Kurashiki | Japan
FROM: AUD $7,985 pp

Take in all of Japan's main highlights on this 2-week tour, making use of public transport and staying in 3-star hotels and traditional accommodation. From Tokyo, enjoy a temple stay in Nagano and spend two days exploring Takayama. Visit Kanazawa and Hiroshima, take in the lesser-visited historic town of Kurashiki and enjoy a guided tour of the geisha district in ancient Kyoto, before returning to Tokyo.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels

Trip Highlights

Tokyo - Start and end your trip in the Japanese capital, with plenty of time for sightseeing and trying regional cuisine
Matsumoto - Spend a night in this charming town, and perhaps opt to visit the famous castle here
Kanazawa - Wander the streets of this well-preserved coastal town, which was spared heavy bombing during WWII
Kurashiki - Pedal through the rural Kibi plains on an optional excursion and explore this lesser-visited destination
Nagano - Spend the night at Zenko-ji, a historic temple in the city, and join the Buddhist morning prayers
Takayama - Join a wealth of optional activities with two free days here, including exploring local museums and visiting the HQ of the Sukyo Mahikari cult
Hiroshima - Pay your respects at the memorials to the atomic bomb, and opt to take the ferry to charming Miyajima island
Kyoto - Enjoy guided sightseeing with your tour leader in this ancient city, including a visit to the Gion geisha district

Included

13 breakfasts & 1 dinner
Escorted by a tour leader
All relevant transportation and transfers including by minibus and train
Entrance to Zenko-ji Temple in Nagano
Geisha district walking tour
Information pack on arrival
13 nights 3 star hotels and traditional accommodation
Arrival transfer on day 1
Transport card with 2,500 Yen (USD $16) credit for city transport
Entrance to Jigokudani Monkey Park (2024) or Obuse Hokusai Museum (2025)
Luggage forwarding from Tokyo to Matsumoto
Shared portable Wi-Fi access throughout trip

Not Included

International flights and visa
Any entrance fees including those for shrines, temples and museums
Local transport when not covered by one of the included passes
Baggage handling and luggage forwarding unless otherwise specified

Itinerary

Days 1-2

Exploring Tokyo

On arrival in Japan, you will be greeted at the airport by a driver and transported via a shared shuttle bus to our accommodation in Asakusa, a neighborhood known for its traditional charm. Join a welcome meeting with our tour leader later that evening and opt to dine with your fellow travellers at a nearby restaurant.

On day 2, we embark on a comprehensive walking tour of Tokyo alongside our tour leader, utilizing the city's efficient public transportation system. Our journey takes us through a variety of attractions, ranging from the serene Meiji Shrine to the vibrant Harajuku shopping district, and from the historic Asakusa neighborhood to the modern skyscrapers of Shinjuku. If you wish to explore independently today instead of joining the tour, your tour leader will be available to assist you in crafting your itinerary.

Accommodation: Richmond Asakusa or similar
Overnight: Tokyo  |  Breakfast x 1

Day 3

Nagano & Zenko-ji temple stay

Tokyo - Nagano. Today, we travel to Nagano, nestled amidst scenic mountains and famed for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics. This charming city is celebrated for Zenko-ji, a revered temple in Japanese culture. Spend the afternoon discovering Nagano's delights, followed by an optional meal of local soba noodles with your tour guide and the chance to unwind in rejuvenating hot spring baths. Tonight, we'll stay in traditional Japanese-style accommodations at a shukubo lodge affiliated with Zenko-ji, featuring tatami mats, sliding doors, and cozy futon beds.

Accommodation: Zenkoji Yakuo-in or similar
Overnight: Nagano  |  Breakfast

Day 4

Nagano to Matsumoto

Nagano - Matsumoto. Experience Buddhist morning prayers in Nagano and tuck into a traditional breakfast of shojin ryori, traditional Buddhist cuisine. The day's itinerary then depends on when you are travelling. You will either enjoy an included visit to see the snow monkeys in Yudanaka (2024 departures) or explore Obuse and the Hokusai Museum with its impressive collection of ukiyo-e woodblock prints (2025 departures and beyond). We are staying in the city of Matsumoto.

Accommodation: Kagetsu or similar
Overnight: Matsumoto  |  Breakfast

Days 5-6

Exploring Takayama at leisure

Matsumoto - Takayama. We journey through the Japanese Alps to Takayama. There are two free days here for you to explore how you wish. Takayama offers a variety of activities, from exploring the festival float museum and old town streets to visiting the world headquarters of the Sukyo Mahikari cult and browsing the many craft shops. Your accommodations for the next two nights will be at a family-run inn, complete with Japanese-style rooms, onsen hot spring baths, and a delectable kaiseki dinner.

On day 6, why not start at the vibrant morning market before visiting the Hida no Sato folk village, an outdoor museum showcasing traditional thatched-roof farmhouses? End the day with a sake tasting at local breweries in the old town. Dinner is not provided, so be sure to try the local delicacy, Hida beef, for a delightful culinary experience.

Accommodation: Iwatakan or similar
Overnight: Takayama  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 1

Day 7

Kanazawa

Takayama - Kanazawa. Situated on the Japan Sea coast, Kanazawa is renowned for its historical significance and architectural beauty. Similar to Kyoto, the city's historical landmarks were spared from air raids during World War II, allowing visitors to experience the charm of pre-war Japan in its old town areas.

During our visit, make sure to stroll through the Nagamachi samurai quarter, explore the Chaya geisha district, and indulge in some fresh sushi from the Omicho fish market. A must-see attraction in Kanazawa is Kenrokuen, a breathtaking landscape garden that is ranked among Japan's top three. Don't miss the opportunity to marvel at the beauty of Kenrokuen during your visit to Kanazawa.

Accommodation: Square Hotel Kanazawa or similar
Overnight: Kanazawa  |  Breakfast

Days 8-9

Hiroshima sightseeing & memorials

Kanazawa - Hiroshima. Spend two leisure days in Hiroshima exploring the city and visiting the Peace Park and Museum, which commemorate the tragedy of 1945. In addition to these historical sites, Hiroshima offers world-class art galleries, a manga library, a restored castle, and the Mazda Museum for visitors to enjoy. On day 9, consider taking a ferry to Miyajima, a beautiful island in the Seto Inland Sea known for its traditional community, friendly deer population, and iconic Itsukushima Shrine with its "floating" torii gate. Before leaving, be sure to try Hiroshima's local specialty, okonomiyaki, a delicious and affordable cabbage- or noodle-based pancake cooked at your table.

Accommodation: Washington Hotel or similar
Overnight: Hiroshima  |  Breakfast x 2

Day 10

Kurashiki & optional cycling

Hiroshima - Kurashiki. Kurashiki, often overlooked on typical Japan itineraries, is a charming town with a rich history. The canal district serves as the heart of the town, featuring traditional shops, cafes, and museums housed in ancient storehouses from the Edo era. The Ohara Museum, a standout among the local museums, showcases the first permanent collection of Western art ever exhibited in Japan.

You can explore Kurashiki independently today, or join an optional cycling excursion through the Kibi plains. This picturesque route offers a glimpse of Japan's natural beauty and historical sites, including rice fields, burial mounds, temples, and Buddhist cemeteries.

Accommodation: Dormy Inn Kurashiki or similar
Overnight: Kurashiki  |  Breakfast

Days 11-12

Kyoto sightseeing

Kurashiki - Kyoto. Kyoto, an ancient imperial capital, is considered Japan's most significant repository of culture and history. It served as Japan's capital for over a thousand years and boasts an impressive 17 World Heritage Sites, including temples, shrines, and exquisite gardens. On day 11 there's an included tour of the traditional Gion geisha district, where you might catch a glimpse of a geisha as evening approaches.

On day 12 in Kyoto, our tour leader will lead you on a personalized tour of the city's hidden gems based on the group's interests, the season, and the weather. Alternatively, you can explore these gems on your own. Whether it's the Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-ji, the red gates of Fushimi Inari, the Nishiki food market, or Gion's teahouses, Kyoto offers a multitude of attractions that will leave you spoiled for choice.

Accommodation: Gracery Kyoto Sanjo or similar
Overnight: Kyoto  |  Breakfast x 2

Days 13-14

Back to Tokyo

Kyoto - Tokyo. On day 13 we travel back to Tokyo on the shinkansen bullet train, with a chance to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji. Take this opportunity to do some last-minute souvenir shopping and visit any sights you may have missed before.

Consider visiting the Skytree, the tallest tower in the world at 634 meters (2,080 feet), or renting a karaoke booth in Shinjuku to sing your heart out with your new friends.

Although dinner is not included tonight, we recommend joining your group for a farewell meal at one of the tour leader's favorite restaurants in the city to celebrate the end of a fantastic trip.

On the morning of day 14, it will be time to bid farewell to Japan and take the airport limousine bus to catch your departure flight. Wishing you a safe journey home.

Accommodation: Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku or similar
Breakfast x 2

Prices & Dates

Departure dates marked with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departures are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. There is no single supplement for this tour. Single travellers will have a single room free of charge at all of the western style hotels (at least 10 nights). They will be asked to share with another single traveller of the same sex at the Japanese style stays (maximum 3 nights).

Guaranteed Departure
2024
Twin Share
Single Room
AUD $7,985
N/A
AUD $7,985
N/A
AUD $7,985
N/A
AUD $7,985
N/A
AUD $8,195
N/A
AUD $8,195
N/A
AUD $8,795
N/A
AUD $8,795
N/A
AUD $8,195
N/A
2025
Twin Share
Single Room
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $9,235
N/A
AUD $9,615
N/A
AUD $9,615
N/A
AUD $9,615
N/A
AUD $9,235
N/A
AUD $9,235
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $8,995
N/A
AUD $9,235
N/A
AUD $9,235
N/A
AUD $9,235
N/A
AUD $9,615
N/A
AUD $9,615
N/A
AUD $9,615
N/A
AUD $9,235
N/A
AUD $9,235
N/A

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.

Hotel Richmond Asakusa , Tokyo

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

The Richmond Asakusa is a superior hotel. Guest rooms are well designed, modern and fully en suite. The staff get rave reviews and Japan's famous hospitality is very evident here. Why not head to Itanova for a great selection of Italian cuisine? The hotel is in a great location in the centre of the historic district of Asakusa and just a minute walk from the famous Sensouji Temple.

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.

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Tokyo
Ends
Tokyo
Departs
Mondays
Group Size
Min 4 / Max 14
Hotel Rating
3 star hotels
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour leader
Meals
Breakfast: 13, Dinner: 1
Countries
Minimum Age
6 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
Yes
Dep. Transfer
No
Rainbow Bridge, stretching across the water in Tokyo, lit up at night
The Zenko-ji hilltop temple in Nagano
Beautiful, turquoise water surrounded by lush forest in Takayama
Hiroshima memorial, dedicated to those lost in the tragedy
Beautiful lake with a temple in the background in springtime in Kyoto
Rainbow Bridge, stretching across the water in Tokyo, lit up at night
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