Capitals of Japan

Duration

10 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Tokyo

Available

April 2023 / March 2024

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

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Detailed day by day description

Introduction

This tour is part of our flexible coach touring range, guaranteed with a minimum of 2 people. Once the tour is booked, it is guaranteed so it will definitely go ahead, and will never cancel.

This tour is guided in English only. Please note if English speaking attendance numbers are low, the tour can become bilingual either accompanied by two tour leaders, one for each language, or a single tour leader providing explanations in both languages.

The tour offers flexibility, allowing you to customize it to your preferences. By clicking 'Quote or Book,' you will have the choice to select your desired start and end dates and destinations within the tour's defined parameters. Given this flexibility, it's important to note that 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.
NOTE: With 5 passengers or less than 5 passengers, the city tour will be done by a tourist bus "Hop On-Hop Off" bus that passes through the most interesting parts of Tokyo, in which passengers can hop off, visit the site of their choice and then hop on the next bus
Distancia total realizada : 860 km (800 en tren de alta velocidad) .
07.30 hrs.- Salida del hotel. Nos trasladamos hacia la estación de tren de Tokio. Tomamos tren de alta velocidad. Duración del viaje de poco más de cuatro horas.
Nota: L e acompañaremos a la estación pero durante el viaje no irá acompañado con guía si el grupo en este tramo es de menos de 15 personas. Le estaremos esperando a su llegada a la estación de Hiroshima  para continuar ruta.
Nota: El orden de las visitas en Hiroshima puede variar sin que afecte al contenido de las mismas.
12.30 hrs.- HIROSHIMA   –Llegada-. Ciudad tristemente conocida por el bombardeo atómico que sufrió en  1945 ; pasearemos por el memorial de la paz , la cúpula de la bomba  y visitaremos el impresionante Museo de la Paz. Tras estas visitas y un tiempo para almorzar continuaremos hacia  las afueras de la ciudad para embarcar en un pequeño ferry que  en corta travesía de unos 15 minutos nos lleva a   Miyajima , la isla “donde  conviven hombres y Dioses”. Visita del santuario de ITSUKUSHIMA dedicado  a la guardiana de los mares, construido parcialmente sobre el mar. Tiempo para  visitar el templo y pasear por su bonito centro        
18.00 hrs—Miyajima –salida-. Embarque y continuación hacia nuestro  hotel .     Cena incluida.
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.
Important Note: In case you have to book an external service (plane/train...) on the day of the end of your tour with activities included, please remember that the schedules of the detailed itineraries are the "planned" ones but may be affected by different circumstances (traffic density, customer delays, breakdowns...). Do not book a flight/train with a tight schedule without taking this into account.
Always leave a margin in the schedule for unforeseen events.

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