Take in Tokyo's famous fish market.
See the giant bronze Buddha at Kamakura.
Visit Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, and other temples.
Travel by super-fast bullet train.
Go to Hiroshima to see the Peace Park Museum and Atomic Bomb Dome.
What our specialists say...
A trip for first-time visitors to Japan who want to see its highlights within a short period of time. Largely self-guided, this itinerary offers independence and flexibility. Begin in Tokyo, taking in the Tsukiji fish market and the temple at Asakusa, among other sights. Make a day trip to Kamakura to see its Giant Buddha, then move on to Kyoto. Considered to be Japan’s cultural heartland, here you can visit the Golden Pavilion, sample traditional cuisine, and spot geisha. End with a poignant visit of Hiroshima. A Japan Rail Pass is included, which allows you to travel on the efficient bullet train network.
We recommend this trip for:
Itinerary idea in detail
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
Arriving in Japan you're met by an Audley representative who will hand you your welcome pack and show you to the Narita Express train service into the city. From here, take a taxi to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day relaxing after your long flight. A good introduction to the city would be to board the monorail, which weaves through skyscrapers as it heads towards the island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay. Here you'll get excellent views of the Tokyo skyline.
Day 3 Tokyo
Make use of any lingering jet lag and visit the early morning Tsukiji Fish Market. Buzzing with life, this is the biggest fish market in the world. The rest of the day will be spent exploring the busy metropolis at your own pace. We recommend following an easy route around the city which takes in the Imperial Palace, pretty Hamarikyu Gardens, the Asakusa Kannon Temple and the Meiji Jingu Shrine in Harajuku.
Day 4 Tokyo
Spend the day exploring Kamakura, a pretty seaside town which was once Japan's capital and is home to the Great Bronze Buddha. You can take the train there unaccompanied - trains depart regularly from Tokyo and the journey takes an hour and a quarter. There are many temples and shrines which you can visit here; one of our favourites is the Hase Kannon Temple.
Day 5 Kyoto
Today travel by bullet train to Kyoto, home to some of Japan's most important works of art, its richest culture and its most refined cuisine. This is a journey of around three hours. After leaving your bags at your hotel, we recommend that you set off for the north west of the city to see some of the iconic sights, including the Golden Pavilion.
Day 6 Kyoto
A whole day at leisure to explore Kyoto. We suggest starting at Nijo Castle, visiting a few covered markets and the Nishiki-dori food market to sample some Japanese delicacies such as squid, octopus, eel and matcha powder sweets. Wander the narrow streets of Gion, the Geisha district, and visit a few of Kyoto's most iconic temples and shrines nearby.
Day 7 Kyoto
Today we suggest taking a day trip to nearby Nara, Japan's ancient capital and celebrated for its Giant Buddha and Todaiji Temple. Return to Kyoto via Fushimi Inari Shrine to see its 'tunnels' of red torii gates swirling up the hillside. The journey can be made independently and the train journey each way lasts just under an hour.
Day 8 Tokyo
Make use of your rail pass and take the bullet train (a journey of just over two and a half hours) to Hiroshima to explore the moving Peace Park and Memorial Museum. Be sure to stop for a lunch of the local speciality of okonomiyaki (a gourmet savoury pancake eaten with cabbage and many other different ingredients). Return to Tokyo in the afternoon, for a final night in the capital.
Day 9 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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