Explore the Land of the Rising Sun by rail
Ancient ceremonies meet 21st century technology in this astonishing country of contrasts. This fascinating tour goes a long way to interpret the mystery of Japan as we cross the country on high-speed bullet trains. Join us for 12 days as we explore the 'Land of the Rising Sun' by rail.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail travel on Shinkansen bullet trains
- Hotel accommodations for 11 nights
- 15 meals, including a welcome dinner in Tokyo, dinner of contemporary Japanese cuisine in Pontocho Alley and a farewell dinner in Osaka
- Full-day guided tour of Tokyo
- Excursions to Mount Fuji and Matsumoto Castle
- Visit to the Hida Folk Village and a tour of Takayama
- Cruise to Miyajima Island to see the Itsukushima Shrine
- Visit to the A-Bomb Dome Museum and a talk from a Hiroshima survivor or successor
- Guided tours of Hiroshima, Hakone, Osaka, Nara and Kyoto
- A traditional tea ceremony
- Deluxe motorcoach, rail, and ferry travel provided throughout tour
- Services of a professional tour manager
Day 1 – Tokyo
Meet your group and Tour Manager at the 4-Star Keio Plaza Hotel for your first night in Japan, where we enjoy a welcome dinner together this evening to celebrate the start of our adventure.
Day 2- Exploring Tokyo
Today we take a full-day tour of Tokyo by coach, discovering the sights of this incredible city. Our guided tour includes a visit to the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple and the Imperial Palace Plaza. Later we visit Nakajima no Ochaya, a tea house in the Hamarikyu Garden that dates to 1704, where there is the opportunity to sample authentic Japanese tea and traditional sweets. We visit the world famous Shibuya crossing, which is said to be the busiest intersection in the world. We also spend time at the Edo Tokyo Museum, where exhibits depict the fascinating history of Japan's capital during the peaceful Edo period. The last era of feudal rule in Japan, the Edo period spanned from 1603-1867, and is considered one of the most significant times in Japanese history.
Day 3 – To Hakone
Today, after a morning at leisure, we continue to Hakone by train, travelling in a 'Romance Car' on the picturesque narrow-gauge line. On arrival, we tour the spectacular Hakone National Park. Lying in the foothills of Mount Fuji, Hakone is a stunning area of lakes, forests and hot springs. We take a cable car to the sulphurous hot springs at Owakudani, after which we descend to Lake Ashi for a short cruise. We then transfer to our hotel for the night, and enjoy dinner together.
Day 4 - Mount Fuji and Matsumoto
This morning we travel by coach to Mount Fuji, arguably Japan's most distinctive landmark. Driving along the foot of the famous mountain, we arrive at the Mount Fuji Visitor Center to learn more about the snow-capped peak. We also stop at Oishi Park, which boasts of unparalleled views of the iconic Japanese mountains.
Day 5 - To Takayama
This morning we enjoy a visit to Matsumoto Castle, an impressive fortress completed in 1593. Built on a plain, this five-storey fortification is a celebrated National Treasure of Japan.
We travel to Takayama. Set deep in the mountains, Takayama is a fascinating town of narrow streets and wooden houses, which appear almost untouched by time. On arrival, we enjoy a walking tour of the fascinating city, taking in Kami Sannomachi Street and Jinya Old House. We continue to Takayama, where we spend the night at the Hotel Associa Takayama.
Day 6 - To Hiroshima
After a visit Miyagawa Market this morning, we enjoy a journey to nearby Hida Folk Village, an open air museum of rustic farm dwellings depicting the traditional architectural styles found in the mountains. Set on a hillside overlooking the idyllic Takayama Valley, some of the buildings in the picturesque village date back 500 years. We travel on the Hida Train to Nagoya, continuing onwards by bullet train to Hiroshima. Having seen devastation in World War II, Hiroshima is now a symbol of peace.
Day 7 - Miyajima Island
Today we travel by tram and boat to Miyajima Island, where we leave modern life behind in the tranquility of the wooded island. During our time on the island we enjoy a walking tour, which includes a visit to the beautiful Itsukushima Shrine. Your afternoon is free in Hiroshima.
Days 8-9 - Hiroshima to Kyoto
This morning we visit the World Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome Museum, both poignant reminders of the destruction levied here in 1945. We also listen to a talk from a Hiroshima survivor or successor. Later we travel to Kyoto which was the Japanese capital for more than a thousand years and is a living museum of the country's artistic heritage. Afterwards, we take a walking tour of the Gion. Later we enjoy a dinner in Pontocho Alley, a lantern-lit street lined with traditional wooden buildings. Famed for its archaic atmosphere, this traffic-free alleyway is one of the few places in modern Japan where you may catch a glimpse of a real-life Geisha.
A morning of sightseeing on Day 9 takes us to the Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle and the Kiyomizu Temple. In the afternoon we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony in a thatched farmhouse set amongst formal gardens.
Day 10 - Historic Nara
We visit Nara today, another former capital and a short train ride away from Kyoto. Nara is an attractive, compact city of narrow streets set against a backdrop of wooded hills. Here we enjoy a walking tour, taking in the beautiful Todai-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world and its Great Buddha, Kasuga Shrine and the Deer Park.
Day 11 – Osaka
We travel by coach to Osaka today, a futuristic city, which we are introduced to on a guided tour. We visit the observatory in the iconic Umeda Sky Building, where we enjoy panoramic views over Osaka and its castle, ahead of a farewell dinner tonight.
Day 12 – Homeward Bound
After breakfast this morning, your exciting journey through Japan comes to a close.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Keio Plaza Hotel
The 4-Star Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo is located close to Shinjuku railroad station and is ideally placed for exploring the city. The hotel has a wide range of restaurants serving Japanese, Chinese, Korean and European cuisine, as well as a coffee shop, cocktail and tea lounge, and two bars including the Sky Bar, which offers magnificent views over Tokyo from the 45th floor. There is a drugstore, boutiques, beauty salon (payable locally) and guests have complimentary use of the hotel's outdoor pool (seasonal) and gym. The contemporary western-style rooms are equipped with air conditioning, television, tea and coffee making facilities, minibar, hairdryer and a safe and most offer excellent views over the city.
Also known as the Fujiya Hotel Lake View Annex, the 4-Star Hakone Hotel in Hakone enjoys a superb location on the shores of Lake Ashi and offers fantastic views of Mount Fuji. The hotel has two restaurants: a Teppenyaki restaurant and Il Miraggio, which offers French cuisine. there is also a lakeview lounge and a bar, as well as gardens on the lake shore, a souvenir shop and a hot spring bath. The air-conditioned rooms come with a telephone, television, internet connection, hot water jugs, a Japanese tea set, fridge and a hairdryer.
Hotel Buena Vista
Set in the heart of Matsumoto, the 4-Star Hotel Buena Vista boasts a broad range of eateries, featuring Japanese, Chinese and French cuisine, plus a cafe, bar and a bakery. Rooms come equipped with a telephone, television and other facilities typical of a Japanese hotel of this standard.
Hotel Associa Takayama
The 4-Star Hotel Associa Takayama is our base whilst in Takayama. Located at the edge of a beautiful and verdant forest, this hotel boasts of some fantastic amenities, including a restaurant, serving a plethora of delectable Japanese food, a lounge, and a bar, perfect for relaxing in after a long day of exploration. Other leisure facilities include a tennis court (payable locally) and a karaoke room. All of the guest rooms have spectacular views of the surrounding area and come well equipped with an en-suite bathroom, a sitting area, tea & coffee-making facilities and a television.
Hotel Granvia Hiroshima
The lovely Hotel Granvia Hiroshima is our hotel whilst in Hiroshima. This hotel is located close to JR Hiroshima Train Station and is a perfect base from which to conduct our explorations whilst here. In the hotel, there is a sky restaurant on the 21st floor, which offers wonderful views across the city. There is also a steak house, Japanese and Chinese restaurants, a lobby lounge, and a karaoke bar. The well-appointed rooms contain fantastic amenities, such as a television, air-conditioning, a minibar, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Kyoto Tokyu Hotel
Our hotel in Kyoto is the 3-Star Kyoto Tokyu Hotel. Located within walking distance of many of the beautiful Buddhist temples that dot the city. The rooms are minimalist yet comfortable, and come well equipped with tea making facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary toiletries. The hotel itself boasts amenities such as a gym, a spa, a beauty salon, and a currency exchange machine.
Sheraton Miyako Hotel
The 4-Star Sheraton Miyako Hotel is our hotel whilst in Osaka. Located right next to some excellent public transport links, taking us all over this incredible city, this is a wonderful base from which to explore. Decorated in elegant and neutral colors, this hotel is a fascinating mixture of traditional and modern. The rooms are comfortable, and come with a television, a minibar, tea making facilities, air-conditioning, and an en-suite bathroom. The four restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, and there is also a bar and a café. As well as dining, there is also a health club on site, and a flower shop and beauty salon.
Shinkansen refers to the dedicated high-speed Japanese rail network that provides a link to most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. The name 'Shinkansen' is also used to refer to the trains that run on the network - which are perhaps better known as 'Bullet Trains'. Renowned for their punctuality, comfort and safety, the trains are frequent and fast, regularly running at speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h). The trains offer comfortable reclining seats and large windows and there are usually refreshment trolleys selling snacks and beverages.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|3rd March 2020||$4,125||Book Now|
|12th March 2020||$4,435||Book Now|
|24th March 2020||$4,635||Book Now|
|26th March 2020||$4,575||Book Now|
|2nd April 2020||$4,675||Book Now|
|9th April 2020||$4,695||Book Now|
|16th April 2020||$4,515||Book Now|
|23rd April 2020||$4,465||Book Now|
|28th May 2020||$4,335||Book Now|
|17th September 2020||$4,525||Book Now|
|1st October 2020||$4,425||Book Now|
|22nd October 2020||$4,425||Book Now|
|29th October 2020||$4,315||Book Now|
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: Departs 3rd March 2020 ($4,125), 12th March 2020 ($4,435), 24th March 2020 ($4,635), 26th March 2020 ($4,575), 2nd April 2020 ($4,675), 9th April 2020 ($4,695), 16th April 2020 ($4,515), 23rd April 2020 ($4,465), 28th May 2020 ($4,335), 17th September 2020 ($4,525), 1st October 2020 ($4,425), 22nd October 2020 ($4,425), 29th October 2020 ($4,315)
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For this tour, we recommend arriving into Tokyo Haneda Airport or Narita Airport, which are approximately 6/42 miles from your first hotel. Our recommended departure airport is the Osaka Airport, which is approximately 31 miles from your final hotel.