Japan discovery tour, 14 days

Description of Japan discovery tour, 14 days

Japan has an air of oriental mystery about it and this discovery tour aims to unveil its wonders over the course of 14 unforgettable days.

This tour takes you from the ultra-modern buzz of Tokyo to the tranquil mountains of Hakone National Park and Takayama. Experience an authentic Japanese ryokan, the world famous bullet train, and a Samurai House. You will also have the opportunity to visit the fascinating but harrowing city of Hiroshima and its mix of beautiful heritage sites and peace memorial museum.

A guide will accompany you to the main heritage sites and you'll travel the length of Japan on its ultra-efficient trainline - a memorable and eco-friendly way to travel.

We pride ourselves on our truly tailor-made trips and we can help organise additional tours or tweak the itinerary if there is anything else you would like to include. Breakfast is included throughout, along with some dinners. Lunches are at your own account. If you need flights please let us know and we would be happy to help. For the full itinerary please contact us.

Your holiday Includes: tours as specified; accommodation; train tickets; services of an English speaking guide; a welcome pack on arrival; 14 day rail pass; services of our Japan agent.

Your holiday excludes: international flights & taxes; Visa & any fees; meals other than those specified; travel insurance; items of a personal nature.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive in Japan’s buzzing capital, Tokyo, where you will be met and transferred in a shared shuttle to your hotel. At your hotel you will be given an IC (transport) card with money already loaded on it to help you get out and explore the city.
Day 2:Enjoy a full day tour of Tokyo. Take in the city’s highlights including Kokyo Gaien, the plaza gardens outside the Imperial Palace. Immerse yourself in Tokyo’s past at the Meiji Shrine before walking back through the lush grounds. Stroll through the ulta-hip district of Harakuju where Tokyo’s street style is displayed in all its glory. Turn down Omotesando to a tree-lined building flanked by modern buildings housing top fashion brands and finish your day with an incredible panorama of the city at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. If the weather is clear you can spot Mount Fuji in the distance. (B)
Day 3:A whole day to explore. Make use of your travel card and head to the Tsukji Fish Market or explore the city's world-class museums and art galleries. Speak to us if you’d like to arrange a day trip to Kamakura or Nikko to see ancient temples, a giant Bronze Buddha and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 4:Wake early and catch a train to Hakone Nationak Park – the gateway to Mt. Fuji. This small town is loved for its natural hot springs and natural beauty. From here you can use your transport pass to explore the many sights of the park. Ride the ropeway up to Mt Owakudani as it soars over sulphurous fumes and volcanic rivers. Cruise on a replica pirate ship across Ashinoko Lake, ride the Hakone switchback train and keep your eyes peeled for Mt Fuji. When you return, you’ll check into your ryokan, a traditional Japanese Inn and feel as if you’ve been transported to the Edo Period. Sliding doors, rice paper screen and tatami mats make for the ultimate onsen experience complete with opulent multi-course meal.
Day 5:Take a final soak in the onsen before boarding the famous bullet train to Takayama. Enjoy one of the most scenic routes in Japan on the Limited Express Hida Wideview as you wind your way through mountains and gorges. In Takayama you’ll find a beautifully preserved old-town cut off from the rest of Japan and now with its own distinctive culture.
Day 6:This morning you can explore the riverside markets famous for their locally grown produce. Wander through the old town to Takayam Jinya – the last remaining government building from Samurai and Shogun times. Next stop is a sake brewery for which the town – and country- are famous. Sample Japan’s iconic drink before enjoying a leisurely afternoon. Ask us for suggestions what to do this afternoon!
Day 7:Back on the train this morning for a short yet stunning ride to Toyama and finishing at Kanazawa Station. Have a fascinating tour of Terashima Kurando House – a samurai house complete with garden and artworks. Next is Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s top gardens. Finally enjoy a museum stop to learn about the man who introduced Zen Buddhism to the west. Put your knowledge into practice as you relax by the water mirror garden.
Day 8:Spend the day at leisure exploring
Day 9:Rise early this morning for your train journey to Hiroshima. The journey takes around 5 hours and you will travel through fascinating scenery. On arrival your guide will take you to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, located in the centre of the city. The A-Bomb Dome was one of the few buildings to remain standing and is now the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Get a birds eye view from the Orizuru Tower.
Day 10:Nothing planned for today - why not visit the Island of Miyajima. Less than an hour from Hiroshima, its most famous sight is the floating torii gate which at high tide gives the impression of floating on the water, There is a cable car to the top of Mount Misen with superb views and many small shrines and temples to visit.
Day 11:Travel by train to Kyoto and on arrival, the day is yours to relax and explore.
Day 12:Start your full day tour of Kyoto at two iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Ginkakuji and Kiyomizudera. Begin with Ginkakuji, also known as the Silver Pavilion, a Zen temple with a beautiful moss garden and a unique dry sand garden. Walk on the Philosopher’s Path, a pleasant stone path through the northern part of Kyoto's Higashiyama district, which follows a canal lined by hundreds of cherry trees. Have lunch by the Yasaka Shrine and partake in a Japanese Tea Ceremony in a traditional tea house. Explore Ninenzaka to discover what Kyoto looked like in the past and visit Kodajji Temple – lavish buildings surrounded by Zen gardens. Finish with a panoramic view of the city.
Day 13:Take a bento class this morning to learn to cook sushi, tempura and mis soup among other dishes. Discover the cultural background of ‘bento’ and even better, once cooking is finished, sit down and feast on the lunch you have created. The afternoon is at leisure.
Day 14:Take the bullet train back to Tokyo and travel to the airport to catch your departure flight home.

Travel Team

If you would like some help or advice, or just want to discuss your ideas for your next trip, do give us a call.

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Japan discovery tour, 14 days

Environment

All the ground agents we work with are committed to travelling responsibly and our Japan ground agents especially so. They believe that in order to gain the most enjoyment out of your travels, your trip needs to include elements which support the country’s economic development, there environmental protection and social and cultural awareness.

Waste is a big issue for everyone and our ground agents have implemented several measures to make sure your trip doesn’t contribute. They have banned disposable wet towels you would normally find in your vehicle after a tour and replaced them with an environmentally friendly alternative (non-toxic and biodegradable) napkin.

Over the past year, our ground agents have saved and recycled 200,000 plastic water bottles and replaced with reusable aluminium bottles. Replaced over 100,000 plastic wrapped napkins and replaced with a biodegradable alternative. Generated over $125,000 for social enterprises and contributed over $175,000 towards community development projects. This is achieved through the help of our guests, whose holiday fee contributes to these projects. Our Japan ground agent has achieved Travelife status which provides training, tools and guidelines for sustainable practices in the travel industry. Their standards promote compliance with guidelines on labour conditions, human rights, environment, biodiversity and fair business practices. The Travelife Sustainability System resulted from the collaboration between ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), the UK Travel Association and the Dutch ANVR Travel Association, supported by the European Commission, Lund University and Leeds Metropolitan University.

Much of your travel during this trip is to use public transport rather then private vehicles. Japan's clean and efficient train service is a wonderful way to travel with the locals and you will use the local train pass to travel around the country, with a local guide available for support.

Community

During your trip you will stay in a traditional Japanese Ryokan. This family run establishment offers traditional Japanese hospitality and cuisine and along with supporting local staff in working here, helps keep the traditional style of accommodation alive.

No trip to Japan is complete without a journey on its infamously efficient rail system. There is very little use of a car during this trip and your train ticket includes local train services. You will travel with the locals as a local, making use of the facilities along the way.

You will enjoy a traditional cooking class learning about the cuisine of this incredibly gastronomic country. This class is run by local experts who have the wealth of cooking experience behind them and are able to provide a living for themselves using their skills.

One of the most poignant stops along the way is at Hiroshima where you will have the opportunity to visit the famous memorial dome. While your visit helps maintain the area, and provide local employment opportunities, it is also important to recognise the enormous impact the bomb had on both the country and the world as a whole and is an important and reflective stop on your journey.

Our ground agents make sure that the knowledgable and well-trained guides they employ are also local to the area you are experiencing. This helps promote tourism in their country and provides a means for them to be employed and develop their skills further. Our ground agents ensure that there are education and continued employment opportunities as both they and we recognise that without our excellent and passionate guides and ground staff we could not offer the exceptional holidays we do. Their work and commitment is recognised and appreciated. We also make sure that every bit of feedback we receive goes back to our ground agents and their guides to make sure they get the recognition they deserve.

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