Explore Japan, a country of contrasts, rich culture and dazzling beauty. Discover buzzing, modern Tokyo and its eclectic sights, then head north for the mountainous beauty of Nikko and Hakone. History and tradition abound in Kyoto, the magic ancient capital. This tour is varied, fascinating and delivers an authentic taste of Japan. Ride a bullet train, wander through Zen gardens, visit a ninja museum. You’ll visit sacred sites, shrines and temples – and of course, witness the natural beauty of breathtaking Mount Fuji.
Day 1: Australia – Tokyo
Welcome to Tokyo! You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Tokyo is arguably one of the most extraordinary capital cities on the planet. It’s the world’s most populous metropolis but very modern and efficient – it’s a breeze to get around on its excellent subway network.
The Shibuya Crossing is a must-see, with its neon displays and hordes of people crossing the intersection. It’s hectic, crazy and so Tokyo. If it’s shopping you’re interested in, Tokyo is home to some of the world’s biggest and most unusual shopping experiences. The Akihabara district is known for tech shops and otaku and anime culture. The Ginza district, the city’s busiest shopping area, is also a great spot to just stop and watch the world go by. Or rush by, rather.
If you need some respite from the frenetic pace of this city, head for the serenity of Ueno Park, the city’s largest green space and home to numerous temples and museums. There’s even a zoo here. B
Please note: Some flights may depart the day before.
Check in: Passengers will be arriving at various times throughout the day from as early as 6am through to late evening. If arriving prior to standard check-in time, which is generally 3pm local time, you are welcome to leave your luggage with hotel reception and explore your surroundings until check-in becomes available, as there are generally no scheduled activities on Day 1 of the itinerary. The hotel may grant early check-in, however this is strictly subject to availability and at the hotels discretion.
Day 2: Tokyo
Today we’ll enjoy a day of sightseeing in Japan’s capital. The Tokyo metropolitan area spreads over three prefectures with 38 million residents.
We’ll start with a visit to the Tsukiji Outer Market, a shopping district adjacent to the enormous former wholesale fish market. It’s a dream for foodies. This lively area is home to everything food-related – fresh ingredients, street food vendors, kitchen utensils. You’ll find great sushi and other restaurants around here, too.
We’ll head to eclectic Odaiba, a veritable playground on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. It’s kind of like a giant, high-tech amusement park; jam packed with shops, museums and entertainment. Some of it borders on the bizarre – there is even a mini Statue of Liberty.
We’ll visit Tokyo Tower, a bright orange Eiffel Tower-inspired structure, that has two observation decks. The second-tallest structure in Japan, it stands 333 metres tall in the centre of Tokyo. The main observation deck gives you a bird’s eye view of the city, at 150 metres high. B
Day 3: Tokyo – Nikko – Tokyo
We’ll leave Tokyo this morning after breakfast and head north to Nikko, one of Japan’s most famous mountain towns.
We’ll visit the Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Enclosed in dense forest and hailed as Japan’s most lavish shrine, it’s the final resting place of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Most of the shrine complex was rebuilt in the 17th century and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
You’ll see Lake Chuzenji, at the foot of Nikko’s sacred volcano Mount Nantai.
Nikko is home to 48 beautiful waterfalls, the most famous of which is Kegon Waterfall, standing almost 100 metres tall. Entrance is included. B, L
Day 4: Tokyo – Hakone
We’ll depart for Hakone, a mountainous town that lies within Japan’s Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Hakone is known for its hot springs (onsen) and mesmerising views of UNESCO World Heritage Site Mount Fuji. It is, quite simply, picture perfect.
We’ll visit the fascinating Hakone Tokaido Checkpoint, which operated for about 260 years during the Edo period as an inspection facility to control ‘incoming guns and outgoing women’.
Of course we’ll visit Hakone Shrine, famous for its iconic red torii, “Gate of Peace”, that floats on the waters of Lake Ashi. The lake sits within the caldera of Mount Hakone.
You’ll take the Hakone Komagatake Ropeway from the shores of Lake Ashi to the peak of Mount Komagatake, for superb views of Mount Fuji and the lake when visibility is good.
Day 5: Hakone – Hamamatsu
We’ll head for the coastal city of Hamamatsu today.
On the way, we’ll stop at Miho no Matsubara, the seaside pine grove that has dramatic, beautiful Mount Fuji as its backdrop. A popular recreation spot, its natural beauty has also inspired poets and artists, like Ukiyo-e master Utagawa Hiroshige in his woodblock prints. It’s the site of the Hagoromo (feather robe) legend, in which a local fisherman encounters a celestial maiden. This magical setting makes up part of the Mount Fuji UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We’ll then visit historic Kasuisai Temple, an extensive compound with several buildings and beautiful Japanese garden. With 600 years of history, it’s a noted training monastery of the Soto school of buddhism. Laypeople can even take professional zazen (Zen meditation) training here. Kasuisai Temple is also known as the flower temple – in spring the peonies are gorgeous, in summer it’s white Japanese orchids and autumn brings maple leaves.
Hamamatsu is a manufacturing hub and some of the world’s leading companies are located here. The city embraces the spirit of innovation, and we’ll visit Yamaha Innovation Road, a museum dedicated to iconic Yamaha’s corporate heritage and culture. With 12 display areas, even a virtual stage, it’s a treat for music fans. There is a top-of-the-line piano on display, worth a cool 20 million yen. B
Day 6: Hamamatsu – Toyohashi – Kyoto
Japan’s world-famous bullet train, a shining example of this country’s technology and engineering prowess, is an absolute must-do. Today’s touring includes a short ride on the iconic shinkansen from Hamamatsu to Toyohashi.
We’ll start with Hamamatsu Flower Park, on the edge of Lake Hamana. With over 3,000 species and over 300,000 square metres of botanical gardens, it’s delightful. Tulips, azaleas, hydrangeas and chrysanthemums are just the start. Even in winter, flowers bloom everywhere here. Although beautiful in any season, in cherry blossom season about 700 cherry trees will flower, with a stunning contrast between the pale pink of the Yoshino cherry and the dark pink of the weeping cherry blossoms.
We’ll then leave for Kyoto, considered by many to be the jewel in Japan’s crown and one of the only cities in Japan to escape destruction during World World II, leaving its countless relics intact.
On the way we’ll visit the Ninja Museum of Iga-ryu, in a city with a long ninja tradition. Visit the ninja house and museum to discover the secrets of these warriors from Japan’s feudal ages. The ninja residence might seem unassuming from the outside, but you’ll find trap doors, revolving walls, escape routes and other trickery within.
We’ll visit the truly impressive Fushimi Inari Shrine, an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It was dedicated to Inari, the god of rice and sake, by the Hata clan in the 8th century. A magical path of over 5000 vibrant orange torii gates winds its way through the hills behind the shrine. B
Day 7: Kyoto
This morning we’ll visit the beautiful, serene gardens of Heian Jingu Shrine. It’s a relatively young sacred location – built in 1895 – but this Shinto shrine is very impressive, with its enormous torii (sacred gate) standing almost 25 metres high. Among the rich variety of flowers, there are many weeping cherry trees here which make for a striking sight during cherry blossom season.
Then, standing amongst the soaring stalks of bamboo at Arashiyama Bamboo Grove really is mesmerising. It’s green, peaceful and the seemingly endless boughs make for a serene experience, even with the tourist crowds. Take in the sound of rustling bamboo as you stroll these paths – if there’s a bit of wind, the groves will gently sway back and forth which only adds to the magic.
We’ll see one of Kyoto’s most iconic sites, the Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion). This is a Zen temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site, with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold, set within a beautiful classical Zen garden. B
Day 8: Kyoto – Australia
Enjoy one last delicious breakfast this morning, before your Japanese adventure comes to an end. Later you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight home.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this extraordinary journey.
Check out: Passengers will be departing at various times throughout the day. Standard hotel check-out times will apply no matter what time your flight is scheduled to depart. Check-out time is generally anywhere from 10am-12pm. You are welcome to leave your luggage at hotel reception and spend your final moments of free time exploring the area or alternatively please speak with hotel staff if you would like to extend your check-out time. Please note this service is subject to availability and will likely come at an additional cost. Your tour guide (or hotel staff) will confirm the time of your airport transfer with you directly. B
Day 9: Australia
Arrive home today. We hope you have had an amazing experience
Excluded from the package price: