This guided tour, from Osaka to Tokyo, includes an overnight in a monks' temple, an excursion to Itsuku-shima Island and a visit to Hiroshima.
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The Real Deal: This land-only tour includes one night each at the Osaka Namba Washington Plaza Hotel in Osaka and at a shukubo (temple lodging run by monks) atop Mount Koya in Koyasan; two nights each at hotels in Hiroshima and Kyoto; one night each in a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) with its own private onsen (natural hot springs) in Hakone and at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo; two breakfasts and two dinners; a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima; an excursion to Itsuku-shima island; admission to Daisen-in, Kinkaku-ji, and the Nijo Castle temples; a seven-day rail pass; transportation by bullet train, tram, public bus taxi, and ferry; and the services of an experienced English-speaking group leader; from $1,735 per person — including all taxes and fees.
When: Depart Mondays July 12–26, 2010; add $434 for Aug. 9–Dec. 13, Jan. 17, 31, Feb. 28, Mar. 14–Dec. 12, 2011.
The fine print: All taxes and fees are included, but international airfare is not. Based on double occupancy. Solo travelers can either be paired with a roommate at no additional charge or pay an extra $419 for a private room. Average group size is 10, with a maximum of 15. To book, refer to trip code AJJR. For a reverse itinerary from Tokyo to Osaka, ask for code AJJT. Read these guidelinesbefore you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Gap Adventures, 888-800-4100, gapadventures.com.
Why it's a deal: Booking at the last minute for one of the available travel dates in July will save you 20 percent, which is about $434 per person, off the regular rate for this trip. The package rate breaks down to about $217 a night, and it covers eight nights' accommodations throughout the trip (including in two of the world's most expensive cities, Osaka and Tokyo), some meals, guided sightseeing, entrance fees and transportation. Plus, you'll be accompanied by an English-speaking group leader who will offer invaluable insider information and introduce you to local friends.
More: An additional $100 per person should cover a variety of optional activities and tours available throughout the trip. Pre-tour nights at the Osaka Namba Washington Plaza Hotel start from $90 per room per night for a single room and $160 per room per night for a double. Post-tour nights at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo start from $210 per room per night for a single and $265 per room per night for a double.
Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.