A journey across Japan exploring her finest gardens and true cultural treasures, all immersed in a way of life unchanged for generations
Flight - 1 night
Tokyo - 3 nights
Matsumoto - 1 night
Kanazawa - 1 night
Kyoto - 2 nights
Nara - 1 night
Matsue - 2 nights
Tokyo - 1 night
The Japanese archipelago has an intriguing history of emperors, shoguns, samurai, geisha, colourful kimonos, exquisite gardens and Zen Buddhism. Bustling Tokyo, mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers to historic temples. Kyoto, former Imperial capital, is famous for its Shinto shrines, gardens and geishas, and tranquil Kanazawa for breathtaking gardens and castles. Travel on a bullet train and spend an unforgettable night near Mount Fuji in a ‘Ryokan’, a typical Japanese inn. Nara, Japan’s first capital, dates back to the 8th century and Matsue in the north is a water city famed for its wondrous castle and gardens.
Japanese gardens are a traditional art form with intrinsic aesthetic and philosophical ideals that date back 1400 years. They highlight the natural landscape to encapsulate the spirit of nature and the transience of life. Originally created as idylls to tempt the deities from heaven, they range from tiny landscaped spaces, to historic Imperial gardens over many acres. They are undeniably beautiful and pacifying, calming yet challenging and esoteric.
Japan's appeal is multifaceted, its heritage; the feudal era, time of the samurai and ninja is reflected in its palaces and castle gardens. If you lean more towards Zen arts there are some fabulous gardens to explore and our travel dates are ideal for ‘spring blossoms’ and ‘autumn leaves’. Be captivated by the Land of the Rising Sun, this enigmatic country filled with cultural treasures.
Culture & Natural Wonders
Geisha Maiko Experience
Rail Journey by Bullet Train
5 UNESCO Heritage Sites
Group Size 15 – 30
Day 1 Depart London Heathrow for Tokyo.
Day 2 Arrive in dazzling Tokyo. Visit the Imperial Palace, primary residence of the Emperor of Japan and Asakusa Sensoji Buddhist temple, Tokyo’s most sacred. Three nights at the 3-star Monterey Hanzomon Hotel (Nov: Daiichi Hotel Ryogoku). (L)
Day 3 Enjoy a tour of Tokyo, visiting Showa Kinen Park with its beautiful floral scenery and Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine, dedicated to the divine souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. (B)
Day 4 Visit Kamakura’s most important shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, the Great Buddha at the unusual open-air Kotokuin temple and Hase temple. Travel to Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan. Visit Sankeien Garden, an outstanding example of a classical Japanese garden, renowned for its seasonal beauty. (B)
Day 5 Travel by bullet train to Hakone and Mt. Fuji. Take a cruise on Lake Ashi and visit Hakone Open-Air museum. Continue to Mt. Fuji, take a stroll around Oshino Hakkai, a small village in the Five Lakes region revered as the ‘spring of gods’ and part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mt. Fuji. Travel to Asama Onsen hot springs and the 4-star Omoto Hotel for a stay in Japanese style rooms with traditional meals. Perhaps bathe in the hot springs. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Visit Matsumoto castle and travel by road to Kanazawa (4.5hrs). Visit Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan’s most beautiful. Continue to East Chaya Old Street, a historic entertainment district with tea houses where geisha perform song and dance. Overnight at the 3-star Hotel Vista Kanazawa. (B)
Day 7 Take the express train to Kyoto (2hrs.) Visit Nijo castle a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Kyoto’s most impressive, highlighting the power the shoguns wielded over the emperors throughout the Edo Period. Visit Heian Jingu shrine built in 1895 to commemorate the city’s 1100th anniversary as capital and explore the Shin’en Garden, consisting of four distinct sections. Two nights at the 3-star Ark Hotel Kyoto (Nov: El Inn Kyoto). (B, L)
Day 8 Explore Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, an awe-inspiring sight, the richly decorated golden temple seems to float over the mirror pond. Its garden is an extraordinary example of a Japanese strolling garden from the Muromachi period. A path leads around the pond, offering great viewing axes. Continue to Ryoanji temple famous for its stone garden, Saihoji temple famous for its moss garden and stroll around the Gion district. Enjoy a Japanese style dinner with a Maiko experience at a local restaurant. (B, L, D)
Day 9 Travel to Nara, visiting en route Uji Byodoin temple and garden, recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site and the best surviving example of a Pure Land Garden. Sightseeing of Nara includes Todaiji temple, which houses the world’s largest bronze statue. A stroll through Nara Park leads to one of the best Shinto shrines, the Kasuga Grand Shrine known for the lovely wisteria in its botanical gardens. Visit Kofukuji temple, national headquarters of the Hossō School and one of the eight Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Overnight at the 3-star Hotel Hanakomichi. (B, L)
Day 10 Depart Nara for Okayama, visit Korakuen Garden, one of Japan’s three most celebrated gardens. Continue to Matsue for two nights at the 3-star Matsue Excel Hotel Tokyu (Nov: Hotel Ichibatab). (B, L)
Day 11 Visit Adachi Museum of Fine Art, named the best garden in Japan annually since 2003 by the Journal of Japanese Gardening. Continue to Matsue's 17th century castle, surrounded by beautiful grounds with more than 200 species of cherry trees which bloom in the spring- in the autumn the maple and ginkgo prepare to shed their leaves and start to change colour. Take a stroll around Nawate-Koji Old Street and end the day with a tea ceremony. (B, L)
Day 12 Morning tour of Iwami Silver Mine, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit Izumo Taisha Shinto shrine, the second most important in Japan. Fly to Tokyo for overnight at the 3-star Hotel Monterey Hanzomon (Nov: Daiichi Hotel Ryogoku). (B, L)
Day 13 Return flight to London. (B)
Please pack an overnight bag for the 2 days in Hakone as the main luggage goes by road to Kyoto.
The 3-star Hotel Monterey Hanzomon is a 1-minute walk from Hanzomon Subway Station and a 5-minute walk from the Imperial Palace. 340 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-fridge, TV and tea/coffee making facilities and free WiFi.
Daiichi Hotel Ryogoku is located around fifteen minutes from Tokyo Station. Japanese restaurant Sakura offers panoramic city views from the top floor. Other dining options are a bright café-restaurant and a Chinese restaurant. 340 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-fridge, TV, tea/coffee making facilities and free WiFi.
Offering hot-spring baths and a hot tub with views of the Matsumoto landscape, Hotel Omoto is a 4-star hotel with a karaoke bar and free WiFI at the lobby. It is a 10-minute drive from Matsumoto Castle and has Japanese-style rooms with a private bathroom. Yukata robes and slippers are provided in each traditionally styled room, and guests sleep in Japanese futon bedding atop a tatami (woven-straw) floor. Amenities include a restaurant and pool. 40 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-fridge, TV, tea making facilities and free WiFi.
Hotel Vista Kanazawa is a 3-star hotel situated a 5-minute walk from Kanazawa Station. Amenities include a restaurant and public bath. 213 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-fridge, TV, tea making facilities and free WiFi.
Ark Hotel Kyoto is a short walk from Hankyu Omiya Train Station and Keifuku Shijo Omiya Train Station. Amenities of this 3-star hotel include two restaurants and a bar. 160 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-fridge, TV, tea making facilities and free WiFi.
El Inn Kyoto is only a 2-minute walk from JR Kyoto Train Station. Amenities include a restaurant and massage service. 512 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-fridge, TV, tea making facilities and free WiFi.
This 3-star hotel is fust 50 yards from Kintetsu Nara Train Station (Exit 4) and a 5-minute walk from Kofuku-ji Temple. Amenities include a Japanese restaurant and free WiFi in public areas. 38 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-fridge, TV and tea making facilities.
Located just a 3-minute walk from JR Matsue Station, 3-star Matsue Excel Hotel Tokyu provides simple guest rooms fitted with modern facilities. Amenities include a restaurant and free WiFi in public areas. 163 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-fridge, TV and tea making facilities
Hotel Ichibata is located by lake 'Shinji-ko'. Guests can enjoy the picturesque scenery of the lake, Yomega Island and the Chugoku Mountains from the rooms or while soaking in the scenic view hot spring bath. Amenities include a restaurant and bar/lounge, hot spring public bath and free WiFi in public areas. 142 rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-fridge, TV and tea making facilities.
Please note that in Japan room sizes are generally smaller than in Europe.
Hiroshima – City of Peace
Post tour extension (from Day 12)
Visit Hiroshima, a vibrant city of leafy wide boulevards with a thriving cosmopolitan community. Visit majestic Itsukushima Shrine and Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park with its moving message of peace that attracts visitors from around the world.
Day 1 Travel from Izumo Airport to Matsue Station and by road to Hiroshima. Transfer for 2 nights at the 3 star Michelin Hotel Granvia. (B)
Day 2 Take a train and boat to Miyajima Island known since ancient times as Sacred Island, where you’ll see the majestic Itsukushima Shrine. Explore the island with your guide and explore the history of the island’s iconic red Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site that appears to float on the water at high tide. Return to Hiroshima to visit Peace Memorial Park and Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage site, then continue by bus or tram to the Genbaku Dome (Atomic Bomb Dome). (B)
Day 3 Transfer to Hiroshima Airport for the homeward flight to London.
Hiroshima is directly connected to the JR Hiroshima Station. This Michelin 3-star rated hotel offers modern accommodation with 6 restaurants, massage services and rooms with free Wi-Fi. Guestrooms offer both air-conditioning and heating facilities. Each room has a fridge, a trouser press and a flat-screen TV. The onsite restaurant Dish Parade serves a buffet breakfast daily. Granvia Hiroshima Hotel is a 20-minute tram ride from Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park and a 10-minute drive from Hiroshima Castle
per person in a twin room
British Airways from Heathrow
Supplements per person
Single supplement £395
World Traveller Plus from £525
Business Class from £3195
Finnair – Nil
Hiroshima - City of Peace
Post tour extension from day 12
Hotel Granvia - 2 nights £650
Single supplement £175
Includes breakfast daily, transfers, guided tour of Itsukushima and Peace Memorial Museum, 1-day tram and ferry ticket.
Omits final night in Tokyo on main tour.
Arrival or departure transfer £70 (min 2 pax)
(Limousine bus to TCAT and taxi to hotel)
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.
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
Please complete this form and a member of our sales department will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your booking and take payment. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm and Saturdays 10am to 2pm