Tours offered from May 1st, 2016 - December 31st, 2018

Starting from only $5,599.00 (USD)

Tour Overview

Japan Discovery Ponder futuristic Tokyo, cultural Kyoto, and iconic Mt Fuji. Visit vibrant Hiroshima and take a trip high into the Japanese Alps to visit the quaint village of Takayama, the refined Kanazawa, and the preserved town of Shirakawago. Travel on bullet trains and stay in traditional inns with tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner. Includes: All Private Ground Transfers3 Nights TokyoTokyo City Tour + Asakusa VisitTokyo East Course Tour + Edo-Tokyo Museum Visit1 Night HakoneHakone Tour + Mt. Fuji Views from Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park2 Nights TakayamaTakayama Tour + Miyagawa Market & Sake BreweryShirakawago Tour2 Nights KanazawaKanazawa Tour + Kenrokuen Garden & Nagamachi Samurai District2 Nights HiroshimaHiroshima & Miyajima Island Tour3 Nights KyotoPrivate Cooking in Machiya ExperienceKyoto City Tour + Nishiki Market VisitNara & Fushimi Inari TourFirst-Class Rail or Coach between CitiesDaily Breakfast

Tour Destinations

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Itinerary Overview

Avanti Destinations: Japan Discovery

Day 1 Arrive Tokyo
On arrival at Narita Airport, you will be met in the arrival hall by your driver who will assist you with the included shared transfer to your hotel (60 � 90 minutes).

One of the World�s most cutting-edge capitals, Tokyo is a city of contrasts. Famous for its cutting edge modernity, neon-lit landscape and towering skyscrapers, it is also home to sprawling parkland, peaceful shrines and temples and lovingly tended gardens. Despite its love affair with manga pop culture, fashion, high-tech trends and conspicuous consumption, below the surface is a city that has its roots in an ancient heritage. Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples stand close to skyscrapers as a reminder of a more contemplative time and at the heart of the hyperactive centre lies the serene Imperial Palace, the home of the ruling emperor that provides a tangible link to the city�s historical past. Behind the shopping, entertainment and commercial emporia can be found quaint wooden houses, private gardens with meticulously clipped bonsai trees and the Zen-like calm of the Hamarikyu Gardens. The city�s reputation as a mega-expensive metropolis is ill conceived and visitors can take advantage of inexpensive izakaya bars and neighborhood cafes that serve delicious noodles and rice dishes.

The remainder of your day is at leisure.

Centrally Located Hotel In Tokyo, ()

Day 2 Tokyo
Tokyo City Tour
Take a day tour of this fascinating city with a local guide, making use of Tokyo's comprehensive and user friendly public transport system. The day begins with a visit to Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Take a walk down Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world's top fashion brands.

Asakusa Visit
Head across town to Asakusa, Tokyo's old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of the Tokyo of old. Visit Sensoji, Tokyo's oldest temple and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Take a boat cruise on the Sumida River passing under 12 bridges. Disembark in Hamarikyu garden, an Edo Period Japanese garden surrounded by the Shiodome district's futuristic skyscrapers, a great example of how Japan is the land of contrasts, where you will stop for a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea house on a small island in the park's lake.

Centrally Located Hotel In Tokyo, (B)

Day 3 Tokyo
Tokyo East Course Tour
Take a day tour of this fascinating city with a local guide, making use of Tokyo's comprehensive and user friendly public transport system. The Tokyo Skytree is a new television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. With a height of 634 meters (634 can be read as "Musashi", a historic name of the Tokyo Region), it is the tallest building in Japan and the second tallest structure in the world at the time of its completion. A large shopping complex is located at its base. Enjoy the spectacular Tokyo view from the observation deck, the highest of its kind in Japan and some of the highest in the world.

Edo-Tokyo Museum Visit
The Edo-Tokyo Museum is one of Tokyo's premier museums, charting the rise of Tokyo from a small fishing village called Edo through to the thriving metropolis that we see today. It is housed in a space-age building, and exhibits a wide range of historical artifacts, including collections of ukiyoe woodblock prints, kimono, scale models of town; and buildings from the Edo, Meiji and Showa periods.

Last, if time permits, enjoy a stroll in Ginza, Tokyo's most elegant shopping mecca, and visit a department store's basement food floor � you will marvel at all the delicacies on sale and their beautiful presentation.

Your afternoon is at leisure.

Centrally Located Hotel In Tokyo, (B)

Day 4 Tokyo to Hakone
Today leave Tokyo behind as you make the 90 minute journey to Hakone, the gateway to Mt Fuji and surrounding national park. Your local guide for the day will accompany you on the �Romance Car� express train from Tokyo�s Shinjuku station.

Hakone is a natural nature wonderland and is famous for its hot springs, outdoor pursuits and the view of the nearby Mount Fuji. It is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is less than 100-km from Tokyo, thereby providing a popular weekend destination for city residents keen to escape the frenzy of the capital. Beautiful Hakone has about everything a vacationer could wish for. Besides the towering mountains, lakes and views of Mount Fuji, it is also blessed with interesting historical sites.

Hakone Tour
To explore the National Park, you can take advantage of the numerous forms of transport on offer. A majestic replica pirate ship will sweep you across the Lake Ashinoko, a lake formed by a volcanic eruption 3000 years ago, and the Hakone Tozan �switchback train� zig zags though the mountains, giving amazing views of the surrounding valleys.

Hakone Jinja
Visit Hakone Jinja, a delightful mountain Shinto sanctuary close to the lake, which is known for granting harmony in relationships.

Throughout the day you will have the chance to get a glimpse of Mt Fuji, however please keep in mind that she is a notoriously shy mountain and it needs to be a clear day.

Centrally Located Hotel In Hakone, (B)

Day 5 Hakone to Takayama
From Hakone, take the world famous Shinkansen bullet train, which reaches speeds of up to 300km/h. You will then change onto the Limited Express Hida Wideview for the one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan, winding your way through tall mountains and stunning gorges to Takayama.

With its plethora of temples, shrines, festivals, rivers and bridges the mountain town of Takayama has been called a �little Kyoto�. The region is an agricultural one, and every day the freshest of vegetables and fruit are brought by local farmers to Takayama's lively morning market. Many unique traditions have evolved here, and due to the town's previously inaccessible location high in the Hida alpine region, a remarkable number of them have been preserved. The district called San-machi Suji, the traditional home of Takayama merchants and sake brewers, has been preserved in almost exactly the same state as 200 or 300 years ago. Here, are inns, shops and taverns which trace their history back many generations.

This afternoon is at leisure.

Centrally Located Hotel In Takayama, (B)

Day 6 Takayama
Takayama Tour + Miyagawa Market & Sake Brewery Visits
Today you will take a guided tour with a local guide to the beautifully preserved old town of Takayama. Start the day with a visit to the local Miyagawa Market along the Miyagawa River in the old town. Most stands sell local crafts and farm products such as vegetables, pickles and flowers. Take a walk in the district called San-machi Suji, the traditional home of Takayama merchants and sake brewers, which has been preserved in almost exactly the same state as 200 or 300 years ago. Here are inns, shops and taverns which trace their history back many generations. Visit the Takayama Jinya. Because of its valuable timber resources, the Hida Region around Takayama was put under direct control of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1692. The Takayama Jinya served as the local government office, headed by the officials dispatched from Edo. The present building complex includes various rooms for administrative purposes, offices, kitchens, toilets, bath rooms, residential space, a court room and storehouses. It was in official use until 1969, and is now open to the public as a museum. End the morning by stopping at a sake brewery and enjoy a tasting on Japan�s national tipple. Takayama�s sake is renowned nation-wide, thanks to the clear water of the surroundings.

Centrally Located Hotel In Takayama, (B)

Day 7 Takayama to Shirakawago to Kanazawa
Travel by coach (1 hour) to Shirakawago.

Shirakawago Tour
Shirakawa-go is located in the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that span from Gifu to Toyama Prefectures. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, they are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer", as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. The architectural style developed over many generations and is designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, made without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms.

In the afternoon, you will contine on by coach to Kanazawa.

Centrally Located Hotel In Kanazawa, (B)

Day 8 Kanazawa
A full day to explore Kanazawa, by public transport with a local guide.

Kanazawa Tour + Kenrokuen Garden Visit
During the Edo Period, Kanazawa served as the seat of the Maeda Clan, the second most powerful feudal clan after the Tokugawa in terms of rice production and fief size. Accordingly, Kanazawa grew to become a town of great cultural achievements, rivaling Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo). The highlight of any visit to Kanazawa is Kenroku-en garden. Ranked one of the top three in Japan, its breathtaking beauty shines through in any season. You will also visiting imposing Kanazawa castle, located next to the garden. Nearby Kagayuzen Kaikan is also of interest, offering demonstrations of the centuries-old Yuzen silk painting technique. During World War Two, Kanazawa was Japan's second largest city (after Kyoto) to escape destruction by air raids. Consequently, parts of the old castle town, such as the Nagamachi samurai district and chaya entertainment districts, have survived. Today, the city boasts many historical attractions such as restored residences and districts, as well as modern museums. But Kanazawa's unchallenged main attraction is Kenrokuen, one of Japan's "three best landscape gardens" and by many considered the most beautiful of them all.

Nagamachi Samurai District Visit
After lunch, Visit the Nagamachi Samurai district, where you can enter the the Nomura Samurai House, a traditional Japanese home with tea-ceremony room, an interior courtyard garden and artifacts from the Edo period. The Higashi Chaya District is the largest and by far the most interesting of Kanazawa's Geisha Districts. Many of the buildings along the central street now house cafes and shops. One of the shops, Hakuza, sells gold leaf products, a specialty of Kanazawa, and displays a tea ceremony room which is completely covered in gold leaf; you will also have a chance to visit the Kaikaro Chaya, which is still an operating tea house, but opens its doors to the public. You can enjoy a cup of green tea here to finish the day.

Centrally Located Hotel In Kanazawa, (B)

Day 9 Kanazawa to Hiroshima
Travel by train to Hiroshima (4 hours with one change in Shin Osaka).

Hiroshima is notorious for its destruction when the first atomic bomb was dropped over the city during the Second World War in August 1945. The destructive power of the bomb obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometre radius. From this absolute annihilation, Hiroshima has emerged phoenix-like, and become a beacon of hope and peace for the rest of mankind. Destroyed monuments of the city's historical heritage, such as the Shukkeien Garden and the Hiroshima Castle, have been rebuilt. The city centre boasts a large recreational area named Peace Memorial Park that reflects the aspirations of this re-born city. It is ironic that the city's past tragedy has become its biggest tourism attraction and visitors from around the world now come to see the Peace Memorial Park and its haunting museum. It is now the principal city of the Chugoku region and is home to over a million inhabitants who live in a municipality that boasts wide tree-lined boulevards and rivers. Besides excellent museums, Hiroshima is also the most popular gateway for trips to nearby Miyajima, an island considered to be one of Japan's most scenic spots. Your afternoon is at leisure.

Centrally Located Hotel In Hiroshima, (B)

Day 10 Hiroshima
Hiroshima Tour
Today you will take a day tour of Hiroshima with a local guide, starting with a visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The area where the park now lies was ground zero for the Atomic Bomb on 6th August 1945. After the bombing the Memorial Park was created and dedicated to those who lost their lives in the attack. Stroll through the park and discover the many memorials, monuments and statues in the park before heading into the Museum itself.

Miyajima Island Tour
From Hiroshima, a short ferry ride will take you to Miyajima Island. A small sacred island located in the Inland 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 '3 Most Beautiful Views', the shrine it belongs to dates back to the 6th century with the present structure dating back to the 12th century. The harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill, and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mere 'commoners' were not allowed to set foot on this holy place, and even now it is forbidden to give birth or die on the island! You will have time to explore the island and its many shrines and temples, sample local goodies like maple leaf shaped cakes before heading back to your hotel.

Centrally Located Hotel In Hiroshima, (B)

Day 11 Hiroshima to Kyoto
Back on the Shinkansen as you travel to Kyoto (2 hours).

This is a must see destination in Japan. Kyoto is the nation's former capital and was the residence of the emperor from 794 until 1868. It is Japan's seventh largest metropolis with a population of around 1.4 million and a city of culture that offers a plethora of temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures that still survive today. 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. Kyoto represents the �Japan of old� and beyond the high rise skyscrapers built as a monument to progress, the real monument to Japan's historical and cultural past can be found in the city's narrow alleyways where tea houses abound and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function. This is a place to 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 can be found in Ryoanji's Zen rock gardens.

Private Cooking in Machiya Experience
Japanese cuisine has such high reputation that it was declared UNESCO Intangible World Heritage. In this tour you will try your hand at making some of the dishes that made this cuisine so popular in the world and in particular learn about Kyoto's typical kappo cuisine. In Japanese, �kappo� means to cut ingredients with a knife and cook them over a fire. At a kappo style restaurant, fine seasonal cuisine is served over a counter where you sit face to face with a chef. In this class you will be the chef! (Transfers to and from the cooking school are not included)

Centrally Located Hotel In Kyoto, (B,D)

Day 12 Kyoto
Kyoto City Tour
Today you explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide, utilizing Kyoto's comprehensive bus system to visit some of Kyoto's World Heritage Sites. You will start your day with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death it became a Buddhist Temple at his request, and is now one of Kyoto's most famous temples. Nijo Castle is an ornamental castle was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning surrounding gardens. The main building was completed in 1603, and is famous for its architecture, decorated sliding doors and �chirping' nightingale floors.

Nishiki Market Visit
Take a walk down Nishiki Market, a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. Final stop today is Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. From the 13m high veranda jutting out from the Main Hall you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto, whilst pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners.

Centrally Located Hotel In Kyoto, (B)

Day 13 Kyoto
Nara & Fushimi Inari Tour
Transfer from your hotel to Nara by train (45min) with a local guide. For 74 years during the 8th century Nara was Japan's capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain. Visit Todaiji temple, the world's largest wooden building and home to Japan's largest Buddha. Next stop is Nara's most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers. Take a wander through Nara Park, called Deer park by locals due to the large population of more than 1,000 tame deer living there. On the way back from Nara, visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, which was used in the movie �Memoirs of a Geisha�. It is home to over 10,000 red tori gates, which form a path up the mountain behind the temple.

Centrally Located Hotel In Kyoto, (B)

Day 14 Kyoto
Transfer to the airport to continue to your next Avanti destination!

Centrally Located Hotel In Kyoto, (B)

Tour Dates & Pricing

  • Sunday May 1st, 2016 - Monday December 31st, 2018
    from $5,599.00