Arrive Tokyo Welcome to Tokyo, Japan's dazzling capital city. Our first visit is to Miraikan, the fascinating National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
Tokyo An exciting day exploring one of the world's largest and most cosmopolitan cities. We begin the day at the Edo Tokyo Museum, then learn the age-old culinary art of making sushi (which we'll get to enjoy once we've finished). This afternoon we'll visit Asakusa Kannon Temple and the Nakamise shopping arcade. (B/L/D) Special Experience: Admire the city lights on a dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay in a typical Japanese-style houseboat from the Heian Era, known as a yakatabune.
Tokyo - Hakone We begin our morning with a stroll through the beautiful Hamarikyu Garden. We'll then travel to Lake Saiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes. Special Experience: Visit a former farming village, Iyashi no Sato Nenba, recently reconstructed as a museum after being destroyed by a typhoon in 1966.For the next two nights we stay in an authentic ryokan guesthouse. We'll have the chance to bathe in natural onsen (hot springs) and enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner. (B/D)
Mt Fuji A highlight of any trip to Japan is a visit to majestic and iconic Mt Fuji! We stop at the fifth station (weather permitting) to take in the stunning views of the surrounding area. Later we'll ride the Hakone Ropeway to enjoy magnificent vistas of the Owakudani Valley, Lake Ashinoko and Mt Fuji. (B/D)
Hakone - Nagano - Yudanaka This morning we'll travel by bullet train to Nagano via Tokyo, and visit the famous Zenko-ji Temple, built during the 7th century. (B/D) Special Experience: See the famous snow monkeys bathing in the hot springs at Jigokudani Yaen Koen in the Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park.
Yudanaka - Takayama - Kanazawa We make our way to the historic town of Takayama, where we'll wander the narrow streets of the old town. We'll then visit the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago with its famous gasshō-zukuri (‘like hands in prayer') thatched roofs, designed to withstand the massive snowfalls of winter. (B)
Kanazawa We explore one of Japan's most beautiful gardens, Kenroku-en Garden. Once part of the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, it features stunning ponds, streams, waterfalls, bridges and tea houses. After lunch we'll visit Nagamachi Buke Yashiki, a samurai house complete with samurai residents, earthen walls, narrow lanes and canals. (B/L)
Kanazawa - Kyoto Travelling via bullet train, we make our way to historic Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital. (B) Special Experience: Spot the famous Maiko (Geisha apprentices) in Kyoto's famous district of Gion. Enjoy the atmosphere in the early evening as the narrow lanes full of bars, restaurants and traditional tea houses are lit by lanterns.
Kyoto Spend the day discovering Kyoto's cultural treasures. We'll experience a typical tea ceremony at Kano-Shojuan along the philosopher's walk, which also serves ‘wagashi' Japanese confectioneries. We'll then explore the incredible orange torii gates that make up Kyoto's famous Fushimi Inari shrine, dedicated to the god of rice and sake in the 8th century. The magical path consists of more than 5,000 gates that wind through the hills at the base of Inari mountain. Our last stop is the stunning Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). The temple's top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf and the pavilion is set amongst beautiful gardens. (B)
Kyoto Today we discover the art behind Japan's unique crafts and culinary delights! Enjoy a variety of local activities including sake brewing & tasting, Japanese sweet-making and a chance to dress in a kimono. (B)
Kyoto - Sapporo Enjoy the morning at leisure before we fly to Sapporo, on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido. Famous for ramen, beer and the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, it was also host to the 1972 Winter Olympic Games. (B)
Sapporo Our day begins with an orientation tour of the city. Highlights include the Clock Tower and the iconic Hokkaido Shrine, which enshrines three pioneering gods. (B/L) Special Experience: With a history dating back to 1950, the famous Sapporo Snow Festival turns the city into a winter wonderland of crystal-like ice and powdery snow. Enjoy the delights on offer this afternoon including the amazing ice sculptures that line Station Avenue and exquisite works of art in Odori Park.
Sapporo Today is at leisure for you to enjoy more of the festivities. Why not visit Tsudome with its large snow slides and a snow rafting area, or Fureai Hiroba plaza where you can discover the sculptures up close and enjoy hot drinks in the Ice Bar? Later this evening we'll enjoy a traditional Japanese farewell dinner. (B/D)
Depart Sapporo Today we begin our journey home. (B)