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Explore Japan

Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,296

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$ 5,296

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 Noku

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Location View map
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    Hotel Noku



    Noku is located adjacent to Kyoto Imperial Palace and right in the heart of 1,000 years of Japanese history. From rooms to services, Noku is designed to showcase the artisan spirit of Kyoto life. Each of our 81 rooms has been furnished with individually selected ...

    Noku is located adjacent to Kyoto Imperial Palace and right in the heart of 1,000 years of Japanese history. From rooms to services, Noku is designed to showcase the artisan spirit of Kyoto life. Each of our 81 rooms has been furnished with individually selected art pieces that reflect the cultural elements of Kyoto.

    At Noku we wish to create a local experience for our guest. With our maps and e-concierge services, discover the neighbourhood's traditional craft galleries, heritage confectioneries, machiya houses and hidden restaurants. This immersive experience is unique for an inspiring Kyoto stay.

    Facilities

    • Cafe
    • Dry Cleaning
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry
    • Parking
    • Restaurant

    More Details

Day 2

Kyoto

Begin your day with a city tour around some of Kyoto's sights. Visit the extravagantly decorated Kinkakuji temple, immortalised in Yukio Mishima's novel "The Golden Pavilion", Afterwards we visit Tofuku-ji Temple, the head temple of the Tofukuji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, built about 800 years ago. Hear more about the philosophy of Zen Buddhism and enjoy the peace and spirituality while sipping on green tea.

Join your leader and 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. You might spot geikos (geishas) or maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dress and make up on their way out to events.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

Kyoto at leisure

Today head to Kyoto's famed Fushimi Inari Shrine - known throughout the world as the 'Path of the Red Gates.' Take time to appreciate the quieter corners of the shrine, and if you are feeling fit a walk to the half way point provides stunning city views.

Then a short train ride and walk takes us to the famous Gekkei-kan Sake Brewery. With centuries of local history built into its beautiful wooden halls, the Gekkei-kan brewery is considered Japan's industry leader in both the tradition and innovation of sake creation. A visit to the brewery and museum cover every aspect of sake creation - with full-scale historical artefacts in abundance and a chance to taste different types of sake at the end of your visit. The shop is also fully stocked with some of Japan's finest sake should you wish to bring some back home with you! Optional activities: (additional cost per person to be paid in destination) Kyoto - Cooking Class - JPY6000 / Kyoto - Kiyomizu Temple - JPY500 / Kyoto - Nijo Castle - JPY600 / Kyoto - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest - Free / Kyoto - Tenryuji Temple - JPY600.

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. They symbolise a guiding light and the 3,000 Kasuga shrines throughout the country. Hundreds of bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the buildings, while as many stone lanterns line its approaches. 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. Perhaps find a theatre putting on shows of Noh - music, traditional dancing, kabuki and banraku puppetry.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 5

Kyoto - Himeji - Hiroshima

As you speed south to Hiroshima, you'll stop en route for a stop at Japan's most impressive samurai castle at Himeji. The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015. The moats, baileys, towers and walled alleyways were ingeniously designed to trick attackers - perhaps so intimidatingly that they were never in fact tested. 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, the city indelibly connected with World War II and the atomic bomb.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Granvia Hiroshima

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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

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    Preferred Hotel
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 fateful 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 serves as a reminder and 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, as well as advocating world peace.

Afterwards head for the serene 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. Maybe try one of the city's signature dishes for dinner - okonomiyaki, a kind savoury pancake of egg, cabbage, soba noodles, and meat or seafood. Optional Activities: (additional cost per person to be paid in destination) Miyajima - Mt Misen Cable Car - JPY2000.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 7

Hiroshima - Takayama

You will then 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, we highly recommend finding a good restaurant that specialises in Hida beef, as it's famous in this region of Japan. Our accommodation in Takayama is a Japanese ryokan (traditional inn). Rooms are decorated in traditional Japanese style with en suite shower facilities. A shared onsen (Japanese traditional communal hot spring bath) is also available for guests.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Takayama Ouan

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    Takayama Ouan



    In spring 2009, a city hotel of "Washi" was born in front of Takayama station. In order to make old city skyline of Hida Takayama feel everywhere in the hall, we arranged wooden beams and alpine grids etc which are characteristic of Hida architecture in ...

    In spring 2009, a city hotel of "Washi" was born in front of Takayama station.

    In order to make old city skyline of Hida Takayama feel everywhere in the hall, we arranged wooden beams and alpine grids etc which are characteristic of Hida architecture in the hotel.
    Moreover, it stuck to the creation that cherishes the taste of "Japanese" full of warmth of tatami and wood with whole building tatami mats.
    And, as the name of "Okuraan", Mr. Kazukiyoshi Ishihara, Japan's leading gardener, produces a beautiful "harmony" around the hotel, making use of various cherry blossom trees including cherry old trees.
    A completely new style hotel "Takayama Ozakuan" which compatible with "casualness" in front of the station and "hospitality in Japanese" in Hida Takayama.
    For sightseeing, business, please utilize as a new base of Hida Takayama by all means.

    Facilities

    • Air Conditioning
    • Child Friendly
    • Hot Tub
    • Laundry Service
    • Paid Parking
    • Restaurant
    • Spa

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Day 8

Takayama

Today you will visit the local Takayama farmers market, try some Japanese treats and peruse the stalls. Afterwards you will visit Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum of traditional architecture that gives a sense of centuries past. Cross your fingers for clear skies, as the Alps are stunning from this vantage on a clear day.

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, as well as a 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 - particularly exquisite in spring when the cherry trees and azaleas are in bloom. After you arrive, your leader will take your for a short late afternoon/night tour of the area - you will then have some free time to explore. Perhaps 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

    Preferred Hotel
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.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 11

Tokyo at leisure

Enjoy a free day to explore this pulsating city. Perhaps head to the eastern districts which are magnets for the city's fascinating youth subcultures. 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. Spend some time in the city's green spaces like Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, browse high-end shops in Ginza, experience the theatre of a sumo bout (only in Jan, May and Sep), or create your own entertainment with some karaoke. This evening, join your group for a farewell dinner as you say sayonara to Japan. Optional Activities: (additional cost per person to be paid in destination) Tokyo - Edo Tokyo Museum - JPY600.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 12

Depart Tokyo

With no further activities planned, you're free to check out any time before 12 pm. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Selected Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

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

OTHER INFORMATION:

Occasionally these itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and research. Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so being flexible is key. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time

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 INTREPIKYO19SG: JPR1 19
22 Dec 2019
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