Japan's Cultural Treasures
Discover the cultural heritage of Japan on this exciting journey through the country’s main island of Honshu. Begin with an exploration of Tokyo and the nearby Hakone National Park, visit the tranquil Kenroku-en garden and the castle of Kanazawa before exploring the imperial city of Kyoto, with its many temples and shrines.
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Experience the sombre modern history of Hiroshima, then visit the picturesque island of Miyajima with its celebrated torii gate. Finish with a visit to Himeji, famed for its castle and Japanese gardens, before flying home from Tokyo.
Japan's Cultural Treasures Itinerary
Day 1: Fly to Tokyo via Dubai
Overnight flight from London (regional connections available) to Tokyo Haneda airport with British Airways. (N)
Day 2: Tokyo
Arrive and transfer to the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar) for 3 nights. (N)
Day 3: Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
Full-day excursion to the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park for views of Mount Fuji, a cruise on Lake Ashi and a ride on the Mount Komagatake Ropeway (cable car). (B, L)
Day 4: Tokyo
Full-day tour visiting Asakusa Kannon temple, Tokyo National Museum, the Imperial East Garden and the peaceful Meiji shrine. Lunch will be a kushiage meal of fried meat and vegetables. (B, L)
Day 5: Kanazawa
Morning departure by shinkansen (bullet train) to Kanazawa. Visit Kanazawa castle park and the Kenroku-en garden. Stay 2 nights at the Crowne Plaza ANA Kanazawa (or similar). (B)
Days 6: Kanazawa • Shirakawago
Early morning stroll in the Higashi-Chayamachi district, home to various traditional buildings, then visit the busy Omi fresh food market. Afternoon excursion to Shirakawago to see the Unesco-listed gassho-zukuri houses and their unique architectural style. (B)
Days 7-8: Kyoto
Travel by express train to Kyoto. Visits include Nijo castle, a walking tour of Nishiki market to tour the numerous food stalls, and the WAK cultural centre, housed in a wooden townhouse known as a machiya, for a cooking class and a traditional tea ceremony experience. The following day is at leisure to explore Kyoto at your own pace. Stay 2 nights at the New Miyako Hotel (or similar). (B)
Day 9: Kyoto • Hiroshima
Mornig visit to Kinkakuji temple (Golden Pavilion), then Ryoanji temple, famous for its Zen rock garden. Afternoon tour of the historic city of Nara, then continue to Osaka to catch the bullet train south to Hiroshima. Stay 2 nights at the Granvia Hiroshima / Sheraton Hiroshima. (B)
Day 10: Miyajima island • Hiroshima
Take the ferry to Miyajima island to visit the Itsukushima shrine and see the Torii gate. Return to the mainland and take the train back to the city to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the Memorial Museum. (B)
Day 11: Himeji • Tokyo
Board a bullet train for the journey north to Himeji city. Take a tour of Himeji castle, which, unlike most castles in Japan, is still in its original form and is arguably the finest example of medieval castle architecture in the country. Afterwards, take a stroll in the Koko-en gardens, which consist of nine separate, walled gardens with ponds, waterfalls and a tea ceremony house. Travel by train on to Tokyo, and stay at the Royal Park Haneda (or similar) for 1 night. (B, L)
Day 12: Fly to London
Transfer to the airport and board a British Airways flight back to London, arriving later the same day. (B)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
Hanami (cherry blossoms)
Hanami, literally meaning ‘flower viewing’, is the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the blossoming cherry trees from March to early May, and specifically in Tokyo and Kyoto in early April. Cherry blossom can be seen on many of the excursions on the March and April departures.
Please note that in Japan room sizes can be significantly smaller than in Europe.
Excursions on days 3 and 4 may be switched, subject to local conditions. Please note that travellers will need to pack an overnight bag for days 5-6 and 9-10, as main luggage will be transferred separately between hotels.
This tour is based in 4- and 5-star accommodation.
Private & tailor-made travel
This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits you, but note that the cost of travelling on a private basis rather than as part of a group is significantly higher in Japan than in most countries. This is because of the very high costs of private guides and vehicles. To reduce costs, a similar itinerary can be booked using public transport and some self-guided excursions, for which guideline prices are shown. Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact requirements.
- Traditional tea ceremony experience & cooking class in Kyoto
- Visit Shirakawago to see the Unesco-listed gassho-zukuri houses
- Tour the Nomura Samurai House historic home & garden
- Try your hand at gold-leaf making in Kanazawa
- Stay in 4-star accommodation
- Small group size - average 15 people (max 26)
Flexible - extensions & flight upgrades available
Average group size - 15 people (max 26)
Transfers in air-conditioned vehicles
Experienced local tour manager
10 breakfasts & 4 lunches
Guided sightseeing & entrance fees
Bullet train travel
Cherry blossom season departures