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. 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 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 Tokyo or similar (BL)

Day 3 – Tokyo

Today we continue our exploration of this vibrant city visiting the districts of Ueno, Yanesen and Kagurazaka. Once again we will use public transport to navigate the city with our guide. Overnight at the Park Hotel Tokyo or similar (BL)

Day 4- Mount Fuji- Hakone

Today we depart Tokyo by private vehicle to travel to iconic Mount Fuji; we will stop at the Visitors Centre and take a shuttle bus to the popular sightseeing spot at the Fifth station. From here we continue to Hakone; we will take a boat ride on Lake Ashi which affords wonderful views of Mount Fuji, before retiring to a local restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the many Onsen found in Hakone. Overnight at Prince Hakone Hotel Lake Ashinoko or similar. (BL) 

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

We leave our hotel after breakfast and transfer to Odawara train station, where we board one of the famous JR Shinkansen high-speed trains (also known as the Bullet Trains), to travel to Kyoto. Our guide will accompany us on the journey as we travel in tourist class at speeds of up to 200mph. We arrive in Kyoto at 12:11 and walk to the hotel before taking lunch at a local restaurant. 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 Sagano Bamboo Grove. Overnight at New Miyako Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 6 – Kyoto

Our guide will lead us on a tour to discover 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. We will have lunch in a local restaurant. Overnight at New Miyako Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 7 – Farm Homestay, Asuka

After breakfast we take the Kintetsu Limited Express Train to Kashihara Jingu (Tourist Class). The journey takes about 1 hour 25 minutes. Asuka was the birthplace of Imperial rule and on arrival we will visit the Rice Terraces, Ishibutai Kofun Burial Mound and the Oka-dera Temple before having lunch at a nearby restaurant. This afternoon we head to the farm where we will be staying the night with a local family. You will be shown how to cook like a local during a demonstration of Japanese home cooking by the family as they prepare dinner. Overnight at the Minshuka Homestay in Asuka or similar. (Japanese Room with futon – shared bathroom facilities). (BLD)

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

Day 8 –Nara - Kyoto

After breakfast at the homestay we will transfer to the Kashihara Jingu Station by taxi. A short ride takes us to Miwa station where we will take a walking tour of the Omiwa shrine, which protects Mount Miwa. 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. After lunch we set off again by public transport to Nara and to the Todaiji Temple, Nara Deer Park, Kofukuji Temple and the Naramachi District. A half hour train ride then takes us back to Kyoto for the evening. Overnight at the New Miyako Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 9– Hiroshima

We transfer to Kyoto station after breakfast to take the JR Shinkansen high-speed train (tourist class seat) to Hiroshima. On arrival, we will travel to Miyajima via public transport with our guide. Miyajima Island is one of the most scenic spots in Japan and 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. Overnight at the New Hiroden Hotel, Hiroshima 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 Fukuoka

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. 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.