Japan Discovery

  Avg. Trip Rating 4.8 Based on 4 Reviews. No Booking FeesDedicated Consultant
Flights Included Fully Guided Small Group Coach Scenic / Sightseeing
Our Price From 9,795 Per Person
Exclusive Savings 200 Per Person
 Trip Length
16 Days
 Trip Starts
Tokyo
 Trip Finishes
Osaka
16 Day Japan Discovery Itinerary (Bunnik)
Countries Explored: Japan
Trip Operator:
Accommodation
3.5 - 4 Star
Max. Group Size
20
Trip Code
BUN226

Overview

Read 4 reviews and enjoy exclusive savings on Bunnik's 16 Day Japan Discovery. Modern Japan retains much of its traditional charm, where ancient customs infuse daily life. Explore the true highlights of Japan on this fascinating adventure. Discover Tokyo, where ornate temples and glass skyscrapers reside effortlessly alongside each other. Be amazed at the beauty of Mt Fuji, experience an authentic ryokan guesthouse in Hakone, ride the bullet train to cultural Kyoto, and pay tribute in moving Hiroshima. Return international flights are included...read more between Australia and the start & end point of your trip. Surcharges may apply.

Itinerary

Welcome to Japan, a country that combines the ultra-modern with the ultra-traditional in such a way that it seems completely natural. We begin in Tokyo, Japan's buzzing capital city. Formerly known as Edo, a small local fishing village, the Tokyo of today is a vibrant metropolis renowned for its advanced technology and diverse fashion sense, intermingled with the ancient traditions of Japanese culture. In Tokyo, we'll find an unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and exquisite food as we get acquainted with the city on our own this afternoon, before meeting your fellow travellers and tour director over a welcome drink this evening.

One of the world's main economic centres, Tokyo is a city that presents a different view of itself at every turn. Starkly modern, it becomes a jewel box at night with a glittering display of neon and fluorescent lights. But you can retreat to quiet residential back streets or sculptured gardens and still find harmony, scale and simplicity the Japanese have prized for centuries. Our day begins with a visit to the scenic and spacious Imperial Palace East Garden, which provides a calm oasis amid the bustle of Tokyo. The garden is the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circle of defence. As none of the castle's main buildings remain today, the garden has been created in their place.

Special Experience: Watch a sumo wrestling demonstration before enjoying a traditional Chanko Nabe (sumo stew) lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon we'll stroll through the shopping district of Ginza on our way to dinner. We'll also experience the hustle and bustle of Shibuya, one of Tokyo's busiest districts, and home to the famous Shibuya crossing. Approximately 3,000 people can make their way across the intersection at any one time! We take to Tokyo Bay and admire the city lights on a dinner cruise this evening in a typical Japanese-style houseboat from the Heian period, known as a Yakatabune. (B/L/D)

Tokyo's downtown Shitamachi district is home to an array of sights, culture and a great mix of old and new. We'll explore the district this morning visiting the impressive Asakusa Sensoji Buddhist Temple that dates back to the 7th century. Incense burns at the temple to purify and act as a strong form of spiritual offering, or as a way to carry one's prayers to heaven. Watch as locals and tourists alike purchase bundles of incense (osenko), light them, let them burn and fan the smoke towards themselves. It is said to have healing powers! We'll also stroll Nakamise Street that is full of quirky shops and local snacks. Don't miss trying some of the interesting ice cream flavours on offer. There isn't a more famous Japanese culinary dish than sushi. We'll learn the age-old culinary art of making sushi and enjoy the results for lunch before spending the remainder of the afternoon at our own leisure. (B/L)

Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, is less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo and one of the most popular destinations among Japanese and international tourists looking for a break from the big city. It is famous for its hot springs, outdoor activities, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt Fuji. This morning we'll visit a former farming village, Iyashi-no-Sato Nenba. After being destroyed by a typhoon in 1966, the village was reconstructed and reopened forty years later as an open-air museum and traditional craft village, complete with restaurants, shops and galleries.

We'll then arrive in the mountainous town of Hakone, where we'll enjoy a cable car ride on the Hakone Ropeway and see incredible views of the iconic Mt Fuji (weather permitting). We will stop along the Hakone Ropeway and see the magnificent Owakudani Valley, created about 3,000 years ago when the Hakone Volcano last erupted. Tonight, we'll be staying in an authentic ryokan guesthouse, where we'll sleep on traditional Japanese-style bedding made up of a futon bed on tatami mats on the floor. We will also have the chance to bathe in a natural onsen (hot springs) and enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner. (B/D)

Surrounded by lush mountains, Nagano is a quaint city with temples that have played an important role in the lives of pilgrims for almost 1,000 years. The city also hosted the 1998 Winter Olympic Games with some of the former Olympic facilities still dotted throughout the city. We'll make our way to Nagano today via the mountain city of Matsumoto. Situated in a valley with the northern Japan Alps as a backdrop, the city is home to one of Japan's premier historic castles, Matsumoto Castle. We'll visit the castle which was built in the 16th century, admiring its architecture and learning about its rich history.

Special Experience: Immerse yourself in Japanese culture during a soba noodle class on our way to Nagano. These delicious noodles are used in a variety of Japanese dishes. Learn about these delicious buckwheat noodles that are used in a variety of Japanese dishes and take away a new cooking skill you can bring home with you.

This afternoon, we'll visit the historic Old Battlefield of Kawanakajima, where the famous provincial battle took place in 1561. Now part of Japanese lore, the battles fought here have become tales of chivalry and romance, and have also been mentioned in epic literature and movies! (B)

Located in Gifu, Takayama is a relatively small yet traditional city with an abundance of old inns, shops and sake breweries. Takayama is a city best known for its background in carpentry; it is believed Takayama craftsmen worked on the Imperial Palace in Kyoto and on many of the temples in Kyoto and Nara. Its high altitude and relative isolation allowed Takayama to remain relatively untouched by outside influences for a 300-year period. Upon arrival in the city, we'll explore the narrow streets of the beautifully preserved Old Town on foot. We'll see Takayama Jinya, a traditional Japanese building dating back to 1816, before making our way to the Sanmachi Suji District. The quaint streets of the district are lined with old-style merchant houses that date back to the Edo and Meiji periods. Today, these houses are used as sake breweries, shops and restaurants. (B)

One of the biggest morning markets in Japan, the Miyagawa Open Air Market is a feast for the senses. Located on the banks of the Miyagawa River, we'll wander the many stalls, and check out the range of fresh fruit, vegetables, spices and local souvenirs on offer this morning. Next, we'll visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site of Shirakawa-go, famous for its gasshō-zukuri thatched-roof farmhouses characterised by their extremely steep roofs, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gasshō-zukuri means ‘constructed like hands in prayer', as the farmhouses' roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks in prayer. This architectural style, developed over many generations, was designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that fall during winter.

We'll visit the largest gasshō-zukuri farmhouse in the town, where one of the town's wealthiest families once lived. Later we'll enjoy a traditional Japanese lunch at a local restaurant. We'll then observe the traditional art of Japanese Washi papermaking in Gokayama. Some artists enjoy working with rice paper because of its distinct texture and slight translucent appearance. Rice paper, or Washi as it is known, is commonly used in the traditional paper-folding art of Origami, practiced since the early 1600s. (B/L)

Kyoto, one of Japan's most beloved cities is our destination today. This ancient city was the imperial capital of Japan for 1,000 years with the Emperor residing in its elaborate palaces. Kyoto is considered the country's spiritual capital today and is graced with an abundance of temples, pavilions, gardens and museums. While there are many keen tourists looking to imbibe the serenity that Kyoto exudes, it is still possible to find a peaceful moment to personally connect with your surrounds. All aboard Japan's famous bullet train system for our journey to Kyoto. Upon arrival we'll delve into the unique craft of sake brewing.

Special Experience: Sample the famous Japanese beverage, sake, and learn about the brewing process. Later today we'll explore the incredible tunnel of orange Torii Gates that make up Kyoto's famous Fushimi Inari shrine, dedicated to the god of rice and sake in the 8th century. Its resplendent orange Torii Gates are a sight to behold, numbering more than 10,000 as they wrap themselves around the base of the Inari Mountain. (B)

We'll delve further into the Japanese culture today. A morning walk along Philosopher's Path is a tranquil start to our day of exploring Kyoto. Named after Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan's most famous philosophers who meditated along the path while walking to university every day, the path is an enchanting and peaceful place in the city. We'll learn about some of Japan's most popular art forms next.

Special Experience: Delve into the stunning art form of Japanese black ink calligraphy and try your hand at perfecting this ancient art. Next, we'll experience a Japanese tea ceremony. In Japan it can take years to master the art of the tea ceremony, the art form of cha-no-yu. With many distinct styles, the different configurations of tatami (straw floor mats), utensils and temae (the preparation), the hanging scrolls selected with attention to the season and theme, and the chabana (floral arrangement) are all purposefully chosen to infuse meaning into the ceremony.

The remainder of our day is free to enjoy at leisure. (B)

Today is at leisure to relax or discover more of Kyoto at your own pace. Why not visit the Gion district? Gion used to serve as the entertainment region and is best known as the home of Geisha and Maiko. (B)

Hiroshima, a symbol of the utter devastation of war continues to build its reputation today as a symbol of peace. When the first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, the city was obliterated. This moving city is our destination today. We spend our final time in Kyoto visiting some of the city's most incredible temples. Our first stop is the stunning Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), an exemplar of traditional Japanese architecture. The temple's top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf and the pavilion is set amongst beautiful gardens. We'll then enjoy a typical Buddhist lunch before touring the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage-listed Tenryu-ji Temple, ranked top of Kyoto's five great Zen temples.

Later we'll walk through the otherworldly Arashiyama Bamboo Forest for a moment of peace and tranquillity as we stroll along the paths that meander through the endless stalks of towering bamboo, Our final stop is a visit to the Togetsukyo Bridge, or ‘Moon Crossing Bridge', originally built in the Hein Period for nobles who came to enjoy the natural surrounds. This afternoon, we travel to Hiroshima by bullet train. (B/L)

The island of Miyajima lies just off the coast from Hiroshima and is renowned for its solitude, magnificent views and the Shrine of Itsukushima, built on wooden piers over the water. The shrine's Torii is out at the head of a bay and is one of the most photographed places in Japan. The giant Torii Gate seems to float on top of the water at high tide, its orange hue contrasting vibrantly with the blue of the surrounding water. We'll take the ferry to the island this morning and spend time to ourselves enjoying this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. This afternoon we'll visit some of Hiroshima's important sites, including the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and the very moving Peace Memorial Museum, commemorating the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima. (B)

A kaleidoscope of vibrant colour, traditions and culture, Osaka is Japan's second largest city. Formerly known as Naniwa, the city was Japan's first recorded capital city. Our day begins with a bullet train ride to Himeji Castle. As Japan's largest and most-visited castle, it is regarded as the finest surviving example of Japanese castle architecture. UNESCO World Heritage-listed Himejijō, in its current form, dates back to 1617 and has remained intact despite extensive bombing during World War II and a great earthquake in 1995. We'll enjoy time at the castle and in the nearby beautiful Kokoen Gardens, a short walk from the castle's main gate.

Special Experience: Learn the way of the Samurai, the warriors of pre-modern Japan, during an interactive lesson. Samurai were elite soldiers and adept with the bow and sword. Many Samurai lived by the concepts of loyalty to one's master, self-discipline and ethical behaviour. They were also adept with the bow and sword. We'll learn about the art and try out the movements ourselves. Tonight, we'll enjoy a Japanese-style group farewell dinner. (B/D)

Today marks the end of our incredible journey across Japan. We hope you leave with fantastic memories! (B)

Trip Inclusions

  • Visit Imperial Palace East Garden, a calm oasis in buzzing Tokyo
  • Enjoy a sumo wrestling demonstration and a traditional Chanko-Nabe lunch
  • Stroll through the famous Ginza District
  • Experience the famous street intersection at Shibuya Crossing
  • Admire the city lights of Tokyo Bay while enjoying a dinner cruise
  • Tokyo sightseeing including Asakusa Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Arcade
  • Sushi Making experience and lunch
  • Visit Iyashi no sato Nenba, a former farming village, reopened as a museum
  • See the iconic Mt Fuji while riding the Hakone Ropeway (weather permitting)
  • Spend a night in a traditional ryokan guesthouse
  • Visit Matsumoto Castle built in the 16th century and one of Japan's premier historic castles
  • Enjoy a soba noodle making class on the way to Nagano
  • Wander through the historical old battlefield of Kawanakajima, where a famous provincial battle took place in 1561
  • Take in the sights of historic Takayama by foot
  • Free time to explore Miyagawa Open Air Market
  • Wander through Shirakawa-go, with its famous gasshō-zukuri thatched roofs
  • Learn about the Japanese tradition of washi papermaking in Gokayama
  • Explore Kyoto and sample the famous sake beverage
  • Tour the Fushima Inari Shrine
  • Stroll the Philosopher's Walk, the same path influential 20th-Century Philosopher & Kyoto University Professor Nishida Kitaro took during meditation
  • Take part in a black ink calligraphy class
  • Delve into the custom of a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto
  • Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
  • Enjoy a Buddhist lunch at Shigetsu (Tenryuiji Temple)
  • Stroll through the Arashiyama Bamboo forest and see the Togetsukyo Bridge
  • Visit the island Miyajima and see the giant Itsukushima Torii Gate (currently under maintenance)
  • Tour the Hiroshima Peace Park, and visit the Atomic Bomb Dome and the very moving Peace Memorial
  • Visit Himeji Castle, regarded as one of the finest examples of prototypical Japanese castle architecture
  • Learn the way of the Samurai in Osaka, Japan's pre-modern warriors

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to Japan. Taxes included
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • 3 bullet train journeys in Japan
  • Limited Express Train from Takayama to Nagoya

  • 12 nights in 3-4 star hotels
  • 1 night in a traditional ryokan guesthouse, Hakone
  • Shinagawa Prince Hotel, Tokyo
  • Yunohana Prince Hotel, Hakone
  • Hotel Metropolitan Nagana, Nagano
  • Hida Hotel, Takayama
  • Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachi Jo, Kyoto
  • Sheraton Grand Hotel Hiroshima, Hiroshima
  • Sheraton Miyako Hotel, Osaka

  • 13 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

  • English-speaking locally based national guide

  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Disruptions to itinerary may occur.
  • On day 9 we will be travelling by bullet train and our luggage will be transferred via coach. We will need to pack an overnight bag with one night’s worth of luggage. Unfortunately, bullet trains have very limited space for luggage.
  • On day 12 we will be travelling by bullet train and our luggage will be transferred via coach, we will need to pack an overnight bag with two night’s worth of luggage. Unfortunately, bullet trains have very limited space for luggage.
  • Miyajima's famous floating Torii Gate is undergoing renovations. During the renovation works, the Torii Gate will be covered under partially transparent scaffolding. A bridge is being built on the left side of the gate to aid the renovation works.

Trip Reviews (4) Most Recent 'Japan Discovery' Reviews

4.75
AVG. RATING 4.75 / 5
4 Reviews
5 Star
75%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
An enjoyable holiday 12 , NSW, Australia, Apr 2018
The trip itinerary is very comprehensive and varied. It includes lots of sightseeing as well as interesting activities which give more insight into Japanese culture. There are no optional activities and they are certainly not needed.

We stayed at each destination for 2 or 3 nights which means less packing and unpacking - an added bonus. We had just ...read more one Japanese guide for the whole trip. She was very organised, very knowledgeable and extremely helpful. She was able to give us good advice on how we could use any free time.
A fantastic tour of Japan that covers a lot of cultural experiences 10 , NSW, Australia, Apr 2017
We really enjoyed our tour during Cherry Blossom time - seeing wonderful Japanese scenery, temples and gardens, all with magnificent weather. This tour also provided us with many Japanese experiences, such as lunch with Sumos, a traditional tea ceremony in a Japanese teahouse, a vegetarian lunch in a mountain top Buddhist Sanctuary, saki tasting in ...read more the charming sake brewing district of Kyoto, dressed up in a Kimono, saw a Geisha performance, made sushi, did 7 bullet train trips, caught a ferry over to the island of Miyajima Island, caught a gondola to see the sulphur fields near Mt Fuji, visited the UNESCO village of Shirakawago with its steep thatched roofed farmhouses, stayed in the mountains in Takayama in a traditional guesthouse with hot springs. This tour covered it all.
Japan's beautiful cherry blossoms 7 , NSW, Australia, Apr 2017
At the start of our tour in Tokyo we were greeted with the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom which lasted until the day we departed Osaka. A huge 'thank you' to Global Journeys and Bunnik Tours for providing such a wonderful experience. Our consultant at Global Journeys, Yvonne Brooks, provided a very transparent booking process and was available ...read more to satisfy enquiries and provide information. The inclusions provided a good overview of Japanese cuisine, customs, history and iconic structures, which were all enjoyable. Transport was by bullet train and modern, comfortable coaches, driven by very competent personnel. Accommodation was excellent, perhaps with the exception of Osaka which is probably due to the shortage of accommodation to meet demands in that city. The group of 20 Australians all mixed well and enjoyed one-another's company. We were blessed to have a wonderful tour guide, Shima Ozawa, who spoke good English and went out of her way to assist the group and individuals in any way she could. We will certainly be checking what Bunnik tours are on offer in the future.
Japan Discovery, Cherry Blossom Tour 6 , SA, Australia, Mar 2017
We have almost nothing but good things to say about this tour. The only small grizzle was about the number of Buddha and shrines included. Every day, "Not another one". There were things included that we would not have seen or done if we had done our own thing, and we appreciated this. Our tour guide, Kyoko, was top class. However, due to illness and ...read more accident we didn't really enjoy ourselves, (not Bunnik's fault) we are unlikely to travel again.
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Prices include air taxes and fuel surcharges, this amount is correct at time of brochure release and subject to change. Note air supplement may apply depending on airline availability and departure city. The majority of departures above will proceed or are guaranteed to depart (based on a minimum of 2 passengers). We will outline the status of your departure date in your quote along with all applicable discounts and specials.
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Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Bunnik.

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