Best of Japan

14 Days | 13 Nights

Price per person from *$6559 (*Based on Double Occupancy)
Land Only

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On this tour, you will visit perennial favorite locations such as Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto, plus some of Japan’s most historically and culturally significant destinations such as the picturesque traditional village of Shirakawago and the vermillion sacred torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine, which appears to be floating in the sea during high tide.  This itinerary offers a comprehensive Japanese vacation.  

  • Airport transfers
  • 12 nights 4.5-star hotel accommodation
  • 1 night Japanese Inn accommodation
  • Breakfast daily
  • Kaiseki dinner in Hakone
  • Travel by bullet train
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Description

Your journey starts in Tokyo, a city of contrasts. Japan’s capital is famous for its pioneering modernity, iconic neon cityscapes and soaring skyscrapers, yet dotted with peaceful parks, shrines, temples, and tranquil gardens. Despite its mania for pop culture, anime, fashion, digital trends and discernible consumption, the city embraces an ancient heritage evident in the temples and shrines scattered amongst the towering high-rise buildings. 

Next, visit Hakone, a tranquil mountain lake retreat renowned for its natural beauty and therapeutic hot springs. Visitors can cruise across Lake Ashi, marveling at Mount Fuji's reflection, or ascend to Owakudani to witness volcanic activity and savor black eggs boiled in sulfuric hot springs. Riding the zig-zag railway  and ropeway up to Gora to visit the open-air museum is recommended. Your accommodation here is in a traditional Japanese Inn called a ryokan, offering an immersive cultural experience steeped in hospitality and tranquility. 

Travel by bullet and express train to Takayama. The journey is incredibly scenic as the train winds its way through mountains and gorges in this stunningly picturesque region.  With its plethora of temples, shrines, festivals, rivers and bridges, the mountain town of Takayama is also known as “little Kyoto”. The region is agricultural, and every day fresh vegetables and fruit are brought to Takayama’s lively morning market by local farmers. Due to the town’s previously secluded location in the mountainous Hida region, a remarkable number of its unique traditions have been preserved. 

Continue by bus to Kanazawa stopping for a few hours at Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri (“Praying hands”) farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. 

Kanazawa is famed for its well-preserved Edo-era districts, traditional tea houses, and samurai residences. Kenrokuen Garden is one of Japan’s Top Three gardens.  Kanazawa's rich cultural heritage is discovered through its museums and craft workshops.

Head to Hiroshima, a poignant symbol of peace and resilience. Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Dome to honor the victims of the atomic bombing. Explore the rebuilt city, vibrant with culture, cuisine, and a thriving arts scene, showcasing its enduring spirit. Nearby is Miyajima, an island considered to be one of Japan’s most scenic spots.

Take the bullet train to Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital. From historic landmarks to scenic landscapes, Kyoto's timeless beauty and rich cultural heritage enchant visitors, offering a profound journey into Japan's past. Home to over 2,000 temples and shrines, including the iconic Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto exudes a serene ambiance. Stroll through historic districts like Gion, where trainee geisha gracefully glide through cobblestone streets. Discover the beauty of Japanese gardens at Arashiyama or savor traditional tea ceremonies in tranquil tea houses. Plan a visit to Nishiki market at lunchtime and choose from a wide array of tantalizing foods on offer. Buy a high quality Japanese knife and have your name engraved on the blade – the perfect souvenir. 

In Nara, Japan's first capital, you’ll find a treasure trove of history and culture. Renowned for its ancient temples, including the majestic Todai-ji with its colossal Great Buddha statue, Nara Park offers tranquil strolls amidst friendly deer. Explore the picturesque streets of Naramachi, lined with traditional machiya houses, and sample local delicacies like mochi and sake. Nara's serene ambiance, rich heritage, and natural beauty make it a captivating destination, perfect for immersing oneself in Japan's timeless traditions.

At the conclusion of this itinerary, travel to one of the Tokyo airports, or to Osaka’s Kansai airport.   


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Price

Travel Dates

Price*
*Price per person from Based on Double Occupancy
Jul 1, 2024 - Jul 31, 2024 from $6769*
Aug 1, 2024 - Aug 31, 2024 from $6999*
Sep 1, 2024 - Sep 30, 2024 from $6849*
Oct 1, 2024 - Nov 30, 2024 from $7479*
Dec 1, 2024 - Dec 31, 2024 from $6559*

Prices are quoted in USD and are ‘from’, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplements apply. Advertised price is valid for departures June 1, 2024 - June 30, 2024. Pricing for other dates on request. Prices are current at time of posting (4/9/2024) and may differ when you book your travel and are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed.


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Inclusions

  • Airport transfers
  • 12 nights 4.5-star hotel accommodation
  • 1 night Japanese Inn accommodation
  • Breakfast daily
  • Kaiseki dinner in Hakone
  • Travel by bullet train

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Map


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Itinerary

  • 01
    Day 1 Ginza at Night credit TCVB

    Day 1: Tokyo

    Upon arrival at Narita Airport, you will be met by an assistant at the arrival lobby before boarding your shared transfer to your hotel in Tokyo, The Gate Hotel Tokyo by HULIC, or similar. 

    • Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic  (Deluxe)
  • 02
    Day 2 Cherry blossoms on Sumida River Tokyo

    Day 2: Tokyo

    Take a full-day tour by public transportation with a local guide. First up is Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of traditional Tokyo. Visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Next, travel down the Sumidagawa River on Tokyo's Water Bus, a unique means of transportation (doesn’t operate on Tuesdays). Visit Hamarikyu Garden, an Edo-period Japanese garden where you will stop for a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea house on a small island in the park’s lake. Later, enjoy a visit to Meiji Shrine. As the sunlight fades, take a walk down Harajuku and Omotesando shopping street. (B)

    • Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic  (Deluxe)
  • 03
    Day 3 Akihabara Tokyo credit TCVB

    Day 3: Tokyo

    Meet your guide and go to Tsukiji to stroll around the market. While the wholesale market has moved to its new location, the outer market remains, and you can explore both the vegetable and fruit areas plus the impressive seafood section as you wander the streets here. You will also be able to try some tasty samples as you explore. Tsukiji market is closed on Sundays and Wednesdays.  Tonight you will forward your big luggage to Takayama. (B)

    • Hotel Associa Takayama Resort  (Deluxe)
  • 04
    Day 4 JNTO Mt Fuji and blossoms

    Day 4: Hakone

    Take Japan’s world-famous shinkansen (bullet train) to Hakone. Using your included Hakone Free Pass, take advantage of the extensive local transport network to explore this stunning area. Ride zig-zag trains, cable cars, ropeways, and buses – then embark on a pirate ship cruise, which will sweep you across the volcanic Lake Ashi while providing views of Mt. Fuji on clear days. In the evening, enjoy your stay at Hakone Kowakien Tenyu, a traditional Japanese ryokan, complete with delicious multi-course meals, a steaming onsen (hot spring) and futons laid out on tatami mats. (B,D)

    • Hotel Associa Takayama Resort  (Deluxe)
  • 05
    Day 5 Hida Takayama PX

    Day 5: Takayama

    Take the shinkansen and express trains to Takayama, a scenic journey into the Japan Alps. On arrival, make your way to your accommodation for the following two nights, Hotel Associa Takayama Resort, or similar. (B)

  • 06
    Day 6 Hida Takayama PX

    Day 6: Takayama

    Explore Takayama at your leisure – best done on foot. Don’t miss the fabulous morning markets by the river, or the old town district.  There is also a temple trail on the outskirts of town. All are walkable distances. Takayama sake is famous – we suggest trying some tonight. (B)

    • Hotel Associa Takayama Resort  (Deluxe)
  • 07
    Day 7 JNTO Shirakawago cJNTO Aug16

    Day 7: Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa

    This morning, head to the Shirakawago region.  After spending time in the village, you will use your included ticket to board a highway bus bound for Kanazawa where you will check in to your accommodation for two nights, Hyatt Centric Kanazawa, or similar. (B)

    • Hyatt Centric Kanazawa  (Deluxe)
  • 08
    Day 8 Tea ceremony DAJ

    Day 8: Kanazawa

    After exploring Kanazawa on your own, you will take part in a tea ceremony. During a private experience, you will first be introduced to the art of tea and its history and learn why the tea ceremony has become so significant in Japanese culture. Then, enter the tearoom to take part in an authentic Japanese tea ceremony, that will take you right to the heart of Japanese aesthetics and tradition.

    • Hyatt Centric Kanazawa  (Deluxe)
  • 09
    Day 9 Hiroshima Peace Memorial PX

    Day 9: Hiroshima

    Travel by express and bullet trains to Hiroshima. After checking into your hotel for the following two nights, Hotel Granvia Hiroshima, the rest of day at leisure to explore this rebuilt city. (B)

    • Hotel Granvia Hiroshima  (Deluxe)
  • 10
    Day 10 Hiroshima Miyajima PX

    Day 10: Hiroshima and Miyajima

    Your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you to the Peace Memorial Park.

    The area where the park is now located was ground zero for the atomic bomb attack on the 6th of August 1945. After the bombing, the Peace Memorial Park was created and dedicated to those who lost their lives in the tragic attack. Take a walk through the park to discover its many memorials, monuments, and statues before entering the museum. 

    From Hiroshima, a short ferry ride will take you to Miyajima, a small sacred island located in the Seto Inland Sea, Miyajima has been a sacred place for Shintoism since the earliest times. Here you will find one of the most photographed sites in Japan – the torii gate which appears to be floating in the sea during high tide, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    • Hotel Granvia Hiroshima  (Deluxe)
  • 11
    Day 11 Kyoto DAJ

    Day 11: Kyoto

    In the morning, make your way by bullet train bound to Kyoto. On arrival in Kyoto, make your way to your hotel for the following three nights, Granvia Hotel Kyoto.  Rest of day at leisure.  (B)

    • Granvia Hotel Kyoto  (Deluxe)
  • 12
    Day 12 Kyoto Kinkakuji DAJ

    Day 12: Kyoto

    Explore Kyoto by public transportation with your guide.  First, head to the world-famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. Thousands of bright red torii gates line the mountain trail, and walking through them is a visually stunning experience.  Next, visit Sanjusangendo,  the longest wooden temple structure in Japan. Inside, you will find 1001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist god of mercy.  Next stop is Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a celebrated UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon, you will visit Kinkakuji Temple, the Golden Pavilion.   

    Finally, visit Kitano-Tenmangu shrine, then marvel at the surrounding entertainment district of Kamishichiken, every bit as charming as its more touristy cousin Gion, with the bonus of fewer crowds and excellent photo opportunities. (B)

    • Granvia Hotel Kyoto  (Deluxe)
  • 13
    Day 13 Nara DAJ

    Day 13: Kyoto

    Enjoy a day tour to Nara, Japan’s former capital,  with a local guide. First, you will visit the beautiful Isuien Garden, a striking example of Japanese horticulture, borrowing the water from the Yoshikigawa River and the mountain backdrop of Mt. Wakakusayama to create its striking appearance.  Next, wander through Nara Park, also known as the ‘deer park’ due to the more than 1,000 free-roaming deer living there. Within Nara Park is Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s biggest Buddha statue. Next stop is Nara’s most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns donated by worshippers. End your day with a stroll around Naramachi, a charming historic merchant district showcasing some exceptionally well-preserved ‘machiya’ town houses. (B)

    • Granvia Hotel Kyoto  (Deluxe)
  • 14
    Day 14 Masks Japan

    Day 14: Tokyo or Osaka

    Depending on whether your internation flight departs from one of Tokyo’s airport or from Kansai airport in Osaka, you will travel to Tokyo or Osaka for your final night.  Accommodation in Tokyo is at The Gate Hotel Tokyo by HULIC, or similar. Accommodation in Osaka is at Hotel Granvia Osaka, or similar. (B)

    • Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic  (Deluxe)
    • Hotel Granvia Hiroshima  (Deluxe)

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