Our Insider Experience
- Relax in Hamarikyu Garden as you sample matcha (green tea) and enjoy a Japanese sweet.
- Wander through the Omiya Bonsai Village, and see the art of bonsai at the multiple nurseries and private gardens.
- Visit Daitokuji Temple complex to experience the Zen culture and architecture.
- Explore Kurashiki to see the storehouses which once stored rice and have now been converted into museums and cafés.
Day 1: Tokyo
On arrival in Tokyo, transfer to your hotel and enjoy free time until your tour briefing. Stay three nights at Villa Fontaine Shiodome (or similar)
Day 2: Tokyo
Using Tokyo’s efficient public transportion, spend the day discovering the city’s highlights. Visit one of Tokyo’s liveliest districts, Asakusa and discover colourful Sensoji Temple. Board a boat to cruise on Tokyo’s Sumida River past the headquarters of some famous Japanese companies. Stroll through Hamarikyu Garden and sample matcha (green tea) accompanied by a Japanese sweet in the Floating Garden Pavilion. (B)
Day 3: Tokyo – Omiya Bonsai Village
Take a short train ride to Omiya Bonsai Village, home to multiple bonsai nurseries and gardens. Learn the art of bonsai and view 1,000-year-old bonsai trees at the Bonsai Art Museum. Dedicated to the Shinto god of the sea and storms, visit Hikawa Shrine rumoured to be over 2,000 years old. Return to visit Tokyo’s most famous Shinto shrine, Meiji Jingu before wandering the tree-lined avenue of Omotesando. (B)
Day 4: Tokyo to Kanazawa
Travel by train to Kanazawa. On the way, enjoy a bento box lunch. See Tersahima Kurando House, home of a middle-rank samurai during the Edo period. Stroll through Kenrokuen Garden, the most famous landscaped garden in the city. Visit DT Suzuki Museum with its buildings and gardens based on Zen philosophy. Return for an evening at leisure. Stay the next two nights at Kanazawa Manten Hotel (or similar). (BL)
Day 5: Kanazawa
Enjoy a day at leisure to further explore Kanazawa. Or, choose to join a day tour to Shirakawago with its unique ‘gassho’ style buildings, and Takayama’s quiet streets and old-world ambience. (B)
Day 6: Kanazawa to Kyoto
Board the train to Kyoto. In the afternoon, visit the mountain complex of Fushimi Inari Shrine. Walk through the thousands of vermilion coloured torii which line kilometres of mountain paths. Stay the next three nights at Hotel Centnovum Kyoto (or similar). (B)
Day 7: Kyoto
Discover Kyoto’s highlights on a walking tour. Begin at Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple, Kenninji Temple then continue on to Yasaka Shrine, one of the most famous in Kyoto. Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony and learn about the philosophy and art of serving tea. Wander the shophouses Ninenzaka before visiting Kodaiji Temple with its lavish buildings and beautiful gardens. (B)
Day 8: Kyoto
In the morning visit Kyoto’s lesser known temples and Zen gardens at Daitokuji Temple complex. Visit atmospheric Koto-in known for its maple trees, Ryogen-in with the world’s smallest Zen garden and Zuiho-in’s dry landscapes. Afternoon at leisure to explore the city. (B)
Day 9: Kyoto to Okayama
Take the train to Okayama. Visit Korakuen, one of Japan’s best landscaped gardens, featuring streams, paths and spacious lawns which are a unique feature. Located across the river from the gardens, continue to the six storey Okayama Castle or ‘Crow Castle’ for its black exterior. Remainder of the day at leisure. Stay the next two nights at Hotel Mitsui Garden Hotel Okayama (or similar). (B)
Day 10: Okayama
Visit Kurashiki, a preserved canal town. Enjoy strolling along the historic tree-lined streets or spend some time in the many art museums. You may choose to take an optional boat ride along the canals before returning to Okayama for an evening at leisure. (B)
Day 11: Okayama to Osaka
From Okayama, travel by train to Osaka and enjoy free time on arrival. In the afternoon, visit Osaka Castle to learn about its turbulent history. Board the Aqualiner and cruise along Okawa River to see the city from a unique perspective. Enjoy an evening at leisure. Stay the next two nights at Cross Hotel Osaka (or similar). (B)
Day 12: Osaka
Enjoy a free day in Osaka. Visit the fascinating Osaka Museum of Housing & Living or perhaps see the city from above at the 173-metre Umeda Sky Building. Enjoy a farewell group dinner in the Dotonbori Area. (B,D)
Day 13: Osaka
Transfer to Osaka Station or Kansai International Airport for your onward journey.
- 12 nights hotel accomodation
- 7 Day Rail Pass
- All high-speed train travel as specified in the itinerary
- Transport in air-conditioned vehicles
- Entrance fees
- Luggage Transport
- English speaking tour leader
- All tips on tour
- Meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch,D = dinner)
- Return transfers(conditions apply)
- Meals other than those specified
- Visa fees
- Insurance and personal expenses such as laundry, mini-bar, telephone and drinks.
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Specification: Splendours of Japan