This trip is ideal for the first-time visitor to Japan, visiting the two of the most important destinations in Japan but also making some time for some Japanese-style relaxation. Start by flying into the vibrant capital of Tokyo, home of all that is modern in Japan. Spend some time in the neon metropolis before taking the bullet train West to the cultural capital of Kyoto. Your time in Kyoto will offer a complete contrast to Tokyo and will see you seeing some of the finest temples and gardens the country has to offer. Finish off your trip with a couple of nights in the lesser-known Kinosaki hot spring town. This is the perfect rural setting to unwind after a busy trip and soak in the natural waters.
Explore the vibrant metropolis of Tokyo.
Sample exquisite Japanese cuisine.
Experience a Japanese tea ceremony.
Bathe in the natural waters of Kinosaki.
Ride the famous bullet train.
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Treat this trip purely as a starting point for your own tour to Japan. Your specialist will ask you what you want and then shape your itinerary to match.
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- Advice from first-hand expertise
- Kinosaki Onsen
Itinerary idea in detailOpen all Close all
With international flights from a choice of 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 Tokyo, you're met by an airport representative then shown to your transfer to take you to your city hotel. Spend the rest of the day resting after your journey or exploring at leisure. A good way to spend your first few hours in Tokyo is to visit the Imperial Palace Gardens or the futuristic man-made island of Odaiba.
Day 3 Tokyo
A day at leisure in Tokyo. We recommend visiting the Hamarikyu Gardens - beautiful traditional landscaped gardens with a teahouse. Afterwards take a ferry up the Sumida river to the historic district of Asakusa to see the buddhist temple of Sensoji and outdoor markets. In the evening, join a street food tour to try some of Tokyo's delicacies and gain and insight into local nightlife.
Day 4 Kyoto
Leave Tokyo and, using your Japan Rail Pass, make the two and a half to three hour journey to Kyoto, Japan's cultural heart. After checking into your hotel, you have the afternoon at leisure. We recommend that you set out to visit some of the sights in the northwest of the city, including the Golden Pavilion or 'Kinkakuji' as well as 'Ryoanji', famed for its beautiful zen gardens.
Day 5 Kyoto
This morning with the Women's association of Kyoto, take part in a cultural workshop giving an introduction to Japanese culture. Dress into kimono, the usual dress for both men and woman at important or formal events such as a green tea ceremony in which you will partake. Watch and learn as the master brews and services tea using slow, deliberate movements steeped in spirituality and ritual. Enjoy a cup of the bitter tea along with traditional sweet treats. Try your hand at origami - the Japanese art of folding paper - with a local artist.
Day 6 Kyoto
A day at leisure. Our recommendation is to take the train to nearby Nara, Japan's ancient capital, celebrated for the Giant Buddha and Todaiji Temple. The journey takes just under an hour. Return to Kyoto via Fushimi Inari Shrine for its stunning 'tunnels' of red torii gates that dot the hillside. Try to visit this shrine in the evening - it's quieter and more atmospheric.
Day 7 Kinosaki Onsen
Take the train over to the Northern Hyogo prefecture coast to the quaint hot spring town of Kinosaki Onsen. Known throughout Japan as one of the best places to unwind and experience the uniquely Japanese pastime of hot spring bathing, the town is home to seven celebrated public bathhouses. Visitors to the area usually stay at old-style Japanese inns also known as ryokan where they enjoy a regionally flavoured kaiseki cuisine and spend the days strolling around the picturesque town centre in light, cotton kimono known as Yukata.
Day 8 Kinosaki Onsen
A day at leisure to enjoy the rural setting of Kinosaki Onsen where there are a range of activities to be enjoyed. A ropeway on the opposite end of town from the station allows access to the summit of Mount Taishi where one can enjoy views of the town and coastline. Outside of town, there are a number of sites worth visiting. If you continue down the Sanin main line, you will arrive at Takeno which is home to a pleasant beach. During the Summer months, snorkelling and kayaking are available.
Day 9 Tokyo
Day 10 International return flight
Tokyo , International return flight
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