Japan-Shades of Japan

Shades of Japan

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 11 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 – Tokyo

Arrive at Narita Airport where you will be welcomed by an English speaking assistant who will help you transfer to your hotel by shared minivan. The rest of the day is at leisure with no organised activities. Overnight at the Park Hotel Tokyo or similar.

Day 2 - Tokyo

After breakfast we begin our exploration of Tokyo with our guide, using the city’s public transport systems, and taking lunch in a local restaurant. This full day tour will include visits to the Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace Plaza, the Tokyo Tower, Hama-rikyu Garden, Asakusa Kannon Temple, the Nakamise Shopping District and a relaxing cruise on the Sumida River. This is a great introduction to the diversity of one of the world’s busiest cities. Overnight at the Park Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 3 – Tokyo

Today we continue our exploration of this vibrant city calling into the Tsukiji Fish Market and discovering the districts of Ueno, Yanesen and Kagurazaka. Once again we will use public transport to navigate the city with our guide, and take lunch in a local restaurant. Overnight at the Park Hotel Tokyo or similar (BL)

Day 4-  Hakone- Onsen- Ryokan stay
After breakfast our guide will meet us at the hotel for the transfer by public transport to Shinjuku station, to board the train for Hakone. On arrival we will enjoy the Open Air Museum, take the 30 minute Ropeway cable car ride, observe the volcanic splendour of Owakudani Valley and drink in the views of Mount Fuji from a cruise on Lake Ashi. We will then retire to a local restaurant for lunch. The afternoon provides the opportunity for a soak in one of the many onsen for which Hakone is famous, before retiring to your ryokan and dinner. Overnight at Ryokan Kajikaso (BLD)

Please note: Your luggage will be transferred separately from Tokyo to Kyoto today with a limit of 1 bag per person- you should pack a separate bag for your overnight stay in Hakone.

Day 5 – Kyoto- Arashiyama- Sagano Bamboo Grove

We leave our hotel after breakfast and transfer to Odawara train station by private vehicle, where we will be helped by our driver to board the 1008 JR Shinkansen high-speed train (also known as Bullet Trains), for Kyoto. Travelling in tourist class at speeds of up to 200mph we will arrive in Kyoto at 12:11 where our guide will be waiting. A short walk will take us to the hotel which is opposite the station, after which we continue to a local restaurant for lunch. This afternoon we will take a local train to the picturesque town of Arashiyama; once there we will begin a walking tour, crossing Togetsukyo Bridge, and continuing to Tenryuji Temple and the adjoining and ethereal Sagano Bamboo Grove, before returning to Kyoto. Overnight at New
Miyako Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 6 – Kyoto

Our guide will lead us on a tour to discover some of the many sites of Kyoto including Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple, Nishiki Food Market, Kyoto Imperial Palace, and Sanjusangendo Temple, as well as a walk through the Gion district. Lunch will be in a local restaurant. Overnight at New Miyako Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 7 – Nara- Omiwa Shrine and Sake Tasting- Minshuku Homestay, Asuka
After breakfast leave Kyoto by local train for the 35 min journey to Nara; once there we catch a local bus for Todaiji Temple, Nara Deer Park and the Naramachi District. After lunch in a local restaurant a local train will take us to Miwa where we will discover the Omiwa shrine on a walking tour. One of Japan's oldest shrines, legend has it that a white snake is one of the gods protecting and residing in the mountainside. The sweet aroma of the Japanese cedar trees from the forest surrounding the Shrine is wonderful. We then visit the local Imanishi Sake brewery and have the opportunity to sample, and buy, Sake from Japan's longest continuously operating Sake maker. Leave Miwa for Asuka, the birthplace of Imperial rule, and transfer to your minshuku for the night, where a traditional Japanese dinner will be served. Overnight at the Minshuku Kitamura or similar, sleeping on a futon, with shared bathroom facilities. (BLD)

Please note: You should pack a small bag with the items you will need for the night in the minshuku.

Day 8 –Asuka - Kyoto
After breakfast we will learn how to prepare a traditional Japanese lunch box with our host, followed by a tour of Asuka, the birthplace of Imperial rule. Using electric bikes we will visit the Ishibutai Kofun Burial Mound and the Oka-dera Temple, and cycle through the rice terraces if time permits. A local train ride carries us back to Kyoto. Overnight at New Miyako Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 9– Hiroshima

We transfer to Kyoto station after breakfast where we will be helped to board the JR Shinkansen highspeed train (tourist class seat) to Hiroshima. On arrival we will meet our guide and travel to Miyajima Island, one of the most scenic spots in Japan, for a day exploring the island. We will take the ferry across to the island, passing the orange “floating gate” of the Itsukushima Shrine. On reaching the island we will visit the shrine, the Miyajima Ropeway and Mount Misen, and take lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Hiroshima. Overnight at the New Hiroden Hotel, or similar (BL)

Please note: Your luggage will be transferred separately from Kyoto to Tokyo with a limit of 1 bag per person- you should pack a separate bag for your overnight stay in Hiroshima.

Day 10 – Hiroshima and Tokyo

This morning we will explore Hiroshima on a half day city tour using public transport. You will visit the Peace Memorial Museum, the Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome. We will have lunch in a nearby restaurant before we leave Hiroshima for Tokyo by JR Shinkansen high-speed train. On arrival we will transfer to our hotel by taxi with the help of an English speaking assistant. Overnight at the Park Hotel or
similar (BL)

Day 11 – Tour ends

Breakfast will be in the hotel and you will transfer to Narita Airport by shared minivan to catch your international flights.