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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, offering 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, free Wi-Fi, hot water jugs, a Japanese tea set, a fridge and a hairdryer.
The 4-Star Hotel Granvia Hiroshima is our base in Hiroshima and is located close to the city's train station. On the 21st floor, you'll find the unique sky restaurant, offering wonderful views across the city. There's also a steak house as well as both Japanese and Chinese restaurants, a lobby lounge and a karaoke bar. The well-appointed rooms all come with televisions, air-conditioning, a mini bar and complimentary Wi-Fi.
In Kyoto, we stay in the 4-Star ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Kyoto. With an ideal location in front of historic Nijo Castle, this is a wonderful base from which to explore. Amenities here include an indoor pool, and 6 different restaurants, serving a variety of cuisine. The rooms are decorated in pleasantly neutral colours, and come with 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.
Set in the heart of Matsumoto, the sleek 4-Star Hotel Buena Vista boasts a number of eateries serving up a range of Japanese, Chinese and French cuisine. There's also a café, bar and a bakery on site if you find yourself a little peckish. Rooms come equipped with free Wi-Fi, a telephone, flat-screen television and either city or park views
We stay at the 4-Star Sheraton Miyako Hotel in Osaka, a wonderful base from which to explore thanks to the nearby public transport links. 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 mini bar, tea & coffee making facilities, air-conditioning, and an en-suite bathroom. The four restaurants on site offer a variety of cuisines while the bar and a café serve up refreshing drinks and light bites. As well as dining, there's also a health club, flower shop and beauty salon on site.
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 some fantastic amenities, including a restaurant serving delectable Japanese food, a lounge and a bar - perfect for relaxing in after a day of exploration. Other leisure facilities include a tennis court 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, free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen television.
The 4-Star Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo is located close to Shinjuku railway station and is ideal for our explorations of the city. There are a wide range of restaurants on site serving Japanese, Chinese, Korean and European cuisine, as well as a coffee shop, cocktail and tea lounge and a Sky Bar, which offers magnificent views over Tokyo from the 45th floor. There's a drugstore, a number of boutiques and a beauty salon, while guests can also enjoy complimentary use of the hotel's outdoor pool and gym. The contemporary western-style rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, a television, tea & coffee making facilities, a mini bar, hairdryer and a safe. 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 World Traveller Plus from £500 per person each way. Please call for further details.
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|
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.