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Grand Tour of Japan

(Tour code: JTG17)Absorb ancient history and timeless tradition

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.

Tour Highlights
  • Sapporo
  • Nikka whiskey tasting
  • Hakodate
  • Hakone and a Lake Ashi cruise
  • Tokyo
  • Mount Fuji
  • Takayama & Kyoto
  • Miyajima Island
  • Nara & Hiroshima
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Explore Japan by bullet train
  • 3-5* Accommodation
  • 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.

To Sapporo
Days 1-2

London to Sapporo

Our holiday begins with a flight from London to Sapporo, travelling via Hong Kong and arriving on Day 2. After settling in to our hotel, we enjoy dinner together tonight.

  • Scheduled flights
Day 3

Exploring Sapporo

Sapporo is famed for its 19th century architecture, pretty public spaces and gastronomy, some of which we explore today on our guided tour. We discover the delights of Otaru, Sapporo's famously romantic port, before heading to the nearby Yoichi Distillery, where award-winning Nikka whiskey is produced. Founded in 1934 by the son of a sake manufacturer who was enchanted by the concept of a creating high-quality Japanese whiskey made with traditional Scottish techniques, Nikka has been producing acclaimed malts ever since. We enjoy a tasting of this peaty whiskey before heading back to Sapporo, where you are free this evening for dinner.

  • Sapporo
  • Yoichi Distillery
  • Whiskey Tasting
Days 4-5


We leave Sapporo behind this morning, travelling to Hakodate on the Super Hokuto limited express train. On arrival, we check into our hotel with overnight bags, as the remainder of our luggage continues ahead to Tokyo. 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 ropeway, for fabulous views across the city as it sparkles with evening light. On Day 5 we visit Hakodate's vibrant 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 sweets, and look out for tanks of live shellfish and clusters of crabs. After our visit, we travel by bullet train to Tokyo, Japan's futuristic capital.

  • Hakodate
  • Goryokaku
  • Mount Hakodate via Ropeway
Days 6-7

Tokyo and Hakone

Today we enjoy a full day tour of Tokyo. Japan's capital represents the very best of the nation and is one of the world's most contemporary cities, giving an insight into a high-tech, modern world, yet its ancient attractions are of equal allure. On our tour, we visit the age-old Asakusa Kannon Temple, the imposing Imperial palace, the impressive Meiji Shrine and the fascinating Ameyoko Market. On Day 7, we transfer to Shinjuku, where we board the 'Romance Car' train to Hakone. On arrival, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Hakone's scenic beauty, including a delightful cruise across serene Lake Ashi.

  • Tour of Tokyo
  • Asakusa Kannon Temple
  • Meiji Shrine
  • Ameyoko Market
Mount Fuji
Day 8

Mount Fuji and on the Matsumoto

Today we visit iconic Mount Fuji, arguably Japan's most distinctive landmark. Travelling by coach, we drive along the foot of the famous mountain, soaking up scenic views along the ascent. We arrive at the Mount Fuji 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 plain, this five-storey fortification is a celebrated National Treasure of Japan. We spend tonight in Matsumoto.

  • Mount Fuji
  • Matsumoto Castle
Day 9

Hida Folk Village and Takayama

Today our tour takes us to Hida 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. We continue to Takayama, where we spend the night.

  • Hida Folk Village
  • Takayama Valley
Day 10

To Kyoto

Set deep in the mountains, Takayama is a fascinating town of narrow streets and wooden houses which is almost untouched by time - some of which we explore today on a guided walking tour. After time to enjoy the ancient architecture, we leave Takayama behind, travelling by bullet train to Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital.

  • Takayama
Day 11

Exploring Kyoto

Discover the delights of historic Kyoto today on a guided tour. We take in the attractions of this ageless city, from the UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle, an incredible complex of fortifications and gardens that dates back to the 17th century, to some of the charming temples Kyoto is famed for. Later, we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony on the Kodaiji Temple, discovering the time-honoured ritual of tea preparation that has been passed down through generations.

  • Tour of Kyoto
  • Nijo Castle
  • Kodaiji Temple
Day 12

Sightseeing in Nara

Today we explore Nara, another former capital from Japan's fractured ancient history, and home to an impressive 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites. On our sightseeing tour, we take in the Toda-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world, where we find the imposing Great Buddha, a 13th century bronze statue that dominates with its 37-foot frame. We continue to scenic Nara Park, a delightful deer sanctuary spread over almost 1,300 acres, before transferring to Osaka, where we catch a bullet train to Hiroshima.

  • Great Buddha
  • Toda-ji Temple
  • Nara Park
Day 13


Our tour today takes us around Hiroshima, a city remarkably unscarred by modern history. Our explorations take in the highlights of this peaceful, thriving city, from the Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome, both dedicated to the victims of the tragic devastation of WWII, as well as delving into the city's ancient past, with a boat ride out to Miyajima Island. This tranquil wooded island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famed for the bright red torii gate, a Shinto shrine that appears to be floating just off the coast of the island during high tide. We also hear from a Hiroshima survivor, whose moving account of the events of August 6th 1945 brings greater context and understanding to the powerful history that helped to shape Japan as we know it today.

  • Peace Memorial Park
  • A-Bomb Dome
  • Miyajima Island
  • Shinto shrine
Komyozenji Temple
Day 14


After breakfast, we take another bullet train, this time to Hakata. On arrival, we take 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, dating back to the 13th century, and the Kyushu National Museum. The first national museum opened in Japan for 100 years, the museum reveals the history of Japanese culture through an impressive collection of artefacts and modern displays.

This evening, we explore Hakata after dark, visiting the food stalls that spring to life in the evening. Known as 'yatai', these pop-up kitchens line the river banks, serving authentic local and national dishes, and are synonymous with the city's culture. After time to explore the vibrant market, we head to a local restaurant for a farewell dinner, to celebrate the end of our fantastic tour of the 'Land of the Rising Sun.'

  • Dazaifu Tenman-gu Shrine
  • Komyozenji Temple
  • Kyushu National Museum
  • Tour of the ‘Land of the Rising Sun'
Days 15-16

Return to London

After breakfast this morning, we transfer from our hotel to Fukuoka Airport, for our scheduled flight to London. Arriving on Day 16, our tour concludes when we touch down in the UK.

  • Scheduled flights

Get in touch with one of our Travel Specialists

Helping you plan your holiday...

James Eaton
Julie Longfield
Phil Conde
Kathryn Cambridge


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