• Japan

Best of Japan Tour

With an unusual combination of ancient traditions and a new, very modern way of life, this diverse Asian country has long been a popular destination with travellers from all over the globe. Uncover the best parts of Japan during our comprehensive, 13 day luxury tour.

Begin your tour in the capital of Tokyo with three nights to explore a country of stunning natural landscapes, traditional architecture and unique customs. Discover ancient temples, shrines and take a river cruise along the Sumida River to the Edo period Hamarikyu Garden. 

From here, continue onto Hakone, the entrance to the iconic Mount Fuji and beautiful national park of Fuji-Hakone-Izu. It’s known for its volcanic eruption 3,000 years ago and steaming hot springs. Take a cable car up to Mount Owakudani before embracing the authentic Japanese way of living and dressing with a stay in a traditional Japanese inn, a ryokan, where you’ll dine in a kimono.

Your journey carries onwards to the remote, alpine village of Takayama, where you’ll be in awe of the fantastic scenery and ancient architecture. Here you can appreciate a true sense of a distinct part of Japan, before voyaging on to Kanazawa and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go, which is famed for its thatched farmhouse-style houses.

Next on your tour is Kyoto, where you'll discover many splendid Buddhist temples, including Kinkakuji, frequently referred to as the Golden Pavilion. The penultimate stop of your trip is the historic city of Hiroshima, which is remembered for its devastation after the 1945 atomic bombing. This is now a thriving, vibrant region, and perfect for a visit before finishing in the city of Osaka.

Ideal for couples looking for a mixture of city culture and beauty spots, our Best of Japan Tour incorporates some superb highlights to give you a full experience of this unique country.

 

Duration
13 days

Guide Price

 £5,599  pp
Best time to go
March to November
Options
Private basis, Escorted or Self-Guided
Start your journey
a view of a city at night

Trip highlights

  • Visit the iconic temples and shrines in the capital city of Tokyo
  • Discover the lush forestry and sacred mountains of Nikko National Park
  • Experience the authentic Japanese way of life with an overnight stay in a ryokan
  • Explore Mount Fuji National Park from Hakone, a much-loved symbol of Japan
a large city landscape

On arrival into Tokyo International Airport (also known asHaneda Airport), you’ll be met and directed to the train that will take you to your hotel. You’ll also be given your Japan Rail Pass, the best and quickest way to cover miles of land. It’s also a very enjoyable way to see the different regions of Japan.

Once you’ve reached your hotel, relax and settle in for your first day before spending three nights in your luxury Tokyo hotel.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo OR similar
a view of a city at sunset

Unearth the numerous sights and attractions of Tokyo. Today you’ll see the iconic shrine of Meiji Jingu, shop at Omotesandō, and visit the old town geisha district of Asakusa. Here you'll also have the chance to enter the best-known Buddhist site, Sensoji Temple. There are plenty of souvenirs and craft shops to wander around locally afterwards.

Take to the water with a cruise along the Sumida River - this is a wonderful way to see the city from a completely different angle. You'll disembark to visit the exquisitely beautiful Edo period Hamarikyu Garden, and sip on a cup of matcha tea as you sample local Japanese sweets.

Head back to your hotel in Tokyo for the evening.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo OR similar

This morning, take a train to Nikko, which is famed for its national park and multiple shrines. A total change of scene to the bustling nature of Tokyo, you can discover Nikko's lush landscape, featuring green forests,  cherry blossoms (if you’re visiting in the right season), impressive waterfalls, rivers, and a stunning lake. This park is perfect for walking and biking. 

Next, visit Rinnoji, the region’s best-known temple with its pristine gardens, the 1600s Toshogu shrine, and which was home of the Tokugawa Shogunate who ruled for over 200 years. You can also visit the Futarasan shrine, a homage to the three sacred mountains - Mount Nantai, Mount Nyoho and Mount Taro. Your last stop today is Taiyuinbyo, Lemitsu's mausoleum.

Head back to your hotel for your final night in Tokyo.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo OR similar

Today, you'll bid farewell to Tokyo and continue on your way to the famous town of Hakone. Celebrated for its Mount Fuji location and expansive national park, you can choose whether to travel on foot, by water or by train - or all three - to see the many sights on offer. Discover the onsen, natural hot springs, and take a cable car up to Mount Owakudani, where you’ll find views of the rivers and remote volcanic landscapes below.

Navigate the waters of Lake Ashinoko, which was formed by volcanic eruptions 3,000 years ago, and take in the mountainous sights from a different perspective. Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies to get the best view and perfect picture of Mount Fuji.

This evening, spend the night in Japanese inn-style accommodation, in a ryokan with tatami (straw mats) and onsen baths. Enjoy a beautiful meal while dressed in a Japanese kimono.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hakone Yumoto Fujiya Hotel OR similar
this is a photo of Bullet Trains in Japan

Leave Hakone behind and continue your Best of Japan Tour in Takayama. Travelling by the super-fast Shinkansen bullet train, make sure to get a window seat for views of the passing scenery as you journey to the Hida alpine region.

Gain a true understanding of a traditional, remote alpine village in Takyama, with its excellently-preserved wooden houses and hilly surroundings. 

Enjoy a second night of authentic Japanese living in another ryokan in this peaceful region.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Takayama Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan OR similar
Itsukushima Shrine

Bid farewell to Takayama and continue on your travels to Kanazawa.

You'll be left to your own devices today and can become better acquainted with the area at your own pace. Commonly referred to as 'little Kyoto', Kanazawa is home to the 1600s Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa Castle. You can also spend some time in the many museums and handicraft shops.

Next, we recommend using your express bus pass to make a visit to UNESCO World Heritage site, Shirakawa-go. Situated in the mountainous Ōno District, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, it's popular due to its gasshō-zukuri style, thatched farmhouses. This truly is a lovely spot to spend a few hours, with its picturesque network of houses, museums and restaurants.

Return to your Kanazawa accommodation to rest before setting off again in the morning.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa OR similar
Japan

Depart Kanazawa and take the Limited Express Thunderbird Train to Kyoto. On arrival, settle into your hotel and get your bearings at leisure before embarking on two full days of adventure.

As you're here for three nights, there's plenty of time to explore each facet of Kyoto.

Suggested Accommodation

  • New Miyako or similar
a statue in front of a building

After breakfast in Kyoto, your exploration can begin in earnest with a local guided tour of the Buddhist Temple, Kinkakuji, which is frequently referred to as the Golden Pavilion. 

From here you’ll visit Nijo Castle, encircled by beautifully curated gardens, before visiting Heian Shrine, a grand structure built in homage to the emperors of the city.

Indulge in some shopping and local cuisine at the popular Nishiki Market, or 'Kyoto's Kitchen', before heading on to Kiyomizu Temple. Here, you'll be able to enjoy an unspoilt view of the city from the 13-metre high veranda.

Tonight marks your second night in Kyoto.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • New Miyako or similar
a close up of a rock

Today, you can tour Kyoto at your own pace. Why not take tea at one of the traditional teahouses, or take a trip to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest? Explore the many Zen gardens and sample some Michelin-starred dining at one of the many restaurants in the city. 

Alternatively, take a train to Nara Park and explore the temples and 8th century artwork, before feeding the deer that roam freely.  

Retreat back to your Kyoto hotel for your third and final night in this varied city.

Suggested Accommodation

  • New Miyako or similar
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Embark on the next stage of your Best of Japan Tour with a train to Hiroshima. As you travel through the country, you'll spot Himeji Castle and the Seto Ohashi Bridge, connecting Shikoku Island with the mainland.

Possibly best known for being the target of the 1945 atomic bomb, Hiroshima has combated the devastation of the Second World War and is today one of Japan's most atmospheric, bustling cities. There are numerous great places to eat, and plenty of shopping opportunities.

Once you have settled into your new hotel, we recommend you visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which is a place of contemplation and reflection.

Tonight, spend the first of two nights in Hiroshima at your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Sheraton Grand Hotel Hiroshima or similar
a tree in front of a building

Hiroshima is open to you to explore as you wish, with many sights and attractions to take in.

Perhaps you'd like to board the train to Miyajimaguchi port, before jumping on a boat to Miyajima, a famous island in the Inland Sea? Take a photo opportunity at the Floating Torii Gate and visit the stunning temples and shrines in the area.

For those looking for some exercise, take a walk up to the summit of Mount Misen for panoramic views of the islands. Or you can opt for a cable car ride for a more serene way to sightsee.

Retreat to your hotel for your last night in Hiroshima.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Sheraton Grand Hotel Hiroshima or similar
Osaka Castle

This morning, you'll board the bullet train to Osaka. Visit Osaka Castle and scale the heights of the Umeda Sky Building observatory for 360 degree views of the city. Sample the local cuisine too while you're here.

Rest up tonight before you depart Japan the following day.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Granvia Osaka OR similar
a close up of a busy city street at night

Pick up any last minute souvenirs and indulge in your final taste of Japanese cuisine, before setting off to Kansai Airport and boarding your flight back home.

 

Included

  • International flights and airfare taxes
  • Cost of accommodation (double room based on two people sharing) for a total of 12 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
  • Board basis is Breakfast only in Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka
  • Board basis is Half Board: breakfast, lunch/dinner in Hakone and Takayama
  • Assistance and porterage: meeting and assistance on arrival/departure at airports and hotels
  • English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees (excluding video camera fee) for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
  • Taxes

Not included

  • Visa arrangements and fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
  • Video and professional still camera fees during excursions
  • Gratuities for local guides and hotel staff
  • Meals (unless specified)
  • Optional attractions and excursions (unless specified)