, we'll return to Yunomine-oji (56km 1:03') for a well-deserved rest at a 3* hotel. The rooms are in traditional Japanese style with a shared bathroom, and we'll enjoy some delicious half board meals.

Osaka, Osaka Aquarium

Let's hit the road to Takahara (35 km, 40 min) for another exciting adventure on the post-mountain trail, this time from Takahara to Takijiri-oji (4 km, 2 hours downhill). Get your hiking boots ready because you won't want to miss the breathtaking scenery!

Afterward, we'll make our way to Osaka (163 km, 2 hours 15 min) to check out one of the coolest places in town: the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. With countless aquatic species from around the world, this aquarium is one of the largest and most impressive in the world.

Rest up in style in a 4* hotel in Osaka, complete with ensuite rooms and breakfast to get you fueled up for the next adventure.


Today we explore different attractions in Osaka, including Himeji Castle, Osaka Castle, and the Maishima Incineration Plant.

After a day of sightseeing, we return to the same hotel for another night's stay.


Today we take a train to Hiroshima and explore the Peace Memorial Park and Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO monument. In the afternoon, we return to Osaka and spend the night at the same hotel.

Return flight

We will transfer by train to the airport for our return flight with a stopover, arriving in Greece the next day.

Important Info

In a glance

377.975 sq.km
125 million
Yen (¥) (JPY) with exchange rate 1€ = ~ 147 JPY)
UTC +9 hours (from Greece +7 hours in winter, +8 hours in summer)


  • Explore Tokyo, the largest city on earth and visit its famous areas.
  • Take part in the festivities of the Kanda Mitsuri festival, where traditional costumes, floats, musicians, and residents parade.
  • Join a tea ceremony while wearing traditional costumes.
  • Visit Nikko and its cluster of 103 Shinto temples and shrines, listed as a UNESCO site and set in an outstanding natural environment.
  • Enjoy road trips and hikes in the mountain villages of the Japanese Alps.
  • Hike on the historic Nakasendo trail to Tsumago village.
  • Discover Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan, with a traditional feng shui layout.
  • Spend a night in a Buddhist temple in stunning Koyasan, with traditional rooms and dinner featuring a vegetarian monastic diet.
  • Walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, one of only two of its kind in the world, listed as a UNESCO site.
  • Visit Japan's tallest waterfall, Nachi falls.
  • Stay in a traditional hot spring accommodation, ryokan-type hotel with onsen.
  • Visit Hiroshima and ground zero, a UNESCO site.

Fixed Departures

  • 12 to 28 May 2023


Cost per person:

  • 2.870€/person (for 8 persons)
  • 3.210€/person (for 6 persons)
  • 3.890€/person (for 4 persons)

Note: Airfare is subject to availability and prices in effect at the time of booking. Advance planning is crucial for securing seats and good prices. Otherwise, the originally planned flights may not be available and the departure, return, and possibly the duration of the trip may need to be rescheduled.

Difficulty level

  • 1/5

Book your seat

To reserve a spot, you must first read the terms of participation that are mentioned in the Participation Form, and if you accept them, fill out the form at the following link: https://forms.gle/JYY58M7Evr3Cwx4c8

After filling out the form, you must send a deposit of 500€ within 10 days. Payment for the trip must be completed gradually up to one month before departure. In the event that our agency issues the airline tickets, they must be prepaid. Any cancellation of airline tickets is subject to the terms and restrictions of each airline and is not covered by the cancellation terms of the rest of the package.

General information

Moving Around:

  • Getting around Tokyo and the surrounding area will be done by train or metro, with unlimited travel cards that can be applied to the city's extensive network.
  • Westbound travel will be done using a 9-seat van with a Japanese driver, allowing us the opportunity to visit the mountainous areas of the Japanese Alps and Koyasan, with the freedom to tailor the program according to mood and local conditions.
  • Airfare is not included in the price. Interested parties can arrange it themselves or can be assigned to our office. Feel free to ask us about the available options.


  • Accommodation will be provided in double rooms at the hotels described in the detailed program.


  • Food is not included in the price, except for breakfast in the hotels and two dinners as described in the detailed program.


  • It is important to purchase travel insurance in these uncertain times, which will protect you from unexpected situations related to COVID-19, as well as other health emergencies, loss of a flight, and even coverage for total trip cancellation for any of the covered coverages.
  • We recommend taking out travel insurance with a cancellation option for this reason.
  • In the link below, you can see the available plans and their benefits. If you wish, you can contact our insurance advisor to receive proper information about the benefits and exclusions.

Ταξιδιωτική Ασφάλιση από την Trekking Hellas - Ταξιδιωτική Ασφάλιση (addvalue.gr)


  • Hiking shoes
  • Thermal T-shirts (thin, medium)
  • Waterproof thin poncho
  • Swimsuit & towel for hot springs
  • 30-liter daypack which will be your hand luggage on flights
  • Soft carry bag

Japan, Self-Guided

A trip to yesterday and tomorrow

Price from €2870


You may also be interested

Be the first to know about Trekking Hellas updates! Sign up for our newsletter.

By registering I automatically agree to the Terms of Use.