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  • Departing from?Dublin + 3
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  • When?March 2015
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Gardens & Sights of Japan
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Gardens & Sights of Japan

  • 12 Night Holiday
  • B&B
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The fascinating and awe inspiring country of Japan, with its unique blend of high tech modernity and ancient traditions which encompass wonderful gardens and temples, Ikebana and tea ceremonies, is a must see on any traveller’s list.

Frances MacDonald, who is a qualified and experienced gardener and guide, escorts this tour. Frances has lived and worked in Japan and returns each time with great enthusiasm to lead tours alongside expert local guides. She will be available at all times to help and advise you.

On this 12-night holiday, you will see all aspects of Japan including the ancient city of Kyoto with its superb gardens and temples. Travel through wonderful mountain scenery for an overnight near to Mount Fuji, before moving on to the seaside town of Kamakura to view gardens and the Great Buddha, and visiting the bustling high rise metropolis of Tokyo where even there, there are oasis in which are situated gardens, parks and temples.

There will also be a pre-departure meeting with Frances where she will give you all the necessary information to make this a trip of a lifetime.  And there are no visas or vaccinations required!

 

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Japanese Yen (JPY)
Local Time
Ireland/UK Time +9 hours
Passport
Irish/UK citizens do not require a visa to visit Japan for trips of less than 90 days duration. You passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date from Japan. 
Airport

You will be arriving in Osaka airport located 47.2km (29.3 miles) from Kyoto city center, approximatly an hour drive. Tokyo airport is located 57.5km (35.7 miles) east of the city. Journey time from the city centre is about 55 minutes.

Climate

Tokyo, like most of Japan, has four distinct seasons. Spring is the season of the famous cherry blossoms trees, days are cool and can be rainy up until May. Summers start off wet before becoming very hot and humid. Autumn is one of the best times to visit when the days are pleasantly cool. Winters are clear and cold, but the temperature rarely drops below zero.

Food & Drink

Japanese food is extremely healthy, based heavily on rice, fish, vegetables and miso. Ramen, sushi, fried dumplings, tempura and noodles are all popular, but there are plenty of Western restaurants for those with a less adventurous palate!

Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: 377.00 JPY
  • Beer: 600.00 JPY
  • Glass of wine: 750.00 JPY
  • Meal: 900.00 JPY
  • Soft Drink: 145.00 JPY
  • Bottled Water: 139.00 JPY

(€1 = approx. 130 JPY)

Packing List

We advise you to bring:

  • Your valid passport
  • A continental plug adaptor
  • Sun cream
  • Insect repellent
  • A sun hat
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Camera
Recommended Reading

The Makioka Sisters by Junichero Tanizaki

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

A Pale View of Hills by Kazou Ishiguro

Holiday highlights

Tokyo

This booming metropolis is one of the world's most exciting cities and is home to over 12 million people. The city provides endless possibilities for things to see and do, and beauty can be found at every corner. One minute you will be lost in the awe at the inspiring concrete jungle, and the next, lost in thought wandering through one of the leafy parks. Japan's capital is a glittering city that never sleeps.

Kyoto

The ancient city of Kyoto has a rich history and is today considered as Japan's cultural capital. The Imperial Palace in Kyoto was the residence of the Japanese emperor until 1868 and is one of the city's main tourist attractions. Kyoto encompasses everything that is great about Japan, from majestic palaces to traditional wooden houses. In Kyoto there is beauty at every turn, you will see geishas passing in a flourish of colourful silks and historical temples surrounded by the famous cherry blossom tree. 

Hakone

Hakone, located around 100km from Tokyo, is a popular destination for both locals and tourists for its natural beauty. Hakone is situated within Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is famous for its hot springs and spectacular views of Mt. Fuji. Visitors can also enjoy tranquil boat tours around Lake Ashi which offers the perfect opportunity to take in the breath-taking scenery.

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Japanese Yen (JPY)
Local Time
Ireland/UK Time +9 hours
Passport
Irish/UK citizens do not require a visa to visit Japan for trips of less than 90 days duration. You passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date from Japan. 
Airport

You will be arriving in Osaka airport located 47.2km (29.3 miles) from Kyoto city center, approximatly an hour drive. Tokyo airport is located 57.5km (35.7 miles) east of the city. Journey time from the city centre is about 55 minutes.

Climate

Tokyo, like most of Japan, has four distinct seasons. Spring is the season of the famous cherry blossoms trees, days are cool and can be rainy up until May. Summers start off wet before becoming very hot and humid. Autumn is one of the best times to visit when the days are pleasantly cool. Winters are clear and cold, but the temperature rarely drops below zero.

Food & Drink

Japanese food is extremely healthy, based heavily on rice, fish, vegetables and miso. Ramen, sushi, fried dumplings, tempura and noodles are all popular, but there are plenty of Western restaurants for those with a less adventurous palate!

Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: 377.00 JPY
  • Beer: 600.00 JPY
  • Glass of wine: 750.00 JPY
  • Meal: 900.00 JPY
  • Soft Drink: 145.00 JPY
  • Bottled Water: 139.00 JPY

(€1 = approx. 130 JPY)

Packing List

We advise you to bring:

  • Your valid passport
  • A continental plug adaptor
  • Sun cream
  • Insect repellent
  • A sun hat
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Camera
Recommended Reading

The Makioka Sisters by Junichero Tanizaki

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

A Pale View of Hills by Kazou Ishiguro

Trip Itinerary - Day by day

Day 1 - Travel to Japan

Full Day

Day 1 - Travel to Japan

Depart on your overnight flight to Osaka.

Day 2 - Arrive in Japan

Afternoon

Arrive in Japan

Upon arrival in Osaka you will be met by our local guide before being transferred to your hotel in Kyoto. A welcome dinner with your group is included at a local restaurant.

Day 3 - Kyoto

Full Day

Kyoto

Today you will travel to Kyoto and visit the wonderful gardens of the Ryoanji Temple, Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Gardens and Heian Shrine.

Evening

At leisure

The evening will be free to spend at your leisure but Frances will be on hand to advise or escort you to one of the many fantastic restaurants in Kyoto, and will do this on all free evenings throughout the trip.

Day 4 - Nara

Morning

Nara

Today you will enjoy an excursion to Nara, the former 8th century capital of Japan. The city is filled with historic treasures including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples. The tour includes a visit to Nara Park and Tōdai-ji Temple, one of the country’s most famous temples. You will also see the ancient Kasuga-taisha shrine, famous for its bronze and stone lanterns and Todaiji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will return to Kyoto in the early afternoon.

Day 5 & 6 - At Leisure

Full Days

At Leisure

Day 5 and Day 6 are free to enjoy at your own pace or alternatively Frances will be delighted if you would join her on alternative excursions. One would be to the Philospher’s Walk, a pedestrian path that follows a cherry-tree lined canal in Kyoto. It was named after the influential 20th-century Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro who used it for daily meditation. It passes a number of temples and shrines, small shops and cafes. She will also be visiting other temples and gardens as well as interesting shops in this historic old town.

Day 7 - Hakone National Park & Mount Fuji

Full Day

Hakone National Park & Mount Fuji

Day 7 will begin with a journey on the bullet train from Kyoto to the city of Odawara. Upon arrival, you will embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Hakone by coach including a visit to Hakone Open Air Museum, which is fully designed and landscaped with gardens and sculptures. Afterwards, enjoy a boat trip on Lake Ashi, where you can soak up the picturesque surroundings. Our hotel is nestled in the mountains with wonderful scenery and terrific photo opportunities of Mt Fuji. In the evening you will enjoy a relaxing traditional banquet dinner with the group and also there is an option to experience the outdoor hot baths.

Day 8 - Kamakura

Full Day

Kamakura

This morning, depart for Kamakura for a full day guided tour. This fishing village, girded on three sides by steep wooded hills, was the seat of Japan’s first military government in the 12th century. A day here takes in the Great Buddha, the gardens and temples of Hase Kannon and Tsuurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. In the afternoon you will transfer to Tokyo where you will enjoy dinner with your group.

Day 9 - Gardens of Tokyo

Full Day

Gardens of Tokyo

Today will be spent visiting the fabulous gardens of Tokyo including the Imperial Palace East Garden, Rikugi-en Garden, Koishikawa Koraku-en Garden and Hamarikyu Garden.

Day 10 - Tokyo including Tea Ceremony & Ikebana

Full Day

Tokyo including Tea Ceremony & Ikebana

Day 10 will be spent experiencing the traditional cultures of Japan. You will visit Happo-en for Ikebana (flower-arranging) and a traditional tea ceremony. From here you will move on to the Asakusa Kannon Temple, one of the oldest shopping areas of Tokyo.

Evening

Dinner

In the evening you will dine with your group in one of Tokyo most renowned restaurants – used in the film Kill Bill.

Day 11 - At Leisure

Full Day

At Leisure

Today will be free to spend at your leisure in Tokyo. Time to take a cruise around Tokyo Bay, shop in Ginza, wander in one of the many beautiful city parks with cafes and temples, see the world famous Ueno Zoo, a wonderful array of museums or art galleries or just people watch in the cosmopolitan area of Harajuku or Roppongi. Frances and the local guide will be happy to advise you on ways to spend your day in this wonderful city.

Day 12 - At Leisure & Flight Home

Full Day

At Leisure & Flight Home

There will be free time to explore Tokyo further and indulge in some last-minute shopping before your flight home from Narita airport in the evening.

Day 13 - Arrive Home

Morning

Arrive Home

Arrive home in Dublin.

* Please note that the order of your excursions on the itinerary above is provisional and subject to change

Customer reviews

Hotel & accommodation available for this trip

Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa Superior Tourist Class

Grand Prince Hotel is situated in the Takanawa district of Minato in Tokyo and only a 5-minute walk from Shinagawa Train Station. This hotel is surrounded by a 5-acre peaceful Japanese garden and offers a wide range of facilities such as several types of restaurants, bar and loun... read more read more read more

Grand Prince Hotel is situated in the Takanawa district of Minato in Tokyo and only a 5-minute walk from Shinagawa Train Station. This hotel is surrounded by a 5-acre peaceful Japanese garden and offers a wide range of facilities such as several types of restaurants, bar and lounge. After an exciting day of sightseeing guests can relax in the comfortable rooms and enjoy the tranquillity of nature even in the middle of a busy city like Tokyo.

Hotel address
Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa
Takanawa, Minato-ku Tokyo, 108-8612 Japan


Tokyo
View available dates for this hotel

Hakone Yunohana Prince Hotel Superior Tourist Class

Surrounded by green parkland, this Japanese-style hot spring inn and hotel offers guest relaxation and comfort while being an ideal base to explore Hakone. The hotel’s Japanese-style rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) flooring, traditional futon bedding and a low table. After a d... read more read more read more

Surrounded by green parkland, this Japanese-style hot spring inn and hotel offers guest relaxation and comfort while being an ideal base to explore Hakone. The hotel’s Japanese-style rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) flooring, traditional futon bedding and a low table. After a day of sightseeing, guest can enjoy the outdoor hot spring baths and gaze up at the starry night sky.

Hotel address
Hakone Yunohana Prince Hotel
93 Ashinoyu
Hakone-machi
Ashikara-shimo-gun Kanagawa-ken, 250-0523
Hakone
View available dates for this hotel

Kyoto Brighton Hotel Superior Tourist Class

A distinguished hotel located in west Kyoto-Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace), in the heart of Kyoto. The hotel had its grand opening in 1988 as a prestigious local hotel. During 2010, the hotel has conducted renovation in all of the rooms. The hotel promises a relaxing stay with an ... read more read more read more

A distinguished hotel located in west Kyoto-Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace), in the heart of Kyoto. The hotel had its grand opening in 1988 as a prestigious local hotel. During 2010, the hotel has conducted renovation in all of the rooms. The hotel promises a relaxing stay with an atrium style lobby and large guest rooms. Conveniently located near many sightseeing spots such as Kyoto Gyoen (Kyoto Imperial Garden) just 300 metres away. The textile district of Nishi-jin, where well-known traditional Japanese textiles “Nishijin-ori”are produced, is roughly 800 metres from the hotel. 

Hotel address
Kyoto Brighton Hotel
602-8071 Kyoto
Kamigyo-ku Shinmachi-Dori Nakadachiuri

Kyoto
View available dates for this hotel

* Some hotel facilities may be seasonally operated or under maintenance and therefore unavailable at the time of your stay. Charges may apply for certain facilities.

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