Best of Japan

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from AUD 8,835/pp

A stunning introduction to Japan, this itinerary packs in several must-visit highlights. Starting in Tokyo, enjoy two journeys on the iconic Shinkansen (bullet train). Visit Hakone, famous for its hot springs and spectacular views of Mount Fuji on a clear day. In Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital, get a glimpse into Japan’s rich history and culture.

Day 1 – Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo! The transfer will take you to the hotel in central Tokyo and you will have free time to relax or enjoy your first day.

Overnight: Tokyo

Day 2 – Tokyo

Today we will visit some of the most iconic venues on offer in the amazing City of Tokyo!

Depart the hotel for Meiji Jingu, one of Japan’s most popular Shinto Shrines. The shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. He was the nation’s first Emperor and credited with modernizing & westernizing the country.

Continue to Asakusa, the center of Tokyo’s downtown, where the atmosphere of Old Tokyo is still alive. Enjoy a stroll around the Senso-ji Temple which was built in the 7th Century. Ample time will be afforded to also explore Nakamise, which is the shopping street of the temple. Here you will have varied options for lunch which is on your own.

From Asakusa, board a river bus offering a different perspective to the city as we sail to Hamarikyu Gardens. This large traditionally styled garden features seawater ponds which change levels with the tides, and a teahouse on an island where visitors can rest and enjoy the scenery.

Next is to Tokyo Tower, a symbol of Japan’s post-war rebirth. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower was the tallest structure in the country from 1958-2012. Enjoy a birds’ eye-view of the city from the observation deck. It is then on to the upscale shopping district of Ginza, home to numerous luxury brands. Enjoy some free time to explore and contrast both experiences before returning to your hotel. (B)

Overnight: Tokyo

Day 3 – Tokyo

You will have two options today either to enjoy Tokyo on your own or join the optional “Culinary Haunts Tour”. (B)

Overnight: Tokyo

Optional tour:

Culinary Haunts Tour – Approx 4 hours (depart either 10.30am or 5.30pm)

Discover these delicacies with a local guide!

Option 1: Day time (approx. 10.30am departure)

You will be taken to famous Tsukiji Outer Market, the part of the fish market that is open to the general public. There are many types of foods you cannot miss. Needless to say, please follow your guide and try different types of local foods including the freshest sushi! At the end of the tour, your guide can take you back to your accommodation or leave you to keep enjoying yourself if you prefer.

Option 2: Evening (approx. 5.30pm departure)

You will be sure to try delicious yakitori, chicken grilled on skewers and served either with salt or “tare”, a kind of sweet soy-based sauce. Most yakitori restaurants also serve a selection of other Japanese comfort dishes. Let your guide know if anything interests you. Sashimi, Monjayaki or Okonomiyaki, crispy Japanese fried chicken and braised vegetables and seafood are among the dishes you might try tonight. One drink is included as well as a set food budget. At the end of the tour, your guide can take you back to your hotel or leave you to keep enjoying yourself if you prefer.

Day 4 – Shinkansen (Bullet Train) Tokyo > Hakone

Important Note: Please bring your luggage to the bell desk before check-out time. Your luggage will be delivered to the hotel in Kyoto directly as there is no luggage storage on the bullet train. Guests are required to bring belongings enough for 1 night in Hakone.

Today we say goodbye to Tokyo and set our sights towards Hakone. After a short walk to the nearby station, board the bullet train (Shinkansen) for a once in a lifetime experience. Possibly the safest train in the world. Over its’ more than 50-year history it has carried over 10 billion passengers without a single passenger fatality or injury due to train accidents despite travelling speeds between 240-320km/h (150-200mph).

On arrival in Odawara, transfer to the Hakone Ropeway as we ascend to Owakudani offering views of the surrounding area and weather-permitting, the majestic Mt. Fuji. After photo-stops, descend to Togendai where we will board a boat for a cruise on Lake Ashi offering regional views from another perspective. Following the cruise will be lunch at a local restaurant.

Fully replenished, depart for the Hakone Open Air Museum, which successfully creates a harmonic balance of nature and art by exhibiting various sculptures on its spacious grounds in combination with beautiful views of the surrounding valley and mountains. Besides the sculptures, the museum features various indoor galleries, including a sizable Picasso Collection, consisting of paintings, prints, sculptures and ceramic creations. You can also relax your tired feet in the hot spring foot bath! Re-board your coach for the short transfer to your hotel for check-in. (B,L,D)

Overnight: Hakone

Day 5 – Shinkansen (Bullet Train) Hakone > Kyoto

Today we leave Hakone and make our way to Kyoto, the former Capital of Japan. Transfer to Odawara Station to board the Shinkansen (bullet train). Before departing, your guide will assist you in purchasing a lunch box to have during your trip. On board, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride as you speed across the Japanese countryside. On arrival in Kyoto, you will be met on the platform by a new guide – our first stop will be the World Heritage Site Nijo Castle.

Originally built in 1679 by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu as a demonstration of their power & prestige, this was the residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns who ruled japan for over 260 years. The building though imposing is intricately decorated and inside is a collection of several Japanese art masterpieces.

Continue to the iconic Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Originally a retirement villa for the Shogun, it became a Zen Temple after his death according to his will. Depart the Golden Pavilion for Ryoanji’s Zen Rock Garden considered the best of its kind in Japan. Dating back to 1450, Ryoanji was also an aristocrats’ villa before it was converted to a Zen Temple. Ample time will be afforded in each venue to explore and soak in the almost spiritual atmosphere. The final stop will be your hotel for check-in. (B)

Note: Guide will not accompany the group on bullet train from Odawara to Kyoto. Guide will assist group to board in Odawara and a new guide will meet the group on the platform in Kyoto.

Overnight: Kyoto

Day 6 – Kyoto > Nara > Kyoto

We will spend today visiting and exploring a bit of another of Japan’s former capital Nara City.

After a scenic drive, arrive at Todaiji Temple, one of the country’s most famous and a landmark of Nara. Constructed in 752 it was the head of all Buddhist Temples in Japan. View the awe-inspiring 15m tall bronze statue of the seated buddha housed in the worlds’ largest wooden building. You will also encounter the famous Nara Deer who wander the park ‘begging’ for crackers sold there.

Continue to Nara’s most celebrated Shrine, Kasuga Taisha – dedicated to the deity responsible for protecting the city. The shrine is famous for its lanterns which have been donated by worshippers – hundreds of them can be found on buildings or lining the approach. You will also be afforded a visit inside the Main Sanctuary for a closer view of the inner buildings. Depart for a local restaurant for lunch.

Fully replenished, continue to the Kofukuji Temple and adjacent National Treasure Hall. Established in 710, Kofukuji was the family temple of the Fujiwara, the most powerful aristocratic clan in Nara. The temple grounds feature many historically significant buildings many of which have been designated National Treasures. The adjacent National Treasure Hall exhibits a huge collection of Buddhist art including the celebrated 3-faced, 6-armed Ashura Statue. After your visit, reboard your coach for the return trip to Kyoto. (B,L)

Overnight: Kyoto

Day 7 – Kyoto

You will have two options today either to enjoy Kyoto on your own or join the optional “Kimono and Tea Ceremony Tour”. (B)

Overnight: Kyoto

Optional tour:

Traditional Kimono & Tea Ceremony Tour – Approx 4 hours (depart either 9.00am or 1.00pm)

The guide will take you to Nishi-jin. The area is famous for its Nishi-jin-ori, or Nishi-jin silk weaving that is native to Kyoto. Today you will visit the old Machiya House that used to sell Kimono made from this fabric. Peek inside this typical Kyoto style house and learn why it was made in this way. In this Machiya house, you will enjoy wearing Kimono and tea tasting. During the Kimono Experience, the staff will explain the history of Kimono and the house.

Then, you will be transferred to Gion, the famous Geisha district to feel the atmosphere while walking around this traditional area. At the end of the tour, your guide can take you back to your accommodation or leave you to keep enjoying yourself if you prefer.

Day 8 – Kyoto

Today is the final day in the amazing land of the rising sun. Check-out and board your transport to the airport as you reminisce on this most exquisite past week – experiences which will remain with you forever! (B)

Tour Inclusions

  • 7 nights’ superior hotel accommodation
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Bullet train transfers from Tokyo to Hakone and Hakone to Kyoto
  • Airport transfer in Tokyo on Day 1
  • Airport transfer in Kyoto on Day 8
  • Tours/entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Porterage in Tokyo and Kyoto
  • Luggage delivery from Tokyo to Kyoto

TOTAL PRICE per person (Twin Share) from AUD 8,835 | USD 6,405 | GBP 4,920 | EUR 5,460

Single traveller pricing available on request.

**Public Holiday Surcharges apply

Contact us or your preferred travel advisor for a quote