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Great Rail Journeys Discovering Japan

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Ancient ceremonies meet 21st century technology in this astonishing country of contrasts. This fascinating tour goes a long way to interpret the mystery of Japan as we cross the country on high-speed bullet trains. Join us for 13 days as we explore the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ by rail.

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Scheduled return flights from London
  • All rail, coach and ferry travel throughout your tour

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 11 nights’ hotel accommodation

Delicious meals included

  • 15 meals including 11 breakfasts and 4 dinners, including a welcome dinner in Tokyo, a dinner of contemporary Japanese cuisine in Pontocho Alley, and a farewell dinner in Osaka

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Explore Japan by bullet train
  • Full-day guided tour of Tokyo
  • Tour of Hakone and excursions to the Mount Fuji Peace Park for views of the mountain and Matsumoto Castle
  • Visit the Hida Folk Village and a tour of Takayama
  • Cruise to Miyajima Island to see the Itsukushima Shrine
  • Visits to the A-Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and a talk from a Hiroshima survivor or their successor
  • Guided tours of Hiroshima, Nara and Kyoto
  • A traditional tea ceremony
  • Guided tour of Osaka, including entrance to the Floating Garden Observatory
  • Bullet Train rail travel
  • Tokyo and Hiroshima
  • Miyajima Island tour
  • Kyoto and a traditional Japanese dinner
  • Historic Nara
  • Takayama
  • Hida Folk Village & Matsumoto Castle
  • Mount Fuji and Hakone Park
  • Lake Ashi and Owakudani Springs

Days 1-2: Fly to Tokyo

We depart on the overnight flight from London Heathrow and arrive in Tokyo on Day 2 to be met by our Japanese guide. We transfer to our hotel for our first night in Japan, where we enjoy a welcome drink before having dinner together this evening to celebrate the start of our adventure.

Day 3: Exploring Tokyo

Today we take a full-day tour of Tokyo by coach, discovering the sights of this incredible city. Our guided tour includes a visit to the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple, as well as taking in the Meiji Shrine. Later we visit Nakajima no Ochaya, a tea house in the Hamarikyu Garden and the world famous Shibuya crossing, which is said to be the busiest intersection in the world.

Day 4: To Hakone

Today, after a morning at leisure, we continue to Hakone by train, travelling in a ‘Romance Car’ (observation car) on the picturesque narrow-gauge line. On arrival, we tour the spectacular Hakone National Park. Lying in the foothills of Mount Fuji, Hakone is a stunning area of lakes, forests and hot springs. We take a cable car to the sulphurous hot springs at Owakudani, after which we descend to Lake Ashi for a short cruise

Day 5: Mount Fuji and Matsumoto

This morning we travel by coach to Mount Fuji, arguably Japan’s most distinctive landmark. Driving along the foot of the famous mountain, we arrive at the Mount Fuji Visitor Centre to learn more about the snow-capped peak. We also stop at Oishi Park, which boasts of unparalleled views of the iconic Japanese mountains. Later we are at leisure to settle in to Matsumoto. We then overnight in Matsumoto.

Day 6: To Takayama

We enjoy a visit to Matsumoto Castle, an impressive fortress completed in 1593. Built on a plain, this five-storey fortification is a celebrated National Treasure of Japan.

We travel to Takayama. Set deep in the mountains, Takayama is a fascinating town of narrow streets and wooden houses, which appear almost untouched by time. On arrival, we enjoy a walking tour of the fascinating city, taking in Kami Sannomachi Street and Jinya Old House.

Day 7: To Hiroshima

After a visit Miyagawa Market this morning, we enjoy a journey to nearby Hida Folk Village, an open air museum of rustic farm dwellings depicting the traditional architectural styles found in the mountains. Set on a hillside overlooking the idyllic Takayama Valley, some of the buildings in the picturesque village date back 500 years. We travel on the Hida Train to Nagoya, continuing onwards by bullet train to Hiroshima.

Day 8: Miyajima Island

Today we travel by tram and boat to Miyajima Island, where we leave modern life behind in the tranquility of the wooded island. During our time on the island we enjoy a walking tour, which includes a visit to the beautiful Itsukushima Shrine. Your afternoon is free in Hiroshima.

Days 9-10: Hiroshima to Kyoto

This morning we visit the World Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome Museum, both poignant reminders of the destruction levied here in 1945. We also listen to a talk from a Hiroshima survivor or successor. Later we travel to Kyoto which was the Japanese capital for more than a thousand years and is a living museum of the country’s artistic heritage. Afterwards, we take a walking tour of the Gion.

A morning of sightseeing on Day 10 takes us to the Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle and the Kiyomizu Temple. In the afternoon we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony in a thatched farmhouse set amongst formal gardens.

Day 11: Historic Nara

We visit Nara today, another former capital and a short train ride away from Kyoto. Nara is an attractive, compact city of narrow streets set against a backdrop of wooded hills. Here we enjoy a walking tour, taking in the beautiful Todai-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world and its Great Buddha, Kasuga Shrine and the Deer Park.

Day 12: Osaka

We travel by coach to Osaka today, a futuristic city, which we are introduced to on a guided tour. We visit the observatory in the iconic Umeda Sky Building, where we enjoy panoramic views over Osaka and its castle, ahead of a farewell dinner tonight.

Day 13: Flight to London

We depart this morning for Osaka airport for your flight to London Heathrow, arriving in the evening on the same day. On arrival in London, your tour concludes.

HAKONE HOTEL, HAKONE

Also known as the Fujiya Hotel Lake View Annex, the 4-Star Hakone Hotel in Hakone enjoys a superb location on the shores of Lake Ashi and offers fantastic views of Mount Fuji.

HOTEL GRANVIA HIROSHIMA, HIROSHIMA

The lovely Hotel Granvia Hiroshima is our hotel whilst in Hiroshima. This hotel is located close to JR Hiroshima Train Station, and is a perfect base from which to conduct our explorations whilst here.

KYOTO TOKYU HOTEL, KYOTO

Our hotel in Kyoto is the 3-Star Kyoto Tokyu Hotel. Located within walking distance of many of the beautiful Buddhist temples that dot the city.

HOTEL BUENA VISTA, MATSUMOTO

Set in the heart of Matsumoto, the 4-Star Hotel Buena Vista boasts a broad range of eateries, featuring Japanese, Chinese and French cuisine, plus a cafe, bar and a bakery.

SHERATON MIYAKO HOTEL, OSAKA

The 4-Star Sheraton Miyako Hotel is our hotel whilst in Osaka. Located right next to some excellent public transport links, taking us all over this incredible city, this is a wonderful base from which to explore.

HOTEL ASSOCIA TAKAYAMA, TAKAYAMA

The 4-Star Hotel Associa Takayama is our base whilst in Takayama. Located at the edge of a beautiful and verdant forest.

KEIO PLAZA HOTEL, TOKYO

The 4-Star Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo is located close to Shinjuku railway station and is ideally placed for exploring the city. The hotel has a wide range of restaurants serving Japanese, Chinese, Korean and European cuisine, as well as a coffee shop, cocktail and tea lounge, and two bars including the Sky Bar, which offers magnificent views over Tokyo from the 45th floor.

Please note, prices listed are guide prices only and are based on 2 people sharing and don’t include any additional supplements. Holiday prices are fluid and dynamic and may be changed at a moment’s notice, prior to booking, at which point they are confirmed. Please call the team free on 0800 707 6229 for more departure dates available and a quote.

Please call us free on 0800 707 6229 for pricing and availability

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Duration

13 Days

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