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Our Total Japan itinerary is a classic 8 night self-guided itinerary which includes visits to Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima Island.
Enjoy independent travel but not the hassle of planning? One of our Independent Tours could be just the ticket. Carefully put together by our team of specialists, our excellent collection of sample itineraries are 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 straight forward 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 which 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.
Day 1: Arrival Japan/Narita Airport (Tokyo) – Transfer to Tokyo
Upon arrival at Narita International Airport you will be welcomed by our friendly Meet & Greet service who will escort you to the Narita Express bound for Tokyo. 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, visit the world’s largest fish market at Tsukiji, 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, or Nikko, a beautiful temple town in the mountains north of Tokyo.
Optional guided excursion
Join a fantastic guided excursion by coach to the beautiful Hakone & Mt Fuji region. Ride in a cable car for a superb view of the surrounding mountains and volcanic craters, and even board a pirate ship to cruise around Lake Ashi! A delicious lunch of yakitori (grilled chicken) is included. Return to Tokyo on Japan’s world-famous Bullet Train.
Day 4: Tokyo to Kyoto
It’s time to say goodbye to Tokyo for a few days and speed on the Bullet Train to Kyoto, the soul of Japan. The journey takes less than 3 hours, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the morning in Tokyo. You will stay in a comfortable, spotless 3* hotel in the heart of Kyoto for 3 nights.
Day 5: 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 oldgeisha 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 6: Kyoto/Nara/Himeji/Osaka at leisure
Use your Japan Rail Pass to explore further afield. Why not visit Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital and home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Or how about magnificent Himeji Castle? You could even check out nearby Osaka, Japan’s lively second city.
Day 7: Miyajima
Check out of your hotel and board the Bullet Train to Hiroshima. The Atomic Bomb Dome and the moving Peace Memorial Park and Museum are sights not to be missed. Make the short trip by ferry to the lovely island of Miyajima. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and fantastic views of the o-torii of Itsukushima Shrine, one of the most famous sights in Japan. By late afternoon the day-trippers will have left the island, and you will spend a magical evening in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) where a delicious Japanese dinner and breakfast are included.
Day 8: Hiroshima to Tokyo
Enjoy the morning in the lovely surroundings of your ryokan before heading back to Hiroshima. Board the Bullet Train again and head back to the electrifying city of Tokyo. Enjoy your final evening in the capital of manga, anime, shopping, eating and people-watching.
Day 9: Depart Japan
Transfer from your hotel to Narita International Airport (Tokyo).
Return to the UK (arrive same day).
Home to over 12 million people, the vast metropolis of Japan’s capital must be seen to be believed. Tokyo embraces the modern and ancient like no other city on earth and offers something for everyone who wants to delve into the Japanese phenomenon: the towering skyscrapers and frenzied neon of Shinjuku, the pop culture and gadget paradise of Akihabara, the sophisticated chic of Ginza, the biggest and liveliest fish market in the world, the old downtown area of Asakusa, and the tranquil, understated beauty of Meiji Shrine. Not to mention superb restaurants and great bars as well as fabulous shopping and museums befitting the capital of the world’s second-largest economy.
Kyoto is where you will find the Japan of silent temples nestling in bamboo groves, gardens of finely raked sand and bewitching geisha.
This city is home to over 2,000 temples and shrines, exquisite crafts and some of the best cuisine in the country. In short, Kyoto is the heartbeat of traditional Japan.
Not to be missed are Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji and Kiyomizu temples, although be aware that these do become crowded. For a more peaceful, intimate temple experience we recommend the temple complex of Daitoku-ji, in particular Daisen-in sub-temple, and the Arashiyama area to the west of the city.
Hiroshima, Miyajima island
Hiroshima is an attractive, cosmopolitan city which has risen from the ashes of the world’s first atomic bomb attack on 6 August 1945. The hypocentre of the explosion is now the Peace Memorial Park, a beautiful expanse of greenery housing monuments to the tragedy. The park is flanked by the A-Bomb Dome, the former Industrial Promotion Hall which is the only surviving building from the blast, and the Peace Memorial Museum which tells of the bomb and the devastation of Hiroshima.
A superb network of trams will transport you around the city to some of Hiroshima’s other attractions, namely Hiroshima Castle and Hiroshima Museum of Art. You can also take a ferry across to the scenic Miyajima island.
To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.
This truly exceptional luxury property is right by the moat of the imperial palace and its verdant gardens. The interior is elegantly styled throughout, with an understated modern beauty that is truly stunning in parts.
Rooms are of course very spacious, comfortable and tastefully furnished, replete with luxury amenities.
The Palace sports 10 restaurants and bars, each one uniquely stylish, serving the best food and drink from around the world.
Commanding superb city views, set by the imperial palace, this hotel is among the best in the country. A stay here entails luxurious comfort and sophisticated facilities, and of course immaculate service.
Rooms are very spacious, starting at 54 square meters. They are stylishly decorated in a simple, modern style, with judicious use of natural materials giving a bright, natural feel to every one. They have the latest in luxury facilities and amenities, including among others, high speed wireless internet, a compact multifunction control panel and tea and coffee making facilities.
The Peninsula has numerous world class dining options, from the sophisticated Cantonese cuisine of Hei Fung Terrace to the luxury grilled fare of Peter high on the 24th floor. Peter: The Bar (adjacent to the restaurant) serves cocktails of the highest quality and has an exemplary range of international wines, whiskies and other beverages.
Located in the upper class Roppongi district of Tokyo, this spectacular hotel is the apex of class and luxury. The 45th floor boats an impressive observation deck that offer awe inspiring 360 degree panorama views of Tokyo, including Mount Fuji and the Tokyo Tower. As well as this, a tranquil spa facility is also available, creating the perfect environment for rest and relaxation. In addition, Wellendorf, a fashionable German jeweller, has a boutique on the ground floor.
Rooms in the Ritz Carlton are impeccably furnished with a décor that espouses elegance. All rooms offer wonderful views of Tokyo, so you can always view the majesty of the world’s largest metropolis.
The hotel is home to a truly impressive selection of dining options. From Michelin starred French restaurants to the Lobby Lounge offering live piano and jazz music throughout the day.
Centrally located in Tokyo’s Shibuya District, this hotel provides excellent access for exploring the vast Tokyo metropolis. Being in such a central area, a fantastic view of the skyline can be observed both day and night, in essence a choice ambience created by Tokyo’s beautiful nightscape and botanical charms
Rooms in the hotel offer fantastic space. Created under the concept of “simple & modern”, the guest rooms are sophisticated in design without being ostentatious, providing a relaxing atmosphere to bring calm in heart and mind.Many room variations are available, including the popular “view bath-type ” with a spacious bathroom featuring a wide window for an excellent city view.
Restaurants in this hotel offer truly delectable cuisine and a wide range of choice from Japan, Asia and the West. Dishes are made with chef-selected ingredients that culminate in what some consider perfect dining.
Hotel Century is excellently located in the central district of Shinjuku, and therefore a good spot for exploring Tokyo itself.
Rooms in this hotel are very spacious and offer an excellent level of comfort. Being in the Shinjuku district, rooms offer a fantastic view of the area’s skyline, especially at night.
The hotel is home to an impressive array of restaurants, offering a variety of dishes from Japan, China as well as the West.
Shinjuku Prince Hotel is located but 5 minutes away from Shinjuku station and its various train lines (JR, subway and private railways). It is also not far from both the lively, tree-lined Omotesandō Avenue, funky Harajuku or the wooded, lake filled Yoyogi Park.
All the room are cozy and modern, and come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, telephones and your usual amenities.
The hotel has a cafe, a relaxed buffet eatery, and a refined Japanese restaurant/bar with panoramic views.
One of Tokyo’s premier hotels for events, this impressive 40+ storey tower rises above Tokyo Dome baseball stadium and the elegant Koishikawa Korakuen gardens. Most striking are the nearby ferris wheel and roller coaster of the Dome City amusement park, which when lit up at night make for great views that are evocative of Tokyo’s urban glamour.
The rooms here are very spacious for their grade and centrality, with a modern and stylish décor. Of course, all rooms are replete with good quality amenities and wireless internet as standard.
With 11 restaurants, lounges and cafes, there is no shortage of variation when it comes to nourishment and relaxation. On offer are various Western options, including Italian, French and American, as well as multiple Japanese choices such as sushi, tempura, kaiseki ryori and yakiniku BBQ. The top floor bar is really worth a visit, where the night views of the stadium and amusement park from 40 storeys make for a great compliment to a cocktail.
This centrally located hotel is in close proximity to the Ueno Park which is home to Japan’s finest museums, including the Tokyo National Museum, the National Science Museum, the Metropolitan Art Musuem, as well as the Ueno Zoo, one of the largest in the country. The central hub stations of Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa are also nearby, allowing you to explore the Tokyo metropolis with ease.
Rooms in this hotel are comfortable and well furnished, with a sleek and modern décor. High speed wifi is available throughout the hotel, and an in room massage service is also on offer.
The hotel’s restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, and offers excellent dishes from both Japan and the West, so there’s a wide variety of choice to tantalise your taste buds.
Located just a 5 minute walk from Ikebukuro station (on the Yamanote Line). The hotel is close to several shops, restaurants and only a short walk from Sunshine City.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This stunning, luxury ryokan is the oldest on Miyajima. Its beautiful Japanese style rooms have been delighting guests, including many prominent Japanese figures (even members of the imperial family), throughout its more than 100 years of history. Being set in the Momijidani (maple valley) park, autumn is really the best time to visit, when the foliage in the forest changes from deep green to vibrant reds, oranges and yellows.
Rooms in the main building are offered as well as private, detached cottages called hanare. A stay in a hanare is a very special experience as you will enjoy the calm and quiet of a beautiful and secluded space. Some of these also have their own private hot spring baths. Whichever type of room you choose, you will enjoy a delicious kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) dinner, served to you in your room in the traditional style.
A traditional Japanese ryokan perched on a hill giving it arguably the best views of any property over Itsukushima shrine and the famous tori gate. Rooms are large traditional tatami mat rooms with en suite bath and toilet. A small TV, safe and refrigerator are available in the room. Jukeiso has communal male and female Japanese style baths and also a private bath with fantastic views over the island that can be reserved making it perfect for families or couples. A delicious, elaborate dinner will be served to you in the dining room where you will also take breakfast (which is a choice of Japanese or Western). Free wifi is available in the lobby.
Not included in Price
The price for this Total Japan independent itinerary as detailed above is as follows:
3* Hotels/ryokan: from £1,299 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
4* Hotels/ryokan: from £1,675 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
3* single room supplement: from £250
4* single room supplement: from £450
Optional Guided Tours:
Mt Fuji & Hakone: £167
Upgrade to 4* or 5* accommodation available: contact us for details
To make a booking, a deposit of £200 per person is required.
The balance of the price of the trip must be made 12 weeks prior to departure.
All price estimates are based on current rates of exchange and are subject to availability.
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