Days 1-2: Tokyo
Overnight flight to Tokyo. On arrival, you will be met by an English-speaking representative and transfer approximately 1.5 hours to your hotel.
Depending on time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to soak up the local culture.
Tokyo – One of the world’s most cutting-edge capital cities, Tokyo is a city of contrasts, famous for its neon-lit landscape, towering skyscrapers, peaceful shrines and lovingly tended gardens. Although long the political and cultural centre of Japan, Tokyo became the official capital when the Meiji Emperor moved it to Tokyo in 1867.
Day 3: Tokyo
Tokyo is the ultimate 24-hour city, but look behind its frantic, high-tech frontage and you’ll find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore; today take a tour by coach of this fascinating city.
- Head to the observation deck of Tokyo Skytree, the tallest structure in Japan and the tallest tower in the world, for panoramic views over the city before taking a wander through the district of Asakusa for an opportunity to pick up some souvenirs on Nakamise Shopping street
- Visit Sensoji Temple, an ancient Buddhist Temple and the oldest in Tokyo. The temple was originally founded in the 7th century. The temple adorns an image of the Buddhist Goddess Kannon, who was said to have been rescued by two fishermen from the Sumida River in Tokyo.
- Drive by the Imperial Palace Plaza, the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. Built on the original site of Edo Castle, the Plaza is made up of a palace, museum and large park.
- Stroll through tranquil Hamarikyu Gardens, a beautiful example of Japanese garden style at the mouth of the Sumida River.
- Return to your hotel where your guide will let you know what time to meet for this evening’s dinner cruise.
- Transfer from the hotel to your boat and take a leisurely 1-hour Japanese dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay for some excellent city vistas
Day 4: Tokyo - Mount Fuji - Hakone
Journey 2 hours through the foothills of the iconic Mount Fuji to the mountain’s base. At 3,776m, Mount Fuji is the highest of Japan's mountains and an iconic symbol of the country. Mount Fuji is notoriously shy and is often enveloped by clouds. The region is spectacular with the calm waters of the five lakes, formed by past volcanic eruptions, reflecting Fuji’s picture-perfect cone. Head up Fuji’s 5th Station for spectacular mountain vistas: please note it is only possible to reach the 5th station if weather permits. If the 5th Station is closed, the Fuji San World Heritage Centre (formerly Fuji Visitor Centre) will be visited instead.
Continue to tranquil Lake Ashi.
Take a cruise across the lake before taking the Komagatake cable car for spectacular views of Mount Fuji and the lake below.
Transfer to Hakone where you will stay overnight. Hakone is a pleasant town, popular with weary Tokyoites looking for a break from the city and a great overnight stop after visiting Mount Fuji.
Day 5: Hakone - Kyoto
This morning, transfer to Odawara Station, a journey of approximately 1 hour, to board your 2-hour Hikari bullet train to Kyoto. An enchanting city, Kyoto was the ancient capital of Japan for approximately 1,000 years until 1867 when it was moved to Tokyo. Many national treasures can be found in Kyoto and in nearby Nara, including old shrines and temples, screen paintings, beautiful gardens, and statues of Buddha. Today, it is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens.
After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. An important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari is most famous for its thousands of vermillion torii gates which form a network of tunnels around the main shrine buildings. The shrine itself is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. There are many fox statues in the grounds of the shrine as foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers.
Check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 6: Kyoto
Today involves a full day of sightseeing, with a lot of time spent on foot at busy temples and in public areas. Begin your explorations of Kyoto with a visit to the Ryoanji Temple, a Zen temple renowned for its garden, which features a dry, sand landscape with large rocks and smooth pebbles.
Then head to the Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion due to its gold-plated exterior. Kinkakuji Temple is a Buddhist temple and an excellent example of Japanese garden design. The structure is a brilliant golden hue colour and is very minimalistic.
After lunch at a local restaurant, learn the traditional Japanese handicraft of calligraphy and enjoy the art of a tea ceremony accompanied by a Tea Master.
Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant within walking distance of your hotel.
Day 7: Kyoto - Nara - Osaka
Transfer by coach to Japan’s former imperial capital Nara, a journey of approximately 1 hour. Home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Nara is a rewarding destination and a great spot for Japanese culture.
Visit Todaiji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one the Seven Great Temples of Japan and home to the world’s largest bronze statue, Daibutsu. Also visit Isui-en Gardens, known for its natural ponds – sightseeing here will be about 3 hours on foot.
Continue to Osaka by coach, approximately an hour’s drive and Japan’s third largest city. What Osaka lacks in sightseeing locations, it makes up for with its flamboyance, fun loving people and amazing food. On arrival, enjoy lunch in the vibrant Dotonbori District, a restaurant mecca, where you can sample delicious local delicacies.
This afternoon, visit Osaka Castle, one of Japan’s most famous castles known for sweeping views of the city from its hilltop perch. Construction began in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who intended that the castle become the centre of a new, unified Japan under his rule.
Later, enjoy your final dinner in Japan.
Day 8: depart Osaka
The morning is free for you to enjoy before the transfer to Osaka airport for the flight home
Only breakfast is included today.