Japan: A Guide to the Guides

A Who’s Who of the best tour operators specializing in Japan.

Courtesy Remote Lands
OF 7

Japan is a difficult country to penetrate without outside help. Enter the tour operators. DEPARTURES vetted outfitters from around the world and selected six to arrange our travel plans based on a single criterion: whether the company has particular expertise in the country. For the most part, there is a pretty well-traveled circuit in Japan. First-timers usually do a ten-day trip to Tokyo and Kyoto, and then add an additional stop or two along the way. Because of this, tour operators often fish out of the same, er, koi pond—each seems to have its own secret sushi spot, sumo stable, pottery person. But that’s okay, because, as we will vouch, it’s insanely hard to get from point A to B—let alone get behind closed doors—without them.