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Grand Tour of Japan

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The travel and hotel arrangements were excellent.
Mr R Butters
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You are viewing the 2019 itinerary

Itineraries and pricing may vary by departure year

(Tour code: JTG19)

Absorb ancient history and timeless tradition

Absorb ancient history and timeless tradition as we 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.

  • Sapporo
  • Nikka whiskey tasting
  • Hakodate
  • Hakone and a Lake Ashi cruise
  • Tokyo
  • Mount Fuji
  • Takayama & Kyoto
  • Miyajima Island
  • Nara & Hiroshima
What’s Included
  • Explore Japan by bullet train
  • 13 Nights' Hotel Accommodation
    13 breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • Selected Porterage
  • Return Scheduled Flights

Grand Tour of Japan 2019Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Days 1-2 To Sapporo
To Sapporo

London to Sapporo

Our holiday begins with a flight from London to Sapporo, travelling via Hong Kong and arriving on Day 2. After settling in to our hotel, we enjoy dinner together tonight.

Day 3 Sapporo

Exploring Sapporo

Sapporo is famed for its 19th-century architecture, pretty public spaces and gastronomy, some of which we explore today on our guided tour. We discover the delights of Otaru, Sapporo's famously romantic port, before heading to the nearby Yoichi Distillery, where award-winning Nikka whisky is produced. Founded in 1934 by the son of a sake manufacturer who was enchanted by the concept of a creating high-quality Japanese whisky made with traditional Scottish techniques, Nikka has been producing acclaimed malts ever since. We enjoy a tasting of this peaty whisky before heading back to Sapporo, where you are free this evening for dinner.

Days 4-5 Hakodate


We leave Sapporo behind this morning, travelling to Hakodate on the Super Hokuto limited express train. On arrival, we check into our hotel with overnight bags, as the remainder of our luggage continues ahead to Tokyo. 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 ropeway, for fabulous views across the city as it sparkles with evening light. On Day 5 we visit Hakodate's vibrant 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, and look out for tanks of live shellfish and clusters of crabs. After our visit, we travel by bullet train to Tokyo, Japan's futuristic capital.

Days 6-7 Lake Ashi
Lake Ashi

Tokyo and Hakone

Today we enjoy a full day tour of Tokyo. Japan's capital represents the very best of the nation and is one of the world's most contemporary cities, giving an insight into a hightech, modern world, yet its ancient attractions are of equal allure. On our tour, we visit the age-old Asakusa Kannon Temple, the imposing Imperial Plaza, the impressive Meiji Shrine and the fascinating Shibuya crossing. On Day 7, we transfer to Shinjuku, where we board the 'Romance Car' train to Hakone. On arrival, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Hakone's scenic beauty, including a delightful cruise across serene Lake Ashi.

Day 8 Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji and on the Matsumoto

Today we visit iconic Mount Fuji, arguably Japan's most distinctive landmark. Travelling by coach, we drive along the foot of the famous mountain, soaking up scenic views along the ascent. We arrive at the Mount Fuji 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 five-storey fortification is a celebrated National Treasure of Japan. We spend tonight in Matsumoto.

Day 9 Takayama

Hida Folk Village and Takayama

Today our tour takes us to the Daio Wasabi Farm, for a fascinating insight into the how this popular spicy plant is carefully grown. Later, we explore Hida Folk Village, an open air museum of rustic farm dwellings depicting the traditional architectural styles found in the mountains. Set on a hillside overlooking the idyllic Takayama Valley, some of the buildings in the picturesque village date back 500 years. We continue to Takayama, where we spend the night.

Day 10 Kyoto

To Kyoto

Set deep in the mountains, Takayama is a fascinating town of narrow streets and wooden houses which is almost untouched by time - some of which we explore today on a guided walking tour. After time to enjoy the ancient architecture, we leave Takayama behind, travelling by bullet train to Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital.

Day 11 Kyoto

Exploring Kyoto

Discover the delights of historic Kyoto today on a guided tour. We take in the attractions of this ageless city, from the UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle, an incredible complex of fortifications and gardens that dates back to the 17th century, to some of the charming temples Kyoto is famed for. Later, we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony on the Kodaiji Temple, discovering the time-honoured ritual of tea preparation that has been passed down through generations.

Day 12 Nara

Sightseeing in Nara

Today we explore Nara, another former capital from Japan's fractured ancient history, and home to an impressive 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites. On our sightseeing tour, we take in the Toda-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world, where we find the imposing Great Buddha, a 13th century bronze statue that dominates with its 37-foot frame. We continue to scenic 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 today takes us around Hiroshima, a city steeped in history whose name is now synonymous with the dropping of the atomic bomb by the United States Air Force in 1945. Today, Hiroshima thrives with modernity, while its harrowing monuments serve as a poignant reminder of the atrocities of nuclear war. Our explorations take in the highlights of the city, from the Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome, both 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 to shape Japan as we know it today, as well as delving into the city's ancient past, with a boat ride out to Miyajima Island. This tranquil wooded island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famed for the bright red torii gate, a Shinto shrine that appears to be floating just off the coast of the island during high tide.

Day 14 Komyozenji Temple
Komyozenji Temple


After breakfast, we take another bullet train, this time to Hakata. On arrival, we take 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, dating back to the 13th century, and the Kyushu National Museum. The first national museum opened in Japan for 100 years, the museum reveals the history of Japanese culture through an impressive collection of artefacts and modern displays.

This evening, we explore Hakata after dark, visiting the food stalls that spring to life in the evening. Known as 'yatai', these pop-up kitchens line the river banks, serving authentic local and national dishes, and are synonymous with the city's culture. After time to explore the vibrant market, we head to a local restaurant for a farewell dinner, to celebrate the end of our fantastic tour of the 'Land of the Rising Sun.'

Days 15-16 Flights

Return to London

After breakfast this morning, we transfer from our hotel to Fukuoka Airport, for our scheduled flight to London. Arriving on Day 16, our tour concludes when we touch down in the UK.

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.

What’s included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • All rail and coach travel
  • Scheduled flights from London to Sapporo and Fukuoka to London

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 13 nights' hotel accommodation

Delicious meals included

  • 17 meals including 13 breakfasts and 4 dinners


Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Guided tour of Sapporo
  • Tasting of Nikka whiskey
  • Explore Hakodate, including its bustling seafood market
  • Sightseeing tour of Tokyo
  • Hakone, including a guided tour and cruise across Lake Ashi
  • Visit to Mount Fuji and Matsumoto Castle
  • Excursion to Hida Folk Village and tour of Takayama
  • Kyoto, including a traditional tea ceremony
  • Nara sightseeing tour
  • Discover Hiroshima, with a guided tour and talk from a Hiroshima survivor
  • Enjoy Hakata on a sightseeing tour
  • Explore Japan by bullet train

Enhance your tour

  • Upgrade your flights to Premium Economy from £450 per person each way

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

Luke Simpson
Lynne Broadley
Helen Laverack
Grand Tour of Japan

Absorb ancient history and timeless tradition


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