Japan Tours Itinerary
Classic Japan Tour
16 Days – 15 Nights
Tour to Japan – 16 days, 15 nights
2o Jul – 4 Aug 2022
21 Oct – 5 Nov 2022
Classic Japan Tour
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 of the big cities, the ancient castles and temples to volcanic hot springs and snow-capped mountains Japan has it all. It’s the only place in the world where you can see gold-leaf covered pagodas, 400-year-old traditional castles, Shinto shrines dating back to the eighth century and one of the most majestic mountain volcanoes in the world. Our Classic Japan tour is designed to give you a feel for ancient Japan of old and the modern high-tech Japan of today. The tour will take you through ancient villages, temples and castles, explore different eras and traditions as well as taking in some of the most modern high-tech cities in Japan.
Included in the Classic Japan Tour
All Flights & Taxes
All Light Lunches
All transportation within Japan
All Tour Guides & Entrance Fees
24/7 Help and support whilst in Japan
Day 1 – Australia/Tokyo
Morning: Depart Australia for Japan
Afternoon: Arrive Tokyo
Evening: At your Leisure
Fly direct to Tokyo from Australia. Once we have arrived at the hotel and settled in, feel free to explore the area and sample the delights on offer at the local eateries. Your guide is always on hand to give ideas and tips on where to eat in the local area.
Day 2 – Tokyo/Osaka
Morning: Shinjuku Gyoen (sculptured garden)
Afternoon: Samurai museum
Evening: Shinkansen to Osaka
Today we start with a leisurely walk through the (gorgeous) landscaped gardens of Shinjuku Gyoen. With three different garden landscapes and more than 1000 Cherry Blossom trees, this is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks and it is one of the best places to view the sea of pink cherry blossoms. After Lunch, we will visit the Shinjuku Samurai museum, displaying over 700 years of the Samurai history and artefacts including original armour and swords. Here, you can try on the armour, see sword performances or even take Japanese calligraphy lessons. At the end of the day, we will take an evening train to Osaka where we will check into the 4-star Hotel Monterey Le Frere for the next 6 nights.
Day 3 – Kyoto
Morning: Kyoto Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
Afternoon: Kiyomizudera (Historic temple)
Evening: Gion Geisha Experience
Today we travel to Kyoto, where we’ll see the gorgeous autumn colours and visit the gold-leaf covered Kinkaku-ji (Golden) Zen Temple set in 600-year-old gardens and the Kiyomizudera (the water temple) built on the side of a hill without a single nail or bolt being used. Next, we take a leisurely stroll down the little shopping street of Higashiyama where you can buy souvenirs and sample different local delights. Later tonight, we’ll visit Gion, Kyoto’s famous Geisha district to experience a traditional Geisha performance.
Day 4 – Nara
Morning: Umeda (exciting shopping area)
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 Buddha. With museums, historic temples and deer roaming freely this is a really delightful old town and looks particularly beautiful with the reds and yellows of the autumn 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 5 – Kyoto
All day: Arashiyama
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. Tonight, we venture out for an evening stroll around Kyoto and see where old meets new with traditional gas lit streets meeting the modern neon lights of the city.
Day 6 – Osaka
Morning: Kaiyukan (Osaka aquarium)
Afternoon: Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street
Today we will visit one of the most amazing world renowned aquariums you will ever see. We will take the spiral ramp all the way from the 8th floor to the 4th floor, leaving the land of terrestrial animals to find yourself stepping into the sea all the way to the ocean floor. After having lunch we will travel into Osaka to Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street, the longest undercover shopping street (1.76km)in Japan. This evening we will head to the vibrant Dotonbori, the kuidaore food area of Osaka with its towering walls of neon signs and so many restaurants to choose from. Sights that will amaze you.
Day 7 – Himeji
All day: Himeji Castle
Evening: At your leisure
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. The castle is made up of over 80 buildings connected by passageways and gates. Once inside the castle walls we’ll wander through the passageways and up the steep steps to the roof of the 6-storey fortress to view the elaborate rooftop ornaments, believed to protect the building from fire. After this full day out, we head back to the hotel to enjoy some free time for rest and relaxation.
Day 8 – Hiroshima
Morning: Bullet Train to Hiroshima
Afternoon: Atomic Bomb Museum, Shukkeien Garden, Peace Park, Sadako’s Memorial.
Evening: At your leisure
Today we take our reserved seats on the bullet train and head 380km to Hiroshima. After dropping the bags at the hotel we’ll visit the magnificent Shukkeien Gardens for a picnic and take a stroll around the picturesque gardens complete with ornamental ponds, gorgeous bridges, pagodas and tea houses. From here we’ll visit the Peace Museum and amble through the beautifully manicured grounds of Peace Park to the UNESCO world heritage listed Atomic Bomb Dome building – the only structure left standing after the atomic bomb blast on 6th August 1945. To finish off the day we will take a walk past the ground-zero plaque and stop for dinner in the local undercover shopping mall on the way back to the hotel.
Day 9 – Hiroshima
All day: Iwakuni
Evening: At your leisure
Today we head further south to the delightful and colourful spot of Iwakuni and the amazing Kintai-kyo Bridge, a distinguished landmark of Iwakuni. The bridge has five arches, spanning the Nishiki River, affixed to massive stone pillars. We will relax and picnic under the red and gold canopy of the autumn trees in Kikko Park before we take the ropeway up to Iwakuni Castle to see the amazing collection of samurai swords, armour and artefacts.
Day 10 – Beppu
All Day: Beppu
Evening: Free time
Today we take the train 330km south to Kyushu Island and the largest hot spring town in Japan. We will start the day with a visit to the different ‘Hell holes’ – steaming ponds of various colours, bubbling mud pools and other hydrothermal activity before having lunch. Then we will try out a traditional Japanese hot spring or beach sand hot spring. Either way, you will find it most relaxing and a great experience. After a relaxing day, we will head back to Hiroshima in time for dinner.
Day 11 – Takamatsu
Evening: Aeon mall Okayama
Today we take the Shinkansen to Okayama where we start the day with a look around Kurashiki Bikan historical quarter with its traditional Japanese style harmonised with early western influences. A prospering trading area during the 1600s, this historic area is alive with its many traditional shops and resteraunts along the banks of the willow-lined Kurashki river. We then head to Takamatsu on Shikoku island. Here we will visit one of Japan’s most beautiful historic gardens – Ritsurin Garden, a large, historic garden completed in 1745 as a private strolling garden and villa for the local feudal lords. Tonight you can explore the Aeon Mall of Okayama with its hundreds of shops, restaurants and supermarkets.
Day 12 – Hiroshima/Tokyo
Morning: Bullet Train to Tokyo
Afternoon: Sumo Museum, Tokyo Edo Museum
Evening: Harajuku, Shibuya Crossing
Today we hop on the bullet train to travel the 894km to Tokyo, Japan’s most vibrant city. Arriving early afternoon, we’ll check into the hotel and head out to the Sumo and Tokyo Edo Museums. After the museums, we head out to the Harajuku area where teenage fashion is extreme, wild and wonderful and cosplay culture dominates. Next, we move on to the bright neon bedecked area of Shibuya, home to the world famous ‘Shibuya Crossing’. Here we will soak up the atmosphere of the world’s busiest crossing, where hundreds of people cross the road at every change of the lights, all rushing to and from the bustling nightlife area with its many shops, clubs, bars and restaurants.
Day 13 – Tokyo
All day: Mount Fuji, Lake Kawaguchico, Fuji caves, Saiko Iyashi no Satoneba Historic Village
Evening: At your leisure
Today we take a day trip to the majestic and beautiful Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain. We will start with a ride to the mountain’s 5th station to take in the breath-taking views over the five lakes and surrounding countryside before moving onto the famous Ice Cave. Filled with ice year-round this glistening cavern is packed with natural ice pillars and crystals and is a real must-see attraction. Later we travel around to the Saiko Iyashi no Satoneba Village, an ancient old village with amazing views of Mount Fuji. With stone huts and thatched roofs and plenty of local art exhibits, you’ll get a authentic feel for rural Japan and you can even rent some period clothing and pose for a picture in front of Mount Fuji.
Day 14 – Tokyo
Morning: Imperial Palace surrounds, Ginza shopping area
Afternoon: Ginza shopping area, Akihabara
Today we will visit the outer grounds of the Imperial Palace home to Japan’s Imperial Family. The outer grounds are beautifully manicured and filled with the gorgeous autumn colours. Next, we move onto Ginza, with the world’s top fashion brands, boutiques, department stores, art galleries and amazing restaurants, Ginza is Tokyo’s most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district. Later we move to Akihabara or “electric Town” famous for its high-tech electronics shops and the centre of Japans Otaku and anime culture. There are plenty of shops and restaurants specialising in anime, manga, retro video games, collectable figurines and game cards along with ‘Maid Cafes’ where staff are dressed up as French maids to entice you inside.
Day 15 – Tokyo
Morning: Sumida River Cruise
Afternoon: Tokyo Sky Tree
Today, we head to Asakusa for a beautiful, leisurely cruise on the Sumida River to see the autumn colours from a different perspective. We then move across the river for the incredible views across Tokyo from the world’s tallest tower – the Tokyo Sky Tree. From the observation deck and restaurant at 450 metres (1480 feet) above sea level you can marvel at the panoramic views across Tokyo and on a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji. Later we pass through the Kaminarimon (Thunder) gate into Nakamise, the Asakusa Shopping Street. A bustling street filled with typical Japanese fare, where you can pick up a souvenir or taste some of the local Japanese snacks on route to visit Tokyo’s Sensoji Temple, built in 645AD. This is one of Tokyo’s most popular temples and the area around the temple is a great place for dinner and last-minute shopping.
Day 16 – Tokyo
Morning: Free Time
Afternoon: Depart 1600 airport
Evening: Fly direct to Australia
Today the morning can be spent at your leisure. Check out time is 11:00am but the hotel will take care of our bags until we depart at 4.00pm for Narita airport. After we have checked in as a group, feel free to make the most of the facilities at the airport and we will all meet up again at the departure gate 40 minutes before our scheduled take-off time.