Essence of Japan

2 Tokyo  /  1 Mt Fuji Area  /  2 Nagoya  /  2 Kyoto  /  2 Osaka

Explore the finest food, music and culture that Japan has to offer on this incredible 9-day tour. You’ll see five different regions while partaking in three performances, enjoying several unique cultural experiences, and taing in some spectacular views!

Tour Highlights

  • Japanese Taiko Drumming class

  • Samuri Kenbu Workshop

  • Tokyo SkyTree Tower

  • Mount Fuji

  • Kawaguchiko 5th Station

  • Lake Ashi boat cruise

  • Museum of Musical Instruments

  • Lake Hamana

  • Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple

  • Nara Park

  • Kasuga Shrine

  • Osaka Castle

  • Cup Noodles Museum

  • Kuromon Ichiba Market

  • Meiji Shrine

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

  • 3 Concert Performance Opportunities


9 Days / 2 Tokyo / 1 Mt Fuji Area / 2 Nagoya / 2 Kyoto / 2 Osaka

Depart from the USA.

Arrive in Tokyo, the bustling capital of Japan as well as its largest city. Meet your Encore Tours Tour Manager and begin to explore this dazzling and energetic city, which offers an intriguing blend of the ancient and modern worlds. Today, you will visit the Harajuku /Omotesando area, a renowned colorful street art and fashion scene. (D)

Kick-start the day with a guided sightseeing tour, beginning at the Meiji Shrine, which honors the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. You will continue on to view the resplendent Imperial Palace Plaza, the culturally significant Asakusa Kannon Temple; Nakamise Street, a visual feast of densely packed shops and eateries; and the Tokyo SkyTree Tower, one of the world’s highest towers at 2,080 feet tall. Today, you will participate in a traditional Japanese Taiko Drumming class! This afternoon, perform your first concert performance as part of an exchange with a local school. Have a photo stop at the famous Shibuya crossing, the busiest intersection of the world, and enjoy a Shabu Shabu dinner in a restaurant this evening. (B,D)

Depart Tokyo for the Mount Fuji area. You’ll get a closer look at the still-active volcano—the highest point in Japan at 12,389 feet and one of the country’s three revered “holy mountains”—when you visit Mount Fuji’s breathtaking Kawaguchiko 5th Station, the base point from which most hikers start their ascent to the summit. Enjoy a scenic Lake Ashi boat cruise followed by a round-trip ride on the nearby Hakone Komagatake Ropeway, an aerial tram that offers spectacular views as it takes you to the summit of imposing Mount Komagatake.

The morning starts with a bus ride to Nagoya, the 4th largest city and home town of Toyota Motor Company. En route, you will stop at Hammanatsu city to visit the famous Museum of Musical Instruments. It is also the hometown of Yamaha and Suzuki! Next, enjoy a photo stop at idyllic Lake Hamana. Continue to Nagoya where this afternoon you will experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, followed by a visit to the centuries-old Atsuta Jingu Shrine, built in honor of the Shinto goddess Amaterasu and home of the Kusanagi-noTsurug, an ancient and legendary sword. (B,D)

This morning you will drive to Kyoto. Your sightseeing tour will include the breathtaking Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a mountainside structure that offers stunning views of the city. Then visit the shimmering Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), a Zen Buddhist temple with two floors covered in gold leaf, and finally the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, a Shinto temple famous for its more than 5,000 vibrant orange toriis, or symbolic gateways. This afternoon, participate in a Samuri Kenbu workshop, where you will experience this traditional performing art with a Japanese sword ‘katana’ and a Japanese fan in traditional Japanese costumes!

Today you’ll travel to nearby Nara, once the imperial capital of Japan and home to some of the country’s most culturally significant attractions. Begin your sightseeing tour with a visit to the magnificent Todaiji Temple, considered one of the world’s largest wooden structures and home to one of the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. Then explore serene Nara Park, noted for its free-roaming deer as well as some of the country’s oldest Buddhist temples, before seeing Kasuga Shrine, famous for its hundreds of lovely lanterns donated by worshippers. See the traditional Moji making in one of the ancient stores and continue to Osaka in time for dinner and to explore the famous night life of this vibrant, industrial city. (B,D)

Discover the highlights of Osaka today. Your first visit is to Osaka Castle, a historic attraction in a lush urban park that contrasts sharply with its skyscraper neighbors. Then explore the unique and lively Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda, where you will learn more about this world famous food. Next stop is at the Kuromon Ichiba Market, a foodie’s delight that offers an amazing and exotic array of Japanese culinary specialties and is one of the oldest and most well-known fresh food markets in the world. Continue your walking tour with time to browse for souvenirs in the Shinsaibashi district, a colorful shopping arcade. This afternoon, perform your final concert of the tour at a local venue. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner along Dotonbori, a famous food street in Osaka known for its traditional Japanese pancakes, okonomiyaki. (B,D)

Depart for the USA.

Sample Customizations*

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  • Add day(s)/Remove day(s)
  • Add overnight city
  • Add 2-night extension to Hiroshima, including peace memorial and possible performance opportunity at Hiroshima Peace Park
  • Add/Remove meals
  • Add/Remove a performance
  • Reverse itinerary


  • Workshop with a Local Director
  • Joint Performance with a Local Ensemble


  • Add tickets to another concert performance
  • Kabuki workshop
  • Sushi making class
  • Samurai experience
  • Yuzen dyeing
  • Kimono wearing
  • Washi (paper) making
  • Sumo wrestler demonstration
  • Calligraphy demonstration
*All customizations subject to operational feasibility and availability

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