Splendors of Japan 2014

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Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, JapanMount Fuji, JapanGassho-zukuri houses in Shirakawa-go, JapanAsakusa Kannon Temple in Tokyo, JapanImperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan
Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan
Mount Fuji, Japan
Gassho-zukuri houses in Shirakawa-go, Japan
Asakusa Kannon Temple in Tokyo, Japan
Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan
  • Duration: 10 Days
  • Rating: Read Reviews
  • Brochure: Asia 2014
  • Style: Discovery
  • Description: Begin your Japanese adventure by journeying through the most exciting metropolis in Asia, Tokyo, before trying your hand at the art of sushi making. Taste Sake in Takayama and see the mighty Mount Fuji. Indulge in a Highlight Lunch at a wasabi farm near Matsumoto and experience a dance performance by Geisha and Maiko ladies in Kyoto. End your trip with a delightful Be My Guest kaiseki lunch at a traditional Japanese Ryokan in Kyoto.

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Trip Itinerary

  • Day 1


    Depart from your home gateway city, bound for Tokyo.

  • Day 2


    Welcome to Tokyo! Upon arrival at Narita New Tokyo Airport, transfer to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy some free time this evening to begin your exploration or take time to relax and recharge. Join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetisers at 8 p.m.

    Meal(s): (Welcome Reception)

    Hotel: New Otani Garden Tower (SF)

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 3


    Embark on a city tour of Tokyo. Visit the Imperial Palace, formally known as Edo Castle, surrounded by its original innermost moat and star attraction, the Meiji Shrine, located in a forest that covers an area of 700,000 square meters, consisting of 365 different species of tree. It is a picturesque Shinto shrine where cherry blossoms bloom in springtime. During lunch, enjoy a cooking class where you will learn how to make sushi, a Local Speciality, in the famous Ginza district. Continue to Sensoji, the Asakusa Kannon Buddhist temple. It is one of Tokyo's most colourful and popular temples. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo's oldest temple. Visit Nakamise, a shopping street over 200 meters long that stretches from the outer gate to the temple's second interior gate. Alongside typical Japanese souvenirs such as yukata and folding fans, various traditional local snacks from the area are sold. This evening, enjoy a Japanese-style dinner at a local restaurant with your Travel Director and fellow travellers.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

  • Day 4


    After breakfast depart on a full day of sightseeing, beginning at the Five Lakes District dominated by majestic Mt Fuji. At 3776m, it is Japan's highest mountain and most recognisable icon. Ascend to the 5th Station of Mount Fuji to enjoy some spectacular views at 2,300m (weather permitting). After enjoying lunch at a local restaurant continue to the Owakudani Valley where you will see volcanic activity and enjoy black eggs boiled in the geysers. Continue on to the beautiful town on Hakone, where the cherry blossoms are noted sights in this area, in the Spring this is known as (sakura) and in autumn the (susuki). You have the option to take a cable car ride over the crystal-clear blue waters of Lake Ashi, where you'll see the rising volcanic fumes of Owakudani and enjoy the spectacular grandeur of Mount Fuji (weather permitting). After an enjoyable day of sightseeing return to your hotel for a restful evening.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch)

  • Day 5


    Drive north this morning to visit Matsumoto Castle one of the most complete and beautiful of Japan's original castles, with its unique timber and stone structure. Later, head to the Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum to see wooden crafts, bamboo wares, glassware, china and porcelain. Matsumoto is also famous for its wasabi cultivation, cherished for decades in the East for its unique flavour and healthful influences. Wasabi is best known as an age-old food pairing with sashimi or sushi dishes that include raw fish. Wasabi is also served as a garnish with soba noodles and made into pickles, jams, wine and other foods. Today you learn all about the production of wasabi, a Unique Insight, before enjoying a lunch of soba noodles with wasabi. Continue your journey through the breath-taking Japanese Alps to the beautiful hill town of Takayama. A city in the mountainous Hida region of the Gifu prefecture, it has retained a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town with Edo-style streets. Takayama gained importance as a source of high quality timber and highly skilled carpenters during the feudal ages. The Takayama festival, held in spring, is considered one of Japan's best festivals.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch)

    Hotel: Hida Hotel Plaza (SF)

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 6


    Begin your walking tour of Takayama, known as ‘little Kyoto', filled with amazing attractions. Explore the Old Town, stopping at some of the traditional houses and delightful local museums and wander through a vibrant Asaichi open-air flower and fruit market. Later enjoy a Highlight Lunch of Japanese Hida beef at a local restaurant. Hida-gyu (Hida Beef) is the specific name given to beef from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed, it is known as one of the finest quality varieties of beef. After lunch, continue to Takayama Jinya. Takayama Jinya was a former government outpost that was established in order to bring the Hida Province under the direct control of the Edo Bakufu (Shogunate) in 1629. The Takayama Jinya served as the local government office, headed by the officials dispatched from Edo. The present building complex includes various rooms for administrative purposes: kitchens, residential space, a court room and storehouses. It was in official use until 1969, and is now open to the public as a museum. Continue to the Kami-Sannomachisu District where you will find skillfully renowned local artisans. Take time to sample Sake, a Local Specialty, a delicious rice wine. Walk through the narrow streets and admire the ancient Japanese wooden architecture. This evening is free for you to explore the many restaurants in this picturesque town.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Highlight Lunch)

  • Day 7


    Take a step back in time with a Local Expert during a visit to the peaceful mountain village and UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago. Here you'll will find the Gasshozukuri houses built of wooden beams combined to form a steep thatched roof that resembles two hands together. Walk around this wonderful outdoor exhibition of farmhouses and other traditional buildings typical of the region. Later continue towards the coast to Kanazawa, a historic castle town which boasts beautifully preserved samurai districts. On arrival, take time to see the Nagamachi District with old Samurai houses. Stop to visit the Normura house, an elegant Samurai mansion with beautiful small gardens belonging to a high-ranked samurai family. Later check in to your centrally located hotel and enjoy a relaxing evening.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch)

    Hotel: Kanazawa Excel Hotel (SF)

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 8


    Begin the day with a short walk through the Omicho market to see the local fish catch and enjoy an insiders view of everyday life in a busy coastal town. Continue to the gardens of Kenrokuen, rated as one of the top 3 most beautiful landscaped gardens in Japan and enjoy an optional Japanese tea ceremony. Kanazawa produces 99% of Japan's high-quality gold leaf, discover the secrets of golf leaf painting, a Local Speciality, during a visit with a local artist before travelling to Kyoto by train. Kyoto is home to some of Japan's most important works of art, its richest culture and most refined cuisine. On arrival at your centrally located hotel, you are free to explore this historic town  for the rest of the day. Later enjoy a traditional Japanese Kaiseki Highlight Dinner and dance performance featuring Geisha.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Highlight Dinner)

    Hotel: Nikko Princess Kyoto (SF)

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 9


    Explore Kyoto today. This delightful city has an abundance of fine architecture in its shrines and temples, gardens, and variety of art and craft shops. See Nijo Castle, the old Shogun residence, the Kinkakuji Temple famous for its Golden Pavilion. The Kinkakuji history dates back to 1397, when the villa was purchased by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son. This afternoon, enjoy a special Be My Guest farewell lunch at a traditional Ryokan nestled in the peace and quiet of Mt. Yoshida. The Ryokan was originally built by master craftsmen to serve as the second residence of the uncle of the current Japanese emperor, Akihito. The land lady and her daughter invite you to experience the true essence of Kyoto, Japan's noble capital of grace and culture, and learn about the Japanese custom of Omotenashi Hospitality. Enjoy the pleasures of a truly flavorful and unique dining experience of kaiseki cuisine, crafted from the very freshest of seasonal delicacies. Later continue on to Heian Shinto Shrine with its beautiful inner garden and Nishikikoji market to purchase last minute souvenirs with hundreds of local shops to explore. The evening is free to enjoy Kyoto as you wish. Relax at the hotel, explore the town or join an optional trip to the Gion Corner for a cultural performance. This local theater's programs introduce visitors to Japanese customs like traditional arts, tea ceremonies, flower arrangement, Bunraku puppet plays, Kyomai dance, music and gagaku (court music).

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Be My Guest Dining)

  • Day 10


    Transfer by Airport bus service to Kansai International airport, Osaka, for your onward flight home.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

What's Included

Insider Experiences

  • Be My Guest Enjoy a farewell lunch at a traditional Japanese Ryokan. The home was built in 1932 for the Uncle of the current Emperor Akihito. Learn more about local Japanese customs as the hosts welcome you into their beautiful home, later settle down to a fabulous kaiseki lunch of regional cuisine.
  • Hidden Treasure Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure experience, unique to your itinerary, courtesy of your expert Travel Director.
  • Local Speciality Enjoy a sushi making demonstration and cooking class.
  • Local Speciality Sample Japanese Sake in Takayama.
  • Local Speciality Discover the secrets of gold leaf painting with a local artist in Kanazawa.
  • Unique Insight Learn about the cultivation of wasabi at a local Japanese farm in Matsumoto.
  • Local Expert Discover the history of the traditional Gasshozukuri thatched houses in the peaceful mountain village of Shirakawago.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • TokyoTour the most exciting metropolis in Asia. See the Imperial Palace; visit the Ginza and Asakusa districts and visit the Buddhist temple, Sensoji.
  • Mount FujiSee Japan's most recognisable landmark and highest mountain at 3376m.
  • MatsumotoVisit the striking Matsumoto Castle and Folkcraft Museum.
  • TakayamaExplore the Old Town and wander through the vibrant open-air flower and fruit market of Asaichi.
  • ShirawakagoStop at this peaceful mountain village and see traditional Gasshozukuri houses.
  • KanazawaVisit an elegant Samurai mansion; see the beautiful gardens of Kenrokuen.
  • KyotoVisit the Gold Pavilion, Nijo Castle, the Heian shrine and gardens.


  • 8 buffet breakfasts
  • 6 lunches:
    • Sushi lunch in Tokyo.
    • Wasabi lunch in Matsumoto.
    • Japanese Hida Beef Highlight Lunch in Takayama.
    • Be My Guest Farewell lunch at a traditional Ryokan in Kyoto.
    • 2 Lunches
  • 3 evening meals:
    • Welcome Reception with light Japanese appetisers and a local drink with your Travel Director in Tokyo.
    • Local Japanese dinner in Tokyo.
    • Japanese Kaiseki Highlight Dinner with a dance performance in Kyoto.

Travel Highlights

  • Travel by air-conditioned coach.
  • First Class hotel accommodation featuring twin rooms and private facilities.
  • Audio Headsets provided throughout your trip to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.
  • Complimentary keepsake photo and map.
  • The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey.
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included.

Airport Transfers

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    of booking.
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