Japan

An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983

Small group tours Japan for seniors

At once hyper-modern and deeply traditional, Japan is a nation where the past history such as the edo period, shoguns, the last samurai and future are reconciled though anime and astro boy . This collection of Japan tours small group sized enables you to discover the country and Japanese culture. From ancient temples to the tea ceremony these Japan small group tours from Australia or Japan seek to take you off the beaten track to discover the country and the cultural experience that define it. The scenery from Tokyo to Mt Fuji and beyond is beautiful, this is a country that provide a fascinating experience on any small group tours Japan. Odyssey’s small group tours Japan are typically a great way to explore and learn about this country. Travelers immerse themselves in the cherry blossom season or the UNESCO World heritage site that are part of this Japan tour package with a tour leader.

The Meiji shrine in Tokyo is as popular as a visit to Miyajima – a small island in Hiroshima with beautiful scenery and a floating torii gate – on a group tour travel experience part of Odyssey Traveller’s collection of Japan small group tours from Australia or Japan .

Tours for Mature Aged and Senior World Travellers

Japan Tours

Walking Japan | Small Group Tour

Odyssey Traveller’s organised small group tour, Walking Japan, traces the journey of 17th century Japanese poet and haiku master, Matsuo Basho (pseudonym of Matsuo Munefusa). We walk in his footsteps on this 13-day journey around the northeast Tohoku region of Japan.

14 days
Departing Oct, May

Japan Odyssey - Small Group Tours for Mature Travellers

During this program we encounter history from ancient periods; religions such as Buddhism and Shintoism; the philosophy of the people through visits to world renowned temples and shrines; and old towns full of ancient legends. Together we will share some traditions which the Japanese have inherited. A variety of sites including UNESCO World Heritage sites, has been chosen for this tour, all filled with clues to understand the essence of Japan.

12 days
Departing Sep, Mar

Japan History by Rail - Small Group Tour

Explore historic and present day Japan. Journey by rail to regions and great cities to learn about their historical significance.

10 days
Departing Apr

Contemporary Japan | Small Group Tour

This small group tour organised by Odyssey Traveller, Contemporary Japan, will take you through modern life in this East Asian jewel. This contemporary tour is an expedition through Japan’s major urban areas, beginning and ending in Japan’s tantalising capital, Tokyo. For the first 12 days we get our fill of Tokyo fashion, technology, culture, and sights.

21 days
Departing Oct

Japan might have brought us anime, karaoke, and countless gadgets, but this is also a country where people;.

  • practice the art of the ancient tea ceremony ,
  • forest bathing 
  • onsen (bath) rituals,
  • and visit Shinto shrines on a daily basis.

Tokyo, with its futuristic soaring skyscrapers, cutting-edge fashion in the Ginza district, and famously efficient public transport, embodies modern Japan , but Japan ‘s other cities – historic Kyoto with the UNESCO World heritage Kiyomizu temple to visit, or down-to-earth Osaka , and resilient Hiroshima – provide a different pace to stroll around. Wherever you wander during your trips to Japan , its certain that you’ll be well-fed. Ranging from delicate sushi and sashimi to hearty ramen, the diversity of Japan ‘s food culture is unparalleled. Inquire with us for Japan tours small group sized for mature aged and senior world travellers.

Articles about Japan

Mt Fuji and Lake Ashi with the red torii gate of Hakone Shrine, Japan

Hakone National Park, Japan

3 mins readAsiaJapan

Hakone National Park, Japan The Hakone National Park is part of the sprawling Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, which also includes Mount Fuji, Fuji Five Lakes (including Lake Kawaguchiko near the iconic peak), the Izu Peninsula, and…

Matsue Castle, Matsue, Japan

Matsue, Japan

2 mins readAsiaJapan

Matsue, Japan North of Hiroshima is the town of Matsue, also known as the “City of Water” as it is near the Sea of Japan, sitting between Lake Shinji (Shinjiko) and Lake Nakaumi. It is…

The floating torii gate of Itsukushima.

Hiroshima, Japan

3 mins readAsiaJapan

Hiroshima, Japan Southwest from Kyoto on the island of Honshu is Hiroshima (“broad island”), a major urban centre in the 1870s during Japan’s imperial period, and a city destroyed in an instant in August 1945…

Deer in Nara Park

Nara, Japan

3 mins readAsiaJapan

Nara, Japan Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital, is located in the Kansai region, nestled in the hilly edge of the Nara Basin, about 40 kilometres east of Osaka. It is a popular day trip or…

Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa area, Tokyo

History of Tokyo

10 mins readAsiaJapan

A Short History of Tokyo Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, the busiest intersection in the Japanese metropolis The history of Tokyo is intimately intertwined with that of Japan’s. In this article, we’ll explore Tokyo’s history from…

Forest Bathing in Japan

Forest Bathing in Japan

6 mins readAsiaJapan

Forest Bathing in Japan Much has changed since we last wrote about shinrin-yoku or forest bathing in 2017 (you can read the original article after this introduction) as the movement has gained considerable momentum in…

The need to know

Touring Japan

Getting around

Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in the tour itinerary for a Japan tour package . Japan has a centralised and impressively extensive rail network including the Shinkansen bullet train which links towns to the major cities as well as an impressive efficient metro system in the major the larger cities. Some of Odyssey’s Japan tours do use the bullet train to travel between cities particularly when heading to Southern Japan or to the key cities.

Accommodation

In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses.

Tour guides

An Odyssey escorted tour will have a tour director (tour guide) and accomplished local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience. Your Japan tour is no different, with a tour director supported by local guides who are Japan specialists to ensure your guided tour runs smoothly providing the perfect Japan vacation, during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.

Geography, environment & weather

Japan is a long, narrow chain of islands stretching approximately 3,600 kilometres north to south. It is comprised of four major islands – Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu – and over 6,800 adjacent smaller islands. The total land area is 377,907 square kilometres, which is slightly more than that of Germany. Japan’s terrain is mountainous and evocative. Volcanoes are abundant. Mount Fuji is the country’s highest peak at 3,776 metres. It is categorised as an active volcano although it has not shown activity for the last three centuries. Forests claim 66.4% of the land in Japan with farmland accounting for just 13%. Administratively, the country is divided into 47 prefectures.
From north to south, the climate ranges from cool temperate to sub-tropical. The general climate is temperate, with four well-defined seasons and a rainy period before summer. Rainfall is frequent ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 millimetres annually. So, it’s wise to prepare for wet weather if you are travelling to Japan.

World heritage sites

Japan boasts 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can view the official list of the sites here.

It is well worth visiting every site, if your itinerary permits. But here ‘s a few highlights from the bunch:

  • The UNESCO world heritage site of the 7th and 8th entury Buddhist monuments in the Horyu-ji Area
  • The sacred island of Okinoshima is a UNESCO World heritage site , with exquisite votive objects providing evidence of rituals performed from the 4th to 9th centuries
  • The unusual temperate rainforest of Yakushima, which abounds in epiphytes and geophytes, Japanese cedar, and a primeval forest of trees called ‘Yakusugi’, aged over 1000 years is a UNESCO world heritage site.

 

Festivals & events

Japan’s calendar is rich in festivals and events (matsuri) that celebrate religious, cultural and natural phenomena. A few highlights include:

Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, or Snow Festival, is a week long showcase of incredible snow sculptures and ice carvings, accompanied by shows and concerts. Chichibu Yomatsuri, or Night Festival, honours the Chichibu shrine with floats decorated by colouful lamps, some of which stage plays and performances. A fireworks display concludes the festival, and the floats are all lined up at the City Hall. An especially quirky event is Saidaji Eyou Matsuri in Okayama, in which 10,000 men don traditional loincloths, bathe in cold water, then battle to catch a pair of sacred sticks that are hurtled from the top of a temple. The man who manages to catch them will enjoy a year of good luck and happiness. Of course, the most famous of Japan‘s events might be the arrival of the cherry blossom season or sakura, which is celebrated with the practice of hanami or flower viewing, often with a picnic beneath the trees covered in cherry blossom for a few weeks of the year. Historically, it was believed the trees harboured spirits; now the short-lived cherry blossom are said to symbolise the fleetingness of life.

 

Reading list

  • The Tale of Genji by Murusaki Shikibu
  • Lost Japan by Alex Kerr
  • An Introduction to Japanese Society by Yoshio Sugimoto
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Eating & drinking

Japanese cuisine is a major drawcard for travellers, who soon learn the significance of food for locals as part of japaneseculture. Traditional cuisine is based around rice and miso, with plenty of fish and vegetable side dishes, including pickles and sashimi.Odyssey’s small group tours are not a food tour, however your tour guide will be able to guide away from some of the more colourful dishes of Japanese cuisine. But what some people don’t realise is that Japan‘s food is richy varied by region and season.

On a escorted tour, your tour director will be able to assit you in understanding and appreciating Japanese cuisine beyond the traditional tea ceremony, enriching your experience on your Japan trip. And that food is one of the primary motivators for domestic travel by Japanese people. Okonomiyaki is arguably Japan‘s widest known regional dish. This savoury, cabbage-rich pancake is found in Hiroshima and Osaka. Fish is a major component in the Japanese diet, but in Kobe, for example, the locally produced beef is prized. Kobe is also a major destination for those with a sweet tooth. But Japanese cuisine is not only about the food, it is about the experiences that accompany it.

Dining out is common, with a variety of styles including kaiten-zushi (sushi train), teppanyaki (iron griddled-food), and restaurants that specialise in skewers, ramen, tempura, sukiyaki and more. Restaurants in Japan are generally friendly, tasty and good value, and mostly very clean.

 

Health & safety

While Japan is one of the world’s safest countries, it’s important to stay alert to anything unusual. Also, you will often see signs warning of pickpockets in areas popular with tourists, so keep a close eye on your belongings at all times.

There is currently a warning not to travel near the site of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, due to radiation.

Electrical supply

Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Japan accepts plugs of types A and B, and electricity runs at 100V/50-60Hz.

FAQs

Japan has a single time zone, called Japan Standard Time (JMT), which is UTC/GMT+9 hours. The nation does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in Japan in general, while it is important to show respect to your servers, tipping is not expected.

Internet is easily accessible, and most hotels and many cafes will be able to offer it.

Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Japan. Many providers will offer a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.

Responsible travel tips for Japan

  • On any Japan trip, please learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
  • The overall Japanese culture is typically law abiding and honest people. Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
  • Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
  • When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
  • Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
  • Before departing, make sure you have a number of yen in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.

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