20 January 2017
Japan is a world apart and a truly enchanting destination, as you will appreciate fully on this aptly named 15 day tour. The Japanese spirit is strong, warm and incredibly welcoming as you travel around seeing all the country's many highlights. After the recent earthquake and tsunami, Japan is now safe and once again wide open for travel. If you have been considering your first visit or returning to experience the unique magic of the country again, the perfect time to go – and to celebrate Japan and its people – is now. Japan never fails to hit the travel sweet spot and touring around the amazing Land of the Rising Sun is remarkably comfortable, even with the language barrier thrown in.
The tour begins in Tokyo, Japan’s electric capital city. After arriving at Narita Airport you will be met by your tour leader who will take you to your hotel in the city. The Asakusa View Hotel is situated in the traditional Asakusa area of Tokyo, a short walk from the historic Sensoji temple and Kaminarimon gate. It is the best hotel in this area and dinner is included this evening at a local restaurant - your first taste of Japan’s gloriously varied and tasty cuisine!
After filling up at the hotel breakfast buffet, you will be taken on a full day city tour. Begin with a stroll through Asakusa followed by a boat ride down the Sumida river to Hama-rikyu gardens, an oasis of calm and beauty. From here you take a train to Harajuku and the Meiji Shrine area and after lunch another train to Shinjuku for a short walk to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building and a 45th floor view of the city. Later either head back to the hotel or spend more time out and about enjoying the Tokyo nightlife and fantastic food.
Today you will be taking a private coach to Nikko where you will have the chance to visit the splendid Toshogu shrine complex and the other World Heritage sights including the famous “see no evil” monkeys! Accommodation tonight is at a deluxe ryokan (Japanese style inn) complete with its own hot spring baths. Dinner is a sumptuous affair and is included.
After breakfast at the hotel you will have a full day tour by private coach taking the scenic “Romantic Road” route where possible. First stop will be the national park surrounding Nikko. Take the cable car up to Akechi-daira peak for some great views of Chuzen-ji lake before moving on to the lake itself and the 97 metre high Kegon-no-taki waterfalls. You then continue to Karuizawa, a lovely spa resort and a gateway to the Japanese Alps to stay in a lovely western style hotel with breakfast and dinner included.
A full day in Karuizawa today, giving you a great chance to explore the area and do some gentle (or more strenuous if you wish) hiking or walking. You will get to see some of the volcanic landscapes and views that this region is known for. Of course, if you’d rather stay in town and enjoy some shopping or cafes, that’s fine too. Dinner will again be a gourmet treat at your hotel and don’t forget to spare time for a few dips in the restorative and relaxing hot spring baths!
treat today when the world famous Shinkansen (bullet train) whisks you on to Nagano in style and comfort. Here you have the opportunity to see the fantastic Zenko-ji temple as well as making a side trip to Yudanaka Onsen to see the cute “snow monkeys.”
From Nagano it is on by Express train to the city of Kanazawa, home to Kenrokuen which is rated as one of Japan’s top three gardens. Kanazawa also has one of Japan’s best modern art museums, a fantastic fish market filled with local delicacies and plenty of traditional architecture to boot.
A full day in Kanazawa today and the chance to visit Kenrokuen gardens, the Samurai district and the Ninja temple. Kanazawa is also a cultural and craft centre of Japan and there are opportunities to watch a traditional tea ceremony, see potters at work, watch yuzen cloth dyeing and gold lacquer making.
Kyoto is just a short direct Express train ride away and you should look out for views of Lake Biwa en-route. In Kyoto you will be staying the five star Granvia Hotel, one of the best in the city. Begin your exploration of this famous cultural capital of Japan in style with tickets included to see the famous Geisha dances and dinner at a local restaurant tonight.
A full day in Kyoto and a chance to visit some of the highlights of the city such as the Golden Pavilion and Kiyomizu temple as well as some lesser known sights. You are sure to fall in love with Kyoto as you start to get to know this famous and most cherished of Japan’s cities - the true home of Japanese history and culture.
Today is your Excursion Day – a free day for you to use your JR Rail Pass (included in the tour price) to visit a destination of your choice. The most popular include Hiroshima, Himeji Castle or Nara, an even older capital of Japan. You can, of course, decide to stay in Kyoto if you wish to explore more in the city.
Back on the Bullet Train today as you travel on to Hakone National Park near Mt. Fuji. Accommodation in Hakone is at the new Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa and this will be one of the accommodation highlights of the tour. Today will be a good opportunity to visit the Hakone Outdoor Sculpture Park, where the collection by such household names as Anthony Gormley and Henry Moore is set against a wonderful mountain backdrop. Dinner is included at a family-run restaurant.
A full day to explore Hakone. You will be able to use the included transport Free-Pass to travel around the area. You can take a short hike along what remains of the old Tokaido highway that used to be the major road linking Tokyo with Kyoto and Osaka or spend your day criss- crossing the mountains by cable-car from which you’ll be treated to amazing views of majestic Mt. Fuji. There is an assortment of museums to visit and one of Hakone’s famous “trick boxes” would make for a great souvenir.
Today you return to Tokyo for your final night of the tour, staying among the bright lights of Shinjuku. You’ll have plenty of time to go gift shopping or perhaps check out some sights you missed at the start of the tour. This evening you have an included ‘sayonnara’ dinner - a great chance to reflect on your adventures and enjoy some more fantastic cuisine.
It is that sad time today when the tour comes to an end and you have to say your goodbyes to fellow travellers as you head your separate ways. Your ticket back to the airport is included and there may be time for some more sightseeing and souvenir shopping before catching an onward flight or beginning your journey home, taking with you so many wonderful memories from the Land of the
Standard fr £3532pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated