â€œImmerse yourself in Japanâ€™s vibrant cities and uncover cultural treasuresâ€
Japan is a beautiful country where ancient traditions blend effortlessly with modern life. From historic temples and shrines, and enchanting geisha dances, to high-speed rail, and futuristic technology, Japan is a captivating holiday destination unlike any other. Discover Japan on an enlightening escorted tour. Fully immerse yourself in Japanâ€™s vibrant cities and uncover cultural treasures. Be mesmerised by the stunning natural beauty that can be found almost everywhere you look.
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Escorted Japan Tour
On day 1 you will be collected from your home and be transported to the airport. This is part of the VIP door-to-door travel service thatâ€™s included on this escorted tour. Upon arrival at the airport you will fly to Tokyo with British Airways/KLM.
On arrival in Tokyo you will be transferred by coach to the 4* Keio Plaza Hotel. The Keio Plaza Hotel, is centrally located in Shinjukuâ€™s Skyscraper District – the very heart of the Tokyo metropolis. Offering sweeping views of Shinjuku, free WiFi and 21 dining options, you will be spending two nights at this luxury hotel. Although the Keio Plaza Hotel is incredibly modern and contemporary, there are also nods to the inspiring traditions of Japan. Historic tea ceremonies still take place, for example. However, thereâ€™s also an element of fun, with modern rooms such as the Hello Kitty Guestrooms. Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo is the perfect base for your adventures through Tokyoâ€™s culture, old and new.
Embrace this dazzling city with a full day tour. Take in some of Tokyoâ€™s most famous attractions and landmarks. Explore the Tokyo Imperial Palace, which was built on the site of the old Edo Castle, and is still home to the Emperor and the Empress. Isolated from the hustle and bustle of day to day life, this Palace is surrounded by a moat.
Visit the Ginza (Silver Mint) district – Tokyo’s most famous upmarket district, for shopping, entertainment and more.
Meander through Asakusa and visit Asakusa’s main attraction called Sensoji (Asakusa Kannon Temple). This popular Buddhist temple was built in the 7th century, and is Tokyoâ€™s oldest temple. On day 3 you will also have the opportunity to see the famous 634m high Tokyo Skytree, and Meiji Shrine; a picturesque Shinto shrine set in a delightful tree-lined avenue.
Today you will travel from Tokyo to the Five Lakes District which is dominated by majestic Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is an active volcano standing 3776 metres high. It stands on the border between Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures and can be seen from Tokyo and Yokohama on clear days. On a clear day, the snow-capped, conical volcano is mirrored on the calm waters of Lake Kawaguchi.
From here you will we continue to Matsumoto, where you be staying at the 4* Buena Vista Hotel or the 3* Alpico Plaza Hotel for one night.
On day 5 you will be visiting Matsumoto Castle. With over 400 years of history, the five-story Matsumoto Castle is the oldest existing castle in Japan. This national treasure is a striking timber and stone structure with a unique moon-viewing turret. On day 5 you will also have the time to sample sake (Japanese rice wine) at a traditional brewery.
Later that day you will journey through the breathtaking Japanese Alps to the hill town of Takayama. Here, you can meander through the Hida Folk Village. In each building, everyday articles (which we now regard as folk art) recalling the life and culture of mountain farming villages are displayed.
The next two nights will be spent at either the 3* Best Western Hotel Takayama, the 4* Associa Takayama or the 4* Takayama Green Hotel.
On day 6 enjoy breakfast at the hotel, before a delightful walking tour of Takayama. Known as â€˜little Kyotoâ€™, Takayama is filled with fabulous attractions from the open-air flower and fruit stalls, to wooden merchantsâ€™ houses dating to the Edo Period, along with several small museums.
Today you will be transferred by coach to Kanazawa, visiting the World Heritage Shirakawago Village en route. Kanazawa is a historic castle town, which boasts beautifully preserved samurai and geisha districts. The sightseeing tour also includes visits to Omicho market and Higashi Chayagai. Kanazawa has three, well preserved chaya districts, Higashi Chayagai, Nishi Chayagai, and Kazuemachi.
Of the three districts, the Higashi Chayagai District is the largest and by far the most interesting. The name means â€œEastern Teahouse District,â€ because the chaya, or teahouses, were where wealthy customers would be entertained by geisha. Customers would enjoy traditional music, dancing, and drinking games.
Later on you will head to the Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel (4T), where the group will spend the night. Steps from one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, the Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel is in an ideal location. Rooms at the Tokyu Hotel Kanazawa include complimentary tea, Japanese tea, coffee and a selection of films so that you can relax and unwind after a full day of exploring. On-site restaurant Marais d’Or offers a buffet-style breakfast and French course menus while Kincharyo serves a Japanese-style breakfast.
On day 8 you will need to pack an overnight bag whilst your main luggage is transferred to Kyoto ahead of your arrival on day 10. Today, however, a sightseeing tour of Kanazawa is on the cards. Following the tour, the group will travel from Kanazawa Station to Hiroshima by JR Limited Express Train and JR Bullet Train.
Upon arrival in Hiroshima, you will either spend the next two nights at the 4* Rihga Royal Hotel Hiroshima, or the 4* Grand Prince Hiroshima.
Your journey begins at Miyajima Port to catch a ferry to Miyajima Island. Miyajima Island is one of the most scenic spots in Japan. It is famous for the giant floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, which is ranked as one of Japanâ€™s three best views. With so much to do and see several hours will be spent on the island.
Upon your return to Hiroshima, the group will embark on a walking tour around Peace Memorial Park to see the Peace Flame. The Peace Flame has burned continuously since it was lit in 1964, and will remain lit until all nuclear bombs on the planet are destroyed and the planet is free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.
The tour on day 9 concludes with a visit to the Atomic Bomb Museum, located nearby your hotel.
On day 10 you will travel from Hiroshima to Shin Osaka on the JR Bullet Train. From Shin Osaka, the group will board a coach heading to Nara. Nara is famous for being the first permanent capital of Japan. The city is famous for its temples and artwork dating to the 8th century, when it was Japanâ€™s capital. Deer roam in Nara Park which is also the site of TÅdai-ji temple. On the park’s east side is the Shinto shrine Kasuga Taisha, This shrine dates back to 768 A.D..
After exploring Nara, you will continue on to the popular city of Kyoto – another former capital of Japan. Renowned for its beautiful flowers, Kyoto is full of spectacular vibrant gardens, shrines and temples. At the heart of Kyoto is Gion. Gion is the cityâ€™s most famous entertainment district and is the center of its traditional arts. Packed with bars, restaurants and traditional teahouses, Gion is at its most atmospheric in the early evening, when the lanterns are lit and apprentice geisha will float along the streets, as tourists explore the area.
In the evening you will head to your next luxury hotel. You will be staying at the 4* Kyoto Hotel Okura, the 4* Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or the 4* Kyoto Tokyu Hotel for two nights.
Highlights of this morningâ€™s tour include the wonderful Ryoanji Temple, a Zen temple with a famous rock garden. You will also have the chance to visit Nijo Castle. This fortified castle was once the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns in Kyoto.
After further exploration of Kyoto, including the Kiyomizu Temple, you will be able to enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. The Japanese tea ceremony is called Chanoyu, Sado or simply Ocha in Japanese. The tea ceremony is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea (Matcha). Typically the tea is served with a selection of Japanese sweet treats to balance the bitterness of the tea.
Later that day the group will board the JR Bullet Train from Kyoto to Mishima and continue to Hakone.
Tonight you will be staying that the 4* Hakone Sengokuhara Prince Hotel, the 4* Prince Hakone Lake Ashinoko Hotel or the 4* Hakone Highland Hotel.
Today is the last full day of this escorted tour around Japan. In the morning you can expect to embark on a cruise on Lake Ashinoko (Lake Ashi). Lake Ashinoko was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano’s last eruption 3000 years ago. Today, the lake with Mount Fuji in the background is the symbol of Hakone boasting stunning views of the snow-capped landscape. You will continue on by cable car to the Owakudani Valley and Hot Springs, lying in the crater of Mount Hakone.
Later on you will be able to enjoy marvellous views of Tokyo Bay, before continuing to the 4* Crowne Plaza ANA Narita. Featuring an indoor pool, sauna and 17th-floor restaurants, ANA Crowne Plaza is a 10-minute ride from the airport.
Wave goodbye to Tokyo as you travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival in the UK, your vehicle will be waiting for the VIP journey home.
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