- A deposit is required to make a reservation, with the balance due 71+ days prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply). The deposit is £100 per person.
- For peak season spring trips the deposit is £300 per person.
- Please note, if you have a different kind of visa to the standard temporary visa then you will be liable to an additional charge of £90 for your JR Pass.
- 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. In Osaka your room will be “private” but you’ll be staying in a capsule hotel with some shared facilities.
- The group will be in sex-segregated dorms for most of the trip but may at points be in mixed dorms. In Osaka, the capsule hostel is sex-segregated even if a room upgrade is booked – all travellers stay in individual capsules on female-only and male-only floors.
- On Day 1 the group meets at 10am at the Tokyo House Inn – this is where the trip will start. Tokyo House Inn, 169-0072 Tokyo Prefecture, Shinjuku-ku, Okubo 1-12-27, Japan [+81 3-6205-5121]
- Please take note if you wish to use your own camera/phone to take photos and videos that is absolutely fine. However, we run a no drone policy for our Japan trips.
12 nights/13 days
Our 13-day group tour will give you an insight into the many faces of Japan. With an action-packed itinerary, you’ll see a different side to this fascinating country each day.
This trip is perfect for you if you want to explore Japan with the ease of a tour, but enjoy a more authentic travel experience. You’ll travel on public transport, stay in local accommodation and travel with a group of likeminded backpackers.
Travelling with you throughout, your tour leader will ensure the trip runs smoothly; getting everyone onto the right transport and making sure you arrive safely at your accommodation in each city.
Our 13-day group tour will give you an insight into the many faces of Japan. With an action-packed itinerary, you’ll see a different side to this fascinating country each day. The contrasts make travelling here completely unique, but our style of travel means you can still see all this on a budget. Explore some of Japan’s major regions, top destinations, epic sites and off the beat adventures.
Not only will you see the main sights in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, but you’ll also be able to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. Try out a karate lesson, a calligraphy class, a visit to the sumo district, an anime masterclass, trips to local bathhouses and – of course – karaoke. The 13 days also give you the opportunity to escape the city, with opportunities to explore Japan’s shrines, temples and endless hiking trails.
You’ll travel around Japan using its excellent public transport system, with some local transfers thrown in too – giving you a real flavour of authentic Japanese life. Stay in the best backpacking hostels and travel with an awesome group of likeminded people – you’ll also be guided by local people who will help you make the most of your time in this incredible country.
With so many exciting places to visit – here are a few of our highlights:
- Explore Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji fish market and try some of the freshest sashimi you’ve ever eaten!
- Visit Japan’s Sumo district
- Feed the monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park
- Cross the clear blue waters of Lake Ashi
- Visit Miyajima Island
- All accommodation within Japan
- All transport within Japan including your JR Rail pass
- An Adventure Leader who will travel with the group throughout Japan
- The majority of your activities
- Travel insurance
- Meals and drinks
- Optional activities
13 days / 12 nights
Tokyo, Kamakura, Mount Fuji, Kyoto, Arashiyama, Hiroshima and Osaka
Bullet trains and public transport
DIY sushi brunch
4 – 18
18 – 60
Optional activities – prices listed in the local currency, under itinerary below
£1599 to £1799 per person
11 nights in hostel dorms – upgrades available, on request, before departure, for £690 for a single room and £245 per person for a double; 1 night in individual “capsule” room.
The trip begins at 10 am on Day 1, at our starting hostel, Tokyo House Inn, so it’s best to arrive the day before. Any pre- and/or post-trip nights at Tokyo House Inn, in a shared dorm, can be booked with us pre-departure (£40 GBP per person per night).
After your trip:
The group arrives back at Tokyo Railway Station around 4.30 pm on Day 13. You can use your Japan Rail Pass from the trip to cover the cost of travel to either Haneda Airport or Narita Airport in Tokyo, or alternatively to Kansai Airport in Osaka, or onwards in Japan.
Nice and easy! They are available upon arrival for over 60 nationalities, including Australia, the US, Canada, the UK and European Union countries.
Travel insurance cover is compulsory to be able to join the trip. Your Adventure Leader will ask to see proof of your cover at the pre-departure briefing on Day 1 –the insurance company’s name and phone number, plus your policy number.
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. 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.
Optional: You can either kick back with a drink or relax like a local at nearby bathhouse. (460 JPY)
Day 2 – Tokyo
Try some of the freshest sashimi you’ve ever eaten at Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji fish market. 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 culture, and also home to Japan’s most famous J– pop group, AKB48… Try out 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
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. 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 The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
Day 4 – Tokyo
First thing in the morning, head to Ryōgoku (sumo district) to discover Tokyo’s fascinating history at the 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 wrestler’s 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. (6000 JPY)
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. Surfboard 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 geisha’s wandering past.
Day 8 – Arashiyama
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.
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
You have a free day in Kyoto to explore the traditional hub of Japan. From the majestic temples that adorn the Philospher’s Path, to Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Internationaln Manga Museum, there really is so much to do in Kyoto.
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.
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
Make the most of Osaka’s famous food and share a final brunch together in the morning. Say goodbye to everyone on the trip before catching the bullet train back to Tokyo to finish up or continue on your travels.
1 week ago
I had the most amazing time on the Iron Curtain Tour! We managed to fit so much into the week, with so many great recommendations by our awesome tour leader. Any difficulties as a cause of current travel situations were resolved without issue, and I always felt safe. Euroventure tours are to the best places, with the best people, and I cannot recommend them enough. Please do yourself a favour and book with them!
1 week ago
I had an amazing time on the iron curtain tour which was well organised so I could see a lot in a short space of time. Our tour leader was great; very knowledgeable and made good recommendations in each city. I was also pleased with the quality and location of the hostels. I will definitely consider booking with euroventure again.
1 week ago
The Iron Curtain Tour I went on was a great adventure! Euroventure was responsive with communication and on the tour the hostels were wonderful! My group was affected by the pandemic closures, but we made the most of it and Euroventure kept us updated throughout the week. No issues during travel!
2 weeks ago
Can't Fault Euroventure team for everything and creating the trip of a lifetime! Even with the current coronavirus issues, they are flexible, understanding and dealt with any concerns of the virus to reroute the trip. Will definitely be using them again!
3 weeks ago
Had a wonderful trip organised with Euroventure. All hotels fab and instructions on how to get to places spot on. No issues at all and I definitely recommend. Hil
Questions and Answers
Do many people travel alone?
Yes – most travellers on our Japan trips are solo travellers. Whether you’re travelling alone or with friends or a partner, joining our trip is a great way to meet new people and sharing your experience of Japanese culture.
When is the best time to visit Japan?
Japan is a year-round destination. Our trips run February-November, and spring and autumn are the most popular seasons.
How much spending money will I need?
For food, it varies depending on your tastes and budget. You can get a simple meal, such as a bowl of ramen, for around $3 AUD / $2.50 USD / £2 GBP, or you can go for high-class sushi. Generally, we take our travellers to affordable restaurants, and we recommend budgeting around $30 AUD / $25 USD / £20 GBP per day for food and drink.
What’s the accommodation like?
You’ll be staying in a mixture of hostels and guesthouses, plus a capsule hotel in Osaka which is a quintissential experience in Japan.