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Grand Tour of Japan

Absorb ancient history and timeless tradition

From $ per person


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.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights
Days 1-2 - London to Sapporo
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 - Exploring Sapporo
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
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 - Tokyo and Hakone
Lake Ashi

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 and on the Matsumoto
Mount Fuji

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 - Hida Folk Village and Takayama
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 - To Kyoto
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 - Exploring Kyoto
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 - Sightseeing in Nara
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
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 - Hakata
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 - Return to London
Flights

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 Dates

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.

Trains
Bullet Trains
Bullet train

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.

Hotels
Hotel New Otani Hakata, Fukuoka
Hotel New Otani Hakata

Combining contemporary, business-standard hospitality with classic Japanese courtesy, the Hotel New Otani Hakata is perfectly placed for your explorations of high-rise Fukuoka. The interiors are a mix of classic Japanese design and western modernism and facilities include several restaurants and bars. Each room features a television and complimentary WiFi.

La Vista Hakodate Bay, Hakodate
La Vista Hakodate Bay

The fantastic 5-Star La Vista Hakodate Bay is our hotel whilst in Hakodate. Boasting of an enviable location overlooking the waters of Hakodate Bay, this wonderful hotel boasts of numerous amenities that are typical of a 5-Star establishment. Situated at the top of the hotel, with views overlooking the city, is a hot spring, which relaxes and invigorates those who bathe in it. There are also spa facilities, offering a range of beauty treatments (payable locally), and a restaurant that specialises in seafood. The rooms are en-suite throughout, and come equipped with a television, tea & coffee-making facilities, air-conditioning, and LAN internet connection.

Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu, Hakone
Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu

The Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu is a natural haven hidden against the woodland of the spectacular Mount Hakone is an excellent place to discover the true beauty of Japanese nature. A prime example of friendly Japanese hospitality this resort is inside a modern building with distinct architectural nods to Japan's heritage. Amenities include a superb restaurant, a bar-lounge, a spa (payable locally) and a garden. Rooms feature complimentary WiFi, a fridge, a television and a hairdryer.

Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel, Hiroshima
Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel

In Hiroshima, we stay at the 5-Star Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel, located a short walk away from the train station. This luxury hotel offers a range of amenities, including a restaurant serving traditional Japanese food, an elegant bar, and a relaxing lounge. There is also a spa, which offers a variety of massage and beauty treatments (payable locally), a gym, and a pool. The rooms are light and comfortable, and come with a television, a hair dryer, air-conditioning, an in room safe, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, Kyoto
Kyoto Tokyu Hotel

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.

Hotel Buena Vista, Matsumoto
Hotel Buena Vista, Matsumoto

Set in the heart of Matsumoto, the 4-Star Hotel Buena Vista boasts a broad range of eateries, featuring Japanese, Chinese and French cuisine, plus a cafe, bar and a bakery. Rooms come equipped with a telephone, television and other facilities typical of a Japanese hotel of this standard.

Matsumoto Marunouchi Hotel, Matsumoto
Matsumoto Marunouchi Hotel

Set in a fascinating grey stone building, the 3-Star Matsumoto Marunouchi Hotel is exceptionally close to the finest attractions which the 400-year old Matsumoto has to offer including the majestic Matsumoto Castle. The hotel itself is comfortable and stylish with amenities including complimentary WiFi, a restaurant and a laundry service (payable locally). Rooms include a television and air-conditioning.

JR Tower Nikko Sapporo, Sapporo
JR Tower Nikko Sapporo

Instantly recognisable in the Sapporo skyline, granting exceptional views across the lights of the city, the 3-Star JR Tower Nikko Sapporo occupies a central position, close to many attractions. The well-appointed facilities here include a spa area (payable locally), a restaurant and a bar. With a modern and tasteful interior, the sophisticated rooms have air-conditioning and many have excellent views across the city below.

Hotel Associa Takayama, Takayama
Hotel Associa Takayama

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.

Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo
Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo

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.

What's included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

Delicious meals included

 

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

Enhance your tour

Upgrades

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
Flight Upgrade

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

London Hotels
London hotels

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. 

UK rail connections
UK train tickets

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.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/au/tours/grand-tour-of-japan/#JTG19 on 11 December 2019.
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