Osaka & Gion Matsuri Festival
Tour to Japan – 8 days, 7 nights 23-31 Jul 2022
Bushido Travel Shorts
As one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, Japan has a unique combination of stunning scenery, ancient temples and shrines along with stunning modern architecture. With a diverse culture and ancient time-honoured traditions, you can immerse yourself in the rich history and culture one day and marvel at the incredible technological developments the next.
From the neon lights to 600-year-old traditional castles, gold-leaf covered pagodas, to Shinto shrines dating back to the eighth century you will see it all on our 7-night Osaka short tour, an opportunity to look at Osaka, and surrounds, a little more in-depth – especially with the Gion Matsuri festival in full swing.
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Included in the Bushido Shorts Tour
All Flights & Taxes
13 Light Lunches
All transportation within Japan
All Tour Guides & Entrance Fees
24/7 Help and support whilst in Japan
Day 1 – Osaka
All Day: Depart Australia for Osaka
Evening: Arrive Osaka at 8:00pm
Fly direct to Osaka from Australia and travel to the hotel. Once you have settled in, feel free to explore the many local area and your guide will be on hand to give ideas on local eateries.
Day 2 – Kyoto
Afternoon: Gion Matsuri festival
Evening: Gion Matsuri festival
Today we travel to Kyoto, where we’ll see the gorgeous autumn colours and visit Kiyomizudera (the water temple) built on the side of a hill (870) without a single nail or bolt being used. Take a leisurely stroll around the temple and gardens before heading down the little shopping street of Higashiyama where you can buy souvenirs and sample different local delights. Then, its off to Japans most famous festival – the Gion Matsuri. Experience the party type atmosphere with the hundreds of parade floats and people participating in this amazing festival, the like of which you have never seen before. This raucous and sensational summer festival is full of rituals, dance and music and features a procession of portable shrines over 100 floats and thousands of people.
Day 3 – Nara
Afternoon: Todaiji Temple, Mochi-making, Pagoda area
Evening: Dinner in Nara with Japanese host
Today we visit Nara, a relaxed ancient town which is home to many of Japans oldest temples. Here we meet up with our local guide to visit the largest wooden temple in the world – the Todaiji Temple that enshrines a 5-storey high bronze Buddha. With museums, historic temples and deer roaming freely this is a really delightful old town and looks particularly beautiful with the blossoming cherry trees. Next, we’ll make our way to Kasuga-taisha Shinto Shrine before heading back into Nara to see the Motchi pounding demonstration and have a wonder through the many shops and restaurants in souvenir alley. Finally, we round up the day with an Izakaya dinner with our Japanese host.
Day 4 – Osaka
Morning: Nijo castle/Imperial palace
Evening: Gion area
Today we head back to Kyoto for the day where we will start with a visit to Nijo castle, an original Shogunate castle (1603-1867) before it became an Imperial palace. We then head over to Kinkaku-Ji (Golden pavilion) a former retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1408) before it was destroyed by a fanatic monk in 1950. The building was painstakingly rebuilt , using traditional methods, complete with the two top floors covered entirely in gold leaf. This evening we will head to the famous Gion area for dinner and maybe catch a glimpse of a Geisha or two.
Day 5 – Hiroshima/Himeji
Morning: Himeji castle
Afternoon: Himeji castle
Today we take the high-speed bullet train travelling 250km in less than an hour to visit the world heritage listed Himeji Castle (one of only twelve castles in Japan that has never been destroyed by war, fire or earthquake). This stunning white castle complete with a moat is over 400 years old and looks amazing set against the red and gold autumn colours of the pristine castle grounds.
Day 6 – Osaka
Afternoon: Osaka aquarium
Evening: Own leisure
This morning we head to Tenjinbashi, one of the longest shopping malls in Osaka (1.8km long) on our way to the Osaka museum of housing, an indoor recreation of an Edo period village. Here you can dress in traditional kimono and wander around (and take photos) of this unique place. Then, we go to the Osaka Aquarium, one of the best examples of an aquarium in the world. We start at the rooftop level and wind our way down, through the various displays, ending up at the largest central aquarium tank you will ever see. This evening, is a free night to have dinner at your leisure.
Day 7 – Kyoto
Afternoon: Kadensho Onsen
Today, we will visit the lush green and historic site of Arashiyama in all of its autumn glory. Here you can wander along the pathways of beautiful autumn foliage to the enchanting Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Later, take a leisurely stroll around the town’s numerous old-style shops and temples and wonder along the tree lined Hozugawa river to see the traditional Kudari boats. After this, we will venture to the Kadensho Onsen, a natural public hot spring in Arashiyama, where you can relax and take in the serenity of your surrounds. Tonight, we once again venture out for a stroll around the very vibrant and neon-lit Dotonbori, one of the places to see, and eat, while in the Osaka area. A great place for dinner.
Day 8 – Osaka
Afternoon: Umeda/Airport transfer
Evening: Depart for Australia
Today is the last day of our tour in Osaka. This is an ideal time to do some last minute shopping before we head to the airport and the flight home.