Best of Japan

Best of Japan

  • Walking up-and-down the shopping streets of Tokyo 
  • Sleeping in a traditional ryokan in Hakone 
  • Watching silk painting artisans in Kanazawa 
  • Visiting the Peace Memorial Park in Horishima 
  • Seeing the scenic Floating Torri Gate on Miyajima Island

From ancient temples to super-fast trains, this two week tailor-made tour showcases the very best of Japan.

Get ready to really see Japan! Over fourteen days you’ll hope around the country, taking it it’s most historic and culturally significant sites – as well as getting to immerse yourself in unique cultural experiences from cooking classes to learning the art of traditional crafts. From the skyscrapers of Tokyo – the start and end points of this tour – to the temples of Kyoto and the tragic history of Hiroshima, this is a chance to experience this country of incredible and fascinating contrasts.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo

Arrive in Tokyo

Welcome to Japan! Touch down into Tokyo and be greeted by your driver in the arrivals hall, ready to take you – in a shared transfer – to your hotel for the next three nights. Once you’ve checked in, the day is yours to spend how you wish, either relaxing in your room or exploring the city.

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo

Day 2: Guided Tour of Tokyo

Tokyo

Your first full day in Japan’s capital is all about shrines and shopping – highlighting the contrasts that this city is all about. Travelling with a local guide on the excellent public transport system, start the day in ‘Tokyo of Old’ in the Asakusa district, home to Sensoji, the city’s oldest temple before walking down the bustling shopping street of Nakamise lined with food stalls and souvenir shops. Take to the water as you cruise down the Sumidagawa River on Tokyo’s water bus, bringing you to the Edo-period Hamarikyu Gardens for a cup of matcha and Japanese sweets. The last stops on today’s agenda are Meiji Shrine, a popular place for weddings, and the tree-lined Omotesando shopping avenue. Please note: if you would prefer to tour the city by private car, please speak to our travel experts.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 2: Guided Tour of Tokyo

Day 3: Tokyo

Tokyo

The first part of the morning is spent at the outer section of the world’s largest fish market – the Tsukiji Market. While the inner market has relocated to a different part of the city, you can still wander the impressive fruit, vegetable and – of course – seafood stalls. You’ll then jump on board public transport with your knowledgeable guide, on hand to answer any questions you may have about the country and its culture, arriving at a local home where you’ll learn to prepare sushi! After making maki, gunkan maki and nigiri sushi you’ll get to sit down and eat your own creations for lunch. The rest of the afternoon is free for your own sightseeing.

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Tokyo

Day 4: Hakone & Mt. Fuji

Tokyo - Hakone & Mt. Fuji

Swap skyscrapers for outdoor adventure as you leave Tokyo behind and head to Hakone, less than 100 kilometres away and a popular weekend spot. Using your Hakone Pass, you can travel on the area’s extensive transport s system, riding switchback trains, gliding on volcanic lakes aboard a replica pirate ship and taking the cable car to the top of Mt. Owakudani – at the summit, try one of the ‘black eggs’ cooked in the hot springs – doing so is said to add another seven years to your life! This evening stay in a traditional ryokan, where you’ll sleep on futons laid out on tatami mats – delicious evening meal included.

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Hakone & Mt. Fuji

Day 5: Takayama

Hakone - Takayama

All aboard! Ride the world-famous Shinkansen bullet train from Hakone before changing at Nagoya Station to the Limited Express Hida Wide View where you’ll be able to take in panoramic views of the countryside as you travel to the mountain town of Takayama. After checking into your hotel, the afternoon is free to spend at your leisure – our top recommendation is a visit to one of the many sake breweries for a tipple or two.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 5: Takayama

Day 6: Takayama

Free Day in Takayama

Today you decide what you’d like to do. You may start with a visit to the Miyagawa morning market – one of the biggest in Japan – stretching from the old town to the Takayama Jinya and selling a variety of local produce and traditional crafts. A short bus ride away is the Hida No Sato Folk Village, an open-air museum with a collection of buildings built during the Edo period and the Hida Takayama Crafts Experience Center where you can take part in a workshop to create your own handicrafts from sarubobo dolls to glass wind chimes – a great souvenir to take back home! Another top suggestion for your free day is a trip to the small but impressive Takayama Festival Floats Museum displaying 17th century floats from the famous Takayama Festival.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 6: Takayama

Day 7: Kanazawa & Shirakawago

Takayama - Shirakawago - Kanazawa

Go from the mountains to the sea as you make use of your coach tickets to travel from Takayama to the coastal town of Kanazawa. On the way stop at Shirakawago village, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed location known for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses – some dating back more than 250 years. The name literally translates to ‘praying hands’ after the steep thatched roofs that resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. After you’ve taken your time looking around, carry on to Kanazawa.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 7: Kanazawa & Shirakawago

Day 8: Free Day in Kanazawa

Kanazawa

What will you do on your free day in Kanazawa? The capital of Ishikawa Prefecture on the island of Honshu is home to some of the best preserved historic areas – thanks to its escape from air raids during World War II. Our top pick is Kenrokuen, considered to be one of the three best gardens in Japan and designed to be beautiful in every season. Then explore the preserved Nagamachi Samurai District with its narrow streets, water canals and earthen walls – there are a number of museums that you can visit including a restored samurai residence. You may decide to head to the Kanazawa Castle – rebuilt and restored after many fires – or watch artisans at work at the Saihitsuan Yuzen Silk Center where silk fabrics used to make kimonos are expertly dyed.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 8: Free Day in Kanazawa

Day 9: Hiroshima

Kanazawa - Hiroshima

This is a travel day, taking you by train from Kanazawa to Hiroshima – the journey should take around four hours with a change at Shin Osaka Station. Upon arrival, either make your way to your hotel or speak to our travel experts about arranging a private transfer.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 9: Hiroshima

Day 10: Hiroshima & Miyajima Tour

Hiroshima - Miyajima Tour

First up on today’s agenda: a guided tour of Hiroshima, a city notorious as the place where the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped, obliterating most of the city. You’ll be taken to the Peace Memorial Park, a place dedicated to those who lost their lives in the attack, built on the site where the bomb fell. Over the 120,000 square metres you’ll find the A-Bomb Dome, site of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall and one of the few buildings to remain standing, as well as the Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims where names of those who died are etched on a stone chest. The second part of the day takes you to Miyajima Island, a sacred Shinto site famed for its Floating Torri Gate, one of the most scenic – and most photographed – sites in the country.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 10: Hiroshima & Miyajima Tour

Day 11: Kyoto

HIroshima - Kyoto

In the morning travel once again on the Shinkansen bullet train for a two hour journey from Hiroshima to Kyoto. Once you’ve settled in to your hotel, you’ll spend the afternoon immersing yourself in Japanese culture on a private cooking lesson, creating popular dishes. The main style of cooking you’ll be taking part in is ‘kappo’ meaning to ‘cut with a knife and cook over fire’. If you were to dine at a traditional kappo restaurant you would fine counter seating where diners are face-to-face with the chef, creating an intimate and lively atmosphere.

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Kyoto

Day 12: Guided Tour of Kyoto

Kyoto

Explore Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan, on a guided tour. Begin the day at Kinkakuji Temple, more commonly known as the Golden Pavilion thanks to its gold-leaf covered exterior. One of Kyoto’s most famous temples, it houses sacred relics of Buddha and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Continue on to Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site then walk through Nishiki Market where more than 100 restaurants and shops specialising in all things related to cooking line the street. At the end of the day, you have two options: soak up sweeping views of the city from the Kiyomizu Temple or visit Sanjusangendo, the longest wooden structure in Japan.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 12: Guided Tour of Kyoto

Day 13: Day Trip to Nara

Kyoto - Nara - Fushimi

On your final day in Kyoto, travel by train with a local guide to the former capital, Nara. During its 74 year stint as capital in the 8th century, a number of shrines and temples were built with many still standing today. Stop by Todaiji Temple which houses the larges wooden structure in the world along with Japan’s largest bronze Buddha statue, then carry on to Kasuga Taisha, a celebrated shrine known for the hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns donated by its worshippers. Before heading back to Kyoto, wander through Nara Park, fondly nicknamed ‘Deer Park’ for the 1000s of tame deer in its grounds. Upon return to Kyoto, we recommend visiting the Fushimi Inari Shrine – a filming location in the movie adaptation of ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ and famed for its red torri gates.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 13: Day Trip to Nara

Day 14: Depart Japan

Kyoto - Onward Destination

Check out and train back to Tokyo for your departure flight – train times will depend on which airport (Kansai or Narita) you are flying from.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Pricing

All prices shown represent a from price per person based on low season travel unless otherwise stated.
Availability of tour components and flights seats change continually, affecting the final price. The lead-in price given is therefore for guidance only.
To obtain a tailored quote for you and your party, please call one of our travel experts today.


Jun - Aug 2020; 1st June 2020 - 31st August 2020

Sep - Oct 2020; 1st September 2020 - 31st October 2020

Important Info

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