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Exploring Japan

Japan Discovery

This itinerary is designed with special focus in natural areas for those who want to explore further Japan’s most famous natural paradises but at the same time do not want to miss out the cultural legacy of Japan and its main highlights. It includes part of the Japanese Alps, which are known for their wild beauty, mystical forests, pristine clear river waters, and charming traditional Japanese villages.

Starting in Tokyo, this journey will take you from the bustle and buzz of Japan’s lively and vibrant cities, to the mountainous Hida region of Takayama and Shirakawa-go.

Over a period of 12 days, you will visit  charming temples, colourful shrines, zen gardens, and geishas and samurai districts, while learning  about the history of some of Japan’s most well-known castles. The trip includes a stay in an authentic traditional Japanese ryokan, and  ends with a relaxing visit to Hakone National Park’s hot springs, where you can drift away and reflect on your Japanese adventure.

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 the city. Visit Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can still feel the atmosphere of the ancient Edo, Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple, the Imperial Palace gardens and Meiji Shrine, a wonderful shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji.


Day at leisure to explore Tokyo, one of the world’s most cutting-edge capitals! We have some suggestions for you on how to spend your day:


Enjoy one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan, winding your way through tall mountains and stunning gorges, green valleys and beautiful rivers.

Check in to your luxurious ryokan Hanaougi, an authentic Japanese style accommodation with hot spring baths where you will have included a yummy handmade Japanese dinner tonight and breakfast. Enjoy!

Afternoon suggested activities:



Today the day is at your leisure. You can start your day visiting the local morning markets which are right next to your ryokan. After that, our personal suggestion for the day to explore this charming town:

Your Japanese dinner tonight and tomorrow’s breakfast at your ryokan is included.


On your way to Kanazawa by bus you will stop in the lovely rural village of Shirakawago which was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. It is famous for their traditional the farmhouses’s steep thatched roofs and beautiful mountain scenery. Enjoy its authentic and beautiful countryside atmosphere.

The rest of the day is at leisure after you check in to Sainoniwa Hotel, a stylish hotel with a nice charming traditional ambiance, hot spring baths and three beautiful Japanese gardens. (guided option available)


Discover the lovely city of Kanazawa on your own. Visit the famous Kenrokuen garden – one of the top three most beautiful gardens in the county-, Kanazawa Castle and the samurai neighbourhood (do not miss the visit of a real samurai home!).


Head to Kyoto by train using your included Japan Rail Pass train tickets. 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 been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Check-in to Mitsui Garden Sijo and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Suggested afternoon activity:


Your private guide will pick you up at your hotel to discover some of the best historical places of this fantastic city! You will visit first the Golden Pavilion, one of the most famous temples in Japan, the ancient Nijo Castle and finish your day in Nishiki Market, a narrow street full of food shops, fresh seafood and vegetables, sweets, sushi and much more!

Suggested afternoon activities:


Day at leisure to enjoy the cultural heritage of this ancient city.

Suggested activities for today:


Travel south east to Hakone, a breathtaking region well known for the beauty of its nature and the relaxing Japanese hot springs baths. Explore this amazing area by ropeway, cablecars, buses and even a pirate ship for a cruise ship across the volcanic Lake Ashi with views of Mt Fuji.

Finish your day with a tasty homemade dinner at Susukinohara ryokan, a high end and stylish ryokan, where you will spend your night today. Before sleeping enjoy a soak in your own outdoors private hot spring bath. 


After having your included Japanese breakfast, spend the day at your leisure  before your afternoon departure to Narita airport to catch your flight back home. Safe travels!

What's included?

  • Meet and greet airport service upon arrival
  • Transfers from airport to hotel on arrival and from your hotel to airport on your departure day
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • All excursions, activities and meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees with service of English speaking guides for excursions
  • Transport as described
  • A PASMO subway card recharged with 2500 JPY
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered
  • Optional suggested day trips/experiences
  • International 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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