Exciting Days, Comfortable Nights
FROM: USD $7,195

Snow Monkey Explorer - 13 Days

Watch Snow Monkeys bathing, explore Hemiji Castle and beautiful Miyajima Island, in addition to Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima, on this magical 13 day tour of Japan. This is Japan in the winter at its best, without the crowds and blanketed in snow.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels

Trip Highlights

Full day excursion of Yudanaka Onsen area visiting Snow Monkey Reserve (Jigokudani Yaen Koen) where you'll have the opportunity to see the Snow Monkeys bathe and play in their natural environment.
Kamakura - Big Buddha Statue, Hokokuji Zen temple and the Bamboo Forest and delightful village atmosphere. Opt to take part in a Tea Ceremony and enjoy a traditional Japanese Shabu Shabu dinner
Staying in a ryokan - sampling Japanese hospitality, bathing in natural hot springs, wearing a Yakata (casual Kimono) and sleeping on a futon
Kyoto - walking tour of the famed Geisha district (Gion), with its ancient cobbled streets, streams, bridges and quaint tea houses and the opportunity to see Geisha and Maiko en route to their next engagement
Hiroshima - Peace Park, Peace Memorial Museum, UNESCO Listed A-Bomb Dome and Children's Peace Monument (with thousands of paper cranes from children around the world)
Tokyo - Sensoji Temple district and temple, Harajuku, Takeshita street, Meiji Shrine & Shibuya Crossing
Lake Kawaguchi located within Fuji Hakone Izu National Park - spectacular mountain scenery and views of Mt Fuji
Kyoto - Sanjusagen-do Temple with its 1000 life-like statues & Kinkakuji (Golden temple) Temple
UNESCO Listed Himeji Castle - the towering 6 story structure is the best preserved and largest of all castles in Japan
Miyajima Island with its UNESCO Listed iconic Red Torii Gate (Itsukushima shrine) standing in the sea. Cable to the top of Mt Misen - the highest peak on Miyajima for spectacular views of the Seto Inland Sea, some 150 islands and Hiroshima

Included

12 breakfasts, 1 traditional Shabu Shabu dinner in Tokyo and 1 Japanese dinner at the Lake Kawaguchi ryokan
Guided sightseeing and walking tours in Tokyo, Kamakura, Lake Kawaguchi, Kyoto, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima Island and Yudanaka Onsen
Ferry to Miyajima Island and cable car to the top of Mt Misen
Arrival transfer (escorted)- by train from Narita or Haneda International Airport. Unescorted departure transfer
Baggage forwarding service from Tokyo to Kyoto and from Hiroshima to Tokyo. (one bag per person)
Entrance Fees to all included sightseeing
12 nights 3 star accommodation (including 1 night at a traditional ryokan (Japanese inn)
Tea at Hokouji Temple; Lake Kawaguchi & Mt Fuji - Kachikachi-yama Ropeway and observatory. Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Snow Monkey Park)
Escorted by licensed English speaking Japanese tour guides. Two guides are used on this trip - 1 for east Japan and another in the west, with unescorted train travel between
All transportation - buses, trains and rail passes (including Suica swipe Card and Japan Rail Pass)
Maximum Group size: 18 persons

Not Included

International flights, visa, laundry, drinks, items of a personal nature
If you are opting to pay the single supplement, allowing you the privacy of your own room on this tour, a single room will be provided for all nights with the exception of day 5 (our overnight stay at Lake Kawaguchi), where single rooms are not available. For this night you will be matched up with a fellow tour member of the same sex
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3 - 5 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture

Itinerary

Day 1

Tokyo

Sunday. Arrive into either Narita or Haneda International Airport in Tokyo where, where after clearing immigration, you will be met by your guide. Travel by train into the city centre and check into your hotel in Shinjuku, one of the most modern districts in the city. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore the sights.
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 2

Toyko - Sensoji Temple district, Harajuki & Shibuya

Good Morning Tokyo!! Today we explore this iconic city. First stop is Asakusa which is home to the ancient Buddhist temple and being built in the 7th century, Tokyo's oldest - Sensoji. Nearby is the Nakamise Shopping Street famous for it's large variety of traditional souvenirs and interesting craft stalls which we have time to explore before lunch. After which we find out where the finest of Tokyo's young and hip like to hangout when we head to Harajuku, with its on-trend shops and cafes. Take a snap next to the street sign and keep your eyes peeled for the 'best of the best' in young urban fashion before we head to the important Meiji Shrine where the emperor Meiji and his wife are enshrined. Our final stop is the Shibuya crossing perhaps the busiest intersections in the world. The famed intersection is a junction of no less than 7 pedestrian crossings and when the lights turn red, all 7 turn red simultaneously. The traffic stops completely and pedestrians surge into the intersection from all sides. Known as 'the scramble' its an amazing spectacle which we'll watch from the second floor Starbucks located directly opposite. Total walking distance today: Approx 8 - 10km. This evening offers free time though you may like spend the evening watching a Sumo tournament. See our trip notes for more info.
Overnight: Tokyo  |  Breakfast

Day 3

Kamakura - Big Buddha

Tokyo - Kamakura - Tokyo. This seaside city is the former seat of the Shogunate, though in modern day Japan, it is also renowned for its beautiful Zen temples and pristine coastline and in contrast to Tokyo, provides a quaint village life feel. Here we’ll visit the iconic bronze Big Buddha and the Zen Temple of Hokokuji with its beautiful bamboo garden. We also drink tea, partake in a tea ceremony and enjoy the laid back atmosphere before walking the cobbled streets of the shopping district of Komachi- ideal for locally made crafts, before returning to Japan’s bustling capital for the night. Tonight, we enjoy a Shabu Shabu - a traditional Japanese hot pot meal.
Overnight: Tokyo  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4

Tokyo Edo Museum & Time To Explore

Taking in the Tokyo Edo Museum, this morning we are guided through the lifestyle and culture experienced by Tokyoites over the city’s 400-year history. The museum houses some of the city’s best original artefacts and replicas of Edo-era buildings and landmarks, along with several large-scale models. The remainder of the day offers free time for you further explore the city.
Overnight: Tokyo  |  Breakfast

Day 5

Mt Fuji & Lake Kawaguchi

Tokyo - Lake Kawaguchi. After breakfast we travel by highway bus to the stunning Lake Kawaguchi, located in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park (with luggage forwarding). Our base is the hot spring resort town of Lake Kawaguchi which boasts both beautiful scenery and unparalleled views of Mt Fuji. Whilst in the area we'll ascend the Kachikachi-yama Ropeway some 400m to the observation deck near the peak of Mount Tenjo and if the weather is clear enjoy unsurpassed views of Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi. Tonight we stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan where we will be served a traditional Japanese dinner and there is also the opportunity to dip in the natural hot spring baths for which the town is famous for.
Overnight: Lake Kawaguchi  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6

Kyoto - the Geisha District

Lake Kawaguchi – Kyoto. Early this morning and prior to breakfast you may wish to hike along the forshore lake and take in its frozen mid-winter beauty. Later we travel by bus to Mishima, then by bullet train to Kyoto - Japan’s ancient and cultural capital.

As one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, Kyoto is home to an abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. This afternoon we head to Gion, for a walking tour of this famous Geisha district. After you may wish to watch a cultural performance at Gion Corner Theatre where you'll have the opportunity to watch a Maiko (apprentice Geisha) performing.
Overnight: Kyoto  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Kyoto - Nijo Castle, Golden Pavilion & free time

Up first we offer a guided tour of Sanjusagen-do Temple famous for its statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The one thousand life-size statues of Kannon are made of Japanese cypress clad in gold leaf. They stand in 10 rows of 50, each hand crafted and slightly different from the next. Set upon a small lake with landscaped gardens the large completely gilt structure is impressive as it is beautiful Temple. Kinkakuji Temple continues to be one of Japan's most visited temples.

This afternoon offers free time for you to relax or to further discover the many sights of Kyoto your own way. Consider visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its winding path lined by thousands of bright red torii gates. Just a short train ride away from the main Kyoto station, this must-see sight is free to visit and is open 24 hours a day. You might also wish to hire a Kimono and walk the streets as many Japanese do or take part in a cooking lesson.
Overnight: Kyoto  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Himeji Castle & Hiroshima

Kyoto - Himeji - Hiroshima. We travel by bullet train to Hiroshima today, stopping en route at Himeji to visit the UNESCO Listed Himeji Castle. It was constructed of wood in 1346 and is renowned for its elegant shape, painted white exterior, together with a highly developed maze-like system of defence. Himej dates from the beginning of the Shogun period and is Japan’s best preserved and largest castle. After taking in the panoramic views from the top of its 6 story watch tower we take the bullet train to Hiroshima.

Tonight, take time to explore the city, try the local oysters which are said to be the best in all Japan or perhaps take to the steets and the laneways in search of an Izakaya (a tapas style bar) for a true Japanese experience.
Overnight: Hiroshima  |  Breakfast

Day 9

Hiroshima Peace Park & Miyajima Island

Located off the coast of Hiroshima and said to be one of Japan's most scenic location we spend this morning exploring Miyajima Island. We take in the revered Itsukushima-jinja Shrine and the renowned 12 metres high red 'floating' Torii Gate, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site which appears to float on water. If it is low tide there may also be the opportunity to walk to the gate by foot. As we continue to explore the island we'll see further Shinto shrines, towering pagodas and pavilions before soaking up the incredible views of the Seto Inland Sea, dozens of nearby islands and Hiroshima city from our cable car ride to the top of Mount Misen, the highest point of the island. After lunch we depart Miyajima and take time out to reflect at the more sobering side of Hiroshima's past when two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan at the end of World War II and Hiroshima was the first place to be hit. We visit Peace Park, Peace Park Museum both poignant reminders of this tragic past and see the iconic A-Bomb Dome one of the very few buildings left standing after the blast. Tonight, we'll make a reservation for Okonomiyaki - a mix between a savoury pancake and omelette a local speciality of Hiroshima. Okonomiyaki is always a fun night, its inexpensive and is washed down perfectly with a Asahi beer.
Overnight: Hiroshima  |  Breakfast

Day 10

Hiroshima to Nagano

Hiroshima - Nagano. Departing after breakfast and travelling by bullet train via Tokyo (as its the fastest route) we arrive in Nagano mid-afternoon. Nagano is our base for the next two nights which serves as the ideal location for setting off to see the Snow Monkeys in the nearby onsen towns. The remainder of the day remains free time.
Overnight: Nagano  |  Breakfast

Day 11

Snow Monkeys at Yudanko Onsen

Setting off straight after breakfast we spend the day exploring the Yudanko Onsen area - surrounded by mountains and famous for Snow Monkey Park. Over 200 monkeys live in the park, play and keep warm during the winter months by bathing in the local hot springs (onsens). In addition to seeing these amazing creatures there is opportunity to further explore the park, indulge in a foot spa or visit a traditional Japanese village located nearby.

We return to our hotel in time for dinner and this evening is free for you to relax.
Overnight: Nagano

Day 12

Matsumoto Castle - Japan's oldest

Nagano - Matsumoto - Tokyo. This morning we explore one of Japan's premier and oldest historic castle - Matsumoto Castle. Built in 1593, when covered in snow, this beautiful wooden structure allows us to imagine we have returned to the pre-modern world of the Samurai. With a reputation of having some of the best Soba in Japan, we recommend these noodles for lunch before we continue on Tokyo which we reach later this afternoon.
Overnight: Tokyo  |  Breakfast

Day 13

Tokyo

Friday. Your Japan adventure comes to an end today. Unescorted transfer to Narita or Hanada Airport for your onward flight.
Breakfast

Prices & Dates

Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.

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2018
Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
USD $7,195
USD $790
USD $7,195
USD $790
2019
Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
USD $7,195
USD $790
USD $7,195
USD $790

Hotels

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

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

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.

Yamagishi Ryokan, Lake Kawaguchi

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: Japanese Ryokan

With stunning views over Lake Kawaguchi, which is located just one minute away, the Yamagishi Ryokan is a gorgeous accommodation and an excellent base for exploring the area around the lake. Rooms are designed according to traditional Japanese styles with low furniture and lots of natural light. Breakfast and dinner are both included with the room and are served in the hotel's dining room. After dinner, guests can take a dip in one of the hotel's baths or relax with a coffee in the lounge. The hotel is located just an 8 minute walk from Kawaguchiko Station.

Daiwa Roynet Shijo Karasuma Hotel, Kyoto

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Opened in spring 2012, the brand new Daiwa Roynet Shijo Karasuma is a modern superior business hotel located in the centre of Kyoto. Guest rooms are well furnished with all mod-cons and complimentary Wi-Fi is available. The onsite Motonokura Restaurant serves up a delicious array of local traditional Japanese meals. Well located just a few steps walk from Shijo subway station and within walking distance of numerous shops and restaurants, this is a great base for your stay in Japan's cultural capital.

In Brief

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Tokyo
Ends
Tokyo
Departs
07 Jan 2018 & 04 Feb 2018
Hotel Rating
3 star hotels & ryokans
Local Payment
None
Tour Guide
Yes - tour guide escorted
Meals
Breakfast: 11, Dinner: 2
Visiting
Countries

Extra Tour Info

Best Places to Visit
Places on our must-see list of any visit to Japan
Best Time to Visit
Information on climatic and weather conditions in Japan
Tourist Visas
Visa requirements for Japan and info on getting your visa
Transport in Japan
It's great! Modern, punctual and easy to use
Top 10 Experiences
Our picks for Japan and where best to sample these delights