Let’s face it: we probably won’t be traveling, internationally anyway, anytime soon. But we will again in the future. And what is the next best thing we can do right now? Travel planning, of course. Here are some Japan tour and activity ideas you can book ahead risk-free—they allow last-minute cancellations and guarantee full refunds.

If you book, and the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t sufficiently under control by the time you are due to travel, you can cancel up to 48-72 hours before the date and get your money back, with no questions asked. So get excited now, travel later!

Japan tours and experiences you can cancel last minute

The list is likely to get longer in the coming weeks, as the travel industry looks at ways to recover. Here are a few examples of what you can book through three tour and ticket providers.

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Last-minute cancellations with Rakuten Travel Experiences

Popular tour booking platform Rakuten Travel Experiences have added an optional guarantee to a number of their activities, intended to alleviate insecurity among travelers.

They are offering free cancellation and a full refund up to 2 or 3 days prior to the booked activity date (not all activities have the same conditions, so read the fine print for each of them).

Note: Selecting the guarantee option adds an extra 10% or more to the ticket price, so you’ll need to look at the upfront costs vs. potential losses.

Here are a few examples of what you can book with a full-refund guarantee.

ghibli films
Photo by iStock.com/mizoula

Studio Ghibli Museum Tokyo: Preorder and last-minute tickets

If there is one activity you absolutely must book before landing in Japan, it is the Ghibli Museum. Tickets for this magical venue, which will make you feel like you have stepped right into a Hayao Miyazaki movie, sell out weeks or sometimes even months in advance.

Though there is quite a mark-up on this particular activity, Rakuten Travel Experiences lets you preorder (no longer available) for your preferred date, or you can sometimes snap up last-minute tickets. The guarantee lets you cancel it all for free, as long as you do it by the specified date and time.

Harajuku nights: Kawaii Monster Cafe oiran show

If you are looking for a uniquely Tokyo experience that embodies the fusion of fashion and crazy at the heart of Harajuku’s street culture, look no further than the Kawaii Monster Cafe.

This cute-kitsch daytime cafe puts on special shows at night, ranging in theme from burlesque to oiran (high-class courtesans of the Edo era; think a flashier version of a geisha).

We like the oiran show, as it lands right at the intersection of old and new Japan. And you get themed food and drinks!

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Easy day trip from Tokyo: Hakone hot spring theme park

If you want to infuse your Tokyo trip with one of Japan’s best views, just a 2-hour train ride from Tokyo, Hakone is your destination. Besides bathing, this popular hot spring resort also offers hikes, dining, and some of the best views of Mt. Fuji. People usually spend a full day in Hakone, or a weekend.

Mt Fuji view
Photo by Lucy Dayman

The Kowakien Yunessun Onsen Theme Park offers a fun and accessible take on onsen, Japanese hot springs, with multiple themed baths that can be used wearing swim suits. You can tack this on to your Hakone trip totally risk-free, as long as you cancel in advance.

Geisha for a day: 15% off a maiko makeover in Kyoto

If you are planning on heading to Kyoto while exploring Japan, why not dress up like a maiko (geisha in training) for a day?

Couple in kimono holding hands
Photo by iStock.com/nevereverro

This maiko makeover includes everything from make-up to hair, the kimono of your choice and even a photographer. Rakuten Travel Experience’s pre-book deal offers a 15% discount, and again, you can cancel if you can’t make the trip.

Photo by Adriana Paradiso

Last-minute cancellations with Klook

Perhaps one of the most competitively priced tour and ticket booking platforms serving Japan travel, Klook have free cancellation built into many of their offerings, with a notice period of 24-72 hours.

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These include two hugely popular Tokyo tour activities you’ll almost certainly want to check off the bucket list:

street kart tokyo
Photo by Klook
  • Street go-karting in Akihabara: Dressed up in a fun costume, you can zoom through the city streets. You can cancel up to 72 hours ahead of your booking. See more.
  • Tsukiji Fish Market tour: You can still explore the world-famous fish market and taste some of the freshest sushi on the planet. You can cancel up to 24 hours before your booking. See more.
  • Last-minute cancellations with Tiqets

    Ticket and tour booking platform Tiqets are also offering a last-minute cancellation option on some of their tickets and activities.

    When booking, you can choose a “flexible ticket”, which can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance, or you can add a “free cancellation” option to your regular ticket at checkout (note: this costs a little extra).

    Regardless of which you go for, Tiqets say that if a museum or attraction is not open on the day of your scheduled visit, you’ll get a full refund. See what’s available in Tokyo.

    This article, though it is not sponsored, contains affiliate links. While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.

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