Experience more of Tokyo on the Best of Tokyo and Beyond Self Guided tour. To the uninitiated, Tokyo may seem like a whirlwind of people and traffic. Yet, behind the ordered chaos lie remnants of a very different past.
Tokyo is not just a destination, but an experience. You could easily spend a lifetime exploring Tokyo and never run out of places and things to discover. From “funky” old Ueno and nearby Yanaka, to the ultra-modern Ginza, you can explore fine parks, museums, old houses and endless department stores. The sheer energy level of Tokyo will sweep you away.
By night, Tokyo really comes to life. With its blazing neon-filled neighborhoods and its contrasting historic alleyways, you can dine and drink in Tokyo’s old and new alike.
You will have the opportunity to learn the ancient religious traditions of the Japanese, visit the famous “Daibutsu” in Kamakura, explore Tokyo’s largest Shinto Shrine, and see the icon of Japan, Mt. Fuji (weather-permitting).
Combine this tour with the Best of Kyoto and Beyond tour for a more complete Japanese experience. Or, if you only want to spend a few days in Kyoto either before or after the tour, we can arrange this for you. Contact us for details.
You will be welcomed at Tokyo’s Narita Airport by a Samurai Tours representative who will help you obtain your limousine bus ticket into Tokyo and assist with boarding the bus to your hotel in Tokyo.
After breakfast, the licensed, English-speaking guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel. The guided tour will start with traveling to Tokyo Tower. The Tokyo Tower is a communications and observation tower in the center of Tokyo. At 332.9 meters (1,092 ft) high, it is the second-tallest structure in Japan. The structure is an Eiffel Tower-inspired lattice tower, with a main observatory at 150 meters that is reached via elevator or a 600-step staircase. Thanks to the tower’s central location, the observatory offers an interesting view of the city despite being only at a relatively moderate height. Afterwards, we will travel to the famous Ginza district, the most expensive real estate in the world. Ginza is recognized by many as one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world, attracting visitors and regulars alike from across the globe. Before continuing we will stop for a Kushiage lunch (fried meat and vegetables on bamboo skewers). Next we will travel to the nearby Asakusa area. Here we will tour the Nakamise-dori, Senso-ji Buddhist Temple, and the Asakusa Shrine where you will learn about Buddhist and Shinto Japanese religious practices. We will then return to the hotel where we will go through the train tickets for the rest of the tour. Breakfast at the hotel and lunch at a local restaurant included.
Travel: 1 Hour
After breakfast we suggest starting your day with a visit to Ueno Park, Tokyo’s largest public park with numerous temples, shrines and museums. But in 1868, it was the site of a large, bloody battle between forces loyal to the Shogun and the Imperial army. Next, you can visit the Yanaka District. Here you will find the old sprit of Tokyo is still alive and thriving. There are buildings dating back more than 150 years here that were not damaged during the huge Kanto earthquake in 1923 or during bombing in World War II. You can also visit a cemetery where the final Tokugawa Shogun is buried. We recommend finishing the day with a visit to Rikiguen Garden. Rikugien is one of Tokyo’s most beautiful, Japanese style landscape gardens built around 1700 by Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, a high-ranking advisor in the Tokugawa Shogunate. Rikugien literally means “six poems garden” and reproduces in miniature 88 scenes from famous poems. Breakfast at the hotel included.
Today we recommend exploring the Akihabara, or “Electric Town” area of Tokyo. Clustered around the Akihabara train station, it is estimated there are over 600 multilevel stores, shops and stalls, and that about 10% of all the electronic equipment sold in Japan is sold here. Akihabara is also becoming known as a wacky fetish district where the Japanese hang out in kinky cafes, shop for anime and manga, and participate in cosplay (short for costume play). You may also want to spend some of your day in the Harajuku/Shibuya area of Tokyo, the mecca of Tokyo’s younger generation. Here, you will find Omotesando-dori, known as the Japanese Champs-Elysees. This street is flanked by just about every well-known fashion designer store you can think of, and some you can’t. With its alfresco cafes and trendy boutiques, it’s as close as Tokyo gets to Paris. Shibuya, immediately south of Harajuku, is the birthplace of many fashion trends for the younger crowd in Japan. Shibuya Crossing, as featured in the movie “Lost in Translation”, is said to be the busiest pedestrian crossing in Japan, if not the world. Breakfast at the hotel included.
After breakfast you can take a day trip to Hakone Yumoto Onsen. Hakone is famous for its natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji (weather permitting). You can take many different forms of transportation (electric train, funicular, gondola, and bus) around Hakone including the Hakone Sightseeing Boats on Lake Ashi. In good weather passengers aboard the sightseeing cruise can get a fine view of Japan’s most famous peak, Mount Fuji, and enjoy Hakone’s rich scenery reflected on the lake’s calm surface. Breakfast at the hotel included.
Travel: 2 Hours
Today you can take a day trip to Nikko, a small city located in the mountains just north of Tokyo. Nikko is home to the Toshogu Shrine that was established in 1617 to commemorate Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founding ruler of the Tokugawa shogunate. You can also visit the Nikko National Park that offers scenic mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys, and hiking trails. Breakfast at the hotel included.
Travel: 4 Hours
Today you will travel to the ancient city of Kamakura, the former capital of Japan in the 13th century. We suggest starting your adventure at Hase-dera. This temple, originally established in the 8th century, houses a famous Kannon statue made from wood and gold leaf, and also has a commanding view of the nearby ocean. Next you can visit Kotokuin, the home of the famous Kamakura Great Buddha. This 40-foot tall bronze statue of Buddha was built in the 13th century and is an icon of Japan. We also recommend visiting Hokokuin Temple, known as the “Bamboo Temple”. Here you will be able to relax and enjoy the serene atmosphere of the bamboo garden while savoring tea and sweets. Breakfast at the hotel included.
Travel: 3 Hours
It’s time to say “sayonara” (goodbye) to Japan. You will take the express train to Narita Airport where you will fly home. Breakfast at the hotel included.
Travel: 1 Hour
¥204,170 (per person, based on double occupancy)
January 6 – February 28
June 16 – August 5
August 18 – August 31
November 16 – December 24
¥220,376 (per person, based on double occupancy)
March 1 – March 14
May 7 – June 15
September 1 – October 14
¥238,235 (per person, based on double occupancy)
March 15 – May 6 (Cherry Blossom & Golden Week)
August 6 – August 17 (Obon Holiday)
October 15 – November 15 (Fall Foliage)
December 25 – January 5 (New Years)
Adjustments for 2020 Tours
Our tours and tour itineraries are the best, but as the saying goes, “you can’t make everyone happy all of the time”. There may a specific destination or a specific experience you may want to include in your visit to Japan that may not be included your tour. Choose from our Add On tours to include your interests and make your Japan tour even better.
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We were very impressed with the organization and implementation of our trip. It was convenient, trouble-free and memorable. We can\’t wait to return for a longer tour.
Thank you so much for your kind comments and high ratings of our tours! We are so happy that you had a good time. We do try very hard to make each tour member’s trip very special. We’re looking forward to seeing you again in Japan!
~ Samurai Tours Staff
We had a lovely time in Tokyo, thanks in good measure to the arrangements that Samurai Tours had made for us and the meeting hostess and guide provided.
The independent tour worked out perfectly for me. I enjoyed the flexibilty to do what I wanted yet still learn culture and history of Japan through day tours. Tammy Ota was very helpful with the emergency contact line. Whatever I needed she was very willing to help. I was happy to meet her on my last days in Japan.