Splendors of Japan with Hiroshima
Japan reveals its many personalities, as you experience the bright lights and buzz of Tokyo, rural life in Takayama and Kanazawa, tradition and modernity in Kyoto, and the perfect beauty of Mt. Fuji.
Japan is like no other place on Earth. Snowcapped mountains loom above dense green forests. Whimsical, stylized Japanese gardens and temples are a sensory delight. Japan’s stubbornly singular culture has influenced Westerners for centuries, from the Impressionists to 21st century television. There is an intoxicating element of the exotic in Japan, but the hospitality of the people and the comforts of the culture will put you at ease. On this 13-day tour, you’ll travel to cities like vibrant, futuristic Tokyo, laid-back Osaka, Hiroshima, thriving against all odds, ancient and colorful Kyoto, and charming Kanazawa and Takayama. Along the way, find tranquility in Japanese gardens and sample fresh sushi. Follow in the footsteps of the artists, philosophers, and wandering spirits who have come here to find inspiration, and see what Japan will awaken in you.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail travel on Japan's Bullet Train
- Hotel accommodations for 12 nights
- 23 meals
- City tours of Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima
- Tour of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Visit the Gardens of Kenrokuen
- View Mt. Fuji
- Edo Tokyo Museum
- Sensoji Temple
- Mt. Fuji 5th Station
- Kinkakuji Temple
- Sanjusangen-do Hall
- Fushimi Inari Shrine
- The Water Temple
- Services of a professional tour manager
Day 1 - Arrive in Tokyo
Welcome to Japan. Upon arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda International Airport, transfer by airport shuttle service to your centrally located hotel. This evening join your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetizers. (D)
Day 2 - Tokyo Sightseeing
This morning your City Tour begins with a stop in Asakusa and visit the Sensoji Buddhist temple. It is one of Tokyo's most colorful and popular temples and has been rebuilt countless times since it was founded in 628, making it Tokyo's oldest temple site. Visit Nakamise, a shopping street over 200 meters long that stretches from the outer gate to the temple's second interior gate. Visit the Tokyo Skytree, the world's highest free-standing broadcasting tower. Later choose to either return to the hotel at leisure or take part in an Optional Experience. (B)
Day 3 - Tokyo & Lake Yamanakako
Start the day by heading to the Imperial Palace Plaza, a large park area in the centre of Tokyo from where the two bridges that form the entrance to the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace can be viewed. It is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan and built on the former site of Edo Castle. Take a stroll around the Imperial Palace East Gardens before continuing your City Tour with a visit to the Edo-Tokyo Museum. This fascinating museum displays artifacts and architecture that tell a tale of Tokyo's history and culture during the Edo period. Next head to the famous Ginza district for a hands-on cooking class. Learn how to make sushi with a Local Specialist and afterwards enjoy your sushi creations for lunch. Then depart Tokyo for the Five Lakes District, dominated by majestic UNESCO listed Mt. Fuji. At 3,776 metres it is Japan's highest mountain and most recognisable icon. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - Lake Yamanakako, Mt. Fuji & Takayama
After breakfast visit Oshino Hakkai, a small rural village in the Fuji Five Lakes district; a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. Oshino Village boasts a beautiful park with 8 natural spring water ponds that are fed by melted snow from Mt. Fuji. The reflections of the sky and landscapes on the clear and pure water provide picturesque scenes which make stunning photographs. Then ascend Mt. Fuji by road to 2,300 metres at the 5th station before taking a ride on the Kachikachiyama Ropeway, (both weather permitting) a cable car ride offering spectacular views on a clear day of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko. Later travel through the breath-taking Japanese Alps to the beautiful hillside town of Takayama before enjoying dinner at the hotel. (B, D)
Day 5 - Takayama, Gokayama
Immerse yourself in tradition as you walk through the Edo-style streets of Takayama's Old Town. Indulge a lunch of Japanese Hida-gyu - beef from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed, renowned as one of the finest quality varieties of beef. Journey back in time this afternoon during a visit to the peaceful UNESCO-listed Gokayama, a mountain village set amidst five valleys. Admire the unique construction of the local Gassho-zukuri wooden houses that have been built without the use of nails with steeply sloped thatched roofs to prevent snow from building up on them. Next, meet a local family in one of these houses, then 'Dive into Culture' observing local artisans making washi paper and trying your hand at making your own. 'Make a Difference' to the sustainability of this small business during your visit. Stay overnight in Kanazawa. (B, L)
Day 6 - Kanazawa
This morning discover the secrets of gold leaf painting during a visit with a Local Specialist. The production of gold leaf started at the end of the 16th century and now 99% of Japan's high quality gold leaf is produced in the area. Next visit the gardens of Kenrokuen, rated as one of the top three most beautiful gardens in Japan and a great place to see Cherry Blossom in the springtime. Take your time to relax and explore the ornate landscapes, temples and ponds. Afterwards take a short walk through the Omicho market to see the local fish catch and enjoy an insiders view of everyday life in a busy coastal town. Later visit the Nagamachi District with its old and beautifully preserved samurai houses. Visit the Nomura house, an elegant samurai mansion with beautiful small gardens belonging to a high-ranked samurai family. (B)
Day 7 - Kyoto
This morning leave Kanazawa for Kyoto by Express train. On arrival enjoy a special Be My Guest lunch at a traditional ryokan nestled in the peace and quiet of Mt. Yoshida. The ryokan was built in 1932 by master craftsmen to serve as the second residence of the uncle of the current Japanese Emperor, Akihito. Learn more about local Japanese customs as your hosts welcome you into their beautiful home. Enjoy the pleasures of a truly flavourful and unique dining experience of Kaiseki cuisine, crafted from the very freshest of seasonal delicacies. After lunch visit Kinkakuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its Golden Pavilion. The Kinkakuji history dates back to 1397, when the villa was purchased by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son. Later check in to your hotel for a relaxing evening. (B, L)
Day 8 - Kyoto Sightseeing
This morning visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine and see the tunnel of thousands of bright orange torii gates that snake through the forest up into the mountains. Then head to the Sanjusangen-do Hall, a temple famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy and afterwards enjoy a walking tour of the Gion area. Choose to remain in Gion to explore further or return to the hotel. This evening join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Farewell Dinner at the Ninja Kyoto restaurant. Venture into the mysterious labyrinth and secret fortress of the Ninjas, the traditional Japanese heroes and enjoy the creative Ninja-style food, a perfect ending to your holiday in Japan. (B, D)
Day 9 - Kotohira
This morning leave Japan's main island Honshu behind as you cross the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the world's longest suspension bridge, over the Seto Inland Sea to Awaji Island. Later have some free time for lunch and take a walk around Yumebutai, a complex of buildings built on the side of the mountain. One of the most striking features in the complex is the '100 Stepped Garden' - a group of 100 flower beds in small square gardens on an incline and arranged in grids spread over several levels. Visit the Water Temple, designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando to be a sensory experience. The mountains, sky, rice paddies and bamboo groves are reflected in the stillness of the water, which has a meditative effect as you descend the steps to the Buddhist Temple below the water. Continue to the small mountain hot springs village of Kotohira for your overnight stay in your Authentic Accommodation, a Japanese ryokan. Before dinner, if you wish, climb the steps adjacent to the hotel to visit Kotohira-gu Shrine and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. This evening perhaps have a relaxing soak in the hot spring (onsen) bath at the hotel. (B, D)
Day 10 - Kotohira & Hiroshima
This morning visit the Zentsuji Temple, birthplace of one of the most revered figures of Japanese Buddhism, the high priest Kobo Daishi. It is the 75th temple on the 88 temple Shikoku Pilgrimage, which covers approximately 1,200 kilometers and was traditionally done on foot taking up to 60 days to complete. It is still done by many people today although modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles or motorcycles. Continue to Omishima Island and make a stop at a local restaurant for lunch. Drive to Hiroshima via the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido Expressway, a 60-kilometer highway that links the islands of the Seto Inland Sea with nine individual bridges. Check into your hotel for a relaxing evening. (B, L)
Day 11 - Hiroshima Sightseeing
This morning catch a ferry over to Miyajima Island, otherwise known as Itsukushima, or Divine Island. On arrival visit the Itsukushima Shrine and admire the elaborate torii gate rising majestically out of the sea. Have some free time for lunch, strolling around and browsing in the small shops of this peaceful island. This afternoon return to Hiroshima and visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. See the UNESCO listed Peace Memorial, the only structure left standing in the area when the first atomic bomb exploded in 1945. Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, this ruin has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing as an expression of hope for world peace. This evening experience the famous Hiroshima style okonomiyaki. Okonamiyaki is similar to a savory pancake and is made with egg, cabbage, soba noodles, and meat, seafood or cheese and grilled in layers on a hot plate in front of you. (B, D)
Day 12 - Hiroshima to Osaka
Take the high speed bullet train to Osaka. On arrival have some free time for lunch and shopping in the Dotonbori Street area. Then stop for a visit to Osaka Castle; one of Japan's most famous landmark's which played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. Later check-in at your hotel and this evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
Day 13 - Depart Osaka
Transfer by airport shuttle service to Kansai International Airport, or Osaka Itami Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|12th May 2019||$6,795||Book Now|
|19th May 2019||$6,575||Book Now|
|7th July 2019||$6,295||Book Now|
|21st July 2019||$6,575||Book Now|
|8th September 2019||$6,625||Book Now|
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: Departs 12th May 2019 ($6,795), 19th May 2019 ($6,575), 7th July 2019 ($6,295), 21st July 2019 ($6,575), 8th September 2019 ($6,625)
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*Additional departure dates are available. Please contact a rail specialist for details.