30 September 2016
This 10-day tour starts out among the skyscrapers and ancient temples of Tokyo, before heading to Hakone, Takayama, Hiroshima and Kyoto. Along the way you'll visit stunning temples and gardens, take in beautiful landscapes and enjoy unique experiences, including sake tastings, a night on a futon in a traditional Japanese hotel and dinner with a geisha.
Your tour begins as you arrive at Narita Airport and transfer to your hotel. Tonight you'll meet your fellow travellers and guide for welcome drinks and a tour briefing.
After breakfast this morning you'll take a tour of Japan's capital. You'll first stop at the serene Meiji Jingu shrine to admire the Tori gates made from 1500 year old Cypress trees. From here you will visit the Imperial Palace, still home to the Japanese royal family. The day will continue by train to Asakusa for explorations of the Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street.
This morning you'll take in the spectacular views of the city and Mount Fuji from Tokyo Tower. You'll then have some free time at your hotel before your short train journey to Hakone. Set in the mountainous countryside south of Mount Fuji, Hakone is famed for its onsen houses, where you can relax in the natural hot spring waters. The region is crisscrossed by ropeways, cable cars and funicular railways, from which you can enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. You'll start your explorations with visits to Mt Fuji's World Heritage sites. Later after checking into your traditional Japanese hotel, you'll change into a yukata and slippers and savour a sumptuous dinner. You'll be able to enjoy the onsite onsen and tonight you'll sleep in a tatami-floored room, on a futon mattress.
This morning you'll travel by bullet train and limited express train to Takayama, a bustling market town surrounded by the Japan Alps. Here you'll be able to browse the craft shops and specialist food stores and enjoy a tasting at a sake brewery.
Today is a free day to continue exploring Takayama or perhaps venturing further afield to the UNESCO village of Shirakawago with its famous thatched roofs and beautiful surrounds.
This morning you'll board your train for Kyoto, home to more than 1,000 temples and the birthplace of tea ceremonies and shodo calligraphy. We'll start our exploration of this fascinating city with an afternoon tour.
This morning you'll visit the 17th-century Nijo Castle and the nearby Golden Temple, as well as the World Heritage-listed Kiyomizudera temple and the tranquil Heian Shrine. In the afternoon you will walk to the Gion geisha district, before returning to your hotel by train in the late afternoon. You'll have the evening at leisure.
This morning you will travel by bullet train to Hiroshima, infamous as the target of the world's first atomic bomb attack. Here you'll board a ferry for the 10-minute passage to Miyajima Island, home to Itsukushima Shrine, whose offshore red torii gate is one of Japan's most famous and photographed sites. You'll have some free time to explore this pretty island before returning to central Hiroshima and visiting the Peace Memorial Museum and Peace Memorial Park. You'll return to Kyoto in the late afternoon, and have the evening at leisure.
You have the full day at leisure today. You may like to ask your tour leader to help you put together an itinerary for exploring the city, or perhaps use your rail pass to travel to Nara, Japan's first permanent capital and home to some spectacular historic sites. This evening you'll enjoy a group kaiseki dinner, a traditional Japanese dining experience of beautifully arranged and garnished dishes, during which a maiko or geisha will perform traditional arts and talk with you.
Your adventure comes to an end today as you transfer by taxi to the train station, where you will use your rail pass for your onward travel.
Standard Rate fr £2739pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated