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Spiritual Japan

9 Days 1 Country 8 Cities

A spiritual interlude with some of Japan's most sacred places. Visit the birthplace of Shingon Buddism and delight in vegetarian dishes served by local monks at their monastery lodgings.

Your Itinerary

9 Days, 1 Country, 8 Cities

Spiritual Japan

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Starts

Osaka, Japan

Ends

Kyoto, Japan

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i Please read our Trip Notes before booking

iNotes
    • Travel Today, Sustain Tomorrow - In Shima, you'll take part in the Amagoya Experience. An 'Ama' is a professional female shellfish diver who dives into the sea without an oxygen tank or any other equipment to catch shellfish and seaweed. 'Amagoya' literally means the hut where the Ama divers take a rest with their colleagues after diving. Take the opportunity to enjoy the flavour of char-grilled local fresh seafood while listening to their animated stories.
    • Cherry Blossom season varies between different regions of Japan and is dependent on weather conditions so can also vary slightly each year. Late March to mid April are the most likely times to experience it on this trip but this is not guaranteed.
    • Visas are generally not required for Japan for many nationalities. Please contact the consulate/embassy for further information.
  • Trip prices are per person, land only, based on double occupancy and reflect applicable discount. Discounts are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice.
  • Trip prices are correct at the time of the products going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however are subject to change - please confirm all details at time of booking.
  • For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Website Terms of Use page.
  • Twin-share option not available for trips to South America, Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey. It's also not available on Small Group trips.  Guided Vacations included in this restriction are Newfoundland and Labrador (DNLA) as well as Panama, the Canal & Beyond (LPAN).  
  • For trips that are part of our Guaranteed Room Share, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless travelling as part of a family group. 

About this trip

Retrace the steps of the ancients - a spiritual interlude with some of Japan's most sacred places and the extraordinary rituals performed throughout millennia. Visit the birthplace of Shingon Buddism, the elegantly painted sliding doors of Kongobunji Temple and delight in vegetarian dishes served by local monks at their monastery lodgings.


Trip type: Country Explorer i

Trip code: JPSJ

8 Nights

accommodation

15 Meals
  • 8 buffet breakfasts

  • 3 lunches (including Be My Guest)

  • 4 dinners

On-trip Transport

All transport shown.

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Highlights

What's Included

Sightseeing Highlights

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    • City Tour of Osaka and Kyoto

    • View the Nachi waterfall in Kumano

    • Visit Osaka Castle and the Abeno Harukas Observatory in Osaka, the Kongobuji Temple and the Danjo Garan Temple in Mt. Koya, the Ise Jingu Shrine and Mikimoto Pearl Island in Shima, the Ninja Museum and Ueno Castle in Iga and the Bamboo Forest, the Kinkakuji Temple and Sanjusangendo Hall in Kyoto


What's Included

Dining

    • 8 buffet breakfasts

    • 3 lunches
      (including Be My Guest)

    • 4 dinners


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What's Included

Travel Highlights

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    • Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing

    • Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals

    • Luxury air-conditioned coach or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)

    • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted

    • Hand-picked Insider Experiences

    • Optional Experiences and free time

    • Porterage and local charges included

    • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras

    • An expert Travel Director and separate Driver

    • All hotel tips, charges and local taxes

    • Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday


    Airport Transfers

  • Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page


 

Spiritual Japan

Your Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive Osaka (2 Nights)

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Day 2

Osaka

Japan Koyasan MtKoya 89852764 GE

Day 3

Osaka - Mt Koya - Shirahama

Japan Kumano 565960087 GE

Day 4

Shirahama - Kumano - Shima (2 Nights)

Japan Ise 717320761 GE

Day 5

Shima - Ise - Shima

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Day 6

Shima - Iga - Nabari - Kyoto (3 nights)

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Day 7

Kyoto

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Day 8

Kyoto

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Day 9

Depart Kyoto

Day 1

Arrive Osaka (2 Nights) Day 1 - Arrive Osaka (2 Nights)

Welcome to Japan. Upon arrival at Osaka Itami or Kansai International Airport, transfer by pre-booked airport shuttle service to your hotel. This evening join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception drink with appetisers.

Hotel

Rihga Royal Osaka

Meals

  • Welcome Reception

Hotel

Rihga Royal Osaka

Meals

  • Welcome Reception

Day 1

Day 2

Osaka Day 2 - Osaka

After breakfast start your city tour with a visit to Osaka Castle, one of Japan's most famous landmarks which played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. General Toyotomi Hideyoshi built the original castle in 1583 as a display of power, using, it's said, the labour of 100,000 workers. Although the present structure is a 1931 reconstruction, it's nonetheless quite a sight, looming dramatically over the surrounding park, which has the bonus of being a great place to view cherry blossom in the springtime. Next visit the Abeno Harukas Observatory which standing at 300 metres is the tallest skyscraper in Japan. The building stands on top of Kintetsu Osaka Abenobashi Station and it houses a department store, an art museum, a hotel and the observation deck which occupies the buildings top three floors. With large floor-to-ceiling glass panels all around, the 60th floor offers 360 degree panoramic views of Osaka. Later enjoy some free time for shopping in the Umeda district before returning to the hotel. This afternoon is yours at leisure or choose to join an Optional Experience.

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast

Day 2

Day 3

Osaka - Mt Koya - Shirahama Day 3 - Osaka - Mt Koya - Shirahama

This morning travel to Mt. Koya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and where the Shingon Buddism sect was introduced in 805 by the priest Kukai, who posthumously became known as Kobo Daishi. Here visit the Kongobuji Temple with its elegantly painted sliding doors and the Danjo Garan Temple, one of the first complexes built by Kobo Daishi in Mt. Koya. Later enjoy a Japanese style vegetarian lunch at a delightful monastery inn (shukubo) served by local monks, a Cultural Insight. Continue to Okunoin, Japan's largest cemetery and the site of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum, set in an enchanted forest of towering ancient cedar trees. Travel to Shirahama and later enjoy dinner in a local authentic Japanese 'Izakaya'.

Hotel

Nanki Shirahama Marriott

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Hotel

Nanki Shirahama Marriott

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 3

Day 4

Shirahama - Kumano - Shima (2 Nights) Day 4 - Shirahama - Kumano - Shima (2 Nights)

Today visit the Kumano area, the spiritual heartland of Japan and discover the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Choose to ascend Daimonzaka Hill either on foot or by coach to admire the Nachi Taisha Shrine, Seiganotoji Temple and the impressive Nachi waterfall which at approximately 130 metres high is the tallest waterfall in Japan. Continue your journey by visiting Hayatama Taisha one of Kumano's most important shrines that holds an important place in Japanese mythology. The collection housed in this small museum is impressive, with more national treasures than some major museums. Continue to your hotel which for the next two nights is the Shima Kanko The Classic; famous for hosting the 42nd G7 summit in 2016 which was attended by many top politicians including President Barack Obama. This evening enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Hotel

Shima Kanko The Classic

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Dinner

Hotel

Shima Kanko The Classic

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 4

Day 5

Shima - Ise - Shima Day 5 - Shima - Ise - Shima

Enjoy a later start this morning before travelling to Ise to visit the Ise Jingu Shrine the most revered Shinto sanctuary of great spiritual and historical significance. It consists of an inner and outer shrine and both are rebuilt from scratch every 20 years according to ancient Shinto tradition. Later meet some traditional free divers known as 'Ama', as seen in the James Bond movie 'You Only Live Twice'. They are working women of the region who dressed all in white, dive into the sea without any diving equipment to catch shellfish and seaweed. Enjoy the fine flavour of the char-grilled local fresh seafood while listening to the stories told by the friendly and cheerful divers, a Cultural Insight. Later visit Mikimoto Pearl Island which is the place where, for the first time in the world, pearls were successfully cultured. Then enjoy some free time at a local mall for shopping and dinner at one of the many local and international restaurants.

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast

Day 5

Day 6

Shima - Iga - Nabari - Kyoto (3 nights) Day 6 - Shima - Iga - Nabari - Kyoto (3 nights)

Travel to Iga and start the day with a visit to the Ninja Museum, dedicated to the history of ninja and ninjutsu, an original form of warfare developed mainly in the region. The museum's collection includes very old ninjutsu writings analyzed scientifically along with ancient weapons. Continue by exploring Ueno Castle constructed in the late 16th century served as the seat of the local lords during the Edo Period. The castle tower was destroyed in a storm less than 50 years later and not rebuilt until 1935 when a local resident provided funding for the tower's reconstruction. Then enjoy a special Be My Guest lunch with a monk at Shorenji Temple in Nabari while learning about the history and traditions of the region. After lunch continue to Kyoto for your overnight stay.

Hotel

New Miyako

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Be My Guest Dining

Hotel

New Miyako

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Be My Guest Dining

Day 6

Day 7

Kyoto Day 7 - Kyoto

Enjoy a late start this morning followed by a visit to Kinkakuji Temple; a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its Golden Pavilion reflecting beautifully in the water of the adjoining pond. Lunch today is okonomiyaki; similar to a savoury pancake and made with egg, cabbage, soba noodles and meat, seafood or cheese and grilled in layers on a hot plate in front of you. This afternoon visit Arashiyama, a district on the outskirts of Kyoto. Visit the breath-taking Bamboo Forest and walk along the paths that cut through the bamboo groves. Standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world! Continue on with a visit to Tenryuji Temple which has one of the finest gardens in Kyoto and wonderful mountain views.

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Lunch

Day 7

Day 8

Kyoto Day 8 - Kyoto

This morning visit the Kiyomizu-dera Temple; a buzzing hive of activity perched on a hill overlooking the city. It is one of Kyoto's most popular and most enjoyable temples and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then head to Sanjusangendo Hall, a temple famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Return to the hotel for a leisurely afternoon or choose to take part in an Optional Experience. This evening have a delightful Farewell dinner with your fellow companions and Travel Director at a local restaurant.

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Farewell Dinner

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Farewell Dinner

Day 8

Day 9

Depart Kyoto Day 9 - Depart Kyoto

Transfer by airport shuttle to Kansai International Airport or Osaka Itami Airport for your onward flight.

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast

Day 9

Available Departures

Please see http://www.trafalgar.com:80/uk/tours/spiritual-japan for the latest discounts & departure information.

The Trafalgar Difference

  • Be My Guest
    Lunch with a monk at Shorenji Temple in Nabari

  • Cultural Insights
    Enjoy a Japanese style vegetarian lunch at a monastery inn. Learn about the 'Ama', professional women shellfish divers

  • Hidden Treasures
    Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Find out what makes Trafalgar different.

Highlights

What's Included

Sightseeing Highlights

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    • City Tour of Osaka and Kyoto

    • View the Nachi waterfall in Kumano

    • Visit Osaka Castle and the Abeno Harukas Observatory in Osaka, the Kongobuji Temple and the Danjo Garan Temple in Mt. Koya, the Ise Jingu Shrine and Mikimoto Pearl Island in Shima, the Ninja Museum and Ueno Castle in Iga and the Bamboo Forest, the Kinkakuji Temple and Sanjusangendo Hall in Kyoto


What's Included

Dining

    • 8 buffet breakfasts

    • 3 lunches
      (including Be My Guest)

    • 4 dinners


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What's Included

Travel Highlights

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    • Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing

    • Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals

    • Luxury air-conditioned coach or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)

    • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted

    • Hand-picked Insider Experiences

    • Optional Experiences and free time

    • Porterage and local charges included

    • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras

    • An expert Travel Director and separate Driver

    • All hotel tips, charges and local taxes

    • Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday


    Airport Transfers

  • Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page


Why Trafalgar?

The Trafalgar Experience

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Enjoy

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Spiritual Japan

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