THE BEST OF THE WEST
10 nights (Self-guided)
Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Nara, Yonago, Kurashiki & Tsuwano
From £1,345 pp
For our Best of the West Tour, you can fly in and out of Kansai International Airport (Osaka) and visit the best that western Honshu has to offer over this 10-night independent trip. You will see everything from the modern bustling cities of Osaka and Hiroshima to the smaller, more traditional towns of Kurashiki and Tsuwano in rural Japan. No trip to Japan would be complete without visiting Kyoto, where you will start your adventure.
Visits to Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kurashiki, and Tsuwano
Travel on Japan's famous Bullet Train
7 day Japan Rail Pass
10 nights' accommodation
Stays at a ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) with dinner included for 2 nights
Meet and Greet service upon arrival at the airport
Airport transfers to Kansai International Airport by JR Pass
DAYS 1-2: UK-OSAKA-KYOTO
Fly overnight from London Heathrow to Kansai International Airport (Osaka). From there you will transfer to your hotel in Kyoto for 4 nights.
DAY 3: 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: KYOTO DAY TOUR
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 also includes a delicious buffet-style lunch.
DAY 4: NARA AT LEISURE
Whilst smaller than Kyoto, Nara is no less rich in attractions, with 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sights. The most outstanding of these is Todai-ji temple, 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.
OPTIONAL GUIDED EXCURSION: NARA AFTERNOON TOUR
Spend the afternoon on a guided coach tour to Nara. Your guide will take you around Todaiji temple and Nara park followed by visits to Kasuga Taisha Shrine before heading back to Kyoto by coach.
DAY 5: KYOTO
Spend another day in Kyoto where you may wish to venture out west to the leafy suburb of Arashiyama. Here you will find the magnificent bamboo forests and a hilltop monkey park where you can feed monkeys and enjoy a rewarding view of Kyoto.
DAY 6: HIROSHIMA/MIYAJIMA (START USING YOUR 7-DAY JAPAN RAIL PASS TODAY)
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 7: MIYAJIMA-TSUWANO
After breakfast on Miyajima Island, you will make your way to the pleasant and relaxing town of Tsuwano affectionately referred to as 'Little Kyoto'. You will find koi carp swimming in the waterways along the beautiful streets of Tonomachi where you can explore the well-preserved samurai houses. Tonight you will stay in a ryokan.
DAY 8: YONAGO
Today journey east to visit the renowned Adachi Museum famous for its spectacular 6 gardens (and its collection of contemporary Japanese art). The landscape gardens are composed of the best pines and rocks collected from all over Japan and can be enjoyed in any season. In the late afternoon board the train to Kurashiki where you will stay the night.
DAY 9: KURASHIKI
Wake up in the picturesque town of Kurashiki. 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. In the afternoon board the train and bullet train to Osaka where you will stay 3 nights.
DAY 10: OSAKA
Osaka is Japan's, third-largest city and will give you a taste of modern Japan. 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.
OPTIONAL TOUR: OSAKA BAY HALF DAY
On this tour, you will visit the Osaka aquarium, one of the biggest public aquariums in the world. You will then board a replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship boat, the Santa Maria, for sightseeing cruise around Osaka Bay.
DAY 11: OSAKA
Spend a day at leisure in Osaka or take a day trip to the beautiful port town of Kobe. Considered one of Japan's most attractive city, Kobe is sandwiched between the sea and the Rokko Mountain range where you can take a cable car to the top for a panoramic view of the city. You may wish to take the opportunity to dine on world-famous Kobe beef.
DAY 12: DEPART JAPAN
Transfer to Kansai International Airport (Osaka) for your flight back to the UK.
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
Price: from £1,345 per person based shared occupancy (in a 3* hotel at low season)
Single room Supplement: from £250
8 nights’ hotel accommodation at centrally located comfortable hotels on a bed & breakfast basis
2 nights’ accommodation in a traditional Japanese ryokan (inn) including a delicious dinner and a breakfast
7 Day Ordinary Class Japan Rail Pass
Meet & Greet service on arrival at Kansai International Airport (Osaka)
Airport transfer to the airport on Day 12
NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE
Meals not mentioned in the itinerary.
Airport transfer on arrival
Taxi, subway, and tramway fees.
Optional excursions (see below)
OPTIONAL GUIDED TOURS
Kyoto 1 Day Tour: £111 per person
Nara Afternoon Tour: £72 per person
Osaka Bay Half Day: £99 per person
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.
Japan Journeys in association with Holiday Extras, is now able to offer excellent low-cost cover to their customers.