Flight - 1 night
Tokyo - 3 nights
Kami Suwa - 1 night
Kanazawa - 1 night
Kyoto - 2 nights
Osaka- 1 night
Matsue - 2 nights
Tokyo - 1 night

Spendology - Widgets

Japan's Earthly Treasures

In the 'Land of the Rising Sun', natural splendour is embellished with man-made treasure. From Shinto shrines to Buddhist temples, from moated castles to Zen-calm gardens, from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Kyoto, and Matsue, this is a tour through time and traditions

An interwoven tapestry of timeless traditions and hi-tech modernity, Japan is a country of unique culture and immense colour, in its shrines and temples, in its busy cities and beautiful landscapes, and especially in its exquisite gardens. Much more than botanical displays, the Japanese garden is an art form of aesthetic and philosophical ideals, dating back 1,400 years, and aiming always to create ‘six aspects’. These could be anything from architecture to spaciousness, but often include coolness, scenic perspectives, subtlety of design, and serenity. This tour visits some of the best of them, from rock and moss gardens to lavish enclaves of pagodas and pavilions; complemented by landmark sites and a sense of unchanging customs. It takes in Tokyo’s Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines; the acres of blossoms and history in Yokohama’s Sankeien grounds; and spectacular views of Mount Fuji as we sail on Lake Ashinoko. We visit tranquil Kanazawa and its geisha quarter; tour the highlights of Kyoto, the country’s capital for eleven centuries, and still the epicentre of Japanese culture; and Matsue’s legendary castle; and we experience the bullet train, a traditional tea ceremony, and a stay in a ‘ryokan’ typical rural inn.

Key Features

Culture & Natural Wonders
Jules Verne Sightseeing
5 UNESCO Heritage Sites
Geisha Maiko Experience
High-Speed Train Included
Local Expert Guide

Special Event

Tea Ceremony

Experience the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha at the Daitokuji temple. Matcha is fi nely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony centres on the preparation, serving and drinking of matcha as hot tea, and embodies a meditative spirituality.

Day 1 Fly overnight from London Heathrow to Tokyo.

Day 2 The sleek, chic, multi-faceted capital masters Japan’s mix of old and new. After arrival, visit the Imperial Palace Plaza, the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan, encircled by its lotus moat; and the Senso-ji Buddhist Temple in Asakusa district, Tokyo’s oldest temple, and steeped in legends since its origins in 645AD. Later, transfer to the 3-star Hotel Monterey Hanzomon for three nights. (L)

Day 3 Take the short journey to Tachikawa to visit Showa Kinen Memorial Park, its 160 hectares boasting water features, untamed areas, and spectacular seasonal flowers; and continue to the Shinto Meiji Jingu Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort. (B)

Day 4 Visit Kamakura’s most important shrine, the Shogun, 12th-century, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, the focus of a long approach through the whole city centre from the waterside; the Great Buddha, an enormous bronze statue, cast in the 13th century, and set in the grounds of Kotoku-in Temple; and the Hase Temple, famous for its 11-headed statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Tour to Yokohama to visit the vast classical Japan garden, Sankeien, encompassing many historic houses, and renowned for its changing beauty. (B, L)

Day 5 Travel by Bullet Train to Odawara. Cruise on the clear blue waters of Lake Ashinoko, enjoying breathtaking views to fabled Mount Fuji, white-capped and wondrous; and continue to the Open-Air Museum of sculptures, nestled in the hills of Hakone, with valley views, and artworks in harmony with nature. Overnight at the 3-star Shibu-no-yu Hotel, in rural Kami Suwa (or similar), furnished in traditional Japanese-style. Enjoy the ‘onsen’ hot springs. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Travel to Kanazawa (4½ hrs), with a photo-stop enroute at Matsumoto Castle, in the centre of Honshu Island. A complex of five structures, designated a National Treasure, its black exterior earned it the nickname ‘Crow Castle’. Visit Kenroku-en Garden, one of the ‘Three Great Gardens’ of Japan, a ‘garden of six aspects’, with ponds, hills and streams, pavilions, teahouses, and serenity. Continue to East Chaya Old Street, an historic entertainment district known for its teahouses and for geisha performances of song and dance. Overnight at the 3-star Hotel Vista Kanazawa. (B)

Day 7 Travel by express train (2hrs) to Kyoto, the home of geishas, manners, and tradition, where hundreds of Shinto shrines, and over a thousand Buddhist temples join old-world shopping streets and timber townhouses. Visit the Shogun, 17th-century, Nijo Castle, with its five-storey keep, a UNESCO World Heritage site; and the Heian Jingu shrine, built in 1895 and dedicated to the first and last Kyoto emperors, Kammu (737 – 806) and Komei (1831 – 1867), with time to explore its tranquil Shin’en Gardens. Two nights at the 3-star Rihga Gran Kyoto Hotel.  (B, L)

Day 8 Visit the Buddhist Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, gloriously coated in gold leaf; and the tiny Gioji temple, a Buddhist convent, and the only surviving building of the former huge Ojo-in Temple, its mossy garden a shaded haven of calm. Enjoy a tea ceremony at the walled temple complex of Daitoku-ji; and a traditional dinner and ‘Maiko’ (apprentice geisha) experience this evening. (B, D)

Day 9 Travel to Nara, visiting Uji Byodoin temple and garden, considered the best example of a Pure Land Garden. Stroll through Nara Park, famed for its free-roaming deer, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kasuga Grand Shrine, and its Manyo Botanical Gardens, boasting 250 plant types. Visit the Kofukuji Temple, also UNESCO listed, with over a thousand years of history; and the Todaiji Temple, its Big Buddha Hall housing a 15m-high bronze statue of a seated Buddha. Continue to vibrant and very contemporary Osaka, for an overnight stay at the 4-star Rihga Royal Hotel. (B, L)

Day 10 Leave the city and travel first to Okayama, to visit Koraku-en ‘garden of pleasure’. One of Japan’s three most celebrated gardens, founded in the 17thcentury, its landscape of lawns, streams, ponds, and maple groves enjoys ‘borrowed scenery’ too, with views of Okayama castle. Continue to Matsue, the ‘City of Water’, on the eastern shore of Lake Shinji, for two nights at the 3-star Matsue Excel Hotel Tokyu. (B, L)

Day 11 Visit Adachi Museum of Fine Art, and its immaculately manicured ‘shakkei’ garden, a style designed to blur the boundary between the garden and a its natural surrounds. Classified as 3-stars in the Michelin Green Guide, the Journal of Japanese Gardens consistently names it as the most beautiful. Continue to Matsue’s 17th-century castle, one of only a dozen original castles in Japan. Stroll along Nawate-Kogi Old Street, and enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. (B, L)

Day 12 Visit Iwami Silver Mine, producing huge quantities of fine quality Soma Silver in its 1600s heyday, closed in 1923, but with one of its 600 tunnels now open to explore. Continue to Izumo Taisha Shinto shrine, the oldest and largest in Japan, known as ‘the place where the gods gather’. Fly from Matsue to Tokyo for overnight at the 3-star Hotel Monterey Hanzomon. (B, L)

Day 13 Transfer to the airport for the return flight to London Heathrow, arriving the same day. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner


This is a full itinerary with most visits on foot and sites with steps/inclines and uneven surfaces.
On Day 5, main luggage is transported by road to Kyoto, so an overnight bag is needed for your stay in Kami Suwa and Kanazawa.
Please note that in Japan room sizes are generally smaller than in Europe.


Please note that in Japan room sizes are generally smaller than in Europe.


per person in a twin room
Japan Airlines from Heathrow

Date Price
November 6 £4765


Click here for 2024 departures

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

Single supplement £645

Accommodation Upgrades

Twin for sole use £995

Flight Options

Japan Airlines Premium Economy – On request
Japan Airlines Business Class – On request

Extension Options

Hiroshima Extension
2 nights £495
Single supplement £70

Extra nights – Tokyo
Hotel Monterey Hanzomon
(per night) £115
Single supplement £80

Tour Only

Save £650
Arrival or departure transfer by shuttle bus (Haneda Airport) add £50

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 11 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, 8 lunches and 2 dinners, itinerary as described, services of expert local guides and representative. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.


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Japan's Earthly Treasures

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