Ancient & Modern Japan

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Ancient & Modern Japan - Exodus Travels
Ancient & Modern Japan - Exodus Travels
33 reviews
+12 Destinations
Central Japan


  • Enjoy the atmospheric Kyoto
  • Feed deers in Nara Koen Park
  • visit Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima
  • Explore Takayama's morning market
Age range
16 to 80 year olds
Max Group Size
Train & Rail
Travel style
Train & Rail, Local Living, In-depth Cultural, Historical
Start in Kyoto and end in Tokyo! With the train & rail tour Ancient & Modern Japan, you have a 14 day tour package taking you from Kyoto to Tokyo and through Kyoto, Japan and 10 other destinations in Japan. Ancient & Modern Japan is a small group tour that includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.

33 Reviews

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  • LJ
    Written on June 5, 2017
    5.0 - Excellent

    My tour of Modern and Ancient Japan was amazing. Great communications, coordination, accommodations, and tour guide that was exceptional!
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  • LJ
    Written on June 5, 2017
    5.0 - Excellent

    My tour of Japan for 16 days was all and more than I expected. Communications was excellent, coordination and actual program was wonderful. Our tour guide was not only personable, but professional, competent, and very supportive.
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  • Ancient & Modern Japan reviewer 3
    Written on January 3, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    This trip was a great mix of guided time and time (with planning assistance) to do our own thing. We got to see an enormous range of places and the use of public transport meant we got comfortable and confident with getting ourselves around very quickly, making us feel really at home. Having the Tokyo section at the end really works from this point of view. We had thought of Japan as the holiday of a lifetime - thinking we would only ever go once; because of this tour, we can't wait to go back for more!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?We were lucky to see a rare buddist ceremony in Nara and the chanting made the temple really come alive, although I can't really pick a 'best' place or moment as it was all fabulous.What did you think of your group leader?We had 2 leaders (one experienced English leader from the UK and one comparatively new French leader living in Japan) and the mix of personalities (one very strong on organisation and one very laid back) worked really well. They were very knowledgeable and told us all we needed to know to make the most of the trip.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?If you want to make the most of the trip, even though it can be done at a leisurely pace, I would recommend getting some ideas of what you want to see before you go and getting up early with bags of energy so you can fits lots in on the 'free' days. This is simply beacuse there is so much you could see you don't want to waste a minuate and that can be tiring.Is there anything else you would like to add?We found the Japanese incredibly helpful, friendly and polite aand we were amazed at how clean and safe the country is compared to the UK.

  • Ancient & Modern Japan reviewer 4
    Written on January 2, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    The Ancient and Modern Japan trip exceeded our expectations. The balance between urban and more rural life was excellent as was the travel on local transit and the free time to explore on our own. Both guides (Catherine and Alexi) were outstanding.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Hearing the monks chanting in Kyoto; hearing the Taiko drums outside Matsumoto Castle; seeing the snow monkeys; sleeping in Ryokans. We know - that's more than one great moment!What did you think of your group leader?Both Catherine and Alexi were tremendous. Catherine provided the experience and was friendly yet professional and we felt very confident in her ability to lead the group. Alexi was lovely and a great complement to Catherine. Although a novice, his ability to speak Japanese was a great help and he was so helpful and accommodating. Together they made a great team. They were present at the beginning and end of each day that we had on our own in case we needed them but we always felt we had choices. They were both fantastic.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Only to do their homework about currency, bank machines, access to WiFi and the amount of walking expected. Most of us were fine but one couple seemed to choose the wrong trip so doing your homework and reading all of the material from Exodus thoroughly is really imporrtant.Is there anything else you would like to add?Not really - it was a fantastic trip in a wonderful country. We will certainly try Exodus again. We loved travelling with Brits as we are Brits by birth but are now Canadian citizens. Great memories. Thank you!!

  • Ancient & Modern Japan reviewer 5
    Written on September 2, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    A really fantastic trip covering many varied aspects of Japan, with so many opportunities to learn about the country and culture as every day was fascinating. I left with so many amazing memories.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?There are so many memories lodged in my brain... Dressing up as a geisha in Kyoto, standing at Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo mesmerised by the surges of people as the lights change, the Fox shrine outside Tokyo with the thousands of orange Tori, the mad fish restaurant in Kyoto (if you go with Dan definitely ask him to take you), the views of the Japanese Alps, the temples and shrines at Nikko and in Kyoto, and the amazing cherry blossom just coming into full bloom everywhere.What did you think of your group leader?Dan our group leader was fantastic. As Dan spoke fluent Japanese this meant we could visit places that an Eglish speaking group would not normally get to see. His knowledge of Japan and Japanese culture was also excellent and I felt like I learnt so much about the country that I could never have got from a guide book or a trip on my own. He also put in a lot of time and effort planning suitable restaurants that would suit the varied needs of the group, and also helping individuals make best use of their free time. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?It's a full-on trip where every day is very busy and packed full of interesting stuff, so be prepared for long, busy days with lots of walking. Even though you're tired and got jet-lagged, keep going and do as much as you can as the is so much to experience that is new and different in comparison to Western culture. Make sure you have snacks and water each day to kee your energy up. Make sure you're camera has a big memory card - I took over 300 photos (and that's even after I did some serious editing every night!) Try all the different food - you may not love it and probably won't want to eat it again but it's all a great experience. Trip notes say bring a rucksack - I would say that a wheelie trolley would be fine and possibly a bit easier.Is there anything else you would like to add?An amazing trip, I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

  • Ancient & Modern Japan reviewer 6
    Written on May 15, 2012
    3.0 - Average

    I really enjoyed visiting this fascinating country. There were many new impressions and images. Japan is quite different to the other countries in Asia that I have visited so far. What I missed on the trip was a view from the inside. Although our tour guide was very capable, efficient and helpful, I was disappointed that we did not have a Japanese guide or at least someone who spoke the language well. That is something I have always valued highly on other Exodus trips.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?This is a difficult question, as there were many inspirational moments: the wonderful gardens, staying in a ryokan and having a communal hot bath, the impressive Matsumoto castle with a view over the Japanese Alps, the snow monkeys, the bullet train and of course the cherry blossoms, of which there were many!What did you think of your group leader?The group leader was efficient and well organised. We had plenty of information for our free time and everything ran very smoothly. Suzy was approachable and helpful and did her best to make it a successful tour.On the downside, I would have appreciated more insight into Japanese society and culture from an "insider", either a Japanese or someone who had lived there for some time and spoke the language well. We spent a few days in Japan after the trip with someone who is living there and learned so much more about the country and went to interesting places where tourists who can't speak Japanese would not have been able to go.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be open to new experiences, try unfamiliar foods and take a dictionary. Not so many people speak English. If you ask a Japanese for information or advice, be prepared to wait, as they will often go in search of an answer or someone who speaks English. We found the Japanese in general very courteous and helpful, always ready to assist us "gaijin".Be prepared for a lot of walking, take good walking shoes. Is there anything else you would like to add?When I enquired beforehand about the amount of walking, as I had been suffering with a back problem recently, I was told it was just leisurely sightseeing. However, we spent many hours on our feet with few breaks. Luckily my back improved and I coped with that, but there was a member of the group who did not cope well and was quite slow, which meant my husband and I were sometimes torn between not abandonning her and trying to keep up with the rest of the group. I think this could have been handled better, perhaps with clearer advice beforehand and arranging meeting points at intervals. The schedule was sometimes too tight to allow for slower walkers.

  • Ancient & Modern Japan reviewer 7
    Written on April 22, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    We enjoyed every minute of it. It combined a wealth of opportunites to get closer to an understanding of the Japanese view of life with many of the 'must see' sites. Add to that the exposure to a fantastic cuisine and a great bunch of fellow travelers, and what more could you ask for?What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Mount Fuji seen at a distance through a gauze-like haze.Geisha-hunting as they rushed fron client to client in the Gion district of Kyoto Seeing the Ticket  Inspector bow to the next compartment as he left - there was no-one there, but it was part of his courteous routine, and he did it, no doubt, to make sure he never forgets to do it when there are  people there. So typical of the Japanese way of doing things. The Cherry Blossom in the parks in Tokyo - it did not disappointWhat did you think of your group leader?Dan was everything one could expect in a tour leader. Not only was he a great organiser, but he was so knowledgeable about the history and culture of Japan that we were enriched by what he told us. He was also amazing at finding and taking us to eating places that were great on food and atmosphere but didn't break the bank. The only negative thing to say was that he warned us of the contrast between the luxurious hotel of Kyoto and the  traditional basic facilities of the ryiokans we were to visit, to such an effect that my wife Mary approached them with great trepidation. In the event they were a marvellous experience which we would not have missed for the world. It was also curious that we elderly married couples seemed to be allocated the few rooms with the most Western facilities. Funny, that.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?We had the impression before going that it might be difficult to use credit cards or find ATMs. In fact it was very easy - apart from banks and some big shops every 7-11 store had an ATM, and many other places advertised the fact that they had one in the same way that they offered other facilities, like loos or refreshments.Is there anything else you would like to add?The only real downer of the whole trip was the length of time we spent in the air - 40 hours altogether. One of our party had to leave earlier and flew direct from Tokyo to Gatwick, which, she said, was only a 9 hour flight. We would have been prepared to pay more for a shorter route. Otherwise - don't change anything.

  • Ancient & Modern Japan reviewer 8
    Written on April 19, 2012
    4.0 - Good

    My friend & I chose this trip to celebrate our joint 60th birthdays as we wanted to do something really special and this exceeded our wishes and desires  in many ways - with the walking, sights and especially the food.  We jokingly called it our walking and eating tour of Japan.  From the moment we arrived till the time of our departure we had the most fantastic time.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I believe we found the Totukuji Temple (not sure correct spelling -  name)   in Kyoto - where the red gates wind up and up and up  the hill - with many steps leading up - to be absolutely spectactular. However I must say that the  Cherry Blossom trees that we saw in Tokyo - in various parks - were also fantastic.  I believe that this will remain an everlasting memory for me.  Could not stop taking photos of these.What did you think of your group leader?I believe our leader did her best to accommodate the various needs of a diverse group.  She was casual in her approach in leading us which suited us. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Do a lot of research on the major areas you visit - so you can plan your free days and just go and enjoy it. The weather in late March - April is also a little unpredictable - probably a lot colder than  we thought it would be -  we were glad of good coats - umbrellas needed at times - cheaply available everywhere.  We also made the most of every moment to the point of at times exhaustion.  But  you are only here for a short time so make the most of and enjoy it.   Also we found good cheap food in the Kyoto Station - where some locals ate.  Also in department stores - in food areas - fresh good and cheap with markdowns towards the closing times.  Is there anything else you would like to add?I think a type of pack (travel info)  - perhaps receiving it before we go  - that covered all the areas we visited - with  maps and major spots- so perhaps a bit of forward planning could be made.  We made our own flight plans and payment for same as we had to travel  from Australia  and also  make our own arrangements to travel to Kyoto to start the tour.   This made the trip a little more expensive than our UK friends as I believe they paid an inclusive price.  I may be incorrect here.  Our instructions for arrival at Kyoto Station were bizarre - all that had to be advised was to take the correct exit.   The other small gripe - which we were unaware of - was having to pay 3000 yen each for the bus transfer from Metropolitan Hotel to Narita Airport.  We had not been made aware of this.The other thing was our stay in our last Ryokan - where we had an archery display - which was not too bad. The showers virtually did not work - very small trickle.  The onsen - cedar - did not seem too clean either. The rooms were not too bad, however,  the Japanese breakfast in the morning - for 1020 yen approx. was to say not too good - actually disgusting -  unedible for some.  Wish we had taken the Continental breakfast - although we had planned to mostly eat local food on this trip Otherewise had a fantastic time. 

  • Ancient & Modern Japan reviewer 9
    Written on April 16, 2012
    4.0 - Good

    A country which is was a genuine surprise, the amazing friendliness and helpfulness of people everywhere, the beauty of the pine forests in the mountains, the buzz of Tokyo, gardens, temples, castles. Fantastic      What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?My first view of a bullet train pulling into Kyoto station. What did you think of your group leader?Very competent. Not intrusive, allowed us to explore by ourselves. 

  • Ancient & Modern Japan reviewer 10
    Written on November 7, 2010
    4.0 - Good

    A good mix of old and new Japan with lots of free time to do your own thing (do your research!).  If Japan is on your list this is the trip for you as you'll see so many of the highlights.  Staying in the two great hotels that bookend the trip make the trip fairly relaxed as you cram lots into the day but can settle back into your room without constantly being on the move!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The visit to Hiroshima is strangely uplifiting despite the sadness of the history. Matsumoto was a suprising highlight; the crow castle is beautiful and there is lots to see on the walk back to the station (Exodus you should make this a day not a morning!). The snow monkeys were brilliant and if you're a wildlife photographer you'll get some AMAZING images.  What did you think of your group leader?Steve was incredibly passionate about Japan.  He got us from A to B. Sometimes a little too impatient though and the odd innocent question can evoke the 'Steve glare'.... I mean it looked like chicken but was actually rice..Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Read a book called 'Japan Through the Looking Glass' by Alan MacFarlane.. a really good book on Japanese culture and pyschology.. why they do the strange little things they do.  Be careful of the deer in Nara park and at Miyajima Island.. I lost a yen note from my pocket to one!Really do try and do some decent research on Kyoto and Tokyo so that you can get the most out of your free time. Is there anything else you would like to add?Try an onsen hot spring.. especially a local one.. don't be shy.  Once you've seen everyone's bits no one cares and you'll be suprised how relaxing it can be.Definitely check out the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto in your free time.. this is the temple with thousands of red arches stretching up into a forest. 


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  1. Introduction
  2. Expand all
  1. Day 1: Start Kyoto
  2. Day 2: Morning visit to Ninjo castle and Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion); afternoon guided walk through beautiful shrines and temples
  3. Day 3: Day trip to Nara, ancient capital of Japan. Visit impressive UNESCO temples including Toda-ji, housing the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha
  4. Day 4: Free day in Kyoto; relax in one of the many zen gardens, walk the popular Philospher Path or experience a traditional tea ceremony
  5. Day 5: Day trip to Hiroshima; visit Peace Memorial Park and the pretty island of Miyajima
  6. Day 6: Travel from Kyoto to Takayama, a traditional old town set amid the 'Japanese Alps'; visit the Hida Folk Village; overnight in ryokan
  7. Day 7: Orientation tour in Takayama and free day to explore its peaceful shrines and temples; second night in ryokan
  8. Day 8: On to the mediaeval village of Tsumago; short leisurely walk on the Nakasendo trail; train to Matsumoto
  9. Day 9: Visit the famous Matsumoto Castle and travel by train to spa town of Yudanaka; soak in a hot spring
  10. Day 10: See the famous Snow Monkeys before travelling by train to Tokyo; evening orientation tour
  11. Day 11: Optional trip to Hakone and Mount Fuji or to the lovely seaside town of Kamakura
  12. Day 12: A full day city tour of Tokyo including the Senso-ji Temple
  13. Day 13: Free day for further exploration; optional karaoke farewell night
  14. Day 14: End Tokyo

What's included

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  • Accommodation

    Rated Excellent by past passengers
  • Guide

    Rated Excellent by past passengers
  • Meals

    Rated Excellent by past passengers
  • Transport

    Rated Excellent by past passengers
  • Additional Services

  • Insurance

  • Additional Services

Download PDF Brochure


Japan: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Questions & Answers

Here we have collected and answered the most frequently asked questions about this tour.

    • When and where does the tour end?

      The tour will end in the morning on the last day of the tour at Hotel Metropolitan Ikebukuro in Tokyo. Those on the group flights to London (additional cost) will be transferred to Tokyo Narita Airport in the evening, however, if you are not travelling on the group flight, you can take advantage of a free airport transfer by limousine bus to Narita or Haneda airport (only if staying at Hotel Metropolitan Ikebukuro). Please be aware the hotel is subject to change until your final documents are released.

    • When and where does the tour start?

      The first day of the tour generally starts from Noku Roxy Hotel (subject to change) in Kyoto and as the first day is just an arrivals day, you can arrive at any time. At approximately 5pm there is a Welcome Meeting which you can attend if you wish and you will meet your guide and fellow travellers.

    • What are the optional excursions?

      The optional excursions for this tour are:

      Obuse museum. Price: approx. GBP 5
      Gion Corner ‐ theatre show (Kyoto). Price: approx. GBP 23
      Zen gardens ‐ (Kyoto). Price: approx. GBP 2‐5 each
      Tea ceremony ‐ (Kyoto). Price: approx. GBP 35‐40
      Kabuki show. Price: GBP 7‐15

      Please note that this list is a guideline only and all prices are subject to change.

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    What are people saying about TourRadar?

    • Marcia9th August 2018
      I love Tour Radar. They gave me all the support when I needed contacting the agent themselves to solve my problems while I was on the trip. The response was always quick and I also got the best deals, always cheaper than with the operator. Can't fault it really. Just booked my second trip with them this week.



    Ancient & Modern Japan

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    About the countries

    Useful things to know before you go



    Plugs & Adapters



    Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.


    These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
    Hepatitis A
    Recommended for Japan. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
    Hepatitis B
    Recommended for Japan. Ideally 2 months before travel.
    Japanese B encephalitis
    Recommended for Japan. Ideally 1 month before travel.


    Kyoto is the starting point and Tokyo is the endpoint.
    Hold my space
    TourRadar can request Exodus Travels to hold spaces for you for up to 48 hours without any credit card details.
    TourRadar only requires a deposit of 20% to confirm this Exodus Travels booking. The remaining balance is then payable 60 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 25 November 2018 the full payment of $5,189 is necessary.
    Cancellation policy
    No additional cancellation fees! You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior to the departure date and you will not need to pay the full amount of $5189 for Ancient & Modern Japan, but the deposit of 20% is non-refundable.
    Credit Cards
    The following cards are accepted for Exodus Travels tours: Visa - Master Card - American Express


    Covering a total distance of approx 1,713 km.
    • Kyoto (Japan)
    • 36 km
    • Nara (Japan)
    • 36 km
    • Kyoto (Japan)
    • 311 km
    • Hiroshima (Japan)
    • 20 km
    • Miyajima Island (Japan)
    • 329 km
    • Kyoto (Japan)
    • 184 km
    • Takayama (Japan)
    • 70 km
    • Tsumago (Japan)
    • 81 km
    • Matsumoto (Japan)
    • 50 km
    • Nagano (Japan)
    Show all destinations

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