Departing by Air
Duration 13 Days
Available Until November 2018

Discover the very best of Japan’s stunning temples and shrines, intriguing pagodas, manicured gardens, fast-paced cities, incredible cuisine and outstanding natural beauty.

Price includes:

  • See the famous sights of Tokyo – the Meiji shrine, Omotesando Street, fashion-setting Harajuku and the Akihabara electronic town
  • Visit the stunning UNESCO-listed Nikko National Park with its outstanding Shogun-era architecture
  • Experience the spectacular 91-metre Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji
  • Cruise down the Sumida River to Ginza
  • Visit the Asakusa Temple and Hamarikyu Gardens plus enjoy private access to the Imperial Palace Gardens
  • Enjoy astonishing views of Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi and the hot-spring, mountain spa resort of Hakone
  • Travel at 189 mph on the incomparable high-speed bullet trains
  • Reflect on the horrors of war at Hiroshima’s Peace Park and museum plus visit the Korakuen Gardens in Okayama
  • Panoramic guided tour of Kyoto visiting the Golden Pavilion, Ryoan- Ji Temple, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and Kiyomizu Temple
  • Guided tour of Nara, Japan’s first capital with its huge bronze Buddha plus visit Nara Park for a tour of the Todaiji Temple and the Shinto Kasuga Taisha Shrine
  • Opportunity to learn origami, traditional flower arranging or Japanese cooking
  • Return travel from the UK with premium economy upgrades available at a supplement plus transfers to and from the hotel included
  • Services of our experienced tour manager
  • Hand-picked four-star accommodation, including all local taxes, with breakfast and three meals included

 Itinerary

DAY 1 – DEPARTURE

You arrive at the airport for your overnight direct flight to Tokyo.

DAY 2 – ARRIVAL IN TOKYO

You transfer to the excellent four-star superior New Otani, for four nights with breakfast.  The hotel has a wide variety of restaurants and a charming Japanese garden.  The rest of the day is free to relax after your flight.

Day 3 – TOKYO

Tokyo may seem similar to other Asian cities, with its gleaming skyscrapers and fashionable shops, but you’ll soon begin to notice some of the most fascinating differences  – like the spotlessly clean and surprisingly quiet streets.  There’s no beeping of horns here, that would be far too impolite!  First stop is the famous Shinto Meiji shrine – set in lush parkland, this is a religious site where you may see a typical Japanese marriage underway.  Next, it’s onto some of Tokyo’s most renowned neighbourhoods, including Omotesando Street, the Rodeo Drive’ of the city, the Akihabara ‘electronic town’ and the Harajuku area, with the latest outrageous fashions.  We sample some Japanese cuisine on our included lunch.

DAY 4 – TOKYO

This morning we visit Tokyo’s Asakusa district. Full of traditional small houses and shops, it’s a unique insight into the Tokyo of a hundred years ago. We will then transfer by boat down the Sumida River to Ginza, widely recognised as one of the world’s most luxurious shopping destinations. It’s brimming with ultra-modern department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffee houses. Your afternoon is free to shop, explore, or perhaps indulge in some fascinating people-watching.

Another option is to head to the Tokyo National Museum, just a few stops on the metro. Here you’ll find the world’s largest collection of Japanese art, with pottery, painting and prints, textiles, fashion and oriental antiquities.

DAY 5 – MOUNT FUJI & HAKONE

Saying goodbye to Tokyo we drive towards Mount Fuji, probably Japan’s most instantly recognisable sight. Fringed by thick forests and a crescent-shaped ring of shimmering lakes, we are presented with one of the world’s greatest and most spectacular views. We visit two of these beautiful lakes to give you the best chance of appreciating and enjoying the stunning panorama from two different angles – and some of life’s most amazing photo opportunities. Our first stop is at Lake Kawaguchi, well known to the Japanese but as yet undiscovered by most foreign visitors. Next we head south to explore the fascinating mountain resort of Hakone. Descending to the smooth dark blue waters of Lake Ashi, we take a cruise on a rather unusual Japanese version of an early 19th-century pirate ship. From here, especially on a clear day, the views of Mt Fuji are one of the world’s greatest panoramas.

Arriving at the four-star Hakone Hotel, we stay for one night with breakfast and dinner. The entire area here is geo-thermally active, and provides the perfect opportunity to try one of Japan’s unmissable experiences – bathing in an ‘onsen’, a hot spring at our very own hotel.

Day 6 – BULLET TRAIN

This morning we travel to Hiroshima on Japan’s iconic gleaming white bullet train. With reclining seats, plenty of legroom, air conditioned comfort and speeds up to 189 mph, this is an incomparable way to travel. Arriving at lunchtime, we’re on our way to one of the country’s most distinctive views on the nearby small island of Miyajima. A huge red ‘Torii’ gate sits just offshore; widely celebrated, at high tide it appears to float between the sea and sky. This popular little island is easy to explore on foot. It has a relaxed holiday atmosphere, lots of interesting shops and a covered market. Returning to Hiroshima, we stay for two nights at the four-star ANA Crowne Plaza or the four-star superior Sheraton Hiroshima, with breakfast.

DAY 7 – HIROSHIMA

There’s a sobering reminder of the horrors of war this morning as we visit Hiroshima’s Peace Park and museum, displaying the remains of the only building to survive the atomic bomb blast of August 1945. The city has been completely rebuilt and there are no signs left of the devastation of that fateful day. Yet you may notice a small digital counter indicating the number of days since the last atomic test – it’s surprisingly recent. Your afternoon is at leisure to experience this charming city.

DAY 8 – KYOTO

Leaving Hiroshima by coach, we head towards the old imperial capital of Kyoto. En route we’ll visit the superb Korakuen garden at Okayama – built in 1700 and renowned as one of Japan’s most exquisite gardens, with lawns, lakes, wooden bridges and shrines and teahouses! Our hotel for four nights in Kyoto is the centrally located four star Kyoto Century Hotel or New Miyako Hotel.

DAY 9 – KYOTO

Today is a stark reminder of the horrors of war as we visit Hiroshima’s Peace Park and museum and see the remains of the only building to survive the atomic bomb blast of August 1945. The city has been completely rebuilt with no signs left of the devastation of that fateful day, but a small counter in the museum shows the days since the last atomic test. Leaving Hiroshima we head towards the old imperial capital of Kyoto, en route visiting the superb Korakuen garden at Okayama. Our hotel for the next four nights is the centrally located four-star Kyoto Century Hotel, with breakfast.

DAY 10 – NARA

Capital city before Kyoto, Nara is just a few miles south. Firstly we see one of the country’s most iconic shrines, made from thousands of red Torii gates forming two extraordinary vermilion-coloured wooden tunnels up a hillside. Arriving at Nara you’ll be greeted by the dozens of tame deer considered for centuries to be messengers of the gods. The main sight though is the amazing Todai-ji temple, astonishingly the world’s largest wooden structure. Housing a huge bronze Buddha, this is a truly inspiring sight and just one of Nara’s several UNESCO World Heritage sites.

DAY 11 – FREE DAY IN KYOTO

You’re free today to explore and discover the many delights and attractions of Kyoto. There are still more enchanting temples to see – like the 15th century Silver Pavilion and the even older Eikando temple, marvels of architectural and garden design within an easy walk of each other along the charming Philosopher’s Path. Other delightful options are a lesson in origami, flower arranging, dressing as a geisha or learning to cook a typical Japanese meal. All of these unique experiences can be arranged by your tour manager in local homes – a wonderful way to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese culture.
Tonight you also have the option of staying in a ryokan, a typical Japanese inn. You’ll sleep on a rolled out futon with tatami matting on the floor. You’ll also enjoy a traditional ‘kaiseki’ multi-course dinner. Beautifully prepared and served, it’s just as stunning to look at as it is to eat. This is subject to availability and needs to be pre-booked, please mention at time of booking. From £129 per person (single supplement from £198).

DAY 12 – BULLET TRAIN

After a last free morning at leisure, we take our bullet train to Tokyo staying overnight at the four-star Excel Tokyu near the airport.

DAY 13 – RETURN FLIGHT

We fly directly back to the UK, arriving later the same day, with memories of an incomparable tour full of the most extraordinary insights and experiences that Japan has to offer.


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