J-Trek: Golden Route

Trip Overview  |  Important Trip Information  |  Additional Experiences  |  Trip Gallery  |  Itinerary Overview

Trip Overview

The Golden Route is one of the most popular J-Trek itineraries, as travel between each city is easy and limited. This trek gives you the opportunity to explore Osaka, Kyoto, Hakone, and Tokyo. Groups will often elect to stay the night in Hakone to enjoy some extra time of the beautiful Mt. Fuji views.

Price range varies depending on group size, time of travel, accommodation level, and included activities.

Important Trip Information


  • Hotel 8 nights


  • 4 Lunches
  • 2 Dinners


  • Private coach

Trip Highlights

  • English speaking guide throughout
  • Shrine and Temple Visits
  • Osaka Castle & Sky Building
  • Kimono wearing
  • Nara Park
  • Sake Brewery
  • Hakone Open Air Museum
  • Hakone Ropeway Ride & Lake Cruise
  • Tsukiji Walking Tour
  • Zazen Meditation
  • Onsen Hot Spring “Enkai” Dinner
  • Yakatabune Dinner Cruise


  • International flights
  • International airport departure tax
  • Any visas required
  • Services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Late check out at hotels
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks with included lunches and dinners
  • Tips for leaders, guide and driver
  • Expenditure of personal nature
  • Personal Insurance
  • Optional activities

Additional Experiences

Sumo Wrestling

Sushi Making Class

Aikido Seminar

Mario Karting

Geisha District Tour

Bonsai Lesson

Itinerary Overview
Day 1 - Arrive Osaka

Arrival at Kansai Airport

Meeting with your guide in the arrival hall and transfer to your hotel by private coach.

The remainder of your day is at leisure.

Dinner at a local restaurant – Enkai style.

Included Meals: dinner

Day 2 - Osaka

Breakfast at hotel

After breakfast, meet with your guide in the hotel lobby for a departure to Kuromon Market by private coach.

Enjoy a food tour in Osaka’s Kuromon Market, with the opportunity to try Michelin-starred Takoyaki, scallops and fish cakes, Japanese wagyu beef skewers as well as “toro” sushi, the most delicious fatty part of the tuna fish. The experience isn’t dedicated to savoury tastes only, as there is also the chance to sample some Japanese green tea and try a “wagashi” Japanese sweet for dessert. One drink is also included.

Osaka Castle is one of Japan’s most famous castles, and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. The contrast between the old Osaka Castle park with its large stone walls and the surrounding skyscrapers provides an excellent example of the balance between modern Japan and its rich cultural heritage.

Lunch at a local restaurant

Last stop is the Umeda Sky Building. You will enjoy the unobstructed 360-degree view of Osaka bay and even surrounding cities from the open-air observatory.

A private coach will take you to your hotel.

Included Meals: lunch

Day 3 - Osaka - Nara - Kyoto

Breakfast at hotel and check out

After breakfast meet with your guide in the hotel lobby for a departure to Nara by private coach.

During the eighth century, Nara was Japan’s capital for 74 years and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still stand today.

Visit Todaiji temple, one of the world’s largest wooden structures and home to Japan’s largest Buddha. The park surrounding the temple is called Nara Park, but is referred to by many as “Deer Park” due to the large population of more than one thousand tame deer who freely roam the streets and will bow their heads in exchange for a treat.
A lunch box will be provided here.

After lunch, a private coach will take you to Fushimi Ward.

Next, you will visit a sake brewery. In this building constructed in the traditional style, you will sample different types of their sake and see which you like the most!

Lastly you will visit Fushimi Inari Shrine. Featured in the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha”, this shrine is known for its thousands of red torii gates leading up and through the sacred forest of Mount Inari and has been voted the number one must see spot in Kyoto by visitors.

After the sake tasting, a private coach will take you to your hotel in Kyoto.

Included Meals: lunch

Day 4 - Kyoto

Free day at leisure

Included Meals: none

Day 5 - Kyoto

Meet with your guide in the hotel lobby for a departure to Kinkakuji by private coach.

Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After the death of Shogun Yoshimitsu, it became a Buddhist Temple at his request. It is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples, with its top two floors completely covered in gold-leaf.

After visiting the temple, a private coach will take you to the entrance to Arashiyama, to the Monkey Park Iwatayama, just south of the Togetsukyo Bridge
After hiking uphill for about ten minutes, visitors will find an open area with over a hundred monkeys roaming freely. There are also nice views down onto the city.

Walk to Tenryuji temple. Ranked among Kyoto’s five great Zen temples Tenryuji is the largest and most impressive temple in Arashiyama. Founded in 1339 at the start of the Muromachi Period, the temple is now considered important cultural property and ranked by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. You will visit only the beautiful gardens with walking paths.

After lunch, you will be able to enjoy your tour of Arashiyama wearing a traditional Japanese kimono. In a kimono shop, professional staff will carefully coordinate your kimono and help you wear it.

On the way to Nonomiya shrine your path will lead you through Arashiyama’s famous bamboo groves, which are unlike any other place in Japan. The bamboo has been used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes and mats at local workshops for centuries. Nonomiya shrine is a Shinto shrine where in ancient times, unmarried imperial princesses stayed for a year or more to purify themselves. The shrine is referenced in numerous works of literature, most notably in the world’s first novel; The Tale of Genji.

After the tour, change back into your clothes and head back to your hotel by private coach.

Included Meals: lunch

Day 6 - Kyoto

After breakfast meet with your guide in the hotel lobby for a departure to Kyoto on foot.

At Kyoto station you will board a high-speed bullet train bound for Tokyo (2 hours and 15 minutes)

Upon arriving in Tokyo station, a private coach will be waiting to take you to to a local restaurant, where a sushi master will show you how to make sushi.

Learn to prepare maki sushi (rolled sushi) and nigiri sushi (sushi rice topped with a slice of raw fish). You will then get to enjoy your homemade sushi for lunch together with tempura and miso soup.

Ginza is Tokyo’s most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district, featuring numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, night clubs and cafes. One square meter of land in the district’s center is worth over ten million yen, making it one of the most expensive real estate in Japan. It is where you can find the infamous $10 cups of coffee and where virtually every leading brand name in fashion and cosmetics has a presence.

End at Shibuya, Tokyo’s main center for youth fashion and culture, whose streets are the birthplace to many of Japan’s fashion and entertainment trends. It is also home to the famous 5-way “scramble crossing.”

Included Meals: lunch

Day 7 - Tokyo - Hakone - Tokyo

Meet with your guide at the hotel for a departure to the town of Hakone by private coach.

Throughout the day you will have a chance to get a glimpse of Mt Fuji, however, please keep in mind that she is a notoriously shy mountain and it needs to be a clear day.

First stop in Hakone will be the Hakone shrine. This Shinto shrine was very popular among samurai during the twelfth century and is hidden away in a dense forest. In fact, the shrine is so well hidden that it would be easy to miss were it not for its magnificent torii gates.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Next stop will be Hakonemachi where you will board a Pirate Boat taking you to Togendai. Both are ports on the shores of Lake Ashi, which is in fact an enormous volcanic crater created by an eruption 3,000 years ago. *In case of bad weather, Pirate Boat departure may be subjected to rescheduling or cancellation.

After arriving in Togendai you will continue our journey via Ropeway heading towards Owakudani.

The first thing you will notice when arriving in Owakudani is the smell of sulfur coming from this active volcano. There are walking trails around Owakudani that lead to steam vents and bubbling pools. The eggs they sell in Owakudani are boiled in the volcano’s natural hot springs and are said to prolong life by seven years! *Owakudani is generally accessible by ropeway however, as this area is an active volcanic zone, hiking trails may be closed due to volcanic gasses. People with respiratory problems should consult their physician before visiting the area.

A private coach will take you back to your hotel.

Included Meals: lunch

Day 8 - Tokyo

Free time at leisure.

In the evening, meet your guide in the hotel lobby for a departure to Harumi port by private coach.

Arrive at Harumi port and board the Yakatabune Dinner Cruise.

Yakatabune is a unique Japanese-style wooden tour boat on which you can have dinner while sailing the Sumida river.

End at the port and transfer back to hotel by private coach.

End at hotel

Included Meals: dinner

Day 9 - Depart Tokyo

Free until your departure time. Meet with your guide in the hotel lobby for a transfer to Narita/Haneda Airport by private coach.

Included Meals: dinner

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