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Secrets of Japan

14 days fr £4,028pp

Tokyo • Hakone • Takayama • Kanazawa • Hiroshima • Kyoto

TOUR DETAILS
Accommodation:
  • Classic fr £4,028pp
Validity (selected dates between):
  • 01/06/2020 - 30/06/2020
Also included:
  • 12 nights BB hotel accommodation
  • 1 night Ryokan accommodation
  • 2 lunches and 2 dinners
  • 14 day rail pass
  • High-speed trains
  • Transport in AC vehicles
  • Small group touring
  • Entrance fees and English speaking tour leader
  • Luggage transport
Not included:
  • International Flights (unless otherwise stated)
Overview
Japan is a truly timeless country, a place where ancient traditions are fused with modern life as if it were the most natural thing in the world. On the surface Japan appears exceedingly modern, but travelling around offers lots of opportunities to connect with its fascinating culture. On this comprehensive 14 day tour you begin by staying in and exploring the capital city Tokyo before travelling by bullet train to Hakone. Then its on to Takayama, Osaka, Hiroshima and finally Kyoto to complete a wonderful trip.
Day 1
Arrive Tokyo
On arrival at either Tokyo Haneda or Narita Airport you will be met by one of our tour representatives who will help you with transportation into the city - either boarding the right train or finding the appropriate shuttle bus. After reaching your hotel and checking in, relax after the journey then the remainder of the day and evening is free for you to go out on your own, see some of the sights, and try the local cuisine. Overnight at the Akasaka Excel Hotel or similar..
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Day 2
Tokyo
Spend a half day taking in some of the many highlights Tokyo has to offer in the company of a local guide. Visit Meiji Jingu, Tokyo’s most famous Shinto shrine that is one of the most popular sites for a traditional Japanese wedding. Then walk to nearby Harajuku which showcases the Cosplay (costume play) subculture. Take the train to Shibuya and see the iconic pedestrian crossing in front of the train station and sample some delicious food as you wander through the Tokyu Food Hall.
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Day 3
Tokyo
Today you discover the oldest and most revered temple in Tokyo, Asakusa Temple. After visiting stroll along Kappabashi Dori to see the endless array of specialist stores take a look at what they are selling. Later visit Yanaka Cemetery, one of Tokyo’s most famous graveyards, which feels more like a park than a burial ground. Then end a busy day by wandering through Yanaka Old Town where the older buildings have been lovingly restored.
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Day 4
Tokyo to Hakone
Today you may have time to see more of the sights in Japan's capital city before catching a train to Hakone. On arrival enjoy a short boat cruise on peaceful Lake Ashi and ride the ropeway for majestic views of the country's most famous natural symbol, Mt Fuji. This evening, enjoy a delicious meal trying some of the local cuisine, before soaking in the onsen at your traditional Japanese hotel. Overnight at the Classic Hakone Pax Yoshing Hotel or similar.
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Day 5
Hakone to Takayama
Hakone is a fasinating place and there are lots of things to see and do here. You may have time to visit more of the places of interest before again travelling by train to Takayama. On arrival visit an historic, former government building, Takayama Jinya, then discover the beautifully preserved wooden houses as you wander along Kami Sannomachi Street. After an afternoon's sightseeing check in to your next hotel, the Best Western Takayama, or similar.
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Day 6
Takayama
After breakfast this morning start your day with a walking tour to see the fresh produce at Miyagawa morning market. Takayama Yatai Kaikan is home to magnifcent wooden floats which are paraded through the streets each year during the two Takayama Festivals and you can see them. This afternoon you have the option to visit Hida no Sato, where 30 traditional houses are displayed in a scenic village setting. Overnight Takayama.
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Day 7
Takayama to Osaka
See more of the sights in Takayama today before getting back on the train for the journey to the vibrant city of Osaka. Drop your bags at the hotel and relax then take a walking tour of the Dotonbori area known for it’s bright neon, famous street food and shopping. Osaka is a large port city and commercial centre and is also known for its modern architecture and nightlife. After exploring head back to your hotel, the Osaka Daiichi, or similar.
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Day 8
Osaka
Today you head to Umeda Sky Garden with its views of Osaka before taking walk through Kuromon Ichiba Market, also known as “Osaka’s Kitchen.” In the afternoon you are free to explore the city at your own pace. The 16th century shogunate Osaka Castle, which has undergone several restorations, is the city's main historic landmark. It's surrounded by a moat and park with plum, peach and cherry blossom trees. Also stop at Sumiyoshi-taisha, which is among Japan's oldest shrines.
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Day 9
Osaka to Hiroshima
Today you'll travel by train to Hiroshima, infamous as the target of an atomic bomb in 1945. Modern-day Hiroshima is a thriving, cosmopolitan town, known for its restaurants serving okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), oysters and maple-leaf-shaped pastries. You'll visit the Peace Memorial Museum, dedicated to the events of 1945, the Peace Memorial Park and the atmospheric A-Bomb Dome, which has been left in ruins as a memorial. Overnight at Mitsui Garden Hotel or similar.
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Day 10
Hiroshima
Today after breakfast you take the ferry to peaceful Miyajima Island, home to the Itsukushima Shrine. Then you can hike, if feeling energetic, or travel by ropeway to the summit of Mt Misen for spectacular views over the city and surrounding countryside. For lunch try a traditional okonomiyaki pancake before returning by ferry to the mainland. The rest of the day and evening is free for you to explore on your own and see more of the city.
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Day 11
Hiroshima to Kyoto
This morning you'll take the train to Himeji to visit the 17th-century Himeji Castle, before continuing by rail to Kyoto, Japan's spiritual and cultural capital, which is home to more than 1,000 temples and shrines, and birthplace of some of the country's most fascinating traditions, including tea ceremonies, shodo calligraphy and peaceful rock gardens. After checking in to your hotel you'll have the rest of the day at leisure to begin exploring.
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Day 12
Kyoto
Today you discover Kyoto’s highlights on a walking tour. Begin at Kiyomizudera Temple, in the hills of east Kyoto. Wander past the shophouses of Ninenzaka Street before visiting Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple, Kenninji Temple. Learn the philosophy and art of serving tea at a traditional tea ceremony and finish an action-packed day with a visit to the stunning golden pavillion at Kinkakuji, which is Kyoto’s most famous building.
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Day 13
Kyoto
Start today with a visit to the one of Kyoto’s most iconic sights, Fushimi Inari, with it’s tunnels of vermillion torii gates. After exploring here you have free time to see more of the sights in the city or take an optional afternoon excursion to the peaceful bamboo forest at Arahiyama. Then as a formal end to the tour enjoy a memorable farewell dinner where you will be entertained by a genuine Maiko or apprentice Geisha.
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Day 14
Depart Kyoto
Today your wonderful tour around this beautiful country comes to an end. Possibly time for some more sightseeing or last minute souvenir shopping before you are picked up at your hotel and driven by taxi to the station to catch a train to the airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey back home. This 14 day tour is a great way to see so much of this fascinating and mysterious country and will leave you with a wealth of good memories.
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