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Images of Japan

11 days from £3835 per person

Japan has a gracious, hospitable people for whom culture, ceremony and protocol form a major part of everyday life. Starting in Tokyo, visit the Meiji Shrine, the famous Ginza district and Asakusa – part of Tokyo’s old town. From here travel by train to Hakone, stay in a ryokan and explore Hakone National Park with its fabulous views of Mt Fuji before continuing to ancient Kyoto which is home to an astonishing 2,000 shrines and temples including seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This largely self-guided tour provides a unique opportunity to experience the real Japan.

Route: Tokyo – Hakone – Kyoto – Tokyo

Itinerary Highlights

Senso-ji is an ancient Buddhist temple in Asakusa, central Tokyo. Tokyo’s oldest temple, the grounds have been filled with traditional food and souvenir shops since the 18th century.

With the marvellous backdrop of Mount Fuji, Lake Ashi and Hakone village form one of Japan’s most recognizable scenes. The lake and hills can be explored by boat and cable car.

For more than a thousand years, Kyoto was the Imperial capital of Japan. The city is filled with temples, palaces and gardens. This is the Japan of geishas and ancient inns.

Itinerary: Images of Japan

Today depart the UK on the British Airways flight non-stop to Tokyo. (N)
On arrival in Tokyo you will be met by a representative and taken to the airport shuttle bus which will provide your transfer to your accommodation. One of Asia’s great cities, over the decades Tokyo has cemented its position as a global economic powerhouse. With its futuristic skyline, dazzling neon advertisements and surging crowds, it is easy to forget that Tokyo started life as a small 16th century fishing village named Edo. Reminders of this ancient past remain which, when coupled with the surrounding modern city, give Tokyo a unique, forward-thinking identity but one in touch with its past. (N)
Accommodation in Tokyo: The Park Hotel (or similar)
Joining your guide, this morning visit to the Meiji Shrine. Dedicated to the late Emperor Meiji, this atmospheric shrine is surrounded by a vast forested park. From here continue on foot to Omotesando, a broad tree-lined avenue, and then take the metro to Ginza – Tokyo’s entertainment district. Adjoining Ginza is the Imperial Palace and, after a walk though the East gardens, visit Asakusa – part of Tokyo’s old town – home to the Sensoji Temple and Geisha district. End the day with a cruise on the Sumida Gawa River to Hamarikyu Teien – a stunning landscaped garden surrounded by a sea of skyscrapers. (B)
Accommodation in Tokyo: The Park Hotel (or similar)
Today is a self-guided day. You may wish to make an early start to visit the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market, to visit the electronics district of Akihabara or discover Tokyo’s world class museums and art galleries. Alternatively, it is possible to travel outside of Tokyo to the delightful seaside town of Kamakura. One of Japan’s former capitals, Kamakura is a home to many ancient temples and the Daibutsu, a giant bronze Buddha. Alternatively, another option would be to visit the Toshogu Shrine complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which sits high in the mountains of Nikko National Park. (B)
Accommodation in Tokyo: The Park Hotel (or similar)
Today is a self-guided day. Today make your way to Tokyo Station and take the train to Hakone, gateway to Mount Fuji and the surrounding national park. This modern Ryokan, complete with tatami mats, shoji rice paper sliding doors and onsen baths, is located close to Lake Ashi. Quintessential Japan, should the weather be clear the mountain views from Hakone, crowned by Mt Fuji, are spectacular. (B/D)
Accommodation in Hakone: Yugiriso Ryokan (or similar)
Today is a self-guided day. Today explore Hakone National Park and, armed with the included Transport Pass, you can take advantage of the numerous forms of transport on offer throughout the park. Ride the world’s second longest cable car up Mount Owakudanin for a birds-eye view of Mount Fuji, take a boat cruise on Lake Ashi or ride the Hakone Tozan ‘switchback train’ which zigzags through the mountain giving magnificent views of the surrounding valleys. (B/D)
Accommodation in Hakone: Yugiriso Ryokan (or similar)
Today is a self-guided day. This morning take the two hour Shinkansen Bullet train to Japan’s cultural capital Kyoto. Home to an astonishing 2,000 shrines and temples, including seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sights, the city became capital of Japan in 794 AD and remained the centre of political power until 1868. A highlight of any visit to Japan, roughly one out of four of the country’s national treasures can be found in the city. (B)
Accommodation in Kyoto: Granvia Hotel (or similar)
Following breakfast explore Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites with a local guide. Start the morning with a visit to Nijo Castle, which was completed in 1603 and famous for its Momoyama architecture and stunning gardens, then continue to Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, one of Kyoto’s most famous temples. From here visit the 15th century Daitoku-ji Zen temple complex, home to one of Japan’s best Zen rock gardens, then the beautiful Kiyomizu Temple for fabulous views over the city. End the day exploring the old wooden buildings and atmospheric lanes of Kyoto’s historic Higashiyama district. (B)
Accommodation in Kyoto: Granvia Hotel (or similar)
Today is a self-guided day. Today continue exploring beautiful Kyoto. Alternatively, make the short 45 minute trip by train to the city of Nara. For approximately eighty years during the 8th century Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain. Highlights include the Todaiji temple complex – site the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha – and the Kofuku Temple which was moved to Nara from Kyoto in 710 AD. You will also have time to wander through Nara Park, home to herds of tame deer. (B)
Accommodation in Kyoto: Granvia Hotel (or similar)
Today is a self-guided day. Morning at leisure. In the afternoon take the train back to Tokyo. (B)
Accommodation in Tokyo: The Park Hotel (or similar)
This morning take the airport shuttle bus back to the airport to catch the British Airways flight non-stop to the UK. (B)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Train travel as specified
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Japan Holiday Review

Our whole holiday ran smoothly, each day perfectly organised.  At our first hotel the Sunroute Plaza in Tokyo, we found the room to be small with no wardrobe or storage, however the staff were very friendly and the breakfast tasty.  Our day with our Guide, Mutsuko was invaluable.  She was a lovely lady, who gave us the confidence to navigate the vast railway system.  The highlights of our day were the beautiful gardens at the Imperial Palace and visiting Asakusa.

On to Kanazawa, our favourite place, the gardens of Kenroken, although popular were very tranquil and peaceful. We had a lovely day visiting the places as advised on 'Our Perfect Day'.  

Shirakawago was a picture postcard village.  Takayama was certainly an experience, typical Japanese, where our shoes were left in lockers and we went around the hotel in bare or stocking feet.  We even had Japanese clothing to wear around the hotel if you were brave enough to use it.

Our hotel in Kyoto was right in the heart of the station, but you would never have known.  Again we had an excellent Guide in Reiko. We had an energetic day visiting the Bamboo forest, and climbing the mountain to feed the monkeys at Arashiyama, as well as Nijo-jo Castle and the Golden Temple.

We really enjoyed our Tea Ceremony, it was a wonderful experience. All  in all we have had the most amazing holiday. From travelling on the most extraordinary trains, to staying in lovely hotels and experiencing the wonderful hospitality of the Japanese people. We could not believe how clean everywhere was.  No litter, no graffiti and no smoking in the street,  We were impressed by the smartness of all levels of the workers.

So again 'Arigato gozaimasu'  to all concerned for making this a truly remarkable and memorable holiday.

P & R - Japan - July 2018

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