JAPAN: COAST TO COAST
11 nights (Self-guided)
Kobe, Lake Biwa, Amanohashidate, Kinosaki Onsen, Tottori, Kurashiki & Osaka
From £1,595 pp
Immerse yourself in Western Japan's rich culture, history, and nature with this itinerary, designed for those who want to relax while enjoying Japan's abundant natural beauty, including lakes, hot springs, and the coast.
Start off in Kobe, a glittering port town that stretches out between the sea and the mountains, before heading to beautiful Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake.
Spend a couple of days enjoying the tranquil lakeside atmosphere before venturing towards the Sea of Japan coast. Here see one of Japan's designated 'three best views' at Amanohashidate, literally 'bridge to heaven'.
Next move west along the coast to the attractive hot spring resort at Kinosaki. Don your yukata (cotton kimono) and sample the soothing waters of the many onsen bathhouses, then have a delicious dinner prepared for you at your ryokan, where you will sleep on comfortable futons.
Continue further west to coastal Tottori, famous for its sand dunes and impressive sand sculptures. From here travel to the delightful town of Kurashiki, rich in tradition and crafts. At the end of your trip, enjoy the last night of your adventure in the buzzing modern city of Osaka.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN JAPAN, MEET & GREET AT KANSAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (OSAKA)
Welcome to Japan! Our friendly Meet & Greet service representative will be waiting in the Arrivals lobby for you and will direct you to the express train to Kobe. Check in to your clean and comfortable hotel in central Kobe for 1 night.
DAY 2: KOBE TO LAKE BIWA
Transfer by train to beautiful Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake, near Kyoto. Explore the lovely castle town of Hikone before taking a boat ride on the lake and stop off at scenic Chikubushima, one of the 3 islands dotted around the lake. Check in to your hotel here for 2 nights.
DAY 3: LAKE BIWA AT LEISURE
Relax on the lakeside today, or pay a visit to the historical town of Nagahama. For spectacular views, take a cable car to the summit of Mt Hiei, one of Japan's holiest mountains. Here you can see the temple of Enryakuji, now a World Heritage Site.
DAY 4: LAKE BIWA TO AMANOHASHIDATE
Head towards the Sea of Japan coast to Amanohashidate, one of Japan's top scenic spots. This sandbar lined with pine trees is named 'bridge of heaven' as it seems to connect the earth to the sky. Take a leisurely stroll across the white sand to the other side of the bay, or get a bird's eye view from the hill-top park. Check in to your accommodation here for 2 nights.
DAY 5: MAIZURU/INE DAY TRIP
Today why not take a scenic train ride along the coast to the castle town of Maizuru? Alternatively, you may like to visit the sleepy fishing village of Ine on the Tango Peninsula and see the pretty wooden boathouses as you cruise around the turquoise waters of the bay. Return to Amanohashidate tonight.
DAY 6: KINOSAKI
Transfer to the charming hot spring resort town of Kinosaki, where according to legend, storks bathed in the restorative waters to heal their wounds. For the next 2 nights, you will stay in a traditional ryokan with its own onsen baths. In the evening, take a stroll around the town's willow-lined streets, wearing a yukata (casual kimono) provided by your ryokan. Dinner at your ryokan is included both nights.
DAY 7: KINOSAKI
Today you may like to sample some more of the town's public baths, of which there are seven you can try out. Later on, take the ropeway up Mt Daishi for spectacular views – halfway up is the temple to the patron of Kinosaki town, where all visitors used to be required to pay their respects before enjoying the town's hot springs!
DAY 8: KINOSAKI TO TOTTORI
Hop on the train again and head further west along the coast to the city of Tottori. Just outside the city, you will find one of the area's most famous sightseeing spots, Tottori Sand Dunes, where you can take a camel ride and admire views of the Sea of Japan, and check out the museum of amazing sand sculptures. Later on, take a stroll around the beautiful garden at Kannon-in temple. Near to the ruins of the city's former castle and a park of cherry trees, you will find a Western-style mansion built for Emperor Taisho. For dinner, why not try some of the area's famous seafood?
DAY 9: TOTTORI TO KURASHIKI
Head off after breakfast to the attractive canal town of Kurashiki by train, where you will stay for the next 2 nights. Take a stroll along Kurashiki's beautiful canals and visit a selection of traditional, feudal-era warehouses that have been converted into an eclectic collection of museums, the finest of which is the Ohara Museum. Historically known for its textile production, Kurashiki is now known as Japan’s denim capital, and you will find many shops selling locally produced denim garments, and you can even sample the local 'denim ice cream'.
DAY 10: KURASHIKI
Spend a further day exploring picturesque Kurashiki, or travel further afield to the castle town of Okayama, where you will also find one of Japan's top gardens.
DAY 11: OSAKA
Leave Kurashiki and travel to Osaka, Japan's third-largest city, where you will stay tonight. Spend the day enjoying the sights of Osaka including the lively Dotonbori district for shopping, eating, and entertainment, Osaka castle, and the wonderful Osaka aquarium. On your last night in Japan, sample some of the Kansai region's culinary specialities, such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki.
DAY 12: RETURN HOME – KANSAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Transfer to Kansai International Airport (Osaka) for your flight home.
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
PRICING & INCLUSIONS
3* accommodation: from £1,595 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
4* accommodation: from £1,995 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
5* accommodation: ON REQUEST
3* single room occupancy: from £1,845.00
4* single room occupancy: from £2,595.00
5* single room accommodation available: ON REQUEST
7-day Hokuriku-Kansai Area Rail Pass, allowing you unlimited travel on the Kansai and Hokuriku area Japan Rail network including Shinkansen (Bullet Train) services
Train tickets between Kobe-Otsu (Lake Biwa) and Otsu-Amanohashidate
Airport transfers by express train
Meet & Greet service on arrival at Kansai International Airport (Osaka)
Detailed Japan Journeys Information Pack including detailed train schedules, maps, & brochures
Personalised Japan Journeys App to help manage your documents
All Japanese sales taxes and service charge
3* Option Price INCLUDES:
7 nights’ accommodation in a Twin/Double room at 3* hotels in Kobe, Lake Biwa, Tottori, Kurashiki and Osaka on a bed & breakfast basis
2 nights’ accommodation in Japanese minshuku (inn) at Amanohashidate on a bed & breakfast basis
2 nights’ accommodation in Japanese ryokan at Kinosaki Onsen, breakfast and dinner included
4* Option Price INCLUDES:
7 nights’ accommodation in a Twin/Double room at 4* hotels in Kobe, Lake Biwa, Tottori, Kurashiki, and Osaka on a bed & breakfast basis
4 nights’ accommodation in Japanese ryokan at Amanohashidate and Kinosaki Onsen, breakfast and dinner included
5* Option Price INCLUDES:
5 nights’ accommodation in a superior Twin/Double room at 4/5* hotels in Kobe, Lake Biwa, Tottori, and Osaka on a bed & breakfast basis
6 nights’ accommodation in deluxe Japanese ryokan at Amanohashidate, Kinosaki Onsen, and Kurashiki, breakfast and dinner included
NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE
Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
Train fare to Maizuru/Nagahama
Bus fare to Ine
Taxi, subway, boat, and tramway fees
To make a booking, a deposit of 10% of the total price is required.
The balance of the price of the trip must be made 12 weeks prior to departure.
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.
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