Duration: TBC, September 2018
Destinations: Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Takayama
Price: TBC


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This fantastic tour is a guided, group version of our Essential Japan Independent Tour – perfect for those who wish to see the best of Japan and have the benefits of being escorted by an experienced Japan Journeys guide throughout. You begin your journey in the lively metropolis of Tokyo from where you’ll take the newest Bullet Train line to the Sea of Japan side of the country and the delightful town of Kanazawa. You will not only have the pleasure of exploring the beautiful town but also trying your hand at some cultural activities. You will learn how decorate a pair of traditional Japanese chopsticks with gold leaf, as well as making some tasty Japanese confectionary. We will then make our way to Kyoto – the cultural heartland of Japan,with its countless temples and shrines. We will also make a day trip to the first capital of Japan, Nara where you can feed the sacred deer in the park on your way to visit the giant Buddha housed in the equally impressive Todaiji Temple- the largest wooden building in the world. Your last stop of the tour will be Takayama, located in the lovely Japan Alps. Whilst here we will visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Shirakawago, and Gokayama and wander amongst the picturesque thatched house.

To enquire about availability, or find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

The TourDaily ItineraryAccommodationDates and Inclusions
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    • Discover a Japan very much off the beaten path
    • Explore the past and future, with Tokyo, a modern metropolis and the world’s largest, and Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan
    • Experience the unique culture of this timeless land, from geisha and ninja to the thatched houses of Shirakawago
    • Travel in style and speed on the world-famous Bullet Train
    • Enjoy excellent Guided tours of Kyoto, Nara & Tokyo
    • Indulge yourself in world class cuisine
    • Try your hand at decorating chopsticks, and making your own traditional Japanese dish

Day 1-2: Depart UK/Arrival in Japan
Fly overnight to Narita International Airport (Tokyo) from where you will be met and taken to Tokyo by private coach. Check into your centrally-located 4* Tokyo hotel for three nights on a bed and breakfast basis.

Day 3: Tokyo Tour
We start today by ascending Tocho (the Tokyo Municipal Government Building) for a fantastic panoramic view of Tokyo. We then move on to the bustling, traditional Asakusa district to visit Sensoji Temple- the oldest temple in Tokyo. After lunch we will enjoy a pleasure cruise from Asakusa pier along the Sumida River to Hama-Rikyu – site of one of Tokyo’s loveliest gardens. We will travel by local public transport. Breakfast & Dinner included.

Day 4: Tokyo
This morning we will visit the beautiful Meiji Shrine and then you will have the rest of the day to enjoy at leisure. Breakfast included.

Day 5: Tokyo to Kanazawa
Today we speed on the new Bullet Train line to Kanazawa, a beautiful town on the Sea of Japan coast. We will spend the afternoon visiting the well preserved Higashi Chaya district by local bus, giving you a sense of old Japan. You will also have an enjoyable included hands-on opportunity to decorate your own pair of chopsticks with gold leaf. We check into our 4* hotel for 2 nights. Breakfast included.

Day 6: Kanazawa
Today we will again be using the local loop bus and our first stop of the day will be the magnificent Kenroku-en, one of Japan’s top three gardens. We will have another hands-on experience making some delicious Japanese confectionary before visiting the superb 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Modern Art. Breakfast included.

Day 7: Kanazawa to Kyoto
After a leisurely morning we will board the train to Kyoto, the cultural heartland of Japan. On arrival in Kyoto we will visit the imposing Nijo Castle -famous for its nightingale floor, which made a chirping noise under pressure to warn of intruders. We will check into our centrally-located 4* Kyoto hotel for four nights. Breakfast included.

Day 8: Kyoto
Enjoy a full day visiting the sights of Kyoto by private air-conditioned coach, beginning with the beautiful temples and gardens of Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion. Next, we will visit the famous Zen Buddhist rock garden at Ryoan-ji. Following a buffet lunch at Kyoto Handicraft Centre, we will visit Kiyomizu-dera, a hillside temple offering fabulous views over the city. Breakfast & Lunch included.

Day 9: Nara
Today we will take the train to the sleepy town of Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital and home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The highlight of the day is a visit to Todai-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world and home to the Great Buddha. Nara Park is a lovely place to stroll, relax and feed the deer. This afternoon you are free to continue exploring Nara or return to Kyoto. Breakfast included.

Day 10: Kyoto 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. Breakfast included.

Day 11: Kyoto to Takayama
This morning we leave Kyoto and transfer by Bullet and local train to Takayama, a lovely town in the Japan Alps. You will have time this afternoon to relax and explore Takayama’s atmospheric streets, museums and folkcraft. We will check in to our lovely 4* hotel in Takayama for two nights. Breakfast included.

Day 12: Takayama
We join a guided bus tour today to visit the two UNESCO World Heritage sites of Shirakawago and Gokayama. These two picturesque villages are famous for their traditional ‘gassho-style’ Japanese houses that are unique to their region. We will enjoy delicious local cuisine for lunch. Breakfast & Lunch included.

Day 13: Tokyo
After breakfast we take the train back to Tokyo. We return to Tokyo for our final night in Japan. You have the afternoon at leisure before we all get together for a lovely Farewell dinner. Breakfast & Dinner included.

Day 14: Depart Japan
Transfer from your hotel to Narita International Airport (Tokyo). Return to the UK (arrive same day).

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A selection of accommodation in Tokyo

Citadines Hotel Shinjuku


Located a short walk from JR Shinjuku station which is serviced by the Narita Express train, the main shopping, eating and entertainment area of Shinjuku, the Citadines Hotel is the ideal place from which to explore Tokyo.

The hotel has comfortable rooms with a sense of style. Many amenities are provided, including a Corby trouser press in standard single rooms. Families and couples can relax in double or twin rooms, and some standard rooms can accommodate three beds.

Breakfast consisits of Japanese and Western cuisine, served buffet-style. Fresh baked bread and a selction of fruit.

A selection of accommodation in Kanazawa

Hotel Nikko Kanazawa


This first-rate Superior hotel stands in front of Kanazawa station, the gateway to one of Japan’s most culturally prestigious city. Excellent transport links to all the city’s major sites are easily accessed nearby. The city of Kanazawa has long had a strongly individual streak when it comes to its arts, crafts and design, which is evident in the aesthetic that runs through this whole hotel.

This property features lovely, modern rooms, comfortably furnished and amply provided for by way of amenities.

A strong point of this hotel is its impressive range of restaurants. Of particular note is the teppanyaki restaurant, Icho, which has excellent views over the city and serves fresh local seafood and high-quality wagyu Japanese beef, carefully cooked in front of you by one of the expert chefs. An impressive Western style breakfast is served in The Garden House restaurant from 7:00.

Hotel Mystays Premier Kanazawa


Conveniently located only five minutes walk from Kanazawa Station.

The hotel is brand new, opening at the end of 2014, and room size is generous for a Japanese hotel.

All rooms have a TV, safety box, refrigerator and tea making facilities. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

The hotel has a Japanese restaurant and Western Café/Restaurant. Guest can also make use of the on-site gym free of charge.

A selection of accommodation in Kyoto

Hoshinoya Kyoto


Upon arrival at Hoshinoya Kyoto, guests are picked up by boat from a landing located near Togetsukyo bridge. The journey is a leisurely ten minutes up the Oi River, allowing guests to enjoy the beautiful scenery all the way to the serene hills of Arashiyama.
The guest rooms are located in a renovated ryokan inn that was built 100 years ago on the former premises of Kyoto business tycoon Suminokura Ryoi’s private residence. It was modernized just enough to ensure a pleasant stay without sacrificing the heart of traditional Japanese architecture.
Every guest room features paper furnishings known as karakami decorated by skilled Kyoto artisans using historical woodblock print patterns. Sliding doors and other traditional furnishings feature modern embellishments that enhance their functional and aesthetic elegance.
Hoshinoya offers Head Chef Ichiro Kubota’s unique brand of Kyoto banquet cuisine that pays respect to Kyoto’s traditions yet defies classification. It is playful, yet precise and artistic–always abundant with flavour, and has earned him fame in France and London. Guests can dine at their leisure surrounded by the deep serenity of the hills at night, either at an open counter or in private rooms under the hotel’s soft, warm lighting.

Hyatt Regency


Hyatt Regency Kyoto, located in the beautifully verdant Higashiyama Shichijo, is an example of how Japan’s ancient history and tradition can be combined with the present. Contemporary Japanese style based on traditional Japanese beauty comes together to form a cosmopolitan and modern look, offering you Kyoto’s warm and signature hospitality. Each day at 6:15 pm, a Maiko (an apprenticed geisha), from Kyoto’s Miyagawa-cho district, will offer a magical and elegant traditional dance.

Rooms in this hotel blend traditional Japanese taste with modern practicality using ample plain wood to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The rooms are arranged with a beautiful kimono tapestry (from the Edo to Taisho period), a gorgeous lantern and more, to make for a traditional Japanese environment while also implementing the latest technology such as flat-screen TVs and a Blu-ray player, as well as a work desk for practicality. The restroom has granite flooring and a large bath for better relaxation.

Dining at this Hyatt Regency is world class, and proudly offers a wide variety of restaurants for you to choose from. From prime cuts of meat cooked in a wood burning oven at “The Grill”, to the timeless tradition at “Touzan”, with the restaurant’s interior  resembling an old Japanese-style house, complemented by views of the hotel’s rock garden.


Kyoto Hotel Okura


A wonderful, deluxe modern hotel, superbly located in the heart of Japan’s cultural capital. On one side lie the Kamo river and the Higashi mountains, and on the other, the ordered streets of this ancient metropolis – all of which provide stunning views from the hotel’s excellent high-floor restaurants. With the geisha district of Pontocho just a few minutes’ walk away, and eating and shopping opportunities abound, you will want for nothing at this exceptional property.

The rooms here are generously proportioned, with large en-suite bathrooms and comfortable furnishings. Of course, all luxury amenities are provided as standard.

Among the 6 restaurants in the hotel, possibly Pittoresque Sky Restaurant stands out the most, offering delicious French cuisine and an excellent wine selection, complete with stunning views. Relax in one of the hotel’s tasteful bars or cafes, or go for a swim in its indoor pool.

The Ritz Carlton


Set along the shores of the Kamogawa River and featuring panoramic views of the Higashiyama Mountain, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto redefines luxury in a city that transcends expectations. The hotel offers beautifully refined rooms and suites, as well as four restaurants and a peaceful spa.
The immaculately designed hotel rooms and suites at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto feature spacious layouts and gorgeously realized details, tempting guests to forgo exploration in favor of relaxed seclusion. Suite amenities include handmade soaps, 600-count linens and complimentary Internet access.
Showcasing both Japanese and Western cuisine, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto transports the art of fine dining to unprecedented new heights. Sample four classic styles of Japanese cooking, including sushi, teppanyaki and multi-course kaiseki dinners, at Mizuki. La Locanda, the enchanting Italian restaurant, offers classic yet contemporary dining in a historic setting.

Hotel Granvia Kyoto


This excellent 4* hotel is integrated into Kyoto station, providing a quiet haven with superb access to the entire country, let alone the entire city of Kyoto. You also are right above all the excellent shopping facilities, museum and department store within the station complex.
Although we list this property as Superior, it is really at the higher end of the category and in many regards borders on Deluxe. The spacious rooms are furnished in style, capturing the essence of Kyoto with that characteristic combination of delicate minimalism and lavishness. For your relaxation and fitness needs, there is an indoor pool, a gym, a jacuzzi and a steam room.
There is a fantastic range of restaurants in and around the hotel, with an abundance of Japanese, Oriental and Western style options available. For example, the exceptional “Teppanyaki Gozanbo” serves renowned Oumi Beef and seafood, using only the freshest seasonal ingredients.

Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa


This centrally located, superior quality Western style hotel is located right near Kawaramachi and Kamogawa river, a prime spot for shopping, exploring and sightseeing.

The rooms are spacious and comfortable, furnished in a simple, modern style, featuring a full range of high quality amenities and private bathrooms.

Enjoy a meal in Prandia Restaurant, with a range of flavoursome Western and Oriental options. Linger in Haven Bar, a classic English style bar. Or some pampering and relaxation, choose to soothe your mind, body and spirit at the Kotoran Spa.

New Miyako Hotel


This excellent 4* hotel is located at the heart of Kyoto, it’s only a 6 minute walk from Kyoto Station, and a wide variety of facilities are offered, from quaint antique watch shops to beauty salons.

The rooms are fantastic and very spacious, with a décor that echoes the ambience of ancient Kyoto.

The hotel also boats an impressive selection of bars and restaurants, offering Japanese, Chinese as well as Western cuisine and beverages. One restaurant even allows you watch your meal being made with fresh ingredients by the chef.

Karasuma Kyoto Hotel


Located a few minutes walk from Shijo Street which is the main street for shopping with a number of department stores and fantastic restaurants.

Single rooms are compact and doubles more generously sized and recently renovated. All rooms have TV, refrigerator and tea making facilities. Free LAN internet is available in room and free wifi is available in the lobby.

The Karasuma Kyoto Hotel has a large selection of Western and Japanese breakfast items and there is also an onsite Starbucks and bakery. Other facilities include a Chinese and Japanese restaurant and a bar.

This business class hotel features compact well-equipped rooms with flat screen TVs, refrigerators and bathroom amenities. All rooms have free wi-fi. Computer terminals are available in the lobby along with 24-hour coin laundry.
Breakfast is a light Japanese breakfast consisting of rice balls, miso soup, some salad items and also a little bread.

Superbly located on Shijo Street which is the main street for shopping with a number of department stores and fantastic restaurants. Nearby is the fascinating Nishiki food market and the covered markets.

A selection of accommodation in Tokyo

Best Western Hotel Takayama


Located in the heart of downtown Takayama, the Best Western Hotel Takayama offers is within walking distance from all major tourist attractions, shopping centres, convenience stores with banking machines, post office, city hall, bus terminal and JR Takayama Train Station.

The bilingual staff are happy to assist with any questions you may have. Each of the modern rooms feature amenities such as AM/FM alarm clock, hairdryers, coffee and tea services, desk/work areas, fax and modem connections, and cable televisions and mini-bars.

Breakfast is a mix of Japanese and Western and wifi is available in the lobby and rooms.


  • Economy class scheduled international flights (with a change of plane en route)
  • 12 nights accommodation at centrally located 4* hotels in Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, and Takayama with breakfast daily
  • Services of a knowleadgeable Japan Journeys Tour Manager throughout
  • Airport Transfers in Japan for those passengers arriving and/or departing with the main group (pre and post extension passengers will need to arrange their own airport transfers).Welcome and Farewell Dinners on Days 3 & 13
  • Lunch on Day 8
  • Gold Leaf Decorating Experience
  • Japanese Confectionary Making Experience
  • 14-day Japan Rail Pass allowing you unlimited travel on the entire Japan Rail network including Shinkansen (Bullet Train) services
  • Entrance fees for all attractions mentioned above



  • Any journeys made by taxi, subway or tram
  • Other meals not mentioned above
  • Entrance to any attractions not named above
  • Insurance


All price estimates are based on current rates of exchange. Minimum numbers apply.

Tour dates: TBC, September 2018

Price: TBC

Land Only Price: TBC

Single Room Supplement: TBC

  • To make a booking, a deposit of 10% per person is required.
  • The balance of the price of the trip must be made 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • Full terms and Conditions




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