Japan's Golden Route
Duration: 8 nights part-escorted tour
Price from: £3249pp
Tokyo 3 nights
Hakone 2 nights
Kyoto 3 nights
Day 1: Fly to Tokyo.
Day 2 Tokyo: Transfer to your hotel on arrival. The rest of the day is at leisure, so why not take a stroll and start discovering the delights of the Japanese capital.
Day 3 Tokyo: Today's guided tour utilises Tokyo's superefficient metro system, and begins with a stroll through Hama-Rikyu Teien, the former private garden of an Edo period lord. You will then see Tokyo from a different angle as you take a boat cruise along the Sumida River. Next stop is Asakusa, a part of Tokyo's old town and home to its oldest Buddhist temple, Senso-ji, as well as the city's oldest Geisha district. This afternoon, head across to Omotesando, known as Tokyo's Champs Elysees, then take time to explore Meiji Shrine, the city's most famous shrine.
Day 4 Tokyo: At leisure to sightsee independently. Perhaps visit some of the city’s world-class museums and art galleries; stroll in the paradise-like oasis of Ueno Park; take in the panoramic views from the Tokyo Skytree or head to Tsukiji Market and grab a bite to eat from the numerous sushi stalls and tiny restaurants. Alternatively, venture out of Tokyo itself to explore further afield.
Day 5 Tokyo/Hakone: Take the train to Hakone, the gateway to Mount Fuji and surrounding national park. Stay in traditional Japanese-style ryokan accommodation, complete with tatami mats, shoji rice paper sliding doors and onsen baths. This evening, relax in your yukata, or lightweight kimono, and dine on a kaiseki multi-course meal before you bed down on your futon.
Day 6 Hakone: At leisure to explore Hakone National Park using your included transport pass. You can take the Hakone Tozan switchback train that zigzags through the mountains and offers views of the surrounding valleys. Afterwards, ride the Guinness World Record-holder ropeway all the way up to Mt Owakudani. From there, you can take the ropeway for Togendai where you can board a replica pirate ship that cruises Lake Ashinoko.
Day 7 Hakone/Kyoto: A highlight today is the two hour journey by Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto. The afternoon is free to begin exploring this magnificent city, Japan’s former capital and home to no less than 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Alternatively, book a cooking class, tea ceremony or visit to a sake brewery (all additional expense).
Day 8 Kyoto: Today’s guided tour begins with a visit to a machiya, a traditional wooden townhouse, to learn about its architecture and history. Then, slip into a kimono and meet a local tea master for a traditional ceremony, steeped in spirituality and ritual. Continue the cultural explorations with an introductory course in origami, under the guidance of a local artist. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 9 Kyoto: At leisure to further explore. Alternatively, make the 45 minute train trip to Nara, using your rail pass, which is home to many temples and shrines as well as pretty Nara Park where hundreds of deer roam freely.
Day 10 Kyoto: At leisure before your transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
Accommodation: 3* hotels are used on this tour.
Meals: Breakfast. Dinner also included on days 5 & 6.
Tour prices: The price shown is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes return international flights from the UK, accommodation, PASMO Tokyo transport pass, Hakone Free Pass, standard class travel between Tokyo and Kyoto on the bullet train, one day bus and subway pass in Kyoto, English speaking local guide in Tokyo (day 3) and Kyoto (day 8) and all entrance fees and transport (days 3 and 8).