About This Tour
Japan is an enigma rolled into a riddle and stuffed with paradoxical yellow tail and ironic robots. You’ve got Geisha girls catching bullet trains with salary men. No one’s really religious but almost everyone secretly believes in the nature spirits of Shintoism. There are more love hotels in Japan than any other country. People still practice ritual suicide. And Baseball is the number one sport.
From the outside looking in, nothing seems to make much sense, and that’s what makes Japan so brilliant.
This tour is all about discovering Japan in all it’s weird, wacky, wonderful, ancient, technologically advanced, and perspective altering glory.
We’re going to immerse ourselves in ancient traditions.
We’re going to dive into the night-life.
We’re going to get to know the faces and hearts of the Japanese.
And most importantly, we’re going to eat and sleep well; Udon, Ramen, Tempura, deep fried green tea ice cream and of course Sushi and Sashimi at hot-spring resorts, ninja houses, traditional homes, and capsule spa hotels.
Like all Runaway Tours, this tour of Japan is all about good times, adventures, comfort on a budget, an off the trail experience, and hanging out and traveling with a small group of like minded friends to be.
About The Guide
My name is Leif (rhymes with safe), I’m the editor of The Runaway Guide, and I’ll be your guide on this tour of Japan.
My innate pluralistic upbringing first sparked my interest in Japan. My mother was born in Kamakura, Japan, the daughter of a Japanese mother and American father. My childhood was defined in large part by the Buddhist lessons imparted by my great uncle Bon Chan and the Japanese cuisine cooked up by grandmother Obaachan. Needless to say, Rice-balls turned me into a Japan-ophile from a young age.
At age 14 I visited Tokyo for the first time. I was amazed by it’s skyline, it’s high-speed trains, and often-comical juxtaposition of the ancient with modern. I also fell head over heals for 7/11 take-away Rice-balls! And I knew that I would one day learn the language and live in Japan.
8 years later and I was studying and working in Shibuya, in the heart of Tokyo.
Why I Started This Tour
Having traveled to more than 70 countries, I find Japan to be the most interesting, innovative, ironic, continually intriguing and delicious country in the world.
I started this tour to share all that I love about Japan with you.
Over countless weeks I crafted a route and secured unique accommodations that would allow us to fully experience the intricacies and beauty of Japan’s society, culture, and nature.
I hope to provide an experience that will not only enlighten us to new ways of life but also give us a chance to take part in them ourselves. Ultimately, my goal is to provide a tour of unbeatable value in terms of accommodations, adventures and experiences.
1) Tokyo (Days 1-3)
At 36 million people, Tokyo is the biggest city in the world. There’s so much to do and see that I’m actually going to let you guys choose exactly what you want to do from a list of some orthodox and not so orthodox activities.
Leading each day is our Tokyo specialist, none other than Shinjuku native, De-hi or “D” for short.
In Tokyo we’ll be based at the “Ninja house,” a three story free standing home in the heart of Shinjuku. Why’s it the Ninja House? The floors and rooms of the house are connected by ladders and little square entrances. Although like every Japanese home it’s on the small side, we’ve got the whole house to ourselves!
2) Fujiyoshida (Days 4-5)
Fujiyoshida is an 1 ½ hour train ride west of Tokyo. It’s a good sized city but looks small next to Japans largest volcano, Mount Fuji. Here we’ll climb the first half of Fuji-san via the ancient pilgrimage route. We’ll take a day to check out the ice and bat caves, followed by a hot-spring bath. Finally, we’ll visit Fuji-Q Highland, home of Japan’s highest and steepest roller coaster.
3) Lake Kawaguchiko (Days 6-7)
There’s no better view of Mount Fuji than from Lake Kawaguchiko (say that ten times fast!) Here we’ll be enjoying the views from a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese Inn. We’ll be soaking in tea flavored baths and mint flavored saunas. Get ready to relax, eat like a samurai and even write Haikus to the views if that’s your thing.
4) Kyoto ( Days 8-10)
Our final stop on the tour is the ancient capitol of Kyoto. Kyoto is all about century year old castles, temples, and shrines, and we’ll see all of this. But more than anything Kyoto represents the soul of Japan. Here we’ll take part in traditional arts such as calligraphy, Kendo (Samurai sword training), and the tea ceremony.
- All accommodation costs: Traditional Japanese Inn, Capsule Hotel, Private Houses
- Transportation costs: Shinkansen Bullet Train, Mt. Fuji Express Train, shuttle bus
- Multiple meals: 1 Dinner, 1 Breakfast
- Adventures & entrance fees: Fuji Q Amusement Park entrance ticket, temple fees, Mt. Fuji Climb, & hot springs.
- Extras: A few surprises you definitely won’t find on any other tour ;)
- Preparation Guides & Support: Cheap airfare research support, preparatory guides & optional Skype sessions.
What’s Not Included?
- Airfare: you are responsible for purchasing your own ticket. However, I will do my best to find you the cheapest ticket possible.
- Transportation: Flights, airport transportation, Tokyo Metro, Kyoto Metro tickets
- Meals: none aside from those mentioned above
Tour 1: April 29- May 9
Duration: 10 Nights
Tour Leader(s): Leif & De-Hi Lee
Tour Price: 1245$
+ Shinkansen Bullet Train + Mt Fuji Bus: 145$
Total Tour Price: 1390$
Message For More Information
Check out this post to see how our 2015 tour went!
Our April 29, 2017 Group So Far!