Best of Japan 2018 - 8 days land only
|Starting from||R52 470|
|Package Validity||Set travel dates between: 17 MAR 2018 - 21 APR 2018 & 02 JUN 2018 - 24 NOV 2018 ** Excludes entrance fees starting from USD30 per person **|
- Tokyo airport arrival transfer - by train from Narita or Haneda International Airport
- All transportation as per itinerary by buses, trains & rail passes (including Suica Swipe Card)
- 7 nights 3* hotel accommodation (including 2 nights at a ryokan - a traditional Japanese inn)
- 3 breakfasts & a dinner
- Guided sightseeing in Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone & Kyoto
- Assistance of a local English speaking guide
- Lake Kawaguchi & Mt Fuji - Kachikachi-yama Ropeway and observatory
- Baggage forwarding service from Tokyo to Kyoto (one bag per person)
- Highlights include Tokyo (Sensoji Temple district & temple, Harajuku, Takeshita street and Meiji Shrine); Hakone and Fuji Hakone National Park ( Lake Ashi, spectacular mountain scenery, Owakudani volcanic valley and views of Mount Fuji); Kyoto (UNESCO listed Nijo Castle, walking tour of Gion (the Geisha district), optional Japanese tea ceremony and cooking class & Kamakura ( Big Buddha Statue, Zen temples and beautiful beaches)
Saturday. Upon arrival in Tokyo you will be met at either Narita or Haneda International Airport by your guide. Travel by train into the heart of the city and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend at leisure.
Toyko Sightseeing - Senjoji Temple district, Harajuki & Shibuya
Today we explore the capital. Taking the subway to Asakusa we visit the lively Sensoji Temple district, which is home to Tokyo’s first temple and scores of interesting souvenir and craft stalls. In the afternoon we head to Harajuku, which is a magnet for young and fashionable Tokyoites with its hip shops and cafes. Here we’ll visit the impressive Meiji Shrine where the emperor Meiji and his wife are enshrined. Yoyogi Park beside the shrine is a popular hangout for locals and there is always a lot going on especially on Sundays with bands playing, drum circles, dancers and busking.
The last stop of the day is the Shibuya crossing - regarded as one of the busiest intersections in the world. The famed junction has no less than 7 pedestrian crossings and when the traffic lights turn red a wave of pedestrians, up to a 1000, converge onto the intersection from every direction. Known as 'the scramble', it's a well practised art to duck and weave with sportsman like agility to avoid collision, which we'll watch from the second floor Starbucks located directly opposite the crossing. This evening offers free time though if travelling in January, May and September you might like spend the evening watching a Sumo tournament. See our trip notes for more info.
Kamakura & the Bronze Buddha
Tokyo - Kamakura - Tokyo. This morning we board a train for a day trip to Kamakura, Japan’s first feudal capital, which is just an hour from Tokyo. Kamakura is a popular seaside location with a quaint village life feel and some stunning Zen temples. Here we’ll visit the iconic bronze Big Buddha and the Zen Temple of Hokokuji with its beautiful bamboo garden. Here you can drink tea and learn about the tea ceremony before walking the cobbled shopping district - adorned with lovely locally made items and returning to Japan’s bustling capital for the night. Tonight, we organise a Shabu Shubu (a traditional Japanese hot pot meal) for those who are interested.
Tokyo Edo Museum & Free Time
Today offers a guided tour of the Tokyo Edo Museum which focuses on the lifestyle and culture experienced by Tokyoites over the city’s 400-year history. The museum houses some of the city’s best original artefacts and replicas of Edo-era buildings and landmarks, along with several large-scale models. The remainder of the day offers free time.
Mt Fuji & Lake Kawaguchi
Tokyo - Lake Kawaguchi. This morning we travel by train (with luggage forwarding) to Lake Kawaguchi, located at the foot of Mt Fuji in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. The scenery is stunning with panoramic views of a snow-capped Fuji most of the year. Upon arrival we’ll travel along the Kachikachi-yama Ropeway and visit the observatory. For tours staying at Lake Kawaguchi between 15 Apr – 28 May each year we'll visit the Springtime Fuji Shibazakura (Phlox Moss) Festival, where the landscape is covered in a vibrant, hot pink moss with Fuji as the backdrop. No trip to Japan would be complete without sampling authentic Japanese hospitality at a traditional ryokan (a Japanese inn), which is where we’ll bed down tonight. At the ryokan, sample tasty local cuisine and take a relaxing dip in the natural hot spring baths.
Overnight: Lake Kawaguchi | Dinner
Kyoto - Nijo Castle & the Geisha District
Lake Kawaguchi – Kyoto. The area has some great hiking trails and early this morning you might like to opt for a hike along the foreshores of the lake. Travel by bus to Mishima, then bullet train to Kyoto - Japan’s ancient and cultural capital.
As one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, Kyoto is home to an abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Here we enjoy a guided tour of Nijo Castle, one of the city’s most impressive UNESCO sites. Built by the first Tokugawa shogun in 1603, the exquisite Nijo Castle is a wonderful example of Momoyama architecture. Late afternoon we head to Gion, for a walking tour of this famous Geisha district. After you may wish to watch a cultural performance at Gion Corner Theatre where you'll have the opportunity to watch a Maiko (apprentice Geisha) performing.
Overnight: Kyoto | Breakfast
Kyoto - Golden Pavilion, 1000 statues of Kannon & free time
This morning we offer a guided tour of Sanjusagen-do Temple famous for its statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The one thousand life-size statues of Kannon are made of Japanese cypress clad in gold leaf. They stand in 10 rows of 50, each hand crafted and slightly different from the next. After we visit Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) a stunning Zen Buddhist temple, part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. The top two floors of the monument are completely covered in gold leaf. Set upon a small lake with landscaped gardens the large completely gilt structure is impressive as it is beautiful Temple. Kinkakuji Temple continues to be one of Japan's most visited temples. This afternoon offers free time for you to relax or to further discover the many sights of Kyoto your own way.
Overnight: Kyoto | Breakfast