Japan and Taiwan Discovery

TJP09: 13 Days Private Tour of Tokyo - Mt. Fuji - Tokyo - Kyoto - Uji - Nara - Osaka - Taipei - Taichung - Sun Moon Lake - Taipei
Tour Type: Private guided tour, with expert English-speaking guide
Transportation: Public transport in Japan; private car with driver in Taiwan
Accommodation: Best-reviewed 4 stars hotels

  • East-west Traverse: to know Japan’s present from Tokyo and past from Kyoto.
  • Upgraded Mt. Fuji visit with adjustable dates depending on the weather.
  • Indulge in the World Heritage and matcha of the niche destination Uji.
  • Taiwan in depth: historical sites, local night markets & aboriginal villages.
  • Flavor memories from Japanese sushi and Taiwanese bubble tea.
This trip can be customized to meet your individual needs!
From USD5069USD4460Free Inquiry
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Day 1 Arrive in Japan; Tokyo Airport Pick-up
Your East Asian adventure kicks off from the moment you land at Tokyo Airport. You will be warmly greeted by our English-speaking assistant who will show you the way to board a shared car to your hotel. Relax at the hotel after a long flight and enjoy the superb facilities and services offered by our best-reviewed hotel.

Accommodation: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Ginza Premier (4 stars) or similar, in Tokyo
Day 2 Tokyo to Mt. Fuji: Lake Kawaguchi & Panoramic Ropeway
Today we are going to check out the most important destination on this trip, the Mount Fuji, the essence of Japan’s finest scenery and culture. Have an early breakfast, and then our guide will pick you up from your hotel and accompany you on a 2-hour express bus ride to the Lake Kawaguchi, which offers the best vantage point among the Fuji Five Lakes to view the Mt. Fuji.

Exclusive Route and Activities:
1. Stroll by the lake and discover hidden photogenic spots among the reeds.
2. Take a Lake Kawaguchi Cruise to admire the elegant Mt. Fuji featuring a white cone-shaped summit.
3. Take the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway to the Tenjozan Park on the mountain top in 3 minutes.
4. Enjoy panoramic views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi from the observation deck at 1,075 meters (3,527 feet) above sea level.
5. See tanuki (raccoon dog) and rabbit figurines on the observation deck and learn about the intriguing but cruel Japanese fable behind them.
6. After descending, go to the Arakurayama Sengen Park if time permits.

Service Upgraded for Our Guests: Adjustable Date to Mt. Fuji
It is said that there are only about 80 days a year that are clear enough to see the Mt. Fuji in its entirety, so be sure to check the weather forecast in advance to choose the right date for your visit. We kindly offer you a date change service so that you can visit Mt. Fuji on any of the 2 days you stay in Tokyo. Good luck!

Finally, the guide will escort you on the express bus back to Tokyo, and then to your hotel at around 20:00.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Ginza Premier (4 stars) or similar, in Tokyo
Mount Fuji, Japan
Mount Fuji
Omoide Yokocho
Omoide Yokocho
Day 3 Tokyo: Senso-ji Temple, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku & Shibuya
This morning, meet our guide in your hotel lobby and head for the top attraction in downtown Tokyo – the Senso-ji Temple. When approaching Asakusa, you can see its dramatic Kaminarimon Gate from a distance. Let’s enter and walk through the Nakamise-dori Street, where bustling shops offer amazing gadgets, souvenirs, and mouth-watering snacks. At the end of the street, plunge into the stately and ancient Senso-ji Temple, which was built in 628 AD. Wash your hands, pray before the Goddess of Mercy, and draw an Omikuji fortune slip like a local. Here you can see the Tokyo Skytree to the southeast. Next, visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji (1852 – 1912 AD). Walking through the long sacred way, you are bound to be attracted by the big trees in front of the main hall. Admire the couple trees on the left that symbolize the deep affection of the emperor and his wife, and if you like, go to the right and buy an ‘ema’, a wooden plaque on which to write your wishes, and hang under the tree.

Featured Cooking Experience: Sushi Making
At noon, we’ll invite a master chef to teach you how to make sushi, the quintessential Japanese food. The step-by-step process will be demonstrated in front of you until you have made a standard sushi roll that you are satisfied with. Try the delicious self-made sushi for lunch.

In the afternoon, fully explore Harajuku, a neighborhood known as the ‘paradise for young people’. Pick up high-end international products, and also scan for cheap fashion. Don't be surprised to see young people in bizarre clothes, since this is the birthplace of Japanese youth entertainment culture. Next, continue to delve into Shibuya area – cross the street with the crowds at the huge Shibuya Crossing, the busiest in the world, take photos of the Hachiko Memorial Statue for the famous loyal dog, and browse the latest fashion malls. Finally, the guide will take you back to your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Ginza Premier (4 stars) or similar, in Tokyo
Senso-ji Temple
Senso-ji Temple
Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo
Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo
Day 4 Tokyo – Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Shrine, Pure Water Temple, Gion
After breakfast, please pack up and check out. Walk 10 minutes northwest, or take a taxi to get to Tokyo Station in 5 minutes. Here please take the bullet train to Kyoto by yourself (tickets reserved and included).

You’ll arrive in Kyoto Station in 2.5 hours and be welcomed by our local guide. The history of being the capital of ancient Japan for more than 1,000 years leaves the city with many antique monuments. We’ll first visit the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, a time-honored shrine with great popularity. Browse its main hall, where the god Inari is worshipped, and then explore the magical hiking trail behind the hall that leads to the top of the mountain, lined with thousands of red torii gates. Next, head to the Pure Water Temple (Kiyomizu-dera Temple), famous for its Otowa Waterfall, which is where the name ‘Pure Water’ comes from. Follow our guide to drink the water that blesses wisdom, longevity and health, worship Senju Kannon (Thousand-Armed Goddess of Mercy), and finally stand on the Shimizu Stage, a wooden veranda hanging from the cliff, to get stunned by the full view of the ancient city of Kyoto.

A walking tour will follow. Take a leisurely stroll through the retro ramp blocks Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka outside the temple, a conservation area of important traditional Japanese structures. Along the way, you won’t help but be attracted by the charming old machiya townhouses with vermillion lattices and ‘insect cage windows’, many of which have been converted into shops selling souvenirs and local snacks. Stop and go, all the way to the Yasaka Shrine for a visit, and then we’ll arrive at Gion, Kyoto’s famed geisha district.

➤ Here you may: (optional, at your own expense)
1. Wear a kimono to take photos if you like. The guide will help you translate at the rental shops.
2. Watch a tea ceremony with maiko. Please contact our travel consultant or guide to book in advance.
You can stay longer, enjoy the night view of Gion, and finally take a taxi back to your hotel in 10 minutes.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Mitsui Garden Kyoto Station (4 stars) or similar
Pure Water Temple (Kiyomizu-dera Temple)
Ninenzaka, Kyoto
Ninenzaka Street, Kyoto
Day 5 Kyoto – Uji – Nara
In the morning, our guide will accompany you on a half-hour train ride to Uji, a quiet town off the beaten track. Walk through Ujibashi-dori Street, which is full of lively restaurants, tea shops, and bakeries. At the end of the street, the Uji Bridge, a landmark that has featured in many works of Japanese literature, has a stone statue of the author of ‘The Tale of Genji’ at its terminal. Walk across the bridge and visit the Tale of Genji Museum, and then the Temple of Equality (Byodo-in Temple), a World Heritage site in Uji. Admire the unparalleled view of its main building, the 1,000-year-old Phoenix Hall, reflected on the Aji-ike Pond, and observe the golden phoenix statue spreading its wings on the top eave, which is printed on the 10,000 Japanese yen banknote.
➤ Tip: Before leaving Uji, it is recommended that you try the matcha dessert, which is one of the city’s specialties. The stores of Nakamura Tokichi Honten and Itoh Kyuemon are good choices.

In the afternoon, we will take a train to Nara to visit the Kofuku-ji Temple, Great Eastern Temple (Todai-ji Temple), and Nara Park. It was the capital of Japan before Kyoto, not for long, but enough to leave an impressive historical legacy. In addition to enjoying the traditional temples and shrines, you will get a Nara experience unlike any other, as you are traveling with us – elite insiders of Japan.

Featured Experiences for Our Guests:
1. Feed deer in Nara Park and feel the harmony between nature and history.
2. Step into the Naramachi Koshi-no-Ie (Lattice House) to see the most authentic traditional Japanese residence.
3. Special overnight stay in Nara to get a deep feel for this quiet town and another side of Japan.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Iroha Grand Hotel Kintetsu Nara Ekimae (4 stars) or similar
Nara Park
Nara Park
Naramachi Koshi-no-Ie (Lattice House)
Naramachi Koshi-no-Ie (Lattice House)
Day 6 Nara – Osaka: Osaka Castle, Dotonbori, Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka Bay Cruise
After breakfast, take your belongings and walk 2 minutes north to Kintetsu-Nara Station for a 1-hour train to Osaka by yourself (tickets reserved and included).

Our Osaka guide will be ready waiting for you at the train station. You’ll first be guided to the Osaka Castle Park to see the symbol of the city – the revered castle dating to the Sengoku Period in the 16th century AD. The magnificent castle with green tiles and white walls would make you feel its history at once, as it had witnessed the wars and power struggles of feudal lords of the late Sengoku Period. Before noon, we’ll head to Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori. Get amazed by the modern side of the city, be overwhelmed by countless colorful advertising signs, immerse yourself in the lively business atmosphere, discover latest fashion brands and products, and more importantly, you can’t help but glut yourself because the food here is so rich and tempting. What a gourmet paradise!

In the afternoon, visit the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. In the blue world, examine the tanks one by one, feel the diversity of marine life, and get a moment of relaxation. It would be exciting to see a whale shark swimming leisurely like a submarine in a huge tank 9 meters (30 feet) deep and 34 meters (112 feet) long.

Added Bonus: Osaka Bay Cruise for Sunset
Late in the afternoon, let’s board the Santa Maria sightseeing cruise to sail from the marina next to the Aquarium Kaiyukan and takes a 45-minute tour around the Osaka Bay. On the open observation deck, enjoy the sea breeze and views of the bay, including the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel, Universal Studios, and Minato Bridge.

The guide will escort you to your hotel. Stay overnight in Osaka.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Namba Oriental Hotel (4 stars) or similar, in Osaka
Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle
Dotonbori, Osaka
Dotonbori, Osaka
Day 7 Fly from Osaka to Taipei; Airport Pick-up
The Japan leg of your journey is coming to an end. We will book your flight to Taipei in advance. Please make your own way to the Osaka Kansai International Airport from the hotel at least 3 hours before the flight’s departure time.

➤ Transportation from Your Hotel to Airport: (for your reference)
1. Rail Transit: 1 hour, USD 10 per person. Walk 7 minutes southwest to Namba Station to take the Nankai Line or Nankai-Limited Express to the airport.
2. Taxi: 50 minutes, USD 130.

After a 3-hour flight to Taipei, our guide and the driver will greet you at the airport and escort you to a handpicked hotel in a comfortable private car prepared for you. Get some rest, or take a stroll around the neighborhood by yourself.

Vehicle Upgraded: An air-conditioned exclusive car with chauffeur will serve you throughout your Taiwan tour.

➤ Tip: The famous Raohe Night Market is a 7-minute walk northwest of the hotel, where you will find a paradise for foodies; or you can walk a few minutes north to the Keelung River to enjoy the night view.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Amba Taipei Songshan (4 stars) or similar
Day 8 Taipei: 101 Observatory, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Palace Museum, Shilin Night Market
After a hearty breakfast, our guide and the driver will pick you up from your hotel. Our first destination will be the Taipei 101, a 508-meter (1,667-foot) and 101-floor skyscraper formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center. Enter this tallest building in Taiwan and be lifted up to the observation deck, where you’ll get stunned by the 360-degree views of the entire city. Next, visit the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, which commemorates Chiang Kai-shek, the military leader of the Kuomintang, also referred to as the Nationalist Party of China. Learn about the life of this great man and his contribution to Taiwan’ economic and social development from the 1950s to the 1970s. At the hour, you can also watch the solemn shift change ceremony of the guards.

In the afternoon, we will visit the Taipei National Palace Museum. The astonishing collection of 650,000 cultural treasures here will take your breath away, all of which were moved south from places like the Forbidden City (Palace Museum) and the Summer Palace in Beijing, China, due to the preservation of cultural relics during the war. Led by our guide, appreciate the three rare treasures of the museum, namely Meat-shaped Stone, Jadeite Cabbage, and Mao Gong Ding (Cauldron of Duke of Mao), which are all exquisite and lifelike handicrafts.

Food Tour to Shilin Night Market
As it gets late, our guide will take you to the Shilin Night Market, one of the largest night markets in Taipei. Step into the alleyways stuffed with food, and be dazzled by a variety of goods, including clothes, shoes, and traditional handicrafts, feel the strong local flavor and immerse yourself in the authentic local life. Try 3 or 4 local street food or drinks such as the Oyster Omelet, Chicken Katsu, Small Sausage in Large Sausage, Flour-Rice Noodles, and Bubble Tea. We’ll generously include the cost of your dinner here, and all you have to do is eat! After a full night market tour, the guide and the driver will escort you back to your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Amba Taipei Songshan (4 stars) or similar
101 Building, Taipei
Taipei National Palace Museum
Night Market, Taiwan
Taipei Night Market
Day 9 Taipei – New Taipei: Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, Pingxi
In the morning, our guide will first pick you up and take you to the Yehliu Geopark, featuring a cape protruding from the northern coast of the Taiwan Island. Check out the unique geological wonders that are naturally formed by wave erosion and weathering, including sea caves, hoodoo stones, mushroom rocks, and potholes. Look for stones in the shapes described by different names, such as the Fairy Shoe, Beehive, Ginger Rocks, Sea Candles, as well as the iconic Queen’s Head, which resembles a noble woman with a slender neck and elegant head.

Next, we’ll drive to Jiufen (Chiufen), a once thriving gold mining town that is now a mysterious niche destination, attracting visitors with its well-preserved ancient architecture and unique culture. Walking into the stepped ramps of the Jiufen Old Street and seeing the antique buildings on both sides, you may feel as if you have returned to Kyoto’s Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka. Stroll and enjoy the delicious snacks if you like. The Taro Balls, Fish Balls Soup, and Glutinous Rice Cake are worth trying.

Afterwards, continue our trip to the Shifen Village of Pingxi District. Visit the Shifen Waterfall, and wander along the Shifen Old Street, specially extending along a railway line. Take photos here, sample roadside snacks, and marvel at the occasional passing train heralded by the tinkling bell. Buy a sky lantern if you like. Choose your favorite color, write a prayer or paint your favorite design on it, light the lantern to fly, and the store owner will help you take a video to record this unforgettable moment. Finally, the guide and the driver will escort you back to your hotel in Taipei.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Amba Taipei Songshan (4 stars) or similar
Day 10 Taipei – Taichung: Rainbow Village, Lukang Old Street, Gaomei Wetland
After breakfast, please pack and leave the hotel. Our guide will accompany you on the road trip by private car from Taipei to Taichung. After about two hours’ drive, we will arrive at the Rainbow Village, originally an ordinary military dependents’ village (Juancun) inhabited by soldiers of the Republic of China Armed Forces and their families who retreated to Taiwan in the mid-20th century. However, we are not just here to see the history, but to see the artistic color of the village, which originated from an 86-year-old veteran who got bored and picked up a paintbrush to paint the walls of the alleys with beautiful rainbows and cute animals, turning this otherwise obscure small village into an Internet celebrity attraction. Enjoy these colorful and interesting paintings and take photos before we head to Lukang, literally ‘Deer Port’ as it was originally an important seaport for the 18th century deerskin trade. Follow the guide to stroll through the Lukang Old Street, and visit the temple monuments and traditional architecture, including the Longshan Temple, Matzu Temple, Lukang Assembly Hall, and Guihua Lane Art Village.

Next, if the weather is fine, we will drive to the Gaomei Wetland. In addition to feeling the excellent ecological environment here, you’ll be delighted by the fish, shells, birds, and waterfowl living here, and walk barefoot in the shallows to feel the primitive fun. A stunning sunset would be a perfect end to the day. Finally, go to downtown Taichung for the night.
➤ Tip: If the weather is bad, we’ll visit the Fengjia Night Market as an alternative.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Tempus Hotel Taichung (4 stars) or similar
Rainbow Village
Rainbow Village, Taichung
Old Street in Taiwan
Lukang Old Street
Day 11 Taichung – Sun Moon Lake
After breakfast, our guide and the driver will escort you on the 1.5-hour drive to the Sun Moon Lake. Enjoy the largest natural freshwater lake in Taiwan, surrounded by rolling green mountains. Our experienced guide will take you on foot to discover secret sights and great photo spots along the lakeshore. You’ll have a full day here to explore the lake by boat, bike, and cable car.

Top 3 Things to Do at Sun Moon Lake:
1. Sightseeing Cruise: Board the sightseeing ferry from the Shuishe Pier, pass Lalu Island, and arrive at Xuanguang Wharf. Go ashore to visit the Xuanguang Temple, and if you are interested, visit the Xuan Zang Temple and Ci’en Pagoda. Then continue the cruise to Yidashao Wharf to visit the Ita Thao Old Street, and finally take the boat back to the Shuishe Pier.

2. Cycling Experience: Renting a bike from your hotel and riding along the lakeshore is a great treat. Chosen by CNN as one of the 10 most beautiful bike paths in the world, the Sun Moon Lake Bikeway is 33 km (21 mi) long and takes 3 hours to complete a loop. A whole circle is not a must, and you can try the Shuishe section on the north bank, or the Xiangshan or Yuetan sections on the west bank, which are the most scenic. You can also visit the Longfeng Temple, Wenwu Temple, and Xiangshan Scenic Outlook on the way, which are all included in our package.

3. Cable Car: Take a cable car from the east bank of the lake to the Observation Tower above in a few minutes, overlooking the Sun Moon Lake and Puli Basin.

In the evening, return to the lakeside hotel for the night.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Sun Moon Lake Hotel (4 stars) or similar, in Nantou
Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan
Sun Moon Lake
Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribe
Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribe
Day 12 Visit Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribe; Drive to Taipei
Perfect Chance to See Sunrise
Our carefully selected hotel, located in the northwest corner of the Sun Moon Lake, is one of the best places to watch the sunrise. If you’re an early riser, take a leisurely morning walk to enjoy the sunrise.

After breakfast, our guide will take you to the indigenous villages around the Sun Moon Lake and get to know the local folk customs and culture in depth. Five major ethnic groups live here, including the Atayal, Bunun, Seediq, Thao, and Tsou. We will visit the Alang Tongan Village of the Meixi Tribe, one of the few Seediq villages, where you can:

1. Visit the traditional houses of Seediq people, and learn about the history of the tribe. Be impressed by their residences built without cement and nails. See their living rooms, barns, and the traditional weaving skills of the local women.
2. Watch local archers demonstrate how to hunt with bows. Try arrow shooting yourself if you like.
3. Enjoy a traditional Seediq lunch.

In the afternoon, we will drive 3 hours back to Taipei. Return to the hotel for the last night of your trip.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Amba Taipei Songshan (4 stars) or similar
Day 13 Departure from Taipei; Airport See-off
Your Japan and Taiwan tour is coming to an end. Our guide and the driver will escort you to Taipei Airport for your flight home. Wish you a safe journey!

Meals: Breakfast
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This trip can be customized to meet your individual needs!
Tour Prices
Christmas & 2024 Special: 12% off - Book before Dec 31, 2023
Travelers2-3 travelers4-5 travelers
Year RoundUSD6079 USD5349USD5069 USD4460
  • Prices are per person on twin sharing basis.
  • The prices in red reflect 12% discount.
Price Includes
  • Service of private English-speaking guide
  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Lunch and Dinner specified in the itinerary
  • Public transfer in Japan
  • Private car with driver, airport pick-up & drop-off in Taiwan
  • Economy class airfare of Osaka - Taipei
  • Entrance fees for mentioned sights visited
Price Excludes
  • International flights of arrival and departure
  • Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses
  • Japan and Taiwan visa fee
  • Easter, Christmas and New Year supplement
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