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Highlights of Japan

Duration
10 Days
Prices From:
US$ 4,439

Experience the many different faces of Japan from contemporary Tokyo to traditional Kyoto and Nara, from majestic Mount Fuji to historic Takayama and find out how Hiroshima has developed.


Japan is a land of contrasts and undertaking this itinerary will show that to its fullest combining exciting and innovative contemporary Japan with its traditional and historical legacies. From Imperial castles to snow-capped mountains and from Shinto shrines to modern boulevards, this is Japan.

Start in Tokyo, the capital since the late 1800’s. Visit the Meiji Shrine dedicated to a Japanese Emperor who died in 1912. It was destroyed during World War 2 but has been totally reconstructed. Set in a large garden-like park, it is revered by the locals.  Close by is Harajuku, the unique colourful youth fashion quarter with many bargains to be had.  Enjoy a cruise on the Sumida River which flows through the heart of Tokyo to the old quarter of Asakusa with its functioning Kannon Temple and colourful street markets. Next is the TokyoTower with wonderful views of the city from the observation platform.

The next morning enjoy the sights and sounds of the Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish and seafood market in the world. Travelling south by road, drive the Hakone National Park where you will have a cruise on Lake Ashi and then have a traditional Japanese meal with the option afterwards to have a dip in a hot spring.

Next travel to Takayama, a charming old town with much history and culture. Visit the Yatai Kaikan Hall, home to the exhibits from the Takayama Festival, one of the most important in Japan, The exhibits are mainly the floats used. Afterwards, stroll through the atmospheric old town, known as Kamisannomachi District.

Continue to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan until 1869. Historic Kyoto has over 1600 temples and 400 shrines and is one of the best preserved cities in Japan which is somewhat mind-boggling especially as it is also a functioning contemporary city as well. However, there are many neighbourhoods consisting of labyrinths of narrow streets. In Kyoto, time seems to stand still. Some of the most important sites to be visited are the Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavillion, breathtaking in its beauty. It is superbly reflected in a mirror pond; the Kiyomizu Temple complex, Kyoto’s most visited temple situated on a hillside with amazing views of the surrounding area and totally made of wood; Nijo Castle built in the 17th Century surrounded by attractive gardens; the Pontocho, a narrow lane evoking the past with its bars and teahouses and the Gion Quarter where you may well see Geishas as they hurry to their next assignment.

Hiroshima is known as the city destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945. After the bombing, Hiroshima was reconstructed as a large, modern city. A visit to the Peace Memorial Park, A-Bomb Museum and Museum is a must for anybody wanting to understand the effects of nuclear weapons. The A-Bomb Dome is what most visitors see first and it has become a legendary building that all associate with Hiroshima. It is supposedly the sight of where the bomb directly exploded above the earth. It is the only surviving building from the blast and exists only in ruin, although one can still see the structure of the original dome upon the roof. Also visit the extremely impressive UNESCO protected Itsukushina Shrine on Miyajima Island with its dramatic Tori (gate) situated in the lake.

The next day, travel by train to Nara, your final stop, once the capital of Japan in the 6th Century AD. Here, visit the remarkable Todai-ji Temple, a national treasure which houses the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha and the impressive Kasuga Shrine Both also date back to the 6th Century AD. Enjoy the many free roaming deer in the scenically beautiful Nara Deer Park.  


 

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Duration
10 Days
Prices From:
US$ 4,439

Itinerary View Trip Map View Trip Special

Day 1

Arrive Tokyo

Upon arrival at Narita or Haneda Airport, a join-in transfer takes you to your hotel. Should you have any problems locating your arrival assistant please contact the local Japanese emergency number contained within your pre-departure information.
Tonight meet your fellow travellers and Tour Leader for a tour briefing (if the group number is less than 10, this will happen on day 2). This is a great chance to get to know your fellow travellers and talk about the adventure that awaits you. Please look out for your welcome pack with the details included.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu



    Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu is right across from Akasaka-Mitsuke Subway Station. It offers 2 dining options, a variety of shops and comfortable rooms. Comfort and style define each of the 487 air-conditioned rooms at Hotel Akasaka Excel. A tour desk and currency exchange help with ...

    Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu is right across from Akasaka-Mitsuke Subway Station. It offers 2 dining options, a variety of shops and comfortable rooms. Comfort and style define each of the 487 air-conditioned rooms at Hotel Akasaka Excel. A tour desk and currency exchange help with sightseeing. The 24-hour front desk offers luggage storage, laundry and fax/photocopying services. Guests can work in the business centre or unwind with a massage.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gift Shop
    • Hair/Beauty Salon
    • Internet Access
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

    More Details

Day 2

Explore Tokyo on Foot and Rail

Following breakfast embark on your exploration of the city. With a teeming population of eight million, the capital of Japan invigorates the senses. Founded in 1603 as an Edo-era military centre, Tokyo has since lived a myriad of lives. Earthquakes, world wars and raging fires have at various times over the past 150 years razed Japan's main city to the ground, while in the past half-century this current seat of royal power has emerged as a trading super-city and a headquarters for one of the world's largest economies. On the back of foreign investment, the huge success of automotive and precision electronics industries and national industriousness, Tokyo presents as a truly pulsating metropolis - brimming with street-life activity and neon lights galore, yet also home to an underworld of drinking dens and atmospheric restaurants. Today you will explore some of the city's highlights on a carefully created tour.
Departing your hotel after breakfast, and taking full advantage of the fantastic underground railway network, you will travel to serene Meiji Jingu shrine. Dedicated to the late 19th-century emperor who opened Japan to the West, Tokyo's most famous Shinto shrine is wonderfully serene and austere. The 12 metre high torii gate at the entrance to the 200 acre park is made of 1,500 year old cypress, and there's a second one like it closer to the shrine itself. Continue on to the Imperial Palace, the site of the original Edo-jo, the Tokugawa shogunate's castle. As it's the home of Japan's emperor and some of the imperial family, the palace is off limits. However, you will wander through the surrounding grounds and bridges - the iron Niju-bashi and the stone Megane-bashi. In its heyday this was the largest fortress in the world, though little remains of it today apart from the moat and stone walls. The present palace, completed in 1968, replaced the one built in 1888, which was largely destroyed during WWII. Travel by train to Asakusa and explore Sensoji temple and Nakamise Shopping Street before returning to your hotel.
Note: There is a significant amount of walking today, including climbing stairs and taking public transport.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

Mt Fuji Heritage Sites

This morning, travel by train to Hakone. Hakone has been a popular resting post since the Japanese warrior Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered a natural bath to be built here in 1590 enabling his battle-weary men to relax in the natural hot spring waters of this volcanic area. Set in the mountainous countryside just to the South of Mt. Fuji, Hakone offers a curious mix of different attractions. Onsen houses proliferate throughout the region providing plenty of opportunity for relaxing in the revitalising natural hot spring waters. The region is crisscrossed by a collection of ropeways, cable-cars and funicular railways which link the many small communities. On clear days the ropeways provide spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and of course, away in the distance the imperious Mt. Fuji - one of the world's most famous mountains, the most recognisable symbol of Japan there is.
Insider Experience - Unique: Today you will visit component sites of the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Site including Mt. Fuji's 5th Station, Oshino Hakkai, Shiraito Falls, and Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine. If you are lucky enough to travel between mid-April and early June you will also experience the Fuji Shibazakura Festival near Lake Motosu on the northern slope of Mount Fuji. The festival features more than 800,000 tiny pink, purple, white and blue moss phlox (shibazakura) flowers planted in swirling patterns to make a giant, fluffy flower carpet -- with Mount Fuji as the iconic backdrop. Neat pathways wind through the flower fields spreading out over more than two hectares. The highlight though is definitely the 'Panoramic Foot Bath'; you can soak your feet in a natural hot spring while gazing at one of the world's most famous mountains.
Note: There is a significant amount of walking today and if travelling during April-June expect traffic delays and possible itinerary adjustments to work around the festival.

Insider Experience - Special Stay: After checking into your traditional Japanese hotel, change into your yukata and slippers and savour a sumptuous Japanese
Note: There is a significant amount of walking today and if travelling during April-June expect traffic delays and possible itinerary adjustments to work around the festival.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hakone Yumoto Hotel

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Location View map
  • starstarstar

    Hakone Yumoto Hotel



    This hotel is surrounded by trees in Hakone Yumoto. At the hotel site are remains of the stone-paved Old Tokai Highway, providing guests with a reminder of journeys in the olden days. Let the friendly staff welcome you to this comfortable hotel

    This hotel is surrounded by trees in Hakone Yumoto. At the hotel site are remains of the stone-paved Old Tokai Highway, providing guests with a reminder of journeys in the olden days. Let the friendly staff welcome you to this comfortable hotel

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Beach
    • Golf Course
    • Hot Spring
    • Karaoke Lounge
    • Massage Facilities
    • Parking
    • Restaurant

    More Details

Day 4

Hakone to Takayama

Today you will travel by train to timeless Takayama, using a combination of bullet train and limited express train. Situated more than 2000 feet above sea lea level and surrounded by the brooding peaks of the Japan Alps, Takayama is a bustling market town. It was once the home of Japan's most skilled carpenters and artisans, and the well-preserved streets and wooden houses on the banks of the Miyagawa River pay vivid testament to this fact. The buildings now house a multitude of craft shops and specialist food stores where you'll find numerous sake breweries (open for tastings) and museums covering all manner of things from mechanical dolls to the history of the Lion dance.
Upon arrival in Takayama check into your hotel. This afternoon set out on a walking tour of some of Takayama's main attractions. As an introduction, visit the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, home to colourful floats which come out bi-annually during two of Japan's most famous festivals. You will also visit Takayama Jinya, formerly a government building and home to some wonderful insights into Japan's past. Stroll past some beautifully preserved wooden houses on Kami Sannomachi Street and a venture past some enticing sake rice wine breweries.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Best Western Hotel Takayama

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  • starstarstar

    Best Western Hotel Takayama


    Located in the heart of downtown Takayama, the Best Western Hotel Takayama offers the comfort and convenience you are looking for. We are located within walking distance from all major tourist attractions, shopping centres, and convenience stores with banking machines, post office, city hall, bus ...

    Located in the heart of downtown Takayama, the Best Western Hotel Takayama offers the comfort and convenience you are looking for. We are located within walking distance from all major tourist attractions, shopping centres, and convenience stores with banking machines, post office, city hall, bus terminal and JR Takayama Train Station. Each of the rooms are warm and welcoming.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Concierge
    • Conference Facilities
    • Currency Exchange
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Mail and Postal Facilities
    • Parking
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

    More Details

Day 5

Takayama Free Day

Today is free to wander the streets and explore. The Teramachi district to the south east of the town centre is home to some more conventional temples and shrines and makes for a lovely stroll - the pine tree lined paths are quite well marked in English. Or head farther afield to the nearby UNESCO village of Shirakawago and discover the unique gassho-zukuri buildings: farmhouses, barns and sheds with steeply pitched thatched roofs designed to withstand the heavy winter snowfall. Today the villages are a UNESCO World Heritage site as much for the surrounding natural beauty as the remaining 150 farmhouses; the only of their kind in Japan. This evening, continue your Takayama exploration, meet the friendly inhabitants and explore the local eating options.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 6

Takayama at Leisure then to Kyoto

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning, before boarding the train for Kyoto. The spiritual and cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is the setting of more than 1,600 temples and shrines, a headquarters for geisha courtesans, and the home of royal cuisine. This enigmatic city is the birthplace of some of Japan's most beautiful sites and alluring traditions: tea ceremonies, 'shodo' calligraphy, peaceful rock gardens, and an array of artistic and intellectual pursuits. The beauty of Kyoto is undeniably manifest in the temples and bamboo forests of Higashiyama, the shrine-dotted slopes of Arashiyama and in the gorgeous Ponto-Cho and Gion geisha districts.
Upon arrival in Japan's most beguiling city, travel short distance to your hotel and check in. In the late afternoon depart the hotel and explore the world of the geisha, and Kyoto's famed Gion entertainment district. Wander through the most scenic streets of two different geisha districts as your guide explains the world of the geisha. Along the way, if you're lucky, you might spot a geisha on the way to an appointment. Highlights include Hanami-koji Lane (geisha district), preserved houses, the chance of geisha sightings, Shimbashi (the most scenic street in all Kyoto), and Ponto-cho.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration4 Nights
Accommodation

Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

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Location View map
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    Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo



    Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo is a 1-minute walk from Karasuma Oike Subway Station. The hotel offers modern accommodation with a restaurant, free internet and a public bath with views of the garden. Guestrooms offer both air-conditioning and heating facilities. Each room is equipped with ...

    Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo is a 1-minute walk from Karasuma Oike Subway Station. The hotel offers modern accommodation with a restaurant, free internet and a public bath with views of the garden. Guestrooms offer both air-conditioning and heating facilities. Each room is equipped with a work desk and a flat-screen TV.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

    More Details

Day 7

Kyoto

Your discoveries of Kyoto will take in a sampling of the city's treasures, beginning with visits to Nijo Castle and the glittering Golden Temple, Kinkaku-ji. Nijo Castle was built in 1603 as a residence for the first Tokugawa shogun and is famous for squeaky wooden floors designed to betray the approach of unwelcome visitors. The Golden Temple, Kinkakuji, is one of Japan's most cherished sites. This elegant, gilded structure was built in the 14th century as a retirement villa. Continue on to Ryoanji Temple, the site of Japan's most famous rock garden. Later today you will also visit World Heritage-listed Kiyomizudera temple, nestled into the forest-clad side of Higashiyama Hill. Return to your hotel at the end of the afternoon.
Note: There is a significant amount of walking today.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

Hiroshima

This morning you will travel by bullet train to Hiroshima, infamously targeted in the world's first atomic bomb attack. After a journey of just over two hours you will arrive in this sea-side city. You will begin with a short train trip to the edge of the Seto Sea. Here, board a ferry for the ten-minute passage to Miyajima Island. This tranquil island is home to Itsukushima Shrine, partly comprised of an offshore red 'torii' gate - one of Japan's most famous and photographed sites. In ancient times access to holy Miyajima Island was through this 'floating' gate; you will arrive more conventionally, gliding into the ferry terminal. Take some free time to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this pretty island, mingle with the wild deer, and sample some Japanese snack food. Return to central Hiroshima and visit the Peace Memorial Museum, dedicated to the events of 1945 and the aim of a war-free world. A visit to this exceptional museum is a sobering, yet educational experience. You will also see the famous Peace Memorial Park and a poignant cenotaph inscribed with all the known victims of the Hiroshima bomb, and the eerie A-Bomb Dome, a tragic city-symbol, left standing in a ruinous state after more than 60 years. By the end of the day return to Kyoto.
Note: There is a significant amount of walking today and timing will depend on train availability (allow 2 hours each way).

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 9

Free Day and Geisha Dinner

Today is free to enjoy at your leisure. Whether you're a fan of Japanese gardens, traditional architecture, temples, shrines, hiking, old shops, modern Japan, cycling or some combination of all of these, your tour leader and local guide can help you put together a self-exploration itinerary to satisfy every interest.
Insider Experience - Taste: Enjoy a group dinner, a chance to farewell new friends and indulge in a very special dining experience. Kaiseki is a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colours of food. To this end, only fresh seasonal ingredients are used and are prepared in ways that aim to enhance their flavour. Finished dishes are carefully presented on plates that are chosen to enhance both the appearance and the seasonal theme of the meal. Dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished, often with real leaves and flowers, as well as edible garnishes designed to resemble natural plants and animals.
Insider Experience - Local: During your meal a Maiko/Geisha will come to your private room to perform traditional arts and to talk with you. A geisha with her elaborate kimono and ghost white make-up, is one of the most enduring images of Japan. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience a highly exclusive service that is usually only available through a personal introduction. Note that this is the best way to really experience the world of Kyoto's geisha. Interact with the geisha and pose for pictures with them, all while enjoying a fantastic traditional meal in refined surroundings. After enjoying dinner and the performance the evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 10

End of Journey

It's time to say goodbye, but just think of all the wonderful stories you will take home. A taxi transfer will take you to Kyoto Train Station where you will use your railpass for your onward travel.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2017: Dec 26

2018: Jan 22; Mar 19, 26; Apr 2, 9; May 7; Jun 4; Sep 10; Oct 1, 15; Nov 12; Dec 31

 

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 9 nights' accommodation
  • Meals as specified
  • Small group touring and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Train travel as per itinerary (a JR Pass will be provided)
  • Shared coach arrival transfer from Narita Airport to Tokyo hotel
  • Departure taxi from Kyoto hotel to Kyoto Station
  • Luggage transfer as per itinerary

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and doemstic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Departure transfer (you will use your JR Pass)
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not specifically indicated
  • Optional excursions
  • Items of a personal nature
  • 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. The above departures are guaranteed to operate with at least 1 traveller booked Single travellers are welcome to join this tour. You can choose the option of "willing to share" and share a room with another same-sex traveller or pay the single supplement for a private room.

Note: It is compulsory to have comprehensive travel insurance on this itinerary (additional charge).

TB TRAVELITOK17SG: HOJC
4 Jun 2018
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