Welcome to Tokyo! You will be met upon arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport and escorted by shuttle bus to your hotel in the city. Look out for some great views as you ride the elevated highways into town, and spend the rest of the day exploring the city at your own leisure.
Enjoy a full day of guided sightseeing in Tokyo led by a local guide, offering a perfect introduction to the city. Travelling by public transport, as Tokyoites do, you will get a real feel for city life and your guide will help you discover aspects of Tokyo that you would not be able to find on your own. Rather than a fixed itinerary, you can enjoy the flexibility of seeing and doing exactly what you want.
You can start the day by visiting Asakusa, Tokyo's historic district. Here you can browse the bustling market place of Nakamise Dori, visit the famous Senso-ji Temple and explore the backstreets lined with Kabuki theatres, rustic bars and restaurants. From Asakusa you can take a river cruise on the Sumida River to the Hamarikyu Gardens, a peaceful oasis of greenery and exquisite Japanese aesthetics in the heart of a bustling city.
A short train journey from here can take you to Harajuku, the focal point for Tokyo's teen culture where you will find teenagers hanging out wearing quirky and extreme fashions. Nearby you can also find Meiji Jingu, one of the most famous and important shrines in Tokyo. Then why not end the day surrounded by the bright lights of Shinjuku, Tokyo's main business and entertainment district. Spend the rest of the evening discovering the city on your own.
Overnight: Tokyo | Breakfast
Today try your hand at preparing Japanese cuisine with the help of a local person. Your host will first take you to a local market and together you’ll shop for fresh ingredients. You’ll then head to a kitchen, located in the Yanaka area, a well-preserved and traditional district of Tokyo known for its artisans and craftspeople, where you’ll be shown how to prepare a traditional Japanese meal including classic dishes such as sushi, tempura or teriyaki chicken which of course you can then enjoy for lunch.
Overnight: Tokyo | Breakfast
Tokyo – Hakone- breakfast. This morning make your way to Tokyo station where you will get the train to Odawara station, the access point for the Hakone National Park. Bus routes, railway lines and cable cars criss cross this mountainous region making it easy to explore and enjoy the surroundings as well as some of the many top quality art museums. Spend the day taking in the highlights of the region at your own leisure, and if you are lucky with the weather, you may even be rewarded with stunning views of Mount Fuji.
Overnight: Hakone | Breakfast, Dinner
Hakone - Kyoto - breakfast. This morning you will travel by train to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital and the cultural centre of the nation. From Odawara the journey to Kyoto will see you racing down Japan's eastern seaboard by high-speed railway. Kyoto is one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia. Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. Spend the rest of the day at your own leisure exploring the city.
Overnight: Kyoto | Breakfast
Today enjoy a full day of sightseeing in Kyoto, again travelling by public transport with a private guide. With no fixed itinerary and a knowledgeable local at your side, you will be set for a great day in this amazing city and are sure to discover things you might otherwise miss.
You may want to start your day at Kinkakuji - Kyoto's famous Golden Pavilion zen temple which is decorated with gold leaf and stands over a tranquil pond. From Kikakuji in the north of the city you can then head to Kiyomizu Dera Temple in the east. This impressive wooden structure is perched on a hillside surrounded by woodland and looks out across the city.
The afternoon could be spent at Fushimi Inari Shrine in the south of the city. This shrine's appeal is the thousands of red torii gates which create a network of pathways through the wooded forests of Mt Inari, linking the various buildings of the shrine together. You may want your guide to finish the day of sightseeing by taking you to the Gion Geisha District where if you are lucky you will be able to see a Geisha shuffling through the streets between appointments. Spend the evening at your own leisure.
Overnight: Kyoto | Breakfast
Kyoto - Nara - breakfast. This morning take the train to Nara, renowned for the wealth of its Buddhist and Shinto Heritage. Nara was formerly the end of the Silk Road and was for this reason the area which first saw Buddhist teaching making the transition across the ocean from China. The myriad of shrines and temples are all set against the backdrop of the low lying mountains and in the midst of Nara Park, which is famously home to a vast population of pesky deer. Return to Kyoto in the evening.
Overnight: Kyoto | Breakfast
Today your adventure in Japan comes to an end. A departure transfer by shuttle bus will take you to the airport for your onward travel.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Renovated in 2007, the chic Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku offers contemporary accommodation in Japan's capital. Guest rooms are tastefully furnished in a modern style with comfortable amenities. The hotel also offers a number of excellent dining options including the Villazza trattoria style restaurant and the Bar Ku Kon Shinjuku dining experience! Why not sip on a delicious cocktail by the crackling fire - a great way to spend the evening! Located in the west of the city - a short walk from Shinjuku train station.
Ichinoyu Honkan is rich in history dating back to 1630. The Ichinoyu holds true to the traditional values of service for which it is famed. The Ichinoyu has large communal baths for you to enjoy. The ryokan also has its own reasonably priced bar which is open from 3pm to midnight and is a great place in which to relax. All in all, the Ichinoyu Honkan is a great place to stay and an establishment with a significant history. Your stay includes breakfast and dinner both served in the hotel restaurant.
The Mitsui Garden Hotel is a good mid range hotel located on one of Kyoto's main avenues, Shijo. The Yuzen Gallery of silk dying and Mibu Temple are just a few minutes walk away and all of Kyoto's sights are easily reached from here. The hotel was renovated in February 2010 and features modern and comfortable fully ensuite rooms. You can also use the on‐site traditional Japanese style bath house if you wish. The hotel has its own restaurant and bar/cafe.
Hi Kelly, Our trip was AMAZING. The highlight of the holiday was most certainly the experience of staying at the Buddhist Temple in Hakone. Each of the local guides we met were excellent and they gave us a better understanding of the places we were visiting. They were also fab in getting us up to speed in learning the easiest way to navigate the city. We do wish that we spent more time in Osaka as it is such a beautiful city with so much to see and do that we possibly could have spent an entire week there. None the less we are glad that we extended our stay for a few extra days in Tokyo. Thanks again for the amazing service provided by you and your team in Japan. We've had such an amazing experience and are thinking of South Korea as our next stop. Regards, Penny & Michael”