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Mt Fuji, Japan

Best of Japan

16-day tailor-made journey from £4,995 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

Discover Japan both ancient and modern in Tokyo’s cutting edge, luxury island inns, Kyoto’s history and national park stays

Highlights

  • Discover a Japan both ancient and modern in Tokyo and Osaka’s cutting edge, Kyoto and Nara’s history, and traditional ryokan stays
  • Make use of Shinkansen bullet trains with an included rail pass that brings you to city tours, cooking classes and geisha district excursions
  • Experience rural Japan’s islands and national parks in floating shrines and forest-ringed waters backed by the summit of Mt. Fuji

In Brief

  • 3 Nights Tokyo
  • 2 Nights Hakone
  • 2 Nights Kyoto
  • 2 Nights Nara
  • 2 Nights Miyajima
  • 1 Night Osaka
  • 1 Night Tokyo

Itinerary

Recommended for:
City | History & culture | Mountains | Natural world | Rail journey

From world-beating cities and bullet train jaunts to stays in traditional inns and thousand year old temples, you’ll discover the highlights of this multi-faceted country. Starting in the capital, a private guide service will introduce you to everything from Shinjuku’s neon to the Imperial Palace’s green before you make use of your unlimited rail pass – the Deluxe option includes first class travel – to head out into its surrounds. Choose between mountain trails, national park shrines and former capital heritage. Then, in Hakone, you’ll experience Japan at its traditional best with a stay in a luxury ryokan where onsen hot spring soaks and multi-course kaiseki meals end days spent exploring forested lakes and pretty villages. Then, in Kyoto and Nara’s thousand strong collection of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, historic palaces and traditional gardens, you’ll see how Japan’s ancient religious beauty lives on today. And, after witnessing Hiroshima’s rebirth, you’ll pass that famous floating torii gate on your way to Miyajima where you’ll stay in an island ryokan, exploring waterside shrines and mountaintop temples. End your trip with lively Osaka’s grand castles and bright lights. Along the way, you’ll also be introduced to Japanese culture in Geisha district tours, cooking classes and private guide services.   

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Depart UK

An overnight flight, arriving on day two, will bring you Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

Day 2
Tokyo

A private driver will meet you at the airport to bring you to your city centre accommodation. Take a moment to relax or head out to explore your surroundings. In the superior option you’ll have Tokyo’s oldest temple – Sensoji – on your doorstep while the deluxe option overlooks the Imperial Palace grounds. In both, you’ll be greeted by that quintessentially Japanese architectural style that favours bold reds and graceful arcs. It’s one that has lasted from 7th century Nara temples to 18th century Edo period residences. Perhaps make use of your preloaded transport card to head further afield and experience Tokyo’s famed nightlife and restaurant scene in Shinjuku. 

Meals: Breakfast included

Stay: The Gate Hotel, Tokyo (Superior) or Palace Hotel, Tokyo (Deluxe)

Day 3
Tokyo

Today, using the city’s famed public transport once more, a local guide will arrange a private tour of the Japanese capital, visiting the sights that appeal to you. You might want to wake up early to experience the commotion that is Tsukiji Fish Market where the world’s best sashimi grade fish are busily bartered over. Then, after sampling some at a local sushi restaurant, picked out by your guide, perhaps discover the more historic side of this ultra-modern city. In Yoyogi Park you’ll find Meiji era shrines tucked away among surprisingly large forests while your guide will also be able to shed new light on the Imperial Palace’s moated gardens. We’ve also included tickets to the Tokyo Skytree, which, at 634m high, is the tallest tower in the world. Unsurprisingly it offers unrivalled city views. 

Meals: Breakfast included

Stay: The Gate Hotel, Tokyo (Superior) or Palace Hotel, Tokyo (Deluxe)

Day 4
Optional Day Trip out of Tokyo

On your last day in Tokyo, explore further or make use of your unlimited rail pass to head beyond the city limits. Perhaps make your way to Kamakura; just an hour’s west of Tokyo this former capital is home to a stunning collection of shrines and temples. The most impressive of which is Kotokuin where a giant bronze Buddha looks out over pretty traditional gardens. For a green alternative to Tokyo’s bright lights, Mt. Takao’s national park trails make for pretty hikes past temples and statues to reach summit views back to Tokyo. A little further afield, Nikko’s park lakes and waterfalls are speckled with Shinto shrines, including the impressive Toshogu. Intricately carved and picked out in bright colours, it’s one of Japan’s most important pilgrim sites.    

Meals: Breakfast included

Stay: The Gate Hotel, Tokyo (Superior) or Palace Hotel, Tokyo (Deluxe)

Days 5-6
Hakone

Your first Shinkansen journey will bring you to Odawara Station, the gateway to Hakone National Park. Here, a private driver will bring you to your traditional ryokan accommodation. Each option is a historic, timber inn complete with tatami mats, private hot spring baths and kaiseki multicourse banquets. Over the next two days, you’ll then take full advantage of your Freepass to explore Hakone. Make use of ropeway cable cars to reach picturesque hill walks, climb aboard a mountain railway to visit remote hamlets or take to the waters on a boat cruise past lakeside shrines, a fitting foreground to Mt. Fuji’s imperious gaze. 

Meals: Breakfast & dinner included

Stay: Yamanochaya, Hakone or Yumoto Kansuiro, Hakone (Deluxe)

Day 7
Kyoto

Retrace your steps with a private car ride back to Odawara Station where you’ll catch your next bullet train down to Kyoto, tracing Japan’s eastern seaboard as you travel at speeds of up to 200 mph. While its grid system features all the trappings of a modern city, look between the lines to find one of the world’s most culturally rich cities. In the early evening, a private tour with a professional English-speaking guide will introduce you to the sights and culture of Gion, Kyoto’s famed geisha district. Making your way through narrow lanes and hidden alleys, your guide will keep you informed on the age-old traditions that keep this secretive side-world alive. You’ll be sure to spot geishas and their apprentice maiko hurrying between appointments.

Stay: Granvia Kyoto (Superior) 

Meals: Breakfast included

Stay: Hyatt Regency, Kyoto (Deluxe)

Day 8
Kyoto

Once again, a private guided tour will be tailor-made to your interests. If you want to continue in your introduction to geisha culture, perhaps take part in a tea ceremony or head to the Imperial Palace for a walk through its palatial gardens. And, what with over 2,000 religious sites, there’s plenty to keep you occupied between beautifully ornate Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, complemented by perfectly formed Zen gardens. Don’t miss out on a walk through the Arashiyama Bamboo Groves where bright green shoots all but block out the sun.

Stay: Granvia Kyoto (Superior)

Meals: Breakfast included

Stay: Hyatt Regency, Kyoto (Deluxe)

Days 9-10
Kyoto/Nara

Making full use of your train pass on the short 40-minute journey out to Nara. Like its Kyoto neighbour, Nara was once the Japanese capital, a position that has gifted it with a wealth of heritage. As such, you’ll find grand Buddhist monasteries and temples set against a backdrop of low-lying mountains. Prime among them is Todaiji; as the world’s largest wooden building, it features a giant bronze Buddha and looks out over Nara Park where deer roam free. The next day, a private transfer will bring you to a home cooking course where you’ll learn to prepare a range of Japanese dishes. Your English-speaking instructor will teach you to use readily available ingredients to create some of the country’s regional specialities along with such classics as sushi, tempura or teriyaki chicken. It’s also a chance to get a glimpse into modern Japanese home life. Lasting around three hours, a private transfer will bring you back to your accommodation.

Stay: Granvia Kyoto (Superior)

Meals: Breakfast included

Stay: Hyatt Regency, Kyoto (Deluxe)

Day 11
Hiroshima/Miyajima

Follow the coast west to Hiroshima, a distance of 400km covered in just two bullet train hours. In the Western world, you’ll know the city for its nuclear holocaust. While this is referenced in poignant shell ruins and the atmospheric Peace Park and Museum, you’ll find a city that has emerged from its tragic past in spectacular gardens dotted with intimate teahouses and a range of contemporary arts museums. Don’t forget to try the local savoury pancakes; termed okonomiyaki, the name translates as ‘everything grilled’ meaning endless choices of toppings. After eating your fill, catch the train to the port where you’ll making the ferry crossing to Miyajima. This 10-minute journey is among the most scenic, with views of the island’s iconic floating torii gate whose bright red struts are reflected in watery ripples. You’ll then check into your second ryokan to enjoy yet more kaiseki banquets.

Meals: Breakfast and dinner included

Stay: Iwaso, Miyajima (Superior) or Kurayado Iroha, Miyajima (Deluxe)

Day 12
Miyajima

Take some time to relax in your accommodation’s onsen hot pools and drink in the ocean views. Then, set out to explore what translates as ‘Shrine Island’ by visiting the Itsukushima Shrine that, like its gate counterpart, appears to float serenely on the waters. Alternatively, hire a bike to take cycle paths round to white sand beaches or catch a cable car to the summit of Mt. Misen where you’ll find yet more pretty Buddhist temples and deer. You’ll also be able to look back across the bay’s islands to Hiroshima. 

Meals: Breakfast and dinner included

Stay: Iwaso, Miyajima (Superior) or Kurayado Iroha, Miyajima (Deluxe)

Day 13
Osaka

Leaving Miyajima behind, you’ll board a ferry back to the mainland before getting a local train to Hiroshima Station where you’ll catch the Shinkansen to Osaka. As always, you can use your rail pass at each stage – even the ferry. Upon arriving in Japan’s second largest city, check into your hotel before heading out to explore. By day, visit the Umeda Sky Building for a stunning overview of the city before heading to Osaka Castle whose double moated grounds make for atmospheric walks. However, Osaka really comes to life at night. 3D signage covers entire building sides and fine dining restaurants come stacked upon one another. Go for a walk through waterside Dotonbori to take it all in.

Stay: Swissôtel Nankai Osaka (Superior)/Marriott Miyako Osaka (Deluxe) 

Meals: Breakfast included

Day 14
Tokyo

Board your last Shinkansen sprint for the journey to Tokyo, passing back through Kyoto and skirting past Mt. Fuji. If the weather’s favourable, you might even catch a glimpse of its perfectly symmetrical conical peak. As your last day you might want to rest up before your flight or head out for one last sake. We’d recommend Golden Gai where sushi shops and traditional five seater izakaya pubs are tucked away behind the glass and steel of Shinjuku’s skyscrapers. It’s a fitting contrast to end your trip on.

Meals: Breakfast is included

Stay: Park Hotel, Tokyo (Superior) or Andaz, Tokyo (Deluxe)

Day 15
Depart for UK

A private car will bring you to Narita Airport where you’ll board your flight back to the UK.

Meals: Breakfast is included

Day 16
Arrive in the UK

Following your overnight flight, continue your onward journey home.

Map

Pricing

Prices

Accommodation rating: Superior Deluxe

16-day tailor-made journey from £4,995 incl. flights

Includes

Guide price: from £4,995 to £5,335 per person (superior) or £6,665 to £7,025 per person (deluxe). Cherry Blossom Season from £5,685 per person (superior) and from £8,235 per person (deluxe) 

Valid for Travel: year round - please note that prices for travel to Japan over the cherry blossom season - typically late March to early May each year - and the prices above should be used as a guide.

Package includes: Return international flights, transfers, 13 nights accommodation, transfers, pre loaded transport card, rail travel, guided touring and meals as per itinerary. 

Terms & Conditions: Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and change; normal booking conditions apply.  

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Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0607 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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