Day 1: Arrive Tokyo
Upon arrival in Tokyo you will be met by your tour leader or guide, who will escort you to the airport bus (a shared service) to transfer to your hotel. Tonight join your tour leader (or local guide) for welcome drinks and a tour briefing.
Grand Prince Takanawa for 2 nights
Day 2: Tokyo
Explore some of the vibrant capital’s most intriguing sights, by foot, boat and rail. Included today is a tea-drinking in a Japanese garden and a cruise along the Sumida River to bustling Asakusa Kannon, the oldest and most beloved temple in the city. Explore beautiful Meiji Jingu Shrine and – at Harajuku - mix with young locals dressed up in cult fashions. Marvel at skyscraper views of Japan’s major city from the heights of iconic Tokyo Tower, and return to your hotel late afternoon, in time for evening exploring.
Day 3: Tokyo to Hakone
Before dawn this morning we head to the fascinating bustle of Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish market in Asia. In the afternoon, travel by train to picturesque Hakone, nestled in forested mountains and the site of our Japanese inn accommodation. Enjoy a boat cruise on peaceful Lake Ashi-no, then return to your lodging for a traditional Japanese meal and the option of an outdoor dip in a hot spring.
Hakone Yumoto Hotel for 1 night
Day 4: Hakone to Takayama
Today you will traverse the Japanese Alps en route to beguiling Takayama. A treasure chest of Japanese architecture and traditions, a visit to this fascinating town contrasts delightfully with your earlier stay in the mega-metropolis capital. Make the short walk from the station to your hotel for check-in, then wander through one of Japan’s most atmospheric towns.
Best Western Takayama for 2 nights
Day 5: Takayama on foot
Today you will set out on a walking tour of old Takayama. Discover this fascinating town’s myriad of narrow streets, shrines and sake stalls. See the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, Takayama Jinya, historic wooden houses in Kami Sannomachi Street, and more.
Day 6: Takayama to Kyoto
This morning you will have free time to wander the streets of Takayama’s morning market and soak up the ambience of the old town. Mid-afternoon, travel by train, via Nagoya, to graceful Kyoto, Japan’s most beguiling and traditional city.
Mitsui Garden Kyoto for 4 nights
Day 7: Kyoto
Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in the ancient capital of Japan. See Nijo Castle and the Golden Temple, a sparkling highlight of any visit to Kyoto. Enjoy the bustling atmosphere of the old market streets in Higashiyama district as you make your way up to Kiyomizudera Temple. Also today you will walk down narrow ‘Pontocho’, perhaps the world’s quaintest lane and the home to local eateries, bars and tea houses. End with a visit to Gion, famously known for its geisha courtesans – some of which you might see.
Day 8: Hiroshima
This morning we take the bullet train to Hiroshima – infamous as the first atomic bomb target - and nearby Miyajima Island with its famous floating shrine gate. Nowadays Hiroshima is home to a million people and is a city devoted to peace. Visit the renowned Peace Park Museum and Memorial, and the Atomic Dome, before returning to Kyoto.
Day 9: Nara and Kyoto
Set out on a short train trip to Nara. This historic town was the site of Japan’s first permanent capital and is full of treasures, including magnificent Todaiji, the largest wooden building in the world and made without a single nail, and an immense Buddha weighing more than 500 tonnes. We also encounter free roaming deer in Nara Park, before returning by train to Kyoto. This evening you will have a special Maiko/ Geisha dinner and performance. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience a highly exclusive service that is usually only available through a personal introduction.
Day 10 Depart Kyoto
Your tour leader or guide will organize your transfer by train to the airport, for your onward travels.