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Highlights of Japan
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Mixed Groups,Japan Cherry Blossom

8 Days / 7 Nights Trip to Japan

Highlights of Japan

Welcome to a country that fuses the ultra-modern and traditional with ease, a nation that blends the elegance of kimonos and the speed of bullet trains with verve.
Explore a country that will surprise, amaze, delight and completely captivate you in turn. Japan is the  electrifying rush of a crowded street in Tokyo at night. It is  the delicate taste of freshly made sushi. It’s the view of indomitable Mt. Fuji surrounded by quiet lakes. And it’s the exquisite elegance of the everyday – Shinto temples, kimono sashes, and a gracefully poured cup of tea.
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  • Duration
    8 Days
  • Starting From
    Twin sharing
  • Travel Operator
  • Flights
    Not Included
    Flight booking assistance will be provided.

Trip highlights

Cherry Blossom season: a once-in-a-lifetime experience
Highlight #1
Cherry Blossom season: a once-in-a-lifetime experience
This world-famous spectacle is ONLY seen in March-April. See Kyoto, Tokyo + Osaka covered with Cherry Blossom trees, and enjoy all the celebrations with locals!
Kyoto takes you back in time
Highlight #2
Kyoto takes you back in time
Japan's ancient and imperial capital is famous for its elegant temples, tea gardens and markets.
Stay in a ryokan
Highlight #3
Stay in a ryokan
When in Japan, live like the Japanese do. In a traditional ryokan, wear a traditional robe, relax with a cup of tea, and sleep on a futon.
Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial museum
Highlight #4
Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial museum
Visit the incredibly moving memorial to the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack of 1945
Take part in an elegant tea ceremony
Highlight #5
Take part in an elegant tea ceremony
Could there be anything more quintessentially Japanese?

There’s simply no place like Japan (Cherry Blossom Special)

Futuristic cities, quiet bamboo forests, kimonos, sushi, Mt. Fuji and more will guarantee you an unforgettable time. Take a look at this video by Media Hog Productions for a glimpse of what’s in store.

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Tour begins in Tokyo

Our tour starts in Tokyo, the modern-day capital of Japan. After checking in to our hotel which will be our base for the next two nights, we will enjoy an included dinner with the rest of the group and our Tour Leader.

Explore Tokyo’s neon streets and peaceful gardens

Over one-quarter of the Japanese population live within a 50 km radius of the centre of Tokyo, making it the most populous metropolitan area in the world. The result is a bustling and exciting city - the economic powerhouse of Asia. However, scratching its neon-clad surface reveals a city bursting with history and tradition. A morning stroll to Tokyo's oldest temple, Asakusa, will introduce us to Tokyo's unique culture. We then board a boat for a short journey along the Sumida River. Gaining a totally different perspective of the city, we drift past high rise apartments, secluded gardens and busy warehouses. Arriving in the heart of the city near Hamarikyu Gardens, you may wish to visit the Meiji shrine and Shinjuku area, where the latest electronic gadgets dazzle from glowing shop-fronts.

Travel on the bullet train to Kanazawa

No trip to Japan would be complete without a journey on a high speed train and this morning we leave Tokyo and board the Shinkansen. The bullet trains are known for the extremely punctual service, comfortable carriages and the lack of noise as you travel at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour. Our destination is Kanazawa, until 150 years ago the 4th largest city in Japan. The city has shunned mass industrialisation and retains the charm of winding back streets, delicate tea shops and the beautiful autumn maples and spring cherry blossoms of Kenrokoen Gardens. Once ruled by the Maeda Clan, one of the most powerful Samurai families in Japan, the city has several traditional samurai districts which we will explore. Tonight we are accommodated in a traditional inn, known as a ryokan, where we sleep on comfortable, folding futon mattresses laid on top of woven tatami mats. Rooms are twin share and because most ryokans are very small it is not possible to offer a single room. Bathrooms are usually shared as rooms are not typically en suite. During our stay, we learn about local etiquette, such as when to take off our shoes and the pleasures of taking a Japanese bath, all of which helps enhance our stay in this traditional establishment.

Take the train to Kyoto

After breakfast we make our way back to the train station for the journey to Kyoto. Kyoto is regarded as Japan's loveliest city, with more than 2000 temples and shrines, many set in perfectly manicured landscaped gardens. We base ourselves in Kyoto for the next four nights to allow ample opportunity to explore the highlights. We will start with a visit to Nijo Castle. Built in 1603 as a Shogun palace, it is a great example of the sumptuous setting in which the Shogun would have held audiences with his samurai warriors.

Explore Kyoto’s temples and gardens

We spend today visiting some of the cities many temples. We start with the Ryoan-ji Temple with its beautiful Zen gardens and famous rock garden. The exact history of the gardens is unknown but it is thought the temple was converted from an aristocrat's villa in 1450. Whilst in the gardens try testing out the theory that at least one of the rocks is hidden from every vantage point. We then explore the famous Golden Pavilion. The temple is a three storey building with the top two tiers covered in gold leaf. Set in a lake the building appears to float on the water and the reflections, coupled with the background of forest make it worthy of its place on many Japanese postcards. We'll enjoy a traditional tea ceremony too, and there is also time to stroll along Kyoto's charming streets and tree-lined canal, simply soaking up its unique atmosphere.

Visit Hiroshima and Miyajima

An early morning train takes us to Hiroshima, where we will spend the morning exploring this thought-provoking city in our own time. Completely destroyed on 6th August 1945, when it was the target of the first atomic bomb to be used in wartime, Hiroshima has literally risen from the ashes, and is now a thriving, friendly city. We visit the Peace Memorial Park and the well-presented museum on the site of the 1945 A-bomb hypocentre. Whilst serving as poignant reminders of the nuclear holocaust, their over-whelming message is of hope that such horrors will never reoccur. Travel around the city is easy, thanks to the provision of colourful street trams, brought in from all over Japan after the war. Just off the coast of Hiroshima is the tiny island of Miyajima. The relaxed feel of this island is enhanced by the deer that roam freely through the streets. As we arrive on the ferry we can take in the famous view of the floating torii gate. Considered to be one of the most beautiful sights in Japan, these red gates appear to float on the water with the hills of the island forming a spectacular backdrop. We take time to explore some of the islands many shrines before we take the ferry back to the mainland.

Discover Himeji’s ancient castle

Today we travel to the city of Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture. The city is known for its original castle. Known as the 'White Egret' owing to the brilliant white walls and winged roof, the castle is unlike others in the country having escaped damage by war, earthquake or fires which often destroy these traditional wooden structures. Listed as a World Heritage Site, the castle complex is made up of over 80 buildings and an impressive spiral maze leading up to the entrance which deterred intruders and allowed residents to open fire if the visitors were unwelcome. Close to the castle are Kokoen Gardens where we can try green tea and wander through the relaxing bamboo groves.

Tour ends in Kyoto

Our tour ends after breakfast this morning


 INCLUDED MEALS - Breakfast: 7 Dinner: 3

 TRIP STAFF - Explore Tour Leader Local Guide(s)


 ACCOMMODATION - 6 nights standard hotel 1 nights standard ryokan

Not Included

 Additional 5% GST

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Dates and prices

Start date

11 Oct 2020

End date

18 Oct 2020

5+ Spots left

8 Days / 7 Nights



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This Trip Is Operated By Explore

At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Our authentic travel experiences explore the sights and culture of a country, with hand-picked accommodation that balances comfort and location. Our average group tour size is just 12; perfect for meeting new people and getting to the heart of our destinations.

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