Inside Japan Tours’ expanded 2024 offerings for Asia’s hottest destination spotlight classic crowd-pleasers and hidden spots off the beaten path

InsideJapan Tours has increased its Small Group Tours (SGT) departure dates by record numbers in 2024 to meet expanding demand for organized Japan group travel, which has been growing at an unprecedented rate following the re-opening of Japan’s borders post-pandemic.

“After the phenomenal demand for our 72 sold-out group tour departure dates in 2023, InsideJapan Tours has increased our small group offerings this year by 83% with 132 small group tours scheduled for 2024,” commented Richard Farmer, InsideJapan Tours’ Osaka-based SGT Manager. 

Because of the increased number of SGT offerings in 2024, Farmer said the company was able to book passengers in February for group tours during Japan’s coveted cherry blossom season in March and April, a season that usually is sold out over a year in advance.

Tour members get a taste of Kyoto’s geisha culture

Tour members get a taste of Kyoto’s geisha culture

Offering 11 itineraries with set departure dates and fixed itineraries, InsideJapan Tours’ small group trips are bookable for 2024 and 2025, both of which are set to be record years for number of travelers booked. 

“Each of our 11 small group tour itineraries showcase Japan from a different angle, and we are excited to launch two new itineraries this year with the addition of the 14-night Majestic Japan tour and the 13-night Autumn Elegance tour,” Farmer said. “As expected, we are already sold out for many of our 2024 early-season SGT departures. While we have availability on many 2024 summer and fall dates, we have already opened up bookings for 2025 SGT dates, for which InsideJapan Tours is offering 149 departure dates, representing an increase of 13% more small group tours than 2024.”

With four classes of tour grades (All-inclusive, Superior, Classic and Essential) that differ in level of accommodations, experiences and transport options, InsideJapan Tours’ fully guided, 7- to 14-night SGTs are capped at 14 participants to maintain a sense of intimacy and cultural immersion relatively free from large crowds of tourists.  

2024/2025 Small Group Tour Itineraries

These are some of InsideJapan’s offerings:

  • Majestic Japan (14 nights; starts at $9,490; features Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Kinosaki Onsen, Hiroshima and Hakone)

With a range of high-end accommodations, this new offering for 2024 is the perfect introduction to a culture often considered impenetrable by the outside world. The itinerary features Kanazawa’s preserved samurai districts and intricate gardens, Kyoto’s renowned shrines and illusive geisha experiences, an authentic onsen hot springs visit, and a meaningful visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Museum in Hiroshima, among other excursions. 

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle

  • Autumn Elegance (13 nights; starts at $6,526; features Tokyo, Matsumoto, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Hakone)

Autumn’s vivid colors cast Japan in a gorgeous backdrop of transformative terrains. New for 2024, this tour makes the most of fall’s charms as it traverses mega-cities, alpine craft towns, mountain hot spring resorts and more. After taking in Tokyo’s sprawling urban landscape, Hakone transports travelers to a haven of natural splendor with vibrant foliage permeating the Mount Fuji views across Lake Ashi, where volcanic hot springs have created one of the country’s most iconic onsen hot springs. A relaxing boat ride on the Hozugawa River in Kyoto will showcase autumn’s charm amidst a backdrop of ornate shrines and intricate temples, as will the mountain towns of Matsumoto and Takayama.  

  • Japan Unmasked (13 nights; starts at $4,303; features Tokyo, Nagano, Matsumoto, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Kurashiki and Kyoto)

Covering most of the cities on the main island of Honshu, this is the perfect tour for a first-time visit to Japan as it enables travelers to take in the neon energy of Tokyo, mystical ambiance of preserved temples and samurai fortresses and traditional architecture of Kyoto’s preserved historic districts, offering stays in off-the-beaten-path villages. 

From day-glo cafes, video game arcades and kawaii street fashions to ancient temples, exquisite gardens and spectacular natural scenery, J-Pop & Go! is the perfect mixture of kitschy pop culture and traditional Japan. This fast-paced tour will introduce travelers to some of Japan’s most important pop culture haunts as well as venerated historical sites, giving an insight into how the modern and traditional are interwoven in contemporary Japanese society.

  • All-In Japan (12 nights; starts at $7,774; features Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Awara Onsen and Kanazawa)

Covering Japan’s classic destinations with a few unusual twists, this trip is full of cultural experiences to give travelers a stress-free introduction to Japan.  It is an exhilarating journey through Japan’s history and traditions, from the refined geisha houses of Kyoto and Tokyo’s exuberant taiko drumming workshops to the spectacular vistas of the Seto Inland Sea atop Mount Misen and dining experiences like okonomiyaki and kaiseki meals. 

Many tours include a stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan.

Many tours include a stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan.

  • Hidden Japan (12 nights; starts at $5,993; features Kyoto, Mount Koya, Tokushima, Takamatsu, Kotohira, Matsuyama and Hiroshima)

Offering a deeper cultural insight with experiences that stray from the tourist trail, this tour eliminates the pressure of ticking off destinations or visiting “must-see” locations, focusing instead on roads less traveled for an authentic Japan immersion. Skipping Tokyo to focus on Japan’s intriguing south-central regions, travelers stay in a shukubo temple and witness the morning prayer rituals of monks, participate in one of the biggest dance festivals in Japan in Tokushima after crossing the Seto Inland Sea via ferry, and take in the historic shrines and captivating art of Naoshima Island, where accommodations are in a traditional ryokan

  • Classic Japan (13 nights; starts at $6,292; features Tokyo, Hakone, Osaka, Kyoto, Takayama and the Japan Alps)

This tour collects the best of Japan’s classic cultural and natural locations, creating lifetime memories for travelers as they bask in a hot spring bath at the foot of Mount Fuji, drink tea with an apprentice geisha in Kyoto, find bliss in Tokyo’s calming Hamarikyu Gardens or take in the magnificent mountain scenery and macaque monkeys in Chubu Sangaku National Park, also known as the Japan Alps. Travelers will sample local culinary specialties from melt-in-the-mouth Hida beef in the alpine regions and super-fresh sushi in Tokyo, to quick bites from street vendors in Osaka and multi-course kaiseki feasts in Takayama.

Cherry blossom time in Kyoto

Cherry blossom time in Kyoto

  • Spring Elegance (13 nights; starts at $6,526; features Tokyo, Matsumoto, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hakone and Kyoto)

Spring is a wonderful time to travel to Japan, as the winter blanket is cast off and parks are packed with revelers gathered to witness the cherry blossoms’ peak colors, with which come seasonal festivals across the country. With plenty of time to take in the fleeting colors of the sakura cherry blossoms, this tour takes travelers through Hakone’s natural beauty and onsen, Kanazawa’s historic architecture, Kyoto’s geisha culture and the iconic samurai castle of Black Crow in Matsumoto. 

Dates and itineraries for InsideJapan Tours’ 2024 and 2025 Small Group Tours can be found at

Inside Travel Group | B Corp™ is the owner of InsideJapan Tours and InsideAsia Tours. The InsideAsia Tours brand features the best of South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and Singapore. Founded in 2000, Inside Travel Group is headquartered in Bristol, UK, with offices in Broomfield, Colorado; Brisbane, Australia; and Nagoya, Japan. 

Lead Photo – Senjosi Temple, Tokyo

Photos courtesy of InsideJapan Tours