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. Join us for 13 days as we explore the 'Land of the Rising Sun' by rail.
We depart on the overnight flight from London Heathrow and arrive in Tokyo on Day 2 to be met by our Japanese guide. We transfer to our hotel for our first night in Japan, where we enjoy a welcome drink before having dinner together this evening to celebrate the start of our adventure.
Today we take a full-day tour of Tokyo by coach, discovering the sights of this incredible city. Our guided tour includes a visit to the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple, as well as taking in the Meiji Shrine. Later we visit Nakajima no Ochaya, a tea house in the Hamarikyu Garden that dates back to 1704, where there is the opportunity to sample authentic Japanese tea and traditional sweets.
We also visit the world famous Shibuya crossing, which is said to be the busiest intersection in the world. We also spend time at the Edo Tokyo Museum*, where exhibits depict the fascinating history of Japan's capital during the peaceful Edo period. The last era of feudal rule in Japan, the Edo period spanned from 1603-1867, and is considered one of the most significant times in Japanese history.
*Due to the museum being closed on a Monday, some departures do not include Edo Museum, and visit Miraikan, The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Please call for more details.
Today, after a morning at leisure, we continue to Hakone by train, travelling in a 'Romance Car' (observation car) on the picturesque narrow-gauge line. On arrival, we tour the spectacular Hakone National Park. Lying in the foothills of Mount Fuji, Hakone is a stunning area of lakes, forests and hot springs. We take a cable car to the sulphurous hot springs at Owakudani, after which we descend to Lake Ashi for a short cruise. We then transfer to our hotel for the night, and enjoy dinner together.
This morning we travel by coach to Mount Fuji, arguably Japan's most distinctive landmark. Driving along the foot of the famous mountain, we arrive at the Mount Fuji Visitor Centre to learn more about the snow-capped peak. We also stop at Oishi Park, which boasts of unparalleled views of the iconic Japanese mountains. Later we are at leisure to settle in to Matsumoto. We then overnight in Matsumoto.
We enjoy a visit 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 travel to Takayama. Set deep in the mountains, Takayama is a fascinating town of narrow streets and wooden houses, which appear almost untouched by time. On arrival, we enjoy a walking tour of the fascinating city, taking in Kami Sannomachi Street and Jinya Old House. We continue to Takayama, where we spend the night at the Hotel Associa Takayama.
After a visit Miyagawa Market this morning, we enjoy a journey to nearby 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 travel on the Hida Train to Nagoya, continuing onwards by bullet train to Hiroshima. Having seen devastation in World War II, Hiroshima is now a symbol of peace.
Today we travel by tram and boat to Miyajima Island, where we leave modern life behind in the tranquility of the wooded island. During our time on the island we enjoy a walking tour, which includes a visit to the beautiful Itsukushima Shrine. Your afternoon is free in Hiroshima.
This morning we visit the World Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome Museum, both poignant reminders of the destruction levied here in 1945. We also listen to a talk from a Hiroshima survivor or successor. Later we travel to Kyoto which was the Japanese capital for more than a thousand years and is a living museum of the country's artistic heritage. Afterwards, we take a walking tour of the Gion. Later we enjoy a dinner in Pontocho Alley, a lantern-lit street lined with traditional wooden buildings. Famed for its archaic atmosphere, this traffic-free alleyway is one of the few places in modern Japan where you may catch a glimpse of a real-life Geisha.
A morning of sightseeing on Day 10 takes us to the Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle and the Kiyomizu Temple. In the afternoon we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony in a thatched farmhouse set amongst formal gardens.
We visit Nara today, another former capital and a short train ride away from Kyoto. 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, Kasuga Shrine and the Deer Park. On our return, you have the option to also visit Kyoto Skywalk at Kyoto station. The Skyway tunnel allows visitors to walk the length of Kyoto Station, 45 meters above the central hall.
We travel by coach to Osaka today, a futuristic city, which we are introduced to on a guided tour. We visit the observatory in the iconic Umeda Sky Building, where we enjoy panoramic views over Osaka and its castle, ahead of a farewell dinner tonight.
We depart this morning for Osaka airport for the flight to London Heathrow, via Hong Kong, arriving in the evening on the same day. On arrival in London, your tour concludes.
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.
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
Shinkansen refers to the dedicated high-speed Japanese rail network that provides a link to most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. The name 'Shinkansen' is also used to refer to the trains that run on the network - which are perhaps better known as 'Bullet Trains'. Renowned for their punctuality, comfort and safety, the trains are frequent and fast, regularly running at speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h). The trains offer comfortable reclining seats and large windows and there are usually refreshment trolleys selling snacks and beverages.
Also known as the Fujiya Hotel Lake View Annex, the 4-Star Hakone Hotel in Hakone enjoys a superb location on the shores of Lake Ashi and offers fantastic views of Mount Fuji. The hotel has two restaurants: a Teppenyaki restaurant and Il Miraggio, which offers French cuisine. there is also a lakeview lounge and a bar, as well as gardens on the lake shore, a souvenir shop and a hot spring bath. The air conditioned rooms come with a telephone, television, internet connection, hot water jugs, a Japanese tea set, fridge and a hairdryer.
The lovely Hotel Granvia Hiroshima is our hotel whilst in Hiroshima. This hotel is located close to JR Hiroshima Train Station, and is a perfect base from which to conduct our explorations whilst here. In the hotel, there is a sky restaurant on the 21st floor, which offers wonderful views across the city. There is also a steak house, Japanese and Chinese restaurants, a lobby lounge, and a karaoke bar. The well-appointed rooms contain fantastic amenities, such as a television, air-conditioning, a minibar, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Our hotel in Kyoto is the 3-Star Kyoto Tokyu Hotel. Located within walking distance of many of the beautiful Buddhist temples that dot the city. The rooms are minimalist yet comfortable, and come well equipped with tea making facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary toiletries. The hotel itself boasts amenities such as a gym, a spa, a beauty salon, and a currency exchange machine.
Just a short walk from Matsumoto Station, the 3-Star Richmond Hotel Matsumoto offers comfortable guest rooms and a plethora of great facilities. Rooms all come equipped with air conditioning, a hairdryer, refrigerator, a flat screen television and an electric kettle. On-site, there is a 24-hour front desk, vending machines for snacks and drinks, and a restaurant. Attractions found between a ten and fifteen-minute stroll away include Matsumoto Castle and Yohashira Shrine.
The 4-Star Sheraton Miyako Hotel is our hotel whilst in Osaka. Located right next to some excellent public transport links, taking us all over this incredible city, this is a wonderful base from which to explore. Decorated in elegant and neutral colours, this hotel is a fascinating mixture of traditional and modern. The rooms are comfortable, and come with a television, a minibar, tea making facilities, air-conditioning, and an en-suite bathroom. The four restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, and there is also a bar and a café. As well as dining, there is also a health club on site, and a flower shop and beauty salon.
The 4-Star Hotel Associa Takayama is our base whilst in Takayama. Located at the edge of a beautiful and verdant forest, this hotel boasts of some fantastic amenities, including a restaurant, serving a plethora of delectable Japanese food, a lounge, and a bar, perfect for relaxing in after a long day of exploration. Other leisure facilities include a tennis court (payable locally) and a karaoke room. All of the guest rooms have spectacular views of the surrounding area, and come well equipped with an en-suite bathroom, a sitting area, tea & coffee-making facilities and a television.
The 4-Star Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo is located close to Shinjuku railway station and is ideally placed for exploring the city. The hotel has a wide range of restaurants serving Japanese, Chinese, Korean and European cuisine, as well as a coffee shop, cocktail and tea lounge, and two bars including the Sky Bar, which offers magnificent views over Tokyo from the 45th floor. There is a drugstore, boutiques, beauty salon (payable locally) and guests have complimentary use of the hotel's outdoor pool (seasonal) and gym. The contemporary western-style rooms are equipped with air conditioning, television, tea and coffee making facilities, minibar, hairdryer and a safe and most offer excellent views over the city.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!
• Upgrade your flight to Premium Economy from £550 per person each way
Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a
difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the
capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager
the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West
End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your
return to London, you would like to break your journey with an
overnight stay before continuing home.
We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.
|Hotel||Room Rate From Price|
|The Ambassador Hotel||From £65 per person|
|Pullman London St Pancras||From £110 per person|
|Studios2Let, Cartright Gardens||From £55 per person|
Above prices are approximate, subject
to availability, and per room per night based on two people
sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the
hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805.
Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.
We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.
For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.