Intro to Japan

– Available as a group (max 14) or private departure
– No single supplement (share for two nights in a traditional ryokan)
– Budget-conscious tour

This is a price-conscious introduction to Japan, and includes the classic ‘golden route’, without missing any of the amazing Japanese cultural experiences. It offers a good starting point from where you can upgrade various elements of your holiday.

The highlights are Tokyo and Kyoto, two historically significant cities in Japan, yet polar opposites at the same time. As you have a rail pass included in this tour, you could choose to visit another ancient city in Japan, Nara – easily accessible from Kyoto, or experience bustling Osaka with its abundance of street food and excellent shopping. You can even get the train all the way to Hiroshima and Miyajima. All options are available to you and the assistance of the local guide will help make the arrangements go smoothly.

This tour also includes two nights in the beautiful Hakone National Park, staying in a traditional ryokan inn, from where you should able to get a look at Mount Fuji and have some well earned respite in a traditional onsen hot-spring bath.

Transport: please note that all transfers are by public transport, making use of Japan’s first-rate transport network. All the hotels and ryokan have been chosen for their location close to the nearest station. However, you will have to carry your bags for short distances and some stations do not have escalators. We highly recommend that to make your stay more enjoyable you pack reasonably light. Large suitcases will be an inconvenience. A small case or bag or best of all, a rucksack, are most appropriate for this tour. Clothes washing machines are available in Tokyo and Kyoto for a small fee.

Accommodation: the hotels in Tokyo, Kamakura and Kyoto are equipped with full en-suite facilities (attached bath, shower and toilet). The Fuji Hakone Guest House has its own natural hot-spring baths and shower which can be used privately but does not have baths or toilets attached to the rooms.


Detailed Itinerary

Day one and two

Explore Japan’s exuberant capital city with your knowledgeable tour leader, who will introduce you to Tokyo’s famous hotspots and little-known gems.

Upon arrival at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, you will catch the train to your hotel in the Asakusa district. This is Tokyo’s most traditional district, home to the city’s oldest temple, the striking Senso-ji, and a lively market where you can sample some delicious street food and browse a huge range of nik-naks.

You’ll have the rest of the day free to rest at your hotel or to explore the area, and will meet your tour leader and other group members at the welcome meeting this evening. Though a meal is not included tonight, we highly recommend that you join your tour leader at one of the fabulous local restaurants as there’s no better way to begin getting to know your group.

After a good night’s sleep you’ll have a whole day to explore Japan’s vibrant capital city. Your tour leader will be there to fill you in on the history of Tokyo’s famous landmarks and take you to some of their favourite spots. You will have the chance to visit Meiji Shrine, Tokyo’s most important Shinto site; look out for wild fashions in trendy Harajuku; float down the Sumida River on a river bus; and marvel at the towering neon arcades of Akihabara ‘electric town’ – to name a few possible highlights.
Overnight: Asakusa Central

Bullet train, Japan

Bullet train, Japan

Day three

Wander forested trails, take a walk on the beach and marvel at the great bronze Buddha in the seaside town of Kamakura.

Today Kamakura is a small coastal city not far from Tokyo, but at one point in history it was the de facto military capital of Japan. It is this venerable past that has left Kamakura with a wealth of ancient temples and shrines, many of which are situated along pleasant forest trails that make great hiking opportunities.

Kamakura is most famous for its giant bronze Buddha, cast in 1252 and sitting at an imposing 13.35 metres tall, which is sure to impress. After the day’s sightseeing, we recommend visiting a local restaurant (your tour leader will have some good suggestions) and taking a walk along the beach.
Overnight: Classic Hotel Ajisai

Day four and five
In less than an hour, using local railway lines, you will be in one of Japan’s premier hot spring areas – forest-covered Hakone National Park; home to the iconic Mount Fuji. During your stay here you’ll have the opportunity to cross Lake Ashi on a pirate ship, eat a black egg boiled in a steaming volcanic hot spring, wander the sculptures of the excellent open-air museum and enjoy spectacular scenery.

On both nights of your stay you’ll enjoy the hospitality of a traditional Japanese-style ryokaninn, where you’ll sleep on futon mattresses on tatami-mat floors – with the chance to soak in the restorative waters of the indoor and outdoor onsen hot spring baths. This is sure to be a highlight of your stay!

Overnight: Hatago Ichinoyu Ryokan

Day six to eight

Discover the ancient historical and cultural heritage of Kyoto, the ‘City of Ten Thousand Temples’.

Today you’ll rocket west on the bullet train to Kyoto, Japan’s former imperial capital. Having served as the political centre of government from 794 until 1868, Kyoto is renowned for its historical and cultural heritage – from the countless ancient temples and shrines to the traditional crafts.

On the evening of your arrival in Kyoto you’ll receive an introduction to the city’s best-preserved traditional district, Gion, as you take a walking tour through the wood-panelled streets at dusk.

Gion is famous as the home of Kyoto’s geisha, and as you explore the area you may be lucky enough to spot one of these elusive figures in full regalia. After your tour you’ll enjoy a delicious meal with your tour leader and group, included as part of the trip.

The rest of your time in Kyoto will be spent discovering some of the city’s amazing sights, from the golden pavilion of Kinkaku-ji to the ten thousand red gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine, as well as the bamboo groves of the Arashiyama district to the ‘nightingale floors’ of Nijo Castle. There is so much to see in Kyoto that you could spend years getting to know its hidden delights!
Overnight: Ibis Styles Kyoto Station 

Day nine and 10

Return to Tokyo for an exciting final night in the capital.

You’ll board the bullet train again for one final journey back to the glittering metropolis of Tokyo. For the final night of your tour, you’ll be staying in the bustling, high-rise district of Shinjuku, known for its glaring neon, vibrant nightlife and thousands of excellent restaurants. There could be no better place to see out the end of your holiday in style and toast the end of a fantastic trip.

On your final morning you will use your included transport pass to take the train to Tokyo’s Narita Airport for your flight home.
Overnight: Sunroute Plaza Shinjunko 

Departure Dates and Costs per Person
28 Sep 2019: £1875
26 Oct 2019: £1995