Japan has honed the essence of luxury for centuries, and Japanese culture lends itself perfectly to unrivalled hospitality and exclusive experiences. Our Luxe Japan holiday showcases our most indulgent favourites for an authentic trip of a lifetime.
At a glance
- Soar over a Tokyo sunset by helicopter
- Take a chauffeur-driven tour of Edo-era streets
- Learn to make sushi with a top restaurant chef
- Pay your respects at the Ise Grand Shrine
- Indulge in one of Japan’s finest hot spring onsens
- Discover Kyoto’s finest World Heritage Sites
- Enjoy an exclusive tea ceremony in a private temple
- Share a traditional feast with an apprentice geisha
- Relax in a nobleman’s riverside home
- Explore Naoshima art island with a renowned curator
- Unwind on the exuberant streets of Osaka
Tokyo - 3 nights
Tokyo is one of the world's most captivating cities, and has seen revolutionary changes over the last few centuries. The shogun’s castle has transformed into the Emperor’s Palace, the samurai dwellings have exploded upwards into gleaming skyscrapers, and millions of people have poured in from all over the country, animating their capital into a vast energising urban sprawl. You’ll explore some of the city’s most historic streets with a chauffeur, and soar above its skyline by helicopter, along with receiving an exclusive sushi-making class from one of Tokyo’s top chefs.
Day 1 - Arrive Tokyo
On arrival in Tokyo, you will be welcomed by a Selective Asia representative, who will accompany you to your hotel via Tokyo’s excellent public transport system. Having settled in to your hotel, the rest of your day will be at leisure.
Day 2 - Chauffeur-driven city tour, sunset helicopter flight
Your chauffeur and guide will collect you for a morning tour of the city, taking in Tokyo’s most famous shrine, its city’s oldest Geisha district, and Senso-ji, which - at nearly 1,400 years old - is Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist site. Your morning itinerary can be adapted to take in any locations of interest, such as the glossy Ginza district, Shibuya’s iconic road crossing, and the elegant Imperial Palace. Ideally just before sunset, you'll be driven to Urayasu Heliport for a scenic helicopter flight over the city. You’ll soar over this huge metropolis, dipping down for the best views. If you’ve chosen to coincide the flight with sunset, you’ll enjoy a truly stunning sight as the sun sinks behind the skyscrapers. On the clearest days, Mt. Fuji can be seen on the horizon. Back on terra firma, say sayonara to your pilot, and slip into your limo for the trip into central Tokyo.
Day 3 - Exclusive sushi-making class
Your guide will accompany you to one of the most exclusive sushi restaurants in downtown Tokyo. Sushi has become one of Japan's most famous symbols, but there’s nothing quite like well-made sushi in one of the country’s top sushi restaurants. During the morning you can taste some of Tokyo’s finest sushi, and meet one of city’s top sushi chefs, who will show you around the restaurant and teach you some valuable techniques. Sushi ingredients are simple, but its preparation can be quite elaborate, and follows a long tradition, so learning these techniques first-hand from a sushi star is an exclusive opportunity. After the lesson, you can enjoy a high-end sushi lunch – partly made by yourself!
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Mie Prefecture - 2 nights
The rural Mie Prefecture is famous for its forested landscapes and beautiful coastline. The region produces some of the freshest seafood in Japan, and pearl cultivation is another important local industry. In particular, it's famous as the location of Ise Grand Shrine, one of Shinto’s most sacred sites, and a favourite pilgrimage destination for the Japanese people. Your stay here will include a visit to the shrine, and time spent relaxing in one of Japan’s most extraordinary hot spring onsens.
Day 4 - Bullet train & private car to Mie, Ise Grand Shrine
Hop on the bullet train to Nagoya, where you’ll be driven to into Mie, stopping en route at Ise Grand Shrine. Stroll to Okage-Yokocho, a picturesque street of Edo and Meiji era buildings, for a lunch of local specialities and perhaps tea or dessert at one of the local food stalls, before paying a visit to a much-loved local landmark. Continue to Amanemu, an extraordinary property in the forests of Ise-Shima National Park. Each of its suites and villas has a private onsen, and its tranquil luxury epitomises the traditional hot spring experience. On arrival, your time will be at leisure to indulge in the many relaxation and hot spring facilities.
Day 5 - Amanemu luxury onsen
Your day will be at leisure to indulge in the onsen facilities or explore the surroundings.
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Kyoto - 4 nights
Kyoto has long played a graceful historic counterpoint to Tokyo’s unrelenting urban buzz. This is a city of ancient Shinto shrines and immaculate Zen temples, professional geisha and Noh theatre, and the evocative wooden architecture of ‘old’ Japan. It's home to an astonishing 2,000 shrines and temples, including seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The oldest was established in the 6th century AD, and for miles around you can find soaring pagodas, along with the superbly decorated shogunate Nijo Castle, and markets selling well-made traditional crafts and decent antiques. Aside from its historic architecture and deep cultural connections, Kyoto is renowned for its cuisine, and the city boasts some of the best restaurants in Japan, several of which enjoy Michelin-star ratings. You’ll explore some of the city’s Unesco World Heritage sites, attend an exclusive tea ceremony in a private temple, and share a traditional multi-course feast with an apprentice geisha.
Day 6 - Private car & bullet train to Kyoto
You’ll be driven to the station to catch the bullet train to Kyoto. A chauffeur will be waiting to drive you to your hotel, where the rest of your day will be at leisure.
Day 7 - Chauffeur-driven city tour
Your guide and chauffeur will collect you for a tour of some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites. Start with Nijo Castle, an ornamental structure surrounded by stunning gardens, built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate. The main building was completed in 1603 and is known for its distinctive architecture and chirping ‘nightingale’ floors. Continue to Ryoan-ji, the site of Japan's most famous Zen garden and home to the Myoshinji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. Finally, visit Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, once the Shogun's villa and now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples.
Day 8 - Private temple tea ceremony, dinner with apprentice geisha
For tea you'll enter 400 year old Kodaiji, one of Kyoto’s most famous Zen temples. Your exclusive Japanese tea ceremony will be held in a sub-temple not normally open to the public, and will be performed by an experienced teacher. Stroll around the temple's beautiful Zen garden before receiving a learned explanation of Japanese tea and the ancient ceremony around it. After tea, your guide will accompany you to Gion, known as Kyoto’s geisha district, although geisha from Kyoto are in fact known as ‘geiko’, hence the apprentice title ‘maiko’. For dinner, you'll be served a kaiseki ryori - a traditional multi-course dinner - in the company of a maiko. During the meal, you'll have ample opportunity to speak with the apprentice and ask questions about her craft and the world of geisha. She will perform traditional dances, and may invite you to play traditional Japanese drinking games.
Day 9 - Explore independently
Your day will be at leisure to explore Kyoto. At some point, you'll take a riverboat to the serene Arashiyama district and the your luxurious riverside retreat, the Hoshinoya, which was once the home of a Kyoto nobleman.
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Naoshima - 2 nights
Formerly a struggling fishing community in Japan’s Inland Sea, the island’s fortune was transformed in the early 1990s by the establishment of Benesse Art Site, which showcases the best up-and-coming Japanese artists and architects, alongside international talent such as Warhol, Monet and Hockney. Amongst the island’s museums, galleries and outdoor sculptures, you’ll find a handful of empty traditional buildings which have been restored for use as creative installations by contemporary artists. The work here changes on a regular basis, and it’s easy to stroll between the ‘houses’. This unique project also offers an insight into local life, since the buildings are scattered between the islanders’ homes.
Day 10 - Train & boat to Naoshima art island
Make your way by train and boat to Naoshima, where the rest of your day will be at leisure to wander amongst the many art museums and exhibits.
Day 11 - Explore Naoshima with a curator
Spend the day accompanied by a renowned curator, who will talk you through the different signature works displayed across the island, and accompany you to Chichu Art Museum, which is constructed almost completely underground, to see works by James Turrell, Claude Monet, and Walter de Maria. If time permits, continue to the Lee Ufan Museum, the result of a collaboration between Korean mimimalist Lee Ufan and Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
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Osaka - 1 night
Osaka is defined by its flamboyance, its fun-loving people, and fantastic food and drink; this is a place to indulge yourself and allow people to entertain you. The city's food and sake are world-renowned, thanks to plentiful supplies of high quality ingredients, and long-established merchants with preferential connections. Dotonbori is the best known district for food and nightlife, and you may well end up here, indulging in the city’s best streetfood on your final night in Japan.
Day 12 - Boat & train to Osaka
On arrival, the rest of your day will be at leisure to indulge in Osaka's scene. We recommend heading to the Umeda Sky Building - a pair of skyscrapers connected near the top in an unusual architectural form that lets you feel the wind whilst safely enjoying the view. Also known as the Floating Garden Observatory, the observation platform offers a superb introduction to Osaka, letting you see right to the edge of the city.
Day 13 - Depart Osaka
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.
Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.
|Hotel class||Price per person (based on total # travelling)|
Palace HotelOriginally built in the early 1960’s and an iconic property of the time, the Palace Hotel was razed to the ground in 2009 and completely rebuilt, re-opening in 2012 with a more up-to-date look... See more
AmanemuThe Amanemu is a swish, modern spa retreat echoing the traditional ryokan style but with a contemporary twist. Set within the forests of Japan's Ise Shima National Park and overlooking the serene Bay of Pearls... See more
Four Seasons KyotoMaking the most of its location in Kyoto’s forested hills, the Four Seasons is a chic, stylish hotel where couples and families can relax in comfort… See more
Hoshinoya KyotoNestled on the wooded banks of the Hozugawa River in the temple-rich Arashiyama district, Hoshinoya is accessible from Kyoto by a lazy 10 minute boat journey in a traditional cedar wood boat... See more
Benesse House Hotel
There’s a privileged pleasure in experiencing good art without crowds of people, and a stay at Benesse House Hotel is a private view with great big bells on...See more
Occupying the top floors of the Nakanoshima Festival West Tower in the heart of the city, the Conrad Osaka is a sleek luxury hotel with sweeping views from all its guest rooms and public spaces…See more
Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.
These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).
- Extend your holiday with a few days exploring the Japanese Alps where you can indulge in traditional Japanese hospitality in a Ryokan, climb Mount Fuji, or visit the fascinating and welcoming city of Hiroshima.
At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
While many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.
The important stuff
Please note: Japanese hotel contracts are extremely seasonal in comparison to most of their Asian counterparts and therefore you should expect surcharges at various times of the year, including weekends, not just during peak seasons such as Christmas, New Year and Cherry Blossom. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.
- English speaking, local guide
- All accommodation listed
- All train tickets and rail passes as listed
- Luggage forwarding service as listed
- 4G Wi-Fi To Go Package
- Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
- All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals listed
- International flight reconfirmation.
- Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights from the UK
- Entry visas
- International airport departure taxes
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Drinks, other than water on activity days
- Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
- Travel insurance
- All other services not listed in 'inclusive'
All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.
FlightsWe will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.
VisaYou will not require a visa to enter Japan. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.
PassportPlease ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.
InsuranceYou will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.
Vaccinations and Malaria PreventionYou will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.
Booking ProcedureOnly once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.
Travelling ResponsiblyWe care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.
Our tailor-made service costs you no extra
This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...
What to expect from us in Japan
Japan's excellent public transport & exceptional safety allow us to offer a more self-guided experience than we do elsewhere. It's a famously expensive country, so we often suggest more independent exploration, with our exclusive self-guide app on hand to help you unearth our hidden gems. This helps to keep your costs down, and the data is on us.