Ddeparture 11 - 27 November and 18 November - 04 December 2017
- Return economy class flights from Australia to Japan. Taxes included
- 5 rail journeys in Japan
- Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour (if using group tour flights only)
- All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
- 12 nights in good quality hotels (3-4 star)
- 2 nights in a traditional ryokan guesthouse including a typical Japanese onsen (hot springs) bath followed by a Japanese dinner party while dressed in traditional yukatas
- 14 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners
- English-speaking locally based national guide throughout
Enjoy 3 nights in Tokyo with ample time to explore one of the world's liveliest cities
- Early morning tour of Tsukiji Fish Market and sushi making experience including lunch.
- Visit Akihabara electric town and stroll through Ginza District.
- City tour of Tokyo including Edo Museum, Asakusa Kannon Temple, Nakamise shopping arcade, Sumo Museum.
- Witness a sumo demonstration and enjoy a typical sumo meal.
- Witness Shinjuku by night on a walking tour.
- Stroll through Hamarikyu Garden, a typical feudal lord garden from the Edo Period and one of the best spots in Tokyo from which to view Hanami.
DAY 1. DEPART AUSTRALIA
DAY 2. ARRIVE IN TOKYO
Welcome to Tokyo, Japan's dazzling capital city. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or begin exploring.
DAY 3. TOKYO
Special Experience: Begin the day at Tokyo's famous Tsukiji Fish Market, one of the world's largest wholesale markets for fish, fruit and vegetables. We learn the age-old culinary art of making sushi (which we'll get to enjoy once we've finished).
This afternoon we visit the Akihabara 'Electric Town' and take a stroll through the shopping district of Ginza, home to iconic fashion houses and luxury shops. This evening share a Japanese-style group welcome dinner. [B,L,D]
DAY 4. TOKYO
An exciting day exploring one of the world's largest and most cosmopolitan cities. Our sightseeing includes the Edo Museum and the Asakusa Kannon Temple, where the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy is enshrined. We continue to Nakamise, and the famous Sumo Museum, dedicated to Japan's national sport.
Special Experience: Enjoy a sumo wrestling demonstration by retired athletes over a traditional Chanko-nabe (hot pot) lunch.
This evening we'll experience the neon lights and hustle and bustle of the Shinjuku District. [B,L]
DAY 5. TOKYO - HAKONE
We begin our morning with a stroll through the beautiful Hamarikyu Garden. This landscaped garden is surrounded by a seawater moat and has been remodelled based on the 17th century villa of the Shogun Tokugawa family. Then we visit the famous shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. We continue to the Great Buddha (Koutokuin) before travelling in the early afternoon to Hakone. [B,D]
Special Experience: For the next two nights we stay in an authentic ryokan guesthouse. We'll have the chance to bathe in natural onsen (hot springs) and enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner.
DAY 6. MT FUJI
A highlight of any trip to Japan is a visit to majestic and iconic Mt Fuji! At approximately 3,776 metres it is Japan's highest mountain. Now a dormant volcano, Mt Fuji, or Fujiyama as it is known locally, can be seen on a clear day from Tokyo. We stop at the fifth station (weather permitting) to take in the stunning views of the surrounding area. Later we'll ride a gondola and enjoy magnificent vistas of the volcanic Hakone Mountains and Mt Fuji, as well as the Sagami Bay. [B,D]
DAY 7. HAKONE - TAKAYAMA
We travel by rail to the historic town of Takayama and explore the narrow, traditional streets on foot. We visit the Takayama Jinya, a former government outpost established to bring the Hida Province under the direct control of the Shogunate. [B]
DAY 8. TAKAYAMA
We wander through the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago with its famous gasshō-zukuri ('like hands in prayer') thatched roofs, designed to withstand the massive snowfalls of winter. This afternoon we discover the traditional art of Japanese rice paper-making in Gokayama. Rice paper, or Washi, is commonly used in the traditional paper-folding art of Origami, practiced in Japan since the early 1600s. [B]
DAY 9. TAKAYAMA - HIROSHIMA
Early this morning we'll visit a local market before continuing our rail journey to Hiroshima, via Nagoya. Hiroshima is a city with great historical significance, forever remembered as the site of impact from the world's first atomic-bomb, where so much devastation occurred. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure in this naturally beautiful city. [B]
DAY 10. HIROSHIMA
This morning we cruise out to tranquil Miyajima Island and see the giant Itsukushima Torii Gate which seems to float on top of the water at high tide. Renowned for being a World Cultural Heritage site today, Miyajima is an island where it is believed that people and gods dwell together. Since ancient times, the island itself has been worshipped as a god and this belief has been passed down from generation to generation. We return to Hiroshima for lunch. This afternoon we'll visit the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome and the very moving Peace Memorial Museum, commemorating the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. [B,L]
DAY 11. HIROSHIMA - KYOTO
Travelling by bullet train, we make our way to historic Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital. Here we visit the stunning Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). The temple's top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf and the pavilion is set amongst beautiful gardens. [B]
DAY 12. NARA
We travel to Nara and visit the beautiful Tōdaiji (Great Eastern) Temple. We'll then stop at the famous Deer Park, where more than 1,000 deer roam free. This afternoon we'll see one of Japan's most celebrated temples, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kiyomizu-dera. Founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, it derives its name from the fall's pure waters. [B]
DAY 13. KYOTO
Today we discover the art behind Japan's unique crafts and culinary delights! [B]
Special Experience: Enjoy a variety of local activities including sake brewing & tasting, and a chance to dress in a kimono. Then witness a traditional dance performance by Maiko (Geiko^ apprentices).
^Geiko is the term for Geisha in Kyoto.
DAY 14. KYOTO - MT HIEI - OSAKA
We experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony before visiting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Buddhist sanctuary of Enryaku-ji Temple. Located on the sacred mountain of Mt Hiei, it offers beautiful views over Kansai. Here we'll enjoy a traditional Buddhist lunch. This afternoon we make our way to Osaka, stopping at the Umeda Sky Building (Floating Garden) for scenic views over the central city. [B,L]
DAY 15. OSAKA
We travel by bullet train to visit Himeji Castle. Japan's largest and most-visited castle, it is regarded as the finest surviving example of Japanese castle architecture. We'll then venture into Osaka's Dōtonbori District in the early evening to take in its famous lights and thriving food scene. Tonight we'll enjoy a Japanese-style group farewell dinner. [B,D]
DAY 16. DEPART OSAKA
Today we begin our journey home. [B]
DAY 17. ARRIVE IN AUSTRALIA