Departing from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, exceptional trips that explore the regional attractions of Japan.
We offer you 35 selections of recommended travel routes that foreigner have chosen after living and developing a deep love for the region.

Japan. Endless Discovery.
Short trips from Tokyo
Selection of Courses

Two-day trip Matsumoto: lively mountain town with a hands-on history

Short trip to Matsumoto

Smack dab in the middle of Japan, surrounded by the Northern Alps, a small but vibrant castle town sits like a wide open treasure chest. Crowned with the iconic and imposing black-walled ‘Crow Castle,’ Matsumoto’s charm is easy to see. But her allure, you’ll find, extends far beyond the walls of the old Ninomaru gardens. Soak up the unique and intimate character of bustling, pedestrian Nawate-dori, the centuries-old pathway to Yohashira Shrine now known to the locals as ‘Frog Street.’ Take in the atmosphere of Nakamachi-dori, lined with shops, restaurants and museums housed in the distinctive black-and-white kura warehouses of Japan’s mercantile past. Roam the halls of the old Kaichi Sho-Gakko, Japan’s first elementary school, then check out the colorful surprises of Matsumoto’s Modern Art Museum. Visit a wasabi farm by day and relax in an onsen village by night. And then revel in all the treasures you uncovered in this eminently walkable gem called Matsumoto.

Guide
Kevin Kato

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All 15 Courses

Short trips from Kyoto
Selection of Courses

One-day trip Home of the Iga ninja, see the historical townscape and ninja museum.

Short trip to Iga

Located between Osaka and Nagoya, Iga is known as one of Japan's ninja birthplaces. In a basin surrounded by mountains, this castle town is along an old road having deep historical and cultural ties to Kyoto and Nara. Ueno Park's elegant Iga-Ueno Castle is an Iga landmark. The park also has the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum preserving and displaying Japan's most diverse collection of ninja implements and artifacts. Learn about traditional ninja skills by throwing shuriken knives yourself. The museum also has a ninja show where ninja performers use swords and spears. You can also rent a ninja costume and walk around the castle town visiting the many confectionary shops that remain from the old days. Experience Iga's local friendliness.

Guide
Yang Ying

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All 10 Courses

Short trips from Osaka
Selection of Courses
  • (C)JNTO
  • (C)JNTO
  • (C)JNTO
  • (C)JNTO

Two-day trip Koyasan, a historic Buddhist sanctuary surrounded by wilderness

Short trip to Koyasan

Nested within the remote Kii Mountains lies one of Japan’s most unique destinations – Koyasan. Founded in 816 this small Buddhist town recently celebrated its 1200th anniversary, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. It is the capital for one of Japan’s major sects of Buddhism, and is not just visited by people from all over the world, including the Dalai Lama, but also thousands of Japanese citizens. Originally created by one of Japan’s most influential figures – Kobo Daishi – Koyasan offers many special experiences that are difficult to find elsewhere. These include a stay in one of the town’s over 50 temples, a stroll through Japan’s largest cemetery, and cuisine synonymous with the area. Additionally, Koyasan differs greatly from similar places famous for their history like Kyoto and Nara, as it is entirely located within nature and without the influence of the city.

Guide
Steven Brockway

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All 10 Courses