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Geisha at Romon Gate, Kyoto

Deluxe grand tour of Japan

21 days from CAD42,450pp

Geisha at Romon Gate, Kyoto
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Tour highlights

  • Experience traditional Japanese hospitality with several ryokan stays.

  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant modernity of Tokyo.

  • Gain insight into Japanese culture with the Women's Association of Kyoto.

  • Take a walk through the geisha district of Kyoto with our top guide.

  • Relax in a hot spring spa in the Japanese Alps.

Price includes:

  • In-destination transfers
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodations
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

  • After passing through customs and luggage collection, you're met by an airport guide who will give you your trip documents and direct you to the private shuttle service that will take you to your hotel. After checking in, spend the rest of the day at leisure, resting and relaxing after your flight. If you want to explore, you may wish to walk around the Imperial Gardens.

  • Your guide will meet you today in the hotel lobby to run through your trip and offer any local advice to you so you can enjoy the country with confidence. In the first section, the guide will explain your itinerary in more detail and answer any questions you might have. This can take up to two hours, so afterwards, head out with your guide to see some of the city's highlights. Perhaps start with taking a cruise from the Hamarikyu Gardens to the old district of Asakusa to see the beautiful Sensoji temple.

  • Today, we recommend heading out of the city for a day trip to Kamakura to see its impressive shrines, famous daibutsu (giant Buddha), and seaside scenery. Here, you will meet with a local expert guide, who will show you some excellent examples of Japanese gardens and beautiful natural scenery.

  • Take the morning for a truly unforgettable experience and try making sushi with one of Tokyo's top sushi chefs. In the evening, you will have tickets included to see a kabuki performance at one of the best venues in the country. Kabuki is one of the oldest performance arts in Japan. It takes the form of a dance-drama, with performers wearing elaborate make-up.

  • Today, you travel by high-speed bullet train and local lines to Tsumago via Matsumoto. Stop for lunch and a self-guided visit to the impressive Matsumoto Castle.

  • After breakfast, head out to Magome by public bus and enjoy a beautiful walk back to Tsumago. This walk is about six miles along the historic Nakasendo Highway. This will take about two to three hours depending on your pace.

  • After another lovely breakfast at your ryokan, take the train to Takayama. Once you've arrived at your ryokan, you can either head out and explore the town or enjoy some post-hike relaxation in your private open-air bath.

  • Spend a full day exploring Takayama on your own. Try starting your day at the famous morning markets before wandering around the Sannomachi District which is lined with old sake breweries.

  • Board your bus to Kanazawa today, stopping off at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawago en route to see the beautiful thatched houses synonymous with the area. Your evening is at leisure.

  • Take a full day of guiding around the interesting artisan city of Kanazawa. The Kenrokuen Gardens are one of the finest in Japan and are well worth a visit along with the samurai residences which feature so prominently in Kanazawa's history.

  • Transfer by bullet train to Hiroshima and then onward by local train and ferry to Miyajima. This is a long journey so enjoy your ocean view room once you arrive for some well-deserved relaxation.

  • You have a full day to explore this beautiful island and its UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • Today, travel by bullet train to Kyoto, home to some of Japan's most important works of art, its richest culture and most refined cuisine. After leaving your bags at your hotel, we recommend that you set off to see some of the iconic sights, including the Golden Pavilion, the Zen gardens of Ryoanji and the beautiful terrace of Kiyomizudera.

  • One of our local guides will take you around the city for the day. There are numerous impressive sites to choose from, and our expert guide will be able to provide you with fascinating insights into the sights you are seeing.

  • In the morning, head out with a local guide to see some of the spectacular temples in Kyoto. Stop at Kodai-ji, one of the city's most exclusive places for tea ceremonies, before continuing on to the Higashiyama district to gaze upon the awe-inspiring architecture of the area. The afternoon should afford you enough time to take the train to Nara, another ancient capital of Japan. Here, you can see the spectacular Daibutsu giant golden Buddha statues and mingle with wild deer in the expansive park.

  • Head out early to the neighbouring city of Otsu, which sits on the western bank of Lake Biwa. Here, you can meet a local family and try your hand at mochi (rice cake) making. The area is particularly famous for its mochi production and this is a fantastic opportunity to see it up close. In the afternoon, visit fushimi-inari, a shrine famous for the thousands of red torii gates that spill out onto the hillside overlooking Kyoto.

  • You will head south to the area of Mount Koya, one of Japan's top three spiritual homes, where you will enjoy the simple life with a short stay in temple lodgings. It's beautifully quiet and quaint in the simple accommodations.

  • Today you will leave Mount Koya for the relaxing onsen town of Hakone.

  • Today you will explore the park with a local guide. You will hike some of the Old Tokaido Road, a preserved, historic trail that connected Tokyo and Kyoto in the samurai era. Before the hike, you'll visit a Yosegi crafts workshop and gallery. At the end of the journey, you will meet with the 13th-generation owner of the Amazake tea house and enjoy some refreshments.

  • Today you transfer back to Tokyo for your final night in the capital.

  • You will be picked up and taken to the airport by private transfer for your return flights home.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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Contact a Japan specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to Japan will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Miyajima Island
Mount Koya
Hakone & Mount Fuji

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