Each spring, Japan’s landscape is host to fragile pink and white sakura blooming; stunning colour that is celebrated throughout the entire country. Start this journey in bustling Tokyo and see its impressive gardens, go in search of the famous ‘snow monkeys’ and the alpine ‘old town’ of Takayama. On to cultural Kyoto and poignant Hiroshima, ending with spectacular views of Mt Fuji from the top of Mt Owakudani. This unique and incredibly scenic country with enchanting culture, wonderful cuisine, and gracious people awaits you.
FROM $14,465pp twinshare
Economy Class airfares ex Auckland
A World Journeys host
Accommodation in 4 star hotels
Transfers, sightseeing, and entrance fees as per the itinerary
Train journeys as per the itinerary
Meals as indicated
Day 1: Auckland > Tokyo
Morning flight to Tokyo. On arrival we will be transferred to the Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba for an evening at leisure.
Day 2: Tokyo (B,L,D)
Full day tour of Tokyo visiting Meiji Shrine, Tokyo's most famous Shinto shrine which is wonderfully serene and austere. Visit Tokyo Tower, Omotesando Street, Asakua Kannon Temple, Akihabara Electronic Town and drive by the famous intersection of Shibuya, the bustling shopping district. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening at your hotel.
Day 3: Tokyo (B,L) Half day tour of Tokyo where you will visit the Tsukiji Fish Market and learn how to make sushi from a local chef. Visit Ginza Mitsukoshi, the oldest surviving department store. See the Imperial Palace Plaza, Hamarikyu Garden and Ueno Park, a popular spot for cherry blossom parties with more than 1000 cherry trees lining the streets. Afternoon and evening at leisure.
Day 4: Tokyo > Yudanaka (B,L,D) This morning depart for Nagano by bullet train and then travel by train to Yudanaka, the spa town. Here we visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park where we hope to see snow monkeys bathing in the steaming natural onsen pools. Check in to our hotel complete with indoor and outdoor onsens (spas).
Day 5: Yudanaka > Takayama (B,D)
Continue to the historical town of Takayama set in the heart of the Japanese Alps. This town is beautifully preserved with many buildings dating from the edo period, when the city thrived as a wealthy town of merchants. They provide a glimpse into the former living quarters of the merchants and exhibit traditional household goods and local arts and crafts. Afternoon visit to the Zenkoji Temple, a wasabi farm and Matsumoto Castle.
Day 6: Takayama > Shirakawago > Gokayama > Kanazawa (B,D)
Visit the morning markets and the former government house of Takayama. See the Shirakawago UNESCO World Heritage Listed site, famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, with their steeply pitched thatched roofs, some of which are more than 250 years old. Visit the Japanese Paper Village of Gokayama. Finish in Kanazawa a pristine castle town with an array of cultural attractions.
Day 7: Kanazawa > Kyoto (B,D)
Visit Kenrokuen garden, one of Japan's most beautiful gardens. In spring, visitors can see plum and cherry blossoms. We also visit the Samurai House, Gold Museum and Ohmi-cho Market. Then we travel two and a half hours on the train to Kyoto.
Day 8: Kyoto (B,L,D)
Kyoto is Japan's cultural heart, known for its Buddhist temples, beautiful gardens and colourful shrines. Enjoy a full day tour to see the Kinkakuji Temple and Ryoanji Temple, ending with Kiyomizu Temple, perched on a hill overlooking the Kyoto basin and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 9: Kyoto (B)
Visit Nijo Castle then Arashiyama for a visit to the Sagano Bamboo Grove, with thick green bamboo stalks which seem to continue endlessly in every direction. Visit the 'Moon Crossing Bridge' a central landmark famous for its cherry blossom viewing. Finish with a visit to Tenryuji Temple. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 10: Kyoto > Nara > Osaka (B)
Touring today includes Nara en route to Osaka. Visits include Todaiji Temple, Nara Park, the Kasuga Shrine, with great views from Osaka Castle.
Day 11: Osaka (B,L)
Osaka half day tour including the Kaiyukan Aquarium. See Umeda, the commercial and business district, with its prominent skyscrapers. Enjoy time at leisure.
Day 12: Osaka > Hiroshima (B,L)
Drive to Kobe to visit a sake brewery then have lunch at a Teppanyaki restaurant. In the afternoon take the bullet train to Hiroshima.
Day 13: Hiroshima & Miyajima (B,D)
Hiroshima has rebuilt itself as one of Japan's most laid back, vibrant cities full of wide boulevards and art museums, great food and friendly, welcoming people. Visit the Peace Memorial and Museum, A-Bomb Dome and take a short ferry ride out to Miyajima Island, a small wooded island located in the Inland Sea. Here you will find the famous, floating Torii Gate, a shrine known worldwide for being built over water, seemingly floating in the sea.
Day 14: Hiroshima > Hakone (B,D)
Take the bullet train to Hakone. Visits the Ichiku Kubota Museum and scenic Lake Kawaguchi before transferring to our hotel.
Day 15: Hakone > Tokyo (B,L,D)
Ride the cable car up Mt Owakudani, passing over sulphurous vents and hot springs. In this volcanic area, you can eat a hard-boiled egg from the sulphuric hot springs, adding seven years to your life! From the top, if it's a clear day, we will see stunning views of Mt Fuji, Japan's highest and most worshipped mountain, and Lake Ashi. We end with a cruise on Lake Ashi then continue by road to Tokyo where we enjoy our farewell dinner.
Day 16: Tokyo > Auckland (B)
Morning at leisure. Afternoon transfer to the airport for our overnight flight to Auckland.
Day 17: Auckland
Morning arrival in Auckland
We have just been on a 16 day trip to Vietnam. We had an amazing holiday. Our accommodation was fantastic at each of our destinations and the transfers that we booked made life so easy getting to and from where we stayed. From the minute we sat down with Nicole to plan our trip to when we flew home was fabulous. Nicole really helped us plan a holiday that gave us everything we were looking for. We had a flight changed at the last minute by the airlines and the team at World Travellers got our new flights and accommodation all sorted. We were really relaxed the whole trip knowing that if anything went wrong we only had to call Nicole and the World Travellers team and any problem would be solved. We are looking forward to our next trip now and wouldn't consider trying to book ourselves or use anyone else. If you are reading this review and wondering whether or not to use this company, just do it! You will be pleased you did.
A couple of months ago we booked a trip to Fiji with Nicole Knapp. Best service ever! She went out of her way to make sure our much needed break was more than just another holiday. She put forward her thoughts which we took under consideration which resulted in one of the best holidays ever. Flights and transfers lined up perfectly. Accommodation was excellent. Highly recommend Nicole as your first port of call for any trip
So thankful for Abbey who organised a trip for me. I had a conference in a tricky location and Abbey made the whole thing easy. She also organised an amazing stopover in Zurich that was delightful. Abbey has since helped my parents and I'm very thankful for her insight and patience!
TERMS & CONDITIONS
From price includes early booking discount of $200pp. If you qualify for the welcome back offer this amount will be taken off your tour cost at the time of booking. Early booking special applies for all bookings made by 30 November 2018. Prices are correct as at 14 May 2018, are subject to currency changes, are subject to availability and are subject to change without notice. Prices are per person in NZ dollars and include land and international airfares. Accommodation is based on twin share. Supplied by World Journeys. For full terms and conditions please consult a World Travellers consultant.