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Small Group Tours of Japan


The Ultimate Japan experience

Why choose a Journey to the East Small Group Tours in 2023?

Small group tours are one of the best ways to appreciate Japan. Hand-picked accommodation, transport, many meals and activities are professionally arranged to enhance your experience of Japan.

At the same time, the small group size generates intimate relationships with the friendly, helpful guides, fellow travelers and local people. The small group size in Japan often generates spontaneous encounters that add that unique experience you are looking for. 

Built into the itinerary of these 2023 Small Group Tours of Japan, are some specially arranged and exclusive Japanese experiences. These encounters help to makes these unique Japan tours. 

By limiting the Small Group tours to 8 people, it is easier to move around, you can go to places where large busses can’t get to. Some of the best restaurants and artisan’s workshops in Japan are limited to just a couple of handfuls of people at a time – They are just right for small group tours!

Each 2023 Small Group Tour in Japan is individually crafted around a theme whether it is cherry blossom or Japanese food or a Festival etc.  Pick a theme and see the small group tours of Japan

Japan Small Group Autumn Tours

Autumn in Japan stetches from October in the north of the Archipelago right through to December in the south. The selection of Japan small group tours in Autumn are designed to maximise the opportunity to enjoy the fall colours during your trip 

Japan Small Group Cherry Blossom Tours

Cherry blossoms start blooming in Japan in late-March to mid-April and even to early May depending on locations. Naturally the blooms appear first in warmer regions, in the south and west of the country, and gradually move to north and higher altitudes.

Japan Small Group Winter Tours

These winter holidays in Japan introduce you to the Japanese winter customs, winter food treats and delicate snowy scenery in this wonderland of the Japanese winter landscape.

Includes the stunning Snow Spectacular Tour with the famous Hokkaido snow festival and more.

Japan Small Group Garden & Art Tours

Visit many of Japan’s iconic sights, explore some magnificent gardens and galleries, engage first-hand with Japanese artisans, taste exquisite food, and come away with a deep and lasting impression of the Japanese culture.

Apart from seeing Japan’s most awarded Gardens you will see the stirring Naoshima “art island”.


Japan Small Group Food Tours

Journey to the East Food Tours of Japan are staged at different regions like Kyushu, Honshu and Hokkaido. One of our goals is to showcase the depth and width of Japanese food culture from excellent street food through to Michelin-starred restaurants.

If you want see Japan, charged by some of its best food, this is your chance.

Japan small group Walking Tours

There are many ideal spots for Japan walking tours. Some of the most popular walking trips in Japan includes spiritual pilgrimage walks.

The tours are designed to show you surprisingly pristine Japan with a reasonable level of comfort and pace.

Remote Japan Small Group Tours

The 8-member remote Japan tours will let you discover Japan’s hidden rituals, unspoiled spectacular scenery. You will feel the warm hospitality of local people in remote and rural areas of Japan such as Kyushu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, the west coast and Tohoku or the northern part of Honshu.

Looking for something custom fit to you?

Do you have a specific time for travel, a group you want to travel with, or special needs and wishes for your trip to Japan? We can create a unique Private Tour for you. 

Or you can take one of our Model Itineraries as is, or combine or modify it to suit your needs. There are some great Extension Itineraries available too, and they can also be added before or after joining our Japan Small Group Tours in 2023.

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Tour Types

Signature Tours

Our Signature tours offer the most comprehensive cultural exposure through a great mix of staying in local accommodation, eating Japanese food, bathing in onsen hot springs, using public transport and engaging directly with local experts and artisans (some of which are in private sessions exclusive to Journey to the East travellers). While our Signature tours cover Japan’s unmissable sights, they also journey to Japan’s lesser known parts, allowing you to experience the country in a deeper and personal way.

Active Tours

Our Active tours provide up-and-close encounters with traditional life and natural landscapes through an itinerary which takes you beyond the tourist hotspots into the more remote regions of Japan. Through these soft-adventure trips you will stay at atmospheric local inns, use local transport, and explore traditional towns, idyllic backroads, and pristine national parks.

Comfort Tours

With a focus on comfort and ease, our Comfort tours deliver the same authentic experience fundamental to any Journey to the East trip but with a few extra creature comforts to make for a more relaxed and supported trip. Comfort tours showcase the best of Japan and take you to all the must-see sights as well as some special hidden treasures for an insightful introduction to the country’s culture and landscapes.

Why travel with us to Japan

At Journey to the East we are committed to providing authentic and most memorable experiences in Japan – for both Small Group Tours and custom-built Private Tours. Whether it is your first visit or you have been several times to Japan, you will always find something new and have special experiences with Journey to the East. Our travel style is chosen to immerse you in the culture and landscape of the country and expose you to a rich variety of unique experiences.

We do this by taking you beyond the tourist hotspots to explore the lesser-known parts of Japan. Our tours are designed to strike the right balance between the classic highlights and local secrets, the urban and the rural, the historic and the contemporary, and in doing so, reveal the true heart of Japan.

With Journey to the East, you will have fun and be safe on your deeply rewarding journey through this endlessly fascinating country!

We are specialists that just handle tours within one country, Japan. Whether you are from the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand or beyond we meet you at the airport upon arrival into Japan and ensure a smooth and stress-free time in a foreign land.



Ryokans is a Japanese style accommodation, mostly consists of Japanese style rooms with tatami matt floor and futon bedding, and private ensuite. Some ryokans have a western style room with beds. A Japanese style room always has a low table and flat cushions to sit on, but the room may or may not have chairs. Most ryokans have an additional large public bath for guests and includes kaiseki style dinner. Breakfast can be Japanese style (rice, miso soup, fish etc.) or western style buffet.

Western Style Hotels

Size and standard vary from 5-star large international chains to regional small business hotels. Generally, in Japan twin rooms (two single beds) are more common than double rooms (one double bed), and some hotels in regional cities only have twin rooms. Room sizes are generally smaller in cities. Also beds and pillows tend to be firmer than those in western countries.


Size and standard vary from 5-star large international chains to regional small business hotels. Generally, in Japan twin rooms (two single beds) are more common than double rooms (one double bed), and some hotels in regional cities only have twin rooms. Room sizes are generally smaller in cities. Also beds and pillows tend to be firmer than those in western countries.

Shukubo (temple lodging)

The vast majority have Japanese style rooms and shared bathroom although there are limited number of temples with a western bedroom with ensuite. The stay at shukubo includes Buddhist vegetarian dinner and breakfast. Dinners are served early, around 5pm. They are run by monks, and facility and services are basic. Guests can attend morning service in the main hall.

The tour exceeded our expectation and will be remembered for the best tour of our lives.

Trip date: November 2022

Ian Woodroffe


I highly recommend touring with JTE. From the first contact they were quick to respond and helpful. They provided a spectacular tour, covering all aspects so efficiently. They arranged my extra accomodation and transport and ensured I not only had all tickets needed but had clear instructions to make it all so easy and stress free.

Trip date: January 2023

Sheryl Collins

New Zealand

Thank you for the impeccable standard of customer service you and the whole team provided to us, from my initial enquiry to our last day. If you are considering a trip to Japan – Journey to the East should be your 1st consideration, you won’t be disappointed.

Trip date: December 2022

Anna Frank


This tour changed our perceptions of what group tours can offer. The quality of accommodation, tour guides, food and the overall itinerary were professional and individualised. I cannot praise enough, the professionalism of the tour guides who managed to navigate our small group around Japan.

Trip date: December 2022

Deborah Armour


… It was the best organised tour I have ever done – and I’ve done a lot of travelling in crazy and beautiful countries – so many of which no-one can travel to now…..

Trip date: November 2022

Gay Buckingham


I would be very happy to recommend Journey to the East Tour company to anyone wanting a small group tour with superb variety in art, gardens, food and Japanese experiences. Terrific trip.

Trip date: October 2022

Bronwyn Chapman

New Zealand

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