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)
A full-day tour of Tokyo begins with a trip to the Edo Tokyo Museum, where exhibits depict the fascinating history of Japan’s capital during the peaceful Edo period. Next it’s onto the Asakusa Kannon Temple and Hamarikyu Garden, where you’ll have the chance to sample authentic tea and sweets at a Japanese tea house. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Meiji Shrine and later, experience the energy of the famous Shibuya Crossing before returning to your hotel for an evening at leisure. (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. (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 Osaka, Beijing
Transfer to Osaka airport for your included flight to Beijing, China. Stay Four Nights: Beijing, Novotel Peace Hotel (B)
Enjoy a free day to explore. This evening, meet your Great Rail Journeys Tour Escort at a Welcome Dinner. (D)
14 Beijing, Forbidden City
Begin your day with a visit to Tiananmen Square, one of the world’s largest city squares. Continue on to the Forbidden City and see the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. Steeped in history, it is the former home to an ancient line of Chinese Emperors during the Ming dynasty through to the Qing dynasty. After lunch, explore the World Heritage-listed Summer Palace, the largest royal park in China. (B/L)
15 Beijing, Great Wall of China
Enroute to the Great Wall you will stop at the Temple of Heaven, an imperial complex of religious buildings founded in the first half of the 15th century. Next, discover China’s greatest icon, the Great Wall of China. Take in the breathtaking views during a cable car ride to the Mutianyu section, one of the best-preserved parts of the wall. Return to the city later, passing by the Beijing National Stadium (the Bird’s Nest) and the bubble-covered Water Cube. (B/L/D)
Insider Experience: Sample Beijing’s most iconic dish with a delicious banquet dinner of Peking Duck at a local restaurant.
16 Beijing, Xi'an
On arrival in Xi’an, settle in to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Stay Two Nights: Xi’an, Grand Mercure (B)
Known for its remarkable collection of Terracotta Warriors, a discovery of Xi'an awaits today. Admire the excavation pits that have housed the thousands of sculptures since around 210 BC. Every sculpture is unique, with distinct facial features, hairstyles, postures and clothing. Spend the afternoon on a guided tour of Xi’an, taking in some of its most famous sights, including the Great Mosque, the lively Muslim Bazaar and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. (B/L/D)
Insider Experience: Indulge in a traditional Chinese dumpling banquet dinner.
18 Xi'an, Chengdu
On arrival in Chengdu, you’ll be transferred to your hotel. The charming Tibet hotel tastefully combines traditional Tibetan decor with modern furnishings. Stay Two Nights: Chengdu, Tibet Hotel (B/D)
Insider Experience: Embark on a high-speed train journey to Chengdu.
19 Chengdu, Leshan
Today you will venture to the riverside town of Leshan and take a boat trip to see the famous Grand Buddha. Carved out of a cliff face and towering over the river below at a staggering height of 71 metres, it is the world’s largest ancient Buddha. After lunch, return to Chengdu and visit the Buddhist Wenshu Monastery. Your day of sightseeing comes to an end with a visit to the charming Jinli Street. (B/L)
20 Chengdu, Chongqing, Embark Ship
Spend the morning enjoying an Insider Experience before boarding your river ship in Chongqing to begin your relaxing three-night cruise along the Yangtze River. Stay Three Nights: Yangtze River Cruise, Century Sun (B/L/D)
Today will be spent exploring Shibaozhai, an isolated peak protruding from the northern bank of the Yangtze River. On the river side of the hill sits a magnificent red twelve-story pavilion that was built during the Qing Dynasty. Tonight, you'll enjoy a Captain's Dinner on board. (B/L/D)
22 Lesser Three Gorges
This morning, set off on a shore excursion to the spectacular Lesser Three Gorges, a series of green valley regions connecting to the Daning River. Savour the breathtaking views of sheer mountains and cliffs. Alternatively, travel to the Shennong Stream, a narrow tributary of the Yangtze River. This evening, enjoy a traditional Chinese buffet dinner back on board the ship. (B/L/D)
23 Yichang, Disembark Ship, Wuhan
Spend the morning at the Three Gorges Dam Site and take in the colossal scale of the world’s largest hydropower project. Bid farewell to your river ship in Yichang before travelling to Wuhan. Stay: Wuhan, Marco Polo (B/L/D)
Insider Experience: Travel by high-speed train to Wuhan.
24 Wuhan, Shanghai
Today begins with a visit to the Yellow Crane Tower, a five-storey yellow tiled marvel sitting at the top of Snake Hill. Later, arrive in Shanghai and spend the evening at leisure. Stay Two Nights: Shanghai, Pullman Jing’an (B/L)
Insider Experience: Travel by high-speed train to Shanghai.
Today, experience Shanghai’s bustling bazaar before visiting the historic Jade Buddha Temple. After lunch, explore the Bund, a famous waterfront area home to an impressive collection of European style buildings. Continue on to Shanghai’s stylish French Concession and wander through the leafy streets. This evening you’ll get to taste the traditional flavours of Shanghainese cuisine during a Farewell Dinner at Xianqiangfang Restaurant. (B/L/D)
Insider Experience: Take part in a tea ceremony at a traditional teahouse in Yu Garden.
26 Depart Shanghai
Your iconic adventure through China and Japan comes to an end today. After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your onward flight. (B)