|Tour Code: JP141 Departure Date: You Choice! Custom Days: ..10,11..14,..18,.... Days |
Tour Route: Tokyo-Kamakura-Tokyo-Hakone / Mt Fuji-Hida Takayama-Hiroshima-Kyoto-Nara-Kyoto (Could Customize)
Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo
Japanese Green Tea
Welcome to Japan. Upon arrival at Narita International Airport, clear customs with your luggage and exit to the Arrivals Lobby.
Activate your 14 Day Japan Rail Pass at the Japan Rail Travel Service Centre (open 6:30am-9:45pm) located in Terminal 1 & 2. From the airport board the JR Narita Limited Express train to Shinagawa Station. (80 min)
Your accommodation at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel is a one minute walk west of JR Shinagawa Station. The Shinagawa is the ideal place to stay in Tokyo for its convenient location and access to a wide range of restaurants and shops.
Day 2: Tokyo
Imperial Palace, Tokyo
This morning you will be collected from the Shinagawa Prince Hotel at 07:50am for your Tokyo Morning Tour. Your tour will disband in the Ginza shopping district at approximately 1:00pm. You will be guided by an English-speaking Japanese local and transported by coach to the following sites:
Tokyo Tower - Enjoy a panoramic view of Tokyo from the main observation platform.
Meiji Shrine - The finest example of Japanese shrine architecture nestled in a peaceful, picturesque park with over 120,000 trees.
Akasaka Guest House - Brief photo opportunity outside the Guest House Gate; entrance is prohibited. A magnificent Western-style palace built in the baroque architectural style.
National Diet Building (Drive by) See the imposing Japanese Capital (House of Parliament) dominated by a massive central tower.
Imperial Palace East Garden - Enjoy a pleasant walk in the East Garden of the Imperial Palace, of historical interest and scenic beauty. (Mon. & Fri. Visit Imperial Palace Plaza, Double Bridge, instead of East Garden) Visit the inner moat, 15-feet thick walls and gnarled pine trees surrounding the 250-acre fortress, home of the Emperor and Empress).
Ginza Shopping District (Drive through) - Stroll at Ginza area.
After the completetion of the tour, make your way to the closest JR Yamanote Line train station and board a local train to JR Akihabara Station. To most foreign visitors Akihabara is known as "Electric Town" which is the world's largest electrical equipment town.
Return to the JR Yamanote Line train and travel two stops north of Akihabara to Ueno Station and visit the Ameyoko Ueno Market. There are over 500 shops that sell everything from basic foods to high-class imported goods at reasonable prices, and always crowded with local shoppers.
In the evening return to JR Shinagawa Station using the Yamanote Line.
Day 3: Tokyo - Kamakura - Tokyo
Great Buddah, Kamakura
Venture out today to Kamakura to enjoy one of Japan's most popular sightseeing locations. This historic seaside city is only a 45 minute journey from JR Shinagawa Station on the JR Yokosuka Line train.
As the former capital of Japan (from 1192 to 1333), Kamakura has many renowned Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines and numerous well-preserved historical treasures nestled among a peaceful wooded and rustic setting.
Dankazura (2 min. walk from the station) is a 100 metre long pedestrian approach, lined with cherry blossom trees, leading to the colourful Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. The 850-tonne bronze Great Buddha, and the picturesque Enoshima Island all draw large numbers of visitors to Kamakura throughout the year.
Exploring on foot is the best way to enjoy Kamakura.
Day 4: Tokyo
Today is a free day for sightseing and shopping.
Tokyo has a number of famous theme parks, the most famous are Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Sea. For those who are still young a heart, a day to enjoy the rides and shows can be a wonderful experience. The night parade and fireworks come nightfall is worth the wait.
Other ideas include taking a day trip to Odaiba - a huge amusement zone where you can enjoy shopping, delicious food, entertainment, and a view of Tokyo Bay simintaniously.
From JR Shinagawa Station board a JR Yamanote Line local train three stations north to JR Shimbashi Station. At Shimbashi Station, take Yurikamome Line unmanned monorail across the 918 metre span Rainbow Bridge to Daiba Station (14 min).
Odaiba was built on reclaimed land in the Tokyo Bay in the southeast of Tokyo. This ultra-modern island is home to the Fuji TV Studio, Toyota Motor Company Showcase, Palette Town, Giant Ferris wheel, Venus Fort Shopping Complex for ladies modelled on an 18th Century European city, the Museum of Maritime Science, Odaiba Marine Park, and the MegaWeb Sega Game Centre. A visit to the Oedo Onsen Monogatari volcanic hot spring is an excellent way to soak away the stresses of exhilarating travel. Luxuriate in open air, foot, sand and steam baths, tatami rooms and massage salons. The hot water spouts up naturally from 1400 meters below the surface. (JPY 2,700 adult - tatoos must be covered).
Later in the day, return to Shimbashi Station and board the Yamanote Line local train to Shinjuku Station the largest and busiest train station in Japan. From the West Exit walk 10 minutes through the high-rise business district to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building to view the city skyline which is best seen at night. (9:30am-10:30pm / free entry).
Day 5: Tokyo - Hakone / Mt Fuji
Lake Ashi, Hakone
Check out of the Shinagwa Prince Hotel and from Shinagawa Station board a Kodama bullet train to JR Odawara Station (30 min).
At Odawara Station purchase a 3 Day Hakone Free Pass which entitles the holder to 3 days of unlimited travel on a variety of local transport including the unique mountain railway, bus, cable car, ropeway and cruise boat. Use your pass to gain entry and discounts at the region's many hot springs, museums, galleries, gardens, temples and shrines.
From Odawara Station board the Hakone Tozan for Togendai (via Hakone-Yumoto) and get off at Palace Hotel Hakone Mae (50 min). Your hotel has a volcanic outdoor onsen (hot spring) A perfect way to relax after a busy travel schedule.
Hakone is Wedged between Mount Fuji and lzu Peninsula, encircled by forested mountains and deep ravines, extraordinary views (weather permitting) of Mount Fuji and the Japan Alps can be seen.
Spend the remainder of the day exploring the many sights of this beautiful resort town.
Day 6: Hakone / Mt. Fuji
Using your Hakone Free Pass and the provided tourist maps & brochures explore some of the many sites of the Hakone region, including:
Lake Ashi: The 400,000 year-old volcanic crater lake that never freezes! Ashiko is a popular place for fishing, boating and water sports. Use your Hakone Pass to cruise the lake by pirate ship. On a clear day Mt. Fuji and its inverted reflection can be seen on the lake.
Owakudani (Greater Boiling Valley): Accessible by ropeway this entire gorge reeks of sulphurous fumes, spewing clouds of steam from crevasses among bubbling hot springs.
Ancient Cedar Avenue: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along this superb 2km flora-lined winding passage; once the pathway to Tokyo.
Day 7: Hakone - Hida Takayama
Check out and from the Palace Hotel Hakone Mae bus stop take the Hakone Tozan Bus for Odawara Station (50 min). At Odawara Station board a bullet train for JR Nagoya Station. (2 hrs) Change trains at JR Nagoya Station and board the Limited Express (Wide View Express) Hida train to JR Takayama Station (2 hrs 20 min). This magnificent train journey through the Japan Alps may be one of the highlights of your trip to Japan.
Hida Takayama is a traditional medieval town located in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture. It is possible to walk across the centre of Hida Takayama in about 20 minutes, and most of the attractions are concentrated in the old part of town, within minutes of each other. The Hida Hotel Plaza is a 5 minute walk from the station's main exit.
Enjoy an afternoon stroll around this museum-like town boasting a number of attractions including a variety of small museums devoted to traditional crafts embodying the town's long-standing tradition of the fine craftsmanship. Visit the old private houses that lie in the area between Miyagawa River and the famously lush and picturesque Shiroyama Park. This quite residential area has shops selling traditional crafts and antiques
Day 8: Hida Takayama
Takayama Morning Market
In the morning visit the Takayama Jinya Market and the Miyagawa Market. Located on the banks of the Miyagawa River these morning markets are open daily from 7am to noon. Here you will find people from nearby farms selling fresh produce and flowers.
Return to JR Takayama Station where you can purchase a Hida-no-Sato (Hida Folk Village) discount ticket - 900 yen - (Hida-no-Sato Setto-Ken) which includes a return bus ride (10 minutes each way) and admission to the Hida Folk Village. Here you will find restorations of more than 30 typical old thatched-roofed (gassho-zukuri) houses, relocated here from the various villages around the Hida area. The site recreates the atmosphere and scenery of mountain villages of old in a beautiful mountain setting. Open 8:30am to 5:00pm.
Day 9: Hida Takayama - Hiroshima
Check out and board the Limited Express (Wide View) Hida train from JR Takayama Station to JR Nagoya Station (2.5 hrs). Change trains within the station and board a bullet train to Hiroshima.(3 hrs) You may need to swap trains at Shin Osaka on the way.
From JR Hiroshima Station your accommodation at the New Hiroden Hotel is a 5 minute walk from the Central Exit.
Hiroshima was a city left in ashes after the Atomic bomb was dropped. Hiroshima has made a remarkable recovery and has been rebuilt as a modern thriving city. The area which felt the full force of the bomb has been transformed into a Peace Memorial Park with gardens of great beauty and nearly forty memorials to the victims of the atomic explosion. Hiroshima is now known as the "International City of Peace" dedicated to a total ban on the use of Atomic weapons. A visit to the Peace Memorial Park should be included in every Hiroshima itinerary. To visit the Park, board a tram in front of Hiroshima Station and get off at Genbaku Domu-Mae (Atomic Bomb Dome) stop (cost 150 yen - 15 min.).
Using your tour map, visit a number of exhibits including the Atomic Bomb Dome: Positioned below the epicentre, this skeleton of melted steel and concrete has been left as it was after the bomb was dropped. It stands as a stark reminder of the city's August 6, 1945 bombing
The highlight of the Park is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This state of the art museum focuses on Hiroshima both before and after the explosion. It also tells the story of Hiroshima's rapid rebuild into the beautiful city it is today.
On the way back to station, make sure you visit Hiroshima Castle. This castle was first built in 1589 until its destruction in 1945. Having been rebuilt in all its glory, it is now used to exhibit historic artefacts from Japan's feudal past.
Day 10: Hiroshima
Enjoy a day of exploration upon the sacred earth of Miyajima Island (Shrine Island).
From Hiroshima Station board the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station (26 min). Using your Japan Rail Passes board the JR Ferry to Miyajima Island.
The entire 30 sq. km. island is designated by the Japanese government as a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty. The must see Itsukushima Shrine, built in the sixth century, is dedicated to the maritime guardian goddesses. The shrine buildings are connected by corridors which stretch out over the water giving it the appearance of floating on the sea at high tide. The giant red wooden O-Torii (Grand Gate) is the most noted symbol of Miyajima.
Be sure to take the 1.7km ropeway (JPY1800 round trip) to Mount Misen's summit to absorb one of the three most spectacular panoramic views in Japan. Keep your eye on the summit's mischievous monkeys before descending on a peaceful walk through the ancient forest.
Return to Hiroshima early evening to feast upon the city's popular delicacy Okonomiyaki - a savoury layered noodle pancake which is cooked on an iron hotplate at your table. The locals are very proud of their contribution to Japanese cuisine!
Day 11: Hiroshima - Kyoto
Check out of the New Hiroden Hotel and board a bullet train to Kyoto Station. (2hrs) You may need to swap trains at Shin Osaka on the way.
Your accommodation at the New Miyako Hotel is a 2 minute walk from Kyoto Station.
After check in, take time to explore the Sky Plaza Observation Deck on top of Kyoto Station for a free panoramic view of the surrounding area of Kyoto. This modern station also contains a large shopping mall, department store, specialty shops and restaurants.
Day 12: Kyoto
Commence your exploration of the ancient city of Kyoto. At 08:45am, you will be collected from your hotel's lobby to join the Kyoto Morning Tour. Your English-speaking local guide will take you by bus to Nijo Castle, the Golden Pavilion, and the Kyoto Imperial Palace (on Sat., Sun. & national holidays, visit Higashi Honganji Temple instead). The tour will disband at the Kyoto Handicraft Centre. This is an excellent place to purchase authentic Japanese arts and crafts at affordable prices. (The centre offers courtesy vehicle services to major hotels in Kyoto and a likely return time being around 1:30pm).
Return to Kyoto Station by courtesy bus. In the afternoon board a local bus from Kyoto Station to the base of Kiyomizu Temple. Walk up this attractive winding road lined with many colourful souvenir and craft shops. Kiyomizu Dera is famous for its giant wooden stage overlooking panoramic views of Kyoto and its main hall is constructed entirely of wood and supported by huge columns and beams without the use of a single nail, screw or bolt.
In the evening board a subway two stops to Shijo Station and walk to Gion, Kyoto's famous entertainment district which is open until late at night. Gion is the one place in Japan where you may see Maiko or Geisha scampering between appointments. As darkness falls watch the traditional lanterns gradually come to life and you wander down tiny alleys housing a variety of restuarants offering tempting cuisine.
Day 13: Kyoto - Nara - Kyoto
A full day of sightseeing awaits you in Nara. Here, you can find peace of mind and natural beauty as you uncover the many treasures of Japan's former capital (710-784AD).
From JR Kyoto Station board a JR Nara Line limited express train for Nara (45 min). All sightseeing is within comfortable walking distance of Nara Station. From the station through the town towards Nara Park.
Should the weather be kind you may like to have your lunch in the picturesque Nara Park amongst the many tame deer which roam the area. At the end of the park is the impressive World Heritage listed cultural assets Todaiji Temple - the world's largest wooden building housing the Giant Buddha that soars 16 metres in height. Return to Nara Station via Nara-machi, an old precinct full of traditional houses, shops and tearooms in calm and pleasant surroundings, giving an excellent contrast to the great temples and old burial mounds.
Day 14: Kyoto - Airport
Check out of the New Miyako Hotel and leave your luggage in storage at the porter's desk for your later return.
Spend your last morning in Kyoto completing any final sightseeing or shopping.
For those departing from Tokyo, board a bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo Station. (3 hrs) Within Tokyo Station board the Narita Express Train to Narita Airport. (70 min)
or those departing from Osaka, board the Haruka train from Kyoto Staiton to Kansai International Airport (80min).