ESSENTIAL JAPAN

13 nights (Self-guided)

Tokyo, Kyoto, Takayama, Hakone & Matsumoto

From £1,755 pp

ESSENTIAL JAPAN TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Our Essential Japan Tour is a 13 night 'Golden Itinerary' which takes in the beautiful Japan Alps, the castle town of Matsumoto as well at Mt Fuji (and the nearby resort of Hakone), Kyoto and Tokyo.

  • Visits to Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Takayama, and Matsumoto

  • Travel on Japan's famous Bullet Train

  • 14 day Japan Rail Pass

  • 13 nights' accommodation

  • Dinner included for two nights

  • Breakfast daily

  • Meet and Greet service upon arrival at the airport

  • Airport transfers from/to Narita International Airport

DAILY ITINERARY

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DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN JAPAN, MEET & GREET AT NARITA AIRPORT (TOKYO)
Welcome to Japan! Our friendly Meet & Greet service representative will be waiting in the Arrivals lobby and holding a sign with your name on. The Meet & Greet will direct you to the Narita Express train or limousine bus bound for Shinjuku. Check in to your clean and comfortable 3* hotel in the fantastic neon-filled district of Shinjuku for 3 nights.

DAY 2: TOKYO
Your options are unlimited in this incredible city. Explore Tokyo's past in the bustling, traditional Asakusa district, shop in the fashionable districts of Shibuya and Harajuku, and dine on Japan's finest cuisine. Tokyo is relatively straightforward to navigate, and our Information Pack will make travelling around the city a breeze.

OPTIONAL GUIDED EXCURSION
Enjoy a full day of sightseeing by coach in Tokyo, with lunch included. Your guide will show you the highlights of this vast metropolis, from the Imperial Palace and serene Meiji Shrine to the 'Electric City' of Akihabara.

DAY 3: TOKYO
Enjoy a further day of exploring in Tokyo or use your Japan Rail Pass to venture further afield to Kamakura, a former capital of Japan.

OPTIONAL GUIDED EXCURSION
Join a fantastic, guided excursion to Nikko, a beautiful temple town in the mountains north of Tokyo. You will visit Toshogu Shrine, a mausoleum to one of Japan's most famous shogun, and drive through the picturesque countryside to Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall before heading back to Tokyo.

DAY 4: TOKYO TO HAKONE
It's time to say goodbye to Tokyo for a few days as you speed on the Bullet Train to Hakone, a beautiful resort set in the foothills of Mt Fuji. For the next two nights, you will stay in a comfortable 3* hotel/guest house with its own private hot spring baths.

DAY 5: HAKONE
Hakone is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Today you can enjoy wandering in the peaceful, beautiful surroundings of this resort town. You might like to visit some of the surrounding attractions such as the Open-Air Sculpture Park, Lake Ashi and Owakudani (literally 'Great Boiling Valley').

DAY 6: HAKONE TO KYOTO
Board the Bullet Train again and head to Kyoto which is blessed with many temples and shrines. The journey takes less than 3 hours, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the late afternoon in Kyoto, where we recommend a stroll around the lovely side streets. You will stay in a comfortable, superbly located 3* hotel in the heart of Kyoto for 4 nights.

DAY 7: KYOTO
A rich history of religion, art and craft have combined to make this glorious city a spiritual home for the Japanese. For temples we recommend Kiyomizu-dera and Ginkaku-ji in the hills to the east of the city. Nijo Castle is also well worth a visit, and make sure you allow yourself plenty of time for the wonderful craft shops and delightful streets of Gion, the old geisha quarter.

OPTIONAL GUIDED EXCURSION
Join a guided coach tour. As well as visits to Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Temple), Sanjusangendo Temple and Kiyomizu Temple, today’s tour includes a delicious buffet-style lunch.

DAY 8: NARA AT LEISURE
Whilst smaller than Kyoto, Nara is packed with attractions, with 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sights. The most outstanding of these is Todai-ji temple, until recently the largest wooden building in the world and home to the Great Buddha statue – Japan's biggest. Other essential sights include Yakushi-ji and Horyu-ji temple, whose buildings include some of the world's oldest wooden structures.

DAY 9: KYOTO/OSAKA AT LEISURE
Spend another day in Kyoto or alternatively use your JR Pass to explore the surrounding area. Japan's lively second city, Osaka, is only a short train ride away. Hiroshima is also possible as a day excursion.

DAY 10: KYOTO TO TAKAYAMA
Leave Kyoto and transfer by Bullet train to Takayama, a lovely town in the Japan Alps. Takayama’s charming streets, museums and folkcrafts make it a great place to discover rural Japan. It is also a superb base for exploring the surrounding Hida district and National Park. The town hosts the spectacular Takayama Festival (April and October) which attracts over half a million visitors. For two nights you will stay in a lovely minshuku (inn) with Japanese style rooms. A delicious dinner is included both nights.

DAY 11: TAKAYAMA, FURUKAWA
Further sightseeing in Takayama might include Hida no Sato, an open-air museum of traditional architecture and crafts. Another excursion we recommend is Furukawa, a lovely village less than 20 minutes from Takayama. If you're around in April, you might be lucky enough to catch the Naked Man Festival!

DAY 12: MATSUMOTO
Travel by coach to Matsumoto, where you will arrive around lunchtime. Spend the afternoon at Matsumoto Castle, one of the most impressive castles in Japan, and enjoy strolling around the pretty, laidback streets of this mountain town. You will stay one night in Matsumoto.

DAY 13: TOKYO
After breakfast, board the Bullet train and head back to Tokyo. Return to your hotel in Shinjuku for your final night in Japan. You might like to catch a kabuki play or splash out on a fabulous farewell meal at one of Tokyo's Michelin star restaurants.

DAY 14: DEPART JAPAN
Transfer from your hotel to Narita International Airport (Tokyo).
Return to the UK (arrive the same day).

HOW INDEPENDENT TOURS WORK

ENJOY INDEPENDENT TRAVEL BUT NOT THE HASSLE OF PLANNING?

OUR INDEPENDENT TOURS COULD BE JUST THE TICKET!

 

Carefully put together by our team of specialists, our excellent collection of sample itineraries is designed to inform and inspire your next Japan adventure. Every one of our Independent Tours is fully tailor-made for you, ensuring your trip is everything you want it to be.

 

It's quite straightforward to travel independently in Japan. We will provide just the right amount of support and logistical planning to make you feel comfortable in a very foreign land. These itineraries are available for any departure date (with a few exclusions coinciding with Japanese National Holidays and some weekends). We'll do all the work for you and provide you with an information pack to make your trip run smoothly. You can also add guided tours as indicated and if you do want your own personal guide we can arrange this too.

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS & LOCATION GUIDE

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TOKYO 

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KYOTO

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MIYAJIMA

PRICING & INCLUSIONS

3* accommodation: from £1,599.00 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
4* accommodation: from £1,975.00 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
5* accommodation: on Request

3* single room occupancy: from £1,899.00
4* single room occupancy: from £2,415.00

 

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 7 nights’ accommodation in a Double/Twin room at centrally located hotels on a bed and Japanese breakfast basis

  • 1 night’s accommodation in a traditional Japanese ryokan including a delicious Japanese dinner and breakfast on Miyajima island

  • Transfer from and to Haneda or Narita International Airport (Tokyo) by Express Train on Airport Limousine Bus.

  • Meet & Greet service on arrival at Haneda or Narita International Airport (Tokyo).

  • 7-day Japan Rail Pass allowing you unlimited travel on the entire Japan Rail network including Shinkansen (Bullet Train) services and the Hiroshima to Miyajima ferry.

 

NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE

  • International airfare.

  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Entrance fees to sights not mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Taxi, subway, and tramway fees.

  • Insurance.

  • Optional excursions (see below)

OPTIONAL GUIDED TOURS

Tokyo: £98 per person full day, including lunch
Mt Fuji & Hakone: £170 per person full day, including lunch
Kyoto: £125 per person full day, including lunch
Nara Afternoon: £77 per person

 

BOOKING INFORMATION

To make a booking, a deposit of 10% of the total price is required.

 

 

Read our COVID-19 Policy here

 

INSURANCE

Travel can be a great experience, but it can also be fraught with problems, so when going anywhere it is essential you are properly covered with good travel insurance. You should be protected against cancellation, curtailment, and loss or damage to your belongings as well as medical emergencies and have peace of mind if the unexpected happens.

Japan Journeys in association with Holiday Extras, is now able to offer excellent low-cost cover to their customers.

 

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