Phenomenal rail journeys of Asia
By Sukie Chapman
18 January 2018
You love rail travel but also want to explore further afield than Europe; this is a conundrum many of our customers call us about.Read more
Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784 AD, which meant that it expanded quickly as an ancient city. Whilst its centre-stage role in Japanese history was short-lived, it was still home to a number of significant sites and monuments that are culturally important and remain major tourist attractions today.
These include Nara Park, also known as Deer Park for the large number of tame deer that roam around it. Originally believed to be messengers of the gods, the deer were seen as sacred, and killing one of these deer was a capital offence punishable by death until relatively recently. Today they still enjoy the full protection and status of a national treasure. As well as being a vast expanse of beautiful parkland, Nara Park is home to Todai-ji Temple, a Buddhist building founded in the first half of the 8th century. The ornate structure is noteworthy for being the largest wooden building in the world, and for having the world's largest bronze Buddha statue. The Buddha weighs 500 tons and is 49 feet (15 metres) tall - its ears are just over 8 feet (2.4 metres) long!
The Kasuga Shrine is part of the same UNESCO World Heritage site, and is of a similar age, having been founded in 768. This is a huge complex, with a number of different buildings. The Shinto shrine is known for its ornate stone lanterns on the steps leading up to the main entrance, and the interior of the central shrine features many lavish golden statues.
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.… see more
13 days from £3,695 ppView tour details >
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.… see more
16 days from £5,495 ppView tour details >