Fly overnight from the UK to Tokyo, travelling via Dubai.
Upon arrival, meet your English-speaking Tour Manager and transfer to your hotel in Tokyo, for a three-night stay in the extraordinary Japanese capital.
Join your guide for a fascinating day of exploration. You'll visit the gardens of the Imperial Palace - home to the emperor - and the ancient Buddhist Senso-ji temple, before enjoying the chance to learn about the traditional art of sushi-making. After an included lunch, spend the afternoon discovering Ginza, Tokyo's equivalent to 'Fifth Avenue'.
A second morning of sightseeing includes a bird's eye view of the city from the observation floor of Shinjuku's government buildings, and visits to the Yoyogi park and shrine and trendy Harajuku. Perhaps visit one of Omotesando's Parisian-style cafes and join the throng at world-famous Shibuya Crossing.
Travel to beautiful Hakone National Park, and hope for a view of Mount Fuji as you cruise beautiful Lake Ashi and take a cable car ride above the Owakudani Valley. Continue to the Five Lakes region and stay close to the sacred mountain. On arrival, visit stunningly beautiful, flower-decked Oishi Park, on the shore of Lake Kawaguchiko.
This morning, make the scenic journey into the Japanese Alps, passing Matsumoto's ancient castle and pausing for lunch at the Daio Wasabi plantation, where you'll learn about one of the world's most expensive vegetables. Journey on, and enjoy a two-night stay in beautiful Takayama, at the gateway to the Alps.
Spend the day in Takayama, with its preserved Sanmachi area of streets lined with traditional buildings and sake breweries, one of which you'll visit with your guide for a tasting. Take in the historic buildings of the Takayama-Jinya, and visit the fascinating folk museum, which gives a wonderful insight into Japanese rural life through the ages.
Journey through mountains to the UNESCO-listed Shirakawa village of Gokayama, and its beautifully preserved, thatched gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Visit a washi - a traditional Japanese papermaking centre - before continuing on to Kanazawa, home to the exquisite Kenroku-en Garden, one of the world's greatest horticultural treasures. The day concludes with visits to the Samurai House at Nagamachi and the Higashi Chaya-Gai geisha district.
After breakfast, travel to Himeji via Tamba Sasayama, most famous for its eco-tourism and home grown products such as black beans and soya beans. Later, transfer to Himeji to see its impressive castle (entrance to the fortress and its surrounding gardens are included), before boarding a famous bullet train to Hiroshima, the site of the dropping of the first atomic bomb, on 6th August 1945.
Catch a ferry from Hatsukaichi to the tiny island of Miyajima, where one of Japan's most famous sights, the 'floating' torii gate, crowns the inland sea offshore. Return to the mainland to Hiroshima and visit the Peace Memorial Park, where the startling ruins of the UNESCO-listed A-Bomb Dome and the Cenotaph, under which the names of over 220,000 victims are stated, serve as poignant reminders of the destruction of the now-rebuilt city.
Later, take another bullet train to Kyoto, for a final two-night stay in Japan's former imperial capital.
A guided tour will introduce Kyoto's treasures, including UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle and its stunning gardens, the famed Kinkaku-ji 'Golden Pavilion', the Zen Buddhist garden of Ryoan-ji and the colourful Nishiki market. Visit the spectacular Kiyomizu-dera temple, offering breathtaking views of the whole city, stroll lovingly restored Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets, and take part in a traditional tea ceremony - a perfect end to a memorable day. The evening is free, perhaps to explore the ancient Gion district, where you might catch sight of geishas hurrying along.
After breakfast at the hotel, make the short journey to Nara, Japan's original 6th-century capital, where sights will include the Great Buddha at the Todai-ji temples, the sacred deer of Nara Koen Park and Kasuga, another of Japan's most important Shinto shrines.
Transfer this afternoon to Osaka's Kansai International Airport, enjoying a final highlight as you pass Osaka's extraordinary castle, then bid 'sayonara' to your Japanese hosts and board the return overnight flight, travelling via Dubai.
Arrive back in the UK, at the end of a truly unforgettable holiday in Japan.