Snow Monkeys in Nagano | Japan
FROM: £4,295 pp

PRIVATE TOUR: 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 with its delightful village atmosphere. Opt to take part in a famous tea ceremony and enjoy a traditional Japanese Shabu Shabu dinner
Staying in a ryokan - Sampling Japanese hospitality, bathing in natural hot springs, wearing a Samue (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 and 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 and Kinkakuji Temple (Golden 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

Breakfast daily and 1 Japanese dinner at the ryokan
Entrance fees to all included sightseeing
Tea at Hokouji Temple, Lake Kawaguchi and Mt Fuji - Kachikachi-yama Ropeway and Observatory. Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Snow Monkey Park)
Escorted by licensed English speaking Japanese tour guides for all included site-seeing, unescorted train/bus travel between cities
All transportation in by public transfers - buses, trains and rail tickets (including ICOCA Swipe Card and Japan Rail tickets)
12 nights STANDARD hotels and ryokan. SUPERIOR and DELUXE hotel options are also available upon request. Accommodation rating – See Trip Notes for details
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, Kyoto to Hiroshima and from Hiroshima to Tokyo (one bag per person)

Not Included

International flights and visa
Tipping - An entirely personal gesture

Itinerary

Day 1

Tokyo

Arrive into either Narita or Haneda International Airport in Tokyo where, after clearing immigration you will be met by your transfer representative. 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 independently 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 an ancient Buddhist temple that was built in the 7th century, Tokyo's oldest Sensoji. Nearby is the Nakamise Shopping Street, famous for its large variety of traditional souvenirs and interesting craft stalls which we have free time to explore before lunch.

After, 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 one of the busiest intersections in the world. The famed intersection is a junction of no less than 7 pedestrian crossings. 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' it’s an amazing spectacle which we'll watch from the second floor of Starbucks located directly opposite. Total walking distance today: Approx. 8 - 10km. This evening offers free time to independently explore.
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 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, why not opt to enjoy a Shabu Shabu dinner - a traditional Japanese hot pot meal (book/pay locally).
Overnight: Tokyo  |  Breakfast

Day 4

Tokyo Edo Museum & free 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 or train to 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: Wakakusa-no-yado Maruei  |  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 foreshore of the 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 - Sanjusangendo Temple, Golden Pavilion & free time

Up first, we enjoy 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. 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. Himeji 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 streets 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 take the ferry and spend this morning exploring Miyajima Island. We take in the revered Miyajima 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 by ferry 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 the Peace Park, Peace Park Museum both of which are poignant reminders of this tragic past and then we'llsee the iconic A-Bomb Dome, one of the very few buildings left standing after the blast.

Note: From June 2019 the floating Torii Gate is undergoing renovations – please see the Trip Notes for further details.
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 is at leisure.
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 the 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 (onsen). In addition to seeing these amazing creatures, there is opportunity to further explore the park by foot, indulge in a foot spa or visit a traditional Japanese village located nearby.

We return to our hotel and this evening is free for you to relax.
Overnight: Nagano  |  Breakfast

Day 12

Matsumoto Castle - Japan's oldest castle

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 noodles for lunch before we continue onto Tokyo, which we reach later this afternoon.
Overnight: Tokyo  |  Breakfast

Day 13

Farewell

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

Consider extending your stay...

Consider spending some extra time exploring more of Japan’s abundant history and UNESCO Listed Sites. Extend your stay by a day, a week or even two! We offer a variety of properties for you to choose from. Browse our best places to visit, best time to visit, top 10 Japan experiences pages for suggestions on what to see and do on your holiday. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please let us know so we can accommodate your request.

For information about visas, top travel tips and much more, take a look through our travel guide.

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 ‘per person’ price if single rooms are required. If travelling solo, an additional ‘1-person’ supplement will apply. The snow monkeys are best viewed in the winter months Nov - Mar.

Read More
Dates
Per Person
Single
Supp.
£5895
£710

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.

Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo, Tokyo

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: Serviced Appartments

Within walking distance of the Shinjuku East area of the city, Citadines Shunjuku offers contemporary serviced apartments. The apartments vary from Studio Doubles and Twins to the more luxurious Premier. All include all mod-cons and en suite facilities. The Citadines also has an on site gym, breakfast options and broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity. Conveniently located near lots of restaurants, supermarkets, shopping malls and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

Hotel Elcient Kyoto, Kyoto

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Boasting a fantastic location in the heart of Kyoto, Hotel Elcient Kyoto is within walking distance of top attractions such as Kyoto Tower and the picturesque Shosei-en Garden. Guestrooms are compact and simply furnished, complete with modern amenities such as air conditioning and ensuite bathrooms. Enjoy more than 30 different dishes at the Western and Japanese buffet-style restaurant, with light lunches and dinner also available. On the second floor you’ll find a large public bath and sauna, offering the perfect spot to relax after some sightseeing.

Daiwa Roynet, Hiroshima

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

The Daiwa Roynet is a great launching pad for exploring Hiroshima with a prime location and reliable service. The smart guestrooms feature free WiFi access and all the mod-cons needed for a comfortable stay. Dine on Japanese dishes at the hotel's restaurant. Conveniently located in Hiroshima's main commercial district, just a 1-minute walk from Chudenmae Tram Station and a 10-minute walk from the Peace Memorial Museum.

Hotel Jal City Nagano, Nagano

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Boasting a convenient location in the city of Nagano, this hotel is within walking distance of attractions including the Zenkoji Buddhist temple and the Higashiyama Kaii Gallery. Spread over 16 storeys, its modern guestrooms offer a refrigerator, kettle and free WiFi, as well as beautiful views over the Northern Alps. Dining options include a hearty breakfast buffet in the Sky Banquet hall on the top floor and tasty Chinese cuisine in the Shisenrou restaurant. Bar Moet also offers a range of whiskeys and wines for you to enjoy alongside the views.

In Brief

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Tokyo
Ends
Tokyo
Departs
Jun - Feb
Hotel Rating
Our rating: Standard
Tour Guide
Yes - for all included sightseeing
Meals
Breakfast: 12, Dinner: 1
Visiting
Countries
Rainbow Bridge, stretching across the water in Tokyo, lit up at night
Rainbow Bridge, stretching across the water in Tokyo, lit up at night
Giant Buddha of Kamakura made from bronze
Mount Fuji dominating the landscape behind Lake Kawaguchi
Beautiful lake with a temple in the background in springtime in Kyoto
Beautiful lake with a temple in the background in springtime in Kyoto
Himeji Castle, a World Heritage site, surrounded by cherry blossoms
Sunset behind the iconic Miyajima monument that stands in the water
View of Matsumoto Castle from across the water
Rainbow Bridge, stretching across the water in Tokyo, lit up at night
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