Day 1: Tokyo Arrival
Arrive in Tokyo, where you will be welcomed by our airport representative who will assist you with transferring by either train or shuttle bus to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
- For guests staying in the Park Hotel, enjoy dinner in the 1* Michelin Star Restaurant, Tateru Yoshino Shiodomé. Mainly inspired on French Cuisine, this cozy restaurant also has a great collection of French wines.
- For guests staying in the Peninsula Hotel, enjoy a culinary journey in the different outlets of the Hotel. Start with an appetizer and live music in the Peninsula Lobby, followed by a traditional Cantonese seafood course at Hei Fung Terrace, and a main course of international fare at Peter, located on the 24th floor of the hotel. Wine is included throughout the evening.
Overnight in Tokyo.
Day 2: Tokyo (B)
Today you will spend a full day taking in some of the many highlights Tokyo has to offer with a local guide by public transport.
First stop is nearby Meiji Jinja, Tokyo’s most famous shrine, dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji. The shrine is a popular site for Japanese Weddings’ if you are lucky you may see a bride and groom dressed in traditional Shinto wedding attire.
From old to new Tokyo as we then take a walk down Omotesando, commonly referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysee. This broad, tree lined avenue features a multitude of fashion flagship stores designed by internationally renowned architects within a short distance of each other.
A short subway ride will then take us to Asakusa, part of Tokyo’s Shitamachi, or old town. Asakusa is home to Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, and is also the city’s oldest Geisha district. The streets around Sensoji have many traditional shops selling Japanese crafts and souvenirs and are a delight to wander through.
We will then see Tokyo from a different angle as we take a cruise down the Sumida Gawa river by boat to Hamarikyu-teien. This stunning former private garden of an Edo Period lord is an oasis surrounded by a sea of skyscrapers.
Take the chance to break up your walk with a stop in a tea house on a small island on the park’s lake, where we will have the opportunity to try Matcha, Japanese green tea.
Overnight in Tokyo
Day 3: Tokyo - At Leisure / Optional Day Trip (B)
Today is a self-guided day
Today is a free day for you to explore this amazing city at leisure.
Or, you can use your included Japan Rail Pass to make an excursion outside of Tokyo to one of the following:
One of Japan’s former capitals, Kamakura is a delightful seaside town home to many ancient temples and the Daibutsu, a giant bronze Buddha.
Sitting high in the mountains of Nikko National Park, Nikko houses the Toshogu Shrine complex and mausoleum, Japan’s most extravagant display of religious architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Overnight in Tokyo.
Day 4: Tokyo - Hakone/Mt Fuji (B,D)
Today is a self-guide day.
Make an early start and leave Tokyo behind for the 2 hour journey to Hakone, the gateway to Mt Fuji and surrounding national park. This small town is famous for its onsen, or natural hot springs, and has natural beauty in abundance.
You have a full day to explore all that the Fuji Hakone National Park has to offer and armed with your included Transport Pass, you can take advantage of the numerous forms of transport on offer throughout the Park. Ride the world’s second longest cable car up Mt Owakudani, passing over sulfurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers in this volcanic area, where you can eat an egg hard boiled in the sulfuric hot springs which make Hakone famous. If you do, it will add seven years to your life!
A majestic replica pirate ship will sweep you across the Lake Ashinoko, a lake formed by a volcanic eruption 3000 years ago, and the Hakone Tozan ‘switchback train’ zig zags through the mountains, giving amazing views of the surrounding valleys.
Throughout the day you will have the chance to get a glimpse of Mt Fuji, however please keep in mind that she is a notoriously shy mountain and it needs to be a clear day.
Tonight you will stay in a traditional Japanese-style ryokan accommodation, complete with tatami mats, shoji rice paper sliding doors and onsen baths.
This evening, relax in your yukata, or lightweight kimono, and dine on a sumptuous kaiseki multi course meal, which will be served in your room. An onsen after dinner is highly recommended before you bed down on your futon.
For guests staying in superior accommodation, upgrade just this night to Hakone Ginyu to indulge in absolute luxury. The Ginyu is built into a mountain, offering stunning views of the surrounding moutains. Each room has an outdoor terrace with a private hot spring bath.
Overnight in Hakone
Overnight in Tokyo
Day 5: Hakone to Kyoto (B)
Time for one last soak in the onsen, before undertaking the 2 hour journey by the world famous Shinkansen bullet train to Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto. Kyoto is home to an astonishing 2000 Shrines and Temples, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sights.
This afternoon we have in store a truly amazing experience as you learn about Japanese culture in a Machiya, a beautiful restored wooden town house typical for Kyoto. You will first get a short tour of the house and explanation of the architecture, before trying on a kimono, the traditional Japanese garment. This is followed by an induction to the Tea Ceremony, a quintessential part of Japanese culture, and the tea master will teach you about each movement, serving the tea and of course also how to make it!
The cultural experience ends with a walk through the old neighborhood and a visit to a nearby Sake brewery, where you’ll have a chance to try the local brew.
Overnight in Kyoto.
Day 6: Kyoto (B)
This morning you will explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide, utilizing Kyoto’s comprehensive bus system to visit some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites.
You will start your day with a visit to Nijo Castle. This ornamental castle was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning surrounding gardens. The main building was completed in 1603, and is famous for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors.
Continue on to Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion. Originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun, after his death it became a Buddhist Temple at his request, and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples.
The final stop of the morning is Daitokuji Zen temple complex, which consists of a main temple and 22 sub-temples. You will visit Daisen-in sub temple, which was founded in 1464 and has one of Japan’s best Zen rock gardens, perfect for a spot of Zazen meditation after a busy morning.
This afternoon we have arranged a special walking tour for you through the amazing Higashiyama district. Higashiyama contains many of Kyoto’s most important temples, shrines, gardens and museums. This walk includes some “must-see” Kyoto attractions, but it approaches them via backstreets and narrow pathways, and it includes some hidden gems that most tours miss.
You’ll start at top of Gojo Street (famous for its pottery shops) and work your way through an atmospheric Pure Land Buddhist cemetery before entering bustling Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Descend Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, two of Kyoto’s most picturesque streets, lined with perfectly preserved houses before emerging into Maruyama-koen Park. From here, head via a back way to Chion-in Temple.
Overnight in Kyoto
Day 7: Kyoto - Nara (B)
Today is a self-guided day
This morning you will make the short 45min trip by train to Nara.
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. We would recommend visiting Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha, and Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most celebrated shrine.
You will also have time to wander through Nara Park, called Deer Park by locals due to the large population of tame deer living there.
In the afternoon, head back to Kyoto and visit the Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. From the 13m high veranda jutting out from the Main Hall you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto, whilst pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners.
Tonight we have a very special experience in store.
The evening will begin with a Walking Lecture through some of Kyoto’s geisha districts. You will learn about the geisha’s world - past, present and future. If you are lucky you will have the chance to see a geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha) as they head to the first appointment of the evening.
After the walk, you will visit a private restaurant, where you can enjoy dinner and drinks with private maiko entertainment consisting of jovial conversation and dancing.
Overnight in Kyoto.
Day 8: Kyoto Departure (B)
Departure day. At leisure until your included transfer by direct train to Kansai Airport.