Explore the vibrant and exciting capital of Tokyo.
Take a geisha walk in Gion, Kyoto.
Bathe in a hot spring in Hakone National Park.
Walk the Nakasendo Highway in Tsumago.
Visit the ‘floating’ tori gate on Miyajima Island.
What our specialists say...
This trip highlights Japan’s classic places, from the towering skyscrapers of Tokyo through to the quiet rural town of Tsumago. Visit Kyoto, home to ancient temples, shrines, and geisha culture. Heading west you then visit Hiroshima, now a bright and vibrant city. Nearby Miyajima Island's floating ‘torii’ shrine gate is rated as one of Japan's top three most scenic spots and is beautiful at sunset. Finish in Hakone National Park, west of Tokyo – a place to soak in hot springs and immerse yourself in the mountain and lake scenery. This busy yet well balanced itinerary includes a Japan Rail Pass.
We recommend this trip for:
Itinerary idea in detailOpen all Close all
Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Day 1 International outbound flight
International outbound flight
Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Tokyo.
Day 2 Tokyo
After passing through customs and luggage collection, you're met by an Audley representative who will give you your documents, exchange your voucher for the rail pass, and direct you to the shared shuttle service which takes you to your hotel. After checking in, spend the rest of the day at leisure, resting and relaxing after your flight. If you do feel like starting exploring, you may wish to walk around the Imperial Gardens.
Day 3 Tokyo
Spend the full day seeing the many sights of this wonderful metropolis. Use our folders to guide you to the modern areas such as upmarket Ginza and Shibuya, home of the famous Hachiko pedestrian crossing. But also make time to visit the traditional and historic Asakusa district in the northeast of the city, where you can see the huge red lantern of Senso-ji Temple.
Day 4 Tokyo
A day at leisure. We suggest getting out of the city and catching the train (the journey lasts an hour and a quarter one way) to the seaside town of Kamakura, southwest of Tokyo. In this 800-year-old town you can see the Great Buddha of Kotokuin, and a number of scenic temples and shrines. Upon returning to Tokyo, head to one of our recommended restaurants for an evening meal.
Day 5 Tsumago
Travel by bullet train and local trains to Tsumago, a quiet post town in the Kiso Valley. This afternoon, walk along the scenic Nakasendo Highway, which once connected Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo) in the 1800s. It was an important route used by samurai and traders. Temples line the route and you'll pass through paddy fields and other peaceful countryside. This evening, enjoy your first evening meal at a traditional inn or 'ryokan'.
Day 6 Hiroshima
Take the train to Hiroshima. This is quite a long journey of five hours and involves changing at Nagoya, then whizzing the rest of the way by bullet train. After checking into your hotel, head to the Peace Park. Despite it being a quite sobering experience, the Japanese have made it an extremely interesting place. Walk along the city's tree-lined avenues and visit the Memorial Museum.
Day 7 Hiroshima
A day at leisure to explore Hiroshima and its surroundings at your own pace. We suggest taking the 20 minute ferry crossing to nearby Miyajima Island to see its 'floating' red torii gate. It stands out in the bay and is completely surrounded by water at high tide, giving the impression that it floats. Miyajima Island itself is full of interesting shrines and temples. During October and November its Japanese Maples turn a rich dark red.
Day 8 Kyoto
Take the bullet train east to Kyoto, a journey of around two hours. In the afternoon, we can arrange for you to take part in a shared cultural activity at Kyoto's Women's Association. With the help of experienced English-speaking practitioners, you could learn Japanese arts such as calligraphy, the tea ceremony, origami, koto instrument-playing and sushi-making. Classes last around an hour.
Day 9 Kyoto
A day at leisure in Kyoto. Navigate your way around the city seeing the many gardens, shrines and shops of this unique city. Highlights include the Golden Pavilion, the food markets selling tasty Japanese delicacies, and the traditional entertainment district of Gion. If you walk its streets at dusk, you may glimpse one of the city's enigmatic geisha on her way to work.
Day 10 Kyoto
Take a local train to visit Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, a quick five minute train journey from Kyoto. The shrine is home to hundreds of red torii gates that spill out over the hillside. It's also worth taking a walk through the forest there. Continue your journey on to Nara, one of the former capitals of Japan, to feed the wild deer and see the 'daibutsu', a giant Buddha housed inside a wooden building.
Day 11 Hakone
Take the bullet train to Hakone, a journey of around three and a half hours. Check in to your accommodation and either head to a hot spring to relax for the rest of the day, or use our folders to navigate your way around the National Park. You can use your Hakone free pass to reach several great viewing areas over the park's mountains and lakes.
Day 12 Hakone
A day at leisure to further explore Hakone National Park under your own steam. Your included Hakone Free Pass allows you to use the buses, trains and cable cars. Cross Lake Ashinoko on a replica pirate ship or head to a viewing spot for a glimpse of Mount Fuji. We also recommend visiting the excellent open air sculpture museum in Chokokunomori.
Day 13 Tokyo
After a leisurely morning return to Tokyo (a one and a quarter hour train journey) for a final night in the capital. We suggest using your last few hours in the city to explore a new corner of it. Visit the Imperial Palace Gardens, the man-made island of Odaib, trendy Shinjuku or the peaceful landscaped Hamarikyu Gardens.
Day 14 International return flight
Tokyo , International return flight
Contact a 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. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.Watch our tailor-made process ›
When to go
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