Available: 0 space

Secure your place on this trip with $350 deposit. Final payment due 60 days before departure.

    Sorry, this trip is full. Please add your information so that we can put you on a waiting list

      • Hotels: Standard Class

      • 05/16/2023 - 05/26/2023

      • Max Participants: 15

      • 11 Days / 10 Nights


      Wander off the beaten path away from Japan’s big cities and popular sites with this 11-day tour that takes you to destinations that are often overlooked. Visit the treasured castle of Matsumoto and learn about Tokugawa culture, explore the quaint city of Hagi by bicycle, and settle in at a community homestay to truly immerse yourself in the local culture. Of course, there’s time before and after to explore Tokyo and Kyoto, making this trip a well-rounded glimpse into Japan’s past and present. Visit Japan with us, all while earning professional development credit with other educators.

      This is a shared departure with G Adventures, which means that there may also be non-teachers booking directly through G Adventures. Group members booked with G Adventures will be at least 12 years of age.

      Our first priority is our travelers’ safety, especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please click here for more details regarding our health and safety policies.

      What's Included:
      • Modern Tokyo walking tour
      • Zenkoji Temple visit
      • Jigokudani Monkey Park visit
      • Matsumoto Castle visit
      • Hagi Community Homestay
      • Hagi cycling tour
      • Tottori sand dunes visit
      • Tottori fish market visit
      • Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine visit
      • Traditional Paper-Making Lesson
      • Japan Rail (JR) pass (7 days)
      • G Adventures tour leader throughout
      • 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners – allow $450-665 USD for meals not included
      • Hotels (8 nts), homestay (2 nts, multi-share).
      • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities by Bus, bullet train, local train, bicycle, walking
      What's Not Included:
      • International air travel
      • Incidentals
      • Travel health and cancellation insurance
      • Applicable visas
      • Tips or gratuities
      • Airport taxes
      • Beverages
      • Meals not mentioned in itinerary
      • Optional tours and admissions
      • Airport transfers

      Itinerary Download PDF

      On arrival, please check the notice board in the hotel lobby for details of the time and place of the meeting. As fellow group members will be arriving throughout the day, there are no planned activities until the group meeting in the early evening (6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.). After the group meeting, consider heading out for a group dinner.

      Your tour leader will lead the group on a walking tour of eclectic modern Tokyo from the hub of Shinjuku to Shibuya through to Harajuku. The rest of the day is free for exploring more of the city.

      Today we board a bullet train and journey to Nagano, located in the Japanese Alps and host city of the 1998 Winter Olympics. We will visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park, where wild snow monkeys can be seen bathing in the natural hot springs. The pool where most of the monkeys soak is man-made, fed by the hot springs. Along the walking paths up to the pools other monkeys tend to stop and watch visitors curiously. Approximate travel time: 3 hrs by bullet train

      Today we travel by local train for a day trip to quaint Matsumoto where we will visit one of Japan's most treasured castles. Amazingly, the castle still retains its original wooden interior and stone exterior. Explore this castle where 16th-century Samurai once roamed before venturing out with the group to wander Matsumoto's ancient streets and or dine in a traditional storehouse. We then return to Nagano and visit the Buddhist temple of Zenkō-ji, one of the last remaining pilgrimage sites in Japan. Built in the 7th century, the city of Nagano was built around the already standing structure. Approximate travel time: 3-4 hrs round trip by local train

      Today we travel to Otsu in Shiga prefecture, located on the banks of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake. Settle in and relax with a stroll around this picturesque lake, and dine on traditional fare. Approximate travel time: 4.5 hrs by train

      Enjoy a delicious breakfast this morning before a long travel day. Please note that before leaving Ōtsu, you'll need to prepare your day pack/overnight bag for a two-night stay in Hagi, as your main luggage will be sent on to Tottori. Remember to include comfortable clothing for a cycling excursion and two nights at the homestay. In the late afternoon, arrive in the quaint city of Hagi, a former castle town that boasts feudal architecture. Take part in a welcome ceremony with the local residents. Then get to know a local family at this G Adventures for Good-supported community homestay in Hagi, a farming, fishing, and historical heritage town. In recent years, due to the rapidly aging population and limited income opportunities in many of the rural areas of Japan, many community members have had to leave Hagi in order to make a living. Learn about local history and customs, and enjoy a home-cooked meal with your hosts. Approximate travel time: 6.5 hrs by train

      Explore rural Hagi on a guided morning cycle. Enjoy the slow pace of life as you pedal past the city's Tokugawa era architecture, and cycle along the Japanese Sea. Afterward, you'll have free time to wander the narrow streets or opt to visit some of the beautiful old residences which are open to the public. In the late afternoon, return to your homestay and enjoy dinner with your host family.

      This morning you'll bid farewell to your host family after enjoying breakfast together. Later, travel to Miho-misumi by train, taking in scenic views along the way. In Miho-misumi, learn the art of making "washi," a UNESCO-recognized traditional Japanese paper, and take home your handmade washi as a memento. Then we board a train again and end our day in the seaside town of Tottori. Approximate travel time: 6 hrs total by train

      Located along the coast of the Sea of Japan, the Tottori Sand Dunes (or "Tottori Sakyu") were formed thousands of years ago when sand was washed away from a nearby river. This morning we'll walk amongst the dunes and opt to climb one to take in scenic views of the coastline. Afterward check out Tottori's harbor fish market, home to fresh seafood and some of Japan's best crab. Walk amongst the stalls and watch the locals in action. Opt to try a tasty dish in the market's restaurant section. In the late afternoon, travel to Kyoto, the traditional heart of Japan. Approximate travel time: 3 hrs by train

      We will start off the day with a visit to the Fushimi Inari shrine, located just outside of Kyoto. Walk under the thousands of iconic torii gates (as seen in the film Memoirs of a Geisha) and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The shrine itself is at the base of the Inari mountain but includes many trails up to smaller shrines in the area. Kyoto is home to over 2,000 temples, including some of the most magnificent in the country, dating back centuries. Use free time to continue exploring, the options are endless – the city also boasts museums, castles, and traditional gardens – or opt to visit neighboring Nara or Osaka.

      Today, you may depart Kyoto at any time or you are welcome to spend more time in this amazing city. Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs). If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator, we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!


      Frequently Asked Questions
      Please click here to go to our general FAQ, which has essential information that applies to all of our programs.
      Resources to Learn & Teach about Japan
      Visit our recommended reading page to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans and Pinterest boards that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
      Terms and Conditions
      It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
      Cancellation Policy
      All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
      • If you cancel 60 days or more prior to departure, all your program fee payments will be refunded besides your $350 deposit which is kept on file for future use
      • If you cancel between 30 and 59 days prior to departure, you will receive a 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use
      • If you cancel within 30 days of departure, you will receive no refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use
      Trip Notes
      1. JAPAN RAIL PASS: Please note that only foreigners traveling as a tourist are able to use a Japan Rail Pass. If you are a Japanese citizen/resident or traveling on a student/business visa please advise us at the time of booking as you will not be able to take advantage of the Rail pass.
      2. TATTOOS: Tattoos are not common or widely accepted in Japan. There is no cause for concern, but do your best to cover your tattoos when possible and note that you may not be permitted to enter public spas or onsens (hot springs).
      3. OVERNIGHT BAG: Please note that you’ll need to prepare an overnight bag for a two-night stay in Hagi, as your main luggage will be sent on to Tottori.
      4. LANGUAGE: Travel in Japan is easy, clean, fast and efficient, however, please be aware that English is still not widely spoken. However, a lot of patience, a sense of humor, and respect for the local culture goes a long way in any Japan and will greatly enrich your experience.
      Group Leader Description
      All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure’s group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
      Fitness Level
      This trip includes walking and hiking. Make sure you stay hydrated and opt out of activities if you are exhausted.
      Single Travelers
      Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy or, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
      Japan is one of the most populous countries in the world and space is at a premium. Therefore, hotel rooms are small! Additionally, many Japanese hotels do not have designated non-smoking rooms. Therefore, we ask hotels to deodorize rooms before check-in. Ryokan are traditional inns found across Japan. Featuring tatami floors (soft mats of woven straw), futon beds, Japanese-style baths, cotton kimono (casual robe worn to lounge around or to head to the bath), and elaborate meals (often served in the comfort of your own room), a ryokan is the perfect place to experience traditional customs and hospitality. As ryokan are usually top tier accommodations, most guests stay only one night, often to celebrate a special occasion or holiday. Don’t be intimidated by the formalities inherent to a stay at a ryokan, your hosts will welcome you the same way they do all their guests. Have fun and enjoy this relaxing opportunity to learn more about Japan’s unique customs. Minshuku are Japan’s answer to the Western bed and breakfast. Similar to ryokan, they have traditional features like tatami floors, futon beds, and Japanese-style baths. Minshuku are often family-run, and as such, they offer a great opportunity to interact with local people and learn more about the nation’s customs. More affordable and simpler than ryokan, minshuku tend to have smaller guestrooms, shared bathroom facilities, and any included meals (traditional, local, and delicious) are served in a communal dining room. Please note that some of the traditional Japanese inns used on this tour only offer shared bathing facilities. This means that individual shower stalls will not be available, instead several shower stations are available in an open, same-sex bathing area. Shared bathhouses and onsen (hot springs) are an essential part of Japan’s culture, traditionally serving as a place for men or women to gather, relax, and discuss the day's happenings.
      Joining Instructions
      Day 1 is an arrival day, and no activities have been planned. Upon arrival to the city on Day 1, or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us, please make your way to the joining hotel. Check-in time will be in the afternoon. Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note at reception from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on Day 1, usually between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., at which you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details! If you miss the Welcome Meeting, your tour leader will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need and with instructions for the next morning. Directions to Shinjuku Washington Hotel The nearest station is Shinjuku Station, south exit. Shinjuku Washington Hotel is directly connected by an underground passageway (serviced by JR, Tokyo Metro, Odakyu, Keio, and other railway lines) between 06:00 and 22:45 for comfortable access even in bad weather. It is an 8-min walk from Shinjuku Station. Tocho-mae Station (Oedo subway line) is approximately 5 mins from the hotel on foot. From Narita International Airport:
      • By train: Take a train from Narita International Airport, Keisei Skyliner, for approximately 40 minutes to Keisei-Nippori Station. There, transfer to JR Yamanote Line and get off at JR Shinjuku Station (south exit) after about 8 minutes. See instructions above about walking from the station to the hotel. The train ticket fee is 2,770 JPY per person.
      • By airport limousine bus: Take the bus from Terminal 1, bus stop #10. It is about 120-150 minutes to the entrance of the hotel. The fare is 3,200 JPY per person.
      From Haneda Airport:
      • By train: Take a train from Haneda Airport, Keikyu Airport Line, for approximately 23 minutes to Hamamatsucho Station. There, transfer to the JR Yamanote Line and get off at JR Shinjuku Station (south exit) after about 5 minutes. See instructions above about walking from the station to the hotel. The train ticket fee is 700 JPY per person.
      • By airport limousine bus: Take the bus from Terminal 3, bus stop #4. It is about 60-80 minutes to the entrance of the hotel. The fare is 1,300 JPY per person. Bus tickets can be purchased at each terminal of Haneda Airport from vending machines near the bus stop.
      Pre-booked airport transfer: If you have booked an arrival transfer shuttle bus with us, a local representative will be waiting for you with a sign with your name on it outside of the luggage hall. Emergency phone number: +81(0)479-85-7522. Transfer time from Narita Airport to the hotel is approximately 2 hours, and from Haneda Airport it is approximately 1.5 hours, depending on the number of stops and traffic conditions. Luggage restrictions on the shuttle bus: Maximum 2 suitcases per person excluding the following items: ski equipment, golf bag, snowboard.
      Emergency Contacts
      Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. G Adventures Local Office (Japan) During office hours, Mon-Fri 9:30-18:00 Local Time From outside Japan: 1st contact +81 3-6659-9074 (2nd contact +81 80 6779 1851) From within Japan: 1st contact +81 3-6659-9074 (2nd contact +81 80 6779 1851) After office hours emergency number Primary phone: +81 80 6779 1851 (from within Japan: 080 6779 1851) If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office, they have a toll-free line for North America, which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below. Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100 Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
      Packing List
      Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and downstairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule, we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person. This tour uses the world-famous Shinkansen bullet trains, which have a maximum luggage size restriction of 160 cm (63 in) in total. This is roughly the size that most airline companies consider as a carry-on item and allow in overhead storage compartments. We strongly recommend bringing a day pack or backpack to use during the day in addition to your carry-on sized luggage. Health & Safety (Required!)
      • N95/KN95 face masks (at least three per week)
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Pen (please bring your own pen for filling out documents.)
      • Rapid COVIC-19 test/antigen tests (at least 5, and 3 per week of travel)
      Suggested Checklist
      • Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
      • Raincoat and/or umbrella
      • Personal clothing for warm weather – we recommend packing 8-9 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once
      • Light fleece (for flight over)
      • Comfortable waterproof walking shoes
      • Daypack
      • Sunblock
      • Sunglasses
      • Sun hat
      • Small towel and swimwear
      • Watch or alarm clock
      • Toiletries
      • Camera
      • Flashlight or headlamp
      • First-aid kit, including: lip salve, aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Dramamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, electrolyte powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking
      Optional Checklist
      • Travel pillow
      • Money belt
      • Water bottle
      • Phone/Tablet for internet – most hotels have WiFi
      • Chargers for electronics as well converters/adapters, if needed
      • AirTags or Tile trackers
      • Packing cubes
      • Flip-flops/Sandals
      • Earplugs
      • Snacks – packing a few granola bars is a good idea; you can buy snacks when you get there too, so don’t go crazy here
      • Ziplock bags for wet clothing
      • Reading/writing material
      • Hand sanitizer/Baby wipes
      Document Checklist
      • Passport (with photocopies)
      • Travel insurance (with photocopies)
      • Airline tickets (with photocopies)
      • EUR/USD cash
      • Credit or debit card
      • G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information, and dossier
      • Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
      • GEEO Classroom action plans for your group – this is sent 10-30 days before departure
      Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels but this is very expensive. Your leader can show you self service coin laundries in larger cities. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
      Passports and Visas
      All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double-check the information we provide below by searching here. Americans do not need a visa to travel to Japan. Non-American participants should check with their government or nearest Japanese Embassy to find out if they need a visa.
      Money Exchange
      As currency exchange rates fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: Every Post Office and 7-11 Convenience store has an ATM machine that accepts Visa, Mastercard and Debit Cards. At times, Maestro/Master Card/Cirrus have been problematic at these machines, so please bring a back-up card. Credit Cards should not be relied upon for purchases as they are not widely accepted, except in some restaurants and department stores. Money can be exchanged at Post Offices and some banks and hotels in major cities, however, it can be a very slow process.
      Tipping is not practiced in Japan. Leaving money at restaurants, in taxis, etc will simply cause confusion! At the end of each trip, if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is highly appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $5 USD per person, per day, can be used.
      We legally cannot give you any medical advice. We recommend going to CDC’s webpage for Japan.
      We find the best prices for flights are often available 60 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. We advise that you wait until this trip is confirmed before booking non-refundable and non-changeable flights. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. Please double-check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Tokyo. You can arrive at any time you choose, although we will have a group meeting at 6:00 p.m. Your trip ends in Kyoto. You should book your return flight from there unless you have further travel plans in Japan.
      Plugs and Converters
      There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device. Japan uses Type A plugs, which is the same plug design used in the United States. Their voltage is 100 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
      Before you decide on traveling with GEEO, it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
      • The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. We use simple hotels to keep these trips as inexpensive as possible.
      • We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.
      • You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack.
      • This trip occurs in locations where it is warm to hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometimes include day hikes with your daypacks.
      • We recommend always carrying snacks with you. Meals can sometimes be far apart.
      • Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring, and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.
      Hopefully, this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
      Itinerary Disclaimer
      While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
      Japan is sunny and warm in May with low rainfall.


      Please keep in mind that this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Breakfasts and a few dinners are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat out according to your own resources. The prices below are in U.S. Dollars and are rough estimates for budgeting your trip.
      Tour Company Fee
      See price in top right corner
      Optional Activities
      $100-$400 USD
      International Airfare from the United States
      Roughly $1,000-$1,600 USD If you require assistance in booking your international airfare, we would be happy to help you.
      $67-$200 USD Please note: It is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
      We recommend $50 USD for your G Adventures tour leader.
      Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary
      $450-$665 USD
      Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.
      Make sure you budget for these types of expenses
      Variable. Please consult your doctor.
      Variable. At your personal discretion.
      Non-Educator Donation
      $100 USD (Suggested donation) This is only for non-educator guests traveling with an educator on a GEEO trip. Educators and retired educators should not make this donation.

      Optional Activities

      Most optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance for which activities you would like to sign up. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.
      – Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingū) Visit (Free-1000JPY per person)
      – Sensō-ji Temple Visit (Free)
      – Samurai Spirit Full Kembu Lesson – Day Trip to Osaka – Day Trip to Nara – Philosopher’s Walk (Free) – Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion Visit (400JPY per person) – Kiyomizu Temple Visit (400JPY per person) – Chion-in Temple Visit (300-500JPY per person) – Gion Walk (Free) – Nijo Castle and Gardens Visit (600JPY per person)