This 15 day tour includes the best of everything Japan has to offer. It is designed for newcomers to Japan who want first class hotels and follows a leisurely pace without one night stays. We keep the groups small (up to 16) which allows you to have some very personal experiences and see life in Japan first hand. You will have your own tour escort throughout as well as the very best local guides each day. The tour is timed to include the stunning cherry blossoms as well as the Spring Geisha Dances.
The tour is designed to be comfortable but also include a variety of experiences for those who like a bit of adventure. We make use of the various forms of Japan’s superb public transport, but also use coaches or taxis for convenience. Your luggage is sent by courier between each location so you can travel light. We finish with a spectacular ‘farewell dinner’ where you will be entertained by a private geisha performance giving you the chance to find our about the real life of a geisha and take those magical photos.
About two months before departure we will advise you of the confirmed tour details, including accommodation and also offer you the chance to see traditional entertainment such as kabuki.
Flight to Japan
You are met on arrival in Japan and assisted with your transfer to the hotel in Tokyo. The group will get together in the early evening and you are invited to join us for dinner.
|Airport Bus or Train||The Palace Hotel Tokyo||Tokyo|
Our first day in Japan begins with a sushi making lesson with a top chef. You’ll learn how to prepare the rice – the most important part of sushi – as well as cutting the fish correctly and how to shape the various styles of sushi. After the lesson, you’ll be able to lunch on your own creations!
The afternoon begins with a stroll through Hamarikyu gardens, an oasis of traditional Japan amongst the skyscrapers. We continue by boat on the Sumida River to Tokyo’s oldest temple, Asakusa Kannon. Today ends with a walking tour of the Imperial Palace Gardens in the home of the Japanese royal family.
|Taxi, Boat, Local Train, Walking||The Palace Hotel Tokyo|
|Tokyo, Hamarikyu Gardens, Asakusa, Imperial Palace Gardens|
We begin the day at the Tokyo National Museum, home to a vast collection of Japanese art and antiquities. We continue on to Akihabara, Tokyo’s famous high-tech shopping district and recently the home to a number of maid cafés.
The rest of the day is at your leisure - we would be happy to assist you with visiting Meiji Shrine, the trendy Omotesando shopping area or anywhere else in the capital that may be of personal interest.
|Walking, Taxi, Local Train||The Palace Hotel Tokyo|
|Tokyo National Museum, Akihabara, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Omotesando|
We depart the capital and make our first stop at the Taya Caves. The modest entrance belies an astonishing maze of tunnels and carved Buddhist images, all created by hand over a 500 year period. It’s a short trip to Kamakura where we visit the Great Buddha and Tsuruoka Hachiman Shrine whilst enjoying views out to the Pacific Ocean. Today’s destination is Hakone and our lakeside hotel with fabulous views across Lake Ashi to Mount Fuji.
Due to our rural location, we offer dinner at the hotel as our guests.
|Coach||Odakyu Hotel de Yama|
Breakfast & Dinner
|The Taya Caves, Kamakura, Kamakura Great Buddha, Hachiman-gu Shrine, Hakone|
We have a day to enjoy the views of Mount Fuji as we explore the local area by cable car, mountain train, and pleasure boat. Mt Fuji is a volcano and we see the evidence of the local thermal activity at the Great Boiling Valley which is full of sulphurous springs and steaming vents.
The day continues with a visit to the Hakone Open-Air Museum, featuring about 120 exhibits from well known sculptors in a park setting and an extensive collection of Picasso works in the Pavilion. On our way back to the hotel we will visit the Yosegi Parquetry Studio where we have special access to their workshop to see this very traditional form of inlaid woodcraft. You can enjoy a stroll by the lake or to the nearby Hakone Shrine before dinner.
|Steamer, Cable Car, Train, Coach||Odakyu Hotel de Yama|
Breakfast & Dinner
|Hakone, Mt Fuji, Hakone Open Air Museum|
We leave Hakone and experience our first bullet train speeding west. The smooth ride in these spotless carriages makes it a very relaxing way to get from A to B. We stop in Okayama to see Korakuen, one of Japan’s three famous “walking” gardens. From here we take a short bullet train journey to Hiroshima where we stay for two nights.
|Bullet train, Taxi||Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel|
|Korakuen Gardens, Hiroshima|
A local train takes us to the ferry across to Miyajima for a leisurely day on the island. We visit Itsukushima shrine in its serene setting over the tidal waters opposite the iconic torii gate. There is time to explore the island, visiting the island peak on foot or by cable car, and to browse through the village and shops. It is common to see Japanese style weddings taking place on this sacred island.
|Local Train, Ferry, Cable Car||Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel|
|Miyajima, Itsukushima Shrine, Daisho-in Temple|
We start the day with a short tram ride to visit the Atomic Dome and Peace Park. It is a moving experience to see the museum exhibition and the thousands of “peace” origami cranes sent daily to the park.
We leave Hiroshima on the bullet train and connect to an express train following the coast down to Beppu. We see the devil’s (thermal) pools and try a sand bath in Japan’s most famous hot spring town. We then take a coach up into the mountain town of Yufuin where we have two nights to experience the hospitality, hot spring baths and fantastic traditional food in our Japanese Inn.
|Tram, Bullet Train, Express Train, Coach||Saigakukan Ryokan|
Breakfast & Dinner
|Hiroshima Peace Park, Beppu, Yufuin|
We travel by coach towards the vast caldera that encircles Mount Aso, stopping first to see the superb panoramic views from the northern edge. The road steeply descends a few hundred metres to the base of the caldera before continuing to the foot of Mount Aso and then climbing around 1,000 metres to the open summit of the volcano. We will venture to the moonscape and smoking crater (if conditions allow). On our return we visit the remarkable pottery village of Onta. We can see how a small group of families continue to produce pottery with traditional methods dating back hundreds of years.
Breakfast & Dinner
You have another opportunity to enjoy a traditional breakfast before the train journey back east towards Kyoto. We follow the inland route through the green landscapes of northern Kyushu before rejoining the bullet train one final time. We will reach Kyoto in the early afternoon. You can relax in your hotel or explore the adjoining modern station complex with its myriad of shops and stunning architecture. We would also be happy to assist those who would like to visit the nearby Sanjusangendo, which dates back to the 13th Century and houses 1001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy.
|Express Train, Bullet Train||Hotel Granvia Kyoto|
|Kyoto, Sanjusangendo Temple|
We travel to the ancient capital of Nara to see the impressive giant bronze Buddha – Japan’s largest – housed in the famous all-wood Tōdai-ji temple. We’ll stroll through Nara-kōen Park, which is home to very friendly local deer who will follow you hoping for tasty treats! Moving on, we visit the Kasuga Taisha Shrine, which dates from Nara’s time as the capital of Japan and we’ll also visit the lovely Isui-en Strolling Gardens, where you can watch the carp and wander amongst the plum, cherry, and maple trees.
|Local trains||Hotel Granvia Kyoto|
|Nara, Todaiji, Nara Park, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Isuien Gardens|
This morning starts at the Golden Pavilion, so called because the glittering temple is overlaid with gold leaf. Nearby is the stone garden at Ryoan-ji Temple, a representation of Zen philosophy, consisting of fifteen stones of different sizes placed in white sand representing an image of islands and an expanding sea.
We return to the hotel with a couple of hours free time to relax or visit Nijo Castle if you wish. Towards the end of the afternoon we visit Gion with its traditional wooden buildings, cobbled streets and renowned Geisha.
This evening you are treated to a special private dinner with dancing and music performed by two Geisha. You will have a chance to hear about this mysterious world and ask your own questions with the help of an interpreter. Keen photographers can also snap some truly memorable shots. After dinner we take a late evening stroll around the lit-up Kodaiji temple and gardens which is particularly atmospheric after dark.
|Coach, Taxi, Walking||Hotel Granvia Kyoto|
Breakfast & Dinner
|Kinkakuji, Ryoanji Temple, Nijo Castle, Gion|
This morning starts in the foothills on the east side of Kyoto as we head up to Kiyomizu Temple. From here, there are fantastic views over the whole city. We return to central Kyoto and visit the bustling Nishiki market, a great place to find some unusual presents.
In the afternoon we have tickets to watch the Miyako Odori, the annual Geisha Spring dances at the Gion Theatre. You are free for the rest of the day, and we would be delighted to guide you around the shops or help you visit somewhere of personal interest.
|Coach, Taxi, Walking||Hotel Granvia Kyoto|
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your flight home or follow your onward arrangements.
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Luxury Japan Spring 2018 Tour Price and Booking Details
Please note that tour dates and prices will be confirmed approximately 10 months before departure.
Price per person: £5,895 (flights are not included)
Single supplement £1,995.
*A single supplement is necessary for all single bookings
*Prices are valid for exchange rates exceeding £1 = 125 yen
Flight prices start from around £600 in economy, £1000 in premium economy, £2000 in business depending on airline and departure airport. Flight classes can often be mixed and then the airfare is approximately the average of the two fares.
Minimum number of people: 10
Maximum number of people: 16
The tour is guaranteed as soon as we receive 10 guaranteed bookings. In the unlikely event there are less than 10 confirmed bookings 60 days before departure the tour may be cancelled or offered to you with modified conditions.
Please note that there is a small chance that the price will change due to taxes or the pound – yen exchange rate (see above & booking conditions). However all prices are guaranteed from 60 days before departure.
We will be happy to make a personal quote for any of the following:
- Requests for additional services during the tour including theatre tickets
- Additional accommodation or personal tours before or after the scheduled tour Bookings
Bookings are confirmed by sending a signed and completed booking form which includes all participants and making the deposit payment of £500 per person by cheque or bank transfer.
Once we have received the booking form and the deposit payment has been cleared we will send you booking confirmation with tour details within 2 working days.
We can accept a provisional booking which hold a place on the tour. To keep a provisional booking we must receive a completed booking form within 7 days. This will be held until you confirm or cancel. If we contact you before that, you will be given at least 7 days to decide. If you wish to confirm we must receive your deposit as cleared funds within 14 days.
Your Financial Protection:
All monies paid by you for an air holiday package as shown are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6977
If you purchase a tour without flights then you are protected by our ABTOT insurance. For more information, see our Booking Terms and Conditions
Included in Tour Package Price
- Airport meeting and assistance on arrival
- Hotel transfer to and from arrival and departure airports
- Escorted service from first evening in Tokyo throughout tour available 24hrs/day up to and including final hotel departure
- Emergency assistance from our Japan Office throughout tour
- Local Japanese guides in addition to group escort above
- All accommodation (total 13 nights in Japan and 1 night on overnight flight)
- All meals as shown on itinerary (total excl. meals on flights; 13 breakfast, 1 lunch, 5 dinner)
- All train travel in first class including the bullet train (where available)
- All other transport except during free time as shown on itinerary
- All entry fees and any other necessary fees and tips except during free time
- Luggage courier service whenever changing tour location
Not Included in Tour Package Price
- International flights
- Travel Insurance
- Meals not listed on brief itinerary
- Incidental costs such as personal laundry, drinks, snacks
- Passport and other visa document fees
(UK citizens do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days in Japan)