To get the best out of any trip to Japan a tour is essential and this 10 day Golden Japan Tour, which in the main is self guided, gives the independent traveller and those who like to be organised the best of both worlds. Beginning and ending in the capital city Tokyo you will see all the sights that have made Japan a magnet for tourists for centuries and get a chance to meet the people and find out what makes this fascinating country tick. From the Bullet Train to the Golden Pavilion there is something for everyone whether you go in the New Year or the Cherry Blossom season.
Welcome to Japan! On arrival at Narita Airport you will be met and transferred by shuttle bus to your hotel in the historic Asakusa district of Tokyo. Journey time around 90 minutes. This is the city's most historic district, home to the magnificent Senso-ji Temple and offers a glimpse of Tokyo life before the neon spangled skyscrapers arrived.
After an included breakfast a knowledgeable local guide will take you out as part of a small group to experience the best that Tokyo has to offer. On the way you'll experience the historic city, undiscovered gardens and back alleys before finishing in modern Shibuya, home of the world's most famous pedestrian crossing.
After breakfast there are endless possibilities for your free day. Sample sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market, take a gentle cruise along the Sumida River, marvel at the crazy fashions in Harajuku and take in the elaborate costumes and high drama of a kabuki performance at the elegant Kabuki-za Theatre. Your complimentary info pack and map will be invaluable in the vibrant metropolis.
Today follow in the footsteps of the samurai as your journey taks you along the old Tokaido post road on your way to Hakone National Park. You will take the subway to Tokyo station and transfer to the world famous Shinkansen Bullet Train for the 40 minute hop to Odawara. Stay the night at a traditional inn with dinner included and on a clear day see Mount Fuji.
The Hakone Freepass is included in your tour package which covers all public transport in the region including mountain railways and cable cars. You can also explore the national park on foot and enjoy a magic black egg boiled in the valley water which is said to add seven years to your life. At the end of the day before an included dinner relax in one of the park hot springs.
Today the Bullet Train will whisk you down the eastern seaboard to Kyoto making the 267 mile journey in a little over two hours. Arrive at futuristic Kyoto station, one of the biggest buildings in Japan, before exploring the city and finding out the true history, culture, and tradition of the country. Explore temples and shrines and take tea at the picturesque Golden Pavilion.
Today a guide will meet you at your hotel and take you through the mazy Kyoto backstreets to the most famous sights as well as some hidden gems. Visit Kiyomizu-dera, one of Japan's best loved temples, take time to relax at one of the tea houses and at dusk head to Gion to catch a glimpse of the secretive geisha as they scurry to evening appointments in luxurious kimono.
Spend another day exploring Kyoto or perhaps take advantage of your Japan Rail Pass for an excursion outside the city. Just 40 minutes by train is Nara, famous for its huge bronze statue of Buddha. The electric metropolis of Osaka is 30 minutes away or take a day trip on the Bullet Train to see Hiroshima, devastated by the atomic bomb at the end of World War II
From Kyoto you will travel back to Tokyo again at high speed on the Bullet Train. You can head for the capital in the morning for some last minute shopping or take a late train. For your final night you will be based in the futuristic Shinjuku of the city with its bright lights, busy department stores, lively restaurants and karaoke bars.
All good tours must come to an end so today you say your farewells to the magical city of Tokyo and with a lifetime of memories you will be transferred to the airport by the fast and comfortable airport limousine bus service.