Geisha & Gyoza - 8 days
Private Tour: Get lost in the organised chaos of Tokyo, catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji in Hakone National Park, discover ancient arts, temples and shrines in Kyoto, make your way to holy Mount Koya and discover buzzing Osaka after dark on this classic private tour in Japan.
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
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 - Mount Koya - breakfast. This morning make your way to Mount Koya, one of the holiest mountains in all of Japan, with the plateau at the top being home to more than 100 temples and monasteries. Koya‐san is the headquarters of the Shingon sect, an esoteric school of Buddhism which has over ten million members and 4,000 temples in Japan. There has been a religious community here since 816 when it was founded by a monk named Kukai after he returned from studying for two years in China. Koya is a very peaceful and beautiful wooded area and some great walking is also available. Spend the rest of the day soaking up the atmosphere in this magical place.
Overnight: Mount Koya | Breakfast, Dinner
Mount Koya - Osaka - breakfast. This morning you will take the train from Mount Koya to Osaka, Japan's second city and an extremely vibrant and lively place to stay. The city aquarium is world class and you cannot stay in Osaka without taking a ride on one of the city's several giant big wheels, perhaps the most dramatic of which is perched on top of the Hep 5 department store in the Umeda district of the city ‐ just don't look down if you are afraid of heights! Osaka Castle is well worth a visit despite being a reconstruction as the original was burnt down during the firebombing at the end of World War Two and you will find a variety of very interesting museums scattered throughout the city.
After dark Osaka really comes alive, and a walk through the bright lights of the Nanba district is a great way to take in the atmosphere, with some great people‐watching opportunities. With literally thousands of restaurants, bars and entertainment spots to choose from, Osaka is perfect for a big night out, some hearty local food and the chance to let your hair down.
Overnight: Osaka | Breakfast
Today your adventure in Japan comes to an end. A departure transfer by shuttle bus will take you to Kansai Airport for your onward travel.
Prices & Dates
Prices shown are ‘per person’, based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults. The single supplement price needs to be added to the twin/double price if single rooms are required. If travelling solo, an additional ‘1-person’ supplement will apply.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, Tokyo
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, Hakone
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.
Hotel Vista Premio, Kyoto
Nestled in the heart of Kyoto just a short walk from the Gion District, the Hotel Vista Premio offers travellers a wonderful combination of comfort and convenience. Guest rooms are contemporary in style with a few traditional aesthetic Japanese touches and all feature ensuite facilities with deep soaking bathtubs. The hotel benefits from two restaurants serving both local and international cuisine and complimentary WiFi is available in public areas.
Eko-In, Mount Koya
Housed within a 1000 year-old Buddhist temple, Eko-in offers travellers a truly authentic Japanese experience. Set within beautiful garden grounds, the guest rooms here feature tatami-mat flooring, futon bedding and paper sliding doors, while bathroom facilities are shared. During their stay guests can join the Buddhist morning services, partake in group meditation, learn how to write with brush and ink on scrolls, or witness the goma fire ritual. The surrounding landscapes are a dream for walking and hiking enthusiasts.
Cross Hotel, Osaka
The Cross Hotel is a smart hotel located on Dotombori, one of the most famous and lively streets in all of Japan never mind just Osaka. The hotel has been recently refurbished in a sleek, modern design, giving it something of a boutique feel. Rooms are well designed and generously sized. The hotel is well located near a plethora of restaurants and bars in the surrounding streets.
Extra Tour Info
We have loved every minute of the tour. It was a surprising mixture of discovering Japan. The information provided by the tour operator was perfect. We know exactly what to do when and every ticket was already there. nice hotels and very knowledgable and flexible guides. We highly recommend this tour.”