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04/05/2022
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Essential Japan

0
  • 12 days 12 nights
  • Max People : 18
  • Wifi Available
  • Mar 21 - Nov 07
  • Min Age : 16+
  • Pickup: Airport

This leisurely-paced tour takes you on a captivating journey across Japan. Discover iconic sights, scenery and the country’s unique fusion of age-old traditions and ultra-modern cities. Soak up the history, culture and scenery as you discover everything from the futuristic city of Tokyo and Hiroshima’s haunting history to snow-capped Mount Fuji and Kyoto’s ancient temples, tea houses and geishas

Departure & Return Location

United Kingdom

Price Includes

  • Quality Accommodation
  • Insightful local tour leaders
  • Hand-picked itineraries
  • Flexible arrival times
  • Small groups and a relaxed approach
  • Meals where most convenient
  • All specified flights.

Price Excludes

  • Passport fees, personal expenses, excess baggage
  • Beverages, telephone charges, laundry in the hotel
  • Single room fee
  • Driver Service Fee

Children

  • Price is for children who share a bed with parents
  • Prices may change when aviation does not increase fuel surcharges
  • Programs and flight times may vary depending on specific departure dates
What to Expect
  • An overnight bag is required for parts of the tour
  • This tour is unsuitable for those less mobile
  • Hotel rooms can be quite smal
  • We recommend packing light as you will be required to carry your own luggage on and off public transport throughout the tour (there are no porters in Japan) and luggage space can be limited
  • Meals are traditionally Japanese style and usually include raw and cooked fish, meat and vegetables
  • Special diets including vegetarian and gluten free are not widely understood or catered for and choices can be limited, please call for further details.
Photos
Itinerary

Day 1UK to Tokyo

Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Tokyo.

Day 2Tokyo

On arrival in the capital you’ll be met and then transferred to your hotel by airport shuttle bus. You’ll be given a pre-loaded IC Card which enables you to travel locally by bus, rail and subway. You’ll also receive a 7-day Japan Rail Pass which offers the most efficient way of travelling throughout the country. Stay: Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar).

Day 3Tokyo (Breakfast, Lunch)

Today begins with a guided tour that makes good use of Tokyo’s efficient public transport. Visit the Meiji Shrine which has a serene forested setting by Yoyogi Park, right in the heart of the city. Follow a pretty tree-lined walkway and pass through the giant torii (a traditional gate) to the shrine which is dedicated to the first emperor of modern Japan. It’s a popular spot for weddings so you may see a traditional Shinto wedding procession.

Take a stroll down Omotesando, a popular shopping street that’s known as ‘Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees’. After a welcome lunch, continue to the historic Asakusa district which served as Tokyo’s leading entertainment district during the Edo Period and offers a glimpse into old Tokyo. Soak up the atmosphere and wander along Nakamise to visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple. Stay: Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar). B, L.

Day 4Tokyo (Breakfast, Lunch)

Travel by public transport (approx. 1 hour) to the sleepy coastal town of Kamakura, referred to as ‘the Kyoto of Eastern Japan’ because of its many temples and shrines which are scattered in forested hills. Visit the Kotokuin Temple which is home to the 13-metre-high Great Buddha (Daibutsu), and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu – Kamakura’s most important shrine, which is set in beautiful gardens dotted with lotus ponds. You’ll also visit Hasedera Temple to see the 11-headed statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy and one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan.

You’ll have time this afternoon to shop for some bargains on Komachi Street. Pick up some souvenirs such as lacquer-works, hand-made paper and ceramics, or treat yourself to traditional snacks such as octopus crackers and the local speciality, sweet potato ice-cream. Return to Tokyo for an evening at leisure. Stay: Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar). B, L.

Day 5Tokyo to Hakone (Breakfast, Lunch, DInner)

Board the iconic Shinkansen bullet train from Shinagawa to Odawara, then transfer on a local train to the serene town of Hakone, renowned for its onsen, or hot springs, and incredible mountain scenery – on a clear day you can see Mount Fuji! Transfer to your guesthouse which is located in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and offers a taste of traditional Japanese life – stay in a Japanese-style room, enjoy local cuisine and relax in an onsen.

Towering at 12,388 feet, snow-capped Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain and a tribute to its beauty. Ride the scenic Hakone Ropeway before boarding a replica pirate ship for a cruise on stunning Lake Ashi, which offers views of the iconic red torii of the Hakone Shrine. This evening make the most of your guesthouse’s thermal hot springs with a soak in the mineral-rich waters. Stay: Hakone PAX Yoshino (or similar).

Day 6 Hakone to Takayama (Breakfast, Dinner)

This morning you’ll travel by train – including the bullet train – through the Japanese Alps to the mountain town of Takayama (approx. 5½ hours). When you change trains in Nagoya grab a bento box and enjoy lunch like a local. This scenic route takes you on a winding journey through striking gorges and mountains. On arrival, enjoy a leisurely stroll through this Edo-period merchant town while learning about the Takayama’s history and distinctive culture. Enjoy wagyu beef – a delicious local speciality for dinner, and visit a local sake brewer to learn how the nation’s famous drink is made, and sample a glass or two. Stay: Takayama Ouan.

Day 7Takayama to Kanazawa (Breakfast, Dinner)

Journey by train to Kanazawa which is known as ‘Little Kyoto’ (approx. 2 hours). Visit beautiful Kenroku-en Garden – deemed one of the ‘Three Great Gardens of Japan’ – and the grounds of Kanazawa Castle. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Stay: Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel (or similar); for Apr 12 & May 05 departures: Hotel Vista Kanazawa. B, D.

Day 8Kanazawa to Hiroshima (Breakfast, Dinner)

Travel by train to Kyoto (approx. 2 hours) and connect with the bullet train to Hiroshima (approx. 1½ hours). Six rivers flow through this vibrant ‘City of Water’, which has a haunting past. Spend the afternoon in the thought-provoking Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum and read moving first-hand accounts of the fateful nuclear attack at the Atomic Bomb Dome. Stay: Mitsui Garden Hotel Hiroshima (or similar).

Day 9Hiroshima to Kyoto (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Take the ferry to the island of Miyajima, which is home to the UNESCO-listed Itsukushima Shrine and its red torii gate which appears to float at high tide. This historic site is a peaceful retreat with stunning mountain scenery and red shrines. Stroll through Momiji-dani Park, which translates as ‘maple valley’, and is home to almost 200 colourful trees as well as a number of white-tailed deer. Take the Miyajima Ropeway up to the top of Mount Misen for breathtaking views over forest and the Seto Inland Sea. Return to Hiroshima and ride the bullet train to the imperial city of Kyoto. Stay: The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo (or similar); for Apr 12 & May 05 departures: Royal Park Kyoto Shijo.

Day 10Kyoto (Breakfast, Lunch)

Today make use of your IC Card with a full day exploring the city. Start with a visit to the Arashiyama area which lies at the foot of the Arashiyama Mountains, west of Kyoto. Visit the 14th-Century zen garden of Tenryuji-Temple – one of the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto, before continuing to Sanjusangendo. This afternoon visit the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine, which featured in Memoirs of a Geisha and is a dream for photographers. Ten thousand vermillion torii gates form a path up the mountain and contrast beautifully with the surrounding forest. You’ll also spend some time exploring the shops and restaurants in Kyoto’s futuristic railway station, which is located in one of Japan’s largest buildings. Stay: The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo (or similar).

Day 11Kyoto (Brakfast, Lunch)

Today embark on a full-day private coach tour, beginning with a visit to the 15th-Century Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion), which is set in tranquil gardens. Stroll along the scenic Philosopher’s Path, which follows a canal lined by hundreds of cherry trees and is even more beautiful in spring with candyfloss pink blossom, and autumn with deep red and orange leaves. Continue to the Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) which is coated in gold leaf and lies on the shores of a lake.

You’ll also visit the popular 8th-entury Kyomizu-dera Temple which lies at the top of a steep hill that’s buzzing with activity – shop for souvenirs, handicrafts and snacks, hire a kimono for some unique photos and enjoy fantastic views over Kyoto. If time permits you can visit the Jishu Shrine which is dedicated to love. End your day by experiencing Chado, or Sado, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, before heading to the historic Gion district to watch an authentic Maiko performance. Stay: The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo (or similar).

Day 12Kyoto (Breakfast, Dinner)

Visit Nijo Castle and discover magnificent audience halls that were built for the Tokugawa Shoguns during the Edo Period. Make your way to Nishiki, a bustling market known as ‘Kyoto’s kitchen’, which features over a hundred vendors selling local delicacies, from octopus skewers to tofu doughnuts. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore independently. Stay: The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo (or similar).

Day 13Kyoto

Transfer to Osaka airport by coach for your return flight to the UK. End Service.

Map
FAQ

Accommodation on tours?

Japan is renowned for its hospitality and throughout your stay you’ll experience consistently high standards and superb service. We have chosen modern westernised hotels in most destinations with the exception of Hakone. Here you can experience a taste of local life with a stay in a Japanese-style hotel with rooftop onsen, or hot springs.

I'm a solo traveller, is there a single supplement?

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite.

Which currency is most widely accepted on this tour?

– Austria – Euro (EUR)
– France – Euro (EUR)
– Germany – Euro (EUR)
– Italy – Euro (EUR)
– Netherlands – Euro (EUR)
– Switzerland – Swiss franc (CHF)
– United Kingdom – Pound sterling (£)

Should I book pre/post tour accommodation?

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia.

It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however.

What is cancellation policy?

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite.