On arrival in Tokyo you will be transferred to your hotel where you will be met by our local representative. The rest of the day is yours to relax or begin your exploration of one of the most exciting cities in the world, home to more than 8 million people.
Today's sightseeing tour takes you to the MEIJI SHRINE - a magnificent 20th century Shinto monument set in a man-made forest. Afterwards, pass by the Imperial Palace Plaza, the State Guest House, the Akihabara district and the famous Ginza shopping street. Your tour concludes with a visit to the ASAKUSA KANNON TEMPLE and the NAKAMISE SHOPPING ARCADE. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening in this cosmopolitan city. (B)
Journey north to Nikko for a visit to TOSHOGU SHRINE and its famous YOMEIMON GATE, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Next, continue on to the scenic I-Ro-Ha Zaka driveway, which reaches elevations of 3,940 feet, to visit LAKE CHUZENJI and the KEGON WATERFALL. Later, return to Tokyo. (B)
This morning drive to Matsumoto where you will see MATSUMOTO CASTLE and the MATSUMOTO CITY MUSEUM. Later, travel to Nagano to visit ZENKOJI TEMPLE. Founded 1400 years ago, the temple houses what is said to be the first Buddhist statue brought to Japan. In the evening, arrive in Toyama. (B)
Continue through Japan's beautiful mountain scenery to one of the country's most remote regions - SHIRAKAWA. Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the unique Gassho-Zukuri (meaning joined hands) style thatched houses can only be found in this area. This afternoon, journey through the Japanese Alps via one of Japan's longest road tunnels, to the secluded town of Takayama, where old traditions are untouched by the passage of time. Visit the KUSAKABE HERITAGE HOUSE for a glimpse of traditional Japanese architecture of the late 19th century before heading to Nagoya. (B)
Begin with a trip to Toba and visit MIKIMOTO PEARL ISLAND to learn about the pearl cultivation process. Later, enjoy a visit to the most important shrine of the Shinto 'church' - ISE GRANDE SHRINE. This afternoon, continue to Osaka, Japan's second largest city, where the rest of the day is at leisure. (B)
Head to the city of Yonago on the coast of the Sea of Japan. After a brief visit, continue to Izumo to admire the exterior architecture of the IZUMO SHRINE. Later, visit Matsue to see BUKE YASHIKI - a former samurai residence - and MATSUE CASTLE. (B)
En route to Hiroshima, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of ITSUKUSHIMA SHRINE and its famous FLOATING TORII GATE. From here, continue to Hiroshima where your sightseeing tour of this important historical city features the PEACE MEMORIAL PARK and ATOMIC BOMB MUSEUM, which commemorates the victims of the atomic bomb. Also visit the SHUKKEIEN LANDSCAPE GARDEN, which dates back to 1620. (B)
Hiroshima-Kyoto By Bullet Train.
A highlight of your tour is a journey on one of Japan's famous BULLET TRAINS, bound for Kyoto. Reaching Kyoto, one of the most fascinating cities in Japan, the remainder of the day is free for you to relax or explore. (B)
Enjoy a tour of Kyoto, visiting many of the city's temples, shrines, palaces and pagodas. A highlight of the day is a visit to the extraordinary NIJO CASTLE, built in 1603 as the official residence of the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. You will also visit KINKAKUJI, the Temple of the Gold Pavilion and the HEIAN SHRINE AND GARDEN. During the day there will also be a chance to participate in a traditional JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY. (B)
Kyoto-Hakone National Park-Narita.
Drive to Hakone National Park for a leisurely CRUISE ON LAKE ASHI and an aerial CABLE CAR ride over the beautiful Owakudani Valley. From here, weather permitting, enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, before continuing on to Narita for your traditional Ryokan stay. (B)
Spend the next two days exploring the panoramic beauty surrounding Narita. Visit the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple situated just in front of your Ryokan or you may want to stroll through the main street of Narita, filled with souvenir shops and restaurants. To simply relax try a traditional bath or a visit one of the nearby parks. (B/D)
Continue on from Day 12.
Your tour ends today with a transfer to the airport (B)