Essential Japan

9 Day Tour

Price On Request

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Departure dates on request

Prices are generally for private arrangements and are per person based on two people travelling together and sharing a room. Price subject to change without notice.

OVERVIEW

Explore the very best Japan has to offer from the majestic shrines and pioneering shopping malls of Tokyo to the stunning Mt Fuji and heritage rich Kyoto.

Experience the quintessential hot onsen baths in Hakone, at the gateway to Mt Fuji. Stay in traditional Japanese-style ryokan accommodation complete with tatami mats and shoji rice paper sliding doors. Take a cooking class in Kyoto or even visit a sake brewery before watching a mesmerizing Geisha performance in this memorable tour of Japan.

DAY 1 - TOKYO ARRIVAL

Arrive in Tokyo to be welcomed by our representative who will assist you with your hotel transfer. Enjoy the rest of your day unwinding in Tokyo at your leisure.

DAY 2 - TOKYO - SELF GUIDED DAY

This morning explore the city with utilizing Tokyo's super-efficient metro system.

Begin the day with an early morning visit to Meiji Shrine; perfectly timed to avoid the crowds. Tokyo's most famous shrine is dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji and the park that surrounds the shrine is a forest of some 120,000 trees of 365 different species, making your forget you are in the world's largest city.

Next to Meiji Shrine is Harajuku - Tokyo's youth fashion mecca. Whether you are a goth, punk or anything in between, there is a shop in Harajuku that caters for you.

Neighboring Harajuku is Omotesando, commonly referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysee. This broad, tree lined avenue features a multitude of fashion flagship stores designed by internationally renowned architects within a short distance of each other. Feel free to stop for a coffee in one of the area's many stylish cafes and watch the beautiful people walk by.

From Omotesando, take the metro to Ginza. Named after the silver coin mint established there in 1612, Ginza is Tokyo's most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district. One square meter of land is worth over 10 million yen (€ 90,000). Adjoining Ginza lies the Imperial Palace, the main residence of the Emperor. Whilst the Palace itself is not open to the public, you can take a stroll through the Palace East Gardens.

Last stop for the day could be Asakusa, part of Tokyo's Shitamachi, or old town. Asakusa is home to Sensoji Temple, Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple, and is also the city's oldest Geisha district. The streets around Sensoji have many traditional shops selling Japanese crafts and souvenirs and are a delight to wander through. (B)

DAY 3: TOKYO – OPTIONAL DAY TRIP

Today you have the full day to explore Tokyo even more. Make an early start to visit the world Famous Tsukji Fish Market, visit the electronics district of Akihabara or discover Tokyo's world class museums and art galleries. (B)

Or, you can make an excursion outside of Tokyo to the following:

Kamakura
One of Japan’s former capitals, Kamakura is a delightful seaside town home to many ancient temples and the Daibutsu, a giant bronze Buddha.

DAY 4 - TOKYO – HAKONE/MT. FUJI

Today leave Tokyo behind and travel to Hakone, the gateway to Mt Fuji and surrounding national park. This small town is famous for its onsen, or natural hot springs, and has natural beauty in abundance.

You will stay in a traditional Japanese-style ryokan accommodation, complete with tatami mats, shoji rice paper sliding doors and onsen baths.

This evening, relax in your yukata, or lightweight kimono, and dine on a sumptuous kaiseki multi course meal, served by kimono clad waitresses.

An onsen after dinner is highly recommended before you bed down on your futon. (B,D)
Overnight in Hakone.

DAY 5: HAKONE AND MT FUJI

Today is a self-guided day.

Armed with your Hakone free pass, make your way throughout the Hakone National Park. Ride the world's second longest cable car up Mt Owakudani, eat an egg hard boiled in the sulfuric hot springs, and board a majestic replica pirate ship which will sweep you across the Lake Ashinoko.

Throughout the day you will have the chance to get a glimpse of Mt Fuji, but if you want to make sure to see it, drive all the way up to the 5th station, where most climbers starts the ascension of the holy mountain. (note: you can only climb the mountain to the top in July and August and this will require an extra day of travel). (B,D)
Overnight in Hakone.

DAY 6 - HAKONE TO KYOTO - SELF-GUIDED

Time for one last soak in the onsen, before undertaking the 2 hour journey by the world famous Shinkansen bullet train to Japan's cultural capital, Kyoto.

Kyoto is home to an astonishing 2000 Shrines and Temples, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sights.

The afternoon is at leisure.

You can start exploring this magnificent city by yourself, or take part in one of the many cultural experiences we offer in Kyoto, such as cooking classes, tea ceremonies or even a visit to a sake brewery

To finish the night in style we can arrange a performance by a Maiko or Geisha where you will get an insight on the traditional arts and music they have been practicing for so many centuries and generations. (B)
Overnight in Kyoto.

DAY 7 - KYOTO - SELF-GUIDED TOUR

Today explore the former imperial capital utilizing Kyoto's comprehensive bus system to visit some of Kyoto's World Heritage Sites.

Start your day with a visit to Nijo Castle. This ornamental castle was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning gardens. The main building was completed in 1603, and is famous for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors and 'chirping' nightingale floors.

Continue on to Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion. Originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun, after his death it became a Buddhist Temple at his request, and is now one of Kyoto's most famous temples.

The final stop of the morning should be Daitoku-ji Zen temple complex, which consists of a main temple and 22 sub-temples. You will visit Daisen-in sub temple, which was founded in 1464 and has one of Japan's best Zen rock gardens, perfect for a spot of Zazen meditation after a busy morning.

After lunch, visit Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. From the 13m high veranda jutting out from the Main Hall you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto, whilst pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners.

Finish off the day with a stroll through the atmospheric Higashiyama district, whose busy lanes lead up to Kiyomizu and are filled with quaint shops selling souvenirs including Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets and pickles. (B)
Overnight in Kyoto.

DAY 8 - KYOTO – NARA

Today is a self-guided day.

Spend another day at your leisure in Kyoto and enjoy what the ancient capital all has to offer or alternatively make the short 45min trip by train to Nara. For 74 years during the 8th century Nara was Japan's capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain.

Specially worth visiting is the Todaiji Temple, the world's largest wooden building and home to Japan's largest Buddha. (B)
Overnight in Kyoto.

DAY 9: KYOTO DEPARTURE

Departure day. At leisure until your included transfer by shuttle bus to Kansai Airport. (B)

PRICES ON REQUEST

There are a number of factors which will influence the price of your travel arrangements, including the standard of hotel (we offer a variety of standards from First Class to Superior), the season and any additional requirements you may require. Please ask us for international flight options

Prices are generally for private arrangements and are per person based on two people travelling together and sharing a room.

First Class Hotels 

  • Tokyo
  • Hakone
  • Kyoto

Hotels

  • Villa Fontaine
  • Ichi no Yu Honkan (Japanese style room)
  • Vista Premio Hotel

Superior Hotel Hotels

  • Tokyo
  • Hakone
  • Kyoto

Hotels

  • Park Hotel
  • Yugiriso Ryokan (Japanese style room)
  • Granvia Hotel

Our Services Include:

  • Hotel accommodation in twin room with daily breakfast.
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Airport Meet and Greet and return airport transfers
  • All transport between destinations
  • 7 Day Japan Rail Pass, PASMO Tokyo transport pass and Hakone Transport Pass
  • English speaking local guide in Tokyo (1 day) and Kyoto (1day)
  • All entrance fees and transport on Days 2 and 7
  • Information Pack

ESSENTIAL JAPAN - 9 DAYS
ANCIENT TEMPLES & FUTURISTIC SKYSCRAPERS, GEISHAS IN KIMONOS (CODE: EXO)