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19724
Japan

Japan: An Exploration of History, Culture and Society

Fulfill the dream of a lifetime as you immerse yourself in the traditions, history and stunning landscapes of one of the world’s most ancient and beautiful cultures — Japan.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19724RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
8,999
Flights start at
1,350
Japan

Japan: An Exploration of History, Culture and Society

Fulfill the dream of a lifetime as you immerse yourself in the traditions, history and stunning landscapes of one of the world’s most ancient and beautiful cultures — Japan.
Length
17 days
Starts at
8,999
Flights start at
1,350
Length
17 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
8,999
Flights start at
1,350
Program No. 19724RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 14 - Mar 30, 2023
Starting at
8,999
Itinerary Note

Weather depending, this date is optimal for viewing the cherry blossom in some locations.

Apr 4 - Apr 20, 2023
Starting at
8,999
Itinerary Note

Weather depending, this date is optimal for viewing the cherry blossom in some locations.

Apr 11 - Apr 27, 2023
Starting at
8,999
Itinerary Note

Weather depending, it may be possible to see some cherry blossom at higher altitudes on this date.

May 9 - May 25, 2023
Starting at
9,099
Sep 12 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Sep 26 - Oct 12, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Oct 17 - Nov 2, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Nov 7 - Nov 23, 2023
Starting at
9,299
Itinerary Note

Weather depending, this date is optimal for viewing the fall leaves in some locations.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 14 - Mar 30, 2023
Starting at
9,699
Itinerary Note

Weather depending, this date is optimal for viewing the cherry blossom in some locations.

Apr 4 - Apr 20, 2023
Starting at
9,699
Itinerary Note

Weather depending, this date is optimal for viewing the cherry blossom in some locations.

Apr 11 - Apr 27, 2023
Starting at
9,699
Itinerary Note

Weather depending, it may be possible to see some cherry blossom at higher altitudes on this date.

May 9 - May 25, 2023
Starting at
9,899
Sep 12 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
9,899
Sep 26 - Oct 12, 2023
Starting at
9,899
Oct 17 - Nov 2, 2023
Starting at
9,899
Nov 7 - Nov 23, 2023
Starting at
9,999
Itinerary Note

Weather depending, this date is optimal for viewing the fall leaves in some locations.

At a Glance

From the frantic pace of the world’s largest metropolis to the elaborate rituals of the Way of Tea, from samurai castles to serene Buddhist temples, delve into the history and modern identity of Japan. Discover Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the hidden jewels of rural Japan.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking up to six miles (throughout the day) and standing for up to three hours daily. Uneven, hilly terrain, many stairs. Must handle own luggage on and off transport. Elevations up to 4,000 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Journey through Japan’s cities, mountains and rural areas via Shinkansen Bullet train, bus, street tram, ferry and on foot.
  • Learn about the Nakasendo Way, a centuries-old route between Tokyo and Kyoto, and stay at one of its historic port towns.
  • Experience the art of Japanese cuisine from fresh sushi to regional specialties and learn the symbolic ritual of the tea ceremony with a Tea Master.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Michael Drzmisek Sozui
Michael was born in Switzerland and first came in contact with Japanese culture came through the martial arts Aikido and Iaido. He originally started to study Japanese calligraphy and later chanoyu to complement martial arts studies but became increasingly interested in tea over the years. After more than twenty years of experience, Michael sees chanoyu as a way of communication between people and ideas. The focus of his tea studies is not only to be a tea master, but to become a true tea person.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Michael Drzmisek Sozui
Michael Drzmisek Sozui View biography
Michael was born in Switzerland and first came in contact with Japanese culture came through the martial arts Aikido and Iaido. He originally started to study Japanese calligraphy and later chanoyu to complement martial arts studies but became increasingly interested in tea over the years. After more than twenty years of experience, Michael sees chanoyu as a way of communication between people and ideas. The focus of his tea studies is not only to be a tea master, but to become a true tea person.
Profile Image of Shima Enomoto
Shima Enomoto View biography
Shima Enomoto was born and raised in Tokyo. She has a master’s from Columbia Business School, working in finance at global investment banks for twenty years. Wishing to spend more time with her family, Shima relocated to Durham, N.C., where her husband was a professor at Duke University. While living abroad, Shima realized she wanted to share her home country with others, joining Walk Japan in 2013 and Road Scholar in 2016. She loves promoting the appreciation and consumption of sake when in the U.S.
Profile Image of Masaki Iwami
Masaki Iwami View biography
A native of Fujinomiya, Masaki Iwami was raised in the shadow of Mt. Fuji. He has since established a close affinity with Japan’s greatest natural icon. Following his desire to study overseas, Masaki graduated with a degree in Adventure Tourism from Taranaki Polytechnic in New Zealand. He traveled throughout Europe and worked in the Philippines and India, finally returning to Japan in 2014 and established his own company dedicating to exploring Mt. Fuji. He has been a Road Scholar Group Leader since 2016.
Profile Image of Diane Tincher
Diane Tincher View biography
Originally from Virginia, Diane first arrived in Asia as a young adult. She moved to Tokyo from Manila in 1987, and settled in Kagoshima City in 1995. Diane has a deep love of the natural world and delights in exploring the numerous waterfalls, hiking paths and Edo Period (1603-1868) roads of the Kagoshima region. She has eight adult children, and teaches English at homes for the elderly and the disabled, in kindergarten classes, and privately. Diane joined Walk Japan as a Group Leader in 2018.
Profile Image of Kristina Watanabe
Kristina Watanabe View biography
Kristina Watanabe grew up in Stockholm, intrigued by the peoples and cultures of other countries from an early age. While a student, she made backpacking trips across Europe, and at the age of 20, traveled Hong Kong on the Trans-Siberian Express. She took time out to explore East Asia, including Japan. Kristina was fascinated by Japanese life. After meeting her husband, they raised two children, while she worked as a teacher of Swedish and English languages. She then began a new career as a guide.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
In Praise of Shadows
by Junichiro Tanizaki
This extended essay by the great Japanese novelist, first published in 1933, offers tremendous insight into traditional Japanese art, architecture and design.
Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye
by Marie Mutsuki Mockett
When her American father passes away, Mockett seeks consolation in her mother’s home country of Japan. She visits a radiation zone, a Buddhist school, temples and festivals in an effort to understand the Japanese way of grieving, to bury her dead and find healing.
The Art of Setting Stones & Other Writings from the Japanese Garden
by Marc P. Keane
In these lyrical essays, Kyoto resident and landscape architect Marc Peter Keane uses eight Japanese gardens as bases for essays on nature, religion and aesthetics. His rich, meditative excursions find beauty in garden composition - every element gaining importance and interconnectedness.
Memoirs of a Geisha, A Novel
by Arthur Golden
The runaway best-selling novel about a geisha in the celebrated Gion district of Kyoto. A major feat of literary impersonation, the novel is rich in period detail and ceremony.
The Book of Tokyo: A City in Short Fiction
by Michael Emmerich (Editor)
This anthology of contemporary Japanese short stories was edited with the traveler in mind. The ten pieces of literature, mystery, science fiction and horror form an imaginary tour of the city of Tokyo.
The Inland Sea
by Donald Richie
Richie's masterpiece, more than a travel account, is a beautiful reflection on all things Japanese by one of its most acute observers.
A Traveller's History of Japan
by Richard Tames
A lively and concise narrative history of Japan and its transformation from Shinto, Shogun and Samurai traditions to 20th-century powerhouse.
The Dog Shogun
by Beatrice Bodart-Bailey
Arguably one of the most notorious figures in Japanese history, Tsunayoshi (1646 to 1709) was viewed as a tyrant with eccentric policies, including the Laws of Compassion, which made maltreatment of dogs an illegal offense, punishable by death. Bodart-Bailey delves deep into the shogun’s life, offering an engaging and brilliantly researched biography of the fifth Tokygawa shogun.
Kaempfer's Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed
by Beatrice Bodart-Bailey
A good account of what it was like to travel in the Tokugawa period.
Eyewitness Guide Japan
by Eyewitness Guides
Dazzling illustrations, architectural cutaways and color photographs, along with useful local maps, give this guide to Japan's many attractions a distinct edge.
Tokyo, A Biography
by Stephen Mansfield
In his 500-year history of Tokyo, Mansfield presents the Japanese capital as an "indestructible organism" that has survived bombs, earthquakes and radiation and continues to thrive. An easy introduction to a fascinating city.
The Samurai
by Shusaku Endo
This historical novel by one of Japan's best-known modern writers is set in the world of the 17th-century Samurai. A Roman Catholic, Endo explored Christianity and morals in his many novels and stories.
Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook
by Yoshi Abe
A handy palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Culture Smart! Japan
by Paul Norbury
A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture, this is a helpful travel tool for visitors to Japan.
Super Sushi Ramen Express
by Michael Booth
Using keen insight and sarcastic wit, Booth describes the cuisine and culture of Japan as he recaps the nearly three months-long foodie road trip he and his family took through the island nation. A fun journey, sure to both entertain and inform.
Learning to Bow, Inside the Heart of Japan
by Bruce Feiler
As surprising, helpful and informative as it is funny, this is an insightful account of travels and teaching in Japan. Feiler presents anecdotes on the rituals, personality traits and cultural peccadilloes of the Japanese.
Kyoto, A Cultural History
by John Dougill
A rich portrait and guide to the gardens, monasteries, art, history and culture of Kyoto, once Japan's capital, founded 1,200-years ago.
Japan Adventure Map
by National Geographic Society
Printed on waterproof and tear-resistant paper, this double-sided map shows all the islands of Japan at a scale of 1:1,300,000.
Bending Adversity, Japan and the Art of Survival
by David Pilling
Financial Times Asia editor Pilling captures the dynamism and diversity of Japan after the 2011 tsunami. He interviews, among many, novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists, bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians.
Walking the Kiso Road: A Modern-Day Exploration of Old Japan
by William Scott Wilson
William Scott Wilson travels along the ancient Kiso Road, historically used by samurai and warlords and relatively unchanged today. As he makes his way, Wilson engagingly ruminates on Japanese history, culture and folklore.
The Book of Tea
by Kakuzo Okakura
A graceful, witty meditation on Japanese aesthetics and culture as reflected through the tea ceremony. A celebrity and cultural ambassador, Okakura was a curator at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Hiroshima
by John Hersey
This classic book, first published in 1946, has been hailed as the greatest piece of journalism in the 20th century. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Hersey puts a human face on the Hiroshima tragedy through interviews with survivors.
Thousand Cranes
by Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker (Translator)
This novella by the great Kawabata may be Japan's best-known literary work, a story of love, grief and redemption. Kawabata's prose is as economical as the tea ceremony itself and very beautiful.
The Little Book of Japan
by Charlotte Anderson, Gorazd Vilhar
Veteran Japanophiles Vilhar and Anderson produced this illuminating collection of 44 essays on Japanese life and culture, which, even in the 21st century remains elusive and poorly understood.
Japan's Cuisines
by Eric C. Rath
This illustrated overview charts the transformation of Japanese cuisine over the ages, revealing the influences of private and public institutions, exploring the rise of tea and showing how lunch became a gourmet meal.





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