Japan

Japan offers a beautiful contrast between modern architecture, neon signs and all the newest trends and traditional ryokans, temples and castles. You can enjoy the trendy neighborhoods of Tokyo with its contemporary-art scene, its pop-culture or karaoke bars, and the numerous age old temples of Kyoto where you can witness ancient rituals.

No matter where you go, you will find Japanese people are very helpful, unbelievably friendly and polite.

Dates & Prices
Departure Date Arrival Date Price Tour leader
15/09/2019 28/09/2019 € 4.200,- Stefan
10/05/2020 23/05/2020 € 4.200,- Stefan
13/09/2020 26/09/2020 € 4.200,- Stefan

Itinerary

Samsara Vegan Travels - Travel Route Japan 14dOn this 14 day Travel our focus is on Tokyo and Kyoto and the surrounding areas. These cities form our base of operation, from which we will explore other areas of Japan on day tours. Of course you'll have the opportunity to visit many cultural highlights and iconic sights. Both Tokyo and Kyoto have a good selection of vegan restaurants and there is so much to discover.

Our starting point is Tokyo. The first few days we will spend exploring the capital city of Japan. A day trip to Mt. Fuji is included. From Tokyo we take the Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto, the former capital of Japan. Here, you will find many ancient temples and other cultural highlights. When we have not quite reached our temple limit, we visit Nara and Himeji on day trips from Kyoto. Our tour ends in Kyoto.

Day 1 – Tokyo

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Ginza

Our Japan Travel will start in the morning of the first day. If you have not spent the night in our hotel in the city center, you are expected to arrive there no later than 09.00 am for an introduction and to meet your fellow travelers.

It is up to you when you want to arrive in Japan. If you want to arrive a few days before the tour starts, we will gladly help you to arrange a hotel room for you.

Our hotel is situated in Shinjuku, a very active part of Tokyo with lots of entertainment just around the corner. After breakfast you will meet your fellow travelers and your tour leader in the hotel. If this first day is a 1st or 3rd Sunday of the month we will visit the Oedo Antique Market, the largest outdoor antique market in Japan. If the antique market is closed we will choose other sights to visit in that area. We will also visit the Namiyoke-jinja shrine and Hama-rikyu Onshi-teien garden, one of Tokyo's finest gardens. Around the corner is the the upmarket district of Ginza, with its designer stores, which is particularly interesting to visit on a Sunday as the main street will be closed off for traffic.

Day 2 – Tokyo

Samsara Vegan Travels - Tokyo Sky TreeAfter breakfast we will get onto the metro to the other side of the city to visit the Senso-ji temple complex, Tokyo's most visited temple and the Tokyo Skytree Tower with two viewing decks (the highest at 450 m height). Walking distance from here are the Kappabashi district (also known as Kitchenware Street) - a great place for browsing through shops - and the Akihabara district - known for its Manga scene.

Day 3 – Mt. Fuji

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Mount FujiIn the morning we board a coach to visit Mt. Fuji, the famous volcano a few hours drive from Tokyo. We will join a public tour with other travelers or, if our group is sufficiently large, book a private tour. On the way you can enjoy the amazing landscape Japan has to offer. The coach will drive up the mountain to Mt. Fuji's 5th Station. You will have the opportunity to walk around and enjoy the scenery. Lunch is included on this trip. The coach will drive back to Tokyo with some additional stops on the way back.

Day 4 – Tokyo

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Tokyo CemeteryToday we visit the impressive Imperial Palace in central Tokyo. Depending on availability we do this in the morning or in the afternoon. From there we will take a metro to the authentic and relaxing district of Yanesen: a perfect neighborhood for strolling through alleyways. Get a glimpse of how the Japanese create their own sanctuary in this metropolis. Nearly every street has a temple or shrine. From there it is a short walk to the tranquil surroundings of Yanaka-reien cemetery park. The remainder of the day we will visit the Tokyo National Museum.

Day 5 – Tokyo

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - ShibuyaMore interesting and fascinating sights to visit today in downtown Tokyo. You will get to see (and cross of course!) the famous Shibuya crossing, allegedly the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, the Hachiko-mae Square with its famous statue of Japan's legendary dog, Zojo-ji temple with its impressing 15 tonne Big Bell, Meiji-jingu shrine (Tokyo's grandest Shinto shrine) and Shinjuku district.

Day 6 – Tokyo

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Ladies in KimonoToday there is no fixed program. You can explore the city on your own or together with some of your travel companions. Your tour leader can suggest other sights to visit, or help you book a day trip or excursion.

Day 7 – Tokyo to Kyoto

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Shinkansen train
Today we leave for Kyoto, the former capital of Japan and, according to many, its most beautiful city. What better way to get there than by Shinkansen bullet train? This super train will bring you to Kyoto in little over 2 hours. After arrival in Kyoto we will check into our centrally located hotel. The rest of the day you can slowly start exploring the amazing city of Kyoto with its hundreds of temples, shrines and castles, shopping malls and quaint streets.

Day 8 – Kyoto

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Rokuon-ji Temple KyotoToday we will explore the north-west corner of Kyoto. One of the most impressive sights is Kinkaku-ji temple (or Golden Temple), the main hall is covered in gold leaf. Next on the agenda are Ryaon-ji temple, Myoshini temple and Togetsu-kyo bridge. If time allows and the group has enough energy left we can also visit Giouji temple. Don't miss the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove!

Day 9 – Kyoto

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Fushimi Inari Shrine KyotoOne of the highlights of a visit to Kyoto is most certainly Fushimi Inari Daisha temple complex with its well known vermillion torii gates. You can easily spend half the day here if you want to explore all that this complex has to offer. The walkways covered by these orange gates seem to go on forever, further up the hill. After lunch we can visit either Tofuku-ji temple or Kiyomizu-dera temple, or both. After these visits we will walk around the streets of Ninenzaka district.

Day 10 – Himeji

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Himeji CastleWe will leave early in the morning to visit Himeji and the top attraction Himeji Castle. We use public trains to get to and from Himeji, which takes about 1,5 hours.

Himeji Castle is one of Japan's finest Castles and also the most visited one. When we arrive in Himeji we can easily walk to the castle grounds. Another top sight in Himeji is Koko-en, a reconstruction of former samurai quarters.

Day 11 – Kyoto

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - LanternsToday there is no fixed program. You can explore the city on your own or together with some of your travel companions. Your tour leader can suggest other sights to visit, or help you book a day trip or excursion. Perhaps rent a bicycle and explore the city center, Kyoto is perfect for cycling!

Day 12 – Kyoto

Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Onsen with tour leaderAfter all these days of exploring temples and castles it is time for a little relaxation. Today we visit an Onsen, a Japanese style natural sulfur hot spring. To get to the Onsen we take 30 minute train that will take us well away from the bustle of the city. Relax your mind and body in the serene environs of the Kurama mountains. We will also visit a lovely temple on the hillside.

Note: the photo displayed is not of the Kyoto Onsen.

Day 13 – Nara

After yesterday's relaxing day it's time for some more astonishing sights. Today we will spend our time in Nara, Japan's first permanent capital, where deer roam free. The train ride to Nara will take about 1 hour. In Nara there are plenty of amazing sights to choose from, such as Kasuga shrine, Kofuku-ji temple, Yoshiki-en gardens or Tamukeyama shrine. Certainly on the list of must-sees is the Grand Buddha hall. In the afternoon we will return to Kyoto by train.Samsara Vegan Travels - Japan - Todai-ji Temple - Nara

Day 14 – Kyoto

This is the final day of the tour. You can use it to visit those sights you still want to see, or to buy some souvenirs, or just relax in a park.
Depending on the time of your flight you can make your way to the Osaka airport. There is a convenient train connection from Kyoto station. Or stay a little longer!

Note: In the event of unforeseen circumstances, for example an upcoming typhoon or a broken bus, it is be possible that the travel program must be adjusted. The final decision will be made by the tour leader. The sequence of the itinerary may be changed depending on opening times of attractions.

What is included in the price?

  • 13 Overnight stays
  • All breakfasts (not in hotel)
  • Lunch on the day trips to Mt. Fuji
  • Metro card for all Tokyo metro lines on day 1, 2, 4 & 5
  • Metro card for all Kyoto metro lines on day 8, 9 & 13
  • Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto
  • Day trip to Mt. Fuji, including entrance fees & lunch
  • Day trip to Himeji Castle, including entrance fees
  • Day trip to Nara
  • Full day entrance at a Japanese Onsen (natural sulfur hot spring)
  • Dutch+English+German speaking tour leader

Not included:

  • International flights
  • Meals (unless mentioned)(we WILL take you to vegan restaurants)
  • Entrance fees (unless specifically mentioned). More information on our entrance fee package.
  • Metro and bus tickets other than mentioned above
  • Visa for Japan (if applicable)
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Cancellation insurance (optional)
  • Spending money*
  • Tips**

* For spending money you should count on a minimum of € 350,- per person per week. In this amount are included costs for food and drinks, entrance fees, additional excursions and personal tips. Souvenirs are not included in this amount as this very much depends on the person.

** Tipping in Japan is not common. It can sometimes even be considered an insult. Your tour leader, however, appreciates a tip very much, when you are satisfied with his/her work.

Country Information

Climate

Due to Japan's size, the climate depends on the location you are at. The climate on the main island Honshu, where both Tokyo and Kyoto are located, can be compared to the European mainland. July and August can be hot and humid. Ideal months to travel are April & May and September & October Temperatures are enjoyable and there is little rain.
Tokyo Climate  Kyoto Climate

Transport

Most local transport is done by public transport. Both Tokyo and Kyoto have an excellent metro system. Also public buses are very good and useful, especially in Kyoto. To travel from Tokyo to Kyoto we will use the Shinkansen bullet train. On the day trip to Mt. Fuji we will make use of a comfortable coach. To Himeji and Nara we will travel by train.

Luggage

You will have to carry your own bag/suitcase on the metro when traveling to and from train stations, so do not make it too heavy.

Dress

In Buddhist temples you must cover your shoulder and knees. Dress appropriately in places of worship or cultural significance.

Money

The Japanese currency is the Yen. Money can be obtained from ATM's with Maestro or Cirrus symbol. These are commonly located in post offices 7-eleven supermarkets and at airports. Credit cards are accepted in hotels, shops and restaurants. Cash money in Euros or US dollars can easily be exchanged at hotels.

We recommend you bring with you an amount of cash in Euros or US dollars for emergency purposes. If possible, bring an additional credit and/or debit card for unexpected expenses or emergencies.

Safety and travel advice

For up-to-date information about the security situation in Japan, please visit the website of your national government. Travelers who reside in The Netherlands can find relevant information on Nederland Wereldwijd.

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Practical Information

Level of fitness

For this Travel you need medium level of health. You need to be able to walk a fair amount each day. A lot of exploring in Tokyo and Kyoto will be done on foot, but we will walk in a reasonably relaxed tempo. If you are in good health you can easily participate in this journey.
To cover longer distances we use public transportation. Most of the hotels are within walking distance of the city center and restaurants. Taxis are readily available.
Due to the active nature of the trip this journey is not suitable for people with reduced mobility.

Travel documents

You are required to have a passport that is valid for the duration of you stay in Japan.

Citizens of 68 countries, including USA, UK, Canada and most European countries, can visit Japan for a stay of up to 90 days without having to apply for a visa. A list of applicable countries and rules and conditions can be found an the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Visitors from other countries must apply for a visa in advance here.

For those travelers requiring a visa, please ensure yourself of the through time for this application, we recommend to submit your request at least 4 weeks before departure. You are responsible for having the right travel documents.

For emergency purposes make a scan of your passport, visa, and other important documents and mail them to yourself, or put them online in the cloud. So, in case of theft or loss during the journey, you always have copies of your important papers on hand.

Insurance

The costs of health care abroad or an unexpected repatriation can be huge. To prevent these high costs, you require travel insurance. Samsara Vegan Travels obligates its travelers to obtain adequate a travel insurance for the full coverage of medical assistance and repatriation and can ask for proof of this insurance. Failure to comply with this requirement can be cause for cancellation in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

We advise you to take out cancellation insurance, but this is not mandatory.

Vaccinations

When you travel to other countries, it is important to prepare yourself well. For a thorough advice on required vaccinations, contact your family doctor or a clinic specialized in vaccinations. Travelers who reside in The Netherlands can find relevant information on thuisvaccinatie. Starting well on time with a vaccination program is essential as some vaccinations have to be repeated one or more times to be sufficiently effective. Make your 1st appointment at least 6 weeks before departure.
Check with your health and/or travel insurance if costs for travel vaccinations will be reimbursed.

Travel medication

We advise you to bring a modest travel pharmacy containing painkillers, diarrhea tablets, ORS (Oral Re-hydration Salts), disinfectants, anti-histamine tablets and motion sickness tablets of your sensitive for that.
If you are bringing other medication into the country, make sure these medications are permitted and ask your pharmacy to provide you with a list of subscribed medication.

Accommodation

The hotels are very comfortable and all have private bathrooms and air conditioning. Because the exact accommodation can vary depending on the date and group size, we do not send a list. As a general example, rooms will look something like this:
Kyoto - twin room
Our advertised prices are based on double occupancy. If you travel alone and would like to have your own room, we will charge you the single's supplement as specified below. For Japan single rooms can only be booked on request, depending on availability. If you would like to share a room we will try to find another traveler of the same sex to share your room with. At the time of booking we will charge you the single's supplement, this will be reimbursed in your final payment if we find a roommate for you. The single's supplement for this travel is € 275,-.
Rooms are generally fitted with two single beds, unless otherwise requested in your booking form. Double beds can be arranged depending on availability.

If you would like to arrive 1 or more days early, or would like to extend you stay after the tour has ended we can arrange a room for you in the hotel we are using for the tour. As room prices in Japan depend on the date and day of the week we cannot give a general price for this extension, contact us for more information.

Booking process

The first step to book a Travel is to fill out the booking form as shown on our website. After we have received your application we will send you a confirmation by e-mail as soon as possible, but no later than within 72 hours. The booking is agreed with the submission of the booking form, cancellation is no longer possible without incurring cancellation costs.

All details regarding payment of deposit and the remainder of the travel sum are giving on the booking page.

The Travel is confirmed to depart if at least the minimum number of travelers have made a booking.
Do not book your international flights before you have received a message from us that the departure of the tour is confirmed.

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The Group

Your tour leaders

All travels to Japan will be accompanied by a Dutch+English+German speaking tour leader. The tour leader is the first point of contact during the journey. The tour leader has a lot of experience with traveling and gladly answers all your questions, but s/he is not a walking encyclopedia. It is always a good idea to bring your own travel guide for additional information.
For more information on our tour leaders, click here.

See the Dates & Prices for which guide is accompanying you on your tour.

Your travel companions

We travel in small groups, for Japan there is a minimum of 8 and maximum of 12 travelers. The Travel is confirmed to depart if at least the minimum number of travelers have made a booking. In some cases Samsara Vegan Travels can decide to confirm the departure, even if the required minimum number of travelers has not been reached.

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Dates & Prices

Departure Date Arrival Date Price* Tour leader**
15 September 2019 28 September 2019 € 4.200,- Stefan
10 May 2020 23 May 2020 € 4.200,- Stefan
13 September 2020 26 September 2020 € 4.200,- Stefan

* Travels to Japan are subject to changes in exchange rates for the Japanese Yen. For significant changes we reserve the right to charge these changes to the traveler no later than 20 days before departure. In accordance with Article 10 of our Terms and Conditions the traveler will be reimbursed for the price difference if the difference is in the traveler's advantage.

** Tour leader may change up until the last minute, due to unforeseen circumstances.

For EU residents, all our Travels are covered by STO Garant (Foundation Take Over - Travel Guarantee). (The information on this website is in Dutch only, for a detailed description in English of the Travel Guarantee, refer to the Terms and Conditions.)

Our Entrance fee package

If you already know you want to visit every attraction on the program, you might as well order our “Entrance fee” package with your booking. You pay a one time fee of € 80,- and we will take care of your admission tickets for the following sights:

Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto
Kurama-dera temple in Kyoto
Giouji temple in Kyoto
Kinkaku-ji temple in Kyoto
Myoshinji temple in Kyoto
Ryoan-ji temple in Kyoto
Kofuku-ji in Nara
Yoshiki-en gardens in Nara
Tokyo Sky Tree in Tokyo
Hama-rikyu Onshi-teien garden in Tokyo
Tokyo National Museum in Tokyo
Grand Buddha hall + museum in Nara

No hassle with Japanese currency and long queues. Add your entrance fee package to your booking via the booking form!