Immerse yourself in the captivating culture of Japan as you encounter vestiges of its imperial past and the dynamism of contemporary life on a journey to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hakone.

Request a Tailor-Made Itinerary Request Itinerary or Ask Us A Question or Call 855-215-8690
 Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto
 Senso-ji Temple, or Asakusa Kannon, an important Buddhist temple in Tokyo
 Tokyo's Ginza district
 Mt. Fuji and Ashi Lake
 Japan's bullet train with Mt. Fuji in the distance
 The Higashiyama District in Kyoto
 Entrance to Nijo Castle (detail), Kyoto
 Nijo Castle Garden, Kyoto
 Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto
 Traditional kimonos
 Traditional Udon noodle dish
 Traditional sushi platter

Japan Past and Present: A Tailor-Made Journey

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hakone

11 days from $6,995

Immerse yourself in the captivating culture of Japan as you encounter vestiges of its imperial past and the dynamism of contemporary life on a journey to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hakone.

Request a Tailor-Made Itinerary

or call 855-215-8690


Smithsonian Archivist Circle membership. Benefits include:

  • Recognition in the Friends of the Smithsonian Honor Roll displayed electronically on the National Mall in the Membership Reception Center
  • Invitation to a special welcome tour for new members at a Smithsonian venue
  • A Smithsonian Institution annual engagement calendar with full color images of exceptional art and artifacts
  • A complimentary Smithsonian museum guidebook
  • Subscription to the award-winning magazine Smithsonian
  • 20% discount at Smithsonian Museum Stores, 10% discount at selected dining facilities, at, and Folkways Recordings
  • Special member rate for tickets to the Smithsonian's IMAX® theaters and Einstein Planetarium
  • Admission to Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City
  • Weekday access to the Friends of the Smithsonian Reception Center

If you are already a member of the Archivist Circle or above, you will receive The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1 - Tokyo

Land at Narita International Airport, where an airport guide will escort you to your hotel shuttle. Check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing after your flight—or, if you’re ready to start exploring, consider taking a walk around the nearby Imperial Gardens.

Day 2 - Tokyo

Your private guide will meet you today in the hotel lobby to go over your itinerary and help you get oriented. Then head out on a guided tour of historic Asakusa, an entertainment district during the Edo period. Get a sense of old Tokyo as you wander along its narrow lanes, and visit Senso-ji, an important Buddhist temple in the heart of Asakusa that was originally built in the 7th century. End your tour with a stroll through the lovely Hama Rikyu gardens. This evening,  join a private guide in the vibrant district of Ebisu for a tasting tour of Tokyo’s local cuisine. (B, D)

Day 3 - Tokyo

You’ll have a free day to explore Tokyo and the surrounding area as you choose today. We recommend using your included rail pass to take the train to the coastal town of Kamakura. The town and surrounding hills are brimming with Buddhist and Shinto temples and shrines, many of which date back to the 12th century when it was the seat of a shogunate. Consider hiking up to see the daibutsu, or Great Buddha, a 36-foot bronze figure that sits peacefully among the trees. If you stay in Tokyo, consider checking out some of its excellent museums, such as the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the sky-scraping Mori Art Museum. (B)

Day 4 - Kyoto

This morning, take your first journey by Shinkansen, Japan’s high-speed bullet train, zooming to Kyoto in under three hours. Upon arrival, settle into your hotel and set out to explore the surrounding Higashiyama district on your own. Tonight, join a guide for a fascinating tour of Kyoto’s food scene, sampling local specialties and admiring the artistry of local cuisine. (B, D)

Day 5 - Kyoto

During an unscheduled morning, discover this culturally rich city, whose entire ancient city has been named a World Heritage site. You’ll want to visit some of its stunning temples, gardens, and imperial sites, such as the magnificent Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion and Nijo Castle. Later, meet a local expert for a private tour of Gion, the geisha district. As you stroll the cobblestone streets, learn about the life of a geisha, and their role in Japanese culture. (B)

Day 6 - Kyoto

Head to nearby Shiga prefecture, set on the shores of tranquil Lake Biwa. Here, you’re invited into the home of a local family for a lesson in making traditional rice cakes called mochiand a glimpse of everyday life in Japan. Join the family for a sukiyaki hot pot lunch before returning to Kyoto. Late this afternoon, attend a kabuki theater performance. These classical Japanese dramas are known for their elaborate costumes and sets and dramatic story lines—you won’t have to understand the dialogue to appreciate this timeless Kyoto-born art form. (B, L)

Day 7 - Kyoto

Today is a free day with plenty of possibilities. Stay in Kyoto or use your rail pass for an excursion to the ancient capital of Nara or some of the palaces and shrines in the region.  Fushimi Inari Taisha—a Shinto temple known for its iconic tunnel of red torii gates—is just a few minutes away by train. Once you decide how you’d like to spend the day, we’ll provide you with tips and information about the sites you choose. (B)

Day 8 - Hakone

Travel to by bullet train the quiet town of Hakone, on the edge of Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. The Hakone area, dominated by the conical peak of Mount Fuji, is famous for its ryokans and onsens, or hot-spring baths. Settle into your contemporary ryokan in the lakeside village of Hakone-machi. Opt for an onsen experience this afternoon, or head out for a walk along the lake. (B, D)

Day 9 - Hakone

Explore Hakone and its national park from many perspectives today. Get an aerial view of this beautiful area from the gondolas of the Hakone Ropeway, and meander among the sculptures of the Hakone Open-air Museum. Take a picturesque train ride into the mountains to the village of Gōra, or ride the ferry across the lake, enjoying the views. If the weather is clear, you may catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji’s iconic peak. (B, D)

Day 10 - Tokyo

Return to Tokyo by private line train this morning and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Take the opportunity to see any sites you may have missed at the beginning of the trip or pick a lively neighborhood to walk around and soak up the ambiance of Japan’s effervescent capital city. (B)

Day 11 - Depart for home

After breakfast, take a shared transfer from your hotel to the airport in time for your return flight. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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