Autumn Private Tour of Japan
A most comprehensive autumn tour itinerary of Japan, covering all the must-see locations under the gorgeous autumn colours. It can be further modified to suit your tastes and needs.
This sample itinerary for an Autumn Private Tour of Japan is a great way to enjoy magnificent autumn time in Japan for a couple, a family or a group of friends. The itinerary is comprehensive, covering all the 'must-see in Japan in autumn', including Nikko, Hakone, Kyoto, Takayama, Shirakawago and Kawaguchiko. Conveniently starting and ending in Tokyo, you can easily add more days to enjoy the capital at the beginning or the end.
Using our intimate knowledge of Japan, we will advise each customer the best locations to see autumn colours at each destination whether you are travelling at the beginning or towards the end of autumn season.
At each destination, you will have a guided tour with your own private guide as well as plenty of free time to enjoy the country at a relaxed pace. The private guides will take you to their favourite places to experience authentic local culture in each city.
For more information about customising your trip visit our Private Tours page .
You can also get more ideas from our other Model Itineraries
Late October to early December
Travellers who like to view iconic Japanese scenery in autumn colours (This can be modified. See the notes right)
Mostly 4 + star western style boutique hotels with a couple of ryokans (This can be modified. See the notes right.)
AU$10,700 (US$8,500) per person for two*
AU$9,000 (US$7,150) per person for four*
*based on twin share in autumn high season following the itinerary below.
Important notes about our model itineraries:
Our model itineraries are developed to show viewers the ideas for an itinerary and price guide. The itineraries can be further customized, and the accommodation and guide time can be adjusted to suit you. The number of people in your group will affect the price, too. We will give you more firm quotation once we develop your personal itinerary.
Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo
Welcome to Japan! On arrival at one of Tokyo’s international airports, our escort will meet you and take you to your hotel in Tokyo. This Autumn Private Tour of Japan model itinerary will take you to those destinations which display the most spectacular autumn colours in November in Japan.
Day 2: Nikko
Today, you leave Tokyo with your guide and take trains to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nikko. Nikko Toshogu Shrine complex is aesthetically magnificent and historically significant. Your guide will tell you all about those historical monuments as you walk the vast ground framed by gorgeous autumn foliage.
Tonight we suggest you stay at a Japanese style accommodation called ryokan, and enjoy onsen hot spring bath and kaiseki dinner. Some properties have western style bedrooms, so let us know if you prefer a bed rather than sleeping on futon.
Day 3: Nikko
Nikko is well-known for its magnificent autumn scenery. Today, we suggest you take a private car to go even further into Oku-Nikko (literally translates "deeper Nikko"). It is a part of the Nikko National Park and includes many lakes, waterfalls and mountains. Depending on the time of your visit, we will advise you the best locations to enjoy the magnificent autumn colours against those natural landscapes.
Back to Tokyo by trains in the afternoon.
Day 4: Hakone
Today, you will travel by train with your guide to the famous resort town of Hakone in the Izu Hakone National Park. Hakone once was an important checkpoint for the traffic in and out of Edo (now Tokyo). The present day Hakone is a popular destination for domestic and international travellers and people come here for relaxing hot spring spa and beautiful landscapes. Here you can visit superb art museums including the Hakone Open-air Museum, cruise on Lake Ashi, take a cable car over Owakudani, and much more.
You have a choice of Japanese style and western style accommodation in Hakone.
Day 5: Hakone to Kyoto
This morning you can spend more time in Hakone to enjoy the beautiful natural and manmade landscapes. In the afternoon, hop onto shinkansen and head to Kyoto, the well-known old capital of Japan. The guide will assist you to get onboard the train and leave you in Hakone.
After arrival in Kyoto, you can transfer to your hotel by taxi and have a relaxing evening, or explore the endless choice of restaurants near your hotel.
Day 6: Kyoto
Your private guide will meet you at your hotel lobby and take you on a guided tour. Kyoto has a myriad of attractions and we will design your guided tours to match your interests. Apart from iconic sites such as Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Fushimi Inari, Nijo-jo Castle and Heian Jingu Shrine, you can visit more discrete temple gardens, high quality crafts and antiques such as pottery and silk, or simply stroll the atmospheric streets of Kyoto such as the Gion District.
There are a variety of choices in terms of accommodation and restaurants in Kyoto. Please let us know of your preferences. If you are a group, why not try a private banquet and have a maiko (apprentice geisha) join you for dinner. It will be a unique opportunity to engage with her in person and learn more about this centuries-old art form and the life of a modern-day geisha.
Day 7: Kyoto
Today is set aside for you to enjoy Kyoto your way. There is so much to see and do in Kyoto including markets, cultural activities such as cooking class and tea ceremony etc. Or why not venturing out into a nearby suburb like Arashiyama or Takao. Of course we will advise you about the best sites to enjoy the gorgeous autumn colours depending on your time of visit.
And we will make suggestions for restaurant options, too.
Day 8: Kyoto
How about you make a day trip to neighboring Osaka or Nara today? They have quite distinct cultures compared to Kyoto and the contrasts are very interesting. Observe different architecture, people's attitude and food.
Day 9: Takayama
An express train will take you over beautiful gorges in central Japan to the historical city of Takayama in the Hida region. The region was developed as a stronghold of the central government in Edo Period. It still retains many traditional industries such as sake making, rice production, timber furniture and lacquerware etc.
The streets are well preserved and you can see the traditional architecture in some of the houses. Today, they mostly house small cafes and shops, making Takayama very attractive for tourists because it provides such a great picture of times gone by.
After arriving in Takayama, you will have a private guide to walk you through the town.
Day 10: Shirakawago
This morning you will visit a nearby UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago by local coach. Shirakawago is known for a unique architecture called "Gassho Zukuri" with steep thatched roof. Gassho means "hands clasped in a prayer form". You walk around the village with your guide, and learn about the life in this very traditional agricultural village in mountains.
Afternoon is your time to explore back in the town of Takayama at your own pace. Why not try mouth-watering Hida brand wagyu beef for dinner tonight?
Day 11: Takayama
It is a free day today to enjoy Takayama and surrounds. Our recommendations include a cycling, walking along the Shiroyama temple trail and sampling local sake and other delicacies at the markets and shops in the old streets. Let us know what your interests are and we will provide the information you will need.
Day 12: Matsumoto
This morning you will take a local coach to cross the Japan Alps heading to Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture, the heartland of the Japan Alps. At Matsumoto, you will meet a private guide and go on a walking guided tour.
While in Matsumoto, Matsumoto’s castle is a top of the must-see list. It is Japan’s oldest wooden castle and one of the nation’s five castles designated national treasures.
Matsumoto is also popular for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and galleries amongst the stunning alpine setting. You can visit the Matsumoto City Museum of Art featuring the avant-garde works of internationally renowned artist Yayoi Kusama.
Day 13: Kawaguchiko
This morning you will leave Matsumoto by train with your guide to head east to the town of Kawaguchiko, located in the Five Lakes district in the foothills of Mt Fuji.
Kawaguchiko offers some breathtaking views of the majestic Mt Fuji, and its lakes and beautiful natural landscape only add to the beauty of the area.
Tonight you will stay at a traditional Japanese inn, and have the chance to soak in a hot-spring onsen bath with dramatic views of Mt Fuji across the lake (weather permitting of course!). Dinner will be a multi-course Japanese kaiseki banquet. (Western bed accommodation options are also available.)
Day 14: Kawaguchiko to Tokyo
While you are in Kawaguchiko, the visit to Itchiku Kubota Art Museum is strongly recommended. Here you will see superb examples of kimono art using the centuries-old “shibori” tie-dyeing technique.
Apart from the amazing kimonos, the architecture of the museum housing the display is worth seeing in its own right.
In the afternoon, you will take an express train back to Tokyo.
Day 15: Tokyo
This morning you will meet your guide at your hotel lobby after breakfast and have a private guided tour of Tokyo. The day's program will be completely customised for your interests and preferences. You can visit old parts of Tokyo such as Asakusa, fashionable Shibuya and Omotesando, the political and commercial centre of Japan, Marunouchi, or anything in between. Of course at the top of our recommendation at this time of the year is to visit subliminal Japanese gardens such as Rikugi-en or Koraku-en. The day is yours to explore the modern and the quirky sides of this mega capital.
Day 16: Kamakura day trip
Today you can make a guided day-trip to the historic seaside town of Kamakura, just south of Tokyo. Capital for a brief 150 years from 1185, Kamakura retains its strong Buddhist heritage with over 100 temples and shrines. We will get there by trains including quaint local “Enoden” train.
Your guide will take you to a couple of the best temples including Kotoku-in with a giant bronze Buddha constructed in 1252. After lunch, you will walk through Kamakura's main street up to Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine. Popular Komachi Street is a perfect place to check out beautiful handmade craft wares. After catching the train back to Tokyo, why not spend your last night in Japan at a special restaurant in Ginza or perhaps Izakaya (a Japanese style pub) in Shimbashi. We provide information on our recommended restaurants.
Day 17: Departure
Today you will transfer from your hotel to your exiting airport after breakfast. Tokyo has two international airports, Narita and Haneda, and we will arrange the transfer for you whichever you choose.
This is the end of model itinerary for Autumn Private Tour of Japan, however, of course you can extend your stay in Japan. Please browse our extension model itineraries for ideas.
Please note that there may be slight changes to the itinerary described above to accommodate changes in train timetables, opening hours, and hotel and restaurant availability.
All photographs on this website are representative only and are not a commitment to what may be on view on the day.
Does not include:
- International and domestic airfare (unless otherwise stated)
- Entrance fees to attractions
- Travel insurance
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Tips and gratuities (not routinely expected in Japan)
- Personal expenses (laundry, internet, telephone, coin lockers etc.)
- Visa (if required)