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Highlights of Japan Escorted Tour

Highlights of Japan Escorted Tour

13-day small group escorted tour from £4,135 pp incl. flights


Short description

Delve into the rich history of some of Japan's most famous cities and landmarks

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  • Travel on the world-famous Shinkansen bullet train
  • Explore the natural beauty of Miyajima Island, a World Cultural Heritage Site
  • Visit one of the most complete medieval castles in Japan
  • Immerse yourself in Japanese traditions, including open air onsen and matcha tea
  • Enhance your trip with the expert knowledge of your escort guide

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Tokyo
  • 1 Night Matsumoto
  • 2 Nights Kyoto
  • 1 Night Kurashiki
  • 1 Night Takamatsu
  • 1 Night Hiroshima
  • 1 Night Miyajimaguchi
  • 1 Night Osaka


Recommended for:
City | Escorted tour | History & culture | Small group

From the futuristic cityscape of Tokyo to the temples of Kyoto and the gastronomic wonderland of Osaka, this all-encompassing tour takes in Japan’s most historic and thought-provoking sights. Along the way you’ll see perfectly manicured gardens, ancient shrines and dramatic mountain gorges – and pause to taste some of each region’s finest delicacies. You’ll even experience the world-famous Shinkansen bullet train, speeding through Japan’s countryside on your journey to some of its highlights.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1

Start your journey in style with VIP airport lounge access before boarding your overnight flight to Tokyo.

Days 2-3

Your exploration of Japan begins in a city where the traditions of old meet with ultra-modern architecture and cutting-edge technology. After checking into your centrally-located hotel, you’ll enjoy a delicious welcome dinner at a charming local restaurant. The next day, head out on a half-day guided tour of Tokyo’s must-sees, by way of the city’s famously user-friendly public transport system. You’ll stop at the fascinating Edo-Tokyo Museum before moving on to the immaculately maintained Kokyo Gaien National Garden at the Imperial Palace. Then, you’ll return to your hotel for some well-earned relaxation – or, if you’d prefer, some time to explore the city at your own pace. Dinner included on Day 2 only.

Stay: Hotel Ann Asakusa (or similar)    

Meals: B D

Day 4

You’ll start your day at the iconic Matsumoto Castle, steeped in 400 years of history and breathtaking in its grandeur. Take in its towering black-and-white structure and brave the steep, narrow staircase to be rewarded with magnificent views over the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto City and the swans circling the moat below. Next you’ll move on to Tsumago, one of the best preserved ‘post towns’ in the country, which still retains its traditional Edo Period appearance and ambience. Round off a busy day with a mouthwatering included dinner at your hotel. 

Stay: Hotel Kisoji (or similar)

Meals: B D

Days 5-6

You’ll board the world-famous Shinkansen, or ‘bullet train’, as it’s more widely known, for the journey to Kyoto – Japan’s spiritual heart. After transferring to your hotel for check-in, you’ll be free to embark on your own exploration of the city’s traditional teahouses, food markets and Zen gardens. After breakfast the next day, it’s out of the hotel and onwards to a tour of the famed Arashiyama area. Experience the tranquil Gio-Ji Temple, a monument known for its verdant moss garden and dense tangle of maple trees, before moving on to Okochi-Sanso Villa to savour a complimentary matcha green tea and Japanese sweets in the charming gardens. Appetite satisfied, you’ll set your sights on the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove to enjoy a stroll amidst the high-reaching stalks. 

Stay: The B Kyoto Shijo (or similar)    

Meals: B

Day 7

You’ll meet with the Shinkansen for a second time as you make the short train journey to the historic city of Kurashiki, a former rice distribution centre that remains remarkably unspoiled by the passage of time. After exploring the romantic canal-side laneways, you’ll stop off at the Ohashi House, a one-of-a-kind property complete with beautiful tatami floors and paper sliding doors. The final stop of the day will be the port city of Takamatsu, where the afternoon will be yours to spend as you please.

Stay: Takamatsu Tokyu REI Hotel (or similar)    

Meals: B

Day 8
Takamatsu/Iya Valley

Built by feudal lords during the Edo Period, the Ritsurin Garden is one of the most famous gardens in Japan – and it’s here that you’ll begin your day. With plenty of masterfully kept ponds, bridges, and footpaths to explore, there’s no better place to relax and feel at one with nature. Refreshed and rejuvenated, you’ll move on to the mountain slopes and deep gorges of the remote Iya Valley and settle into your traditional Japanese-style hotel accommodation. You’ll have time to take a dip in the open-air hot spring baths, known as onsen, and soak up the beauty of your stunning surroundings before dinnertime. 

Stay: Hotel Iya Onsen (or similar)   

Meals: B D

Day 9

After leaving the mountains behind you, you’ll stop off in Okayama to purchase authentic Japanese bento boxes to eat during the bullet train journey to Hiroshima, the infamous site of the 1945 atomic bombing. On arrival, you’ll pay a moving visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, taking in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed A-Bomb Dome, the tragic remains of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall and one of the few buildings to remain standing after the catastrophic explosion. 

Stay: Vista Hotel Hiroshima (or similar)

Meals: B

Day 10
Miyajima Island

You’ll head today for Miyajima Island, where a combination of mountains, sea and the world-famous ‘floating’ Torii gate* make for mystical views and excellent photo opportunities. You’ll visit the 12th-century World Heritage-listed Itsukushima Shrine before moving on to the delightful Momijidani Park, where you’ll have the opportunity to climb Mt Misen via ropeway. Although the surrounding area is renowned for its colourful autumn foliage, the vistas from the mountaintop are undeniably beautiful at any time of year. 

*Please note: Renovation works on Miyajima’s famous Torii gate have been underway since June 2019, expected to finish summer 2020. During the renovation works, the gate will be covered in scaffolding. 

Stay: Vista Hotel Hiroshima (or similar)

Meals: B

Day 11

Your journey will continue to its final stop, the gastronomic haven of Osaka. This morning, you’ll have some time to explore the city’s famous 16th-century castle and its surrounding park. Five storeys high and decorated with lavish gold motifs, the castle is filled with fascinating artefacts detailing Osaka’s history. After paying an afternoon visit to the striking Umeda Sky Building’s observatory, you’ll be free to hunt down some delicious cuisine on Takimi-Koji Street, a renowned foodie haunt. 

Stay: Shin Osaka Esaka Tokyu REI Hotel (or similar)

Meals: B

Days 12-13

After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll head for the airport ready for your return flight to the UK. 

Meals: B



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

Accommodation rating: Standard

13-day small group escorted tour from £4,135 pp incl. flights


Low Season

from £4,135 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £4,560 pp. incl. flights

Price Includes:

  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights between London, Tokyo & Osaka
  • 10 nights accommodation staying in 3* (Standard) hotels on a B&B basis, plus 3 Dinners
  • Air conditioned transportation
  • Bullet Train
  • Experienced Back-Roads Driver and Tour leader
  • Entrance included to all attractions in the itinerary, including: Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, the Edo-Tokyo Museum, the Kokyo Gaien National Garden, Matsumoto Castle, Gio-Ji Temple, Okochi-Sanso Villa, the Ohashi House, the Ritsurin Garden, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, the A-Bomb Dome, Itsukushima Shrine, Momijidani Park and Osaka Castle

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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