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Discovering Japan

12 Days from $4,315per
An amazing experience of a culture so totally different from our own.
Mrs J Carter
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You are viewing the 2020 itinerary

Itineraries and pricing may vary by departure year

(Tour code: JAG20)

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 12 days as we explore the 'Land of the Rising Sun' by rail.

  • Bullet Train rail travel
  • 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
  • Lake Ashi and Owakudani Springs
What’s Included
  • Standard Class Rail
    Bullet Train journeys
  • 11 Nights' Hotel Accommodation
  • Selected Departures Guaranteed

Discovering Japan 2020Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1 Tokyo


Meet your group and Tour Manager at the 4-Star Keio Plaza Hotel  for your first night in Japan, where we enjoy a welcome dinner together this evening to celebrate the start of our adventure.

Day 2 Meiji Jingu Shrine
Meiji Jingu Shrine

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, as well as taking in the Meiji Shrine. 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 visit the world-famous Shibuya crossing, which is said to be the busiest intersection in the world. 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.

Day 3 Romance Car
Romance Car

To Hakone

Today, after a morning at leisure, we continue to Hakone by train, traveling in a 'Romance Car' on the picturesque narrow-gauge line. On arrival, we tour spectacular Hakone National Park. Lying in the foothills of Mount Fuji, Hakone is a stunning area of lakes, forests and hot springs.

We take a cable car to the sulphurous hot springs at Owakudani, after which we descend to Lake Ashi for a short cruise. We then transfer to our hotel for the night, and enjoy dinner together.

Day 4 Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji

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 Center to learn more about the snow-capped peak. We also stop at Oishi Park, which boasts unparalleled views of the iconic Japanese mountains.

Day 5 Takayama

To Takayama

This morning, 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. The tour continues by coach as we travel to Takayama. Set deep in the mountains, Takayama is a fascinating town of narrow streets and wooden houses which appear almost untouched by time. On arrival, we enjoy a walking tour of the fascinating city, taking in Kami Sannomachi Street and Jinya Old House.

After our explorations, we return to Takayama, where we spend the night at the Hotel Associa Takayama.

Day 6 Hiroshima
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

To Hiroshima

We make a visit to Miyagawa Market this morning, then travel to the nearby 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 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.

Day 7 Miyajima Island
Miyajima Island

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.

Days 8-9 Kyoto

Hiroshima to Kyoto

This morning we visit the World Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome, both poignant reminders of the destruction levied here in 1945. We also listen to a talk from a Hiroshima survivor or a successor. 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. We enjoy a walking tour of the Gion district, after which we indulge in a dinner in Pontocho Alley, a lantern-lit street lined with traditional wooden buildings. Famed for its traditional 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.

A full day of sightseeing on Day 9 takes us to the Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle and the Kiyomizu Temple. In the afternoon we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony.

Day 10 Nara Todai Ji Temple
Nara Todai Ji Temple

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, Nigatsu-do Shrine, and Nara's serene deer park.

Day 11 Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle


We travel by coach to Osaka today, a futuristic city which we are introduced to on a guided tour. We visit the observatory, housed within the iconic Umeda Sky Building for panoramic views over Osaka and its castle, ahead of a farewell dinner tonight.

Day 12 Flying home
Flying home

Homeward bound

Leave Osaka this morning, as you make your way home.

Please note

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

Recommended Airports

For this tour, we recommend arriving into Tokyo Haneda Airport or Narita Airport, which are approximately 6/42 miles from your first hotel. Our recommended departure airport is the Osaka Airport, which is approximately 31 miles from your final hotel.

Visa Requirements

It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.

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.

What’s included

An escorted experience and travel during your tour

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • All rail, coach and ferry travel throughout your tour

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 11 nights' hotel accommodation

Delicious meals included

  • 15 meals including 11 breakfasts and 4 dinners, including a welcome dinner in Tokyo, a dinner of contemporary Japanese cuisine in Pontocho Alley, and a farewell dinner in Osaka


Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Explore Japan by bullet train
  • Full-day guided tour of Tokyo
  • Excursions to Mount Fuji and Matsumoto Castle
  • Visit to the Hida Folk Village and a tour of Takayama
  • Cruise to Miyajima Island to see the Itsukushima Shrine
  • Visit to the A-Bomb Dome Museum and a talk from a Hiroshima survivor or successor
  • Guided tours of Hiroshima, Hakone, Osaka, Nara and Kyoto
  • A traditional tea ceremony

Not Included

  • Flights and airport transfers


What our customers think

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Tour Rating

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Vaugnel Fletcher
Dimitri Zgonis
Discovering Japan

Explore the Land of the Rising Sun by rail


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