Autumn in Japan: Deluxe gives you the best of Japan – both on and off the beaten path – with a relaxing yet action-packed itinerary.

This colorful 9-day journey begins in Tokyo, includes the ancient capital Kyoto and also features two nights at a luxurious hot spring spa in the mountains of the Japan Alps.

Due to Japan’s popularity, particularly in autumn, pricing and availability are highly subject to change. Please contact us to inquire about your ideal dates.

Ginkakuji Silver Pavilion Zen Temple Higashiyama Kyoto Japan
Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavilion), Higashiyama District, Kyoto

Our Deluxe trip includes:

  • Tokyo, Kyoto and the Japan Alps
  • Culture, hot springs & cuisine
  • Accommodations at The Peninsula or Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo, KAI Matsumoto in the Japan Alps, and The Ritz-Carlton or Hyatt Regency in Kyoto
  • Daily breakfast & 2 deluxe multi-course kaiseki dinners at your ryokan
  • First-class train transport between cities, including bullet train journeys as appropriate
  • Personal transfer assistance at stations as shown in itinerary
  • Full-day private tours in Tokyo & Kyoto with expert local English-speaking guides + a private geisha walking tour in Kyoto with a leading geisha expert + a private tour of Matsumoto Castle including a delicious soba lunch
  • Pre-departure information to help you prepare for your trip
  • 24/7 in-country emergency support (English and Japanese speaking) during your trip
  • And much more!

Autumn in Japan is available at three budget levels: Classic, Boutique and Deluxe. To learn more about each one visit our Autumn in Japan page.

Trip Details

Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo
Day 2: Private tour of Tokyo
Day 3: Free day in Tokyo (optional excursion)
Day 4: Japan Alps & hot springs
Day 5: Rest & relaxation
Day 6: Travel to Kyoto, the ancient capital
Day 7: Private tour of Kyoto
Day 8: Free day in Kyoto (optional excursion)
Day 9: Departure from Japan

Optional Extensions: Have more time to spend in Japan? This trip is fully customizable and we can suggest incredible trip extensions. Contact us and we can help you explore the possibilities.

Day 1: Welcome to Tokyo!

Welcome to Japan! On arrival at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, your private driver will be waiting for you at the entrance to the arrivals hall, bearing a sign with your name on it.

You’ll be escorted to your private vehicle and depart the airport bound for your well-located and luxurious hotel in central Tokyo. The journey from Narita, on the far outskirts of Tokyo, into the city center takes about 90 minutes or more, depending on traffic.

The evening is free to relax and rest up for the rest of your journey. We can include dinner recommendations for this first evening, or simply enjoy room service from the comfort of your room and have an early night in preparation for tomorrow.

Tokyo Hotel: Choose between the luxury of The Peninsula Tokyo (Deluxe Room) and the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo (Deluxe Room), two of the most incredible hotels in Japan.

Please note that rooms at hotels and ryokans are limited in number and subject to sell out.

Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
Signature Restaurant, Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

Day 2: Private Tour of Tokyo

This morning, your expert Tokyo guide will meet you at 9:00 in the hotel lobby for a carefully-curated tour of Tokyo at your own pace. You’ll head downstairs together and embark on your tour by private vehicle.

With a population of over 12 million, Tokyo is one of the largest and most exciting cities in the world. This will be a fantastic introduction to Tokyo, and the chance to get a personal insight not only into the classic sights, but also into some more unusual and unique features of the city.

Begin the day with one of old Tokyo’s highlights, the beautiful Hamarikyu Garden. Considered by most to be Tokyo’s most beautiful garden, this is an amazing place to begin your Japan adventure, with the ideal mix of old and new. Amidst Tokyo’s futuristic atmosphere, enjoy a cup of steaming mattcha green tea in a teahouse on a small island in the park’s lake.

From here, acquaint yourself with Tokyo on a cruise along its iconic Sumida River. This transports you from the modern district of Shiodome (where the garden is located) to the historic Asakusa district.

Hozomon Gate Sensoji Temple Asakusa Tokyo Japan
Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa is famous for keeping the spirit of old Tokyo alive. It maintains the feel of pre-boom Japan, and gives you a sense of what Tokyo was like before the stunning growth of the 70’s and 80’s. In Asakusa you’ll visit the splendid Senso-ji Temple, one of the most photographed structures in the city. This is not only Tokyo’s oldest temple, but among the oldest in Japan.

It’s a great walking neighborhood to wander around and soak up your new surroundings. Following a stroll along the popular Nakamise-dori – the lanes leading up to the temple, and a great place to sample some local snacks – you’ll proceed to a completely different part of the city: Harajuku.

Harajuku is most famous for its edgy fashion, but first you’ll pay a visit to the extremely peaceful Meiji Shrine, a huge green space right in the middle of Tokyo. Surrounded by forest in the middle of downtown Tokyo, it is a true oasis in the city. Extensive walking paths make it a favorite strolling venue.

If time permits, you can also take a walk down the Omotesando shopping street – Tokyo’s Champs Elysees – a tree-lined avenue filled with fantastic architecture, boutiques and brand shops, and cafes and restaurants.

If you would like to request any specific places or experiences other than those mentioned, please just let us know in advance.

At around 5:00 pm you’ll be dropped back off at your hotel for an evening at leisure. We can provide dinner recommendations, or the hotel’s excellent concierge will also be happy to help.

tokyo skytree evening night skyline japan
Tokyo skyline with Tokyo Skytree

Day 3: Free Day in Tokyo (Optional Excursion)

Today is a free day to keep exploring Tokyo, or take a day trip to one of the beautiful areas near Tokyo.

Don’t need a free day? Contact us to customize this trip for you.

Tokyo is surprisingly easy to navigate, and it’s easy to spend the whole day exploring some of its fascinating neighborhoods, such as Shinjuku, Ginza, Omotesando, Shibuya, Tsukiji, Asakusa, Roppongi, Naka-Meguro, Ebisu and many others. While it’s not possible to see everything (whether you have a couple of days, or even a couple of months!) we will recommend our favorite places to ensure you get the most out of your visit.

Another option today is to take advantage of one of the fantastic day trips available from Tokyo. Two of the best options are Nikko and Hakone national parks, either of which makes for an incredible day trip.

Nikko, to the north of Tokyo, is famed for its beautiful nature and its UNESCO World Heritage shrines and temples. Hakone, to Tokyo’s west, is renowned for its natural beauty, and especially for the stunning views of Mount Fuji it offers on clear days.

We can include information so you can enjoy one of these options on your own – or we can add a private expert guide for this day to further enhance the experience.

Nikko Mt. Nantai Lake Chuzenji Japan
Mt. Nantai and Lake Chuzenji, Nikko, Japan (an optional side trip)

Day 4: Into the Japan Alps

Today you’ll depart Tokyo for the beautiful Japanese Alps. Your guide will meet you this morning in the hotel lobby, and you will depart together by train (first class Green Car tickets).

The journey from Tokyo to Matsumoto station takes just under 3 hours (2 hours 50 minutes), and will be your introduction to Japan’s incredible transport system.

Matsumoto is an alpine city most famous for its beautifully-preserved traditional castle, and has flourished as a castle town since the 16th century. In addition to its historical and cultural heritage, Matsumoto is surrounded by mountains and acclaimed for its beautiful views.

Your car will be waiting for you when you arrive at the station, and with your guide you’ll enjoy your your first taste of the local specialty – soba – at a shinise (long-established) soba restaurant. The healthy and delicious buckwheat noodles make for a wonderful lunch.

After lunch your guide will introduce you to Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan’s few remaining original castles. Unlike many of Japan’s other castles – whose insides have been rebuilt – Matsumoto-jo Castle will transport you back in time with its well-preserved architecture and atmosphere. The observation deck at the top of the main keep offers great views over the surrounding city.

KAI Matsumoto ryokan Japanese-style room private onsen hot springs
A room with private hot springs at KAI Matsumoto

One of the highlights of your trip is sure to be the ryokan stay during your time in the Japanese Alps. You’ll spend the next 2 nights at the luxurious KAI Matsumoto, a modern ryokan in the traditional style.

KAI Matsumoto is an example of the best in Japanese hospitality, with impeccable service, aesthetically beautiful design and craftsmanship, haute Japanese cuisine, and rejuvenating hot springs (onsen).

Your room will be in full traditional Japanese style, with tatami mat flooring and futon rollout bedding. Your room comes complete with its own luxuriant private open air hot spring (onsen) bath.

Food lovers will be transported by the top-quality kaiseki dinners, included on both nights of your stay. The multi-course kaiseki dinners – featuring seasonal and local specialties – are served in exquisite teahouse-style dining in private rooms surrounding a pond in the courtyard.

Your Japan Alps Accommodations: KAI Matsumoto Ryokan (Japanese Room with Private Open Air Hot Spring Bath)

Please note that rooms at hotels and ryokans are limited in number and subject to sell out.

KAI Matsumoto ryokan kaiseki dining
Kaiseki dining at KAI Matsumoto

Day 5: Rest & Relaxation Day

Today is left completely free to disconnect and rejuvenate in your peaceful surroundings. Spend the day soaking in the soothing hot springs, or if you wish enjoy one of the many optional activities/excursions.

Don’t need a free day? Contact us to customize this trip for you.

If you’d like to explore the surrounding region, one option is to take a taxi back into Matsumoto (15 minutes) to continue exploring the city.

Another great option is a day trip to Nagano (about an hour away), which is home to the famous Zenko-ji Temple, one of Japan’s oldest and most important Buddhist temples.

Through mid-November, you can also take a day trip to Utsukushigahara, which offers beautiful hiking and magnificent views over the Japan Alps. It’s about 100 minutes away by car (closed from late November each year).

Additional nearby attractions include the Daio Wasabi Farm and the Azumino Art Line. Your ryokan also offers the chance to try your hand at traditional misuzu saiku (bamboo weaving), for the artistically inclined (no charge).

We can include information so you can enjoy one of these options on your own – or we can add a private expert guide for this day to further enhance the experience.

This evening enjoy a sumptuous dinner and open-air bathing in the Japanese Alps.

KAI Matsumo
View of Japanese Alps from KAI Matsumoto

Day 6: Travel to Kyoto, the Ancient Capital

Today you’ll descend from the Japanese Alps and travel west to the ancient capital, Kyoto.

In the morning, your car will be waiting to take you to nearby Matsumoto Station. You’ll board the scenic limited express train, which speeds through the Japanese Alps from Matsumoto to Nagoya. At Nagoya, you’ll be met for an assisted change of trains, and board the world famous shinkansen bullet train, which will take you the rest of the way to Kyoto. Total journey time is about 4 hours (first class Green Car tickets).

Kyoto is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world, let alone Asia. Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. At first glance, however, Kyoto looks like almost any other Japanese city. But the discerning eye will soon pick out Kyoto’s treasures: sacred shrines tucked in among shopping arcades, time-honored teahouses nestled among modern businesses, and charming geiko scuttling down backstreets heading to evening appointments.

On arrival at Kyoto station, you’ll be met on the train platform and transferred by private vehicle to your luxurious accommodations.

To help you get oriented in this historic city, you’ll enjoy a private afternoon walking tour (3 hours) exploring the magical backstreets of Kyoto’s geisha districts. Your guide will be the leading foreign geisha culture expert, Peter MacIntosh, who has spent half his life living in Kyoto (highly subject to availability). He was married to an ex-geisha, is a longtime student of the Japanese arts, and is a university lecturer on Geisha Studies. He will introduce you to the history as well as the present situation of the “flower and willow world” of Kyoto. If you are lucky you will have the chance to see a geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha) as they head to the first appointment of the evening.

The evening is free to enjoy your hotel or one of Kyoto’s many excellent restaurants.

Kyoto Hotel: Choose between the luxury of The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto (Deluxe Nakaniwa Room) or the Hyatt Regency Kyoto (Deluxe Room), two of the city’s most outstanding hotels.

Please note that rooms at hotels and ryokans are limited in number and subject to sell out.

geisha geiko maiko kyoto japan
Geiko walking in Kyoto, Japan

Day 7: Private Tour of Kyoto

This morning your expert Kyoto guide will meet you at 9:00 in the hotel lobby for a carefully-curated tour of Kyoto at your own pace. Together you’ll embark on your tour by private vehicle.

Begin your day with a visit to Kinkaku-ji Temple (the Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death it became a Buddhist Temple at his request, and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous and beautiful temples.

Afterwards, you’ll be introduced to Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence. The main building – surrounded by stunning gardens – was completed in 1603 and is famous for its architecture, decorated sliding doors, and “chirping” nightingale floors.

In addition to its countless temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is also a culinary center. The most unique (and photogenic) place to experience Kyoto’s cuisine is at the Nishiki Market, a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, including fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi.

Your final stop today will be Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site that sits atop Kyoto’s traditional Higashiyama District, with spectacular views over Kyoto. The walk up to the temple is steep but lined with colorful shops selling souvenirs and delicious local snacks.

If you would like to request any specific places or experiences other than those mentioned, please just let us know in advance.

After your day of exploration you’ll be dropped back off at your hotel around 5:00 pm and have the evening free to relax or enjoy some of Kyoto’s nightlife.

Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto Japan
Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Day 8: Free Day in Kyoto (Optional Excursion)

Today is a free day to keep exploring Kyoto, or take a day trip to one of the beautiful areas near Kyoto.

Don’t need a free day? Contact us to customize this trip for you.

Kyoto – much smaller than Tokyo – is quite easy to navigate, and it’s easy to spend the whole day exploring some of its fascinating neighborhoods, such as Higashiyama, Gion, Kawaramachi, Nishijin and many others. We will recommend our favorite places to ensure you get the most out of your visit.

Another option today is to take advantage of one of the fantastic day trips available from Kyoto.

Two areas especially popular with travelers are Arashiyama – in the western suburbs – famous for its picturesque bamboo forest – and Fushimi, known for the Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is famous for its thousands of red torii gates.

Two other amazing options are Nara – a charming rural town that was the capital of Japan before Kyoto – and Osaka, a cosmopolitan and lively city known especially for being a foodie destination.

We can include information so you can enjoy one of these options on your own – or we can add a private expert guide for this day to further enhance the experience.

Kyoto Japan Arashiyama Sagano Bamboo Grove
Bamboo Grove, Arashiyama, Kyoto

Day 9: Departure from Japan

Today the time comes to depart Japan. We hope you have had an amazing journey!

You’ll have a private transfer to Kyoto Station, where you’ll catch the bullet train all the way to Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station. Here you’ll have an assisted transfer (change of trains), and switch to the Narita Express train bound for Narita Airport (first class Green Car tickets).

Please note that a flight departure time of 3:00 pm or later is required to make this departure. If this is not possible based on your travel plans, we will be happy to adjust the itinerary to fit your needs exactly.

Come back to Japan soon!

“As an avid traveler I have never encountered a team so committed to creating perfect holidays for their clients.”Ithka & David, Abu Dhabi

A Look at Everything That’s Included

Sunset from Kiyomizudera Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple UNESCO world heritage site Kyoto Japan
Sunset from Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto

What’s Included?

  • 8 nights of deluxe luxury accommodations as indicated
  • Daily breakfast
  • 2 deluxe multi-course kaiseki dinners at your ryokan
  • All private transportation as indicated
  • Train journeys (first class Green Car tickets), with escort/assistance as indicated
  • Private tours as shown with expert English-speaking guides
  • Entrance fees and transport as part of tours
  • Flight monitoring and assistance, in case of flight changes
  • An expertly-crafted, seamlessly-coordinated itinerary
  • Access to our Japan knowledge, expertise and connections
  • Pre-departure information to help you prepare for your trip
  • 24/7 in-country emergency support (English and Japanese speaking) during your trip

Due to Japan’s popularity, particularly in autumn, pricing and availability are highly subject to change. Please contact us to inquire about your ideal dates.

Not Included

  • International flights (available on request)
  • Travel insurance (we provide recommendations)
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, souvenirs, etc.
  • Trip extensions, optional additional tours/activities, etc.
  • Other services not mentioned
Buddhist monk praying in front of temple Kyoto Japan
Buddhist monk, Kyoto, Japan

“Everything Boutique Japan did was incredibly thoughtful, personal and supportive. Beyond brilliant. Best trip ever.”Kate & Varant, Australia