“A two week holiday that is like a perfectly wrapped Japanese parcel. Every layer is as beautiful as the next. With several days spent in each place. ”

Highlights

Tokyo | Nikko | Hakone National Park | Takayama | Himeji | Hiroshima | Kyoto | Bullet train journeys

Description of Holiday in Japan

This two week holiday in Japan has been carefully crafted not only to visit the iconic cities, and enjoy contemporary and ancient culture, but also to spend time in rural Japan, with its fascinating feudal history and stunning mountainous landscapes.

Because Japan is so easy to get around using public transport, we are able to cover great distances on this trip, particularly with the use of the world famous bullet train. Travelling with a small group, and an local expert leader guide, we start in Tokyo, a city that takes a while to take in as it is so vibrant and overwhelming. From the markets of Asakusa to the imperial gardens of Chiyoda, there is something for everyone in Tokyo.

The next city stop is Nikko, a sacred city but also gateway to the eponymous national park, so it has a very beautiful setting, enveloped by mountains. Packed with sacred shrines and temples, you start to get an idea of how Japanese religion is so often related to nature. One of the greatest areas of protected natural heritage, Hakone National Park, is our next stop, a mountainous and volcanic area. Here we take a cable car trip which soars over the blue waters of Lake Ashi, to the volcanic crater of Owakudani and, on a clear day, views to Mount Fuji.

The next two towns on this Japanese journey are quite contrasting in character. Takayama is a rural town in the middle of the Japanese Alps, where rural traditions are still kept very much alive and where we also get a chance to spend the night in a ‘ryokan’ inn. After that is Hiroshima, a city with a tragic past but which today is vibrant and very much representative of contemporary Japan. It does not hide its history, however, and visits to the A-Bomb dome, Peace Park and Museum are extremely thought provoking.

And perhaps one of the greatest cities in terms of food for thought, is the finale of our trip: Kyoto, the ancient capital. We spend three days here, taking our time not only to soak up this now modern metropolis but also its fourteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the historic district’s narrow streets, and eat fantastic food. The opportunities in Kyoto are endless and, as with all stops on this holiday, our leader guide is always on hand to give you tips of great places to visit, whether you want to stick to the tourist trail or go hiking or cycling a little bit more off the beaten path. Because this is the Land of the Rising Sun, and no matter where you go there is something fascinating, beautiful, peaceful or, as always in Japan, delicious.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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08 Jul 2017
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08 Dec 2018
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Holiday type

Small group adventure

What is a small group adventure?
It's a great way to travel! Whether you are travelling on your own, with a partner or with friends, a small group trip is a fantastic way to see the world. You'll travel on a fixed itinerary that has been designed to help you discover the best of region. From the known highlights, the hidden gems that you won't find in the guidebooks.

Itineraries run on set departure dates, accompanied every step of the way by an English speaking local group leader. You chose the itinerary and the date that suits you best and you book on.

Why travel on a small group adventure?
Small groups allow us to explore where larger tour groups can't. Our maximum group size of 16 travellers allows us to use local transport to get from A to B, to visit rural villages, spend time with the locals and even stay at a local home overnight, and it allows us to give our travellers genuine, real life experiences of the countries we are visiting; what you'll be doing and how you'll travel depends entirely on your chosen itinerary.

Is an adventure right for me?
The word adventure means something different to everyone, and our range of trips reflects that. Whether you want to explore local markets, visit out of the way temples and meet local people or go on an early morning safari drive searching for the 'big five', we'll have a trip for you. If you are looking for a physical challenge such trekking the Kokoda Track or summiting Kilimanjaro, we can help with that too.

So what can I expect on this trip?
This is a classic style of small group adventure. You'll find your trip combines a good mix of included activities and free time, with some meals included as per your itinerary. We don't want you to feel chaperoned, it's your holiday not ours. Your group leader will be on hand to assist with organising anything you might wish to do in your free time, but how you spend it is up to you. Anything listed as included in your itinerary will be included in trip price; whereas anything listed as optional will be at an additional cost should you wish to take part.

These trips are great value, including things that you would struggle to organise independently, such as a night at a homestay in a remote village, or local guides around a remote place of interest. Transport will be a combination of private vehicle and public transport, whichever is the most appropriate for the route we are travelling; this might include train, plane, camel, tuk tuk, bicycle, boat…

On a majority of these trips you'll stay in 2-3 star accommodation, locally owned and reflective of the region you are travelling through. All solo travellers will be automatically roomed on a twin share basis with another group member of the same sex, unless you opt to pay for your own room at time of booking. There are no compulsory single supplements for solo travellers willing to share. Single rooms aren't available on camping trips, and you will be expected to help out with camp tasks such as setting up and breaking down your camp.

Can I book my flights with you?
Yes! We are a fully ATOL bonded tour operator meaning that we can book flights from the UK as part of your holiday package. Just ask us for a quote including flights when you make your enquiry.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Holiday in Japan

This trip is a fantastic introduction to a wonderful country that contrasts modern development with traditional beliefs. A key feature of this trip is immersion into the Japanese culture.

Environment
Much of the travelling on this trip is done on the famous Bullet train. Journeying by rail produces significantly less carbon emissions per passenger than travel by either air or car, making this one of the most environmentally responsible methods to explore this magnificent country. In fact, when it comes to carbon emissions, as a company we operate a carbon neutral policy, offsetting all passenger travel ‘on the ground’ while on tour.
All travellers in the group will be encouraged to travel with refillable water bottles and purification tablets rather than purchasing water in plastic bottles to minimise waste and your group leader will also be on hand to advise on the responsible discarding of rubbish throughout the trip, recycling wherever possible.
We are a huge supporter of the protection of endangered species around the world. It is against our Responsible Travel policy for leaders to take passengers to places that use cruel practices or supply or serve foods that are on the endangered species list, such as whale, turtle, tiger, bird’s nests, pangolin and shark.

Community:
There are many activity options enabling you to interact with local people and learn and understand their traditions. We of course do what we can to demonstrate respect for local culture and tradition. While Japan is known for its 'out there' fashions overall, it is quite a conservative country. We spend time at temples, working monasteries, holy shrines, recreated villages and castles, cooking schools and ancient gardens. At these places it is important to be respectful to the staff and other visitors by wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. During your visit you will receive hospitality from local families and people. A great way to reciprocate is to bring a small gift from your country, eg. animal figurines, pens, flags or stickers.
The accommodation for this trip is a mix of small locally owned and operated ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) and guesthouses, where our patronage is directly supporting local families. Our gracious hosts will help guide you around traditional practices and living arrangements. An outdoor ones (hot spring bath) is a real highlight of a guesthouse stay. There are separate baths for males and females, and as no clothes or swimming costumes are allowed in the hot springs - it's time to shed those inhibitions!

4 Reviews of Holiday in Japan

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 09 Oct 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Climbing Fuji at night to get to the top for sunrise. Absolutely brilliant. Additional mention to the 'off the beaten track' aspect - accommodation, food, etc. Annamarie did have really good knowledge of where to go, what to do, etc.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Two main points on this one.

1. Fuji. The website says we climb in the day, we climbed at night. Definitely the best way to do it - but you need to tell us beforehand so that we bring proper kit. I didn't take a fleece, as thought that I'd take the chance as to whether it would be cold at the top during the day. If I'd have known that I was going to be at the top at 5am, I'd definitely have taken it.

2. Transport. The website says get a 14 day rail pass, we looked at the itinerary, deduced that we'd only use it for 7 days. We then CHECKED with 'you' by email as to whether we really needed the 14 day - you said no, so we bought the 7 day. Turns out we needed the 14 day for two reasons: we took the train to Fuji instead of the bus, and it gets you from Kyoto to Tokyo. Definitely put on the website that you need the 14 day one as itinerary is subject to change. ALSO, put on there that the best way to get from Kyoto to Tokyo is by rail. We booked a flight for that, which actually took a lot longer than the train would have done, and was more expensive (it would have been free if we had the 14 day pass). Annamarie was surprised that we'd booked a flight, we were surprised that we hadn't been told not to....

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Minimized impact in the best way that you can when you fly half way around the world. Carbon footprint was huge. Yes, I feel that it benefited local people: staying in ryokan, eating at local places, etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Superb. Would recommend it wholeheartedly. Thanks very much.

Reviewed on 05 Jan 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


A lot of good experiences - elephant ride on Christmas day - meeting a monk for meditation - Thai massage (ouch ouch ouch) and some great pampering. Food was often an adventure too. The train ride was memorable - so well organised as it turned into a little dorm for the night and we were well taken care of.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


This is a small group holiday - things don’t always go to plan - this happens - try to learn something of the Far Eastern culture before arriving to prepare yourself.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I think so - we ate locally and used the train and were encouraged to use local shops, rather than more expensive hotel facilities. I was surprised at the amount of plastic bottles - no one seemed to carry water carriers or have a place to fill them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A memorable experience.

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


So many... Really enjoyed visiting the ethnic minority villages in Sapa - our tour leader Hue enabled us to visit the villagers and take part in their new year celebrations.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Pack more warm clothes!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


As much as possible, yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Overall I would rate it very highly - the trip was very well organised with every effort made to make the most of each experience. I think a large degree of the success of our trip was thanks to our great tour leader Hue Tran... She was fantastic!

Reviewed on 01 Apr 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Getting my fortune at a temple in Tokyo. According to the translation, my wish will not be "ranted".

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do your own reading about the cities so that you can help the guides show you things that are of interest to you, and not just the generic tourist attractions.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


As this was a city holiday, I don't feel that the impact I had was any greater than in the city I live in.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Attached are two pictures from the Heian Shrine in Kyoto. I'm officially cherry-blossom obsessed now.

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