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Grand Tour of the Orient

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Uncover the incredible countries of China and Japan

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2019 Tour code: CJG19


Day 1 - Beijing

Meet your group and Tour Manager at your hotel for the next two nights, the Novotel Peace Hotel. After checking in, we take a tour of the Chinese capital, including the incredible Forbidden City. An enormous palace complex of around 980 buildings, this imposing palace was the centre of Chinese government for over 500 years. We also visit Tiananmen Square, one of the lasting icons of Chinese history, and the centre of many significant political events. This evening, we return to our hotel for a delightful welcome meal.

Forbidden City, Beijing
Day 2 - The Great Wall of China

We experience an undeniable highlight of our tour today, with a visit to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. This is an amazingly preserved stretch of the wall, which stretches from the Gobi Desert all the way to the Korean border. We ascend to the wall by cable car, and there is time to enjoy the breathtaking views over the distant mountains. We return to Beijing this afternoon, pausing for photo opportunities outside the 'Water Cube' and the 'Bird's Nest, which were the main arenas in the 2008 Olympics. Tonight, we enjoy a traditional Peking duck dinner together

The Great Wall of China
Days 3-4 - Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors

Today, we experience our first rail journey of the tour and head to Xi'an. The highspeed service takes us through some of China's beautiful rural scenery before we arrive, and transfer to the Grand Mercure Xi'an, our hotel for the next two nights. On arrival, we visit the Great Mosque, as well as the Bazaar and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. This evening, our dinner is a delicious Dumpling Banquet.

On Day 4, we visit the famous Terracotta Warriors, an incredible army of 6,000 figures that were buried in 210BC, and remained buried until 1974. The life-sized statues are part of an elaborate tomb for the Qin Emperor, and were believed to have been put there to protect the emperor in the afterlife. In full regalia and grouped in rank, the sight of the warriors is truly one to behold. We then transfer to the station for our highspeed train to Chengdu this afternoon. On arrival, we check into our hotel.

Terracotta Warriors
Days 5-7 - To Chengdu and Shanghai

This morning, we venture out to see some of the sights of Chengdu, stopping first at the Panda Research Centre. After, we continue our sightseeing. Wenshu Monastery is one of our stops, an ancient Buddhist temple that began life as a simple wooden hut, and is now a gorgeous example of ancient Chinese architecture.

We also visit Jinli Street that dates back to the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. We then depart Chengdu and fly to Shanghai, transferring to our hotel on arrival.

On Day 6, we take a short exploratory tour in Shanghai, visiting the vibrant and colourful Yu Garden and Bazaar, as well as The Bund, a gorgeous waterfront area of Shanghai that mixes a myriad of international architecture to a delightful effect. This evening, you are at leisure. We bid farewell to mainland China on Day 7, and transfer to the airport for our flight to Osaka in Japan, checking in to our hotel on arrival.

Chengdu Panda Research Centre
Days 8-9 - Kyoto and Nara

We take a coach from Osaka to Kyoto today, stopping en-route to visit the atmospheric Nara today, another one of Japan's many former capitals. A sightseeing tour of the grand city shows us the Toda-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world and home to the 13th century Great Buddha, as well as Nara Park. This oasis of calm is home to a great many Sika Deer, which were once considered sacred animals of the ancient Shinto religion. Upon arrival in Kyoto, we embark on a walking tour of Gion, the traditional Geisha district of Kyoto that has roots that date back to the Middle Ages. Your evening is at leisure.

Day 9 is spent exploring the full splendour of Kyoto. The UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle is undoubtedly a highlight, with its fortifications and gardens from the 17th century, as well as Kinkakuji temple, which is famed for its opulent, yet traditional, golden appearance. Later we enjoy a tea ceremony, discovering the time-honoured ritual of tea preparation that has been passed down through generations.

Days 10-11 - Hakone and a Cruise on Lake Ashi

Today, we take a coach to pay a visit to the Tenryuji temple and the atmospheric Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. This is a truly magical place, filled with fast growing bamboo stalks that make the lighting seem hazy and almost green. From here, we transfer to Kyoto station, and take a bullet train to Odawara in Hakone.

On Day 11, we take to the waters of beautiful Lake Ashi for a cruise on board an extravagant pirate ship, after which we visit the volcanic Owakudani valley and continue by a local train to Tokyo, the current capital of Japan and an enormous megacity. Your evening is at leisure in Tokyo, perhaps to acquaint yourself with this irrepressibly lively place.

Lake Ashi
Days 12-13 - Tokyo

A full day of exploration is ahead of us today, as we uncover Tokyo on a full day coach tour. We start the day with a visit to Hama-Rikyu garden as well as the Edo Tokyo museum. We go on visit the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple as well as the Meiji Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the Japanese Emperor Meiji, and his wife, Empress Shoken. We also visit Sensoji Temple, and the famous Shibuya Crossing, said to be the busiest intersection in the world. Day 13 is at leisure.

Meiji Jingu Shrine
Days 14-16 - Hong Kong and Home

This morning we leave Japan, transferring to the airport to fly to Hong Kong. After checking into our hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure. Day 15 begins with a half day tour to Victoria Peak, which displays wonderful views of the cityscape. We also visit the sandy beaches of Repulse Bay, and explore pretty Aberdeen village on a traditional boat, known as a sampan. This evening, we enjoy a delicious farewell dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate our final night. On Day 16, you are free to make your way to the airport for your flight home.

Hong Kong Harbour