1 Arrive Tokyo
Your journey begins today in Tokyo. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travellers and Great Rail Journeys Tour Escort. Stay: Two Night, Tokyo, Keio Plaza Hotel (D)
There’s much more to Japan’s capital than the skyscrapers and neon lights that first come to mind. A full-day tour of Tokyo illuminates the ancient history behind Asakusa Kannon Temple, as well as the Meiji Shrine, Shibuya Crossing and the Hachiko dog statue. Later, enjoy a visit to Nakajima no Ochaya, a tea house in Hamarikyu Garden that dates back to 1704. You’re invited to sample authentic Japanese tea and sweets here. Afterwards, spend time at the Edo Tokyo Museum, which exhibits the history of Japan’s capital during the peaceful Edo period. This evening you might explore the buzzing city centre or relax back in the comfort of your hotel. (B)
3 Tokyo, Hakone
This morning, enjoy an Insider Experience. Take a tour of Odawara before taking a ride on the Hakone Ropeway to the Togendai station, nestled on the shores of the tranquil Lake Ashi. Enjoy a relaxing cruise around the lake before continuing on to your hotel for the evening. Stay: Hakone Hotel (B/D)
Insider Experience: Journey to the resort town of Hakone by train, travelling in a ‘Romancecar’ (observation car) on the picturesque narrow-gauge line.
4 Mt Fuji, Matsumoto
This morning, take part in a thrilling Insider Experience. Driving along the foot of the famous mountain, disembark at the Mt Fuji Visitor Centre to learn more about the snow-capped peak. Stay: Matsumoto, Hotel Buena Vista, or similar (B)
Insider Experience: Enjoy a visit to Matsumoto Castle, an impressive fortress completed in 1593. Built on a plain, this impressive five-storey fortress is a celebrated National Treasure.
5 Matsumoto, Takayama
Enroute to Takayama you’ll stop at Hirayu Onsen, one of Japan’s famous open-air baths. Continue on to the picturesque town of Takayama, set atop brilliant hills and home to a fascinating array of narrow streets and wooden houses that appear to be untouched by time. Depart on a guided walking tour and see sights including the Old Jinya House and Kami Sannomachi. Later enjoy an excursion to the nearby Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum of rustic Japanese farm dwellings. Stay: Takayama, Associa Hotel (B)
6 Takayama, Nagoya, Hiroshima
Enjoy a morning visit to the Miyagawa markets, before travelling to Hiroshima. The city of Hiroshima is now an iconic symbol of peace across the world after experiencing immense destruction at the conclusion of World War II. Stay Two Nights: Hiroshima, Granvia Hotel (B)
Insider Experience: Journey on the Hida Train to Nagoya, continuing onwards by bullet train to Hiroshima.
7 Hiroshima, Miyajima Island
Today, enjoy an Insider Experience at Miyajima Island. Translated to ‘Shrine Island’, the wooded island is home to the famous Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto shrine which appears to float on the island’s waters at high tide. During your time here you’ll enjoy a walking tour and see wild deer. This afternoon is set aside for you to discover the other sites of Hiroshima at your own leisure. (B)
Insider Experience: Travel by train and ferry to Miyajima Island.
8 Hiroshima, Kyoto
A number of fascinating Insider Experiences will give you an insight into the events that shaped Japan into the country it is today. The memorial Peace Park was established to remember the more than 100,000 lives that were lost, and the A-Bomb Dome is a fascinating relic from the devastating event. Later, travel to Kyoto. Stay Three Nights: Kyoto, Tokyu Hotel (B/D)
Insider Experience: Indulge in a traditional Japanese dinner at a local restaurant, renowned for using delicious and fresh produce.
Today after an Insider Experience, take a tour of Kyoto’s most famous landmarks including the Nijo Castle, built in 1603; Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) which has an exquisite Japanese garden; and Kiyomizu Temple, a historic Buddhist temple that offers impressive views over Kyoto. The rest of the afternoon is yours to spend at leisure. (B)
Insider Experience: Venture to some of Kyoto’s beautiful formal gardens and enjoy a traditional tea ceremony.
10 Kyoto, Nara
Today you’ll enjoy a day trip to Nara, a picturesque city with charming narrow streets and an abundance of impressive temples. See the beautiful Todai-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world and its Great Buddha and Nigatsu-do Shrine. Founded in 745 by Emperor Shomu, Todai-ji is a vast Buddhist temple complex that was constructed as a symbol of imperial power. Its famous Buddha towers overhead at 15 metres tall and is the largest Buddha statue in Japan. Later it’s time for a stroll through Nara’s famous Deer Park, home to over 1,200 wild deer who freely roam the park, grazing on the spacious lawns. (B)
11 Kyoto, Osaka
Travel to Osaka where you’ll enjoy a guided tour that includes a visit to the Umeda Observatory in the iconic Umeda Sky building. Here you will enjoy panoramic views over Osaka and its castle. Later, spend your final evening with your fellow travellers during a Farewell Dinner at the hotel. Stay: Osaka, Sheraton Miyako (B/D)
12 Depart Osaka
Your discovery of Japan comes to an end today. Transfer to Osaka airport after breakfast for your onward flight. (B)