JAPAN II

Japan Tour

Day to Day Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo

    Welcome to Tokyo! From Narita Airport you will be picked by our representative. Using your Limousine Bus Coupon take the Limousine Bus to the Hotel. (90 min). Accommodation is a two walk from Shinagawa Station - the ideal place to stay for its convenient location and access to a wide range of restaurants and shops.
  • Day 2: Tokyo

    This morning you will be collected from the Hotel at 07:50am for your Tokyo Morning Tour. Your tour will disband in the Ginza shopping district at approximately 1:00pm. You will be guided by an English-speaking Japanese local and transported by coach to the following sites: Tokyo TowerMeiji, Shrine Akasaka Guest House, National Diet, Imperial Palace East, Ginza Shopping District (Drive through) Stroll at Ginza area. Post tour, make your way to the closest JR Yamanote Line train station and board a local train to JR Akihabara Station. To most foreign visitors Akihabara is known as Electric Town due to its rank as the world's largest electrical equipment town. Only one JR Yamanote Line train stop north of Akihabara is the Ameyoko Ueno Market. The long market lanes run from JR Okachimachi Station to JR Ueno Station. In the evening return to JR Shinagawa Station on the Yamanote Line local train.
  • Day 3: Tokyo – Takayama

    Today, activate your 7 Day Japan Rail Passes at the Japan Rail Travel Service Centre within Shinagawa Station. Board the Shinkansen Hikari bullet train to JR Nagoya Station (1.5 hrs). Within the station change trains and board the Limited Express Hida train to JR Takayama Station (2 hrs 20 min). This magnificent train journey through the Japan Alps (often compared to the Alps of Europe) will be one of the highlights of your trip to Japan. Hida Takayama is a traditional medieval town located in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture. Most of the attractions are concentrated in the old part of town, within minutes of each other. Enjoy an afternoon stroll around this museum like town with a number of attractions including a variety of small museums devoted to traditional crafts embodying the town's long-standing tradition of fine craftsmanship. Visit the old private houses that lie in the area between Miyagawa River and the famously lush and picturesque Shiroyama Park. This quiet residential area has shops selling traditional wares, antique shops Japanese-style inns, sake breweries and restaurants serving local specialties.
  • Day 4: Takayama – KyotoTokyo – Takayama

    An excellent start to the day can be had at the Takayama Jinya Market and the Miyagawa Market. Located on the banks of the Miyagawa River these morning markets are open daily from 7am to noon. Here you will find people from nearby farms selling fresh produce and flowers. Return to Takayama Station where you can purchase a Hida-no-Sato (Hida Folk Village) discount ticket - 900 yen - (Hida-no-Sato Setto-Ken) which includes a return bus ride (10 minutes each way) and admission to the Hida Folk Village. Here you will find restorations of more than 30 typical old thatched-roofed (gassho-zukuri) houses, relocated here from various places around the Hida area. The site recreates the atmosphere and scenery of mountain villages of old in a beautiful mountain setting. Here you can try your hand at making candles and senbei (rice crackers). From Takayama Station board the Limited Express Hida train to JR Nagoya Station (2 hrs). Change trains board the Shinkansen Hikari train to JR Kyoto Station (40 min).
  • Day 5: Kyoto

    Commence your exploration of the ancient city of Kyoto. At 08:45am, you will be collected from your hotel's lobby to join the Kyoto Morning Tour. Your English-speaking local guide will take you by bus to Nijo Castle, the Golden Pavilion, and the Kyoto Imperial Palace (on Sat., Sun. & national holidays, visit Higashi Honganji Temple instead). The tour will disband at Kyoto Station with a likely return at 1:30pm. In the afternoon, board a local bus to the base of Kiyomizu Dera (Temple) (300 yen / open 6:00am-6:00pm) Walk up this attractive winding road lined with colourful souvenir and craft shops. Kiyomizu Dera is famous for its giant wooden stage overlooking panoramic views of Kyoto. In the evening board a subway two stops to Shijo Station and walk to Gion, Kyoto's famous traditional entertainment district. Gion is the one place in Japan where you may see Maiko or Geisha walking between appointments. As darkness falls watch the traditional lanterns gradually come to life as you wander down tiny alleys housing restaurants offering a variety of tempting cuisine.
  • Day 6: Kyoto - Nara - Kyoto

    A full day of sightseeing awaits you in Nara. Here, you can find peace of mind and natural beauty as you uncover the many treasures of Japan's former capital (710-784AD). From JR Kyoto Station board a JR Nara Line limited express train for Nara (45 min). All sightseeing is within comfortable walking distance of Nara Station. From the station make your way along Sanjo-Dori and head towards Nara Park. The picturesque Nara Park is famous for the many tame deer that roam the area. This is the world's largest wooden building and houses the Giant Buddha that soars 16 metres in height. JPY 500 / open. 8:00am-4:30pm. Return to Nara Station via Nara-machi, an old precinct full of traditional houses, shops and tearooms in calm and pleasant surroundings, giving a good contrast to the great temples and old burial mounds. Return to Kyoto in the late afternoon. Be sure to take the many escalators to the top of Kyoto Station to the Sky Plaza Observation Deck for a free panoramic view of the surrounding area of Kyoto. This modern station also contains a large shopping mall, specialty shops, department store and restaurants.
  • Day 7: Kyoto - Hiroshima

    Day 6: Kyoto - Nara - Kyoto A full day of sightseeing awaits you in Nara. Here, you can find peace of mind and natural beauty as you uncover the many treasures of Japan's former capital (710-784AD). From JR Kyoto Station board a JR Nara Line limited express train for Nara (45 min). All sightseeing is within comfortable walking distance of Nara Station. From the station make your way along Sanjo-Dori and head towards Nara Park. The picturesque Nara Park is famous for the many tame deer that roam the area. This is the world's largest wooden building and houses the Giant Buddha that soars 16 metres in height. JPY 500 / open. 8:00am-4:30pm. Return to Nara Station via Nara-machi, an old precinct full of traditional houses, shops and tearooms in calm and pleasant surroundings, giving a good contrast to the great temples and old burial mounds. Return to Kyoto in the late afternoon. Be sure to take the many escalators to the top of Kyoto Station to the Sky Plaza Observation Deck for a free panoramic view of the surrounding area of Kyoto. This modern station also contains a large shopping mall, specialty shops, department store and restaurants. Check out of the Hotel and from JR Kyoto Station board the Shinkansen Hikari bullet train to Hiroshima. You may need to swap trains at Shin Osaka on the way. (2.5 hrs) From JR Hiroshima Station, your accommodation is nearby. Hiroshima was a city left in ashes after the Atomic bomb was dropped. Hiroshima has made a remarkable recovery and has been rebuilt as a modern thriving city. Hiroshima is now known as the "International City of Peace" dedicated to a total ban on the use of Atomic weapons. A visit to the Peace Memorial Park should be included in every Hiroshima itinerary. To visit the Park, board a tram in front of Hiroshima Station and get off at Genbaku Domu-Mae (Atomic Bomb Dome) stop (cost 150 yen - 15 min.). The highlight of the Park is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This state of the art museum focuses on Hiroshima both before and after the explosion. On the way back to station, make sure you visit Hiroshima Castle. This castle was first built in 1589 until its destruction in 1945. Having been rebuilt in all its glory, it is now used to exhibit historic artifacts from Japan's feudal past.
  • Day 8: Hiroshima - Miyajima Island – Hiroshima

    Enjoy a day of exploration upon the sacred earth of Miyajima Island. From Hiroshima Station board the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station (26 min). Walk down the hill to Miyajim Pier and board the JR Ferry using your JR Pass to Miyajima Island. The entire 30 sq. km. island is designated by the Japanese government as a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty. The must see Itsukushima Shrine, built in the sixth century, is dedicated to the maritime guardian goddesses. Be sure to take the 1.7km ropeway (JPY 1,800 round trip) to Mount Misen's summit to enjoy one of the three most spectacular panoramic views in Japan. Keep your eye on the summit's mischievous monkeys before descending on a peaceful walk through the ancient forest. Return to Hiroshima in the early evening and try one of the many okonomiyaki restaurants which surround the station. Okonomiyaki is a savory, layered noodle pancake which is cooked on the hotplate in front of you. Okonomiyak is always a very affordable and entertaining evening dinner.
  • Day 9: Depart Japan / Hiroshima – Airport

    Spend your last day in Japan completing any final sightseeing or shopping. For those departing from Tokyo, board the bullet train from JR Hiroshima Station to JR Tokyo Station (approx. 5.5 hrs). Within the station board the Narita Express to Tokyo International Airport. (80 min) For those departing from Osaka, board a bullet train from Hiroshima Station to Shin Osaka Station. Within the station change trains and boards the Haruka train to Kansai International Airport (60 min). Note: All airport trains must be reserved in advance. Be sure to check in for your scheduled flight at least 2 hours prior to its departure.

Overview

Japan is a world apart – a cultural Galápagos where a unique civilization blossomed, and thrives today in delicious contrasts of traditional and modern. The Japanese spirit is strong, warm and welcoming. Japan hits the travel sweet spot. It’s unique enough to give you regular doses of ‘Wow!’ without any downside. Indeed, travelling in Japan is remarkably comfortable, even with the language barrier thrown in – but it’s never familiar. Staying in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) is marvelously different from staying in a chain hotel. Sitting in a robe on tatami mats eating raw fish and mountain vegetables may not be how you dine back home, but it is unforgettably delicious. Perhaps more than any country on earth, Japan makes you think. It is a country that took a good, hard look at the West and said ‘We’ll take your technology, but we’re keeping our culture’. It was never extensively missionised or colonised. It practices an ancient animist/pantheist religion while pushing the boundaries of modern technology. It is a country where tens of millions of people can cram into crowded cities without ever losing their temper.

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