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Having lived in Singapore, Nepal, South Korea and Hong Kong, I am captivated by Asia. Having traveled to every country in Asia, and worked in luxury travel for many years, curating once-in-a-lifetime trips comes naturally to me.
- from $4,183 PP
- 11 Nights
- Mar - May & Sep - Oct
- 12 hrs from London / 14 hrs from NYC
Take in the highlights of Japan on this classic 11-night tour that will bring you through the neon lights of Tokyo and its intriguing mix of old and new. Enjoy an unforgettable soak in the hot springs under Mount Fuji’s shadow and spend a tranquil night in a traditional ryokan. You’ll travel by rail to traditional Takayama, delving into culture, before moving forward in history with a visit to Hiroshima and its moving Peace Park. Take in one of the country’s top sights in Miyajima, then hop on the bullet train to beautiful Kyoto, with a day trip to Nara included too.
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- 11 nights 4 or 5 star hotel accommodation, including 1 night in a traditional ryokan, on a bed and breakfast basis.
- Private arrival and departure airport transfers
- Domestic transfers
- Tokyo city tour
- Day trip to Nara
- Hakone cable car ride
- Pre-booked high speed train tickets between destinations
- Expert trip planning advice
- 24/7 support from our dedicated staff
- Itinerary fully customized for individual requirements
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Tokyo: Arrival
Your 11-night Japan tour begins with your arrival into Tokyo. We recommend taking an overnight flight so that you’ll have more time to explore this fascinating city where the ancient and modern meet. There are more than a thousand neighbourhoods, with the city made up of 23 wards, each of which is home to several districts, from Harajuku, the center of Japanese fashion and youth culture to Akihabara AKA as “electric town” and Shinjuku, where the locals go for nightlife, including Golden Gai with over 200 bars, each of which has a unique theme. Asakusa is one of the most historic neighbourhoods with many ancient temples and shrines.
Day 2 Tokyo: City Tour
You’ll get to wander through Tokyo with a knowledgeable local guide today, getting an in-depth orientation that will allow you to discover the best of this ancient capital and modern metropolis. Walking the streets, it’s not uncommon to gaze up at a glass skyscraper that nearly touches the clouds right next to the red gates of a centuries-old Shinto shrine. You might visit the home of Japan’s emperor and the royal family, Tokyo Imperial Palace to walk around the gorgeous grounds and take in the magnificent architecture. One notable feature is its six-foot thick walls, one that leads to the tranquil East Higashi-Gyoen Garden.
Day 3 Tokyo: Explore on Your Own
Enjoy exploring the city on your own via the outstanding public transport system, visiting the futuristic streets and traditional enclaves. Experience the striking contrast between tranquil places like Meiji Shrine and flashy Omotesando with its many fashion stores, and take a walk through Akihabara to discover the city’s famous maid café culture. The district also has a spot reserved for cat fans. Cat cafes have become increasing popular here too and Neko JaLaLa boasts exotic breeds like Abyssinians. Conclude your day in Ginza, one of the city’s top shopping districts, packed with upscale boutiques and ritzy cocktail and sushi bars.
Day 4 Hakone: Mount Fuji and More
Travel to Hakone this morning, a mountain town in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. While it’s only about 55 miles from Tokyo, you’ll feel like you’re in a totally different world, gazing out at Mount Fuji which towers above Lake Ashi and the hot springs that are dotted through the hills. Hop on the cable car for the ride to relax in the soothing natural springs where legend says eating one egg boiled in these natural hot springs can prolong your life for seven years. After a relaxing soak in an onsen, you’re sure to enjoy a peaceful night’s rest at your traditional ryokan accommodation.
Day 5 Takayama: Rail journey and sake tasting
You’ll have time for one last onsen (hot spring) soak before embarking on one of the most picturesque rail journeys in the country. After hopping the train you’ll wind through mountains and gorges, with your destination Takayama, located in the Japan Alps in Gifu Prefecture. The city’s Old Town is especially alluring with its labyrinth of narrow streets lined with Edo-period merchant homes. After checking into your accommodation, explore the sake scene. This castle town is home to a half-dozen sake breweries with free samples offered at all. Enjoy a taste while learning all about traditional sake making.
Day 6 Takayama: Day of leisure
Enjoy a day of exploring Takayama at your own pace. Built around the beautifully preserved Sanmachi Suji district, you find many magnificent temples, shrines and historic homes nearby. You might want to start with a visit to the Miyagawa Morning Market which sells everything from local fruits and vegetables to chopsticks and dolls. The earlier you can arrive, the better, with the best values and the freshest products picked off first. If you want to take a day trip, Shirakawa-go is just 50 minutes away by bus. UNESCO-listed, it offers a fascinating glimpse of the past with thatched Gassho-style homes.
Day 7 Hiroshima: transfer from Takayama by train
Today you’ll travel from Takayama by train to Hiroshima, a modern city on Honshu Island, enjoying magnificent views while descending through the mountains. While the city was largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during the Second World War, the region made an impressive recovery and continues to develop as a center of culture, economics, and government. A plaque marks the site directly below where it detonated, where visitors leave paper cranes and flowers in memory of dead. Peace Memorial Park was built on land that was destroyed by the 1945 bombing, with a skeleton of a building providing a poignant reminder
Day 8 Hiroshima: Day trip to Miyajima
A day trip by ferry will bring you to Miyajima. Known as “Shrine Island,” it’s most famous for its huge torii gate that’s been ranked one of the top three sights for a breathtaking view in Japan. At high tide, it appears to float on the water. Just to the left of the gate atop a hill, Miyajima’s flaming red Five Tier Pagoda, built in 1407, is a stunning vermilion masterpiece that reflects Zen Buddhist construction techniques. Take a cable car up Mount Misen for an awe-inspiring sunset view of the Inland Sea islands before returning to Hiroshima for the night.
Day 9 Kyoto: Bullet train from Hiroshima
Traveling on the Shinkansen bullet train will get you to your next destination in a flash. Kyoto is the former capital of Japan and one of its most captivating. It’s the perfect place to delve into the country’s unique culture with a visit to the house of a Japanese tea ceremony master. Learn about the origin of this ancient, centuries-old practice, as well as the art of kimono wearing, perhaps trying one on yourself, and all about Zen Buddhism too. You’ll be able to ask any questions you might have of the tea master, with a guide there to help translate.
Day 10 Kyoto: Day of leisure
There’s so much to explore in Kyoto, from stunning gardens and ancient temples to winding alleyways. It’s fun just to wander through – you might even glimpse a geisha, but there are two places you don’t want to miss. The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in western Kyoto is a magical wonderland of soaring bamboo trees, some of which tower more than 65 feet. When the sun filters through the darkness, walking in feels like walking into a dream. You can also continue to the Tenryuji Temple and Okouchi Sanso Garden. Be sure to visit Nijo castle, surrounded by spectacular gardens, before returning to your accommodation.
Day 11 Kyoto: Nara Day Trip
One of the top day trips from Kyoto is Nara, the capital of Japan from 710 to 784 AD. A short journey will bring you to experience it, including the largest wooden building in the world, Todaiji Temple, which also hosts the country’s largest Buddha. While you’re here you can also marvel at Nara’s most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, and perhaps visit Nara Park. Often referred to as Deer Park, home to more than a thousand free-roaming deer, it’s a top attraction among visitors to this area, providing close encounters with the friendly, curious creatures and outstanding photo-ops.
Day 12 Departure Day
Soak up the atmosphere of beautiful Kyoto one last time. After 11 nights you’ll say sayonara to Japan, with your tour coming to an end today. Get your bags packed and ready for transfer to the airport where you’ll begin your journey home. If you’re looking for more, chat with our travel experts about how to extend your trip.
What's not Included
- As we have clients from all over the world. Our itineraries do not include flights. If you would like us to include flights in your trip, we are happy to do so. Please speak to your travel specialist at the planning stage to include them.
- Gratuities for local guides
- We strongly advise all guests purchase comprehensive travel insurance
- Visas if required
Let’s get started making this itinerary yours.
Speak to experienced Destinations Experts about designing this itinerary around your budget and trip preferences
Why book with Unforgettable Travel Co.
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Our travel experts live and breathe the destinations they specialise in. This shows in their passionate to create hand crafted trips for our clients. We don’t offer cookie cutter trips, just truly unforgettable journeys unlike any other.
The Best Guides
What makes our trips extraordinary is the unique immersive experiences we include. We pride ourselves in our black book of sought after expert guides, game rangers and local contacts who believe in our philosophy, unforgettable.
From the moment you book your trip, we are on hand 24/7 to assist you throughout your journey. With regional offices around the world, we have ground logistics teams on hand to help you every step of the way.
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