LAOS - 13 DAYS
DAY 1 Arrival in Tokyo (–/–/–) Upon arrival to Tokyo’s airport, our representative will be waiting to assist with sorting the appropriate transportation into the city (boarding the right train or selecting the correct shuttle bus). The remainder of the day is free at leisure to explore Tokyo independently. Overnight in Tokyo.
DAY 2 Tokyo – with GUIDE (B/–/–) After breakfast your guide will take you to Hamarikyu, a Japanese garden that once served as a private villa of a powerful feudal lord. Visit also its tea house and learn about the tea ceremony. From the park, take a scenic river cruise to Asakusa, a part of Tokyo’s old town and the city’s oldest Geisha district also home to Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. Overnight in Tokyo.
DAY 3 Tokyo, Optional Day Trip to Kamakura or Nikko – SELF GUIDED (B/–/–)
Suggested Self–Guided Itinerary: Use the Japan Rail Pass for a day trip outside Tokyo to one of the following:
Kamakura – One of Japan’s former capitals, a delightful seaside town home to many ancient shrines, temples, and other structures like the Daibutsu, a giant bronze Buddha that stands at 13–meter tall.
Nikko – Located north of Tokyo, Nikko is a city that lies in the mountainous area of Tochigi Prefecture well–known for its national park. Overnight in Tokyo.
DAY 4 Tokyo – Takayama – SELF GUIDED (B/–/D) Get ready for the journey to Takayama, a small town nestled high in the Hida Alpine region of Gifu Prefecture. The first leg of the trip will be on a bullet train that can reach speeds of up to 260 kph. The next leg is on the limited express train Wide View, which offers one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan. Suggested Self–Guided Itinerary: We recommend strolling in Takayama’s shitamachi, where the streets are lined with century–old merchants’ homes and sake breweries. Stop by one of the breweries for a taste of the local drop or queue for the famous Hida beef sushi in one of the special food stalls.
In Takayama, experience a stay in a ryokan, the traditional Japanese–style inn furnished with low tables and chairs, sliding shoji doors, and tatami flooring. Overnight in Takayama
DAY 5 Takayama – with GUIDE (B/–/D)
Guided Tour: Food & Culture Walk and Hida Cycling Tour – Explore some of the food shops in Takayama with a knowledgeable guide, learning about the town’s colorful history and familiarizing the taste buds with some local delicacies. The walking tour includes visits to a tofu seller, a rakugan shop (traditional Japanese candies)and even a sake brewery. Food and sake tastings are also included.
Follow up with a cycling tour in Hida Furukawa, a small, quiet farm village in Gifu Prefecture located 15 minutes away from Takayama. With an impressive view of the surrounding Japanese Alps, it is well–known for the traditional architectural design of its old buildings and machiya–style houses built by experienced craftsmen centuries ago. Like other towns in the Hida Region, Hida Furukawa is also famous for its high–quality sake (rice wine) brought about by its rich rice fields, clean waters and favourable weather. Overnight in Takayama.
DAY 6 Takayama – Kanazawa, Day Trip in Shirakawago – SELF GUIDED (B/–/–) This morning, catch the bus to Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its gassho–zukuri farmhouses.These houses are private homes, but some are open to the public. In the afternoon, continue by bus to Kanazawa, the castle town that thrived as the center for culture and the arts in the 17th century. Overnight in Kanazawa.
DAY 7 Kanazawa – SELF GUIDED (B/–/–)
Suggested Self–Guided Itinerary: Start with the pristine Kenroku–en Garden, ranked one of Japan’s top three gardens with the oldest water fountain in the country. Adjacent to the garden is Kanazawa Castle. Lunch can be in Omicho Market, known throughout Japan for its fresh seafood and fine sushi.Finally, head across town to the old Samurai district of Kanazawa and visit Nomura House, a restored residence of a high ranked samurai family. Overnight in Kanazawa.
DAY 8 Kanazawa – Hiroshima – SELF GUIDED (B/–/–) This morning is at leisure until the departure for Hiroshima. After the long train journey, it’s time to check into the hotel and rest or start exploring this amazing city. Overnight in Hiroshima.
DAY 9 DHiroshima and Miyajima – SELF GUIDED (B/–/–)
Suggested Self–Guided Itinerary: Take a ferry to Miyajima island located in the Seto Inland Sea and sample local delicacies like oysters, saltwater eel, and maple leaf–shaped cakes.Visit theItsukushima Shrine, designed in a pier–like structure dating back to the 6th century. Visit alsothe Daisho–inBuddhist temple and laterreturn to Hiroshima and visit thePeace Memorial Park and Museum. Overnight in Hiroshima.
DAY 10 Hiroshima – Kyoto – SELF GUIDED (B/–/–) Today’s destination is Kyoto, the reigning cultural capital of Japan, home to 2,000 shrines and temples with 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Overnight in Kyoto.
DAY 11 Kyoto – GUIDED (B/–/–) Today’s tour starts with a visit to Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle that was originally built to serve as the private villa of a powerful feudal lordin early 1600s. Proceed to the Ryoan–ji Temple, famous for its well–maintained rock garden and home to the Myoshinji School of the Rinzai Buddhist sect. A short distance away is the stunning golden Kinkaku–ji Temple. End with Higashiyama district, a collection of narrow alleyways lined with local stores, souvenir shops& small eateries. Overnight in Kyoto.
DAY 12 Kyoto, GUIDED Cultural Experience, SELF GUIDED Afternoon Trip to Nara (B/–/–) Today, tour a machiya, a traditional wooden townhouse found throughout Kyoto, then slip into a kimono, the iconic traditional Japanese garment and once appropriately dressed, meet with a local tea master for a traditional ceremony steeped in spirituality and ritual. Enjoy a cup of the bitter tea along with traditional sweet treats.
Experience an introductory course in origami, the Japanese art of paper folding and learn the secrets behind creating beautiful decorations.
Suggested Self–Guided Itinerary:In the afternoon, go out of town and travel to Nara using the Japan Rail Pass. For 74 years during the 8th century, Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain. Visit Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building home to Japan’s largest Buddha, or Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s celebrated shrine. Overnight in Kyoto
DAY 13 Kyoto – Osaka – SELF GUIDED (B/–/–) Travel from Kyoto to Osaka and start exploring Japan’s culinary capital. Osaka’s flamboyance, fun–loving people, and amazing food make up for what it lacks in tourist attractions.
Suggested Self–Guide Itinerary: In Osaka, the following places are recommended: Dotonbori – a restaurant mecca which has long–been referred to as Osaka’s entertainment district. It is well–known for its bright neon lights, energetic shop owners and food stalls. Umeda – Some of the notable buildings are Hankyu Entertainment Park, which features a big Ferris wheel and is perfect for some last–minute shopping; the Umeda Sky Building, a pair of skyscrapers connected in “mid–air” and the ‘Floating Garden Observatory’. Overnight in Osaka.
DAY 14 Departure from Osaka (B/–/–) The rest of the day is at leisure until the scheduled transfer to Kansai International Airport.
Our Services Include:
- Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
- English meet and greet at the airport and return transfers to the airport
- 14–Day Japan Rail Pass in ordinary class, activated on Day 1
- Bus tickets on Day 6 (Takayama to Shirakawago, then Shirakawago to Kanazawa)
- English–speaking guides for tours on Days 2 and 11
- All entrance fees and public transportation fees as mentioned in the itinerary on Days 2 and 11
- Japanese cultural experience in Kyoto on Day 12
- Information pack
Our Services Do Not Include:
- Some local transport
- Meals other than mentioned above
- Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone, and other expenditures of a personal nature)
- Travel insurance (please see below)
- Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above
Terms & Conditions apply.
PROGRAMME CAN BE CUSTOMISED TO YOUR REQUIREMENTS
JAPAN Highlights - 14 DAYS