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Splendours of Japan

13 days fr £3,052pp

Tokyo • Omiya Bonsai Village • Kanazawa • Kyoto • Okayama • Osaka

TOUR DETAILS
Accommodation:
  • Standard fr £3,052pp
Validity (selected dates between):
  • 01/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
Also included:
  • 12 nights BB hotel accommodation
  • 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • 7 day rail pass
  • Transport in AC vehicles
  • Entrance fees and English speaking tour leader
  • Luggage transport
Not included:
  • International Flights (unless otherwise stated)
  • International Airfares and Visas
Overview
Japan is a country where ancient traditions are fused with modern life as if it were the most natural thing in the world. On the surface it appears very modern, but travelling around you will have lots of opportunities to connect with its fascinating culture. On this comprehensive 13 day tour you begin by staying in and exploring the capital city Tokyo before travelling by bullet train to Kanazawa, Kyoto, Okayama and Osaka.
Day 1
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. Tonight there is a tour briefing at your hotel, the Villa Fontaine Shiodome, or similar.
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Day 2
Tokyo
Using Tokyo’s efficient public transportation, spend today discovering the city’s highlights. Visit one of Tokyo’s liveliest districts, Asakusa and visit the colourful Sensoji Temple. Then board a boat to cruise on the Sumida River past the headquarters of some famous Japanese companies. Later stroll through Hamarikyu Garden and sample matcha (green tea) accompanied by a tasty Japanese sweet in the Floating Garden Pavilion.
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Day 3
Tokyo – Omiya Bonsai Village
This morning take a short train ride to Omiya Bonsai Village, which is home to multiple bonsai nurseries and gardens. Here you learn the art of bonsai and can see 1,000-year-old bonsai trees at the Bonsai Art Museum. Dedicated to the Shinto god of the sea and storms, visit Hikawa Shrine rumoured to be more than 2,000 years old. Then return to visit Tokyo’s most famous Shinto shrine, Meiji Jingu before wandering the tree-lined avenue of Omotesando.
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Day 4
Tokyo to Kanazawa
Today you leave Japan's capital city and travel by train to Kanazawa enjoying a bento box lunch during the journey. On arrival at Kanazawa you see Tersahima Kurando House, which was the home of a middle-rank samurai during the Edo period. Stroll through Kenrokuen Garden, the most famous landscaped garden in the city, and stop at DT Suzuki Museum with its buildings and gardens based on Zen philosophy. Overnight at the Kanazawa Manten Hotel, or similar.
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Day 5
Kanazawa
Enjoy a day at leisure to further explore Kanazawa. Or, choose to join a day tour to Shirakawago with its unique ‘gassho’ style buildings, and Takayama’s quiet streets and old-world ambience. Kanazawa is a small city where you can discover all kinds of Japanese traditional culture, food and arts. Places well worth a visit include the modern railway station, the Castle Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Higashi Chayagai, for performing arts, the Omicho market and the Myouryuji temple.
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Day 6
Kanazawa to Kyoto
Today there may be time to see more of the many interesting sights in Kanazawa before you leave the city taking the train to your next destination, Kyoto. You arrive there in the afternoon, and your first visit is to the mountain complex of Fushimi Inari Shrine. Have your camera ready as you walk through the thousands of vermilion coloured torii which line miles of mountain paths. The rest of the evening is free for you to explore on your own. Overnight at Hotel Centnovum Kyoto, or similar.
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Day 7
Kyoto
Today you can discover Kyoto’s highlights on a walking tour. Begin at the city's oldest Zen temple, Kenninji Temple, then continue on to Yasaka Shrine, one of the most famous in Kyoto. Later take part in a traditional tea ceremony and learn about the philosophy and art of serving the perfect cuppa. Then go for a stroll past the shophouses Ninenzaka before visiting Kodaiji Temple with its lavish buildings and beautiful gardens.
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Day 8
Kyoto
This morning after breakfast at your hotel you visit Kyoto’s lesser known temples and Zen gardens at the Daitokuji Temple complex. Stop at atmospheric Kyoto-in known for its maple trees, Ryogen-in with the world’s smallest Zen garden and Zuiho-in with its dry landscapes. In the afternoon and evening you have free time to explore on your own. Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is famous for its many classical Buddhist temples, gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses.
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Day 9
Kyoto to Okayama
Maybe time for some more sightseeing this morning, possibly visiting Gion district famous for its geisha, before taking the train to Okayama. Here you visit Korakuen, one of the country's best landscaped gardens, featuring streams, paths and spacious lawns which are a unique feature. Located across the river from the gardens, continue to the six storey Okayama Castle or ‘Crow Castle’ because of its black exterior. The rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at the Mitsui Garden Hotel, or similar.
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Day 10
Okayama
Today you visit Kurashiki, a preserved canal town. Enjoy strolling along the historic tree-lined streets or spend some time in the many art museums. You may choose to take an optional boat ride along the canals before returning to Okayama for an evening at leisure. The Hayashibara Museum of Art in Okayama has lots of East Asian art and artifacts and in the west of the city is the 15th century Kibitsu-jinja Shrine, which features a long covered walkway.
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Day 11
Okayama to Osaka
Today you leave Okayama and travel by train to Osaka, a large port city and commercial centre, and enjoy free time on arrival. In the afternoon, visit Osaka Castle to learn about its turbulent history. Then board the Aqualiner and cruise along the Okawa River to see the city from a unique perspective. Osaka is know for its buzzing nightlife and tonight you can go out and see it for yourself. Overnight at the Cross Hotel Osaka, or similar.
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Day 12
Osaka
Today is free for you to discover lots of the delights of Osaka. Visit the fascinating Osaka Museum of Housing and Living or perhaps see the city from above at the towering Umeda Sky Building. Osaka is also known for its modern architecture and hearty street food and the 16th century shogunate castle, which has undergone several restorations, is its main historical landmark. Tonight enjoy a farewell group dinner at a restaurant in the Dotonbori Area.
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Day 13
Osaka
Today your superb Splendours of Japan tour comes to an end. Possibly time for some more sightseeing or last minute shopping for souvenirs before heading to the railway station or to Kansai International Airport to continue you exploration of this fascinating country or to begin your journey back home. You will experience so much on this comprehensive tour around Honshu Island and you will be left with lots amazing memories.
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