Upon arrival in Japan, you will be transferred by an assistant to your hotel in Tokyo. You will have the rest of the day to spend at your leisure; this is a great time to explore some of the incredible scenery this city has to offer.
Overnight (3 nights): Standard: Shiba Park Hotel I Superior: Park Hotel Tokyo (City Room)
Today will begin with a guided day tour of this fascinating city. You’ll head to Asakusa, known as Tokyo’s old town, where you can explore one of the city’s oldest temples. Continue onto the stunning Hamarikyu Garden, where you’ll enjoy a steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea house nestled on a small island in the parks lake. After lunch enjoy a visit to the beautiful Meiji Shrine, followed by a walk down Omotesando Street to indulge in a spot of shopping.
Begin your day with a trip to Tsukiji Market. This is the world’s largest fish market, selling up to 450 kinds of fish, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a typical Japanese home. Here you can learn all about Japanese culture and everyday life in Tokyo, as well as how to prepare a selection of delicious sushi dishes. Your tour ends in central Tokyo from which you will have the rest of the day to explore at leisure.
Breakfast and lunch included.
Tokyo – Hakone/Mt. Fuji
Today you will leave Tokyo and travel by train to Hakone, the gateway to the breath-taking Mt Fuji region. Equipped with an extensive local transport network of switchback trains, ropeways and buses, you will easily be able to explore the unforgettable scenery of towering mountains reflecting into crystalline lakes, as well as a number of charming historical sights.
A highlight of today will be riding the world’s second longest cable car to the top of Mt Owakudani; look out for the steamy pools of Hells Valley on the way. Once at the top, you can sample a black egg cooked in the hot springs and you’ll travel across the volcanic Lake Ashi aboard a majestic pirate ship replica.
You will spend the evening tucking into delicious meals and enjoying the hot spring baths, and you’ll be staying in a traditional Japanese ryokan, sleeping on futons laid out over tatami mats.
Breakfast and Dinner are included.
Overnight (1 night): Standard: Ichinoyu Honkan (Standard Japanese Room) I Superior: Susukinohara (Standard Japanese Room with outdoor hot spring bath)
From Hakone, you will board the world-renowned bullet train, reaching speeds of up to 186mph. You will then change over to the Limited Express Hida Wideview for an incredibly picturesque journey to Takayama, winding through stunning mountains and gorges along the way.
Once you arrive in the mountain town of Takayama this afternoon, we recommend taking some time to visit one of the many sake breweries for a taste of this traditional Japanese beverage, ingrained in the area’s pure water sources. There are also lots of little shops and taverns to pop in to whilst you explore.
Overnight (2 nights): Standard: Takayama Ouan (Standard Room) I Superior: Hidatei Hanaougi (Standard Room)
The entirety of today is at your leisure. After breakfast, we recommend heading up to the Miyagawa morning markets which sell a selection of local crafts and fresh produce. You could hop on the bus for a short journey over to the Hida No Sato Folk Village, an open-air museum showcasing 30 typical farmhouses and other traditional buildings found in the Hida region; The village also has an interesting workshop which illustrates how Japan’s famous handicrafts are made. Perhaps you could visit the Takayama Festival Floats Museum in the afternoon, or alternatively you can wander through the beautifully preserved old town.
Takayama – Kanazawa via Shirakawago
Start your day with a self-guided visit to the Shirakawago Village, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This village is famous for is traditional gassho-sukuri farmhouses which feature unique thatched roofs, built to resemble the hands of praying Buddhist Monks. Some of these farmhouses date to be over 250 years old. After your visit, you will travel onwards to Kanazawa by coach.
Overnight (2 nights): Standard: Hotel Vista Kanazawa (Standard Room) I Superior: Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel (Standard Room)
Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the highlights of Kanazawa, previously Japan’s second largest city during World War Two. This city has lots to offer, boasting many historical attractions such as restored residences and districts, as well as contemporary museums and incredible scenery.
A trip to Kanazawa cannot be made without visiting Kenrokuen Garden, considered to be one of, if not the most beautiful garden in Japan. There is also a castle located right next to the garden which is definitely worth a visit. If you have time, we also recommend exploring the Nagamachi Samurai District, the Saihitsuan Silk Centre and the Nomura Samurai House.
Kanazawa - Hiroshima
Today you will travel by train to Hiroshima, which will take around 4 hours with a change in Shin Osaka. Your afternoon is at leisure to explore this peaceful, inspiring city with a harrowing past. We recommend a visit to the rebuilt Shukkein Garden and the Hiroshima Castle, previously destroyed monuments which reflect the city’s historical heritage.
Overnight (2 nights): Standard: Hotel Vista Hiroshima (Standard Room) I Superior: Sheraton Grand Hiroshima (Standard Room)
Hiroshima and Miyajima Tour
Today you will take a day tour of Hiroshima with a local guide, starting with a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the area which was ground zero for the Atomic Bomb. Symbolising the aspirations of this reborn city, the peaceful park is dedicated to the victims of the tragedy in 1945, and to the legacy of Hiroshima’s strength after this devastating attack. Wander through moving memorials, monuments and statues before heading into the haunting museum itself.
From Hiroshima, you will take a short ferry ride to Miyajima Island, an ancient sacred island located in the Inland Sea. Here you will see the Floating Torii Gate, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring a shrine dating back to the 6th century which harmoniously blends with a 12th century structure. Take some time to explore the many temples, shrines and local cuisines on the island before heading back to your hotel.
Today you will head to Kyoto aboard the Shinkansen (2 hour journey).
Kyoto is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan, home to 2,000 religious buildings as well as stunning palaces, gardens and an astounding 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites.
In the afternoon, you will take part in a private cooking lesson where you will learn about Kappo Cuisine and how to make some of Japan’s most popular culinary offerings.
Breakfast and Dinner are included.
Overnight (3 nights): Standard: Vista Premio Kyoto (Standard Room) I Superior: Kyoto Tokyu Hotel (Standard Room)
Day 12 will present you with the opportunity to explore the former imperial capital with a local guide. Start your day with a visit to one of Kyoto’s most famous temples, the Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. You’ll also visit Nijo Castle built in 1603, famous for its history, architecture and stunning gardens. Afterwards, take a walk down the narrow, five block Nishiki Market lined with over a hundred shops and restaurants.
The rest of the day can be spent at leisure to explore the city, and if you’re looking to immerse in more of the city’s history, we highly recommend a trip to either the Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple or the Sanjusangendo Temple. You may also like to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for housing over 10,000 red torii gates and for also appearing in movies.
Your day will start with a 45 minute train journey to Nara, which was previously Japan’s capital in the 8th century for 74 years. With a local guide, you will visit Todaiji Temple, home to the nation’s largest Buddha, and you’ll stop at the city’s most famous shrine, Kasuga Taisha. Afterwards, take a wander through Nara Park, home to more than 1,000 deer.
Kyoto – Tokyo - Departure
Today marks the end of your tour. You have a free day until your train departs to Narita Airport (4 hour journey).