Discover the wonders of Japan. Start in the buzzing capital city, Tokyo, with its Imperial Palace, famous shopping districts and immense cityscape. Visit spectacular Mount Fuji and the volcanic hot springs in Hakone, before heading to historic Takayama. Step back to the time of the samurai in the castle town of Kanazawa. Visit the old Geisha district and tour a sake brewery, before wandering the streets of Japan's former imperial capital Kyoto, with its prominent castle, Kiyomizu Temple and ornamental gardens.

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Why We Love It

Chance to visit UNESCO World Heritage listed Kyoto, Japan’s former imperial capital and an important cultural centre.

Step back in time and walk the narrow streets admiring the traditional wooden Japanese homes in Takayama.

In the Tokyo suburb of Harajuku experience the weird and wonderful local youth culture.

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Day by day Itinerary

Handpicked Japan

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Day 1

Tokyo

You will meet your guide on arrival and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2

Tokyo

Today you’ll tour the mega metropolis of Tokyo visiting the Imperial Palace, the famous shopping districts of Ginza and Shibuya and the electronics mecca of Akihabara. Later, you’ll visit Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park in the kitsch haven of Harajuku. It’s here in Harajuku where you’ll experience the weird and wonderful local youth culture. Expect to see teenagers dressed in extreme Japanese youth fashions. In the late afternoon you’ll visit the luxurious Shinjuku, walk to Omotesando and finish the day in Asakusa Old Town to visit the Sensoji temple. Those keen on visiting the outstanding Tsukiji Fish Market will need to book pre accommodation on the Friday night before the trip starts. The Tsukiji Fish Market tour is an optional cost and will be done between 3am-8am on Friday morning. The Tsukiji Fish Market is closed on Wednesdays, Sundays and on public holidays. 

Day 3

Nikko

Scattered among hilly woodlands, Nikkō with its World Heritage Site temples and shrines are an awesome display of wealth and power. Today you’ll visit the Tamozawa Imperial Villa, a summer house of the Imperial Family before WW2, the Toshu-gu Shrine, a resting place of a Tokugawa shogun, the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the warlord who controlled all of Japan. Return to Tokyo in the late afternoon. (B)

Day 4

Mount Fuji

Board a bullet train and travel to the iconic snow-capped Mount Fuji. Of all Japan's iconic images, Mt Fuji (3776m) is the real deal. Check into your hotel in Hakone and take a bath in an outdoor onsen (hot spring bath) which will rate as one of your trip highlights. Enjoy a stay in traditional ryokan accommodation and sleep on a futon. In the evening, relax in your yukata, or lightweight kimono, and dine on a sumptuous kaiseki multi-course meal. (B, D)

Day 5

Mount Fuji

Today, you’ll take a cable car up Mt Owakudani for views of Mt Fuji, enjoy a boat ride on Lake Ashino-ko, and a walk along the Old Tokaido Highway. You will also have the opportunity to eat one of Hakone’s specialties, the kuro-tamago, an egg hard boiled in the sulfuric hot springs.  They say that if you do, it will add seven years to your life! (B)

Day 6

Takayama

Travel on the world-famous shinkansen bullet train to the charming mountain town of Takayama. With your guide, step back in time and walk the narrow streets admiring the well preserved seventeenth century merchant houses and traditional wooden Japanese homes, passing shrines and sake stalls. In the late afternoon you’ll visit of the town’s many sake breweries for a taste of the local drop, its high quality due to the area’s clean water sources. (B).

Day 7

Takayama

This morning you’ll visit the Miyagawa Morning Market where locals come to sell crafts and produce and visit Shirakawago.  This town is famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. For dinner, dine on Takayama’s famous cuisine, including miso and Hida beef, which is said to be the second best in Japan after the world-famous Kobe beef. (B,D).

Day 8

Kanazawa

Travel on to Kanazawa, which was a notorious castle town and headquarters to many samurai nobles between the 16th and 17th centuries. Today the town is famous for Kenrokuen, the amazing Japanese gardens that were opened to the public in 1875. Observe the formal and traditional tea ceremony surrounded by the ornamental Japanese gardens. (B).

Day 9

Hiroshima

Watch the monks pray in the morning before travelling to Hiroshima. Hiroshima is a historically significant city, marked with the explosion of the first atomic bomb in 1945. Upon arrival, take a ferry ride over to the sacred island of Miyajima to see the famous floating Torii gate. (B)

Day 10

Hiroshima

Walk through the Peace Park in the centre of Hiroshima, a living memorial dedicated to the tens of thousands who died from the atomic bomb blast in 1945. Visit the statue of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who died of leukemia as a result of the bomb blast, despite folding 1,000 origami paper cranes to appeal to the gods to make her well. See the frame of the Gembaku Dome, the sole building to withstand the explosion. (B)

Day 11

Kyoto

Continue on to Kyoto, the former imperial capital and home of the country's most treasured remnants of Japanese imperial life. Once in Kyoto there is just so much to do - this ancient city boasts over 2,000 temples, shrines and gardens! The magnificent gold-plated Kinkaku-ji Temple should not be missed, nor should the chance to join in a Tea Ceremony class. (B)

Day 12

Kyoto

Today you’ll visit the Nijo Castle, the Zen gardens of Ryoan-ji and the Silver Pavilion. Later, take a leisurely stroll down the lovely Philosopher’s path to Nanzen-ji, and walk around Gion to catch a glimpse of a Geisha going from teahouse to teahouse. This afternoon you will learn how to cook traditional kappo style. Kappo literally means to cut up and cook by fire, and comes from the traditional Japanese cooking methods of cutting, boiling, stewing, and frying. (B, D)

Day 13

Kyoto

Transfer to the airport and fly out of Kyoto. If you wish to book post accommodation in the lovely Kyoto you can do at the time of booking. (B)

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