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Exploring Japan

Autumn Colours

Visiting Japan in Autumn is one of the country’s best kept secrets. During this season, the trees turn spectacular shades of bright red, golden yellow, and deep ochre, creating stunning views reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting. The best time to go to enjoy this wonderful natural sight is usually between October and beginning of December depending of the areas and elevation. Don’t know where to start? Our Autumn Colours itinerary covers some of the most scenic places in Japan to visit to enjoy the vibrant autumn colours during this spectacular season.

Please remember this is a sample itinerary to inspire you and we are happy to modify it to suit your plans. We can add or remove days, experiences or activities, include additional destinations or remove any that you do not wish to visit on this trip. To start planning your holiday, give us a call on (UK) 020 7112 0019  or email


  • All the guided tours listed in this itinerary will be done with public transport, which is tremendously efficient, convenient and economical in Japan. If you prefer to use private transport, please let us know when you enquire and we can arrange it for you at an additional cost.
  • We think that staying at a Ryokan is a great way to fully immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture, however, if you prefer to stay in western-style accommodation instead (that offers dinner and hot springs) please let us know and we will be happy to arrange it for you. For more information about ryokans, click here.

Your Itinerary


You will be met on the arrival hall of the airport by your personal agent who will give you a warm welcome to Japan and will assist you with the included shared transfer to your artistic hotel Park Hotel.

After check in, the rest of the day is at your leisure, resting and relaxing after your flight or, if you prefer, you can already start exploring this lively city.


Your private guide will pick you up at your hotel to show you the highlights of this wonderful city. Visit Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can still feel the atmosphere of the ancient Edo and visit Sensoji – Tokyo’s oldest temple. Travel down the Sumidagawa River on the unique Tokyo’s Water Bus, and explore the Imperial Palace gardens and Meiji Shrine, a wonderful shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji.


Today, your local guide will pick you up to travel with you to Nikko to visit the Toshogu Shrine complex. It consists in more than a dozen Shinto and Buddhist buildings in a beautiful forest setting and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Afterwards, visit the charming visit Tamozawa Imperial Villa, a National Cultural Treasure, featuring architecture
that spans three different periods – Edo, Meiji, and Taisho – as well as a lovely Japanese garden.


Travel to Karuizawa, a beautiful upscale mountain resort town at the foot of the active volcano Mount Asama.

Discover the Shiraito Falls, a beautiful wide waterfall in the middle of a peaceful forest painted in vibrant autumn colours and the Usui Pass Observation Center to enjoy a panoramic autumn view of Mt. Asama and the changing colours of the leaves all around which are spectacular, especially in mid-to-late October.



Travel by train to Kanazawa, a lovely city known for its well preserved Nagamachi samurai district, geisha entertainment districts and beautiful castle which are preserved in good condition. Visit Kenroku-en garden, one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan which is spectacular in Autumn!


Explore Kanazawa on your own, there is a lot to see! Temples, castles, wonder around the the Samurai and geisha neighbourhoods and visit some art atelier where you can find handcrafts made with the famous Kanazawa’s golden leaves.


Head to the Japanese Alps region and stop in Shirakawago, a picturesque charming village well known for its old traditional steep thatched roofs. Continue your way to Takayama where a traditional home made Japanese dinner and hot spring baths are waiting for you in your ryokan this evening!


After your delicious traditional Japanese breakfast you have the rest to further explore the lovely town of Takayama on your own. Visit the lively morning farmer’s market, the old district and get lost in its narrow streets surrounded by wooden traditional houses from the Edo period and discover some of its temples and shrines. You will feel that you have travel back in time!


Travel to the historical Kyoto. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and associated architecture, it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and has 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Kyoto represents the “Japan of old”, the real monument to Japan’s historical and cultural past can be found in the city’s narrow alleyways where tea houses abound and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function. Furthermore, Kyoto is home to many beautiful autumn leaf viewing spots of its own!



Your local guide will show you the most beautiful autumn leaf spots in Kyoto while you visit some of the highlights of the city such as Ryoanji Zen Temple, the Imperial Palace Gardens and walk the Philosopher’s Path, where Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan’s most famous philosophers, used to practice meditation while walking this route  daily on his way to University.


Today you will explore Arashiyama, a pleasant district famous for its stunning red autumn foliage, from which the mountain takes its name. Enjoy some of the country’s most beautiful autumn colors while you visit the area’s highlights such as the Bamboo forest, Okochi Mountain Villa, the famous Nonomiya Shrine where the ancient princesses stayed to purify themselves before getting married and the impressive temple Tenryuji.


Sadly, the time has come for you to leave Japan. Your day is at your leisure until your shared shuttle arrives to take you to Kansai International Airport for your departure. Safe flights!

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In the medieval times Tokyo was known as Edo, a small castle town which became Japan´s political center and a few centuries later, Edo grew into one of the world´s most populous cities . Nowadays, Tokyo is one of the world’s most cutting-edge capitals, offering a huge offer of entertainment, dinning, shopping, and culture to visitors.

Tokyo is city of contrasts where you can find the most modern technology, neon-lit landscape and towering skyscrapers but also excellent museums, sprawling parklands, sacred and ancient shrines and temples, and lovingly tended traditional gardens and green spaces in the middle of the city center.

Despite its mania for anime pop culture, fashion, digital trends and discernable consumption, the city embraces an ancient heritage evident in the temples and shrines scattered amongst the vast skyrise.

Almost all travelers to Japan will go through Tokyo and it is definitely worth spending a few nights in this fascinating city. Whilst it is not easy to find boutique hotels in Tokyo, we have put an extra effort into finding the best places to stay for all budgets and tastes.
Kyoto was for more than thousand years the imperial capital of Japan and nowadays is known as the cultural city of the country. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens etc it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Go back in time to Japan’s mysterious past where echoes of the court nobility resonate at the Imperial Palace and the search for contemplation in the zen gardens, explore the city’s narrow alleyways where tea houses thrive and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function.
Hiroshima is notorious for its destruction when the first Atomic Bomb was dropped over the city during the Second World War which obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometre radius. From this absolute annihilation, Hiroshima emerged, phoenix-like, and become a beacon of hope and peace for the rest of mankind.

Many destroyed monuments of the city’s historical heritage had been reconstructed, such as the Shukkeien Garden and the Hiroshima Castle. The city centre boasts a large recreational area named Peace Memorial Park, reflecting the aspirations of this reborn city. Besides excellent museums, Hiroshima is also the most popular gateway for trips to nearby Miyajima, a nearby island considered to be one of Japan’s most scenic spots.
Kanazawa was an important city during the Edo period and became a town with a great cultural scene rivalling with Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo). Nowadays, the samurai and chaya entertainment districts, have survived in good condition and you can walk in these streets and imagine how life was in the ancient Japan.

The city boasts many historical attractions such as restored residences and districts, as well as modern museums and its great castle. But Kanazawa´s unchallenged main attraction is Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s “three best landscape gardens”, and often considered the most beautiful of them all.
Full of temples, shrines, festivals, rivers and bridges, this beautiful mountain town Takayama has been called “little Kyoto” and has preserved the ancient atmosphere of the Edo era until now. This area is well known not just for its natural environment and preserved culture but also for its delicious food and sake breweries. Local dishes including Hida beef and Hoba miso are highly recommended. More
Hakone is a lovely mountainous town less than hundred miles south of Tokyo on the foothills of Mt Fuji. Traditional inns aka Ryokans and pleasantly relaxing hot springs “Onsen” are the staple attraction in Hakone, with Mt Fuji being its crown jewel. Beautiful Hakone is a natural nature wonderland, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and has about everything a vacationer could wish for. A great destination for hiking, with marvellous views at every turn and plenty of hot springs to soothe any aching muscles after a days of exploring. Besides the towering mountains, lakes and views of Mount Fuji, it is also blessed with interesting historical sites, temples and Shinto Shrines. More
Osaka is the historical commercial capital of Japan and Japan’s second largest metropolis which has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region for centuries.

Nowadays Osaka, is one of Japan’s most vibrant cities, known for its lively people, large aquarium, underground shopping arcade, Universal Studios amusement park… and specially famous for its local spectacular cuisine. Its nickname “Tenka no Daidokoro” (the nation’s kitchen) inspired us to create some foodie tours for you to experience the real taste of Osaka.
This picturesque village, famous for its traditional Gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukkuri translates as ‘Praying Hands’, as the farmhouses steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer and are designed to withstand the heavy snows which fall in the region.
Miyajima Island. A small sacred island located in the Island Sea, it has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times.

Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan: The Floating Torii Gate. Designated as one of Japan’s ‘Most Beautiful Views’, the shrine it belongs to dates back to the 6th century. The harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill, and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nikko had been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries before Toshogu was built in the 1600s, and Nikko National Park continues to offer scenic, mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails.

Kamakura is a beautiful historical town located one hour away from Tokyo by public transport. Home to a collection of beautiful temples, shrines and impressive large buddhist statues.

Kawagoe is a delightful city west of Tokyo, usually called “Little Edo” because it still preserves the atmosphere of the ancient Tokyo (Edo is the old name of the capital).
The old storehouse merchant houses are lined up, and the Toki-no-kane (Bell Tower)
rings to tell the time. Take a stroll through the town in a kimono and
you'll feel as if you've travelled back in time to ancient Edo. In Kawagoe, you can
experience the traditional and pure Japan which you can't see in Tokyo.
Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most iconic images, instantly recognisable for its snowcapped symmetric beauty. Still an active volcano to this day, at 3766 meters it is the country’s highest mountain. More

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