Recipe for an InsideJapan Small Group Tour


Like this put up? Assist us by sharing it!

After the whole lot the pandemic has thrown at us, we’re wishing issues may very well be simple and trouble-free as soon as extra. Do you really feel the identical? Then chances are you’ll need to direct your pent-up wanderlust into selecting an journey that retains issues easy as might be, whereas offering you with the expertise of a lifetime. Maybe you want look no additional than our Small Group Excursions! 

We’ve spent the final twenty years honing the proper method, guaranteeing that our group excursions immerse you in the whole lot that’s outstanding about Japan – in essentially the most unforgettable means. 

Right here’s the key recipe. 

An InsideJapan tour group wearing yukata robes
InsideJapan tour group members go to a konbini of their yukata robes
  1. They’re not too large, and never too small

We’ve discovered the proper measurement for our group excursions. And let’s simply say, they’re referred to as ‘Small’ Group Excursions for a purpose.  

Most of our excursions have a most group measurement of simply 14* travellers – simply the correct quantity for a way of enjoyable, togetherness and assembly new folks, however with the added bonus of with the ability to get round simply and luxuriate in loads of intimate experiences.  

We discover that 14 folks is simply the appropriate quantity to have the ability to match into smaller, independently run lodges and ryokan inns; it’s simpler to guide the group into homely eateries reasonably than the large chain eating places that bigger excursions need to fall again on; and it makes taking bullet trains and native transport straightforward, supplying you with the expertise of travelling Japan like a neighborhood.  

You’ll at all times discover a mixture of folks from our completely different house nations (the UK, USA and Australia), and a mix of households, {couples} and solo travellers – which means that you just’ll by no means really feel just like the odd one out, tagging together with a gaggle of people that already know one another.   

*There are simply three exceptions to this rule: our brand-new Strolling the Nakasendo & Past tour has a most group measurement of 12, and our HyperJapan J-Pop & Go and All-in Japan excursions have a most group measurement of 16.  

Joge town in Japan
Joge, a small city in Hiroshima Prefecture
  1. A steadiness between the well-known and the undiscovered

Everybody goes to Japan with one thing in thoughts that they’re particularly excited to see – whether or not it’s the Kinkakuji Golden Temple in Kyoto, the blooms of sakura within the spring, the majestic, red-crowned cranes in Hokkaido, the Studio Ghibli museum, or the floating torii gate on Miyajima island. That’s why every of our excursions absorb some of Japan’s most iconic websites.  

That’s not all, although. In each tour, we like to slide in a spot we love however that the majority folks haven’t heard of. That is the place you’ll get an unfiltered, genuine expertise, with the chance to work together with native folks – and after years of taking our tour teams to those really particular locations, we all know they’re typically essentially the most memorable moments of a visit.  

Take Joge, for instance: a small city we go to on Hidden Japan between Hiroshima and Kyoto. It’s not on the vacationer map, it gained’t ever come up in bucket-list suggestions, however for those who ask our prospects as soon as the tour is full, visiting Joge is one in all their standout experiences.   

What makes it so particular? Right here’s Insider tour chief Richard Farmer…  

“Though there are a whole lot of small cities scattered all through Japan’s rural areas, few of them can boast having the identical steadiness of historic significance, preserved cultural heritage, stunning pure environment, and welcoming native inhabitants in the identical means as Joge.   

“A big kabuki theatre, a preserved foremost thoroughfare (nonetheless lined with previous picket buildings), and a wonderful Buddhist temple – much more gorgeously appointed than one would anticipate in such a small place – betray the uncharacteristic wealth that Joge loved throughout Japan’s early-modern interval.   

“Nonetheless, Joge’s actual riches might be present in the folks dwelling there now. Each time our Hidden Japan tour teams go to, locals begin coming out of their homes, eating places and retailers to welcome us, and proudly introduce the group to the historical past and tradition of their city. It turns into a little bit of a panic for the tour chief, as our cohort will get break up in each course, accompanied by whichever pleasant native has adopted them!   

“Over my many visits, I’ve realized to simply let the fantastic chaos unfold; everybody at all times appears to finish up again on the bus by some means, accompanied by a brand new buddy and having found a secret nook of Japan.”  

Ani Gorge in the Iya Valley
Ani Gorge within the Iya Valley
  1. A mix of cities and countryside

Japan’s well-known fast-paced, glitzy cities are only one facet to life. Equally and beguiling Japanese, is the gradual, quiet tempo of rural life out within the countryside – locations that barely see worldwide vacationers. You’ll watch farmers tending rice fields in Togarinozawa Onsen on Strolling the Nakasendo and Past; go to the aforementioned city of Joge the place you’re welcomed like VIPs by the native of us who’re so proud to point out off their hometown; and on Hidden Japan, you possibly can head deep into the center of Shikoku to go to the Iya Valley the place life has hardly modified in generations and folks nonetheless reside farm-to-table.   

What we love about visiting rural locations is the nice and cozy welcome you get. Persons are so grateful that you just’ve trekked off the usual vacationer path to go to their quiet nook of the nation – and despite the fact that they may not communicate fluent English, the interactions are so memorable and real.  We additionally suppose it’s essential to contribute positively to a small family-run enterprise or group in rural areas, reasonably than merely focussing our financial influence on large chain lodges and eating places within the cities.  

One of many enchanting issues about Japan is the cultural, historic, and geographical variations throughout the areas. The cities are pretty cosmopolitan, and it’s straightforward to overlook regional variations when you’re there. The smaller cities and countryside are the place you get to expertise the tradition that’s distinctive to every space. Assume: Awa Odori dancing in Tokushima on Shikoku (Hidden Japan), taiko drumming on Sado Island (A Northern Soul), the historic significance of Nikko (Spirit of HonshuJapan Enchantment), and the uncommon wildlife on Hokkaido (Winter Highlights). Should you simply caught to the cities, you’d miss a number of this! 

The main garden at the Nishimuraya Honkan
The Nishimuraya Honkan in Kinosaki Onsen
  1. A mix of Japanese-style lodging and Western lodges

Ryokan stays are a should for any journey to Japan. Proprietor-run, they’re the place you’ll get a real sense of omotenashi: the well-known Japanese hospitality. The simplicity of a ryokan keep is intoxicating; soak in an onsen bathtub, dine on beautiful, seasonal kaiseki meals in your yukata, and drift right into a sound sleep on a futon mattress unfold on tatami mat flooring. We pepper our journeys with stays at ryokan we’ve recognized and cherished for years (and you could find out extra about a couple of of our favourites right here).  

After all, although staying at a ryokan is a actual pleasure, chances are you’ll not need to do it each night time of your tour (you possibly can have an excessive amount of of factor!). We have a tendency in direction of ryokan stays exterior of cities, the place the lodging really types part of your general expertise of a vacation spot. In cosmopolitan areas the place the resort is just a place to remain for the night time, we go for the comfort of central, Western-style lodges. 

An InsideJapan tour group on a rooftop in Tokyo
An InsideJapan tour group on a rooftop in Tokyo
  1. The right quantity of guided sightseeing and free time  

One of many standout advantages of a gaggle tour is the skilled Insider tour chief who can lead you effortlessly one place to the following, sharing their ardour, data and entertaining tales when you’re out sightseeing as a gaggle.   

Nonetheless, we all know you’ll have your personal concepts and locations you’ll need to go to and belongings you need to do on tour, so we construct in free days within the cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. We’ll arm you with as many or as few logistics and proposals as you’d like.  Or, for those who’d reasonably be proven round just a little extra, you possibly can at all times be a part of your Insider tour chief for additional guided exploration.  


  1. An Insider Tour Chief who actually is aware of their stuff 

You’ll be able to have the proper itinerary and a implausible group of individuals to share your Japan vacation with – however what separates good from nice is the high quality of your tour chief.  

Fluent in Japanese tradition, historical past and traditions, each one in all our Insiders has their very own distinctive tales and keenness for Japan. They selected to make this nation their house, their data and enthusiasm are infectious; imagine us once we say that they may carry your Japan expertise to life!  

Hear concerning the dramatic lifetime of the chief of the Tokugawa shogunate earlier than you go to his shrine in Nikko; the origins of Buddhism in Japan as you arrive on the atmospheric temple complexes of Mount Koya; get helpful recommendations on cultural dos and don’ts forward of assembly an apprentice geisha for a day tea in Kyoto. Not solely that, however they will save vegetarians from by chance selecting pork dumplings at a restaurant, or helpfully level out once you’ve performed up your yukata gown the improper means earlier than dinner at your ryokan (relying on the way you fold it, you possibly can by chance costume your self in the way in which that our bodies are ready for funeral rites!).   

On the finish of the day, our Tour Leaders simply need to share with you what they most love about Japan – and that’s on the coronary heart of what we do right here at InsideJapan.  

An InsideJapan tour group with a maiko
An InsideJapan tour group assembly a maiko
  1. Lastly… we’d like YOU

We’ve been main Small Group Excursions for 20 years, and in that point, we’ve met essentially the most various, fascinating and fascinating folks from all around the world. And so will you! 

The individuals who you’ll meet on our Small Group Excursions are folks you’ll share once-in-a-lifetime vacation experiences with; people who find themselves simply as passionate as you’re about seeing the whole lot that Japan has to supply. If you wish to do, and expertise, and become involved in your Japan vacation, then one in all our Small Group Excursions shall be good for you.  

Obtained a Small Group Tour in thoughts that you just’d like to listen to extra about? Get in contact with the staff to begin planning your 2022 Japan journey! 


Like this put up? Assist us by sharing it!



メールアドレスが公開されることはありません。 が付いている欄は必須項目です