Very traditional yet vibrantly modern, steeped in culture but thriving on commerce, this enthralling archipelago has geishas and Shinto shrines, glass towers and sushi bars, neon nights, peaceful parks, amazing scenery, and impeccable manners.
Timeless tradition meets mesmerising modernity in the Land of the Rising Sun, a country of unique culture and immense colour, in its shrines and temples, in its busy cities and beautiful landscapes, and, of course, in its exquisite gardens.
Kyoto, the country’s capital for 11 centuries, and the epicentre of Japanese culture, has imperial palaces, timber townhouses, old-world shopping streets, and over a thousand Buddhist temples. In the home of geishas, manners, and tradition, modernity has made a mark but not changed the nature of the city.
Tokyo masters the mix of old and new with its famously soaring skyline, simple wooden structures, and cobbled lanes weaving between the towers. The Senso-ji, its oldest temple, is steeped in 7th-century legends; the Imperial Palace, the primary residence of the emperor, is encircled by a lotus moat.
With a restored castle and ancient Shinto shrine, very contemporary Osaka is not without historic sites, but this energetic, unpretentious city doesn’t dwell on heritage, focused instead on vibrant shopping streets, neon-lit nightlife, and great food, with pretty riversides thrown in for good measure.
Matsue, ‘the city of water’, sits on the shore of Lake Shinji, its superb ‘shakkei’ garden designed to blur the boundary with its natural surrounds. Kanazawa is known for its production of gold leaf, but revered for the Kenroku-en Garden, with ponds, hills and streams, pavilions, teahouses, and serenity.
Tranquillity comes naturally to Hakone’s idyll of botanical gardens, forest-shrouded shrines, the gorgeous Lake Ashinoko, and views of Mount Fuji, white-capped and wondrous. Less blessed, but resourceful Hiroshima restored its heritage in the Peace Memorial Park, defying predictions of permanent demise.
With over a thousand years of history, Nara is dotted with UNESCO listed sites, and famed for its ornate temples, the Manyo Botanical Gardens, and the free-roaming deer in its park.
Recording various elements of the country’s history and culture, Iga-ryu is home to the Ninja Museum of Japan’s feudal ages; Toba has a Pearl Island Museum; Nagoya’s Seki Samurai Sword exhibits cover seven centuries; and Takayama’s museum is focused on the town’s tradition of spectacular Festival Floats.
Maximising your discovery time, and adding an experience all its own, Japan’s famous Bullet Train makes short work of crossing the miles between cities and sights.
Hot and humid summers often peak above 35°, winters are cold and snowy in the north but temperate in the central regions, heavy rains are almost everywhere from June to August, and Japan has no real dry season; but spring and autumn offer the most comfortable climates for touring, and the most colourful displays of pink Sakura cherry blossom and the reds and russets of autumn foliage.
With departures in March to May and September to November, Jules Verne’s journeys are timed for the seasons which best suit the focus and destinations of each tour.
Avid historians, ardent horticulturalists, the culturally curious and adventurously intrigued will all quench their thirst for experiences in the dazzling diversity of Japan.
With a focus on the country’s famed gardens; cosmopolitan cities, historic towns, and age-old traditions; or the ancient and legendary culture of the Samurai; when you choose the small-group tour that meets your style and tempo, you know that your fellow travellers will share your interests.
With 45 years’ experience and a passion for creating extraordinary adventures, Jules Verne takes you to iconic landmarks and lesser-known sites, with expert tour guides who share their local knowledge, and show you hidden gems. On our various journeys in Japan, you could enjoy a sushi making experience in Tokyo, a traditional tea ceremony in Matsue, or a Samurai sword performance in Nagoya; experience a Zen meditation in Kyoto, or take in fantastic, full-circle, panoramas of Osaka from the 40-storey-high Floating Garden Observatory.
All our guided tours to Japan are ABTA and ATOL protected, and we offer a 100% price guarantee, so you can book with complete confidence.
Traversing Japan by Bullet Train, from neon-lit cityscapes to geisha lanes, from Shinto shrines to views of Mount Fuji, from Osaka to Kyoto, Hakone, and Tokyo, this small-group tour reveals the country’s seamless blend of timeless tradition and mesmerising modernity
Japan's Earthly Treasures
In the 'Land of the Rising Sun', natural splendour is embellished with man-made treasure. From Shinto shrines to Buddhist temples, from moated castles to Zen-calm gardens, from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Kyoto, and Matsue, this is a tour through time and traditions