- 7 Day Japan Rail Pass
- JPY 1,500 Pasmo Card to use on the non JR trains
- Ainokura & Shirakawago Tour
- Kyoto Guided Morning Tour
- 1 night at the Castle Plaza Hotel - Nagoya
- 2 nights at the Hida Hotel Plaza - Takayama
- 2 nights at the Hotel Granvia Hiroshima - Hiroshima
- 2 nights at the New Miyako Hotel - Kyoto
Welcome to Japan! Upon arrival at Chubu Centrair International Airport, clear customs with your baggage and make your way to the train station within the airport. To travel to Nagoya Station board the Meitetsu Railway Tokoname Line train service from the airport (JPY850 / 28 min).
Your accommodation at the Hotel Castle Plaza in Nagoya is a 5 minute walk from the Central Exit of Nagoya Station.
After check-in, commence your exploration of Nagoya. Visit Nagoya Castle (JPY500/open 9:30am-16:30pm) where you can view five floors of antique exhibits relating to Nagoya’s history. The castle was built in 1612 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the then-shogun of the Edo government, and burnt down in 1945 during the World War II air raids, later to be rebuilt in 1959 as a reinforced concrete building with seven stories above ground and a basement. Since then, it has continued to be a beautiful symbol of Nagoya. To get to Nagoya Castle, board the Meguru Loop bus from the station. (25 mins/JPY200)
Surrounding the castle is Meijo Park; this scenic park contains a variety of flowers that bloom in different seasons, and is a popular walking place for local residents. To the east of Nagoya Castle is a part of the town that retains the atmosphere of the seventeenth century mansions and warehouses that still stand there.
Next board the Meguru Loop bus from the castle to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. (15 mins)
The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (09:30 – 16:30/JPY500) is housed in parts of the original redbrick buildings which date back to the Taisho period (around the 1910s). The museum is home to around 4,000 exhibits which are spread over a number of areas including the Textile Machinery Pavilion, the Automobile Pavilion and Technoland.
Return to Nagoya Station on the Meguru Loop bus. (7 mins)
Stay: Hotel Castle Plaza - 1/1
Check out of the Hotel Castle Plaza and make your way to Nagoya Station. Activate your 7 Day Japan Rail Pass at the Japan Rail Pass Exchange Corner (open 10:00am-18:00pm) located at JR Nagoya Station.
From JR Nagoya Station board the Limited Express (Wide View Express) Hida train to JR Takayama Station (2.5 hrs). 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. It is possible to walk across the centre of Hida Takayama in about 20 minutes with most of the attractions concentrated in the old part of town.
Your accommodation at the Hida Hotel Plaza is a 5 minute walk from the station's main exit.
Enjoy the afternoon strolling around this museum-like town visiting attractions including a variety of small museums devoted to traditional crafts embodying the town's long-standing tradition of the 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
Hida Folk Village
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
Hiroshima Peace Park
Check out of your accommodation and board the Limited Express Hida train from JR Takayama Station to JR 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 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 Domu-Mae (Atomic Bomb Dome) stop (cost 180 yen - 15 min.).
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 min / using your JR Pass) from Miyajimaguchi Pier, a few minutes walk from JR 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
Nishiki Food Market
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 New Miyako Hotel 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: New Miyako Hotel - 1/2
Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji)
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: New Miyako Hotel - 2/2
Check out of the New Miyako Hotel and leave your luggage at the porter's desk.
Before you depart Japan today, 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.
Return to New Miyako Hotel in the early afternoon and collect your luggage.
From Kyoto Station, board the Haruka train to Kansai International Airport (KIX). (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.