Japan holidays, tailor made

“A two week, tailor made trip, starting and ending in Tokyo, using bullet trains to get around cultural gems such as Kyoto and Hiroshima, and staying in small hotels or guesthouses. ”

Highlights

Tokyo | Kamakura | Tsumago | Nakasendo Highway | Hiroshima | Miyajima Island | Kyoto | Fushimi Inari | Nara | Hakone National Park | Stay in local ‘ryokans’ or guesthouses

Description of Japan holidays, tailor made

This Japan holiday is a tailor made trip, following a carefully crafted itinerary of two weeks, taking in major cities and also some of the natural heritage highlights such as Hakone National Park and also the Nakasendo Highway.

Travelling from place to place with the help of Japan’s superb railway network and ‘bullet ‘ trains you will experience this country of glorious contrasts which, in one way, leads the world in terms of technology and architecture, but also holds on tight to its wealth of cultural heritage and history.

This trip starts and ends in Tokyo and because it is a tailor made trip we can tweak the itinerary according to your interests and time frame. In Tokyo we highly recommend some time to explore the Shinjuku District with its impressive skyscrapers standing alongside green areas such as Shinjuku Gyoen or Central Parks. Traditional features such as ancient tea rooms or artisan workshops and sacred spots such as Meiji Shrine are also must sees.

Moving on from Tokyo, the Nakasendo Highway is a historic travelling route and now famous walking trail that links Kyoto and Toyko, with post towns such as Tsumago fascinating stops along the way. Like many of the post towns, Tsumago has preserved its traditional buildings and pathways, protecting them from modern additions. You won’t even see a mobile phone antenna here, but you will see plenty of tea houses and traditional ‘ryokan’ inns.

Hiroshima is another important city to visit on this Japan holiday, a city that has been completely revived since it was obliterated by the 1945 atomic bomb. As well as now being a vibrant metropolis, it is also home to important sites such as the Peace Park and Memorial Museum.

Nearby Miyajima Island, or Itsuku-shima as it was formally known, is a very sacred place for many Japanese people, particularly its ancient Itsukushima-jinja shrine with its "floating" red torii gate in the bay, one of the most photographed places in Japan. And that is saying something, as this is a country that is falling down with stunning photographic opportunities.

The last urban stop is the magnificent city of Kyoto, famous for its gardens and Geisha, but also, as ancient capital, its fourteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Golden Temple of Kinkakuji and historic district of Gion. It really is a city to go back in time as you visit palaces, ornate shrines and exquisite gardens, all juxtaposed with buzzy, modern city life.

The best time to visit Japan for most people is during spring and autumn, the former famous for its explosion of cherry blossom and the latter for the leaf changes throughout its many parks and forests.

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

Departure information

This trip can be tailor-made and departures can be arranged all year. The sample itinerary below can be modified to your personal wishes including departure date, duration, accommodation used & how long you spend in each destination.
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Responsible tourism: Japan holidays, tailor made

Environment

This itinerary shows the visitor to Japan a more cultural and historic side to the country, which is often overlooked among the tourist rush from city to city. Clients will have the chance to get out into the countryside and experience older, more traditional towns, and the itinerary has a strong emphasis on experiencing and enjoying cultural pastimes which are becoming less and less subscribed among today's youth and are in danger of disappearing.

Starting and ending with the two most famous cities in Japan, the central part of the itinerary is entirely based in the mountainous scenery of the country's interior, visiting well-preserved historic towns and allowing an insight into the Buddhist religion on which Japan's seemingly arreligious culture rests.

Accommodation will be in small local hotels and traditional inns, helping to support local communities and allowing you to try the famous Japanese hospitality and local food, and at Mount Koya you will also be invited to join in the prayer rituals at your temple lodgings. Travel will be by local public transport throughout.

Community

Japan is a fascinating country for travelers because they have worked so hard to maintain their traditional culture and values. We encourage travelers to delve deep into the community and culture of Japan during their stay through traditional stays and immersive experiences.

The traditional ryokan that we recommend in Tsumago has been owned by the same family for many generations and has lovely communal facilities to encourage guests to see how the Japanese people travel. The staff is made up of local people, many are family to the owner. The cuisine is very traditional and comes from local ingredients, the inn works very closely with providers in the community for produce.

Before travel guests will be prepared with cultural information and etiquette tips to help facilitate interactions with local people. Local guides are used throughout, and while tipping is not the norm in Japan a very fair wage is given to the guides as well as consistent training and feedback. Guests will be able to visit the Women's Association of Kyoto, or WAK, as well which is an excellent community based organization.

6 Reviews of Japan holidays, tailor made

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Reviewed on 30 Apr 2017 by

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


The Noto Peninsula except for Wakura and the villages in the various parts of the countryside. Having a car made the difference.

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


Take a car and balance ryokans with western style beds and chairs

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Maybe as the less visited parts might welcome the business

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


Fascinating but exhausting. Sleeping in Ryokans not always comfortable even if they are fun.

Reviewed on 11 Apr 2017 by

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


Seeing the snow monkeys

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


Think twice it's not as good as it appears, maybe go on an organised tour, tailor made wasn't what we thought and expensive for what it was.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


No

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


Not the best holiday we have ever been on, too many problems, Some poor hotels, Guides who weren't that knowledgeable. Japanese not too helpful. Poor signposts not many in English, etc. etc. Damaged suitcases which we were told we could claim for when we got home by our rep. but have since found we cannot! it should have been done at the airport so now we are minus 2 cases. Glad to get home could now do with a holiday.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Mr and Mrs Harrison,

Thank you for taking the time to review your trip to Japan, and I’m sorry that you felt disappointed by the trip. We have been trying to make contact with you since your return but haven’t yet managed to get hold of you, we have therefore emailed you with a thorough response but would greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak with you, not only to respond to your queries, but to also address any areas for improvement going forward.

We take our clients feedback very seriously and ultimately a client’s enjoyment of their trip is our number one priority.

I hope we can speak soon.

Reviewed on 18 Nov 2008 by

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


The autumn colours were just amazing in Japan. Its a fascinating culture with so many memorable experiences, just a few spring to mind, walking the Nakesendo highway, staying at the Mitsui Garden hotel in Tokyo, the views are mind blowing from here, Geisha spotting in Kyoto, visiting a multitude of temples, the Japanese people, experiencing the highly technical toilets (!), having a cooking lesson in a Japanese person home, staying in traditional ryokans with steam baths, staying at a Buddhist temple and joining them for early morning prayers.

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


Thoroughly research exactly what you want to do before you go. We squeezed in some additional visits to places that we didn't think were possible e.g. by getting up early and making use of our Japan rail pass. If you want to upgrade your flight class then try to do this at the time of booking as additional fuel surcharges may make this very expensive. If you are going on your honeymoon, it may be worth finding out if there are additional people travelling at the same time as you and staying at the same places. This may make you change your itinerary so it remains a private holiday for just the 2 of you. Don't bother with the Park Hyatt in Tokyo, its over-rated and very expensive for fairly average food. If you stay at the Mitsui Garden hotel in Tokyo then you still get amazing views from here (and they’ve got a good cocktail bar)

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


Yes in several ways, particularly doing having the cooking lesson at someone’s home through WAK, this was an amazing cultural experience. Also staying at traditional ryokans supports the local economy.

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


First class, although expensive I think it was worth the money.

Reviewed on 25 Nov 2007 by

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


In all honesty it is very hard to pin point one defining moment. It was all brilliant.

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


Learn some basic Japanese.

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


Yes.

Reviewed on 22 Apr 2006 by

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


It's hard to say just which part was the most memorable because it all was - but it was extra special because it had a personal aspect to it - we were not 'just tourists'. We wanted to go to Japan because through my family history research I had discovered I had relatives there whom I had never met. The big thrill was meeting them - and finding the family graves of my ancestors. This aspect was built into the itinerary with free time.

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


We made a few business cards with our names in Kanji and Katakana on the reverse. These proved extremely useful, especially with introductions to people with very limited English. If you can't find anyone to help with the Kanji, at least have cards with your name in English. If you do take business cards, be sure to keep them in pristine condition. Take the time to try and learn a few basic words - such as thank you and excuse me! The Japanese appreciate the effort even though the conversation will continue in English. I also bought a book on Japanese etiquette, fearful of making a terrible social blunder. At least you will know what to expect! Finally - don't be afraid to try Japanese food!

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


I don't think we were able to offer the locals anything they did not already have, and we could learn a lot from them about environmental issues. The streets were totally litter-free because nobody dropped anything, and if they did, they picked it up themselves instead of leaving it. Recycling is big there, too.

4. Any other comments?


Five out of five!

Reviewed on 10 Dec 2006 by

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


Seeing the first macaque monkey appearing in the undergrowth upon entering the "monkey park" outside Kyoto. Eventually it got a bit overwhelming being surrounded by so many free + living monkeys, but seeing the first few was very exciting.

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


Try not to plan to do too much - especially with regards to temple visits! Unless you have a particular interest in comparing and contrasting temples and shrines of different types and ages it is probably enough to focus on a few or you may get templed-out!

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


No, not particularly. While the hotel chain in Tokyo was Japanese, staying in a hotel is not really very environmentally friendly. And in the roykan I was surprised (shocked) to realise that our sheet, towels and dressing gowns had been changed whilst we were out - and we were only staying two nights! We used public transport or walked to get around, but other than that there wasn't anything we could have done to make the holiday any more green, that I can think of. Going on a long haul flight probably cancelled out anything positive we might have done in any case!

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


**** - Very good, we enjoyed it thoroughly.

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