Welcome to a land of timeless traditions and fast-moving technology where you're just as likely to come across shrines and temples as you are skyscrapers and neon lights. Travelling by bullet train from Tokyo you'll quickly become immersed in Japanese culture as you pass through the realms of Mount Fuji and Hiroshima prior to experiencing the blossom-strewn gardens of Nara and Kyoto. This fascinating tour focuses on culture incorporated with the essence of the past and Japan's most iconic locations. Trips are timed to include some of the country's key festival, including: blossoming cherry trees; the Takayama festivities and Gion festival.
Depart the UK for your flight to Tokyo.
On arrival in Tokyo this afternoon, your Tour Manager will escort you to the Keio Plaza Hotel or similar for a 3 night stay in the Japanese capital.
Morning tour of Japan's vibrant capital visiting the site of the Imperial Palace Plaza, the Buddhist temple of Sensoji (Asakusa Kannon) and the famous Nakamise Shopping Street whose shops display typical Japanese souvenirs such as yukata and folding fans alongside traditional local snacks. The afternoon is at leisure. Take the opportunity to head to the top of the Tokyo Tower to marvel at the sweeping views of this vast city. Alternatively visit Harajuku, which affords the opportunity to see Japan's quirky youth fashion, and can easily be combined with a visit to the Meiji Jingu shrine which lies close by in Yoyogi Park. If shopping is on your agenda then you really are spoilt for choice, with Akhibara and its myriad of electronic stores and the designer laden Ginza shopping street. (B)
Day at leisure. (B)
Drive to the magnificent setting of Mount Fuji, travelling via Lake Kawaguchi and Fuji's 5th station to enjoy some spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Please note that a visit to Fuji's 5th Station is weather dependent. Continue to Hakone for overnight stay at the Hakone Palace Hotel or similar where you can try out a traditional hot spring spa. (B/L/D) Please note: Your main luggage (one item per person) will be collected this morning and transferred to Takayama for your arrival the following day. We therefore recommend you pack an overnight bag containing all essential items for your stay in Hakone.
This morning take the Komagatake cable car. Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Ashi, before taking the train, via Nagoya, to Takayama for your stay at the Associa Takayama Resort or similar. Dinner at a local restaurant. (B/D)
A walking tour of Takayama this morning takes in the beautifully preserved ambience of its old town including Miyagawa Open Air Market, Kami-sannomachi Street, Jinya House and Kusakabe House. Also visit the Festival Floats Museum with its excellent display of floats used during the spring and autumn 'matsuri'. (B)
Drive to Shirakawago to explore something of its captivating old farm houses, taking in the traditional architectural style of the Gasshozukuri houses, before proceeding, via Gokayama Village, to Kanazawa (150 km/full day including sightseeing stops). Overnight at the ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel or similar. (B) Please note: Your main luggage (one item per person) will be collected this morning and transferred to Hiroshima for your arrival the following day. We therefore recommend you pack an overnight bag containing all essential items for your stay in Kanazawa.
A morning's tour of the city takes in the beautiful landscapes of the Kenrokuen Gardens and a former Samurai House, now an interesting museum. The Kenroku-en gardens lie just outside Kanazawa Castle and are a mesmerising location to wander through. Other plants in the lovingly cared for gardens include azaleas and traditional Japanese Trees. In the afternoon, travelling first by Express Train and then by Bullet Train, you will head for Hiroshima (600 km/4 hours 30 minutes). Overnight at the Rihga Royal Hotel or similar. Dinner will be at a local restaurant with the chance to try a traditional dish known as Okonomiyaki. (B/D)
Morning tour of the city, to include the poignant and powerful Peace Park, the A-bomb Museum and Shukukeien Gardens and Hiroshima castle. In the afternoon travel by coach and ferry to Miyajima Island for an overnight stay at the Iwaso Ryokan or similar. (B/D) Please note: Your main luggage (one item per person) will be collected this morning and transferred to Kyoto for your arrival the following day. We therefore recommend you pack an overnight bag containing all essential items for your stay on Miyajima Island.
After breakfast enjoy the beauty of Miyajima with a walking tour and visits to the Itsukushima Shrine and Momijidani Park. In the afternoon return by ferry the short distance to the mainland. Continue by local train and then Bullet Train (300 km/approx 2 hours) to Kyoto where you will be staying 3 nights at the ANA Crowne Plaza Kyoto or similar. (B)
Sightseeing in Kyoto includes Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle and the Kiyomizu Temple. Enjoy a walk around the Gion area of Kyoto with the opportunity to see the famous geishas and maikos. Take part in a traditional tea ceremony. (B)
Today is at leisure with the option of a half day tour to Nara, at an extra charge and must be pre-booked before departure. (B)
Today we visit the Fushimi Inari shrine where some scenes of the film, "Memoirs of a Geisha" were shot. It is most famous for Senbon Torii (one thousand gateways) which is painted red. There will also be a visit to the Gekkeikan Okura sake museum with the opportunity to taste sake. Return to the hotel to arrive mid-afternoon. There is some free time for a couple of hours to freshen up. A hospitality room will be available for everyone or alternatively a late checkout can be booked at a supplement. In the evening transfer to Osaka Kansai airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)
Arrival in the UK around midday.
The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.
Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability, flights (if included) and date of departure.
Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated, not tour only. Single room and flight upgrade prices are available at a supplement.
Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.
The first day of the tour is at leisure so allows you enough time to arrive and relax, however you need to arrive in Tokyo by 5:00pm, if you wish to arrive earlier extra nights can be added to your tour in Tokyo. We recommend flying with Emirates and extending your tour with a few nights in Dubai.
GMT +9 hours
12 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 3 dinners.
Japan is becoming very popular and rooms are limited, occasionally to secure tour dates we may need to substitute one or more of the hotels with that of a similar standard. Journey times Japan is a vast country and journey times between destinations can sometimes be long.
There is a maximum of 25 people per group.
British citizens do not require a visa in order to visit Japan. A full 10 year passport is required and it must be valid for at least six months after your arrival back into the UK.
This tour is not recommended for clients with limited mobility, please contact the Special Assistance team for more information https://www.virginholidays.co.uk/important/special-assistance
Dubai extenstion available
Stop over in Dubai for a few nights at the luxurious Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, a desert retreat styled on a traditional Bedouin dwelling, surrounded by rolling dunes and framed by amazing sunsets.