Splendours of Japan offers a comprehensive tour of the main sights of central Japan on an 17-day itinerary, including Tokyo and Mt Fuji and travelling to Takayama, Shirakawago, and Kanazawa. The trip also includes Kyoto and Mt Koya. This value-for-money tour is a mixture of join-in coach excursions, English-speaking assistant meeting, and exploring Japan in your own way.
Depart London or regional airport for your flight to Tokyo.
Once you arrive in Tokyo, you are met by our representative and helped on your bus. You then travel to your hotel and have the rest of the day free.
Morning tour of Tokyo including the Tokyo Tower, the Imperial Palace East Garden, and Meiji Shrine, also driving past the National Diet Building (Parliament). The tour finishes in the Ginza shopping district. You have the afternoon free to relax or explore further on your own.
Travel to the iconic Mt Fuji by coach, ascending about half way up the mountain. Your heavy luggage will be transported to Takayama, so take an overnight bag for your stay in Hakone. After a Japanese-style lunch, proceed to the Hakone National Park where you will take a boat cruise on Lake Ashi, and ride in a cable car to see the splendid views. At the end of the tour return to Tokyo. (L)
In the morning travel by train to Yudanaka via Nagano. Met on arrival at Nagano by assistant to help you board correct train to Yudanaka. Short walk or taxi to your "ryokan" or Japanese-style inn with "onsen" hot spring baths. Later visit the snow monkey park on your own by free hotel shuttle bus or own arrangements. Dinner at your ryokan in the evening. (D)
Traditional breakfast in your ryokan before travelling to Matsumoto, via Nagano. Proceed to your ryokan. Free time in Matsumoto. Why not visit the beautiful Matsumoto Castle, known as "Crow Castle" because of its black exterior, and then wander around the traditional Nakamachi district of merchants' houses. (B, D)
Free shuttle bus to Matsumoto bus terminal and board bus for Takayama. Located in the 'Japanese Alps', this ancient city is often known as 'Little Kyoto', with streets of old-style wooden houses. Upon arrival make your own way to your hotel. Walking tour of the town to visit the Yatai Kaikan Hall, where where the colourful floats for the city's twice yearly festival are held, the Kami Sannomachi district with its traditional wooden houses, and the Kusakabe Folkcraft Museum. (B)
Visit Takayama's colourful morning market before travelling alongside Lake Miboro and the Shokawa River to the World Heritage site of Shirakawago, with its unique 'gassho-zukuri' farmhouses with steep grass-roofed houses designed to shed snow during the winters in this mountainous region. The journey continues in the afternoon to Kanawaza.
Free time in this fascinating small city. Explore on your own, perhaps discovering the classic Kenroku-en Garden - one of the most beautiful in Japan - the Nagamachi samurai house district, or the Higashi-chayo district.
Free time until departure by express train to Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, where you will make your own way to your hotel near to the station.
Experience a morning sightseeing tour of Nara to visit the Todaiji Temple, housing Japan's largest bronze image of the Buddha, Deer Park, and the Kasuga shrine with its 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns. In the afternoon enjoy a tour of Kyoto to include the Kiyomizu Temple, Kodaiji Temple, Yasaka shrine and the Gion entertainment district. The tour disbands in Gion and you can make your own way back to your hotel.
Explore the wondrous city on this free day!
Your suitcase is transported direct to Osaka, so take an overnight bag for your night on Mt Koya. Transfer to Shin-Imamiya by train with an English-speaking assistant. Then travel on the train for Mt Koya and ride the cable car via Gokurakubashi. You have the afternoon free to explore this sacred mountain, home to over 117 temples. Stay in Japanese-style accommodation at the main temple of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. Enjoy a vegetarian Buddhist dinner. (D)
Wake early to see the morning ceremony with the monks at the temple. After breakfast descend Mt Koya by cable car and travel by train to Osaka. Then take the bullet train to Hiroshima and proceed to your hotel near to the station. (B)
Day free to explore Hiroshima and nearby Miyajima Island. First visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and museum, and the Atomic Bomb Dome. Then take the ferry to Miyajima Island to visit the beautiful Itsukushima Shrine and the iconic "floating" red torii gate
In the morning take the bullet train to Osaka. Rest of the time free to explore Osaka, for example Osaka Castle or the vibrant Dotonbori district. (B)
Transfer to Kyoto Kansai Airport by airport bus for your flight back to the UK.
Price from £4,100 per person (based on 2 persons sharing a twin/double room)
At Zero Distance Tours, we have a range of options available. Here are some the tours that we provide: