based on 13 nights & selected experiences
* Pricing is a guideline only and excludes special offers. Travel over peak periods (e.g. Christmas, New Year and other public holidays) can affect prices considerably, as can exchange rates, flight class and room type.
Bullet Train Transfers
Please note if travelling during Japan's popular Cherry Blossom season prices can increase considerably.
Amazing and extensive itinerary giving you an introduction to all the highlights of Japan combined with some more off the beaten track destinations
Included in the itinerary is a stay in a ryokan, allowing you experience Japanese culture in a unique way
Explore the beautiful cities of Kyoto and Kanazawa with their wonderfully preserved Geisha districts
The itinerary includes two stays in one of the world's most vibrant and exciting cities in the world
Two night / three day trek along the Nakasendo Walking Trail, giving a great taste of rural Japan
The best and most popular times to visit Japan are the climatically stable seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (late September to November). Autumn is an equally good time to travel, with pleasant temperatures and soothing autumn colours, which usually peak between late October and mid-November. Summer, from June to August, can be very hot and humid, and winter can be a little chilly for some people’s taste.
This extensive itinerary allows you to experience all the main cultural highlights of Japan with stops in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima alongside the more off the beaten track destinations of Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima, Takayama and Shirakawago. With a brilliant mix of fast-paced cityscapes, cultural strongholds and beautiful rural vistas this itinerary really lets you get under the skin of Japan.
Starting off the itinerary you’ll have three nights in Tokyo to kick start the adventure. Tokyo is full of contrasts. From the bright lights of the towering skyscrapers to the ancient shrines and tiny village lanes and from the futuristic gadgets found in Akihabara and Harajuku to the traditional calligraphy studios - there is something amazing and surprising everywhere you look. On your first full day in the city we have included a full day with a private guide to show you all Tokyo has to offer. You’ll be using the super-efficient subway system which is not only a great way to get around the city, but your guide will be on hand to show you how everything works for when you want to explore the city on your own.
From Tokyo, next you’ll head inland to the Japanese Alps to begin your adventure along the Nakasendo Walking Trail. This will be your first experience on the world famous bullet train as you travel from Tokyo to Nakatsugawa with a connection in Nagoya. Once you reach Nakatsugawa you’ll take a local bus to Magome where your trek will start. On the walk you can take just light packs for your two nights on the walk and have your luggage sent to your following stop in Kyoto, using the seamless luggage forwarding system that exists throughout Japan. Prior to the walk, we will give you everything you need to self-guide with plenty of maps and directions and the walk itself is very well signed.
At the end of your three day / two night trek you’ll board your bullet train at Kiso-Fukushima to Nagoya and here change to your onward train to Kyoto where you will have the next two nights. There is a wealth of history and culture to explore in Kyoto, unsurprising with its long and impressive lineage. Not only is Kyoto rich in architectural history but it is also said to be the birthplace of the tea ceremony, a sacred artform that takes decades to master. On your full day with your private guide we have included the chance to take part in a tea ceremony with a master in Kyoto and of course explore the city with highlights including the Golden Temple, Silver Temple and Gion.
From Kyoto you’ll hop back on the bullet train for just under two hours until you reach Hiroshima which will be your home for the following two nights. Hiroshima is most famously known around the world due to actions of 1945, when the city was tragically the target of the world’s first atomic bomb. The memory of this atrocity can be seen at the Peace Memorial Park, a beautiful and humbling experience which we definitely recommend. Over this Hiroshima has a lovely castle to visit and Miyajima Island, easily accessible from Hiroshima, is a brilliant way to spend the day. The area in and around Hiroshima is fairly easy to navigate on your own so we have not included a guide for here, but of course as everything is tailormade we can absolutely change this for you.
Then for the next leg of the journey you’ll head to the west coast of Japan for two nights in Kanazawa. By this point you will have become a seasoned traveller on the bullet train and the journey from Hiroshima to Kanazawa takes just under four hours with a change of train in Kyoto. Often seen as little Kyoto, Kanazawa has some lovely areas to explore especially with its beautifully preserved Geisha and Samurai districts. Alongside there is a lively art scene with a brilliant gallery dedicated to modern art, which is well worth stopping into. With your guide using public transport you’ll be able to visit all of these highlights and if gardens are of special interest we can include a tour of Kenrokuen Gardens for you as well, known one of the top three most beautiful gardens in Japan.
Next, you’ll start to make your way back across to Tokyo on the east coast of Japan. From Kanazawa, with your private guide and driver, you’ll travel eastwards into the Japanese Alps firstly visiting the UNESCO protected town of Shirakawago. This secluded mountain town is known for its beautifully preserved Gassho-zukuri farmhouses that have been designed to withstand heavy snow. Spend some time exploring before continuing on to Takayama where you will be spending the night. Here your guide will show you the historical Sanmachi area, a beautiful district in Takayama full of old merchant houses and sake breweries before taking you to your accommodation for the evening. In Takayama you will be staying at a ryokan, or traditional Japanese Inn, sleeping on futons and taking your breakfast and dinner directly in your room. This is such a unique and interesting experience, one that is intrinsically Japanese, giving you a brilliant insight and immersion into the culture.
For your final stop in Japan, you will head back to Tokyo by bullet train with a change in Nagoya. In complete contrast, you’ll be immersed again in modern Japan in one of the most vibrant and mesmerising cities in the world. Enjoy dinner overlooking the twinkling lights of the city as bid farewell to this amazing country, before flying home the following morning.
Trek from Magome to Tsumago today, a beautiful part of the Nakesendo Highway and arguably the most famous route.
Today you have two options for your route, either a 1-2 hour trek from Tsumago to Nagiso and from there a train to Kiso Fukushima. Alternatively, opt for a longer trek from Tsumago to Nojiri. You can decide on the way depending on the weather.
After a comfortable night in Kiso Fukushima, enjoy a short train ride to Yabuhara this morning. From here you'll trek to Narai via the Tori-touge pass.
A full day tour of the highlights of Tokyo with your English speaking guide, exploring the Meijijingu shrine, Roppongi Hills where you'll go up to the observation deck for 360 degree views of the city, and the areas of Omotesando, Aoyama and Ginza.
This half day guided experience is a fantastic introduction to Kanazawa, visiting Omicho Fish Market, Kanazawa's Samurai district and Kenrokyen Gardens.
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