Trails of Japan


Traditional versus modern, nature versus urban – Japan is a land of contrasts. This exhilarating tour encompasses it all, delving deeper into Japan's rich past, present and future, covering robot restaurants to tranquil temples to potent saké and all that's in-between

tour duration 13 Days from
tour price 4,890pp
tour type Group Tour

Places Visited

UK - Tokyo (3N) - Mt Fuji (1N) - Nagano (1N) - Yudanaka - Takayama (1N) - Kyoto (2N) - Koya (1N) - Himeji - Osaka (2N) - UK

Tour Highlights

Experience the wacky Robot Restaurant in buzzing Shinjuku
Take a traditional Taiko drumming class in Tokyo
Hike around stunning Mount Fuji's base
Meet the adorable Snow Monkeys in Yudanaka
Explore the sacred town of Koya-san and stay overnight in a temple
Taste authentic Japanese saké at a local brewery

Days 1-2 Fly to Tokyo
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.
Days 1-2 Fly to Tokyo
Day 3 Discover Tokyo
Today you will explore the two sides of Tokyo, the modern and the traditional. The city tour begins at the Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower at 634 metres. From the top, on a clear day, you may catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji. Close by is Asakusa, at the heart of which is Senso-ji, Tokyo’s oldest temple, and the vibrant Nakamise shopping street. This afternoon includes a stop at the famous Shibuya road crossing, the tranquil Meiji Shrine and the vibrant district of Harajuku. Finally, it’s time for a uniquely Tokyo experience – the Robot Restaurant. Here you’ll experience what can only be described as a sci-fi cabaret – utterly surreal and only in Japan! Dinner is at leisure. (B)
Day 3 Discover Tokyo
Day 4 Japanese Drumming
This morning, try your hand at traditional Japanese drumming with a Taiko class, where you will learn the fundamental techniques of beating the ‘wadaiko’ with ‘bachi’. Next, head to the district of Akihabara, Tokyo’s electronics district. Wander the neon-bill-boarded streets and visit a Maid Café, one of Tokyo’s most popular types of themed establishments. This afternoon, explore Tokyo’s past at the Edo Tokyo Museum. (B)
Day 4 Japanese Drumming
Day 5 Mount Fuji
The perfectly symmetrical cone of mighty Mount Fuji is the iconic image of Japan – this morning you will journey out of Tokyo into some of Japan’s beautiful rurality at the foot of the mountain. Pick up a hiking trail and tramp through alpine forest, across meadows and around lakes at the Fuji’s base, pausing often to gaze on the peak towering above you. (B,D)
Day 5 Mount Fuji
Day 6 Lake Ashi
This morning, take to the calm waters of Lake Ashi. Surrounded by beautiful alpine scenery, keep an eye out for Mount Fuji peeking over the surrounding hills, and the striking vermillion red of torii gates around the lake edge. Later travel to Matsumoto and explore the magnificent Matsumoto Castle, also known as ‘Crow Castle’ due to its black exterior. Continue to Nagano. (B)
Day 6 Lake Ashi
Day 7 Snow Monkeys
Travel to Yudanaka to visit the Japanese Macaques, or snow monkeys, at the Jigokudani Yaen-Koen (Monkey Park). These creatures are unique in the fact that they make use of the area’s natural hot springs, bathing and playing in and around the water. Continue to Hodaka and ride up into the Japanese Alps on the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway, reaching an observation platform at 2,156 metres, which gives breathtaking views over the surrounding mountains (weather permitting). Drive to Takayama where you will be staying at an onsen. Here you can relax and bathe in the natural hot spring pools and experience this most traditional pastime. (B,D)
Day 7 Snow Monkeys
Day 8 Bullet Train to Kyoto
Take a Limited Express train to Nagoya, where you’ll change onto a Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto. This afternoon, start discovering Kyoto’s rich heritage with a visit to the enchanting Fushimi Inari Taisha with its pathway of vermillion torii gates before admiring the views over the city from Kiyomizu Temple. Stroll around the old neighbourhoods of Higashiyama and Gion, the geisha district, with a stop at Gion Corner, that showcases the seven professional performing arts. (B)
Day 8 Bullet Train to Kyoto
Day 9 Japanese Tea Ceremony
Today is a full day tour of Kyoto, starting at Kinkaku-ji, the ‘Golden Pavilion’, before contemplating Zen at Ryoan-ji, Japan’s most famous classical garden. Next you’ll have some free time in the Arashiyama district where you can explore by bicycle – the Bamboo Forest should not be missed. Later in the afternoon, witness the rituals involved in the preparation and pouring of matcha tea in a traditional tea ceremony. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)
Day 9 Japanese Tea Ceremony
Day 10 Kyoto and Koyasan
Spend the morning exploring the craft of kimono creation at Nishijin Textile Centre, before a cultural experience that will see you learning the paperfolding art of origami and the complicated process of dressing in a traditional kimono. This afternoon, travel by road to Koyasan, where you will spend the night in a 13th-century temple in a traditional tatami room. (B,D)
Day 10 Kyoto and Koyasan
Day 11 Koyasan Monks
Rise early to join the monks for their daily morning service – hearing the recitation and chanting is a magical experience. After breakfast, take a walking tour of Koyasan. One of Japan’s holiest sights, this mountain top sanctuary is full of temples and pagodas to explore. Pay a visit to Kongobu-ji and Okunoin before travelling to Osaka. (B)
Day 11 Koyasan Monks
Day 12 Sake Brewery & Himeji
Take a day tour to Himeji, visiting the 17th-century Himeji Castle which is considered a prime example of Japanese feudal period architecture. Continue on to a sake brewery, where you can learn about the brewing process of this potent rice wine and enjoy some tasters. Return to Osaka and experience the bright and brash Dotonbori district. (B)
Day 12 Sake Brewery & Himeji
Day 13 Fly Osaka to UK
Transfer to the airport and fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day. (B)
Day 13 Fly Osaka to UK

Also Available

Private Departures for this tour

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 Departure would be more ideal. Based on exactly the same itinerary as the group tour, our Private Departures give you the freedom to choose your own departure date and simply enjoy your holiday with your family, your partner, or your friends. On Private Departures your tour will be led by an English speaking local guides in each destination

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 9884 888 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

15-May > 27-May - £4,990 BOOK NOW
18-Sep > 30-Sep - £4,990 BOOK NOW
20-Nov > 02-Dec - £4,890 BOOK NOW

Additional Price Information:

Based on London Heathrow departures
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only from £4,190 (Tokyo - Osaka)
Single Supplement from £840

19-Mar > 31-Mar - £5,690 BOOK NOW
22-Mar > 03-Apr - £5,690 BOOK NOW
26-Mar > 07-Apr - £5,690 BOOK NOW
29-Mar > 10-Apr - £5,690 BOOK NOW
17-May > 29-May - £5,590 BOOK NOW
10-Sep > 22-Sep - £5,590 BOOK NOW
15-Nov > 27-Nov - £5,490 BOOK NOW

Additional Price Information:

Based on London Heathrow departures
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only from £4,190 (Tokyo - Osaka)
Single Supplement from £840

Wendy Wu Tours, inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. If the hotels details below for your tour are not available, hotels of a similar standard will be used.

Tokyo Sunshine Prince
Tokyo Sunshine Prince - Tokyo (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Hamayou Resort
Hamayou Resort - Hakone/Mt Fuji (1 Nights)
hotel star rating

A haven of rest and peace, the Hamayou Resort offers spectacular views of the lake with impressive Mount Fuji in the background. The light and bright Japanese-western style rooms are furnished with both standard beds and Japanese tatami mat relaxation areas. The resort features a restaurant, a café and an onsen for guests to relax in.



Ryu Resort Takayama
Ryu Resort Takayama - Takayama (1 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Karasuma Kyoto Hotel
Karasuma Kyoto Hotel - Kyoto (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Hotel Plaza
Hotel Plaza - Osaka (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Hong Kong Glimpses

Hong Kong Glimpses

tour duration 3 Days from tour price 240pp
Hong Kong in Focus

Hong Kong in Focus

tour duration 4 Days from tour price 420pp
Hiroshima Extension

Hiroshima Extension

tour duration 3 Days from tour price 860pp

A Visa is not required for Japan.

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. To call the UK the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 44, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. To call Wendy Wu Tours it is 00 44 207 403 7860. Emergency 24 hour telephone (out of office hours) is 00 44 7984 041 625.
 
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.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and Japan is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

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 we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is a combination of local and western food, usually served buffet style at the hotel you are staying in. Lunches and dinners consist of traditional cuisine and are served at reputable local restaurants. As is traditional in this region, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on the table for everyone to share so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Drinks will be at each tour members’ own expense and paid for at the end of each meal. Beer is widely available and cheap. Western style wine is very expensive to import and is not widely available except at upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice or fruit juices from a trusted restaurant, where they will use boiled or bottled water.

What's Included

International flights and current taxes
Domestic transportation
Accommodation
Meals as stated
Touring with guides and entrance fees

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