Private Expedition: Japan (10 days)

Day 4

Tokyo, Japan →Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Japan

Day 5

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Japan


Day 1
Tokyo, Japan
Park Hotel Tokyo None
Arrive Tokyo, Japan

Land in Tokyo and transfer to your hotel in the heart of the capital. Meet your guide at the hotel for a brief orientation, then explore the city on your own this evening.

Day 2
Tokyo, Japan
Park Hotel Tokyo Breakfast

After breakfast, join your guide for a private tour of old Tokyo, with its traditional houses and narrow shopping lanes. Explore Asakusa, the oldest Geisha district in the city, and pass through the iconic gate of the seventh-century Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. Peruse the food stalls, artisan shops, and teahouses of the Yanaka neighborhood; and learn about Fumio Asakura, known as the father of modern Japanese sculpture, at his former workshop—now a museum. This afternoon, explore Tokyo at your leisure. For an additional cost, wield a samurai sword during a private lesson with the Japanese fight performer who choreographed Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.

Day 3
Nikko, Japan
Park Hotel Tokyo None


Join your guide on a private excursion to Nikko National Park in the sacred hills north of Tokyo. Begin at the Tosho-gu shrine complex, a World Heritage site built as a mausoleum for Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded the long-ruling Tokugawa shogunate. Explore lavishly decorated Shinto and Buddhist buildings nestled in an old-growth forest; and then drive through stunning Oku-Nikko, an area rich in waterfalls, lakes, and hot springs. Stop at Lake Yu and soak up the majesty of the fan-shaped Yutaki Falls as it crashes onto volcanic rock.

Day 4
Tokyo, Japan
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Japan
Aura Tachibana Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tokyo/Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

Rise early for a visit to Tsukiji, the world’s largest and busiest fish market. Pick out some fresh tuna and wasabi, then head to the onsite cooking classroom to learn how to roll and prepare sushi. Sample your creations for lunch, and then transfer to Fuji Hakone-Izu National Park—a sprawling natural wonderland of hot springs, lakes, volcanic islands, and soaring peaks. Tonight, stay in a Japanese inn, or ryokan, and enjoy a multi-course kaiseki dinner featuring seasonal ingredients.

Day 5
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Japan
Aura Tachibana Breakfast, Dinner

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

Set out on a private tour of Hakone, an important security checkpoint in securing Edo—now Tokyo—during the feudal era. Learn about the active volcano that once towered where hot springs and steam vents now gurgle; and, on clear days, enjoy stunning views of Mount Fuji. Ride a cable car up Mount Komagatake, a lava dome created by an eruption some 20,000 years ago, and then continue on to Togendai. Cruise Lake Ashinoko on a replica pirate ship, and visit the Hakone Open Air Museum and its sculpture garden.

Day 6
Kyoto, Japan
Hotel Granvia Kyoto Breakfast


Hop on a bullet train for the ride to Kyoto, which served as Japan’s imperial capital for more than a thousand years. All together, 17 of the city’s temples and shrines have been designated World Heritage sites. Settle into your hotel, and then join a private guide at Heian Jingu, a Shinto shrine. Later, participate in an exclusive Japanese tea ceremony at Korin-in temple, learning about the beverage’s connection to Zen Buddhism as you sip green tea brewed by a tea master.

Day 7
Kyoto, Japan
Hotel Granvia Kyoto Breakfast, Lunch


Today you’ll discover Kyoto by bicycle. Ride to the Nishi Honganji Temple and take in its elaborately carved, cypress-thatched gate. Cycle to the ornamental Nijo Castle, a World Heritage site known for its opulent Momoyama architecture and “chirping” nightingale floors. Continue to the Shogun retirement villa turned Zen Buddhist temple of Kinkaku-ji, famously called the Golden Pavilion. After lunch, venture farther north to the Zen rock garden of Ryoan-ji and the otherworldly bamboo groves of Arashiyama. Cap off your tour at the landmark Togetsukyo Bridge, a wooden span in the shadow of Arashiyama Mountain.

Day 8
Nara, Japan
Hotel Granvia Kyoto Breakfast


Join a private guide on a daylong exploration of nearby Nara, which reigned as Japan’s capital in the eighth century. Stroll the enchanting Isui-en Garden; then walk to Todai-ji Temple, once the head Buddhist temple in Japan. Step into the Todai-ji temple and peer up at the 50-foot-tall bronze Buddha inside. Pass through Nara Park, inhabited by herds of freely roaming deer, on your way to discover the bronze and stone lanterns at Kasuga Taisha, a celebrated Shinto shrine. Before returning to Kyoto, get a feel for bygone Japan among the shops, traditional inns, and cafés of the historic merchant district of Naramachi.

Day 9
Osaka, Japan
Swissotel Nankai Osaka Breakfast


Transfer to Osaka, one of Japan’s culinary capitals. Visit the tiered Osaka castle, and then eat your way down Dontonbori Street on a guided gastronomy tour. Taste regional specialties such as takoyaki (octopus snack) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) and marvel at the colorful neon signs and creative storefront displays. Stroll stone-paved Hozenji Alley, lined with traditional shops and restaurants, before returning to your hotel in the evening.

Day 10
Osaka, Japan
None Breakfast


Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Tour Features


  • Adventure
  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing
  • Wildlife & Nature


Japan Private Expedition

10 days | Tokyo to Osaka

Japan delights in contrasts—flashing neon lights and serene bamboo forests, ornate temples and bustling fish markets, the frenetic energy of modern Tokyo and the traditional charms of ancient Kyoto. Navigate old and new Japan with a private guide, discovering how the country’s layered history defines its fascinating culture. Get a glimpse into the beguiling world of geishas in old Tokyo, stay at a ryokan in Hakone, and dig into the bold food scene of Osaka.

Trip Highlights

- Pick out fresh tuna and wasabi and learn to roll sushi like a master chef at Tokyo’s Tsukiji—the world’s largest fish market.

- Bike around old Kyoto, home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and learn about Zen Buddhism while taking part in an exclusive Japanese tea ceremony.

- Take in the soaring summit of Mount Fuji on a private tour of Fuji Hakone-Izu National Park, and then stroll the modern sculpture gardens at the Hakone Open Air Museum.

- Eat your way through Osaka on a guided gastronomy tour, tasting regional specialties such as takoyaki, or octopus snack, and okonomiyaki—savory pancakes.


This expedition is available year-round.

Note: Private Expeditions are designed to fit into your schedule. You choose your desired departure date, and we'll make all the arrangements.

About Us

National Geographic Expeditions offers a broad array of travel experiences to more than 80 destinations across all seven continents, each led by a National Geographic expert, a dynamic trip guide, or an expedition team. National Geographic taps into their vast network of resources around the world when designing trips to create authentic and transformative travel experiences. The official travel program of the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Expeditions aims to fulfill the organization’s mission to inspire people to care about the planet by providing meaningful opportunities to explore it.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

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Please note that the 55 trips with varying terms and conditions have links at the bottom of the global terms website.

The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for National Geographic Expeditions


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By: Howie

Reviewed on: 05 Oct 2015

Wonderful and busy tour.

Very Well done and professional

By: Judd

Reviewed on: 14 Feb 2016

Our 14 day Antarctica adventure was wonderful: the National Geographic team were extremely knowledgeable and very much enjoyed their jobs! All were really in to teaching and conveying their devotion to Antarctica and their particular area of expertise. We are already planning our next adventure with NG!
Travel Advisor:  Cheryl Everhart
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By: The ayotollah

Reviewed on: 21 Sep 2016

She has helped me with a number of trips and always shines. I know I can rely on Linda to be certain that all of the details are taken care of, and her recommendations are well though out. She is a superstar.
Travel Advisor:  Linda Rainwater


By: Ron

Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2017

This was my third trip with National Geographic and, like the others, it was interesting, professional, and well managed.
Travel Advisor:  Eleanor Hardy

Galapagos/ Nat Geo 2017

By: Sree

Reviewed on: 23 Jul 2017

National Geographic was on my bucket list for an expedition to the Galapagos. The Islands are amazing and Nat Geo had great programs in place to highlight this ecological paradise. The partnership with Lindblad was a plus. My kids had a blast with the ships young explorers program which was the kind of quality education I expect from Nat Geo. The naturalists were real professionals. The entire team succeeded in making it a memorable trip.

Wild and Windswept, for sure!

By: RobinBG

Reviewed on: 25 Sep 2017

Always the best trip out there if you want history, culture and adventure. We learned so much about the places we visited, were able to hear local musicians play, and went to places that are hard to reach any other way than by a small ship. And - the food and service is beyond compare.
Travel Advisor:  Amy Rectenwald

Morocco Private Expeditions

By: Morocco Traveler

Reviewed on: 23 Oct 2017

Good trip. Fair amount of driving but most of it is on the autoroutes which are good roads. Going to the south the road is under construction so it is longer. Good representation of the various areas of Morocco. Our private guide, Ali was excellent.
Travel Advisor:  Martha Gaughen


By: Jud

Reviewed on: 28 Oct 2017

Outstanding in every respect except Casablanca Sofitel and some of the guest on the tour
Travel Advisor:  Jamo Ladd

NatGeo Photo Workshop

By: Lance R

Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2017

The NatGeo photo workshop was a great experience. Myrna was wondering to work with. Can't wait for my next trip through her!
Travel Advisor:  Myrna Arroyo

The White continent - Antarctica

By: Anissia

Reviewed on: 28 Dec 2017

Absolutely amazing! They ran a tight ship literally. Everyone was so pleasant to deal with, all naturalists were so knowledgeable. Expedition Leader Lucho had all zodiac outings running smoothly. I would repeat this trip if it was not so expensive though it is worth the money!
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth


By: oh my

Reviewed on: 03 Jan 2018

Natalie was excellent. Very good to work with and very helpful.
Travel Advisor:  Natalie Rael


By: Dana

Reviewed on: 30 Mar 2018

Nat Geo hosted a wonderful tour of Yellowstone in winter. We would use Nat Geo again in a minute!
Travel Advisor:  Loni Truitt

Antartica, South Georgia and Falklands

By: Lin

Reviewed on: 28 Feb 2018

The Antartica, South Georgia and Falklands trip exceed my expectations. Travelling on the National Geographic Orion provided an exceptional experience which included spacious well appointed accommodation, delicious food, attentive good natured staff and interesting daily presentations and outings with knowledgeable experts. I can not think of a better way to explore and enjoy the incredible beauty of this pristine and its abundant wildlife. I now understand why there were a number of returning visitors on this fabulous trip.
Travel Advisor:  Samuel Spencer

Exploring Patagonia

By: Greg

Reviewed on: 23 Mar 2018

Nat Geo Expeditions is awesome! This particular expedition provides an excellent overview of this unique area of the world. Our tour manager Sylvina and expert Constanza Ceruti were excellent guides for our expedition providing high-level insights into the culture, history and ongoing research of Argentina, Chile and Patagonia. We would highly recommend this expedition!
Travel Advisor:  Courtney Regan

Great guides

By: Beverly

Reviewed on: 26 Jun 2018

Good job in every way. National Geographic has a tendency to over schedule activities, leaving no down time. I believe photographers need a little time each day, or every other day to organize photographs. The only time we have on National Geographic trips is bedtime when we are wiped out from a full day of activities.
Travel Advisor:  Meg Harrison

Churchill Wild

By: Island Bell

Reviewed on: 26 Aug 2018

This was without a doubt the trip of a lifetime.
Travel Advisor:  Denise Larson

National Geographic Expeditions

By: Fred

Reviewed on: 22 Aug 2018

I thought the guides were really worthwhile. Their end-of-day recaps were quite interesting and presented in a professional manner as were the activities they guided us to. I was struck by their very obvious love for the work they were doing in their individual fields.
Travel Advisor:  Deb Velli

Tanzania and Rwanda

By: Dave

Reviewed on: 27 Aug 2018

As always first class-the itinerary was perfect for us and the expert was very informative and helpful. Travelling with NatGeo is a real experience and having travelled 4 times with them, can't say they need to improve anything just keep up the great work.
Travel Advisor:  Rose Rende

Great Apes and Uganda & Rwanda

By: Nikki D

Reviewed on: 09 Sep 2018

National Geographic Expeditions tour of Uganda and Rwanda was amazing. Whilst the main purpose was to see the great Apes, the game drive we did was a real highlight as well. The tour leaders were great and fun to be with and our Nat Geo Expert was a real delight and so informative. Really added to the trip. The trip is extremely busy with not a lot of time to yourself. Accommodations we stayed at were fabulous and all meals were excellent.

train trip

By: Camilla

Reviewed on: 14 Sep 2018

Beautiful, and worth every penny. The tour leader took care of everything. The entire trip went on schedule and smoothly. Our archaeologist was very enthusiastic which was contagious. Each area a guide familiar with that area was used to show the highlights.
Travel Advisor:  Nora Elzy

Provence Hiking Tour

By: World Traveler

Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2018

Nat Geo provide a great travel experience. Amazing to hike on centuries old trails through vineyards, orchards and forests with a gourmet picnic lunch every day. Highly recommend.
Travel Advisor:  Courtney Regan

Nat Geo Expeditions

By: Traveler

Reviewed on: 14 Nov 2018

These are the most intense and gratifying explorations of the natural world. Accommodations and staff are beyond excellent. Well worth the money, time, and exertion .
Travel Advisor:  Karen Schmiser


By: ca

Reviewed on: 15 Jan 2019

Very good trip !
Travel Advisor:  Natalie Rael