Okunoin cemetery | Mount Koya | Japan
FROM: R136,675 pp

Get off the beaten path in Japan to discover a range of the country's best hidden gems, as well as some classic highlights. Explore ancient Kyoto and pay your respects at the memorials of Hiroshima. Tour Mount Koya and spend a night at a Buddhist temple, visit Tokushima on Japan's smallest main island and take in the artwork of Claude Monet on Naoshima island. Stay at a ryokan in Kotohira, uncover the lush scenery of Iya Vallley and relax in the hot spring baths of Matsuyama, plus so much more!

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates

Trip Highlights

Kyoto - Take in the main sites of the city with our tour leader and enjoy afternoon tea with a maiko (trainee geisha)
Tokushima - Learn about one of Japan's most famous festivals at the Awa Odori Kaikan and ride a cable car to the top of Mount Misen for panoramic views
Naoshima - Visit this cultural island on a day trip to take in the impressive art installations and see works of Monet and Kusama at Benesse House and Chichu Art museum
Matsuyama - Opt to bathe in Japan's oldest hot spring baths and visit a well-preserved samurai castle
Mount Koya - Stay in a traditional BUddhist temple, join morning prayers and visit the shrines and pagodas dotted around the mountain
Takamatsu - Watch a traditional Japanese puppet show and visit the beautiful Ritsurin Gardens
Kotohira - Spend two nights in a traditional ryokan inn, see the iconic Konpira-san shrine and explore the verdant Iya Valley
Hiroshima - Pay your respects at the memorials to the atomic bomb, and take an included ride on the ferry to charming Miyajima island

Included

12 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 6 dinners
Escorted by a tour leader
All relevant transportation and transfers including by minibus, coach and train
Afternoon tea with a maiko in Kyoto
Tickets to Awa Odori Kaikan Museum, Mount Bizan Ropeway, Awa Jurobe Yashiki Puppet Theatre & Ritsurin Gardens in Takamatsu
Iya Valley sightseeing including entrance fees & lunch
Okonomiyaki dinner in Hiroshima
Luggage forwarding from Kyoto to Tokushima and from Kotohira to Hiroshima
Shared portable Wi-Fi access throughout trip
9 nights 3-4 star hotels, 1 night temple stay in Mount Koya & 2 nights ryokan in Kotohira
Arrival transfer on day 1 and departure transfer on day 13 by shared shuttle bus
Selected entrance fees & local transport in Kyoto
Full-day private guide in Mount Koya including lunch & entrance fees
Full-day private guide service in Naoshima including lunch at the Benesse House Museum
Hiroshima Peace Museum & Park
Visit to Miyajima Island including entrance fees
Information pack on arrival

Not Included

International flights
Any entrance fees (including temples, shrines and museums) unless otherwise specified
Any local transport unless covered by the included transport passes
Baggage handling and luggage forwarding unless otherwise specified - you will be expected to carry your own luggage

Itinerary

Days 1-2

Kyoto sightseeing

On arrival at Kansai or Itami International Airport, you will be greeted by a representative who will arrange for a shared taxi transfer to our hotel in Kyoto. The tour leader will be waiting in the lobby to welcome you, and later we gather with the group for a welcome meeting followed by a delicious meal at a local restaurant.

On day 2, we enjoy a day of guided sightseeing in Kyoto using public transportation, showcasing the city's rich history and culture. Known as the "City of Ten Thousand Temples," Kyoto offers a variety of stunning attractions. Entrance fees to selected sites will be included in the itinerary, allowing us to visit highlights such as the Philosophers' Path, the Silver Pavilion of Ginkakuji, and the lively Nishiki Food Market. In the afternoon, we have the unique opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea with a maiko (apprentice geisha) in the traditional Gion district.

Accommodation: The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo or similar
Overnight: Kyoto (2)  |  Breakfast x 1, Dinner x 1

Day 3

Mount Koya & temple stay

Kyoto - Mount Koya. Today we're heading off the beaten path to Mount Koya, in the mountains of Wakayama Prefecture. Mount Koya is home to ancient temples, shrines, and pagodas, including Okunoin, the largest cemetery in Japan. Surrounded by towering cryptomeria trees, this atmospheric graveyard stretches into the misty morning. With the services of a local guide to provide insight into the history and significance of these sites, our visit will include lunch and entrance fees. Tonight, we stay at a traditional Buddhist temple lodging, and enjoy a dinner of shojin ryori, a vegetarian Buddhist cuisine.

Accommodation: Renge-in Shukubo or similar
Overnight: Mount Kya (temple stay)  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Tokushima

Mount Koya - Tokushima. This morning we rise early to join morning prayers at the temple lodging, before enjoying a traditional Buddhist breakfast. Leaving Mount Koya, we then take a private bus to Wakayama Port and board a ferry to Tokushima on Shikoku Island. Shikoku is the smallest of Japan's four main islands, and Tokushima is well-known for hosting the Awa Odori dance festival, the largest dance festival in Japan. Upon arrival, we visit the Awa Odori Kaikan Museum to learn more about the festival and we ride a cable car to the top of Mount Bizan for stunning views of the city.

Accommodation: Hotel Sunroute Tokushima or similar
Overnight: Tokushima  |  Breakfast

Days 5-6

Takamatsu & Naoshima island

Tokushima - Takamatsu - Naoshima - Takamatsu. On day 5, we enjoy a half-day excursion to experience traditional Japanese puppet theatre at the Awa Jurobe Yashiki puppet theatre. Afterwards, we make our way to Takamatsu and explore the beautiful Ritsurin Gardens.

On day 6, we take a day trip to Naoshima, known as Japan's famous "Art Island". Here we enjoy the services of a local guide, who will take us through world-class art installations amidst stunning natural landscapes. Enjoy lunch at a local island cafe and visit Benesse House and Chichu Art museums to see works by renowned artists like Yayoi Kusama and Claude Monet. We return to Takamatsu in the evening.

Accommodation: JR Clement Hotel or similar
Overnight: Takamatsu (2)  |  Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1

Days 7-8

Kotohira ryokan stay & Iya Valley

Takamatsu - Kotohira. Leaving Takamatsu behind on day 7, we take a scenic train journey to Kotohira, a town renowned for housing Shikoku's largest shrine complex, Konpira-san. In Kotohira we are staying at a traditional but comfortable ryokan inn with its own hot spring baths and traditional Japanese-style evening meals included.

During the afternoon of day 7, we can climb the 1,368 steps to reach the inner shrine of Konpira-san, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area. We also visit a local sake brewery and sample some traditional rice wine.

On day 8, a private bus takes us to the Iya Valley, a pristine and unspoiled natural area known for its vine bridges. Take a walk across one of these bridges, enjoy a delicious lunch, and join a boat ride through one of the valley's gorges. Additionally, we explore a historic samurai residence before returning to Kotohira for another night of hot spring baths and culinary delights.

Accommodation: Sakura-no-Sho or similar
Overnight: Kotohira (2) (ryokan)  |  Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1, Dinner x 2

Day 9

Exploring Matsuyama & historic hot spring baths

Kotohira - Matsuyama. Today we take the train across Shikoku island to Matsuyama, home to Japan's oldest hot spring baths. There is also an incredibly well-preserved samurai castle here, which we will enjoy an included visit to, before a free afternoon for you to further explore Matsuyama.

The town's famous and historic bath house, Dogo Onsen is located right next to our hotel. This bath house has been in existence for over 3,000 years and is currently undergoing a 7-year restoration project to ensure it can be enjoyed by future generations. There are baths reserved for the royal family, but there are also separate baths available to the public. Despite the renovations, the baths remain open and you are free to pay a visit this evening if you wish.

Accommodation: Candeo Hotels Matsuyama Okaido or similar
Overnight: Matsuyama  |  Breakfast

Days 10-11

Hiroshima & Miyajima island

Matsuyama - Hiroshima. On day 10, we take a ferry from Matsuyama to Hiroshima on Japan's main island. Hiroshima will always be remembered for the tragic events of 1945, and we visit the Peace Park and Museum to learn about the dropping of the atomic bomb at the end of the Second World War. After a sobering but thought-provoking afternoon, we enjoy a leisurely stroll along the riverside and try Hiroshima's famous dish, okonomiyaki for our included dinner.

Day 11 sees us take an included ferry ride to Miyajima Island, where you can visit Itsukushima Shrine and hike (or ride the cable car!) to the top of Mount Misen for stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea.

Accommodation: Vista Hotel Hiroshima or similar
Overnight: Hiroshima (2)  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 1

Days 12-13

Hidden Joge & Kyoto

Hiroshima - Joge - Kyoto. On day 10 we visit Joge, a small historic town that is rarely visited by foreign visitors to Japan. Joge is famous for its original Meiji & Taisho era architecture. Walking down Joge's main street gives you a sense of stepping back in time. We enjoy a full day of cultural activities with local guides, and can meet members of the local community.

In the late afternoon, we return to Kyoto on a super-fast Nozomi shinkansen bullet train. After freshening up, we join our tour leader and group for a farewell meal at a local izakaya. Consider ending the tour with karaoke for a memorable final night!

Our tour ends after breakfast on day 13, with an included shared taxi back to the airport.

Accommodation: The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo 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
R136,675
R147,355
R136,675
R147,355
R140,815
R151,495
R140,815
R151,495
2025
Twin Share
Single Room
R164,225
R182,315
R173,425
R191,515
R173,425
R191,515
R164,225
R182,315
R164,225
R182,315
R164,225
R182,315
R164,225
R182,315
R164,225
R182,315
R159,205
R177,265
R159,205
R177,265
R159,205
R177,265
R159,205
R177,265
R159,205
R177,265
R164,225
R182,315
R173,425
R191,515
R173,425
R191,515
R173,425
R191,515
R173,425
R191,515
R173,425
R191,515
R173,425
R191,515

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Kyoto
Ends
Kyoto
Departs
Thursdays
Group Size
Min 4 / Max 14
Hotel Rating
3-4 star hotels
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour leader
Meals
Breakfast: 12, Lunch: 3, Dinner: 6
Countries
Minimum Age
6 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
Yes
Dep. Transfer
Yes
Beautiful lake with a temple in the background in springtime in Kyoto
Station within the autumn-coloured trees on Mount Koya
Hiroshima memorial, dedicated to those lost in the tragedy
OTG002970Japan Hidden Gems & Highlights - 13 daysFar EastHandpickedFar Eastfalse0Japanhttps://www.onthegotours.com/za/Japan/Japan-Hidden-Gems-and-Highlights-13-dayshttps://www.onthegotours.com/repository/Japan-Hidden-Gems--Highlights-main--Okunoin-Mount-Koya-839811714748044_crop_flip_300_300_f2f2f2_center-center.jpgGroup_Tours