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Grand Tour of Japan

3.3 stars(3 reviews)

Absorb ancient history and timeless tradition

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
16 days Sold out

2021 Tour code: JTG21

About the tour

Travel through the 'Land of the Rising Sun' by futuristic bullet train. Sample Japanese whiskey, soak up the spectacular sight of Mount Fuji, experience an authentic tea ceremony and explore the bustling cities of Tokyo and Hiroshima on an all-encompassing route through Japan's highlights.


What’s included


Day 1 - London to Sapporo

We meet at London Heathrow and fly to Sapporo, travelling via Hong Kong.

To Sapporo
Day 2 - Arrive in Sapporo

We arrive on Day 2. After settling into the JR Tower Nikko Sapporo, we enjoy dinner tonight.

Day 3 - Sapporo

Sapporo is famed for its 19th-century architecture and pretty public spaces, which we explore on Day 3's guided tour. We discover Otaru, Sapporo's romantic port, and the Otaru Music Box Museum before heading to the Nikka Whisky Distillery. Founded in 1934, Nikka's malts blend high-quality Japanese whisky with traditional Scottish techniques, which we sample before returning to Sapporo.

Day 4 - Hakodate

We leave Sapporo behind this morning, travelling to Hakodate on the Super Hokuto limited express train. This afternoon, we take a sightseeing tour of the local sights by coach, including Goryokaku, a star-shaped fortress that dates back 150 years. This evening, we ascend Mount Hakodate via a ropeway cable car for fabulous views across the city.

Day 5 - Hakodate and Tokyo

On Day 5 we visit Hakodate's fish market, where fresh produce is bought and sold in a lively atmosphere. We explore the vivid array of stalls which boast fresh seafood, local vegetables, fruit, and sweets. After our visit, we travel by bullet train to Tokyo, Japan's futuristic capital.

Day 6 - Tokyo

Today we enjoy a full-day tour of Tokyo, one of the world's most contemporary cities, which gives an insight into a high-tech, modern world yet boasts ancient attractions of equal allure. We visit the Asakusa Kannon Temple, the imposing Imperial Plaza, and Shibuya crossing.

Day 7 - Hakone and Lake Ashi

On Day 7, we walk to Shinjuku, where we board the train to Hakone. On arrival, we enjoy a sightseeing tour, that includes a cruise across serene Lake Ashi.

Day 8 - Mount Fuji

On Day 8 we visit iconic Mount Fuji, arguably Japan's most distinctive landmark. Travelling by coach, we drive along the foot of the mountain before arriving at the Visitor Centre, where we learn more about this world-famous peak. Later we continue to Matsumoto Castle, an impressive fortress completed in 1593. Built on a plain, this 5-storey fortification is a celebrated National Treasure of Japan. We spend tonight in Matsumoto.

Day 9 - Hida Folk Village and Takayama

Today we visit the Ishii Miso factory for an insight into the production of this traditional Japanese dish. Next, we visit Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum of rustic farm dwellings in the mountains. We continue to Takayama, where we spend the night. Set deep in the mountains, Takayama is a town of narrow streets and wooden houses which has been almost untouched by time.

Day 10 - Nagoya

We take a guided tour on Day 10 which includes Miyagawa Open Air Market. Later, we travel by train to Nagoya where we board our bullet train to Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital.

Day 11 - Kyoto

We discover the delights of historic Kyoto on Day 11, taking in the attractions of this ageless city, from charming temples to the fascinating Kyoto Railway Museum. We also enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. This evening we enjoy a walk through the historic Gion area of the city.

Day 12 - Sightseeing in Nara and Hiroshima

Today we explore Nara, another former ancient capital and home to an impressive 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Our tour includes the Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world home to the imposing Great Buddha, a 13th-century bronze statue that boasts an impressive 37-foot frame. We continue to Nara Park, a delightful deer sanctuary spread over almost 1,300 acres, before transferring to Osaka, where we catch a bullet train to Hiroshima.

Day 13 - Hiroshima

Our tour on Day 13 takes us around Hiroshima, a peaceful and thriving city. Attractions here include the Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome, dedicated to the victims of the tragic devastation of WWII. We also hear from a Hiroshima survivor or descendant, whose moving account of the events of August 6th 1945 brings greater context and understanding to the powerful history that helped shape Japan today. Afterwards, we delve into the city's more ancient past with a boat ride out to Miyajima Island. This tranquil wooded island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famed for its bright red Shinto shrine.

Day 14 - Hakata

After breakfast, we travel on another bullet train, this time to Hakata. On arrival, we enjoy a sightseeing tour, taking in the Dazaifu Tenman-gu Shrine, dedicated to the Shinto god of literature, Komyozenji Temple, a Zen temple and rare 'karesansui', or Japanese rock garden that dates back to the 13th century, and the Kyushu National Museum. The first national museum opened in Japan for 100 years, its displays reveal the history of Japanese culture through an impressive collection of artefacts and modern exhibitions. This evening, we head to a local restaurant for a farewell dinner to celebrate the end of our fantastic holiday around the 'Land of the Rising Sun.'

Day 15 - Return to London

After breakfast this morning, we transfer from our hotel to Fukuoka airport for our scheduled flight to London Heathrow, via Hong Kong. 

Day 16 - London

We touch down on Day 16, and our trip comes to an end.

Additional information

Please note

Our 2019 departures feature several different hotels of a similar standard compared to those listed on this page currently, and 4 dinners. Please call for details.

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.


Hotel New Otani Hakata

Hotel New Otani Hakata, Fukuoka

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La Vista Hakodate Bay

La Vista Hakodate Bay, Hakodate

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The Prince Hakone Lake Ashinoko, Hakone

The Prince Hakone Lake Ashinoko, Hakone

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Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel, Hiroshima

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ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel

ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel, Kyoto

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Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu

Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu

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JR Tower Nikko Sapporo

JR Tower Nikko Sapporo, Sapporo

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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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3.3 stars3.3 / 5 · 3 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Mr B McLean

3 stars

Submitted 15 May 2018

Holiday and tour manager was fantastic.Being single and paying supplements and getting double rooms with single beds were very poor. I would expect if paying supplements I would get a double bed the same as any couple.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr S Fancourt

3 stars

Submitted 08 May 2018

Far to many on the tour - 37, took a long to embark and disembark trains and coaches. Itinerary very good, some descriptions in the itinerary were misleading.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr R Butters

4 stars

Submitted 23 May 2017

The travel and hotel arrangements were excellent. One gripe for the elderly is having to constantly move cases at each hotel (with one exception, Thank you Granvia, Kyoto). The Tokyo tour had perhaps one too many historic visits (I personally would have passed on the Edo museum for a daytime look at Shibuya crossing).One day in Tokyo is simply not enough. Similarly, too much Kyoto in 1 day where a 'rest' day would have been priceless. In retrospect, I now query the value of the Hokkaido sector in the tour. Perhaps the time spent here would have served us better elsewhere as it is more of a specialist winter destination, just not enough content for 3+ days.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Grand Tour of Japan

Absorb ancient history and timeless tradition


Lynne Broadley
Helen Laverack
Luke Simpson
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