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16-Day Japan and China Discovery Tour

16-Day Japan and China Discovery Tour

By RobertUpdated Aug. 2, 2023
East Asia Wonders: The History and Culture of China and Japan

Discover world-famous landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and historical cities such as Xi'an and Kyoto, and witness the vibrant cultures of East Asia, as you experience the best of Japan and China on a 16-day leisurely tour (easily adapted to be a 2-week or 3-week tour).
It covers iconic cities like Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara, Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai. With our carefully-designed itinerary and expert guides, this adventure tour is sure to create unforgettable memories and a comprehensive view of the Far East.
Come with us and have the journey of a lifetime!

  • Days:16±
  • Best For:First-timers, Families
  • Departure date:up to you
  • Sample Price:from US$ 6,699 each (2 per room); 4-6 persons, save US$ 400 each!

Journey Route

Asia Tour Travel Guide

This is an ideal tour for first-time visitors and families to both Japan and China. Sign up for your favorite part of the tour or simply treat the whole tour as inspiration, designing each element specially for you.


Enter into the history of China and Japan by visiting UNESCO sites and discovering their hidden corners.

the hidden hall of the Forbidden City in Beijing
the tag of ah hand picked

Taste the exotic savory flavors of East Asia.

Peking Roast Duck

Make your own terracotta warriors after finding out the secrets of the Terracotta Army.

tiny terracotta warriors made by our customers
the tag of ah hand picked

Delight in the captivating panorama of Tokyo city from the heights of the renowned Sky Tree Tower.

Tokyo Sky Tree
the tag of ah hand picked

Experience the breathtaking scenery of Hakone from multiple perspectives.

view of Mt. Fuji in Hakone

Listen to the Echoes of History while Cycling or Walking on the ancient Xi'an City Wall.

sunset at the ancient city wall of Xian
the tag of ah hand picked

Dress in a traditional kimono to truly experience the authentic allure of Kyoto.

Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto
the tag of ah hand picked

Take a leisurely stroll through Nara Park and interact with over 1,200 tame deer.

feeding the deer at Nara Park
the tag of ah hand picked

Indulge in ultimate relaxation and serenity at a traditional Japanese ryokan (inn) with an onsen (hot spring bath) in Hakone.

traditional Japanese style housing
the tag of ah hand picked

Hear untold tales of the Bund and ascend Shanghai Tower for panoramic views.

the handmade Sushi with facial expression
the tag of ah hand picked

Have your own guide and private vehicle during the guided day.

private driver and vehicle service

98.8% Positive Customer reviews among 10,000+

Itinerary in Detail

We're ready to refine and design your own dream journey based on your preferences! Our team will create a tailor-made Japan and China tour, just for you. The following is to give you an inspirational example of what is the core of Japan and China touring.

Day 1
Tokyo Arrival

Welcome to Japan, a country that uniquely blends ancient traditions with cutting-edge technology. From the bustling streets of Tokyo and tranquil gardens of Kyoto, to flourishing Osaka and the breathtaking cherry blossom season, Japan offers something to delight every traveler.

Savor traditional sushi, ramen, wagyu beef, and hot springs (onsen) for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. With expert guides and a tailored itinerary, your Japan tour would be an unforgettable journey.

After your arrival at the airport, your private driver will welcome you with a name board and transfer you to your hotel. You'll have the rest of the day to relax and explore at your own pace.

dusk of downtown Tokyo
The dusk of Tokyo with the Rainbow Bridge
Day 2
Tokyo City Highlights

Experience an unforgettable day exploring Tokyo with your own private guide:

  • Begin your adventure with a visit to Meiji Shrine, where you can witness traditional Japanese weddings and pay your respects to Emperor Meiji.
  • Take a stroll along picturesque Omotesando shopping street, famous for its broad tree-lined avenue and flagship stores of the world's top fashion brands.
  • Visit iconic Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, one of Tokyo's oldest and most famous Buddhist temples. Take in the striking architecture and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this cultural hub.
  • Riding the elevator up the magnificent Tokyo Skytree offers you a chance to marvel at the city's awe-inspiring panorama from its high-altitude observation decks.
  • Finally, lose yourself in the energetic streets of Shibuya, home to the famous Shibuya Crossing and an abundance of shopping and entertainment options.
Senso-ji Temple in the morning
The Senso-ji Temple in sunlight
Day 3
Tokyo Local Highlights

Embark on a memorable journey through Tokyo's most iconic attractions:

  • Begin by immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Tsukiji Fish Market, renowned for its vast array of seafood and bustling market life.
  • Elevate your culinary skills with an authentic sushi-making experience, led by a local sushi chef. Savor the exquisite flavors of your handcrafted sushi during a delightful lunch, while basking in the satisfaction of your newfound talent.
  • Unwind and appreciate the tranquil beauty of Hama-rikyu Gardens, one of Tokyo's most stunning traditional Japanese gardens.
  • Immerse yourself in the pulse of Japan's dynamic pop culture at an anime-themed cafe! A delightful escapade into a colorful, animated universe brimming with vibrancy and excitement!
sushi making
Have you ever made your own Sushi before?
Day 4
Tokyo to Hakone with Hakone Pass
  • Embark on an effortless journey to Hakone Yumoto station from Shinjuku station using your Hakone Freepass and Romancecar ticket. Enjoy a relaxing 90-minute direct journey to your destination.
  • With the hassle of transportation taken care of, you have the rest of the day to unwind and explore at your own pace. Soak in the beauty of the surrounding nature or indulge in the area's famous hot springs for an ultimate relaxation experience.
train in Hakone
Train passing valley in Hakone
Day 5
Free and Easy in Hakone

Unleash the full potential of your Hakone Freepass and explore all that Hakone has to offer! Enjoy the freedom to get on and off various regional transport at your leisure, with the added benefit of discounted admission to multiple attractions in the region.

  • The Hakone pass covers eight different forms of transportation, including trains, buses, cable cars, cableway, and sightseeing cruise, making it easy to see all the major sights of the region.

Alternatively, relax at your hotel and soak in the rejuvenating hot spring bath after a day of travel. Take advantage of the luxurious amenities and soak up the stunning scenery around you.

view of Hakone
The picturesque view of Hakone
Day 6
Hakone to Kyoto

In the morning, make your way to Odawara station using your Hakone Freepass and use the train ticket to board the Shinkansen to Kyoto.

  • On arrival at Kyoto station, make your own way to your hotel using your Shinkansen ticket.
  • The rest of the day is free time.
alley of Kyoto
An old alley of Kyoto
Day 7
Kyoto Highlights

On the seventh day, we would explore the former imperial capital of Kyoto with a knowledgeable local guide and have your own private vehicle to visit some of its World Heritage Sites:

  • The day begins with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. Originally built as a retirement villa for a shogun, this iconic temple was later converted into a Buddhist temple, making it one of Kyoto's most famous and revered landmarks.
  • Don't miss the chance to explore Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence. Surrounded by stunning gardens, this castle's main building was completed in 1603 and is renowned for its unique architecture, decorated sliding doors, and 'chirping' nightingale floors.
  • Take a leisurely stroll down Nishiki Market, a narrow, five-block long shopping street lined with over a hundred shops and restaurants. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", this vibrant retail market specializes in all things related to food, including fresh seafood, knives, and cookware. There, you can indulge in seasonal delicacies and Kyoto specialties such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood, and sushi.
  • Choose from a wide array of traditional kimonos and let local experts style you to perfection. Seize this exceptional opportunity to navigate local terrains in genuine Japanese garb, stirring a deeply transformative travel experience.

  • Take a serene stroll up to the "Pure Water" Temple, Kiyomizu, for a immersive cultural plunge. Soak in panoramic Kyoto vistas from its nail-free, 13-meter-high Main Hall veranda. Even amid restorations, this quintessential Kyoto marvel stands a breathtaking sight to behold.

Kiyomizu Temple
The Kiyomizu Temple is so high!
Day 8
Full-Day Tour of Nara and Fushimi from Kyoto

Journey from your hotel to the historic city of Nara, under the guidance of a local expert. Nara, a cradle of heritage, was Japan's capital in the 8th century for 74 years. The testament to this glorious era lives on in the myriad of remaining temples and shrines, quietly narrating tales of the past.

  • Experience the artistry of Matcha at Kyoto's centuries-old tea house in Uji. Revel in a day interspersed with tradition, history, and exquisite green tea flavors.
  • Take a leisurely stroll through Nara Park, also known as Deer Park, where you can interact with over 1,200 tame deer that call the park home.
  • Your journey continues to the grandeur of Todai-ji Temple, a marvel of wood that stands as the world's largest, cradling within it Japan's most magnificent Buddha.
  • Quench your thirst at a traditional sake brewery, where you can sample different types of sake and discover your favorite.
  • On the way back from Nara, visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, which was featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. This shrine is home to over 10,000 red torii gates that form a beautiful path up the mountain behind the temple.
waterfall in Karuizawa
The giant buddha in Todai-ji Temple
Day 9
Osaka to Beijing

Day 9 of our Japan adventure is your chance to relax or explore Osaka on your own before your private driver takes you to the airport for your flight to Beijing, the capital of China.

Upon arrival in Beijing, your local guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for a well-deserved rest.

Beijing night
The night at Shichahai in Beijing
Beijing City Highlights

Ready for Beijing? Let's begin the day trip by visiting the symbol of new China — Tian'anmen Square.

  • From there, proceed to the Forbidden City, the largest and best-preserved ancient imperial palace, with a rich 500-year history. While most tour groups only visit the six halls on the central axis, your private guide will help you explore 12 carefully-selected places to fully experience the grandeur and beauty of this historic site.
  • Indulge in a delicious lunch of Beijing Roast Duck, where you can watch the chef's exquisite cutting skills, savor the crispy duck skin, and learn the proper way to eat it.
  • After lunch, spend a leisurely afternoon exploring the charming hutong alleyways, where you can soak up the local atmosphere and learn about the daily lives of Beijing residents.
alley of the Forbidden City
Birds flying above the Forbidden City
Beijing Historical Highlights
  • Start the day's touring at the Temple of Heaven, where emperors prayed for a good harvest. Arrive early to witness locals practicing martial arts and engaging in other unique activities that you may not see in your home country.
  • In the afternoon, visit Mutianyu, the top-ranked section of the Great Wall on TripAdvisor due to its picturesque scenery and beautifully-restored architecture. Although it is about a 2½-hour drive from downtown Beijing, the stunning views and unforgettable experience make it well worth the journey.
Mutianyu Great Wall
Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in autumn
Beijing to Xi'an
  • Marvel at the stunning imperial garden of the Summer Palace, originally the summer retreat of the imperial court and now a peaceful escape from the summer heat.
  • Experience China's technological development as you race towards Xi'an on a high-speed train. This is a unique and exciting way to travel and witness the modern advancements of China's transportation system.
summer palace
The bridge and pagoda at the Summer Palace
Xi'an City Highlights
  • Start your day by uncovering the mysteries of the underground army that dates back to 206 BC at the Terracotta Army Museum. Then, visit a local craftsman's cave dwelling to learn how to make a mini terracotta warrior.
  • Return to the city area and visit Xi'an City Wall, which has been guarding the inner city for over 600 years. Walking along the wall provides a stunning view of the city, or you can rent a bike to cycle around the 14 km (9-mile) wall for a unique leisurely experience.
Terracotta Warriors
Inside the Terracotta Army Museum
Xi'an to Shanghai
  • Explore more of Xi'an's rich history at Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an Museum and Big Wild Goose Pagoda, then head to the Muslim Quarter to wander through the alleys and savor the local Muslim cuisine.
  • In the afternoon, your guide will take you to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, your Shanghai guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel, where you can rest and recharge for the next day's adventures.
collection of the Shaanxi History Museum
Treasure of the Shaanxi History Museum
Shanghai City Highlights
  • Experience more than just taking a few selfies on the Bund during our In-Depth Bund Culture Discovery Tour, where you will travel back in time to the golden age of the Bund in the 1920s.
  • Explore some of the old Bund buildings and listen to their fascinating stories. Then, ascend the tallest building in China, Shanghai Tower, where you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of Shanghai and witness the vastness of the largest city in China.
the Bund at night
The night of the Bund
Shanghai Departure

On the last day of this itinerary, your private car, driver, and guide will be awaiting you at your hotel lobby, ensuring a timely arrival at the airport.

As you sit back and relax, they will provide check-in assistance and escort you to the correct security gate. Experience stress-free travel and a delightful journey home as they cater to your every need.

shanghai pudong airport
The waiting hall of the Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Ideas for Making This Trip Uniquely Yours

Special experiences can be added to brighten a honeymoon trip, a family vacation, a birthday, or satisfy personal interests.

champagne on the night cruise
Han Chinese Clothing and Customs Experience

For Couples and families

phi phi island
Shanghai Chic by Night

For Couples

enjoy performance by a geisha
Geisha Performance

For cultural immersion

preparing tuna
Whole Tuna Preparation Show

For those who like fresh Japanese foods

Hand-Picked Hotels

We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.

hotel in Tokyo
Hotel in Tokyo with great location
Family friendly hotel in Kanazawa
Kid-friendly hotel with hot spring in Hakone
Hotel with Garden in Kyoto
Centrally located hotel in Kyoto
Hotel near the Hutongs in Beijing
Hotel near the Hutongs in Beijing
Nice hotel with Kitchen in Xi'an
Apartment with kitchen in Xi'an
Hotel on the Bund in Shanghai
Hotel on the Bund in Shanghai

Our Service Includes:

16 days from
US$ 6,699
per person (based on 2 people and 4-star hotels)
  • Private transport and personal English-speaking tour guide
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts at hotels
  • Governmental taxes

Tour code: ah-ea-1

Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

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Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)

  • Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
  • Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
  • Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
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