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Essential Japan Self Guided Tour

9 days fr £1,431pp

Tokyo • Hakone • Kyoto

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020·7962·9933
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TOUR DETAILS
Accommodation:
  • Standard fr £1,431pp
  • Superior fr £1,709pp
Validity (selected dates between):
  • 01/07/2019 - 31/12/2019
Also included:
  • 6 nights accommodation on BB basis
  • 2 nights accommodation on HB basis
  • Airport transfers with meet & greet
  • PASMO passes in Tokyo & Kyoto
  • Hakone Pass
  • Train tickets as specified
Not included:
  • International Flights (unless otherwise stated)
Overview
The timeless and fascinating country of Japan is 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 it offers lots of chances to connect with the traditional culture. Whatever time of the year you visit, Japan has the power to enthral even the most jaded traveller and on this nine day self guided tour you will discover just why.
Day 1
Arrive Tokyo
On arrival at Tokyo’s international airport you will be met by one of our experienced tour representatives who will be waiting to assist with transportation into the city, helping you to board the right train or find the appropriate shuttle van. After reaching the hotel and checking in, the remainder of the day is free for you to go out and explore on your own and try one of the local restaurants for your first taste of Japanese food.
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Day 2
Tokyo
Today you can begin with an early morning visit to Meiji Shrine to avoid the crowds. Tokyo’s most famous shrine sits in the middle of a lovely park. Nearby is the shopping haven of Harajuku where you find Takeshita Street, an alley filled with boutiques, shops and cafes. Walk along Omotesando, known as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysées then take the metro to the smart district of Ginza, and see the Imperial Palace. Finally stop in Asakusa, the oldest Geisha district and home to Senso-ji Temple.
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Day 3
Tokyo
Another self-guided day exploring Tokyo or its outlying areas. Visit the city's world-class museums and art galleries or take an excursion outside. You can go to Kamakura, one of Japan’s former capitals and a delightful seaside town which is home to many ancient shrines and temples. Located north of Tokyo, Nikko is a city that lies in the mountainous area of Tochigi Prefecture well-known for its national park which is a delight to visit.
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Day 4
Tokyo to Hakone
This morning take the train to Hakone, gateway to Mt. Fuji and its surrounding national park. This small town is famous for its onsen, or natural hot springs, and has natural beauty in abundance. Tonight's accommodation is in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style inn complete with tatami mats and rice paper sliding doors. Relax in a kimono while enjoying a dinner of kaiseki ryori, a Japanese multi-course meal then take a dip in the onsen before turning in on the traditional futon.
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Day 5
Hakone
You can spend the whole day exploring Hakone with an included pass, which serves as a ticket to all the numerous forms of transport in the area. Take the Hakone Tozan switchback train that zigzags through the mountains then ride the Guinness World Record-holder ropeway up to Mt. Owakudani, passing over sulfurous hot springs. Hakone is also home to many museums and parks. One of the best is the Hakone Open Air Museum, featuring a sizeable Picasso Collection.
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Day 6
Hakone to Kyoto
Take one last soak in the onsen before travelling on the world-famous shinkansen (bullet train) to Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto, which is home to around 2,000 shrines and temples and 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The rest of the day is at leisure. You can take part in one of the many cultural experiences such as cooking classes, tea ceremonies and visit a sake brewery and end the night in style, watching a performance of the arts and music of the Geisha.
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Day 7
Kyoto
Today explore the former imperial capital and visit some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites using the comprehensive bus and subway systems. Start by visiting ornamental Nijo Castle then head north to Kinkaku-ji Temple, the Golden Pavilion and Ryoan-ji Temple, the site of Japan's most famous rock garden. Later visit Kiyomizu-dera or ‘pure water temple and finish the day with a stroll through the atmospheric Higashiyama district, where busy lanes lead up to Kiyomizu with its quaint shops.
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Day 8
Kyoto
Head out of town this morning and travel to Nara. For 74 years during the 8th century, Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain. It is a small town, with most of its main tourist spots located around Nara Park, where a great number of tame deer can be found. Visit Todai-ji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s biggest Buddha, and Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most celebrated shrine.
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Day 9
Depart Kyoto
Today your wonderful self-guided tour around Japan comes to an end. Do some more sightseeing or souvenir shopping in Kyoto before taking the shuttle bus to the airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey back home. This tour is a great way to see so many of the country's highlights and you are free every day to explore wherever you want without being tied down to a particular schedule.
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