Renowned just as much for its futuristic cities and cutting-edge technological innovations as it is for its historic cities and rich cultural heritage, Japan has numerous sides to it and visitors to the country will have their time cut out trying to see as much as possible.
An intoxicating mix of old and new, you can be watching a robot show one minute, and later on be exploring Japan’s rich and distinctive culture through its artisanal products, customs, and traditions.
With stunning nature and wildlife lying alongside sprawling metropoles such as Tokyo and Osaka, there are a plethora of things to see and do, and visitors invariably come away astounded at all that they’ve done.
With so much on offer, here are some of the best tours which will help you to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of Japan.
1. Night Walk in Gion: Kyoto’s Geisha District
The most historic and traditional part of Kyoto, Gion is an absolute delight to walk around and is renowned for the geishas that work here and on the tour you’re likely to come across a couple of them walking about.
Your guide will tell you everything there is to know about geishas, from their daily lives to their kimonos and hairstyles as well as the history that surrounds them and you’re sure to come away having learnt a lot.
Wandering around Gion at night is magical as traditional buildings line the streets and the tour is as informative as it is entertaining. Highly recommended by everyone that goes on it, this tour is well worth checking out.
2. Mount Fuji Full-Day Scenic Bus Tour from Tokyo
Simply spectacular to behold, Mount Fuji rises dramatically above the countryside that surrounds it and holds an important place in Japanese culture. Consequently, it is a must-see when in Japan.
On the trip, you’ll also get to visit the Fuji Five Lakes for a walk around the ponds, try some traditional local foods as well as having your picture taken beside a ninja.
Mount Fuji is ever-present in the background and your stop at the Mt. Fuji 5th Station will offer up some incredible views and photo opportunities of the majestic stratovolcano.
3. Spectacular 90-Minute Robot Show at Robot Restaurant
Renowned around the world for its cutting-edge technology, Tokyo is always pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and this astounding robot show will leave you awe-struck at what you’ve just seen.
One of the most popular and indeed famous shows to see in the capital, this ninety-minute extravaganza will surely dazzle you with all of the neon lights, dancing robots and ninjas on show.
A unique experience, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, a visit to the Robot Restaurant is simply a must when in Tokyo.
4. Kyoto 5-Hour Walking Tour
A great day out for all of the family to enjoy, this five-hour walking tour will teach you all that there is to know about the history, culture, and architecture of Kyoto.
With a knowledgeable guide on hand, you’ll get to visit Buddhist and Shinto shrines where you’ll learn about the religions before stopping off at some traditional workshops.
A very popular tour, you’ll certainly come away with a greater understanding and feeling of Kyoto.
5. Tokyo Coach Tour and Bay Cruise
A fantastic tour, this excursion will take you to many of the main sights to see in Tokyo, with stops at the Meiji Jingu Shrine and the Imperial Palace East Garden included on the way.
With absolutely loads packed into the schedule, it is perfect for visitors who are pressed for time as you also stop off at Asakusa and Tokyo Sky Tree which offers up such mesmerising views of the city.
In addition to all of this, the tour also includes a cruise around Tokyo Bay which has such stunning panoramas of Tokyo’s skyline. Well worth every penny.
6. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Miyajima Day Tour
Visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Itsukushima Shrine is a moving and poignant affair as they commemorate those who lost their lives in the bombing of Hiroshima.
As the first place to ever be bombed by an atomic bomb, Hiroshima was levelled to the floor and the museum houses many of the items left behind by those who died and documents what happened on that tragic day.
With a visit to the untouched and unspoilt nature of Miyajima Island also included in the tour, this excursion will live long in the memory.
7. Tsukiji Fish Market: 3-Hour Food and Drink Walking Tour
A fun, friendly, and fascinating tour, wandering around the expansive and sprawling Tsukiji Fish Market is a memorable affair and you’ll learn loads about Japanese culinary culture.
With fresh fish everywhere you look, your guide will teach you about the fish you see as well as the history of the market itself and you might even get to try some samples.
Exploring the market is an amazing experience and it culminates in a visit to a sushi restaurant. This tour is ideal for foodies who will adore everything about it.
8. From Tokyo: Nikko World Heritage Full-Day Tour
Setting off from Tokyo, this tour takes you to the beautiful city of Nikko which is delightfully located amongst the mountains and it is a popular destination amongst tourists.
With sights such as the staggering Toshogu Shrine for you to gaze upon in awe and visits to the impressive Tamozawa Imperial Villa and stunning Kirifuri Falls included; you’ll certainly come away impressed at all that you’ve seen.
Accompanied by a professional guide, you’ll come away with a greater appreciation and understanding of Nikko’s rich cultural heritage and history.
9. Tokyo 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Ticket
Ideal for people who want to see as much of Tokyo as possible, this sightseeing bus will take you past most of the main tourist attractions in the city and there are various routes for you to choose from.
With numerous stops on offer, you can hop-off at the impressive Marunouchi Mitsubishi Building before getting back on to travel to Tokyo Tower and Tsukiji Ginza.
The audio commentary will give you an insight into all the ins and outs of this remarkable metropolis.
10. Welcome to Osaka: Private Tour with a Local Host
This personable guided tour will revolutionise the way that you see travel and your local host will take you to all of the main sights of Osaka as well as some off the beaten path locations.
Tailored to your particular interests, the tour can help you learn all about the neighbourhood which you’re staying in, introduce you to local customs and traditions or simply take you to the best of what Osaka has to offer.
Knowledgeable, professional and friendly; a private tour with a local host is the perfect way to experience Osaka.
11. From Tokyo: Mt Fuji and Hakone Trip by Shinkansen
A wonderful day-trip, this excursion will take you to Mount Fuji where you can gaze upon it in all of its splendour and the breathtaking view will surely live long in the memory.
After that, it’s off to Hakone for a delicious lunch before embarking on a cruise around the scenic Lake Ashi. Later on, you’ll take a cable car to the top of Mount Komagatake for another great panorama.
With a ride on the bullet train back to Tokyo also included in the trip, this tour will leave you tired but happy after a great day’s sightseeing.
12. Kyoto and Nara: Full-Day Sightseeing Tour
This whirlwind journey takes you to two of Japan’s former capitals in one day and you’re sure to come away raving at all of the amazing sights you’ve seen.
In Kyoto, you’ll get to explore the impressive Nijo Castle before visiting the Golden Pavilion and the breathtaking Kyoto Imperial Palace.
Nara is equally captivating to visit as you stop off at Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine among other lovely sights.
13. Made in Japan: Cultural Curiosities
This fascinating tour will take you off the beaten path and deep into the hidden side of Tokyo as you visit small workshops and learn all about how some of the traditional products are made.
With visits to seaweed sellers, incense makers, and confectioners included on the tour, you’ll come away with a newfound appreciation for some of the amazing artisanal products that Japan produces.
Wandering around the traditional businesses before visiting small shrines and shops is an amazing experience and comes highly recommended by people who have been on it.
14. Nagano: Snow Monkeys, Zenkoji Temple & Sake Day Trip
Setting off from Nagano, this fantastic tour takes you to see the majestic snow monkeys that reside in Jigokudani and the unique landscape and distinctive animals are incredible to behold.
After that, it is off to Zenkoji Temple which was remarkably the first Buddhist temple in the whole of Japan. It is beautiful to gaze upon.
A memorable day culminates with a visit to a local sake brewery where you’ll get to try some of the different types on offer.
15. Kyoto: Full-Day UNESCO and Historical Sites Tour
With so much to see and do in Kyoto, this tour will take you to many of the city’s most impressive and important historical sights and you’ll definitely come away having learnt a lot about them all.
The Sanju-san-gen-do Temple is stunning to visit as it is home to a thousand and one statues while the Inari Shrines and Thousand Torri Gates are equally beautiful to behold.
With picturesque views of the city popping up here and there and an expert guide on hand, this tour around Kyoto is certainly worth checking out when in the city.