For discerning travelers accustomed to intrepidly exploring on their own in foreign lands, we offer fully bespoke tours to Japan.

Asuka Masatsune (1170–1221)

I walked among stones
Through mountains of mountains
Paying no mind
Until the flower-trail behind
Turned into drifting white clouds

Independent travel to a place as exotic as Japan is not for everyone, but for those who enjoy the adventure, the rewards are well worth the effort.  By traveling independently, you will have opportunities to engage with the culture in a more intimate and personal way.  While Esprit provides the framework for your trip, including all reservations, transportation arrangements, day guides and personal introductions, you day-to-day plan is almost entirely at your discretion.

It is our sincere hope that you have an unforgettable journey in Japan. We endeavor to take care of the details so that you can relax and let your experiences unfold.

The information in your final itinerary will provide you with more than enough ideas for things to do and see during your trip, however, the best discoveries will likely be the ones you make on your own, during the time you are strolling, rambling, and enjoying impromptu moments. We encourage you to take time to sit in a café, window shop, explore a convenience store, watch a Japanese game show on television or find other creative ways to engage with the unique country that is today’s Japan.

The cost of a trip depends on a number of factors, including the exchange rate, the type and level of accommodations, length of trip, number of days with a guide and so forth, and will start from around $600-$700 per person per day and up (or $1200-$1400 per couple) in moderately priced western-style hotels based on two people sharing a room; if you are traveling during the high season (described below) or including the art islands of Naoshima (Benesse Art site) the average daily price will be higher.

We provide complete packages including all hotels, airport transfers, trains, private hire cars where needed, guided days, special experiences and everything you need to make your independent trip to Japan a seamless experience.  We have a seven-night minimum for our custom tour planning services.  In the event you are trying to use hotel points to secure your rooms, we will not be able to assist you as we have found that only by providing all end-to-end services can we assure the consistency of your experience in Japan.

If your travel budget is more modest or if you prefer to book hotels and services on your own, you may be interested in the prepared itineraries available from our sister company, Curated Japan They offer standard 7-10, 10-14 and 14+ night itineraries that give you all the information you need to plan a trip on your own, including hotels, trains, transfers, activities, sightseeing and more.




Sketch Itinerary

We start by finding out what is important to you, from where you want to go to what you want to see, experience and remember from this trip. Whether helping a couple get married in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, arranging an overnight stay and private viewing at the Benesse House Art Site, or getting reservations at a special inn during the festival in Takayama, we make dreams come true. Our deep expertise in Japanese culture, built over years of studying, living and working in the Japan, and our mastery of the Japanese language allow us not only to craft the journey you want, but find innumerable ways to make it rich and memorable. Once this is complete, we prepare a sketch itinerary proposal for your review.

  • Understanding
  • Daily Plan Layout
  • Experience Options

Tour Preparation

Esprit’s prepares a complete custom tour package for you.  We want your experience in Japan to be seamless so you can relax and enjoy the culture, the food, the private introductions and all that this fascinating culture has to offer, without sweating the details. To that end, we focus on only a few clients at a time and we do not sell partial packages or guide-only days.

  • Tour Planning Handbook
  • Suggested Reading List
  • Airport-to-Airport Logistics

Enhanced Itinerary

A few months before you travel, we take our initial sketch itinerary and lay out the details of what you will be able to do, day-by-day, so that you can determine the right schedule and pacing for yourself. This enhanced itinerary gives you a good idea of what can reasonably be done each day so that you can truly live in the moment while in Japan.

  • Pacing
  • Timing
  • Event Selection

Detailed Review Itinerary

We are meticulous (some might say obsessed) in planning every detail, so you can enjoy the people, places, experiences, learning and adventures you travel to find. We make sure you have information, introductions, guides, interpreter, reservations, plans and support when and where you need them — effortlessly. Our Kyoto office is there to offer assistance with reservations, tickets to cultural events and to answer questions. Our Japanese guides are deeply knowledgeable and a pleasure to spend time with.

  • Reservations
  • Guide Planning
  • Logistics Management

Final Documents

About 2 weeks before you travel, you’ll receive one of Esprit’s fabulously detailed itineraries, all printed up into an easy-to-carry booklet, along with a full set of documents to make your trip go smoothly. Our final package includes maps, restaurant suggestions, detailed sightseeing information for when you are on your own, tourist information and lots of little goodies, all included in a beautiful package that you can just take and go.

  • itinerary booklet
  • maps
  • sightseeing suggestions

Experience Japan!

Finally, we will send you to Japan with introductions to our friends — the artists, craftspeople, artisans, cultural experts and sensei we have had the good fortune to share friendship with for years. Each of these introductions is a special gift and is made to open a unique door on your interests. We have arranged access to private workshops in Kyoto’s weaving district, cooking classes, a workshop in indigo dying, shakuhachi flute lessons, introductions to Japanese artists for collectors and much more. In most cases, an interpreter is required and we will have arranged for that too.

  • Special Visits
  • Private Introductions
  • Personalized Service

Choose from a range of exciting destinations and experiences!

Let`s Work Together