13 DAYS ●
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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
Experience the wacky Robot Restaurant in this buzzing ward of Tokyo
Watch a exhilarating Sumo Wrestling Tournament (on selected dates)
Hike around the base of Japan's stunning highest mountain
Meet the adorable Snow Monkeys in their natural habitat
Our Trails of Japan itinerary has been intricately designed for those who wish to see iconic sites and magnificent treasures. You'll travel with the assurance that all your arrangements are taken care of, with international flights, accommodation and all the touring listed below. You will be accompanied by our industry-leading National Escorts whose unparalleled knowledge and talent will turn your tour into an unforgettable experience.
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.
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. 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! Dinner is at leisure. (B)
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 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)For May and September departures, tickets to a Sumo Wrestling tournament are included for this evening.
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)
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)
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. 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Transfer to the airport and fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day. (B)
Wendy Wu Tours inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. We pick the right hotel for the specific destination, meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. If the hotels listed below for your tour are not available on your chosen departure date, hotels of a similar standard will be used.
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
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....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
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
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
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.
A Visa is not required for Japan.
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 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. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi which usually comes at a cost.
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 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.
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.
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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