If you’re looking for the Japan trip of a lifetime, you’re in the right place.

Japan is one of the most fascinating countries in the world, but getting beneath the surface can be a challenge for even the most experienced travelers. Our specialty is curating unique, memorable experiences — not just sightseeing or checking items off a list.

Below you’ll find sample trips and experiences to inspire you, and essential information about a bespoke trip with us.

Not ready to plan? Find insightful Japan travel information and inspiration in the Boutique Japan blog.

Sample Japan Itineraries

Whether you usually plan your own trips or normally work with a destination expert, planning a trip to Japan can seem overwhelming at times. At Boutique Japan we make the process as fun and effortless as possible, so you can simply relax and savor the experience.

The sample itineraries below are here to inspire you, and are meant to be customized. We can use them as a foundation for your bespoke Japan trip, or design your itinerary completely from scratch. For more inspiration see Japan’s Best Destinations: Tokyo, Kyoto & Beyond.

Unique Japan Experiences

Japan offers an incredible array of cultural and culinary experiences, from the sublime to the exhilarating. Your entire trip will be designed just for you, whether your interests lie in:

  • Cuisine. Experience the best of Japanese food with local experts, from casual ramen shops and izakayas, to exquisite kaiseki and sushi.
  • Arts. Visit the art island Naoshima, gallery hop in Tokyo, and meet master artisans and traditional craftspeople in Kyoto and rural Japan.
  • Stylish accommodations. Stay at some of the world’s most unique and luxurious hotels and ryokans.
  • Tradition. Stroll through impeccable gardens, visit remarkable temples and shrines, and experience the high energy of sumo or a traditional matsuri (festival).
  • Contemporary culture. Find inspiration in Japan’s spectacular architecture, renowned culture of design, and pioneering fashion (not to mention some of the world’s most unique shopping).
  • Drinks. Sample beverages from tea and coffee, to sake, whisky, and shochu.
  • Nature. Get outdoors and off-the-beaten-path with vigorous hikes, historic village-to-village walks, and the chance to soak in remote rural onsen (hot springs) deep in the Japanese countryside.

We meticulously arrange your trip around your interests, ideal travel pace, accommodation preferences, and personal travel style.

What’s Included in Your Japan Trip?

A custom Japan itinerary with us typically includes all of the following.

As we design your bespoke trip completely from the ground up, the exact details will be reflected in your personalized itinerary.

  • Expert Japan insights. Get the most out of your precious time in Japan with access to our extensive firsthand experience, Japan expertise, and close-knit network throughout the country.
  • Beautiful accommodations. A trip to Japan offers the chance to stay in stunning boutique and luxury hotels and ryokans. We’ll make thoughtful recommendations based on our personal expertise and your taste and priorities.
  • Fun and insightful private tours and experiences. When it comes to private guides and local experts, we have unusually high standards (learn more in the FAQ below). Your trip will include unique private tours and experiences, curated around your interests, and as much free time as you’d like.
  • In-country transport and seamless logistics. We meticulously arrange your in-country travels around your preferences and priorities. Getting around Japan is an absolute pleasure thanks to the comfort and efficiency of its various modes of transport, from the shinkansen (bullet train) to its white-gloved chauffeurs.
  • Selected meals. Your trip includes meals at your accommodations (typically breakfast at hotels, and breakfast plus dinner at ryokans), along with additional culinary experiences depending on your itinerary. This can include private izakaya outings, intimate sushi dinners, and much more.
  • Pre-departure information. Essential advice as you prepare for your trip, including key tips on Japanese etiquette, packing, money, language, Wi-Fi, and more.
  • Extraordinary support. We are here to answer any questions that may come up at every stage of the process, and provide thoughtful service to our travelers from start to finish, including 24/7 assistance during your trip.

Pricing for a Trip with Boutique Japan

Trips with us typically fall into the price ranges outlined below. These are guidelines meant to give you an approximate sense of pricing (rather than hard-and-fast categories), and many travelers seek elements of more than one.

For example, some travelers prioritize unique experiences above all, others love splurging on luxury accommodations, and many simply want the best of everything.

Soba Japan

The Price of Your Trip

Based on years of planning bespoke Japan trips for travelers from around the world, we’ve found the guidelines above to be accurate in predicting expected pricing — but how is the price of your trip determined?

We begin with the goal of putting together the best possible itinerary, taking both your priorities and our firsthand expertise into account (as outlined in our process).

This includes painstakingly selecting accommodations (down to thinking about which room type or suite you’d personally appreciate most), organizing your itinerary to include immersive private tours and experiences around your interests (balanced with as much or little free time as you would like), arranging seamless transport logistics in line with your preferences, and all the other small but essential details involved in expertly coordinating a seamless trip.

The price of your trip is based on the itinerary itself, and all that is included, along with factors such as your travel dates (for example, during peak seasons pricing may be higher) and the number of travelers in your party.

Chozuya purification shrine Kyoto Japan

We typically require a small preliminary itinerary design fee, which enables us to dedicate our time and effort to each of our travelers, giving each trip the personal love and attention it deserves. The amount varies depending on various factors (such as trip length, itinerary intricacy, etc.) and is fully applied to the final cost of your trip.

Please note that each of our tailor-made trips is offered as a completely customized package, just for you, and itemized price breakdowns are not provided. While some travelers don’t have a particular budget in mind, if you are working around a specific range or desired limit, just let us know and will be more than happy to discuss the possibilities.

Because we design trips exclusively for travelers directly (we don’t work with travel agents or other intermediaries, who charge extra markups), the price of our service ends up being remarkably reasonable in relation to the premium, personalized nature of our trips. Our fresh, customer-centric approach is a key reason Condé Nast Traveler has selected us as a Top Travel Specialist for Japan.

FAQ

These are some of the most common questions we get from travelers. If you have any other questions, we’ll be happy to help so please contact us.

How does your service work?

We begin by listening and learning about your interests, priorities, and travel style. Then we provide expert input to make sure you’re aware of special places and experiences you may not have considered.

Next, we design a completely customized Japan trip just for you, taking your feedback into account along the way. Throughout the process, we make things as easy and enjoyable as possible for you. Additionally, with 24/7 emergency assistance during your trip, you can simply relax and enjoy your adventure.

See more details in Planning Your Trip with Boutique Japan.

What about Covid-19?

See Planning a Japan Trip in the Time of Covid to find out what to expect on the ground, and learn about our flexible booking policy.

Where in Japan do you go?

We offer private itineraries throughout all of Japan. Our sample trips above are here to provide inspiration, and there are also many other places in Japan we absolutely love.

When it comes to your itinerary, we’ll provide personalized suggestions in the course of planning your trip.

How much do your trips cost, and what’s included?

Click here for pricing information, and here for details on what’s included.

Who are your trips for?

Our travelers are based around the world, in the Americas, Australia, Europe, and beyond. The majority of our clients are couples (including honeymooners), families, small groups of friends, and solo travelers.

Are these group tours?

No, these are completely private itineraries.

How do you select your guides?

We hear a lot from travelers who have had lackluster, unsatisfying tours in the past.

While some of our clients enjoy having a guide from start to finish, most commonly our travelers enjoy a mix of guided time along with free time for independent exploration and relaxation (in our experience, the optimal balance is quite different for everyone).

When it comes to private guides and local experts, we have unusually high standards (few things in travel are more disappointing than a mediocre guide), and through constant travel and exploration we’ve personally developed a network of wonderful guides and insightful experts throughout Japan.

In Japan, even more so than most elsewhere, trust is established only over long periods of time. Our tours are based on valuable relationships carefully cultivated over many years, and we’re extremely fortunate to work with remarkable people around the country.

For us, it’s about far more than just having knowledge: we seek out the truly engaging individuals who are not only bright and knowledgeable, but also flexible and quick-thinking. Perhaps above all, they must be fun, interesting people you’ll actually want to spend your valuable time with.

Are my payments secure?

Yes, we take the security of traveler funds extremely seriously. Deposits and other trip funds are held securely, and when forwarding payments to service providers we work strictly with trusted, highly conscientious accommodations and guides.

Why should I travel with Boutique Japan?

On the dry but important side, we are accredited Japan Travel Specialists, and maintain active memberships with organizations including the International Association of Travel Agents Network (IATAN) and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). Our California Seller of Travel registration number is CST 2114860-40.

Perhaps more interestingly, unlike most travel companies we intentionally work with fewer travelers. This lets us take an extraordinarily personalized approach when it comes to your trip.

Along with our expertise and creativity, our low-volume approach is one reason Condé Nast Traveler named Boutique Japan founder Andres Zuleta a Top Travel Specialist for Japan:

“Zuleta’s Boutique Japan is a small company that eschews volume and spends more time customizing each trip to offer travelers a fresh, creative approach to Japan – something that discerning travelers seek out after learning of Zuleta’s deep immersion into the Japanese language and culture from years of living in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.”

If you’re as obsessed with the details as we are, chances are we’ll be a good fit. (See what our travelers say here and on Google Reviews.)

More Japan travel questions?

See our Japan Travel FAQ for more answers to common questions about visiting Japan.