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Highlights of Japan

This is the perfect holiday to explore Japan's culture. Uncover the old and new faces of Japan, experience authentic culture staying at traditional ryokans and bathing in an onsen (hot spring bath). Explore the contrasting landscapes of the archipelago when you leave urban Tokyo for the volcanic terrain of Fuji Hakone National Park. Visit museums and art galleries exhibiting contemporary and classic works, discover ancient & still practiced craft techniques and spend time getting better acquainted with the shrines, temples and signature architecture of Kyoto.                       

 Holiday Length: 14 days
 Start City: Tokyo
 End City: Osaka
 Departures: Daily
 Type of Holiday: Private holiday
 (self guided using public transport passes)

Day 1   Tokyo arrival

Meet and assist on arrival and help with your transport to the city (train or shuttle), followed by free time to settle in or explore.

Day 2   Tokyo sightseeing


Today (with your guide) discover Hamarikyu – one of the most visited gardens and teahouse in Tokyo - former private villa and garden of a powerful feudal lord during the Edo period.  After a tea break take a scenic river cruise to Asakusa, a part of Tokyo's shitamachi or old town and the cities oldest Geisha district.  The tour ends with a visit to Meiji Jingu, a shrine and popular venue for traditional Shinto weddings. (B)  

Day 3   Tokyo

Free time today to explore the wonders of Tokyo further or perhaps using your transport pass for a day trip to popular destinations such as Kamakura (a delightful seaside town that is home to ancient shrines, temples and a 13 metre tall bronze Buddha) or Nikko, situated in the mountainous Tochigi Prefecture well known for its national park. (B)

Day 4   Tokyo - Takayama
    Today is a self-guided day, starting with travel to Takayama on the bullet train and limited express train Wide View (offering a scenic journey).  After check-in to your traditional ryokan free time to explore the century-old merchant's homes, and local food stalls. (B, D)
Day 5   Takayama
    Fall under the charm of Takayama today.  You have the option of joining a Food & Culture Walk and Hida Cycling tour – learn more of the town and food with a knowledgeable local guide. (B, D)                            
Day 6   Takayama - Kanazawa

Start the day with a bus to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawago famous for its traditional farmhouses.  In the afternoon continue to the castle town of Kanazawa for your overnight. (B)

Day 7              Kanazawa

Capture the essence of Kanazawa today.  We suggest a visit to the pristine Kenroku-en Garden and the adjacent Kanazawa Castle, accessed through the iconic Ishikawa-mon Gate. Stop for lunch at the Omicho Market before heading to the old Samurai district to visit Nomura House. (B)

Day 8   Kanazawa - Hiroshima
    Today discover more of Kanazawa before departing by train to Hiroshima.  Free time after check-in to explore. (B)
Day 9              Hiroshima & Miyajima
    Take a ferry ride to explore the small sacred island of Miyajima, starting with Itsukushima Shrine offering one of Japan's three most beautiful views. Continue to the Buddhist temple of Daisho-in before heading back to Hiroshima and a visit to the Peace memorial Park and Museum. (B)
Day 10   Hiroshima - Kyoto
    Travel to Kyoto home to numerous shrines, temples and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (B)
Day 11            Kyoto

Todays tour starts with a visit to Nijo Castle. Built in 1603, this castle was the Kyoto base of the first Tokugawa Shogun.The finest artists of the day filled the castle with delicate transom woodcarvings and paintings. One of the castle's most intriguing features is the so-called "nightingale" floors. To protect the Shogun from real or imagined enemies, these floorboards creak when stepped on. Continue to the famous rock gardens of the serene Ryoan-ji Temple, followed by the golden pavilions of Kinkaku-ji. Covered in gold leaf, the gleaming structure seems to float on the Mirror Pond. A visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple follows later in the day ending with a stroll along the Higashiyama districts narrow store lined alleyways. (B)

Day 12   Kyoto

Capture the essence of Japanese culture with a visit to a Machiya (traditional wooden house) including trying on a kimono and taking part in a tea ceremony. You then have the choice of visiting a sake brewery or learning the Japanese art of origami (paper folding).  Free time in the afternoon to explore Kyoto further or head out of town to Nara – known for its Temples and tame deer.  (B)

Day 13            Kyoto - Osaka

On arrival by train to Osaka you have free time to discover the Doguyasuji food related market and visit Sennichimae (a lane filled with small eateries), temples, museums and local restaurants. (B)        

Day 14   Osaka departure
    Free time until your scheduled transfer to Kansai International Airport. (B)


  • Accommodation in your choice of tourist or deluxe class hotels & Ryokan
• Arrival and departure airport transfers
• PASMO Card for local transportation in Japan
• 14 day Japan Rail Pass
• Takayama - Shirakawago - Kanazawa bus tickets
• Professional English-speaking local guides (days 2 & 11)
• Meals, sightseeing & entrance fees as per itinerary

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