This tour of Japan is an ideal introduction for first-time visitors, with guided tours of the country's key sites.
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Food is an important part of any trip to Japan, with a wide range of fresh, local ingredients and various styles of cooking and eating experiences available. While visiting the classic cities and temples of Japan, discover some of the finest cuisine the country has to offer via a selection of expert-guided tours, prearranged meals and self-guided discovery.
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Arrive and transfer to The Park Hotel in Tokyo for a 3-night stay, which is located close to the Shiodome subway station. For an introduction to Japanese cuisine, the hotel's Hanasanshou restaurant serves a range of dishes. (N)
Full-day private guided city tour using public transport, visiting the Asakusa Kannon temple, Tokyo National Museum's Japanese gallery, the Imperial East Garden and the tranquil Meiji shrine. (B)
This morning you will join a small-group class taught by local foodie Yoshimi for an in-depth lesson in everyday Japanese cooking. Yoshimi prides herself on using simple, fresh ingredients and will teach you to prepare some tempura dishes that you can recreate at home. The afternoon is at leisure, before joining long-term Tokyo resident Brian MacDuckston for an early evening tour of both the capital's finest and most down-to-earth ramen restaurants - a great chance to sample these tasty noodle dishes of rich broth, chopped pork, spring onions and soft-boiled eggs. (B, D)
Travel by train to Hakone National Park, a picturesque landscape of lakes, green valleys and volcanic hot springs. Stay overnight at the Hakone Ginyu Ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style property with private hot spring open-air onsen baths. Dinner tonight will be a kaiseki meal, a uniquely Japanese culinary art form that consists of several courses of small dishes, with a focus on regional specialities and always using seasonal produce. (B, D)
Take the train to Odawara, then continue by shinkansen (bullet train), to Kyoto. Stay at the Rihga Royal Kyoto Hotel, located near Kyoto station, for 3 nights. (B)
Full-day private guided city tour using public transport. Recommendations include the Ryoanji temple with its famous zen rock garden and Kinkakuji temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. End the day with a visit to the En Tea House for a private tea ceremony experience where you can learn about the history and philosophy of this ancient rite, taste some tea and try some traditional sweets. (B)
Sake, a sweet alcoholic drink made from fermented rice, has been brewed in Japan for centuries, and often plays an important part in Japanese ceremonies and social events. Today, it has been arranged for you to enjoy a sake tasting experience at Kyoto's Horino Memorial Museum, itself a former sake brewery, which once produced one of the country's highest-quality brands. (B)
Take an early train south to Hiroshima and visit the A-Bomb Museum & Peace Memorial Park, built by the people of the city to symbolise their wishes for everlasting peace. Afterwards, travel by ferry to the nearby island of Miyajima, a peaceful place with walking trails and an iconic floating torii gate. Stay overnight at the Iwaso Ryokan, known for its fresh seasonal seafood such as grilled fish and conger eel. (B, D)
Today you have a day at leisure to enjoy this peaceful island. Highly recommended is a visit to Kakiiwai, a stylish cafe that specialises in oysters, served either smoked with oil, raw, or grilled, and accompanied by a cool glass of Chablis. (B)
Take the ferry back to the mainland and head north to Osaka. Tonight you will meet with an English-speaking guide for a street food safari of Osaka's famous Dotonbori district, which is packed with restaurants and food stalls serving some of Osaka's tastiest food. Head off the regular tourist trail to find hidden izakaya (pub-restaurants) and taste Osakan specialities like takoyaki (octopus dumplings), and kushikatsu (skewered meat and vegetables). Stay overnight in the Marriott Miyako Hotel. (B, D)
Transfer to Kansai airport, located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, then board your flight home. (B)
As per itinerary - B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
This tour is led in certain destinations en route by a local tour escort, while in others it is self-guided. Where specific guides are mentioned, inclusion is subject to availability and booking at least eight months in advance is recommended, and further in advance for high season (particularly March, April & May) departures.
This tour is based in 4-star accommodation, with some nights in traditional Japanese inns known as ryokan. Please note that in Japan hotel room sizes are smaller than in Europe.
Available on request.
For a price quote based on alternative accommodation standards, to discuss flight options or to tailor this itinerary, please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or
Please note that tailor-made travel in Japan is unlike travel in any other country in the Far East due to the high costs of vehicle hire, drivers and guides. This means that engaging the services of a private guide and driver on a tailor-made journey is not always feasible and, as a result, sightseeing and travel between cities may involve public transport or shared services that are not exclusive to Cox & Kings. Furthermore, as English is not always spoken in areas away from the main tourist destinations, a degree of independence and self-guiding may be required. A comprehensive information pack is provided before departure, with transport instructions and bilingual timetables, hotel addresses and maps, and a guide for each destination covering a wide range of topics from eating out to enjoying a hot spring bath.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
CTJ2020: 10 Nights
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