Travel to Japan on this tailor-made holiday for a unique Far East experience. Roam Tokyo streets thronged with people and flanked by skyscrapers before nipping into a quiet corner for time to stroll through one of the many parks in the city. Journey by bullet train to Hakone national park area, home to Fuji-san or Mt Fuji, and marvel at an iconic image of Japan. Jump aboard a bicycle on Naoshima Island to explore the unique art project on display before continuing to the green oasis of Miyajima Island via the moving Peace Park at Hiroshima. Finally take in the sights of historic Kyoto, home to over 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines before returning to Tokyo for a final night in this mad metropolis.
Fly to Tokyo.
Land Tokyo. Meet the shared transfer operator and take the shuttle bus into central Tokyo. Enjoy panoramic city views as you drive via the elevated highways. The remainder of today is at leisure. You will be supplied with a pre-charged IC Card, Tokyo's version of the Oyster card, to allow you to navigate the extensive public transport system.
Spend today exploring the city with a local Japanese guide. Touring will make use of your IC Card and the efficient Tokyo metro system to allow you to cover ground quickly. Sights to visit are decided between yourself and the local guide allowing you to tailor touring to suit your preference. Overnight Tokyo. (B)
This morning don your apron and get involved with the local cuisine on this in-depth cooking class. Spend the day with a local foodie and learn the habits and rituals of Japanese dining before cooking up a storm in the kitchen. The menu for today is tasty, traditional mosaic sushi rolls, or 'maki', which are served with miso soup.
After enjoying the fruits of your labours we recommend that your touring in Tokyo continues. With your newly acquired knowledge of the Tokyo metro system and IC Card in hand, why not head out to visit various districts including the old town of Asakusa, Ginza the shoppers paradise and Shibuya, a real drawer for the youth of the city with its manga shops, bars and restaurants. Overnight Tokyo. (B)
Depart the hustle and bustle of Tokyo today using your inclusive Japan Rail Pass, a veritable golden ticket on the Japanese transport network allowing unlimited travel on most trains including bullet trains. Take the high-speed Shinkansen bullet train to Odawara station, gateway to picturesque Hakone National Park. Meet on arrival and transfer to your hotel. Your trip includes a 2-day Hakone Freepass which allows unlimited use of six different forms of transport including mountain buses, the cable car, a funicular railway - and a pirate ship! Overnight Hakone in a traditional Japanese ryokan, this is a great opportunity to get under the skin of Japanese life. (B/D)
Today is free to use your Hakone Freepass to explore Hakone region. Many visitors like to include a boat cruise on Lake Ashi, a visit to one of the many museums and of course the famous hot-spring baths. Tonight is spent in your traditional Japanese ryokan.(B/D)
Re-trace your steps to Odawara today and board a Shinkansen bullet train to Japan's second city, Osaka. Life in the city is fast-paced and exciting with local residents well known for working hard and playing hard. Discover a number of interesting museums, the reconstructed Osaka Castle and enjoy a ride on one of the many big wheels dotted throughout the city. Overnight Osaka. (B)
Today travel to Naoshima via a combination of Shinkansen bullet train, local train and ferry. Naoshima is a pretty island and is now home to a fascinating art project which has become quite a draw for international visitors. Overnight Naoshima. (B)
This morning will be spent with a local guide exploring the Art Project of Naoshima. Travel around the small island by local bus, rental bike and taxi to see the highlights. This half-day tour will end at lunchtime giving you time to explore at leisure this afternoon. (B)
Take the ferry back to the mainland and then travel by train to Hiroshima. Upon arrival there is time to discover the Peace Park and Museum before jumping on a ferry to nearby Miyajima Island. The island is home to one of the most famous sites of Japan, the 'floating' torii gate. Overnight on the island in a traditional ryokan. (B/D)
Today is free at leisure to explore the island. There is the opportunity to hire bicycles to head out on the excellent cycle paths around the island and discover its quiet corners. Overnight in your traditional ryokan. (B/D)
Commence the journey from Miyajima to Kyoto. Board the short ferry journey back to the mainland and then jump on a local train for the trip into the city. Here take the Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto. Arrive and take a taxi to the hotel. The remainder of the day is free at leisure. (B)
Welcome to wonderful Kyoto! The city is regarded as one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, boasting 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 400 Shinto shrines and over 1600 Buddhist temples. More than enough to keep you entertained for a day or two. Enjoy the company of a local experienced Japanese guide for a full-day tour of the city. You will be able to discuss what you might like to see with the guide - it's well worth allowing your guide to take you to some of the secret spots of the city as well as the 'big hitters'.
This afternoon we will arrange for you to enjoy afternoon tea with a Meiko or Geiko. Kyoto is home to the majority of the geisha in Japan. The Gion district is home to most of the ochaya teahouses from which the geishas entertain guests with traditional Japanese arts and crafts. It is here that you will have the opportunity to enjoy a cup of green tea and cake whilst a geisha or maiko performs a traditional dance. Overnight Kyoto. (RO)
A free day to explore the city. Kyoto has plenty to see with your free time but we would recommend heading out to Nara using your Japan Rail Pass. Just 40 minutes away by local train, Nara was formerly the end of the Silk Road and was the first area to see Buddhist teachings crossing over from China. Discover the daibutsu, or Big Buddha, as well as numerous shrines and temples. Nara park is also famous for a vast population of extremely curious deer who are likely to be very interested in your every move! Return to Kyoto for the evening at leisure. (RO)
From Kyoto take a Shinkansen bullet train back to Tokyo. Transfer to the underground and transfer to Shinjuku district and home to your hotel. This is your final evening in the city (please speak to a Regent Japan Specialist if you wish to extend your stay in the country). (RO)
Take the shared shuttle bus transfer back to Tokyo Narita airport for the journey home. (B)