13 DAYS ●
Journey across the Japanese Alps to the cultural centres of Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa on this extensive tour of Japan. You will of course see modern Tokyo and beautiful Mt Fuji as well as historical Kyoto and Nara.
Ascend Japan's iconic and inspirational highest mountain
Stop in amazement at the dramatic flair of the Matsumoto Castle
Explore this authentic Japanese city known as the 'thousand-year capital'
Meander through the 10,000 red torii gates of this stunning shrine
Fly overnight to the dazzling metropolis of Tokyo, Japan's capital city. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Tokyo is the ultimate 24-hour city, but look behind its busy, high-tech frontage and you'll find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore. Start today on the observation deck of the 634-metre Skytree, the world's tallest tower, before wandering through the old district of Asakusa, stopping at the Buddhist Sensoji Temple, Tokyo's oldest. Drive by the Imperial Palace Plaza and later stroll through the classical landscapes of Hamarikyu Garden. This evening, take a relaxed dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay for excellent city vistas.
Take the super-fast bullet train to Odawara. Enjoy a boat trip on Lake Ashi for spectacular panoramas of this beautiful area before venturing up the Komagatake Ropeway for amazing views back over the lake and Mt Fuji. Next, head up to the 5th Station at Mt Fuji (weather permitting) to take in the breathtaking views over the Fuji Five Lakes below.
This morning, drive 2 hours to Nagano to explore the formidable 16th century Matsumoto Castle. After lunch, stop at a Miso House to learn about the process of making this Japanese seasoning, before travelling further to Takayama, nestled high in the mountainous Hida region.
Takayama has an air of old world Japan, particularly around its wonderfully preserved old town. Browse the local handicrafts and fresh produce at the Miyagawa morning market, wander past some of the lovely traditional houses and visit several of the excellent local museums – Takayama Festival Floats Museum, Kusakabe Folk Museum and Takayama Jinya.
Get a glimpse of rural Japan at UNESCO-listed Shirakawago which is famous for its farmhouses built in the unique gassho-zukuri architectural style. Continue to Gokayama to experience washi paper making, then travel to Kanazawa and visit the Nomura Samurai House.
Meander through the beautiful Kenroku-en Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, before strolling down the traditional Higashi Chaya (Eastern Teahouse District), where you can get a feel for Japan's past and visit Ochaya Shima - a historical Geisha house. Transfer to Kyoto, the capital city of Japan until 1879.
Kyoto was capital for a thousand years; today it is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens. This morning, head to a restored Japanese wooden townhouse and try your hand at origami and enjoy the rituals of a tea ceremony. In the afternoon, visit Ryoanji Temple, which means 'temple of the peaceful dragon', and the famous Kinkakuji, a Zen temple known as the 'Golden Pavilion'.
Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, remarkable for its 10,000 torii (shrine gates). Later travel to Nara, a relaxed and charming town virtually untouched by the ravages of modernity. Home to many archetypal pieces of early art and architecture, you will stroll through Nara Park to Todaiji Temple, meeting the resident Sika deer en route, before exploring Isui-en Garden.
This morning, drive 2.5 hours to Koya-San, the centre of Shingon Buddhism. See Okunoin, Japan's largest cemetery and home to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, founder of Shingon Buddhism. Next, visit the Kongobuji Temple and Garan temple complex. This evening, transfer to Osaka for dinner and an overnight stay.
In the morning, visit Osaka Castle before taking a stroll around the Dotonbori district, a restaurant mecca, where you can sample delicious local delicacies. Next, enjoy a 20-minute cruise along the Yodogawa River. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure before a farewell dinner this evening.
Fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal.
Want to fly direct to your destination? Choose Manchester, Heathrow or Gatwick for the biggest selection of direct flights.
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A visa is not required to travel to Japan for British Citizen passport holders. Should you hold any other passport then please contact the Japanese Embassy for more information.
To call the UK the international access code is 0044. To call Wendy Wu Tours it is 00 44 207 403 7860. Emergency 24 hour telephone (out of office hours) is 0044 1888 288 288. Mobile Phones Mobile phones are growing in popularity and you will find high quality coverage. There are active roaming agreements with all phone carriers; however SMS and call rates can be expensive. We recommend that you contact your mobile supplier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated costs before you leave the UK. Most hotels have Wi-Fi, which may come at a cost.
Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure. In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs. We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity.
The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is a combination of local and western food, served buffet style. As is traditional, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine, placed on the table for everyone to share a speciality dishes. The amount served is more than ample for the group. We aim to cater to the tastes of all and the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste. Drinks will be at each tour members’ expense and paid for at the end of each meal. Beer is widely available. Western style wine is not widely available. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are widely available.
We draw from a wide range of hotels on our holidays, each one is chosen to suit the tour you are travelling on meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. Here are some examples of the type of hotel you can expect to find on this tour.
The Sunshine Prince is located in Sunshine City, a shopping and entertainment hub of Tokyo and close to Ikebukuro Station, providing convenient transport links to the rest of the city. The hotel’s en-suite rooms are simple, comfortable and traditionally furnished with a television, electric kettle, a mini fridge and a safety deposit box. Facilities in the hotel include onsite restaurants serving Japanese, Cantonese and Western cuisines, a café and bar and a 24 hour convenience store....Read more
The Ryu Resort allows guests to appreciate the natural scenery of the area. Facilities include a swimming pool, tennis courts, a bar and a relaxing onsen. Each of its Japanese-western style rooms have an ensuite bathroom, tea making facilities and a satellite TV. There are three on site restaurants serving excellent local cuisine....Read more
Conveniently located next to Kanazawa Station, the Kanazawa Miyako offers modern air conditioned rooms with tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV. The hotel has two on site restaurants serving a mixture of French and local cuisine. Other facilities include a bar and lounge, a convenience store and free internet access in the hotel lobby....Read more
Located in the downtown area of Kyoto, the Karasuma hotel has good access to the popular sightseeing spots. The stylish, simple rooms all have ensuite bathrooms and free internet access. The bar offers a menu of seasonal cocktails and guests can dine at the hotel’s two restaurants serving Japanese and Chinese cuisine....Read more
Hotel Granvia is conveniently located next to Wakayama train station. The 134 modern guest rooms are sound proofed and feature air conditioning, free WiFi and flat-screen TVs. The hotel has a bar/lounge, a coffee shop and two restaurants, where guests can feast on delicious dishes made with seasonal local products....Read more
The hotel boasts a central location in the city. It has four restaurants, offering a mixture of western and Japanese cuisine, a café and a bar. Other hotel facilities include a gift shop, a hair salon, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. All guest rooms are air conditioned and feature a TV, electric kettle and a mini fridge. Wifi access is available throughout the hotel....Read more
At Wendy Wu Tours we are all avid adventurers, constantly seeking out the best ways for you to experience Asia. That's why we are Asia experts and the UK's leading Asia tour operator - our customer reviews and numerous awards say it all. This website is all about showcasing both Asia's top sights and its magnificent hidden gems; about the plethora of different types of authentic and exciting experiences that we can offer you; and about giving you the very best holiday, whether it's your first visit or your 10th. Wendy Wu and the team look forward to welcoming you to Asia soon!
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