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Discovering Japan

(Tour code: JAG17)Explore the Land of the Rising Sun by rail

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.

Tour Highlights
  • Bullet Train rail travel
  • Lake Ashi and Owakudani Springs
  • Tokyo and Hiroshima
  • Miyajima Island tour
  • Kyoto and a traditional Japanese dinner
  • Historic Nara
  • Takayama
  • Hida Folk Village
  • Matsumoto Castle
  • Mount Fuji and Hakone Park
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Standard Class Rail
    Bullet Train journeys
  • 4-5* Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
    11 Nights' Hotel Accommodation
  • Selected Porterage
  • Return Scheduled Flights

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Cherry blossom in Tokyo
Days 1-2

Fly to Tokyo

We depart on the overnight flight from London Heathrow and arrive in Tokyo on Day 2 to be met by our Japanese guide, who accompanies us throughout the tour. We transfer to our hotel for our first night in Japan.

  • Scheduled flights
  • In-flight Meal
  • Welcome Dinner
Asakusa Kannon Temple
Day 3

Exploring Tokyo

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 and the fascinating Ameyoko Market, as well as taking in the Imperial Palace Plaza. 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 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.

  • Breakfast
  • Guided City Tour
Romance Car
Day 4

To Hakone

Today we continue to Hakone by train, travelling in a 'Romance Car' (observation car) on the picturesque narrowgauge 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 enjoy a short cruise on tranquil Lake Ashi, a former crater lake, and continue by coach to the sulphurous hot springs at Owakudani.

  • Breakfast
  • ‘Romance Car’
Mount Fuji
Day 5

Mount Fuji and Matsumoto

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. Later 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 then overnight in Matsumoto.

  • Breakfast
  • Excursion
Day 6

To Takayama

Our tour continues by coach today, as we travel to Takayama, pausing en-route for an excursion to the nearby 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. After exploring here, we continue to Takayama, where we spend the night at the Hida Plaza Hotel. Set deep in the mountains, Takayama is a fascinating town of narrow streets and wooden houses, which appear almost untouched by time.

  • Breakfast
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Day 7

To Hiroshima

After a guided tour of Takayama this morning, we enjoy a journey 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.

  • Breakfast
Miyajima Island
Day 8

Miyajima Island

Today we travel by tram and boat to Miyajima Island, where we leave modern life behind in the tranquillity 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.

  • Breakfast
Days 9-10


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. 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. A morning sightseeing tour on Day 10 helps us to get our bearings and in the afternoon we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony in a thatched farmhouse set amongst formal gardens.

  • Breakfast
  • Tour of Takayama
Nara Todai Ji Temple
Day 11

Historic Nara

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. 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. 

  • Breakfast
Osaka Castle
Day 12


We travel by rail to Osaka today, a futuristic city, which we are introduced to on a guided tour. We visit the Floating Garden Observatory in the iconic Umeda Sky Building, where we enjoy panoramic views over Osaka and its castle, ahead of a farewell dinner in our hotel tonight.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Flying home
Day 13

Flight to London

We depart this morning for Osaka airport for the flight to London Heathrow, arriving late-afternoon the same day.

  • Breakfast
  • Scheduled flights

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.


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Helping you plan your holiday...

Kathryn Cambridge
Lynne Broadley
Julie Longfield
Phil Conde



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