Day 1 - Travel to Japan
Depart on your overnight flight to Osaka.
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.
Today you will travel to Kyoto and visit the wonderful gardens of the Ryoanji Temple, Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Gardens and Heian Shrine.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the evening you will dine with your group in one of Tokyo most renowned restaurants – used in the film Kill Bill.
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.
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.