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3.3 stars(3 reviews)
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A Journey through Ancient History and Timeless Traditions

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
16 days From £5,795 per person

2022 Tour code: JTG22

About the tour

Absorb ancient history and timeless traditions as we travel through the 'Land of the Rising Sun' by futuristic bullet train. Sample Japanese whiskey, see magical Mount Fuji, attend an authentic tea ceremony and explore bustling Tokyo and Hiroshima as you experience the highlights of Japan.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and Sapporo

We meet at London Heathrow and fly to Sapporo, travelling via Tokyo.

Day 2 - Sapporo

We arrive in Sapporo on Day 2 to settle into our hotel for two nights. Sapporo is famed for its 19th-century architecture and pretty public spaces.

Day 3 - Sapporo

We explore Sapporo on Day 3's guided tour. We discover Otaru, Sapporo's romantic port, and the Otaru Music Box Museum before heading to the Nikka Whisky Distillery. Founded in 1934, Nikka's malts blend high-quality Japanese whiskey with traditional Scottish techniques, which we sample before returning to Sapporo.

Day 4 - Hakodate

We leave Sapporo behind this morning, travelling to Hakodate for the night aboard the Super Hokuto limited express train. 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 a ropeway cable car for fabulous views across the city.

Day 5 - Hakodate

On Day 5, we visit Hakodate's 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 even sweets. Afterwards, we travel by bullet train to Tokyo, Japan's futuristic capital and home for the next two nights.

Day 6 - Tokyo

Enjoying a full-day tour of Tokyo, one of the world's most contemporary cities, we get an insight into a high-tech, modern world that's still rooted in ancient traditions. We visit the Asakusa Kannon Temple, a Buddhist temple built in pagoda style that's the oldest of its kind in the city, the imposing Imperial Plaza, and Shibuya crossing - the busiest intersection on the planet.

Day 7 - Hakone

On Day 7, we walk to the station, boarding a train to Hakone for the night. On arrival, we set out on a sightseeing tour that includes a cruise across peaceful Lake Ashi.

Day 8 – Mount Fuji

We visit iconic Mount Fuji today, arguably Japan's most distinctive landmark. Travelling by coach, we drive along the foot of the mountain before arriving at the 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 lake, this five-storey fortification is a celebrated National Treasure of Japan and its interiors are made up of an extensive complex of walls, moats and gatehouses. We spend tonight in Matsumoto.

Day 9 - Takayama

Before travelling to Takayama for the night, this morning we stop off at Matsumoto's Ishii Miso factory for an insight into the production of this traditional Japanese dish alongside a tasting of its unique umami flavours. Next, we visit Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum of rustic farm dwellings in the mountains that shows us what traditional rural like was like in Japan. Continuing to Takayama, a town of narrow streets and wooden houses set deep in the mountains, we marvel at landscapes that seem almost untouched by the passage of time.

Day 10 - Takayama

Embarking on a guided tour on Day 10, we call at the Miyagawa Open Air Market for a taste of local life through the ages. Afterwards, we take the train to Nagoya and board the bullet train to Kyoto.

Day 11 - Kyoto

With two nights in the ancient Japanese capital, we discover the delights of historic Kyoto, taking in the attractions of this ageless city from its charming temples to the fascinating Kyoto Railway Museum. We also enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, learning how this iconic drink should be brewed, poured and drunk, before an evening stroll through the historic Gion area of the city. As we wander the lantern-adorned streets, keep your eyes open for one of Japan's last-remaining geishas.

Day 12 – Nara

We enjoy an excursion to Nara, another former ancient capital and home to an impressive eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. A tour of the city includes the Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world and home to an imposing Great Buddha that dates from the 13th century Built from solid bronze, it boasts an impressive 37-foot frame. We continue to Nara Park, a delightful deer sanctuary spread over almost 1,300 acres and home to deer that are so tame, they even bow in greeting to humans. Next, we transfer to Osaka, catching another bullet train to Hiroshima, our base for two nights.

Day 13 – Hiroshima and Miyajima Island

A tour of Hiroshima, famous as one of the sites of an atom bomb drop towards the end of the Second world War, reveals a now a peaceful and thriving city. Attractions here include the Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome, 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 of the powerful history that helped shape modern-day Japan. Afterwards, we delve into the city's more ancient past with a boat ride out to Miyajima Island. This tranquil wooded island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famed for its bright red Shinto shrine.

Day 14 - Hakata

Travelling by bullet train once again, we make our way to Hakata. On arrival, we enjoy 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 that dates back to the 13th century, and the Kyushu National Museum. The first national museum opened in Japan for over 100 years, its displays show us the history of Japanese culture via an impressive collection of artefacts and modern exhibitions. This evening, we head to a local restaurant for a farewell dinner to celebrate the end of our adventures in the 'Land of the Rising Sun.'

Day 15 - Fukuoka to London

We transfer to Fukuoka airport for our flight to London Heathrow, travelling via Tokyo.

Day 16 - London

We arrive back in the UK on Day 16.

Additional information

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hotel New Otani Hakata

Hotel New Otani Hakata, Fukuoka

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La Vista Hakodate Bay

La Vista Hakodate Bay, Hakodate

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The Prince Hakone Lake Ashinoko, Hakone

The Prince Hakone Lake Ashinoko, Hakone

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Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel, Hiroshima

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Rihga Royal Hotel, Kyoto

Rihga Royal Hotel, Kyoto

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Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu

Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu

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JR Tower Nikko Sapporo

JR Tower Nikko Sapporo, Sapporo

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Hotel Associa Takayama

Hotel Associa Takayama, Takayama

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Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo

Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo

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Reviews

3.3 stars3.3 / 5 · 3 reviews

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  5. 1 star
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Mr B McLean

3 stars

Submitted 15 May 2018

Holiday and tour manager was fantastic.Being single and paying supplements and getting double rooms with single beds were very poor. I would expect if paying supplements I would get a double bed the same as any couple.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr S Fancourt

3 stars

Submitted 08 May 2018

Far to many on the tour - 37, took a long to embark and disembark trains and coaches. Itinerary very good, some descriptions in the itinerary were misleading.

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Mr R Butters

4 stars

Submitted 23 May 2017

The travel and hotel arrangements were excellent. One gripe for the elderly is having to constantly move cases at each hotel (with one exception, Thank you Granvia, Kyoto). The Tokyo tour had perhaps one too many historic visits (I personally would have passed on the Edo museum for a daytime look at Shibuya crossing).One day in Tokyo is simply not enough. Similarly, too much Kyoto in 1 day where a 'rest' day would have been priceless. In retrospect, I now query the value of the Hokkaido sector in the tour. Perhaps the time spent here would have served us better elsewhere as it is more of a specialist winter destination, just not enough content for 3+ days.

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Grand Tour of Japan

A Journey through Ancient History and Timeless Traditions

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