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Japan Unveiled

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To book this holiday please contact our Travel Experts directly on



From electric futuristic metropolises, incandescent and thrilling, to ancient shrines and gardens, hushed and serene, it’s the extremes and the in-betweens that will enthral and amaze. 

Whether cloaked in cherry blossoms and drapes of wisteria, or enveloped in rich autumnal shades, this country exudes its spectacular charm throughout every season. Embarking on a thoughtfully paced journey commencing in Tokyo, a guided tour delves into the vibrant core, aglow with neon signs. Discover solace in the historic downtown district, where behind shrouds of incense, pagodas, palaces and the art of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony can be observed.   

Transitioning to the shadow of Mount Fuji, a cruise across Hakone's Lake Ashinoko is followed by a cable car ascent to the sulphuric pools of Owakudani, aptly named the 'Boiling Valley.' The pilgrimage then continues to the sacred springs of Oshino and the tranquil expanse of Lake Kawaguchi. Matsumoto, an artistic haven, invites exploration, with its galleries and Japan’s oldest wooden castle while Takayama's markets and Shirakawa-go's time-honoured thatched farmhouses offer a glimpse into the past. 

Ambling across Kanazawa's meticulous gardens and lantern-lit cobblestone streets precedes an immersion into Kyoto's allure. Gaze upon gilded temples, the weathered façades of former merchant dwellings, and the graceful performances of geishas. A pause in serene Nara, inhabited by over 1,000 revered deer and home to the world's largest bronze Buddha statue, leads to a lesson in crafting wagashi sweets.

High-speed bullet train rides offer an additional authentic Japanese experience, and a stay in Hiroshima encompasses the wooded Miyajima Island and a ‘floating’ 12th-century shrine, along with the poignant Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its accompanying memorial park. The grand finale unfolds in Osaka, where the dynamic neighbourhoods of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi-suji ensure you get your fill of the destination’s profusion of offerings.

What does this price include?

  • 13 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation in a series of good quality hotels in Tokyo (3 nights), Mishima (1), Matsumoto (2), Kanazawa (1), Kyoto (3), Hiroshima (1) and Osaka (2)
  • 12 breakfasts, two lunches, and one dinner
  • Tour of Tokyo and tea ceremony
  • Visit to Hakone, cruise and cable car ride
  • Visit to Oshino and Lake Kawaguchi
  • Tour of Matsumoto
  • Visit to Takayama and Shirakawa-go
  • Tour of Kanazawa
  • Tour of Kyoto
  • Excursion to Nara and wagashi making experience
  • Ferry to Miyajima Island
  • Tour of Hiroshima
  • Tour of Osaka
  • Two bullet train journeys to Hiroshima and Osaka
  • Return flights to Tokyo and from Osaka
  • Transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Your Itinerary

View a full breakdown of your holiday to help you plan your trip

  • Today, you’ll set off on your East Asian adventure to the island country of Japan.

  • You and your fellow travellers will touch down in the frenetic capital city, Tokyo, where you’ll be met by a friendly, local tour manager. 

    The group will then be transferred to your hotel. After checking in, the rest of the day will be free to get settled in, perhaps enjoying a drink in the lounge before having dinner at your leisure.  

  • Following breakfast, a day of exploring awaits as you’ll embark into the heart of the city on a guided sightseeing tour. Explore one of Japan’s most famous landmarks, which encompasses an expanse of forested land, Meiji Shrine. Built in 1920 and dedicated to Japan's first modern emperor and empress, Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, this sprawling sanctuary is awash with traditional architecture and hosts many rituals and festivals throughout the year.  

    Head to the city’s major commercial and financial centre, Shibuya, home to two of the busiest train stations in the world. Also seen as the birthplace of many of the country’s entertainment and fashion trends, this pulsating hub is packed with restaurants, bars and shops, all illuminated by neon signs. You’ll get to navigate the ‘Shibuya Scramble Crossing’ its swell of people before having an included lunch at a local restaurant.  

    A change of pace will then be experienced as your guide leads you to the downtown district of Asakusa, where Tokyo’s rich past has been preserved. It’s here that Sensoji also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in the capital, can be found. Veiled by a mist of incense and featuring a five-story pagoda made up of rambling eaves, this ruby-hued monument honours the Buddhist goddess, Kannon. The street in front, Nakamise-dori, is fringed by shops selling trinkets, like folding fans and kimonos, and customary snacks and drinks. 

    You’ll then get to partake in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, an ancient cultural activity that involves the preparation and presentation of matcha, powdered green tea. Your guide will explain how this is a spiritual process and a type of art form based on Zen philosophy and intended to bring about inner peace and harmony to those involved.  

    Following this break, the tour will continue to the main residence of the Imperial Family, the Imperial Palace Plaza, which is built on the former site of Edo Castle. Although the inner grounds of the palace are not open to the public, you can walk around the beautiful outer estate, interspersed with moats, stone walls, and rows of cherry blossoms.  

    Later in the evening, you’ll return to the hotel to relax and have dinner on your own account. Alternatively, venture out on an optional Yakatabune river cruise. Enjoy a truly unique dining experience as you tuck into authentic local flavours and delicacies against the backdrop of Tokyo’s evening skyline. you’ll have the chance to see some of the city’s most iconic landmarks dressed in neon lights. From the Rainbow Bridge, shining in vibrant multicolour against the darkness, to the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world, there’ll be no shortage of sights to see as night falls on Japan’s bustling capital.  

  • Enjoy breakfast and then take advantage of a full day of self-exploration. Perhaps return to the downtown area, paying a visit to the historic neighbourhoods of Yanaka and Nezu. These quieter parts promise a warren of alleys, bordered with traditional wooden houses, cosy cafés, retro stores and authentic Japanese-style izakaya bars.

    Alternately, take to the observation deck of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government building for a panoramic view, escape to one of the city’s peaceful parks, like the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, browse the boutiques of Harajuku Takeshita Street or sample local delicacies at the open-air Tsukiji Outer Market, a foodie hotspot.  

    You'll also have the chance today to visit two of Tokyo's cultural treasures with optional excursions to teamLab Planets, a digital art installation, and the Toky-Edo Museum, which offers the opportunity to step into the city’s rich history. 

    Explore modern art like no other across four unique exhibits at teamLab which promises to challenge perceptions and fully immerse visitors in its reactive displays. Whether you’re walking on water amongst dancing koi carp, watching a garden of orchids shift and bloom around your fellow guests, or seeing the neon-lit walls of the gallery expanding indefinitely, mind-bending sights await in this modern art exhibition.    

    A trip to the Edo-Tokyo Museum follows where you'll learn of Tokugawa Leyasu, and his choice to relocate the Japanese capital from Kyoto to Tokyo (originally called Edo), with a tour at leisure. Discover the city’s literary heritage with its collection of legendary texts and manuscripts such as Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji, and learn about life in the city throughout the industrial era.*  

    This evening, return to your hotel for dinner with your fellow guests or take to Tokyo's neon-lit streets for an optional guided night walk with dinner at a city restaurant. 

    *Please note: the museum is undergoing extensive renovations and availability may be subject to change. 

  • Have breakfast and check out before you’re transferred to the picturesque city, Mishima. On the way, the tour will call at the hill town of Hakone, home to hot spring resorts and overlooking Lake Ashinoko with a backdrop of Mount Fuji. You’ll have time to wander around, perhaps strolling along the street by the train station, lined with souvenir shops offering crafts, pottery and food products.  

    Embark on a boat that will cruise across the waters of the crater lake, admiring the views of Mount Fuji that are particularly spectacular when there are no clouds. The striking Hakone Shrine, set on the shore with its red torii gate appearing to float above the surface, can also be observed.  

    Back on land, you can find somewhere to have lunch, and then you’ll venture to Hakone Ropeway to board a cable car. This scenic 24-minute journey will end at Owakudani ‘Boiling Valley’, a volcanic crater formed by the eruption of Mount Hakone (3,000 years ago), and made up of sulfuric vents, hot springs and bubbling pools. There’ll be some time to explore and sample the local speciality, kuro-tamago or black eggs, which are boiled in the sulphurous waters to give the eggshells a distinctive dark colour (it’s believed that eating one will add seven years to your life).  

    Later in the day, you’ll arrive in Mishima and check into the hotel and enjoy another free evening.  

  • After breakfast, you’ll check out of the hotel and travel to the village, Oshino, renowned for its series of eight natural springs referred to as Oshino Hakkai (eight ponds). These springs originating from the mountain's snowmelt and underground sources, have been naturally filtered through layers of volcanic rock, resulting in remarkably clear water. Each one is considered sacred, has its own unique significance and is framed by traditional thatched-roof houses and walking paths. Some of the houses are now used as shops and restaurants, where you can choose to have lunch on your own account.

    In the afternoon, the tour will continue to Lake Kawaguchi, positioned at the foothills of Mount Fuji, with its calm waters serving as a mirror, reflecting the majestic mountain's image on clear days. Oishi Park, spread across the northern shores of the lake is next, and this enchanting garden is inundated with vibrant seasonal flowers, particularly cherry blossoms and tulips during spring. If conditions permit, you can view Mount Fuji from one of the observational platforms. Nearby, Itchiku Kubota Art Museum displays the textile art of Itchiku Kubota, a master dyer and artist renowned for his revival of the lost art of Tsujigahana silk dyeing. This ancient art technique is a complex method of colouring fabrics and was heavily influenced by his appreciation of Mount Fuji and the surrounding landscape.

    You’ll then carry on towards Matsumoto and check into your hotel with a free evening for dinner and to relax.

  • Once you’ve had breakfast, you’ll join your guide for a morning tour of Matsumoto, celebrated for its well-preserved castle, access to the Northern Japan Alps and picturesque landscapes. The internationally acclaimed artist, Yayoi Kusama, was also born in this city – keep an eye out for a bus decorated with her famous polka design.

    By foot, you’ll walk to the 16th-century Matsumoto Castle, Japan’s oldest wooden castle, which is also known as ‘Crow Castle’ due to its black exterior. You can enter its impressive wooden interior, climb to the top for incredible views and learn about its history through exhibits and displays. You’ll then meander along Nakamachi Street, a historic district with traditional wooded storefronts, Edo-period buildings, art galleries, souvenir shops, and cafés.  

    The afternoon will be free for you to seek out a lunch spot and potter around at your own pace, perhaps visiting the Ukiyo-e Ōta Memorial Museum of Art, known for its woodblock prints, illustrating imagery of nature, historical events and everyday life.  

    In the evening, you’ll return to the hotel to unwind and have dinner on your own account.

  • Have breakfast, check out and board the coach for Miyagawa Morning Market in the city of Takayama, enclosed by mountainous scenery. Spread across the banks of Miyagawa River, this market features open-air stalls and small shops selling crafts, traditional goods and fresh produce.  

    You’ll then head into the old town district and walk along Sanmachi Street, bounded by traditional merchant house-style houses, sake breweries and storehouses, artisan shops and cultural centres. Many locals open their doors to the public, so you can gain a glimpse into the former living quartets of merchants before having an included lunch at a local restaurant.  

    The tour will continue to the region, Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses – steep thatched roofs that resemble hands in prayer (gassho). These rooves are designed to withstand heavy snowfall during winter months, and some of them are more than 250 years old. The largest of these properties, Wada House, is open to the public and serves as a museum, where you can learn about the lifestyle and history of the villagers who lived here.  

    As the day comes to an end, you’ll depart for the delightful, historic city of Kanazawa and check into your next hotel.  

  • After breakfast, you’ll join your tour manager for a morning sightseeing tour, beginning with beautiful Kenroku-en Garden, considered one of the ‘Three Great Gardens of Japan’. Constructed during the Edo Period, this landscaped haven is celebrated for its year-round seasonal beauty and features a large pond, bridges, walking paths, tea houses and rest areas.  

    A break will be had for lunch on your own account before the tour visits the Higashi-Chaya District, which is characterised by its tea houses, known as chaya that border the cobbled stone streets. These buildings were historically venues for geisha performances, tea ceremonies, and traditional entertainment. You’ll also stop at Omicho Market, also known as Kanazawa's Kitchen, popular with locals and visitors for its fresh seafood and local produce. Keep an eye out for specialty items like Kanazawa's famous gold leaf products, including gold leaf-covered ice cream and sweets.  

    The coach will then pick you up for a transfer to Kyoto, the country’s former imperial capital. Upon arrival, you’ll check into the hotel in the downtown area and choose somewhere for dinner.  

  • Fuel up on breakfast as a full day of sightseeing awaits in Japan’s former imperial capital and cultural hub. Discover Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, one of Kyoto’s most iconic landmarks. Reflecting onto the Kyoko-chi (Mirror Pond), this 14-century Buddhist temple covered in shimmering gold leaf is surrounded by meticulously landscaped grounds. 

    Ryoanji Temple, another Buddhist temple on the itinerary, is known for its minimalistic rock garden, which is considered a masterpiece of Zen design. This garden has 15 carefully placed rocks and white gravel, designed to evoke a sense of tranquillity and balance. There’s a nearby tea house, where you can sip on a matcha tea and admire the view from, too.  

    Nijo Castle is next, and this UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in 1603 as the residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled the country for over 200 years. It later served as an imperial palace for visiting emperors. A highlight of this property is the Ninomaru Palace, a fine example of lavish Momoyama architecture. As you walk through the interior, you'll notice a unique feature known as ‘nightingale floors’, which are designed to chirp like birds, serving as a security measure against intruders. 

    To conclude the excursion, you’ll explore the city’s entertainment and geisha district, Gion. This is one of the few places where you can still encounter these skilled entertainers in their traditional attire. Narrow, traditional wooden houses that once housed merchants and artisans line the lantern-lit streets Many of these buildings have now been transformed into tea houses, restaurants, and shops, which you can browse before returning to the hotel.  

  • Have breakfast and then set off on a morning excursion to Nara, a former capital of Japan, known for its ancient temples and holy sites. This tour will kick off with a visit to Todaiji Temple, a Buddhist shrine that houses the Great Buddha (Daibutsu), the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. Displayed in the Great Buddha Hall, a sprawling wooden building, the statue is a testament to the craftsmanship of the time. 

    You’ll then venture over to Nara Deer Park, an expansive public common, home to over 1,000 tame deer, considered sacred and protected by the city. Kasuga-taisha, a Shinto shrine is next, and a spectacle to observe with its scarlet structures, vast assortment of stone lanterns, and ethereal forest surroundings. 

    The coach will take you back to Kyoto, where you’ll partake in a wagashi making experience. Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets that come in various shapes, colours, and flavours, and are often served with green tea. During the lesson, you’ll be guided through the process of creating the intricate designs before sampling your hard work.  

    In the afternoon, you’ll return to the hotel and have the rest of the day at leisure. Alternatively, you'll have the chance to opt into a city tour of Kyoto by night. 

    Start with a stroll along the Kamo Gawa’s riverfront, visit the Gion Geisha District, with its brightly-lit Yasaka Shrine, and experience Kyoto’s traditional architecture with walks down two of the city’s oldest streets, Hanamikoji and Yasaka Street.

    Find dinner along the way in a local restaurant before heading back to your hotel for the night.

  • Following breakfast, you’ll check out and head to the station to board the high-speed Nozomi bullet train for Hiroshima. Japan’s bullet trains are one of the fastest and most efficient ways to travel between major cities in a relatively short amount of time.  

    Once you’ve arrived at Hiroshima station, you’ll journey on a ferry ride to Miyajima Island located in Hiroshima Bay. Covered in forests and peppered with ancient temples, this island is home to Itsukushima Shrine. A ‘floating’ torii orange gate, which becomes partially submerged at high tide, serves as the entrance to this 12th-century shrine that you’ll visit. There’ll then be time for lunch on your own account – make sure you sample okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake dating back to the pre-war period.  

    The ferry will return to the mainland, where you’ll visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which exhibits artefacts, photographic displays, and personal accounts of the atomic bombing's impact on the city and its people. You’ll also see Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, with the A-Bomb Dome structure that symbolises the city’s resilience, peace efforts and is a remembrance of the atomic bombing during World War II.

    You’ll then check into your hotel nearby and have a free evening to enjoy. 

  • Post-breakfast, you’ll check out and then transfer to the station to board another bullet train to the port city and commercial centre of Osaka. A coach will pick you up and you can have lunch on your own arrangement.  

    You’ll then reunite with your tour manager and fellow travellers to explore two of the city’s main districts. Dotonbori is the first, and this entertainment hub is positioned along the Dotonbori Canal, and famed for its neon lights, over-the-top signage and lively nightlife. You can’t miss the Glico running man – a massive brightly illuminated sign and one of the most well-known landmarks in Osaka.  

    Shinsaibashi, the second stop, has been a go-to shopping spot since the 1600s, and is packed with modern shopping centres, department stores and arcades. Your tour manager will take you down to Shinsaibashi-suji, an undercover shopping avenue in the centre with familiar brands and unique boutiques edging the street.  

    Later in the afternoon, you’ll check into your hotel and take advantage of an afternoon and evening at leisure.  

  • You can enjoy a relaxed breakfast this morning as you have a full free day to do as little or as much as you like in this city. Perhaps, return to the districts you experienced yesterday, or tick some additional experiences off your list, like seeing Osaka Castle, taking in the views from the Umeda Sky Building's Floating Garden Observatory or visiting Shitenno-ji Temple, Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple.  

    You'll also have the chance to join an optional tabearuki (culinary tour) around Osaka's popular Kuromon Ichiba Market. Revel in culinary delights from across the world as you make your way along this covered market street. Be sure to try some of Osaka’s favourite street foods while here, from Takoyaki (battered octopus balls) to Kushikatsu (deep-fried vegetables and meats, served on skewers).  

    In the evening, you’ll join the other travellers for a final farewell dinner, no doubt sharing special memories of the trip.  

  • It’s your last breakfast and opportunity to make the most of your time in Osaka. Store your luggage at the hotel and seek out more historical, cultural and culinary sights.  

     When evening comes around, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight home.  

  • You’ll arrive back in the UK after your once-in-a-lifetime holiday. 

Dates & Prices

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Japan Unveiled Touring Hotels

You'll be staying in three comfortable, four-star hotels, each conveniently located for your tour itinerary.

View Hotels

Further Information

  • The transfer time from Tokyo airport to your hotel is approximately 60 minutes, and from your Osaka hotel to the airport is approximately 90 minutes.

  • You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.

  • British citizens require passports when travelling overseas and this must be valid for the duration of your stay. If you are not a British citizen, you may need a visa for the country/countries you are visiting (please contact the respective embassies to check and to apply).

  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made. In many developing countries access is sometimes not as easy as at home. Should you have walking difficulties, getting around monuments and attractions may be harder and, in some cases, impossible. Should you have any concerns whatsoever please do contact us prior to travel.

  • Requirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.

  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

  • Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.

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