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Hiroshima Castle, Japan

Essence of Japan with Tauck

14-day escorted tour from £13,100 pp incl. flights


Short description

Combine the modern and historic splendours of Japan on a specialist guided tour


  • Embrace a bullet train journey to the historic city of Kyoto
  • Learn the art of Sake brewing & enjoy a tasting at a local brewery
  • Take in a guided tour of Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan's most revered landscaped gardens
  • Experience a private home visit with traditional tea ceremony & Origami demonstration
  • Enjoy a stay in a hot springs resort and spa in Matsumoto

In Brief

  • 3 Nights Tokyo
  • 2 Nights Hakone
  • 1 Night Gero Onsen
  • 2 Nights Kanazawa
  • 1 Night Hiroshima
  • 3 Nights Kyoto


Recommended for:
City | History & culture

Delve deep into storied Japanese culture with this escorted tour with Tauck, visiting everything from the hot springs resort town of Hakone to the cultural treasure trove of Kyoto, taking in a multitude of memorable experiences including a private tea ceremony and a traditional taiko performance. Throughout, you'll stay in a selection of premium hotels in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hakone, as well as a hot springs resort & spa in Matsumoto.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Depart UK

Begin your holiday in style with complimentary airport lounge access before boarding your overnight flight to Tokyo. 

Day 2
Arrive in Tokyo

Arrive the following morning before an included transfer brings you to your city-centre hotel, located in central Tokyo and just a short walk away from some of the city's most popular shopping areas. Join the welcome reception and dinner at the Meiji Kinenkan featuring a larger-than-life demonstration by sumo wrestlers.

Stay: Shangri-La Tokyo

Meals: D

Day 3
Tokyo through the ages

After a comfortable nights' sleep and delicious breakfast at the hotel, you'll be eager to explore one of the world's most dynamic capital cities. Take a morning drive through Tokyo, touching on both the extraordinary history and modern wonders of the incredible city. You'll begin by visiting the Asakusa Kannon Temple – also known as the Senso-Ji – and the centre of one of the country's largest and most popular annual festivals, Sanja Matsuri. After a stop at the bustling Nakamise Street, have lunch at the celebrated restaurant Nobu. 

Following lunch, enjoy a Tauck Exclusive – an enchanting taiko drumming performance, including a hands-on instruction session and demonstration. Try your hand at this time-honored tradition where rhythm, melody, and movement combine to create an extraordinary musical experience. The rest of the day is at your leisure where you will be free to explore at your own pace. Allow your Tauck director to make suggestions for the perfect spot for dinner.

Stay: Shangri-La Tokyo

Meals: B L

Day 4
Ancient shrines and modern markets

Today, you'll get to appreciate first-hand the contrasts between Tokyo's – and indeed Japan's – modern and ancient worlds. A day of discoveries includes visits to the Meiji Shrine – honouring the deified spirits of Japan's Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken, who died in 1912 and 1914, respectively; a live performance of traditional Shinto music and Kagura dancing and a visit to Tokyo's renowned Tsukiji Market, the largest fish and seafood market in the world, for a walk around the outer market.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll join your Tauck director for an informative walking tour of Tokyo's much celebrated Ginza shopping district, surely among the most elegant streets in the world. This evening you'll have more time at your leisure to further explore the city if you please.

Stay: Shangri-La Tokyo

Meals: B L

Day 5
Cruise on Lake Ashi & culinary traditions

This morning, board the renowned bullet train (shinkansen) in Tokyo for the short journey to Odawara and continue on to the scenic hot springs resort town of Hakone in Kanagawa. En route, there will be time to enjoy a scenic cruise on Lake Ashi – an ancient crater lake backed by spellbinding views of Mt Fuji, Japan's highest mountain. After enjoying lunch at a local restaurant on the lake shore, there will be a short stop at Hakone Open Air Museum before continuing on to your ideally located spa resort in Hakone. 

After settling in, it's time to try your hand at an authentic Japanese culinary tradition during a private sushi and miso making demonstration – a unique, fun workshop that will allow you to understand more about Japanese food culture. Later, gather for a "homey" dinner at your resort.

Stay: Hyatt Regency, Hakone (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 6

Today starts off with a visit to the Itchiku Kubota Museum, set amidst magnificent views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi. The museum celebrates its namesake, who was one of the most prominent Japanese textile artists of the 20th-century, notable for reviving and modernising a traditional Japanese kimono dyeing technique. The afternoon will be free for you to spend as you wish.

This evening, embrace the art of ikebana – Japanese flower arranging – with a demonstration of this time-honoured tradition before dining on your choice of Western or Japanese cuisine at the hotel restaurant.

Stay: Hyatt Regency, Hakone (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Inuyama & Gero Onson

Begin today with a train from nearby Odiwara towards Nagoya, before driving to Inuyama for lunch. Then, you'll visit Inuyama Castle – one of only twelve traditional tenshu (architectural typology found in Japanese castle complexes) left in existence. Arrive this afternoon at your traditional Japanese Ryokan hotel in the town of Gero Onson. Tonight, you'll be treated to an exclusive kaiseki-style Japanese dinner experience complete with yukatas and slippers on, in a private room with musical entertainment.

Stay: Gero Onsen Yunoshimakan

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Old Takayama and Sake brewery

Depart Gero Onsen this morning and head for Takayama, a mountain city long famed for its artisans and woodworkers. Appreciate some sightseeing through the narrow lanes of its historic centre followed by lunch at a local restaurant known for its exceptional Hida beef – unquestionably one of Japan's finest varieties of Wagyu. Then, turn your taste-buds' attention to fine Sake from a local brewery in Takayama, where you'll follow a lesson on Sake making with a variety of tastings. Continue to Kanazawa, a castle town just inland from the Sea of Japan. Tonight, relish an included dinner at your hotel restaurant.

Stay: Hotel Nikko Kanazawa

Meals: B L D

Day 9
Samurai legacies, gardens & more

A busy day of sightseeing in Kanazawa begins with some time to explore its historic Samurai District, a neighbourhood where the samurai of the powerful Maeda clan once lived. Note the Samurai homes tucked among narrow lanes and canals behind earthen walls and private entrance gates. Gain insight into the lifestyle of the samurai during feudal times with a visit to the restored Nomura Samurai Family Residence. 

Later, you'll stroll the tranquil Kenrokuen Gardens, considered in the country's top three landscaped gardens. Indulge with lunch at a Paul Bocuse restaurant, and end the day with a Tauck exclusive private Samurai show at a local temple. This evening is spent at your leisure 

Stay: Hotel Nikko Kanazawa

Meals: B L

Day 10
Kanazawa to Hiroshima

Catch a morning train from Kanazawa to Osaka, then continue on by train to the famous city of Hiroshima for your overnight stay. After checking into your hotel and lunch, take a ferry ride to Miyajima Island, visiting the iconic Itsukushima shrine that seems to float on water; a photographer's dream. Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant.

Stay: Hilton Hiroshima

Meals: B L D

Day 11
Hiroshima & bullet train to Kyoto

Spend the first half of today in Hiroshima as you visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum and the A-Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome) the only structure left standing in the area of the devastating WWII atomic bomb blast that destroyed the city in August 1945, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, enjoy dramatic views of the city from the observation deck of Orizuru Tower. Following lunch at a local restaurant, take the bullet train to the historic city of Kyoto where your evening is free to spend as you wish.

Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

Meals: B L D

Day 12
Gardens and Geishas

Today is devoted to exploring Kyoto, one of Japan's most popular destinations. Begin with a visit to the famous golden-topped Kinkaku-ji Temple set in an ancient garden on the edge of a lake – a position symbolising its place "between heaven and Earth". Your Tauck director will tell stories of how this 14th-century temple was burned to the ground by a young monk before being completely reconstructed. Next, head to Nijo Castle, a 17th-century shogun's residence and UNESCO World Heritage Site, uncovering the secrets of its "nightingale" floors.

Following lunch, you'll meet a local Geisha expert who will lead an exploration of the back streets of one of Kyoto's Geisha districts, sharing intriguing insights into the world of Geishas, both past and present. The evening will be free to spend as you wish.

Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

Meals: B L

Day 13
A private home visit & traditions in Kyoto

Begin your day with a visit to Kiyomizudera (Pure Water Temple) established in 778; one of the most famous and celebrated temples in Kyoto, with the wooden stage offering an outstanding panoramic view of the city. Drink the water here in long-handled cups as you wish for longevity, success or love. Known as the craft capital of Japan, Kyoto passes many traditional arts down the generations.

Then, experience the revered customs of Japanese culture firsthand during a visit to a private home. Take your shoes off, meet your gracious hostess and embrace the very specific rituals of a Japanese tea ceremony, followed by a lesson in the paper art of Origami. Later, return to your hotel where the rest of the afternoon can be spent as you so choose. Join your Tauck director for a special farewell reception and dinner tonight.

Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

Meals: B D

Day 14
Depart for UK

Take pleasure in a final breakfast at your hotel before an included transfer to the airport in time for your flight back to the UK arriving the same day.

Meals: B



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior

14-day escorted tour
from £13,100 pp incl. flights



  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights between London, Tokyo and Kyoto
  • Airport transfers in Tokyo and Kyoto, train travel for all destinations as per itinerary
  • 12 nights accommodation in a mixture of 4* (Superior) and 5* (Deluxe) hotels on a mix of B&B, half-board and full-board
  • Shared guided touring includes:
    • Tokyo's Kagura dancing, taiko drums & sumo wrestling
    • A cruise on Lake Ashi
    • Visit an open-air museum and attend a flower arranging class in Hakone
    • A lesson on sake brewing & a tasting at a local brewery in Takayama
    • A guided tour of Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japan's most revered landscaped gardens, and the Samurai legacy in Kanazawa
    • A private home visit with tea ceremony & Origami demonstration
    • Explorations with a local Geisha expert, visits to Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple & Pure Water Temple (Kiyomizu Temple) in Kyoto
  • Gratuities to local guides, service charges, admission fees, taxes and porterage

Terms & Conditions

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

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