The Traditional Loop

The Traditional Loop

This fourteen-night Japan Itinerary covers it all!  For an in-depth exploration of Japan and a once-in-a-lifetime trip that includes all the highlights of Japan choose this tour.  It has a chance to get off the normal beaten path while still hitting some of the most famous places Japan has to offer.  It includes a few days in exciting, dynamic Tokyo, stops in the quiet wooden town of Takayama and the cultural center of Kanazawa, some exquisite time visiting the center of Japanese tradition and culture, Kyoto, and includes a night in one of Japan’s most most famous playgrounds, Hakone, near Mt. Fuji.  End with one final night in Tokyo, perfectly positioned for your homeward bound flight.  The Traditional  Loop Itinerary will give you a chance to visit five different yet unique places in Japan at your preferred pace. Fill the days with more activities to speed things up, or go more slowly and savor fewer visits each day.

We have curated the internet to bring together all the information you need to plan your trip in one handy page. You can easily arrange this entire tour on your own using our simple, do-it-yourself instructions and links to transportation, hotels, train information and more!

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Tokyo

Tokyo is an extraordinary city—both a large and sprawling metropolis as well as a collection of small neighborhoods bound together both by excellent public transport and centuries of tradition, and it is the capitol of Japan today. This incredible city is also known for its many museums, theaters, gardens, and the world’s most famous fish market. Tokyo holds vast and incredibly lit shopping districts, stunning architectural buildings, and the sprawling Meiji Shinto Shrine, known for its towering gate and surrounding woods in the middle of downtown Tokyo. It is a mixture of the ultramodern and traditional, from the neon-lit skyscrapers to the historic temples.

Curated Japan-Takayama-Bridge in Spring-D56058771

Takayama

Takayama is a traditional wooden Japanese town in pristine condition. Located high in the Hida Mountains, it borrowed from the cultural centers of Kyoto and Tokyo, and developed its own arts, crafts, cuisine, and architecture. San-Machi Suji is the historical district of Takayama. The town features lovely shops, outdoor morning markets and wonderful specialty museums. Taking a stroll through this area is like taking a journey back in time to 18th century Japan.

Curated Japan-Kanazawa-Irises in Kenrokuen Garden-KTB

Kanazawa

Kanazawa means “marsh of gold”, and it is the city made by samurai. It is known as the home of one of Japan’s three most famous gardens, Kenrokuen, a beautiful landscape garden incorporating streams, ponds and a large variety of trees and plants. One of the symbols of the garden is an old stone lantern, perfectly placed to serve as a focal point in any season. In addition to this garden, the city’s Nagamachi Samurai district and Higashichaya geisha district draw tourists interested in historical Japan. The Museum of the 21st Century and the DT Suzuki Museum draw fans of the contemporary. As a seaside city, Kanazawa is also known for its fresh and varied seafood.

Curated Japan-Kyoto-Kiyomizu Dusk-D72882099

Kyoto

Kyoto is the former capital of Japan, famous for its temples, shrines, Geisha, textiles, festivals, and traditional stone streets. It is home to seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple (the famed “Golden Pavillion”), Ryoan-ji Temple, and Nijo Castle. After the sun sets, you can sometimes see a geisha dressed in a colorful kimono, silently walking from one tea house to the next in the Gion district. Several times a year Kyoto is the home to festivals that showcase the history of the city and region with parades featuring stunning costumes and elaborate floats.

Hakone

Hakone is located along Lake Ashi at the bottom of the iconic volcano Mount Fuji in Japan’s Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, just west of Tokyo. The town of Hakone is best known for its hot springs resorts and its views of Mt. Fuji. Fuji san overlooks the Hakone Shrine which stands next to Lake Ashi with a bright red “torii” gate entrance. The town has been a favorite of tourists and locals for hundreds of years, with its expansive views, boiling sulfur spring, gondola ride on the Hakone Ropeway, and hot spring baths.

Curated Japan-Tokyo-Tower with Fuji-D13815516

Tokyo

After 13 amazing nights in Japan, return to Tokyo for one final day in this dynamic city. Visit those places you weren’t able to get to on your first stay, finish shopping for gifts for family and friends and enjoy one last dinner high atop one of Tokyo’s famous skyscrapers, with views as far as Mt. Fuji on a clear day.

Your Daily Itinerary Includes

Complete PDF (over 50 pages!) with hundreds of links to resources:

  • Planning and preparation information
  • Curated Japan Signature information – insider knowledge from travelers who go to Japan regularly as tourists
  • Arrival Logistics Information with links to book in advance
  • Departure Logistics Information with links to book in advance
  • Detailed travel instructions for Tokyo to Takayama, Takayama to Kanazawa, Kanazawa to Kyoto, Kyoto to Hakone and back to Tokyo, including multiple options, routes and side-trips
  • Information on J-R Railpass and Hakone Free Pass use

Tokyo Information:

  • 11 suggested and regularly inspected hotels and ryokans and resources for additional options
  • Details on trains, subways and taxis, with some information (and words of caution) about buses and rental cars
  • Sightseeing highlights including Top 5 things to do plus 8 more interesting places to visit in your 3-day visit
  • Resources for finding and hiring a guide (including volunteers)
  • Descriptions of 18 of Tokyo’s neighborhoods
  • Dining with links to lists of restaurants
  • Activities to try including cooking and sword and ninja classes
  • Suggested day-by-day itinerary to maximize your time in Tokyo

Takayama Information:

  • 10 suggested and regularly inspected hotels and ryokans and resources for additional options
  • Local transportation information
  • Sightseeing highlights including Top 5 things to do plus extras if you have time
  • Resources for finding and hiring a local guide (including volunteers)
  • Descriptions of areas of interest, including a nearby town
  • Dining options – local restaurants as well as dining at your ryokan
  • Activities to try including anime site tour, Japanese drum performance and more
  • Festivals and events unique to this area
  • Suggested day-by-day itinerary to maximize your time in Takayama

Kanazawa Information:

  • 10 suggested and regularly inspected hotels and ryokans and resources for additional options
  • Local transportation information
  • Sightseeing highlights including Top 5 things to do plus extras if you have time
  • Resources for finding and hiring a local guide (including volunteers)
  • Five main areas to visit with maps and ideas for each area
  • Dining – local restaurants as well as dining at your ryokan (Kanazawa is known for it’s food!)
  • Activities to try including ceramics, painting, pottery and culinary arts
  • Festival and events unique to the area
  • Suggested day-by-day itinerary to maximize your time in Kanazawa

Kyoto Information:

  • 13 suggested and regularly inspected hotels and ryokans and resources for additional options
  • Details on trains, subways and taxis, with some information (and words of caution) about buses
  • Sightseeing highlights including Top 5 things to do, 5 hidden gems, plus details about places that require an advance reservation
  • Resources for finding and hiring a guide (including volunteers)
  • Descriptions of 6 main areas for sightseeing in Kyoto
  • Dining with links to lists of restaurants
  • Activities to try including cooking classes, taiko drum lessons, kimono dressing and more
  • Suggested day-by-day itinerary to maximize your time in Kyoto

Hakone Information:

  • 6 suggested and regularly inspected hotels and ryokans and resources for additional options
  • Local transportation information
  • Sightseeing highlights including Top 5 things to do plus extras if you have time
  • Resources for finding and hiring a guide (including volunteers)
  • Neighborhoods and areas to explore
  • Dining — 17 restaurants and information on dining at your ryokan
  • Activities to try including glass-blowing, crafts center, and more
  • Suggested day-by-day itinerary to maximize your time in Hakone

Buy The Traditional Loop Itinerary Now

COMING SOON!

Other 10 and 14-Night Options

The Golden Circle: 10-nights

Tokyo-Hakone-Kyoto

The Mountains & Sea: 10-nights

Tokyo-Matsumoto-Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo

The Honshu Experience: 14-nights

Tokyo-Matsumoto-Takayama-Kyoto-Kurashiki-Hiroshima-Miyajima-Tokyo

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