Matsumoto Castle | Japan
FROM: €6,815 pp

This 14-day escorted group tour takes in all of Japan's main attractions, staying in a great mix of 3-4 star hotels and ryokans, and packed with inclusions. See the iconic sights of Tokyo and gaze at picturesque Mount Fuji from Hakone. In Osaka there's an included visit to Osaka Castle and free time to explore at your own pace. Join a guided tour with an expert local guide in Kyoto and attend afternoon tea with a maiko (apprentice geisha). Enjoy free time in Takayama, hike amongst the Japanese Alps and see Matsumoto Castle before returning to the Japanese capital.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels

Trip Highlights

Tokyo - Take in the main sights of the Japanese capital, including Shibuya, Asakusa and the serene Hamarikyu Gardens
Osaka - Enjoy an included visit to Osaka Castle and plenty of free time to discover the city independently
Takayama - Visit the Hida no Sato folk village, enjoy the cool mountain air and plenty of leisure time
Hakone - Soak up dramatic views of Mount Fuji, relax in thermal hot springs and explore the museums and cultural sights of the town
Kyoto - Explore this ancient capital with the services of an expert local guide, including the bamboo groves of Arashiyama and the golden Kinkaku-ji
Japanese Alps - Ride the Shinhotaka Ropeway cable car and hike amongst the stunning alpine scenery of Chubu-Sangaku National Park

Included

13 breakfasts & 8 dinners
Escorted by a tour leader
Private coach from Takayama to Japan Alps; bus & trains from Japan Alps to Tokyo
Entrance to Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo
Tickets to Hakone Open-Air Museum
Full day private guide in Kyoto with private bus
Entrance to Kiyomizu Temple & Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto
Luggage forwarding from Tokyo to Osaka & from Takayama to Tokyo
Shared portable Wi-Fi access throughout trip
13 nights 3-4 star hotels
Arrival transfer on day 1 and departure transfer on day 14 by shared shuttle bus
Transport card with 4,500 Yen (USD $30) credit for city transport
3-day Hakone Free Pass for transport in the Hakone region
Entrance to Osaka Castle
Afternoon tea with a maiko in Kyoto
Entrance to the Hida no Sato folk village in Takayama
Information pack on arrival

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 Tokyo, you will be greeted at the airport by our driver and taken to your hotel in Asakusa. Your tour leader will be waiting for you in the lobby, where you will gather with the group for a welcome meeting before enjoying a meal at a local restaurant. Asakusa offers a glimpse of the city's history, with its traditional market stalls leading to the ancient Senso-ji temple, Tokyo's oldest.

On day 2, we embark on a tour of Tokyo's iconic sites, from Shibuya's bustling scramble crossing to the vibrant arcades of Akihabara. End the day with a relaxing cup of green tea at the serene Hamarikyu Gardens. Tokyo may be a symbol of modernity, but it still holds pockets of history for those willing to explore.

Accommodation: Gracery Asakusa Hotel or similar
Overnight: Tokyo (2)  |  Breakfast x 1, Dinner x 1

Days 3-4

Hakone & Mount Fuji

Tokyo - Hakone. Marvel at the beauty of Mount Fuji and discover the Hakone Open-Air Museum in Hakone, known as one of Japan's most popular national parks.

Conveniently accessible by bullet train, Hakone is located within the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is renowned for its hot springs. During your visit, you will be accommodated in a traditional Japanese hotel near the Hakone Open-Air Museum. The museum showcases works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Miro, Rodin, and Henry Moore, set against the backdrop of picturesque mountain landscapes.

In addition to the art exhibits, Hakone offers a variety of attractions including charming traditional buildings and a leisurely pirate ship cruise on Lake Ashi, with stunning views of Mount Fuji on clear days. Your tour leader will guide you to explore these highlights and more on day 4 of your trip.

Each evening, enjoy a delicious kaiseki-style dinner featuring local and seasonal ingredients included in your stay. Be sure to take advantage of the relaxing hot spring baths, a beloved tradition in Japanese culture, while in Hakone, where you will find top-notch bathhouses to unwind in.

Accommodation: Laforet Club Hakone Gora Yunosumika or similar
Overnight: Hakone (2)  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 2

Days 5-6

Off to Osaka

Hakone - Osaka. On day 5 we journey via local train and shinkansen bullet train to Osaka, a bustling and modern city celebrated for its delicious street food offerings such as takoyaki octopus balls and okonomiyaki savoury pancake.

Upon arrival, we kick off our exploration by visiting Osaka Castle, an impressive reconstruction with a museum showcasing the castle's history. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to explore at your own pace or join your tour leader to wander through the lively Dotonbori district, home to iconic sights like the illuminated "Glico running man" and a large animatronic crab. Don't miss the chance to sample some local street food delicacies.

Day 6 is free to pursue activities of your choosing. Consider taking a day trip to Himeji Castle or the ancient imperial city of Nara, both easily accessible from Osaka. Our tour leader will provide guidance on these options or offer suggestions for alternative excursions.

Accommodation: Cross Hotel Osaka or similar
Overnight: Osaka (2)  |  Breakfast x 2

Days 7-8

Kyoto sightseeing

Osaka - Kyoto. Capital of Japan from 794 to 1869, Kyoto is home to a wealth of historical sites and landmarks. The city's numerous temples and shrines offer a glimpse into its vibrant past. Your tour leader will design a customized itinerary based on the season, weather, and group preferences.

Experience the traditional charm of Kyoto's Gion district on day 7 with a private afternoon tea with a maiko, followed by a group dinner at a local restaurant. On day 8, explore the city's highlights, including the bamboo groves of Arashiyama, Yasaka Shrine, and the iconic Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-ji, accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide as well as our tour leader.

Accommodation: Mitsui Garden Shinmachi Bettei or similar
Overnight: Kyoto (2)  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 1

Days 9-10

Takayama & the Japanese Alps

Kyoto - Takayama. On day 9, we journey from Kyoto to Takayama in the Japanese Alps. The city is known for its exceptional craftsmen. Take the afternoon to wander through craft shops and sake breweries in the old town district before enjoying dinner at our Japanese-style inn.

Day 10 in Takayama offers a full day of exploration, starting with a visit to the riverside morning market. Next, we venture to Hida no Sato folk village to see traditional thatched farmhouses. For a different experience, consider visiting the Sukyo Mahikari cult's world headquarters, a unique shrine with a giant fish tank at its altar. Dinner is not included, so we recommend trying the delicious Hida beef for a taste of local cuisine.

Accommodation: Tanabe Ryokan or similar
Overnight: Takayama (2) (ryokan)  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 1

Days 11-12

Japanese Alps cable car & hiking

Takayama - Japanese Alps. Our adventure continues as we take a private coach to the Shinhotaka Ropeway on day 11. This unique "double-decker" cable car offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. After the ride, we visit the quaint hot spring town of Hirayu Onsen. Here, you can take an optional hike to a beautiful waterfall. Later, you can relax and enjoy the hot spring baths before tucking into a delicious dinner at the accommodation.

On day 12, a short bus ride brings us to Kamikochi, located in the Chubu-Sangaku National Park. The plateau sits at an elevation of about 1,500m (4,920ft) above sea level, providing cooler weather compared to other parts of Japan, even in the summer. Our tour leader will lead a hike starting at the serene Taisho Pond and continuing for approximately 6km to the Myojin Pond, which houses a mystical Shinto shrine nestled among the mountainous forest. Along the mostly flat route, you may have the chance to see wild monkeys in the area, and there is an option to cut the hike short for those not wanting to complete the full excursion. Dinner is included once again this evening.

Accommodation: Hirayukan or similar
Overnight: Japanese Alps (2)  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 2

Days 13-14

Matsumoto Castle & return to Tokyo

Japanese Alps - Matsumoto - Tokyo. Explore Matsumoto's iconic "Black Crow" castle before heading back to Tokyo by bus and train on day 13. Our final evening will be spent in the lively Shinjuku district, enjoying an included farewell meal with the tour group. The next morning, say goodbye to your fellow travelers and catch the included shuttle to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodation: JR Kyushu Blossom Shinjuku or similar
Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 1

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. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to those who don’t have anyone to share a room with or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.

Guaranteed Departure
2024
Twin Share
Single Room
€6,815
€7,625
€6,815
€7,625
€6,815
€7,625
€6,815
€7,625
€7,015
€7,815
2025
Twin Share
Single Room
€7,815
€9,165
€7,815
€9,165
€7,815
€9,165
€7,815
€9,165
€7,605
€8,955
€7,605
€8,955
€7,605
€8,955
€6,815
€7,625
€7,605
€8,955
€7,605
€8,955
€7,605
€8,955
€7,605
€8,955
€7,605
€8,955
€7,815
€9,165
€7,815
€9,165
€8,355
€9,705
€8,355
€9,705
€8,355
€9,705
€8,355
€9,705
€8,355
€9,705
€8,355
€9,705

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.

Gracery Asakusa Hotel, Tokyo

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Hotel Gracery Asakusa offers a prime location just 800 meters from the iconic Sensoji Temple. Each unit in the hotel is thoughtfully equipped with a kettle for added convenience, and the rooms feature private bathrooms with baths. For guest comfort, Hotel Gracery Asakusa provides air conditioning and flat-screen TVs in every room. The multilingual staff at the reception are proficient in both English and Japanese, ensuring a smooth and pleasant stay experience.

Cross Hotel, Osaka

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

The Cross Hotel is a smart hotel located on Dotombori, one of the most famous and lively streets in all of Japan, never mind 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 and the onsite Lime Restaurant serves a buffet lunch and breakfast.

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Tokyo
Ends
Tokyo
Departs
Saturdays
Group Size
Min 4 / Max 14
Hotel Rating
3-4 star hotels
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour leader
Meals
Breakfast: 13, Dinner: 8
Countries
Minimum Age
6 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
Yes
Dep. Transfer
Yes
Rainbow Bridge, stretching across the water in Tokyo, lit up at night
View of Miyajima from across the water in Hakone
City of Osaka, lit up at night
Beautiful lake with a temple in the background in springtime in Kyoto
Beautiful, turquoise water surrounded by lush forest in Takayama
Rainbow Bridge, stretching across the water in Tokyo, lit up at night
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