Frequently our clients tell us they want to visit Japan for "a little bit over two weeks". If this sounds familiar then our 16 Day Splendid Tour of Japan may be suitable.
Welcome to Japan! Upon arrival at Narita International Airport, clear customs with your luggage and exit to the Arrivals Lobby.
Take the escalator downstairs to the train station and at the JR East Travel Service Centre (06:30 - 21:45) issue your Japan Rail Pass.
Return back up to the Arrivals Lobby, present your Limousine Bus Coupon at the Airport Limousine Bus counter and board the bus from the airport to your accommodation at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. (80 min)
Your accommodation at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel is a two minute walk from the Takanawa Exit of JR Shinagawa Station. Shinagawa is the ideal place to stay in Tokyo for its convenient location and access to a wide range of restaurants and shops.
Stay: Shinagawa Prince Hotel - 1/4
This morning you will be collected from the Shinagawa Prince Hotel at 07:50am for your Tokyo Morning Tour operated by Japan Holiday Tours. Your tour will disband in the Ginza shopping district at approximately 1:00pm. You will be guided by an English-speaking Japanese local and transported by coach to the following sites:
Tokyo Tower - Enjoy a panoramic view of the famous Tokyo skyline from the main observation platform;
Meiji Shrine - The finest example of Japanese shrine architecture nestled in a peaceful, picturesque park containing over 120,000 trees;
Imperial Palace East Garden - Enjoy a pleasant walk in the East Garden of the Imperial Palace, of historical interest and scenic beauty (Mon. & Fri. Visit Imperial Palace Plaza, Double Bridge, instead of East Garden). Visit the inner moat, 15-feet thick walls and gnarled pine trees surrounding the 250-acre fortress, home of the Emperor and Empress);
The tour disbands in the Ginza shopping district. Take time to explore the Ginza's famous upmarket shopping, numerous department stores and wide range of boutiques, galleries and dining. The basement of any Japanese department store is home to an incredible food court where foods are expertly prepared and presented for sale.
Next, board a Toei Subway Asakusa Line train from Higashi-Ginza Station to Asakusa Station (11 mins) to visit the nearby Sensoji Temple (popularly known as Asakusa Kannon Temple), Tokyo's oldest and most impressive temple which is said to have been founded in the 7th century. Nakamise Dori, the colourful shopping promenade, extends from Kaminarimon Gate to Hozomon Gate and is an excellent place to buy everything from kimono to traditional sweets. Positioned across the road from Kaminarimon Gate the Asakusa Rickshaw tour guides await to guide you around the area by rickshaw.
Time permitting, using your Pasmo Card board an Asakusa Subway Line train from Asakusa Station to Asakusabashi. (3 min) Change trains to a JR Chuo/Sobu Line train to Akihabara Station. (2 min) To most foreign visitors Akihabara is known as "Electric City" due to hundreds of electronic stores found in this district. In recent years Akihabara has become home to a number of shops specialising in Japanese animation "Anime and Manga" which is growing increasingly popular around the world.
In the evening return to Shinagawa Station using the JR Yamanote Line.
Stay: Shinagawa Prince Hotel - 2/4
Take a day trip to the seaside town called Kamakura. Located just 45 minutes from Shinagawa Station on the Yokosuka Line, Kamakura is one of Japan's most popular sightseeing destinations, famous for a number of temples, shrines and beautiful Japanese gardens.
Surrounded by wooded mountains on three sides and Sagami Bay on the south, Kamakura was once the capital of Japan from 1192 to 1333.
Many of the wonderful sites in Kamakura are within walking distance of Kamakura Station, so one can easily spend the day exploring the many temples, shrines, parks and gardens. Some of the sites you might like to visit include:
The Great Buddha, a giant bronze statue of Buddha which stands at 13.35m tall and is the second largest in Japan. The Buddha once was housed inside a temple, but late in the 15th century, a large tsunami washed away the wooden structure and the Buddha has remained outside ever since.
Komachi-dori St, leading out from Kamakura Station, is a strip of shops which has many great places to buy souvenirs and a number of good places to buy some snacks, from nuts and crackers, to cute little cakes and sweets.
Hasedera Temple, situated high on a hill, whose main temple has a fine view of the coastal city. The temple is home to a wooden statue of Kannon, the 11-headed goddess of mercy which stands at 9m high.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, whose iconic Shinto shrine is Kamakura's geographical and cultural centre and attracts many visitors with its beautiful peony gardens and two museums, the Museum of Modern Art and the Kamakura Museum of National Treasures.
Hokoku-ji Temple, the must-see Zen temple in Kamakura. Behind the temple is a magnificent bamboo garden which is tranquil escape. Towards the back of the bamboo garden is a small tea house where you can enjoy a special cup of green tea while taking in the beauty of the serene surroundings.
Return to Tokyo in the late afternoon.
Stay: Shinagawa Prince Hotel - 3/4
Today is a free day for sightseeing and shopping.
Ideas include taking a day trip to Odaiba - a huge amusement zone where you can enjoy shopping, delicious food, entertainment, and a view of Tokyo Bay simultaneously.
From JR Shinagawa Station board a JR Yamanote Line local train three stations north to JR Shimbashi Station. At Shimbashi Station, using your Pasmo Card, board the Yurikamome Line unmanned monorail across the 918 metre span Rainbow Bridge to Daiba Station. (14 min)
Odaiba was built on reclaimed land in the Tokyo Bay in the southeast of Tokyo. This ultra-modern island is home to the Fuji TV Studio, Toyota Motor Company Showcase, Palette Town, Giant Ferris wheel, Venus Fort Shopping Complex for ladies modelled on an 18th Century European city, the Museum of Maritime Science, Odaiba Marine Park, and the MegaWeb Sega Game Centre. A visit to the Oedo Onsen Monogatari volcanic hot spring is an excellent way to soak away the stresses of exhilarating travel. Luxuriate in open air, foot, sand and steam baths, tatami rooms and massage salons. The hot water spouts up naturally from 1400 meters below the surface (JPY 2,720~/adult; tattoos must be covered).
Later in the day, return to Shimbashi Station and board the JR Yamanote Line local train to Shinjuku Station the largest and busiest train station in Japan. From the West Exit walk 10 minutes through the high-rise business district to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building to view the city skyline which is best seen at night. (9:30am-10:30pm / free entry).
Stay: Shinagawa Prince Hotel - 4/4
Check out of your accommodation at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel and board a JR Yamanote Line train to Tokyo Station. (10 min) Within Tokyo Station, change trains to a Hakutaka or Kagayaki bullet train to Kanazawa. (2.5-3hrs)
Kanazawa, often referred to as "little Kyoto", is a lovely seaside town with a number of hidden treasures.
Your accommodation at the Hotel Mystays Premier Kanazawa is a five minute walk from the West Exit of Kanazawa Station.
After check in, spend the afternoon exploring the city of Kanazawa.
Your sightseeing should include a trip to the Omicho Market which is a 10 minute walk or 3 minute taxi or bus ride from Kanazawa Station. Omicho is the liveliest of all markets in Kanazawa and is popular with the residents of the city. many of the 170 shops specialise in fresh fish and vegetables. Lovers of seafood will delight in some of the surrounding sushi bars and restaurants that serve fresh seafood from off the coast of Kanazawa. For those who prefer their seafood cooked, tempura and grilled options are available.
For a rare look inside Japan's traditional entertainment culture, make a visit to Kanazawa's famous "Higashi Geisha District" where you can walk down the winding lanes which features rows of old geisha houses. Late in the afternoon and early evening you may see a geisha scampering between appointments in full traditional costume. Shima, a former geisha house, is open for public viewing (9am - 6pm) where you can also enjoy a cup of green tea and a traditional Japanese sweet.
Stay: Hotel Mystays Premier Kanazawa - 1/2
Continue your exploration of Kanazawa today by visiting one of Japan's top three most beautiful gardens - Kenrokuen, which is a 15 minute bus ride from Kanazawa Station.
Kenrokuen is an exquisite garden constructed over 300 years ago and is said to be one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan along with Kairakuen in Mito and Korakuen in Okayama. The literal meaning of Kenrokuen is "The Garden of Six Sublimities" which refers to its spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and broad views. It took 150 years to complete the ponds, streams, waterfalls, flowers and teahouses which are all truly breathtaking.
Surrounding Kenrokuen is a number of popular sightseeing sports including Kanazawa Castle Park, Kanazawa Museum of Art, 21st Century Museum of Modern Art and the Kanko Bussankan where local Ishikawa traditional crafts, confectionery and sake are sold.
In the evening make your way to the bright lights of Katamachi which is Kanazawa's lively entertainment district. The area's "Izakayas" (Japanese-style pubs) are a must to visit where cold drinks and inexpensive dishes are served.
Stay: Hotel Mystays Premier Kanazawa - 2/2
Check-out of the Hotel Mystays Premier Kanazawa and from Kanazawa Station board aHakutaka bullet train to Toyama. (25 min) Change trains and board the Limited Express Hida Wide View train to Takayama. (90 min)
Takayama is a traditional medieval town located in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture. Your accommodation at the Hida Hotel Plaza is a 5 minute walk from the station. Make sure you try their Japanese style rooftop hot spring bath. Relax and bathe with a breathtaking view of the magnificent surrounding mountains in the distance.
In the afternoon, take time to stroll around this historic town which contains a number of small museums to explore. Many are devoted to traditional crafts embodying the town's long standing tradition of the fine craftsmanship. It is possible to walk across the centre of Hida Takayama in about 20 minutes.
Stay: Hida Hotel Plaza - 1/2
Today visit Shirakawago and Ainokura on your guided tour operated by Nohi Bus. Make your way to the Nohi Bus Centre (next to Takayama Station) by 08:20 and present your tour voucher at the ticket office.
At 08:30, your tour will take you to the Mt Gokayama Ainokura Gassho Village. Here you will have 60 minutes of free time to explore this UNESCO-protected village and its steep, thatched roofed houses, some of which date back to the 17th century. Enjoy the beautiful scenery at your own pace. A local lunch is included on today’s program at a venue with beautiful scenery from the observatory.
After lunch, your next stop on the tour will be the traditional UNESCO World Heritage village Shirakawago. Located in a gorgeous mountain valley, the natural setting is divine. You will find more of the same traditional "gassho zukkuri" houses here as you did in Gokayama Ainokura, some which have been renovated into museums, shops and cafés. You will have two hours to spend in this peaceful village. Make sure you walk up to the viewpoint to admire the panoramic view over the area. Your tour will conclude upon arrival at the Takayama Nohi Bus Centre at 15:10.
For dinner tonight we recommend you walk in to town and try one of the many restaurants which specialise in the Japanese "hida beef" which is delicious in sukiyaki or grilled on a hotplate.
Stay: Hida Hotel Plaza - 2/2
Check out of your accommodation and from Takayama Station board the Limited Express Hida train to Nagoya Station. (2.5 hrs) Change trains within the station and board a bullet train to Hiroshima. (3 hrs) You may need to swap trains at Shin-Osaka or Shin-Kobe on the way.
Your accommodation at the Hotel Granvia Hiroshima is a 2 minute walk from Hiroshima Station.
Hiroshima was a city left in ashes after the Atomic bomb was dropped. Hiroshima has made a remarkable recovery and has been rebuilt as a modern thriving city. The area which felt the full force of the bomb has been transformed into a Peace Memorial Park with gardens of great beauty and nearly forty memorials to the victims of the atomic explosion. Hiroshima is now known as the "International City of Peace" dedicated to a total ban on the use of Atomic weapons. A visit to the Peace Memorial Park should be included in every Hiroshima itinerary. To visit the Park, board a tram in front of Hiroshima Station and get off at Genbaku Dome-mae (Atomic Bomb Dome) stop. (15 mins)
Using your tour map, visit a number of exhibits including the Atomic Bomb Dome: Positioned below the epicentre, this skeleton of melted steel and concrete has been left as it was after the bomb was dropped. It stands as a stark reminder of the city's August 6, 1945 bombing.
The highlight of the Park is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This state of the art museum focuses on Hiroshima both before and after the explosion. It also tells the story of Hiroshima's rapid rebuild into the beautiful city it is today.
On the way back to station, make sure you visit Hiroshima Castle. This castle was first built in 1589 until its destruction in 1945. Having been rebuilt in all its glory, it is now used to exhibit historic artefacts from Japan's feudal past.
Stay: Hotel Granvia Hiroshima - 1/2
Enjoy a day of exploration upon the sacred earth of Miyajima Island (Shrine Island).
From Hiroshima Station board the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station. (26 min) Miyajima is reached by JR ferryboat (10 mins / using your JR Pass) from Miyajimaguchi Pier, a few minutes walk from Miyajimaguchi Station.
The entire 30 sq. km. island is designated by the Japanese government as a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty. The must-see Itsukushima Shrine, built in the sixth century, is dedicated to the maritime guardian goddesses. The shrine buildings are connected by corridors which stretch out over the water giving it the appearance of floating on the sea at high tide. The giant red wooden O-Torii (Grand Gate) is the most noted symbol of Miyajima.
Be sure to take the 1.7km ropeway (JPY 1,800 round trip) to Mount Misen's summit to absorb one of the three most spectacular panoramic views in Japan. Keep your eye on the summit's mischievous monkeys before descending on a peaceful walk through the ancient forest.
Return to Hiroshima early evening to feast upon the city's popular delicacy Okonomiyaki - a savoury, layered noodle pancake cooked on an iron hotplate at your table. The locals are very proud of their contribution to Japanese cuisine!
Stay: Hotel Granvia Hiroshima - 2/2
Check out of the Hotel Granvia Hiroshima and board a bullet train to Kyoto Station. (2hrs) You may need to swap trains at Shin-Osaka on the way.
Your accommodation at the Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo is a 2 minute walk from Kyoto Station.
After check in, commence exploring the sights of Japan's old capital and board a Subway Karasuma Line train 2 stops to Shijo Station, the busiest shopping district in Kyoto. There are a number of cafes, restaurants and shops to explore. From Shijo Station, walk down to Nishiki Food Market. (10 min) Here you can try various Japanese food from traditional sweets to fresh seafood.
In the late afternoon walk towards Gion, Kyoto's famous geisha district. Gion is the one place in Japan where you may see a Maiko or Geisha walking between appointments. As darkness falls watch the traditional lanterns gradually come to life and wander down the tiny alleys exploring the many restaurants and bars offering a variety of tempting cuisines.
Stay: Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo - 1/3
Today you will be collected by your tour guide, to commence your exploration of the ancient city of Kyoto.
Please make your way to the Sunrise Tours Desk (B1F) within the Avanti shopping complex and arrive 10 minutes prior to the official pick up time. The Avanti shopping complex is directly opposite the Hachijo East Exit of Kyoto Station. At 08:30am, you will be collected to join your Kyoto Morning Tour operated by Sunrise Tours. Your English-speaking local guide will take you by bus to Nijo Castle, the Golden Pavilion and the Kyoto Imperial Palace (on Mon., or Tue. if Monday is a public holiday, May 14-17, late Dec-early Jan, visit Higashi Honganji Temple instead). The tour will disband at approximately 1:30pm.
In the afternoon, board a local bus to the base of Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Walk up this attractive winding road lined with colourful souvenir and craft shops. Kiyomizu-dera is famous for its giant wooden stage overlooking panoramic views of Kyoto and its main hall purely constructed of wood and sustained by huge columns and beams without the use of a single nail, screw or bolt.
Be sure to visit the Sky Plaza Observation Deck on top of Kyoto Station for a free panoramic view of the surrounding area of Kyoto. This modern station also contains a large shopping mall, specialty shops and restaurants.
Stay: Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo – 2/3
A full day of sightseeing awaits you in Nara. But first, take a trip to visit Kyoto's famous Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. Anyone who has seen Memoirs of a Geisha will be familiar with the thousands of red torii gates which stretch towards Mt Inari.
From Kyoto Station, board the JR Nara Line to Inari Station. (5 min) Follow the signs and the walking path leading up to the shrine. It is one of the oldest Shinto Shrines in Kyoto and is famous for its thousand red torii gates which lead up the mountain. The shrine is dedicated to Inari - the Shinto god of rice, commerce and business. Each of the torii gates have been donated by different Japanese businesses.
From Inari Station continue on to Nara. (70 min) Here, you can find peace of mind and natural beauty as you uncover the many treasures of Japans former capital (710-784AD).
From Nara Station all of the sightseeing is within comfortable walking distance. Walk through the town towards Nara Park. Should the weather be kind you may like to have your lunch in the picturesque Nara Park amongst the many tame deer that roam the area. At the end of the Park is the World Heritage listed cultural asset Todaiji Temple - the worlds largest wooden building, which houses the Giant Buddha that soars 16 metres in height. Return to Nara Station via Nara-machi, an old precinct full of traditional houses, shops and tearooms in calm and pleasant surroundings, giving a good contrast to the great temples and old burial mounds.
Board a JR Nara Line train back to Kyoto Station in the evening.
Stay: Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo - 3/3
Check out of your accommodation and from Kyoto Station board a Hikari bullet train to Odawara Station. (120 mins)
At Odawara Station, purchase a 3 Day Hakone Free Pass which entitles the holder to 3 days of unlimited travel on a variety of local transport including the unique mountain railway, bus, cable car, ropeway and cruise boat. Use your pass to also gain discounted entry at the regions many hot springs, museums, galleries, gardens, temples and shrines.
From Odawara Station board the Hakone Tozan Bus for Hakone-machi and get off at Hakone Hotel-Mae bus stop. (55 min) Your accommodation at the Hakone Hotel is right outside the bus stop. Make sure you visit the hotel's volcanic onsen (hot spring) which is a perfect way to relax after a busy travel schedule.
Located between Mount Fuji and lzu Peninsula, encircled by forested mountains and deep ravines, extraordinary views (weather permitting) from Hakone of Mount Fuji and the Japan Alps make this a magnificent scene to remember.
Spend the remainder of the day exploring the many sights of this spectacular resort town.
Stay: Hakone Hotel - 1/2
Using your Hakone Free Pass and the provided tourist maps & brochures, explore the many sites of the Hakone region which includes:
Lake Ashi: The 400,000 year-old volcanic crater lake that never freezes! Lake Ashi is a popular place for fishing, boating and water sports. Use your "Hakone Pass" to cruise the lake by pirate ship. On a clear day you will be able to take pleasure in Mt. Fuji's inverted reflection in Lake Ashi.
Owakudani (Great Boiling Valley): Accessible by ropeway this entire gorge reeks of sulphurous fumes, spewing clouds of steam from crevasses among bubbling hot springs.
Ancient Cedar Avenue: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along this superb 2km flora-lined winding passage; once the pathway to Edo (Tokyo).
Stay: Hakone Hotel - 2/2
Today is the final day of your 14 Day Japan Rail Pass.
Check-out of the Hakone Hotel and leave your luggage in storage at the porter's desk for your later return.
Spend your last morning in Hakone completing any final sightseeing or shopping.
Later, return to collect your luggage and board the Hakone Tozan bus back to Odawara Station. (55 min) From Odawara Station board a Kodama or Hikari bullet train to Shinagawa Station. (30 min) Change trains and board the Narita Express Train to Narita International Airport. (70 min)
*Please note all airport trains must be reserved in advance.
Be sure to check in for your scheduled flight at least 2 hours prior to its departure.
Japan Package Tours will be happy to prepare you a personalised itinerary to suit your budget and preferences.
Contact us now for a no-obligation quotation.
Company policy is to only service clients that reside within Australia.