Holiday in Japan
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 Ďryokaní 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 districtís 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.
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1 Reviews of Holiday in Japan
Reviewed on 19 Sep 2017 by Rachel Melton
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Miyajima-beautiful garden and Shinkansen was fab.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Don't take any notice of comments about bringing small towel or suitcase with no wheels. The guide had a very rigid wheeled suitcase and it was not a problem at all. There was no need for a towel either, all hotels/guest houses were fully equipped.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
PlanetThis 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.
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.
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, birdís nests, pangolin and shark.
PeopleThere 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!