Welcome to the bright lights & big city it's Tokyo baby! And with 3 nights here, there's so much time for sights, exploring, shopping & more. Check into your hotel & get ready for your Japanese adventure to begin in the capital of history, culture & modern technology. Let's not forget sake, sushi & samurai! Tonight, meet your Trip Manager & fellow travellers then head out & explore on your first night in the city while you get to know your group.
We dive right into this fascinating city with a locally guided tour of the city's must-sees. With our Local Guide leading the charge, you'll get the inside track on the city & it's monuments & temples. We'll see the home of the Emperor of Japan, the beautiful Imperial Palace, which is housed within over 3km of beautiful grounds dotted with lakes, flora & fauna as you hear about the history of the property & it's significance. We'll take in one of Tokyo's most iconic monuments, the oldest of the city's temples - the ancient Buddhist temple Asakusa Senso-ji. Bombed & rebuilt after the war, it's a symbol of rebirth to the Japanese, and one of the most significant temples in the country. Keep your camera at the ready as we walk down Nakamise Street, one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan, dating back to the 1500's! Here you can pick up treasures & treats for friends & fam back home, and get right amongst the busy atmosphere of tourists & locals alike. With so much to see in the capital, there's still lots on our list! We'll see the city's largest shrine - the Meiji Jingu, before we see a modern day glimpse with a visit to the centre of youth culture & fashion...Harajuku! This part of town buzzes with cool vibes, crazy fashion you've got to see to believe & so much to see, so we'll get you in the know with what this famous part of town is all about. It wouldn't be a trip to Tokyo without visiting the world's busiest street crossing intersection - Shibuya Street. This fashionable part of town is a must-visit & is sure to be one to remember!
Wake up, grab a bite & enjoy a free day in Tokyo, to explore your way. Chill or opt to experience the traditional Japanese hot-spring baths with an Onsen experience - which many consider a must-do tradition! These hot springs are not for the shy, but are the perfect way to unwind after a day of exploring the sights & sounds of the city. Enjoy some ME Time this afternoon, with free time to explore at your own pace, and there's no shortage of things to see, do & experience. You could head in search of some fashion at Tokyo's premium shopping areas, soak up the local street food culture or have some chilled time in one of the city's stunning botanical gardens. Later, opt to have dinner & a show at the unique & lively Robot restaurant.
Tokyo To Hakone
Enjoy your final free morning in Tokyo; take in one of the many museums or art galleries in the city or head to Tokyo Sky Tree & take in the cityscape from the observatory deck at the 634m tower. There's also your chance to go local & advance your culinary skills with a tasty Sushi making course & guided tour of the world famous Tsukiji fish markets. After lunch, we say goodbye to the bright lights & buzz of Tokyo & head south to Hakone where you'll take in the breathtaking views of some of Japan's most famous sights from the Hakone Ropeway. Tonight you'll have a night to remember as you go local at our overnight stay Special Stopover Ryokan (Japanese guesthouse = tatami mats & futons) with a delicious traditional dinner included.
Hakone To Takayama
Next up, it's back on the road to Takayama via Matsumoto. Located at the southern end of a long valley between the peaks of the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto has a long & rich history & your Trip Manager will fill you in on the A to Z of this fascinating part of the country. Spend a full day exploring the area with our local guide on hand to give you insider track on one of Japan's most beautiful original castle cities. Next on the list we'll head to Hida Folk Village where you will see dozens of traditional houses & buildings well-preserved to exhibit rural life in centuries gone by. Our adventure continues onto Takayama.
We head out to explore by foot this morning on a locally guided walking tour. Our guide will give you an insiders look at this traditional Japanese city including the wonderfully preserved old town & authentic Edo style buildings. Along the way you can pick up some local delicacies or gifts for the folks back home at the morning markets & see the last remaining Jinya house, restored to its 16th century former glory. Then enjoy a free afternoon to explore Takayama, explore the great outdoors, hire a bike and discover life in the countryside or if that isn't your thing, enjoy a traditional Japanese footbath in the hotel's hot springs! On arrival, foodies & non-foodies alike could opt to experience a mouthwatering dinner of delicious Hida beef. Wagyu literally means Japanese cow, with the country producing some of the world's premium marbled beef, known for it's quality & taste. Delicious!
Takayama To Hiroshima
We'll head to our next destination on the famous Japanese transport - the bullet train! These trains head up to 320km/hr - so will thrill those with a need for speed! On arrival in Hiroshima spend your ME Time discovering the city remembered as the world's first atomic bomb target during World War ll.
Start the day with a ferry ride over to Miyajima Island, see the beautiful scenery, the traditional Japanese gates at the entrance to the shrine & the island's famous & super cute residents - miniature deer, on the way to the stunning Itsukushima Shrine. In the afternoon, visit the Peace Memorial Museum & explore individual's stories from the horrific incident on August 6 1945, and the affect it's had on the city. Then relish some free time in Hiroshima to dig a little deeper into Hiroshima's noble history or enjoy some of the city sights - your Trip Manager can give you some tips & tricks of where to head for what you're into! Tonight, you could choose to join a traditional Teppanyaki dinner where you can hang out & relax with the group while Japanese chefs work their magic on the hot griddle pan while cooking up a delicious feast for you to enjoy.
Hiroshima To Kyoto
After breakfast we're off to our next spot, Kyoto! On arrival we'll get straight into it as we take in the sights including stunning temples, beautiful gardens, colourful shrines & world-famous geisha girls. See the impressive Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, the sacred Heian Jingu Shrine & the Gion Area (where the Geisha are - so have your camera ready!). Later, there's a free evening to explore your own way, indulge in some local cuisine in the Shirakawa area or experience some of the vibrant Kyoto nightlife.
With a full day here, it's all about fully immersing yourself into this awesome city to see what makes it tick, so we've got all the must-sees covered. See the Fushimi Inari Shrine with the colourful rows of torii gates leading up into the mountains, learn how traditional rice wine is made at the Sake Making Museum, and experience the Shogun lifestyle of years gone by at the must-see Nijo Castle.
Kyoto To Wakayama
Enjoy a free morning to take in the last of Kyoto then hop on the train to Wakayama, one of the villages at Mount Koya, known as the world headquarters of the Koyasan sect of Shingon Japanese Buddhism. Tonight is another experience to remember forever as we stay overnight at one of their local guesthouses & enjoy a traditional Buddhist meal.
Wakayama To Osaka
Wake up & join in the tradition of an early morning Buddhist Service. We'll then head out with our Local Guide for an in-depth tour of the Koyason area before departing early afternoon for the final stop on our Japanese adventure, Osaka. There's free time in Osaka on arrival before the final evening kicks off with a final optional dinner & what is also considered a must-do in Japan... Karaoke!
Our trip ends after breakfast, so it's time to swap email addresses as you say farewell to your Trip Manager & new friends.