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Explore Japan

Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,330

Experience authentic Japan on this intimate small-group guided tour to four distinctive regions over twelve days, exploring extensively on foot and travelling by bullet train, regional train and bus


From the gorgeous textures of Kyoto's temples to the sobering beauty of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island, and from the refreshing mountain air of the Japanese Alps to the exciting megalopolis of Tokyo, this standout among Japan tours will captivate you with the country's incredible culture, people and natural beauty. This trip starts in Kyoto and ends in Tokyo, and could be easily extended to include more time in the capital if desired. This special trip made with an intimate group of a maximum of 16 travellers is the ideal “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to Japan, covering everything you would wish to see yet also allowing for unscripted, non-touristic experiences that will linger long after you return home.

At Goway we are experts at designing personalized itineraries to suit your special interests, tastes and budget. Let us arrange your ultimate travel experience today.
Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,330

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive Kyoto

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting tonight in Kyoto with your tour leader, and the remainder of the evening is at leisure to settle in and explore the neighbourhood. Originally founded as Heian-kyo in 794 (literally, "tranquillity and peace capital"), Kyoto experienced a golden age during the imperial court's heyday from 794 to 1185. It was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years but the emperor and government are now located in Tokyo.

Duration4 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Granvia Kyoto

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Location View map
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    Hotel Granvia Kyoto



    Hotel Granvia Kyoto is an integral part of the architecturally striking masterpiece, the JR Kyoto Station Building, which also includes a department store, museum, musical theatre, and a vast underground shopping mall. From here, hotel guests have direct and easy access to/from Kansai International Airport ...

    Hotel Granvia Kyoto is an integral part of the architecturally striking masterpiece, the JR Kyoto Station Building, which also includes a department store, museum, musical theatre, and a vast underground shopping mall. From here, hotel guests have direct and easy access to/from Kansai International Airport and major destinations across Japan including Osaka (30 min.), Tokyo (2.5 hr), Hiroshima, Nagoya, and Fukuoka.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Lounge(s)
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Spa(Hot-tub)/Jacuzzi

    More Details

Day 2

Kyoto

You'll begin the day with an orientation walk around some of Kyoto's more important sights. Start by visiting Fushimi Inari shrine complex, one of the most awe-inspiring places in the whole city. Its five shrines are spread out across a beautiful tree-dotted area, with hundreds of stone statues of the fox - a sacred creature for the Japanese. You will also visit the wonderful 14th-century Tenryuji temple, whose garden is a delight to stroll around, especially in autumn and spring. Next, head out to the Arashiyama, the famous bamboo grove whose tight-packed and towering spires surround you as you walk, making for an otherworldly experience. In the afternoon, enjoy a memorable moment with a tea ceremony with a "maiko", an apprentice geisha, followed by a walk around Gion and its old wooden teahouses and exclusive restaurants. This area is the heartland of geisha culture, and it's a great idea to return here in the evening when it really springs to life.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

Kyoto at leisure

Today is a full free day and there is much to experience, from historical landmarks to traditional arts and literature. Kyoto is a city that lends itself to walking, and there are a number of walks available. You might choose a gentle stroll through the nearby eastern hills along the 'Path of Philosophy' which links Ginkaku-ji (Temple of the Silver Pavilion) with Nanzen-ji Temple. This walk can be extended south through well-preserved 'old town' areas to Kiyamizu-dera (Temple of Clear Water) from where there is a justifiably famous view across a wooded gorge toward Kyoto. Also recommended is a visit to the extravagantly decorated Kinkakuji temple, immortalised in Yukio Mishima's novel "The Golden Pavilion". Close to your hotel is the architecturally impressive Higashi Honganji temple and the almost surreal Sanjusangendo, home to 1,001 statues of Kannon (the bodhisattva of compassion and inspiration for the Canon camera company's name). Another recommendation is to take a walk in the wooded hills of Inari Mountain, famous for its Shinto 'fox temple' and atmospheric tunnels of red torii gates.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 4

Kyoto - Nara - Kyoto

Today you will take a day trip to the city of Nara, approximately 1 hour from Kyoto. With eight World Heritage sites, Nara is second only to Kyoto as a fountain of Japan's cultural legacy. While here you'll visit Todaiji Temple, with friendly wild deer roaming freely in the park around it. You'll also visit the Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine), Nara's most celebrated shrine. Kasuga Taisha is famous for its lanterns, which have been donated by worshipers. Hundreds of bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the buildings, and hundreds of stone lanterns line the paths. The lanterns are only lit twice a year during two Lantern Festivals, one in early February and one in mid-August. Return to Kyoto for the evening, which is free for your own rest or exploration.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 5

Kyoto - Himeji - Hiroshima

Today you'll wave goodbye to Kyoto as you ride the rails on a bullet train to Hiroshima. Travelling by Shinkansen is an absolute buzz, as you'll reach speeds of up to 270 kilometres per hour. Stop en route (after approximately 45 minutes) and pay a visit to Japan's most impressive samurai castle at Himeji. The building, which has survived earthquakes and wars since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015, and is not to be missed. The castle moats, baileys, towers and walled alleyways were ingeniously designed to look intimidating and trick attackers. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families and look out over the castle grounds and the city below from the seventh floor. Continue on to Hiroshima (approximately 1 hour), the city indelibly connected with World War II and the atomic bomb. You'll stay in a local hotel attached to the train station, just 20 minutes by tram from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (commonly referred to as the A-Bomb dome).

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Granvia Hiroshima

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Location View map
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    Hotel Granvia Hiroshima



    The Hotel Granvia Hiroshima is adjoined to the railway station making it very easy to locate. The area is quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The 437 rooms are all spacious and elegantly furnished. The hotel offers a beauty salon, ...

    The Hotel Granvia Hiroshima is adjoined to the railway station making it very easy to locate. The area is quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The 437 rooms are all spacious and elegantly furnished. The hotel offers a beauty salon, barber shop, boutiques, drugstore, restaurant and bar.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Lounge(s)
    • Massage Treatments
    • Pool (s)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Sauna
    • Spa
    • Spa(Hot-tub)/Jacuzzi
    • Wedding Chapel

    More Details

Day 6

Hiroshima and Miyajima

This morning you'll visit the Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, both of which stand testament to the day in August 1945 when Hiroshima was chosen as target for the first ever wartime use of the atomic bomb. The dome was just metres from where the bomb detonated so it was able to retain its shape; the fact that it looks almost exactly as it did after the bombing means it can serve as a reminder of the atrocious event, and as a symbol of peace. The memorial park serves the same purpose, and has museums, memorials and monuments dedicated to the memory of victims, education on what lead to the bomb's use, and advocation of world peace. In the afternoon you will head for the serene, enchanting island of Miyajima, reached after a short ferry ride (30 kilometres) across the Inland Sea. The island is home to the venerable Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, famous for its huge bright orange gate (tori) that rises majestically out of the sea. At high tide it is considered to be one of the most beautiful sights in Japan. The size and physical landscape of Miyajima makes it an ideal place for walking. There is the lovely Momaji Park (known as Maple Valley), from where it is possible to walk or take a cable car up to the top of Mt. Misen. Return to Hiroshima for the night.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 7

Hiroshima - Takayama

Your group leader will try and arrange a meeting with a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor on day 5, 6 or the morning of day 7. Due to the sensitivity of these meetings, this is not guaranteed.

Later this morning, travel to Takayama, a charming Edo-period town located in the Japanese alps. Renowned for its traditional inns, sake breweries and tranquil atmosphere, this riverside jewel of central Honshu may well be one of the most enjoyable stops on your trip. Later, enjoy free time to make your own discoveries.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Ryokan Tanabe

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    Ryokan Tanabe



    A 4-minute walk from the 16th-century Hidakokubun-ji Temple, this elegant inn, in a traditional timber-fronted building, is a 12-minute walk from the ornate floats in the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan exhibition hall, and 14 minutes by foot from Takayama train station. Minimalist rooms with a ...

    A 4-minute walk from the 16th-century Hidakokubun-ji Temple, this elegant inn, in a traditional timber-fronted building, is a 12-minute walk from the ornate floats in the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan exhibition hall, and 14 minutes by foot from Takayama train station. Minimalist rooms with a Zen-like atmosphere feature tatami floors, futons and chabudai dining tables. All have TVs, fridges, and tea and coffeemakers. Amenities include a lounge, and a bathhouse offering 3 soaking tubs with natural hot spring water.

    Facilities

    • Banquet Facilities
    • Golf Course
    • Hot Spring
    • Karaoke Lounge
    • Lounge
    • Parking
    • Restaurant
    • Spa

    More Details

Day 8

Takayama

Today you will visit the local Takayama farmers market, try some Japanese treats and peruse the stalls. Afterwards, visit Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum of traditional architecture. Cross your fingers for clear skies, as the alps are stunning from this vantage point on a clear day. This afternoon, visit a sake brewery - the alpine climate and crystal clear mountain waters are perfect for creating this signature drop. Enjoy a walk around the brewery, followed by a sake tasting.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 9

Takayama - Tokyo

In the morning you will make your way by train to Japan's amazing capital, Tokyo, and your centrally-located hotel where you'll be based for the next three nights. Bursting with contemporary urban culture, there are many sides of Tokyo to explore: fascinating museums, world-class shopping, bustling energy and futuristic architecture. You'll also experience the gentler side of neighbourhood backstreets where citizens often reveal themselves (particularly outside of working hours) to be some of the friendliest of any capital city in the world. There are many vestiges of the past, with historic temples and shrines still to be found in some of the most unexpected places, as well as an abundance of parks and gardens. After you arrive, you have free time to explore. Perhaps walk the short distance to see the Imperial Palace and its gardens, then enjoy the myriad food options for dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Niwa Tokyo

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Location View map
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    Hotel Niwa Tokyo



    This award-winning hotel is just a 3-minute walk from JR Suidobashi station, offering 238 well-equipped rooms with modern Japanese decor and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel features a zen courtyard garden, a rooftop mini-garden, workout room, relaxation lounge with massage chairs, coin-operated laundry, and two in-house ...

    This award-winning hotel is just a 3-minute walk from JR Suidobashi station, offering 238 well-equipped rooms with modern Japanese decor and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel features a zen courtyard garden, a rooftop mini-garden, workout room, relaxation lounge with massage chairs, coin-operated laundry, and two in-house restaurants. Hotel Niwa Tokyo is a 12-minute walk from the Tokyo Dome and Koishikawa Korakuen Garden.

    Facilities

    • Business Corner
    • Currency Exchange
    • Internet Access
    • Lounge
    • Meeting Facilities
    • Restaurant

    More Details

Day 10

Tokyo

Today you'll undertake a varied, full-day tour of the city, beginning in the historic Asakusa area. This is one of the older and more traditional parts of Tokyo, and is often called the temple district. Here you'll stop by Senso-ji, the city's oldest temple, founded almost 1,400 years ago when Tokyo was nothing more than a fishing village. Browse the many interesting stalls filled with tasty treats, crafts and souvenirs that line the shopping street of Nakamise-dori. After lunch you'll enjoy an alternative view of Tokyo as you relax on a short cruise down the Sumida River. You'll pass significant buildings like the Sky Tree Tower and Tsukiji Fish Market, under the bridges that bisect the river, and then alight at the delightful urban oasis of Hama Rikyu gardens. Here you'll have time to stroll along paths that were once the sole preserve of the shogun, who would hunt ducks here in the feudal era. Later you'll make your way to the luxurious shopping district of Ginza where, depending on the theatre schedule, you'll have the chance to see a short performance of Kabuki, one of Japan's more spectacular performing arts.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 11

Tokyo at leisure

Today's a free day to explore this pulsating city, where there's almost an endless amount of things to see and do. In Shinjuku the city's highest skyscrapers offer panoramic views, and on clear days you can see Mount Fuji. Districts in the east are magnets for the city's breathtakingly trendy youth - see the crowds at Shibuya Crossing, the costumes in Harajuku, as well as the important Meiji Jingu Shrine, dedicated to the 19th-century Emperor. Take in history at the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda, or see ancient treasures at the National Museum in Ueno. Another great museum, which gives insight into old time Tokyo, is the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku. You might want to spend some time in the city's green spaces like Yoyogu and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, and browse high-end shops in Ginza. This evening, join your group for a farewell dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 12

Depart Tokyo

The trip ends in Tokyo this morning after breakfast and you are free to depart at any time.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2017: Oct 7, 14, 21; Nov 4

2018: Feb 10, 24; Mar 17, 24, 31; Apr 7, 14, 21, 28; May 5, 19, 26; Jun 2, 16, 23; Jul 21; Aug 11; Sep 1, 22, 29; Oct 6, 13, 20; Nov 3

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 11 nights' hotel/ryokan accommodation
  • Small group touring as per itinerary
  • Train, bus and local transport
  • Meals as indicated

 PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not specifically indicated
  • Optional excursions
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Airport transfers
  • Gratuities

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire. Please note that pricing is dynamic and subject to change at any time.

TB INTREPIKYO0215SG: JPR1 17
3 Nov 2018
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