Backroads of Japan

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  • No booking fees
5.0 Based on 23 Reviews
  • COVID-19protected
  • Trekking
  • Adventure
See Itinerary
  • duration 15 days
  • tour type Group
  • age requirement 18+ years old
  • max group size 14
  • guiding method Live Guide/Instructor
  • Starts Tokyo, Japan
  • Ends Osaka, Japan
HIGHLIGHTS Download trip notes
  • Wander the bustling streets of Tokyo, Japan's capital city
  • Behold the iconic, perfectly formed Mt Fuji and its glistening five lakes
  • Hike through postal towns & forest trails on the Nakasendo Way
  • Be enthralled by the world class attractions of Kyoto, incl the geisha district and The Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji
The "Backroads Of Japan" tour starts from Tokyo and ends in Osaka. It is a trekking tour that takes 15 days taking you through Kyoto, Dorogawa, Tokyo and 5 other destinations in Japan. "Backroads Of Japan" is a guided small group tour that includes accommodation in hotels, transport, meals and others.

Our trip combines hiking ancient pilgrimage trails with visits to modern cities. The traditional, family run inns we stay at are a definite highlight. No wonder it is our most popular Japan itinerary. You may not have considered it, but Japan is a superb walking destination. Fly over Japan and you will see that the entire archipelago is mountainous except for a narrow strip of coastal shelf, a few broad inland basins and some river valleys. Those flatter lands are where the bulk of the population lives. The mountains – the main terrain of this tour - are surprisingly unpopulated. From a distance it may seem that the old Samurai-and-Geisha traditions have given way to the mechanical marvels of consumer culture, but come closer and you will find a society shaped by deeply ingrained values, with many living traditions.
This walking tour of Japan wanders around the cultural barrier and into territory that Japanese hold sacred. Accompanied by expert leaders, you will hike through places of natural beauty and hinterland sites of deep significance. The itinerary is interspersed with interesting urban explorations. It begins with a brief immersion into the maze of Tokyo, before heading into the countryside to gaze at the nation’s symbol, Mount Fuji from a suitable ringside seat: the top of one of its surrounding hills. Travelling by train and bus we head to the Kiso Valley and hike along an historic trail, the legendary trade route which connected the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean.
Japan’s original Buddhist monks proved their faith on this trail in the 7th century, when the mainland religion found its place among the esoteric native Shinto. Between these hinterland adventures are a few special days in Kyoto the “Florence of Japan” due to its endless fine art treasures, unique sense of identity, and walk-friendly environment.
Keeping to the backroads theme we have discrete opportunities to experience temple gardens, peerless Buddhist arts and architecture and the bohemian street culture of the ancient capital. Our Japanese walking based journey ends in another throbbing metropolis - Osaka, a mercantile Mecca. At every step of the way craft and cuisine will round out your Japanese experience, with encounters with locals adding a memorable human dimension.
5 - Excellent
Based on 23 reviews
  • Anonymous
  • On Jun 29 2019
5 - Excellent
“This was a fantastic way to explore Japan and its wonderful culture. We spent time in the big cities but for me the best part was going out on the "Backroads". The walks, the scenery and the calmness was so enjoyable. I especially liked walking by the waterfalls, rivers and waterways. We were made to feel welcome where ever we went, the food was amazing and I got used to sleeping on the floor! A trip I would highly recommend.”
  • Anonymous
  • On Jun 24 2019
5 - Excellent
“We recently undertook a Backroads of Japan tour with World Expeditions. This is the third time we have used this company having undertaken both their Mont Blanc seven day trek from Chamonix and their Canadian Rockies tour. They have all been great but this Japanese trip was extraordinary. Well balanced it provided the opportunity for us to experience the main cities Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka but with a focus on the Backroads country from the Nakasendo path - the ancient pilgrim trail connecting Tokyo and Kyoto- with some stunning experiences in lesser known places around Nara and Osaka e.g. Yoshino and Dorogawa. We experienced ancient villages; stayed in authentic ryokans dating back 300-400 years; visited some truly moving shrines and temple and experienced excellent Japanese cuisine in homely settings; tracked through beautiful mountains and forests and enjoyed marvelous relaxing onsens. Our guide was superb and made us all feel at home as she enthusiastically provided us with a locals view of this beautiful country. Highly recommended!!!”
  • Anonymous
  • On Jun 18 2019
5 - Excellent
“This trip exceeded in all ways my high expectations. Each day was filled with new and exciting experiences, whether it be in the bustling cities or the spectacularly beautiful countryside and its villages or the mountain landscapes and forests through which we walked. My fellow walkers were terrific and the food and accommodation arrangements were great. But perhaps key to all of this was our guide Ryoko. Her enthusiasm, knowledge, organisational skills and good humour were exceptional throughout!”
  • Anonymous
  • On Jun 12 2019
5 - Excellent
“The highlight of this trip was the small villages and inns, the food (even though I'm not sure I knew what a lot of it was!), and the beautiful forest hikes. A very polite, clean and friendly country. In the end I think the world could use a little more Japan.”
  • Day 1 : Arrive Tokyo
  • Day 2 : Explore Tokyo, to Fuji Five Lakes
  • Day 3 : Hiking around Mt Fuji
  • Day 4 : Travel to Kiso Valley
  • Day 5 : Old Nakasendo Highway, train to Kyoto
  • Day 6 : Visiting Kyoto’s Temples
  • Day 7 : Climb Mount Daimonji
  • Day 8 : In Kyoto free exploration
  • Day 9 : Hike & Train to Asuka
  • Day 10 : Hike to Yoshino
  • Day 11 : Hike & Bus to Dorogawa
  • Day 12 : Hiking around Dorogawa
  • Day 13 : Mitarai Gorge, travel to Osaka
  • Day 14 : In Osaka
  • Day 15 : In Osaka, trip concludes
  • Comfortable accommodation on twin share basis
  • 14 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Luggage transfers as listed in the itinerary
  • All transportation by train, bus and taxi
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Traditional 'ryokan' inns
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • Medical kit
  • International airfare, visa and travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Meals and beverages not indicated in the program
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, alcohol etc
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GOOD TO KNOW Download trip notes

No additional cancellation fees apply for this Backroads of Japan tour. You can cancel the tour up to 70 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 69 days of departure.


For any tour departures within 05 December 2021, full payment is required. For tours that depart later than 05 December 2021, a deposit is required to confirm this tour, and the remaining balance will be charged 69 days before trip departure.

Travel Insurance

Backroads of Japan tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.


For this Backroads of Japan tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

For Solo Travelers

A twin share room may not always be available for solo travelers as it depends on the final number of people on the tour. If you have picked twin share room while booking, and that option is not available, we will get back to you after booking. A single room might then be available against an additional fee.

COVID-19 Safety Measures

This trip incorporates the following COVID-19 measures:

  • Smaller group sizes have been implemented on this tour to protect against COVID-19 and to ensure that the tour complies with local authorities’ guidelines.
  • Wearing a mask, hand washing and sanitizing has been implemented on this trip. Frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected. Hygiene safety measures and distancing will furthermore be followed in transportation, accommodation and meal venues.
  • A multitude of COVID-19 distancing measures have been implemented on this package tour to keep travellers safe.
  • This tour has obtained a COVID-19 CLEAN accreditation from Quality Tourism Australia.
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