Essential Japan, 10 Days
What you get...
- 10 day tour departing Tokyo.
- 4 nights accommodation in Hostels.
- 1 night accommodation in a Capsule Hotel.
- 4 nights accommodation in a Hotel Transport by public bus, metro, train and bullet train
- Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour.
- Tokyo - Yoyogi Park.
- Kanazawa - Higashi Chaya District walking tour.
- Kyoto - Gion District walk.
- Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine.
- Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome.
- Osaka - Dotombori District walking tour.
Tokyo - Kanazawa - Kyoto - Hiroshima - Osaka
Day 1 Tokyo.
Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. As travellers are arriving from all over the world, there are no activities planned for today. The group meeting will take place at 6pm this evening. To introduce you to Tokyo at night your leader will take you for walk around the famous Shinjuku area and the group can choose the place for their first dinner together. Tokyo is a dynamic, modern hub, the thriving capital of an ancient land. Contradictions are everywhere, as hi-tech gadgetry and neon lights play an integral part in the lives of a population steeped in tradition. If two days in Tokyo isn't enough, you can book additional accommodation with our team or your booking agent so you can arrive early and tick all the sights off your bucket list. Please remember that there are many options for travellers to choose from on this tour to make the most of all your free time. While we have quoted the approximate cost of some of the most popular activities throughout, these do not include costs of getting to or from sights. Public transport in Japan is economical, efficient and not only a great way to get around, it's the best way to go local. This itinerary is far from a hand-holding, all inclusive trip, so enjoy the freedom and indulge in some raw fish.
Day 2 Tokyo.
In the morning, head out exploring with your group leader in Shibuya area. Look down on one of the busiest intersections in the world at Shibuya station and visit the statue of Hachiko the famous loyal dog. Next we indulge our eyes if not our bellies visiting a depachika food halls where vendors sell everything from bento boxes for lunch to formal gifts and everyday groceries. Grab a picnic lunch (optional) as we are heading to Yoyogi Park, home to many events from the first Japan Olympics. Afterwards we visit Meiji Jingu Shrine. Enter via a massive Torii (gate) and the sights and sounds of the busy city are replaced by a tranquil forest. We continue our journey with a visit to Harajuku the home of quirky youth pop culture. The rest of the day is free for you to explore. If you are a lover of cats visit the Gotokuji Cat Temple Maneki Neko (the beckoning cat) are known for good luck and prosperity not only in Japan but all across Asia. Perhaps re visit your childhood with a magical day spent at Tokyo Disney or Disney Sea theme parks (tickets can be bought at JR ticket counters, convenience stores, online). Or perhaps get the group together for the final night in Tokyo and experience the Robot Cafe in Shinjuku. You can catch a 3 hour show full of neon lights, lasers, robotics, video screens and dancers.
Day 3 Kanazawa.
This morning we travel by train to the city of Kanazawa. This city is best known for Kenroku en, a 17th century castle and gardens. Kanazawa is also known for being the home of samurai, it boasts beautifully preserved samurai and geisha districts, historic temples and awesome markets you can shop and eat your way around. After checking into our hotel, perhaps go and explore Kenroku en Gardens and Castle. The castle is free to enter however the gardens have an entry fee of 310JPY. A bus pass for the day in Kanazawa will cost you approximately 500JPY. Tonight is a free evening for you to explore the streets and indulge in Kanazawa's izakaya and sushi.
Day 4 Kanazawa.
Explore Kanazawa by foot on a walking tour of the Higashi Chaya district. Get lost among the Geisha in the alleyways and admire the traditional Chaya houses, known locally as places of tradition, feasts and entertainment. Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony at one of the local tea houses, if tea's your thing, and then the afternoon is free for you to explore on your own. Everything is super accessible in Japan so you'll do a fair bit of walking, so be sure to pack a comfy pair of shoes to get around in.
Day 5 Kyoto.
Kyoto was once the imperial capital of Japan and is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. With over 2000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a great place to get lost in, so get out, walk the streets and soak up the wonderful atmosphere in your free time. A bus pass for the day will cost approximately 500JPY. Perhaps visit the magnificent, gold-plated Kinkaku ji Temple, or maybe Nijo Castle and, if you like, join your leader on a walk through the famous Gion Giesha district. With its many old teahouses, some of them mentioned in Memoirs of a Geisha. We can observe the age-old tradition of immaculate Geisha girls visiting members of the wealthy elite in small teahouses tucked away down tiny back streets. If you are keen to visit Himeji Castle, today would be a great day to go. It's both a national treasure and a World Heritage site, and your leader can assist you with directions and tips on getting there.
Day 6 Kyoto.
Join your leader this morning for a walk in the wooded hills of Inari Mountain, famous for its Shinto 'fox temple' and atmospheric red torii gates, a quintessential Japan sight and must-see for keen photographers. There's lots to do in this city so get up early and make the most of it. The afternoon is free for you to explore and your leader can give you recommendations on what to see and how to get there. It's your last night in Kyoto, so make sure you do your last-minute shopping or, in true Japanese tradition, hit the karaoke bar and show off your impressive pipes.
Day 7 Hiroshima.
Hiroshima is a bustling metropolis with a tragic history, approximately two hours on the train from Kyoto. Once here, your leader will take you to visit Peace Park and the ruins of the A-Bomb Dome building in the evening, one of 11 structures left partially standing as a reminder of the destruction of nuclear war following the nuclear bomb blast on 6 August 1945. The Peace Park contains monuments, and a museum dedicated to Hiroshima and international peace. Please note that while entry to the Peace Park is free, the museum does charge admission.
Day 8 Hiroshima.
Perhaps spend the day at the nearby island of Miyajima with its famous 'floating' Torii Gate and the grand Itsukushima jinja Shrine. Be sure to watch out for inquisitive and eternally hungry deer that roam the streets of the island.
Day 9 Osaka.
Travel by train to Osaka, what better way to finish our trip than in a city with the motto 'kuidaore' (translation: 'eat until you drop'). We recommend you try Osaka's okonomiyaki (a delicious savoury pancake) which Osaka is renowned for. Osaka is Japan's unofficial culinary capital, with sprawling shopping hubs and tiny backstreets overflowing with restaurants and bars serving up local delicacies as well as Japan's answer to fast food. Notably, Osaka is credited with the first kaiten zushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurants, after its inventor - the owner of a sushi restaurant with staffing issues - watched beer bottles on a conveyor belt at the nearby Asahi brewery and thought it might be a good way to solve this problem. Visit Osaka Castle and enjoy a walking tour around the popular Dotombori district which is a popular shopping, food and entertainment district of the city. At night it is lit by hundreds of neon lights and mechanical signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign and Kani Doraku crab sign. Thrill seekers are sure to find adventure at Universal Studios theme park and for those of you wanting to try your hand at a local skill, try a taiko drum lesson or, if you're feeling like a little relaxation, indulge yourself at Spa World, and try a traditional Japanese Onsen. Embrace the nakedness. If shopping is your cup of tea, take in some of the city's landmarks, including the wonderful Kuromon covered market and pick up some final kitchen gadgets (or plastic food) at the quirky Dogusuji Arcade.
Day 10 Osaka.
There are no activities planned for Day 10 and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time is 10 am and if you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. We recommend extending your stay in Osaka as there is much to do and see.
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Guides to help you along
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