Capitals of Japan

Duration

10 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Tokyo

Available

April 2020 / March 2021

Cities to visit: Tokyo; Hiroshima; Matsuyama; Kotohira; Takamatsu; Naruto; Kobe; Osaka ; Koyasan, Wakayama; Kyoto; Tsumago; Matsumoto; Nagano; Monkey Park; Kusatsu (Gunma); Ikaho; Nikko

Video Gallery


Detailed day by day description

Introduction

This tour is a flexible, guaranteed escorted coach tour, guided in English only.

Once the tour is booked, it is guaranteed so it will definitely go ahead, and will never cancel.

The tour is flexible so you can tailor it to suit your needs. By clicking ‘Quote or Book’, you will have an option to choose your start and end date and destinations within the tour parameters. As these tours allow for such flexibility, the same people, tour guides or drivers may not be on your entire journey.

Day

Welcome to Japan! Transfer by coach (SHUTTLE BUS) to hotel.   

18H30.- Meeting with guide. Late in the afternoon, we will pay a visit to this fascinating country by taking a trip on the metro  (tickets included) to the  Shinjuku district and see the crowds of people who use this modern and efficient collective transport system. Then we will take a walk around an hour to the restaurant. Shinjuku is one of the most important nightlife districts.  Dinner included  and return to hotel by metro with our guide.     

08.00 hrs.- In the morning, we take part in  a 5-hour trip  with our guide to see this amazing city, with its hustle and bustle and extremely modern districts that coexist with quiet, peaceful areas. Brief stop at the  Zojoji Temple  to make a beautiful photograph of the Tokyo Tower.  Pay attention to the hundred of Jizos, stone traditional protecting deities who guide us on our travels, give power to those who are weak (such children) and those in dangerous places, and who are dressed including hats, robes and windmills. Then we head to the  junction of Shibuya , a junction that is said to be the most crowded in the world. The  Meiji Temple  is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, his wife, and their spirits.  We continue on our bus along the elegant street of  Omotesando . We will edge the most beautiful part of the Imperial Palace and the gardens. Stop to visit the famous  Nijubashi Bridge . We will pass through the district of  Akihabara,  the “electric town” with icons from the popular Japanese Manga and Anime culture and then see  Kokugikan , the Sumo stadium, home of this Japanese sport. We will also visit the Buddhist  temple of Sensoji , the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo, with its 55-metre high pagoda. Then we will have some free time to visit the traditional commercial street of Nakamise in the district of  Asakusa. Lunch included   in a local restaurant. Return to hotel.

Free time in the afternoon. 

After breakfast, transfer to the station to take the bullet train to hiroshima. it takes four hours, more or less, to travel the 800 kilometers between both cities. arrival at hiroshima. this city is sadly known for the atomic bomb that fell on it in 1945 and which levelled the city. we will stroll around the peace memorial, the dome of the bomb and we will visit the impressive museum of peace.  after the war we will seek peace by embarking on a ferry to the island “where men and gods live together”, with the sanctuary of itsukushima dedicated to the guardian of the seas, built partially over the sea. time to visit the temple, to stroll around its pretty centre and have lunch. return to our hotel in hiroshima. dinner included

note: the order of the visits in hiroshima may vary without affecting their content.  

Distance travelled: J ourney by boat. Crossing of about 50 km.
 
Scenery: I nteresting scenery on board, passing close to many different islands.  
Note : We recommend staying on deck to enjoy the crossing, but bring warm clothing. 

Today we will take a boat t o the island of Shikoku . The crossing is extremely pleasant and takes two and a half hours, and discover that Japan is formed by many small islands. If there are no changes in the ferry times, it will leave at 09.20hrs (we leave the hotel at 08.00 hrs).
 
12.00hrs. – MATSUYAMA. Arrival. We will take the cable car and ascend to its impressive castle. Then we will visit ISHITE JI, a beautiful Buddhist temple and place of pilgrimage. Lunch included.

In the late afternoon we will visit DOGO ONSEN (admission included) , a traditional Japanese bath built in the 19th century.   
  
Note: we highly recommend you to live the Onsen experience in Japan. There are rules that will be explained to you; The baths are separated by sex and a thorough cleaning must be carried out before entering the hot water naked. In Japanese Onsen they can prohibit the entry of people with tattoos.
  

Distance travelled: 345 km 
Scenery : Pleasant mountain scenery in some places. We walk along huge suspension bridges over the sea. Wear comfortable walking shoes for the journey.

7.30 hrs- Matsuyama.- Departure-. 
10.00 hrs.-  KOTOHIRA, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the God of fishermen and a place of pilgrimage built on Mount Zozu. To access it, it is necessary to climb 785 steps. Those who do not want to climb the mountain can enjoy sightseeing and visit the small Sake Museum (the traditional Japanese liqueur). 

12.00hrs.- Kotohira –Departure-. 
13.00 hrs.- TAKAMATSU. Visit to RITSURIN, one of the prettiest gardens in Japan. Lunch included in a local restaurant. 

15.00 hrs.- Takamatsu –Departure-. 
16.15 hrs.-  NARUTO , an impressive bridge that crosses the sea. We will stop to learn how it was built and walk along its glass floor with the impressive waves below us (depending on the times and tides) at a height of 45 metres. 

17.15hrs.- Naruto –Departure-. Pretty scenery as we cross huge suspension bridges. 
19.00hrs.- KOBE.- Arrival. Modern city by the sea, you can walk through its active center.

In Kobe we visited the Earthquake Memorial Museum , a place to remind the tragic seism that devastated the city in 1995 and its perfect reconstruction. 

Note: Sometimes, the entrance to the Earthquake Museum may be modified by the Sake Museum or the climb to the Kobe Tower.   

10.30hrs- We continue to Osaka.  
11.15hrs- OSAKA , arrival to the second biggest city in Japan.  

12.00hrs- We will depart Osaka to visit, MOUNT KOYA , one of Japan’s sacred mountains and Japan’s main centre of Shingon Buddhism. There are 120 shrines and monasteries on this mountain which is a magical place of pilgrimage. We will visit Okuno Mausoleum , a spiritual place and an immense cemetery in the wilderness that has more than 200,000 graves. We will visit Kongobuji temple , built in 1593.   

Note: In winter, as it gets dark earlier, we will not have time to enter Kongobuji temple.    

We will spend this night at a Buddhist monastery. The monks will offer us a Zen meditation session (Ajikan). Dinner included (vegetarian food). There is religious ceremony at the temple early in the morning if you wish to attend it.    

Note: We consider the sojourn at the monastery as an experience of great existential value. The rooms at this place are modest, without bathrooms, in the traditional Japanese style with tatamis. Bathrooms are communal.

Total distance: 130km.

Japanese breakfast at the temple. 
07.30hrs- We leave early for Kyoto.

10.00hrs- KYOTO,  we spend the whole day in the city, which was the capital of Japan between 794 and 1868 and home to the Imperial Court. During World War II the city was the only major Japanese to escape the bombardments, and so it still preserves its wealth of artistic heritage; the famous protocol restricting greenhouse gas emissions was signed in Kyoto in 1997.

The  visit includes a trip to one of the most important parts of the city . We will see the marvellous Shinto Shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji temple, “the golden pavilion” and its wonderful gardens.

19.00hrs - At night, a transfer to  GION  will be included, a busy traditional quarter famous for its Geisha. Free time. The return to the hotel will be free, we suggest you take a taxi. The guide will explain how.

Note:  If you already visited Kyoto on your circuit, our guide will offer you information and advice on visiting the other parts of the city unaccompanied.

Total distance: 320 km .

08.00 hrs- We leave Kyoto to set out for Tsumago, passing attractive country scenery on our way. 
11.15 hrs- TSUMAGO. This small village with its wooden houses is one of the prettiest places in Japan. Free time to explore and   lunch included in a local restaurant. 

13.30 hrs- Tsumago departure.
14.45 hrs- MATSUMOTO , arrival to this tourist city, where we will visit the impressive 16th century castle, known as the “Crow Castle”. Free time to explore this bustling tourist city.

18.00hrs.- Matsumoto.- Departure. 
19.15hrs.- NAGANO , arrival. 

Note: In some tours, we will not sojourn in Nagano but in the town of Matsumoto.

Total distance: 160 km
Scenery:  Today our journey takes us through the beautiful Japanese Alps.
Note: Wear comfortable shoes to walk around the Monkey Park


Early in the morning, in NAGANO , we will visit Zenkoji temple, a pilgrimage site where the first Buddhist image of Japan is located. Passengers will have the opportunity to take part in the Gomakuyo ceremony that brings good luck.
 
10.30hrs- Nagano departure. We continue through the high mountains.
11.30hrs- Monkey Park, with lunch included and wander through its forests with their rivers and thermal fountains where colonies of Japanese monkeys live and bathe. 

13.45hrs- We leave the park, our journey takes us through beautiful mountain scenery (reaching an altitude of 2,172 metres) with semi-active volcanoes.
15.00hrs- KUSATSU is an attractive spa city with a lively main square. Our visit includes admission to the Yumomi performance, with actresses who sing songs about the traditional method for cooling spa waters. Then we can stroll through the city park with its outdoor Onsen.

17.45 hrs- Departure from Kustasu.
19.15hrs-  IKAHO,  arrival to a picturesque spa town where we will stroll in its ancient centre with its staircase streets. We will stay at a  RYOKAN,  a Japanese style hotel where we will continue to enjoy its baths.  Traditional Japanese dinner included.   .

NB:  In the autumn, depending on the amount of fruit in the mountains, the movement of the monkeys is unpredictable. If the macaques do not come down to the park, it may be closed. The visit to Kusatsu and the Yumoni show are cancelled due to the weather from November to April.


Total distance: 310km

07.45hrs- Ikaho Onsen. Saída.
10.00hrs- NIKKO , a fantastic town where we will visit the impressive Nikko Toshogu Shrine and the hall of the crying dragon. We will also visit the Taiyuinbyo Mausoleum, set in an impressive, peaceful site, followed by a walk near the river, in Kanmangafuchi, under the watchful eye of hundreds of Jizo statues!
Free time for lunch and visit the city centre.-

15.30hrs- Departure to Tokyo.
18.30 hrs- TOKYO .- arrival.   

End of our services. Please, check the time of your flight in case you might need an additional night. 


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From: AUD 4,805