FROM: USD $2,295

Japan Explorer - 13 Days

SEMI INDEPENDENT: Discover the iconic sites of Japan’s most famous cities and towns, starting in ultra-modern Tokyo to the culinary capital Osaka; marvel at the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura, discover the breath-taking scenery of Mt Fuji from Hakone NP and the picturesque island of Miyajima, enjoy ancient temples and tea houses in Kyoto and uncover Hiroshima’s harrowing history in this 13 day tour

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates

Trip Highlights

Tokyo - explore the historic district of Asakusa, stroll through the sumo district, walk across the famous Shibuya crossing, discover the fashion hub of Harajuku and take in the bright lights of the business district of Shinjuku
Miyajima Island - enjoy the relaxed pace of life on this Japanese isle, discover the ‘floating torii gate’ and marvel at the stunning Mt Misen
Kyoto – walk through vermilion torii gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine
Hakone - admire views of iconic Mount Fuji and sample sulfuric black eggs
Lake Ashi – cross the lake on pirate ship
Kamakura – marvel at the 45ft bronze Great Buddha statue
Daisen-in Temple – learn the art of meditation with a lesson by a Buddhist monk
Hiroshima – uncover the city’s tragic past at the Peace Memorial museum
Geishas' – explore Kyoto’s geisha district and witness live performance
Cooking Class - learn how to prepare authentic Japanese sushi with our hands-on cooking class
Samurai – learn the ancient art of samurai and witness live sword performance
Arashiyama – hike through the famous bamboo forest and feed wild snow monkeys in Monkey Park

Included

10 nights hostel dorm accommodation, 1 night traditional ryokan style, 1 night capsule hotel
Escorted by a licensed English speaking Japanese tour guide
Sushi Making class in Tokyo
Calligraphy Lesson in Kyoto
Train from Tokyo – Kamakura and Kamakura – Hakone
Cruise on Lake Ashi
Live geisha performance
Bike hire in Kyoto
All transportation on public transport including JR Pass
Entrance fees to all included sites
Meditation Lesson in Daisen-In Temple in Kyoto
Samurai demonstration and performance
Fuji Hakone National Park ropeway
Bullet train from Hakone – Kyoto & Hiroshima – Osaka
Rafting on Hozugawa River in traditional wooden rafts
Train and ferry to Miyajima island and rope way to Mt Misen

Not Included

International flights and visas
Laundry, drinks, items of a personal nature and any meals not included in the itinerary
Airport transfers
Optional activities

Itinerary

Day 1

Toyko - Senjoji Temple district

Welcome to Tokyo! Arrive into either Narita or Haneda International Airport in Tokyo and independently travel by public transport into the city centre where you will be met by your tour leader and the rest of the group at the Tokyo House Inn Hostel. Take a trip up to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building for breath taking views of the city from the 45th floor. We then make our way to the buzzing Shinjuku district – full of Izakaya style pubs, karaoke bars and a life-sized Godzilla standing guard.

In the afternoon leave the buzz of the city behind and go in search of a dose of zen at Sensou-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest temple. Witness worshippers offering gifts to the Kannon, the goddess of compassion and walk around the contemplative garden. The rest of the day is at leisure to continue exploring Tokyo, sit back and watch the world go by on Hoppy Street or relax like the locals do with a visit to a nearby bath house, boasting a huge variety of baths and saunas.
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 2

Akihabara district

This morning we have some free time to explore before wandering through Akihabara, Japan’s “electric town” and the hub for anime and manga. Take some time to geek out and visit some of the many electric shops on offer, from the branches on the main roads to the independent traders’ shops down the side streets, selling all sorts of electrical or manga goods. The rest of the evening is free to continue shopping or for those looking for a complete “Made in Tokyo” experience, there is an optional excursion to one of Akihabara’s famous maid café’s before dressing up as your favourite Super Mario character and driving through Tokyo’s streets in your very own Mariokart!
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 3

Tokyo - Sumo District & Edo Tokyo Musuem

No trip to Tokyo would be complete without a stroll through the sumo district, the area which has staged events since before the 20th century. Here, we have a chance to pass the sumo stables where wrestlers live and train and visit the sumo museum where we embark on a fascinating discovery to uncover the secrets behind Japan’s national sport. For lunch we recommend trying Chanko nabe, a hot pot dish consumed by the fighters, in one of the many restaurants in the area, many of which are managed by former wrestlers.

After lunch we make our way to the Edo-Tokyo Museum for an insight into the capital's evolution from the Edo period (1869 to present), giving visitors the chance to learn about the capital's history. Later, we gain an insight into another national sport, samurai. Watch a demonstration before trying the ancient art for yourself with the help of an expert and unleash your inner samurai. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to continue exploring these amazing districts or opt to watch a spectacular Tokyo robot show. The dazzling performance is a must see!
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 4

Tokyo - Imperial Palace, Harajuku & Shibuya

This morning finds us wandering through the grounds of the Imperial Palace, once the largest fortress in the world. Built on the ruins of the original Edo Castle site which was destroyed over the years by war, all that remains of the ancient architecture are the original moats, watch towers and entrance gates. We take time to walk through the pristine East Gardens, Kitnomaru Koen Park and Kokyo Gaien National gardens before enjoying an afternoon of traditional-modern contrast in the Harajuku area of the city. We first walk through the beautiful Yoyogi Park until we reach the famous Shinto shrine to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, who transformed Japan from a feudal to modern society in the early 20th century. Later, we head to the Harajuku fashion district and witness the many diverse fashion styles from French maids, to punks, goths and lolitas, grab some hair dye and get involved! Our day finishes walking across the world’s most famous intersection, grab a drink and sit in one of the many bars and watch the world go by or for the best view head to the second floor of the station.
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 5

Tokyo to Kamakura

Tokyo – Kamakura. Kamakura, Japan’s first feudal capital is ours to explore today. After a morning at leisure we make or way to the popular seaside location on the train. On arrival we take some time to check out some of the many ancient shrines before heading to the Kotoku-in temple and marvel at the iconic bronze Great Buddha, which stands 45ft tall. The rest of the afternoon is yours to further explore – watch the sunset from one of the many beach bars or grab a surfboard and ride the waves while the sun goes down.

Journey time: Tokyo - Kamakura (approx 1.5 hours)
Overnight: Kamakura

Day 6

Kamakura to Hakone

Kamakura – Hakone. This morning we take public transport to Hakone, a mountain town nestled in Japan’s Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. On arrival take the Hakone Ropeway cable car to Owakudani valley, a volcanic valley awash with active sulfur vents and hot springs, offering spectacular views of Mount Fiji (on a clear day). Sample some black eggs, a local delicacy boiled in sulfur water, which leaves them coloured. The afternoon finds us descending the volcanic valley and crossing the clear-blue waters of Lake Ashi on a triple decker pirate ship. Later, we make our way into the forest for an authentic local experience in one of the onsen hot spring baths, which offer an ideal setting to unwind before spending the evening at leisure in our traditional style ryokan guest house.

Journey time: Kamakura - Hakone (approx 1.5 hours)
Overnight: Hakone

Day 7

Hakone to Kyoto

Hakone – Kyoto. We leave the mountains behind by bullet train this morning and make our way to Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan. Spend the afternoon meandering through the quaint hillside streets until you reach the Kiyomzu Temple, one of the most celebrated temples in the country. Marvel at the wooden stage, built without the use of nails, which houses the eleven faced, thousand-armed Kannon statue. This evening attend a live geisha performance in the famous Gion district, with other performances including puppet shows, tea ceremonies and more. The remainder of the evening is at leisure to walk down the dimly lit Pontocho alley, and sip on some sake in one of the bars overlooking the river and watch the world go by.

Journey time: Hakone - Kyoto (approx 3.5 hours)
Overnight: Kyoto

Day 8

Arashiyama Hills & Monkey Park

Today we focus on the spectacular scenery of Kyoto. We begin with a boat trip in traditional wooden rafts along the Hozugawa River, which was originally used to transport many of the supplies that built many of Osaka and Kyoto’s famous temples and castles. Experience the rush of the rapids and cruise along the ravine and the Arashiyama Hills. We then hike through a maze of bamboo paths in Arashiyama bamboo forest, until we reach monkey park where we have the opportunity to feed these amazing creatures from the safety of our own cage while they roam free in their natural environment.

In the afternoon we visit the Tenryu-ji Temple, the most important of the city’s five zen temples. The buildings themselves were lost in fires and wars over centuries, whereas the gardens survived and have remained in pristine condition in their original form. Take some time to walk around the central pond surrounded by the Arashiyama forest or visit the Dharma Hall and marvel at the dragon’s eyes on the ceiling that follow you everywhere. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to continue exploring Kyoto, there is also an optional karaoke night.
Overnight: Kyoto

Day 9

Kyoto

We have some free time this morning to relax, explore the temples of the Philosopher’s path, or check out the famous Manga Museum before independently catching the train to Fushimi Inari Taisha, famous for the thousands of red torii gates dedicated to the Shinto god of rice, and the many fox statues across the grounds which are believed to be Inari’s messengers. Pay respects to the deity by making a small offering before exploring the torii gate hiking trails through the wooded forest of Mount Inari. Return to Kyoto for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Kyoto

Day 10

Kyoto to Hiroshima

Kyoto – Hiroshima. Our final morning in Kyoto is spent seeing one of the city’s most iconic buildings, the Golden Pavillion at Kinkaku-ji Temple, whose top two floors are covered in gold leaf. Take time to walk around the lake and marvel at the shimmering golden reflection of the pavilion in the waters and unwind in this calm atmosphere before taking a journey of tranquility with meditation session led by a Buddhist monk in a city temple. The afternoon finds us cycling through Kyoto’s Imperial Park in the heart of the city before reaching the iconic Imperial Palace, the former residence of Japan’s Imperial Family before the capital and emperor were moved to Tokyo. Stroll through the grounds and admire the beautiful buildings. Later we continue our journey west and catch the bullet train to Hiroshima.

Journey time: Kyoto - Hiroshima (approx 2.5 hours)
Overnight: Hiroshima

Day 11

Hiroshima Peace Memorial & Miyajima Island

Hiroshima, the first place to be hit by one of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. We begin our day with a stop at the Peace Memorial Museum where we uncover the devastation left behind by the world’s first atomic bomb, and how the city has become the standard bearer for a peaceful and nuclear free world. We’ll see the iconic A-Bomb Dome, one of the very few buildings left standing after the blast and the Children’s Peace Monument, a memorial of the children killed, where schools from around the world donate origami cranes signifying hope and peace.

This afternoon take a short ferry trip to the small Miyajima Island, famous for the giant torii gate which appears to float on water, when the tide is low the gate can be reached on foot. On arrival to the island we make our way to the centuries old Itsukushima Shrine, like the torii gate the main buildings are built over water and connected by pillars above the sea to witness the ocean beneath your feet. Follow one of the many walking trails on the island that cut through the forest, to numerous lookout points, accompanied by the resident deer. We return to Hiroshima for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Hiroshima

Day 12

Hiroshima to Osaka

Hiroshima – Osaka. This morning we board the bullet train to our final destination, Osaka. On arrival we have some free time to explore the Namba or Shinsaibashi area to enjoy our fill of ramen, sushi, or yakitori. We then take a short train journey to Osaka Castle, whose original foundations were destroyed over centuries by war and natural disasters. We take some time to wander through the secondary citadels, gates, stone walls and moats before getting lost in the lush green Osaka Castle Park, which houses a shrine dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This evening, after checking into our capsule hotel, we have some free time to walk around Shinsaibashi and the Dotonbori riverfront. Dive into the covered shopping arcade before walking through the neon-lit Dotonbori riverfront which offers amazing nightlife options.

Journey time: Hiroshima - Osaka (approx 2.5 hours)
Overnight: Osaka

Day 13

Osaka/Tokyo

Our adventure comes to an end this morning. Take the train to Osaka airport or take the bullet train to Tokyo, using your JR pass, to carry on your travels home. Airport transfers and additional nights accommodation can be arranged for an additional fee if you're not quite ready to go home.

Journey time: Osaka - Tokyo (approx 4 hours)

Is this holiday for you?

If you’re the kind of traveller that doesn’t mind time spent travelling independently on public transport and sharing a mixed dorm room with other travellers, then this trip will suit you just fine. There’s plenty of free time on this tour so it’s a great option if you like to explore a city at your own leisure.

Prices & Dates

Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling based on mixed dormitory rooms. 'Twin/Double' upgrade prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers and needs to be added to the 'Dormitory' price.

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22 Apr - 04 May Easter departure, book early!
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Extra Prices

Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
Double Room Upgrade
USD $430
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Single Room Upgrade
USD $1250
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In Brief

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Tokyo
Ends
Osaka/Tokyo
Departs
Mon & Thurs - Feb - Nov
Hotel Rating
Hostel dorm accommodation
Local Payment
None
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
None Provided
Visiting
Countries
OTG002082Japan Explorer - 13 DaysFar EastBudget2295 USDfalse0Japanhttps://www.onthegotours.com/Japan/Japan-Explorer-13-Dayshttps://drwyjmricaxm7.cloudfront.net/repository/Kiyomizu-Dera-Temple-Kyoto--Japan-Tours--655051534175616_crop_flip_300_300_f2f2f2_center-center.jpg?20181121Group_Tours2295USD