- Limousine Bus Coupon
- 7 Day Japan Rail Pass
- JPY 1,500 Pasmo Card for use on the non JR trains
- Tokyo Guided Morning Tour
- Ainokura & Shirakawago Tour
- Kyoto Guided Morning Tour
- 3 nights at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel - Tokyo
- 2 nights at the Hida Hotel Plaza - Takayama inc b/fast
- 4 nights at the Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo - Kyoto
Arrive in Japan (Tokyo)
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 - 1/3
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.
Next travel two stops north of Akihabara to Ueno Station and visit the Ameyoko Ueno Markets. There are over 500 shops that sell everything from basic foods to high-class imported goods at reasonable prices and is always crowded with local shoppers.
In the evening return to Shinagawa Station using the JR Yamanote Line.
Stay: Shinagawa Prince Hotel - 2/3
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, this giant bronze statue of Buddha 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, this strip of shops 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, the 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 that stands at 9m high.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, This 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, this Zen temple is a must-see attraction 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 - 3/3
Activate your Japan Rail Passes at the Japan Rail Travel Service Centre within Shinagawa Station.
Board the Shinkansen Hikari bullet train to JR Nagoya Station (1.5 hrs). Within the station change trains and board the Limited Express Hida train to JR Takayama Station (2 hrs 20 min).
This magnificent train journey through the Japan Alps, often compared to the Alps of Europe, will be one of the highlights of your trip to Japan.
Hida Takayama is a traditional medieval town located in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture. Most of the attractions are concentrated in the old part of town, within minutes of each other. Your accommodation at the Hida Hotel Plaza is a 5 minute walk from the station.
Enjoy an afternoon stroll around this museum like town with a number of attractions including a variety of small museums devoted to traditional crafts embodying the town's long-standing tradition of fine craftsmanship. Visit the old private houses that lie in the area between Miyagawa River and the famously lush and picturesque Shiroyama Park. This quiet residential area has shops selling traditional wares, antique shops Japanese-style inns, sake breweries and restaurants serving local specialities.
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
Nishiki Food Market
Check-out of the Hida Hotel Plaza and from Takayama Station board a Limited Express Hida Wide View train to Nagoya Station. (145 min) Change trains and board a Hikari or Kodama bullet train to Kyoto Station. (50 min)
Your accommodation at the Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo is a 2 minute walk from Kyoto Station across the road to the south west of the 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 - 1/4
Kiyomizu Dera Temple
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 - 2/4
Miyajima Island, Hiroshima
Take a day trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima. From Kyoto Station, we recommend you board the Hikari bullet train to Hiroshima. (105 mins)
Commence your sightseeing of Hiroshima by boarding a tram to the Peace Park and visit the A Bomb Dome, Atomic Bomb Epicentre and the Memorial Peace Museum. Return to Hiroshima Station and after lunch take a trip to Miyajima Island - a very popular Island with foreign tourists who want to see the real Japan.
Board a local train from Hiroshima station to Miyajima Guchi Station. (25 min) Using your Japan Rail Pass, board the JR ferry to Miyajima Island which is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine whose long wooden corridors reach out into the sea. Miyajima is also famous for Mount Misen which is said to boast one of the three best panoramic views in Japan. Make sure you take the ropeway to the peak. Spend the day exploring the many walks, temples, shrines and gardens of Miyajima.
Make your way back to Hiroshima in the late afternoon. In the evening make sure you visit one of the okonomiyaki restaurants located within Hiroshima Station. Okonomiyaki is a layered noodle pancake which is a specialty dish of Hiroshima. Cooked on the hotplate in front of you, the contents may include chicken, pork or seafood. Okonomiyaki is a cheap and entertaining night’s dinner.
Return to Kyoto in the evening.
Stay: Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo – 3/4
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 JR 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 JR Inari Station continue on to Nara. (40 min) Here, you can find peace of mind and natural beauty as you uncover the many treasures of Japans former capital (710-784AD).
From JR 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 – 4/4
Check out of your accommodation and leave your luggage in storage at the porter's desk for your later return.
Spend your last morning in Kyoto completing any final sightseeing or shopping.
For those departing from Tokyo, board a Hikari bullet train from Kyoto to Shinagawa Station. (2.5 hrs) Within Shinagawa Station board the Narita Express Train to Narita Airport. (65 min)
For those departing from Osaka, board the direct Haruka train service from Kyoto Station to Kansai International Airport (80min).
*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