08444 937 531
Tokyo 3 nights
Hakone 1 night
Takayama 1 nights
Shirakawago 1 nights
Kanazawa 2 nights
Hiroshima 2 nights
Kyoto 3 nights
Day 1: Fly to Tokyo.
Day 2 Tokyo: Transfer to your hotel on arrival. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 3 Tokyo: Today’s guided tour by Tokyo’s super-efficient metro system begins with Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine, a popular venue for weddings so, if you are lucky, you may see a bride and groom in their traditional Shinto wedding attire. Continue into new Tokyo with a walk along Omotesando, a broad tree-lined avenue with a multitude of flagship stores. Travel by subway to Asakusa, part of Tokyo’s old town, and home to its oldest Buddhist temple, Sensoji, as well as Tokyo’s oldest Geisha district.
Day 4 Tokyo: Today is at leisure to explore independently, perhaps visit some of the city’s world-class museums and art galleries, the electronics district of Akihabara or see the world-famous Tsukji Fish Market. Alternatively, venture out of Tokyo and explore Kamakura.
Day 5 Tokyo/Hakone: Travel independently to Hakone, the gateway to Mount Fuji and surrounding national park. Perhaps ride the cable car up Mount Owakudani; board a replica pirate ship which will sweep you across Lake Ashinoko; or take the Hakone Tozan ‘switchback train’ through the mountains. Overnight in traditional Ryokan accommodation, complete with tatami mats, shoji rice paper sliding doors and onsen baths.
Day 6 Hakone/Takayama: Today’s journey begins on the Shinkansen bullet train before you change onto the Limited Express Hida Wideview for a scenic journey through tall mountains and stunning gorges to Takayama. Nestled high in the Hida alpine region, this beautifully preserved old town was cut off from the rest of Japan, allowing it to develop its own unique culture.
Day 7 Takayama/Shirakawago: Today’s self-guided tour begins with a visit to the Miyagawa morning market before continuing to the Takayama Festival Floats Museum. In the afternoon travel by bus to Shirakawago which lines the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that stretch from Gifu all the way to Toyama Prefecture. The area is renowned for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tonight you will stay in one of these farmhouses to experience a traditional Japanese family home.
Day 8 Shirakawago/Kanazawa: Rise early and travel by bus to Kanazawa, a beautifully preserved castle town and now a thriving centre for culture and arts. On arrival you are free to explore independently. Perhaps take the Kanazawa Sightseeing Bus to visit some of the major highlights including Kenroku Garden and Kanzawa Castle.
Day 9 Kanazawa: At leisure for you to explore more of this amazing city. We suggest starting with Nagamachi, the old samurai district of Kanazawa, and perhaps visit the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. The city is also home to many interesting temples as well as a bustling seafood market.
Day 10 Kanazawa/Hiroshima: Travel by train to Hiroshima, famous as the first target of an atomic bomb. Hiroshima has risen phoenix-like from the ashes and has rebuilt itself as one of Japan’s most laid back, vibrant cities, full of wide boulevards and art museums, great food and friendly, welcoming people. Be sure to visit the Peace Park and Museum for a sobering reminder of the events of 1945; far from being a depressing experience, the overriding theme is one of hope and peace.
Day 11 Hiroshima: Travel by ferry to Miyajima Island where you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan, The Floating Torii Gate, which dates back to the 6th century.
Day 12 Hiroshima/Kyoto: Board the Shinkansen for the journey to Kyoto. On arrival the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 13 Kyoto: Join a local guide and explore some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites using the city’s comprehensive bus system. Start your day with a visit to Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle which was completed in 1603 and is surrounded by stunning gardens. Continue on to Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion and then the Daitoku-ji Zen temple complex. This afternoon visit Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple for amazing views of the whole of Kyoto before a stroll through the atmospheric Higashiyama district.
Day 14 Kyoto/Nara/Kyoto: This morning visit a Machiya, a beautifully restored wooden town house typical of Kyoto, before an induction to the Tea Ceremony, a quintessential part of Japanese culture and then walk through the old neighbourhood to visit a nearby Sake brewery. In the afternoon you have the option to take the short journey by train to Nara (additional expense) where we recommend you visit the Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha. Alternatively, continue to explore Kyoto.
Day 15 Kyoto: Time for last minute sightseeing or shopping before your tour concludes with a transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
13 nights part-escorted tour from £3979pp
08444 937 531