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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.
Our Discover Japan tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine.
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
Our Discover Japan Tour has been thoughtfully designed and thoroughly researched to bring you a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, many of which are entirely exclusive to us.
Discover the traditional process of paper making before getting your hands dirty making 'washi' (Japanese paper) the age-old way.
Join a dedicated craftsperson in a small workshop to learn all about the lovely and intricate art of gold leaf making, discover what the gold leaf is then used for and have a go at doing it yourself!
Learn all about the traditional production of an essential element of Japanese cooking, the fermented soybean paste 'miso', at an old wooden miso house.
This adventure is ideal for travellers with a reasonable amount of time to spend and who want to see the very best bits of Japan. We have designed the tour to make the most of the time available to showcase the key highlights of Japan and have incorporated travel by road to give the opportunity to see the beautiful Japanese countryside.
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 frantic, high-tech frontage and you will find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore. Begin at the observation deck of the 634-metre Skytree,, the world's tallest tower, before wandering through the old district of Asakusa. Stop to seek out the tranquility of the ancient Buddhist Sensoji Temple, Tokyo's oldest. Next, drive by the Imperial Palace Plaza and later stroll through the classical landscapes of Hamarikyu Gardens. 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. Next, ascend over 2,000 metres up Mount Fuji to the 5th Station, (weather permitting) and take in the breathtaking views over the Fuji Five Lakes area below.
Transfer to Matsumoto and explore the formidable 16th-century Matsumoto Castle. Stop at a Miso House to learn about the process of making this famous Japanese seasoning. Travel on to Takayama, nestled high in the mountainous Hida region, also known as the Japanese Alps.
Browse the local handicrafts and fresh produce at the Miyagawa morning market and wander past some of the lovely traditional houses. You'll also visit several of the excellent local museums – including the Festival Floats Museum, Kusakabe Folk Crafts Museum and Takayama Jinya. Also enjoy some free time in Kamisannomachi Street.
Get a glimpse of rural Japan at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shirakawago which is famous for its farmhouses built in the unique gassho-zukuri architectural style. Continue to Gokayama to have a go at washi paper making, then travel to Kanazawa and meander through the beautiful Kenrokuen Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.
Begin the day learning the process of making gold leaf. Next, stroll through traditional Higashi Chaya (Eastern Teahouse District), visiting Ochaya Shima – a historical geisha house. Later, journey to Kyoto. Capital for 1,000 years, until 1879, today Kyoto is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens.
Start the day with a visit to Ryoanji, the 'temple of the peaceful dragon' and the famous Kinkakuji, also known as the 'Golden Pavilion'. In the afternoon, head to a restored Japanese wooden townhouse and try your hand at origami and enjoy the age-old rituals of a tea ceremony with a tea master.
Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, remarkable for its 10,000 vermilion torii gates. Continue to Nara, a relaxed and charming town virtually untouched by the ravages of modernity. Home to many archetypal pieces of early art and architecture, stroll through Nara Park to Todaiji Temple, meeting the resident sika deer en-route, before exploring Isuien Garden.
The holy mountain of Koyasan is home to over 100 monasteries nestled in a valley enclosed by peaks said to resemble a lotus flower. Arguably the most sacred mountain in all of Japan, Koyasan is the heart of Shingon Buddhism and the resting place of Japan's best known Buddhist, known as both Kukai and Kobo Daishi. Wander around Okunoin – a vast cemetery of 200,000 stupas and enjoy the tranquillity and spectacular views as you discover Kongobuji Temple and the Garan Temple Complex. Later, continue to Osaka.
Begin the day exploring Osaka Castle, which is one of Japan's most famous. Next, take a short cruise along the Yodogawa River and stroll through Dotonbori, a restaurant mecca, where you can sample the local delicacies for lunch. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore this fascinating city.
Fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day
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.
Boasting beautiful views of Suwa Lake, the Rako Hananoi Hotel offers ensuite guest rooms equipped with free Wifi, a flat screen TV and a mini fridge. The hotel features relaxing spa and wellness facilities including a hot spring bath and sauna.
Located just a short distance from the beautifully traditional village of Shirakawago, the 4-star Yuinosho Hotel provides guests rooms with wonderful mountain views. The hotel features spa and wellness facilities including a sauna and hot spring bath.
Close to Kanazawa Train Station, Hotel Kanazawa is conveniently located and offers guests modern accommodation with a choice of dining options. Pico restaurant serves Western dishes while Japanese cuisine can be found at Kitano Shoya restaurant.
Located near the hub of transportation Kyoto station and many of Kyoto's top attractions, the Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto is in a great location for exploring this beautiful city. It's contemporary guest rooms are complete with Japanese touches and ensuite bathrooms. The hotel features many facilities, including six restaurants, a luxurious bar, a heated indoor pool, and a fitness gym.
The 4-star Piazza Hotel Nara is located within walking distance of many of Nara's tourist attractions, including the national treasure Nara Park. All rooms are air conditioned and include a flat screen TV, ensuite bathroom and free WiFi.
In the heart of Osaka, the Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka provides modern guest rooms with air conditioning, a flat screen TV and free WiFi. The hotel features a fitness centre and an impressive 20 dining options, offering a variety of cuisines from French to traditional Japanese.
The best time to visit Japan is during spring (March to May) when the cherry blossoms are bursting into life and autumn (September to November) when the scenery is ablaze with colour.
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. If your tour departs in less than 30 days, please call our travel experts to book.
Solo only departures are available for this tour on selected dates. These departures feature smaller group sizes, free chauffeur transfers in the UK, free airport lounge access and complimentary cocktails on arrival. Currently these departures are Call to Book.
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There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.
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