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Discovering Japan

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(20 reviews)
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Explore the Land of the Rising Sun by rail

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Flexible Booking

Book your 2021 holiday before 31st October and you can transfer your holiday for free - no questions asked. T&C's apply

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2021 Tour code: JAG21

About the tour

Ancient ceremonies meet 21st century technology in this astonishing country of contrasts. This fascinating tour goes a long way to interpret the mystery of Japan as we cross the country on high-speed bullet trains.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-3 - London and Tokyo

We depart on an overnight flight from London Heathrow, arriving in Tokyo on Day 2. We transfer to our hotel, the Keio Plaza for our first night in Japan, where we enjoy a welcome dinner together this evening.

On Day 3, we take a full-day tour of Tokyo by coach, discovering the sights of this incredible city. We begin by visiting the Miraikan Museum, a national museum celebrating emerging scientific achievements and innovation. Our next destination is the 1,400-year-old Asakusa Temple, dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of mercy. Afterwards we visit the Hamarikyu Garden within Tokyo Bay, admiring the art of Japanese gardening. We continue to Meiji Jingu Shrine before visiting Shibuya crossing, the busiest intersection in the world.

Tokyo
Day 4 - To Hakone

After a morning at leisure, we travel to Hakone by train for the night. Lying in the foothills of Mount Fuji, Hakone is a stunning area of lakes, forests, and hot springs. We transfer to Owakudani, an area known for its many sulphurous hot springs, then ride the cable car along the Hakone Ropeway, enjoying panoramic views of Mount Fuji. On reaching Togendai, we descend to Ashi, a lake at the caldera of Mount Hakone, for a short cruise against the backdrop of snowcovered mountains.

Romance Car
Day 5 - Mount Fuji and Matsumoto

We travel by coach to Mount Fuji, arguably Japan's most distinctive landmark. Driving along the foot of the mountain, we arrive at the Mount Fuji Visitor Centre to learn more about this world-famous wonder. Next we continue to Oishi Park, which boasts unparalleled views of this iconic Japanese mountain. We spend the night at the Hotel Buena Vista.

Mount Fuji
Day 6 - To Takayama

We make a visit to a Miso factory today, discovering why this is such an important component in Japanese cooking.

We take a tour before tasting for ourselves the distinctive flavours created by mixing fermented soya beans with salt and other umami based ingredients.

We then continue to Matsumoto Castle, an impressive 5-storey fortress. On our way to Takayama, we explore the Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum depicting more than 30 rustic farm dwellings from the Edo Period. Set deep in the mountains, Takayama is a fascinating town of narrow streets and wooden houses.

Takayama
Day 7 - To Hiroshima

We explore Takayama on a guided tour this morning, taking in Kami Sannomachi Street and Jinya Old House. We continue to Miyagawa Morning Market where we see a neat array of stalls selling local farm products and handicrafts. Afterwards, we journey on the Hida Train to Nagoya before continuing by bullet train to Hiroshima. Having seen unprecedented devastation in WWII, Hiroshima's parks and museums now stand as embodiments of peace.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Day 8 - Miyajima Island

We travel by tram and boat to Miyajima Island today, where we leave modern life behind to soak up the tranquillity of this secluded destination. We enjoy a walking tour which includes a visit to Itsukushima Shrine. Your afternoon is free back in Hiroshima.

Miyajima Island
Days 9-10 - Hiroshima to Kyoto

This morning we visit the World Peace Memorial Park and A-Bomb Dome, both poignant reminders of the destruction levied on Hiroshima in 1945. We also listen to a talk from either a Hiroshima survivor or a relation of one. Later, we take the bullet train to Kyoto, a living museum of the country's artistic heritage. We enjoy a walking tour of the Gion district, after which we indulge in a Japanese dinner in Ponto-chō Alley, a lantern-lit street. This traffic-free alleyway is one of the few places where you may catch a glimpse of a real-life Geisha*.

A full day of sightseeing on Day 10 takes us to the Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto's Railway Museum, and the Kiyomizu Temple. In the afternoon we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony.

*Please note for departure JAG2103 you will visit Nijo Castle instead

Please Note:  For departures JAG2102, 2103, 2104 & 2111 on Day 9 you will stay at the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel.

Kyoto
Days 11-12 - Historic Nara and Osaka

We travel by coach to Nara today. Nara is an attractive, compact city of narrow streets set against a backdrop of wooded hills. Here we enjoy a walking tour, taking in the beautiful Todai-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world, and its Great Buddha. We also visit Nara's serene deer park.

On Day 12 we travel by coach to Osaka, a futuristic city that we learn about on a guided tour. We visit the floating observatory for panoramic views over Osaka and lively Dotonbori district.

Nara Todai Ji Temple
Day 13 - Osaka and London

After transferring to the airport this morning, we board our flight to London Heathrow. We arrive in the evening on the same day and our holiday concludes.

Osaka Castle

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Some hotels may vary. All alternative hotels are of a comparable standard.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Please note: This may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Hotels

Hakone Hotel, Hakone

Hakone Hotel, Hakone

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Hotel Granvia Hiroshima

Hotel Granvia Hiroshima, Hiroshima

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ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel

ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel, Kyoto

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Kyoto Tokyu Hotel

Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, Kyoto

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Hotel Buena Vista, Matsumoto

Hotel Buena Vista, Matsumoto

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Sheraton Miyako Hotel

Sheraton Miyako Hotel, Osaka

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Hotel Associa Takayama

Hotel Associa Takayama, Takayama

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Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo

Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo

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Reviews

80% of travellers would recommend this tour

Based on 20 verified reviews

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Mr P Rao

Submitted 271019

It was all we could expect. Bill McIntosh is a very good tour manager and Haru's presence was very comforting and useful to speak Japanese and organize things.

Mr D Best

Submitted 191019

An excellent tour with a great tour manager and guide. The tour captured the essence of Japan but would have liked more time in Tokyo

Mrs A Wallis

Submitted 18419

Very enjoyable but very tiring with all the travelling!

Mrs D Howell

Submitted 311018

The holiday was first rate, enjoyed every minute of it. Locations, accommodation, places visited were great. The local Japanese tour guides were professional and good company. Our tour manager worked very hard to ensure we enjoyed ourselves and had a stress free holiday, again very personable and professional. A holiday to remember for all the right reasons

Katiefrom Great Rail Journeys
It certainly sounds like your time in Japan was memorable! We're so pleased to hear you had a great time, and thank you so much for taking the time to leave feedback.
1

Ms A Perkins

Submitted 7518

The only reason I have not given a rating of 5 star is because the size of the tour group was too large which did detract somewhat from the enjoyment for all concerned.

Mr M Loveland

Submitted 7518

A very busy and well organised holiday. All travel arrangements seemed to go smoothly. Tour manager was considerate and helped to make the holiday a success

Discovering Japan

Explore the Land of the Rising Sun by rail

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