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Audley Travel specialist Layla

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Tour highlights

  • Dramatic and beautiful mountainous scenery.

  • Hiking, light walking and serious mountaineering opportunities.

  • Winter sports on excellent powder snowfall until May.

  • Hot spring bathing, onsen and traditional accommodation.

  • Snow monkeys at Yudanaka Onsen.

Price includes

  • Scheduled international flights
  • In-destination transfers
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodation

Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Tokyo.

  • Arriving in Tokyo, you're met by an airport representative who will provide you with your trip documents and show you to your shuttle to take you to your city centre 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.

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  • 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 highlights of the city. Perhaps start with taking a cruise up from the Hamarikyu gardens up to the old district of Asakusa to see the beautiful Sensoji temple.

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  • Your first bullet train journey takes you up into the Japanese Alps and over to the small town of Yudanaka. It's here that you will enjoy your first stay at a traditional inn, or ryokan, with tatami rooms, futon and hot springs for those inclined, all part of this Japanese adventure! You will also get the chance to see the ubiquitous snow monkey (any time of the year but best when there's snow of course!)

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  • Explore Yudanaka's hot springs and watch the snow monkey's bathing in the warm waters. A short train ride away is the artisan town of Obuse famous for its Hokkusai paintings.

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  • Travel by private line train and local Alpine bus to Kamikochi; a scenic journey through the mountains to the heart of the Alps region.

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  • Take a full day to enjoy the glorious scenery and walk some of the trails here. For the more adventurous, it's possible to hike up one of the surrounding imposing mountains too.

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  • Your next stop will be Matsumoto in the Japanese Alps. Here you can explore independently the famous Matsumoto Castle with its black and white exterior, and wander around the city's characterful old merchant district. There's also the excellent Ukiyo-e Museum housing thousands of woodblock print work belonging to the wealthy Sakai family.

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  • From Matsumoto, set out on the Kurobe alpine route also known as the "Roof of Japan" which sees you travelling across the Northern alps using several means of transport including ropeways and cable cars. You will finish your day of travelling in the remote town of Murodo.

  • Continue your journey onwards down the other side of the alpine route through Toyama prefecture and on to the charming artisan city of Kanazawa, famous for the gold leaf produced in the area.

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  • Visit the beautiful Kenrokuen garden this morning, one of Japan's top three gardens. Later there's time to explore some more of this interesting and artisan city.

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  • Take the limited express train to Kyoto, Japan's cultural heartland. After checking into the hotel, a private guide will take you to see some temples and cultural sites in the city. Afterwards, you will be taken for a tea ceremony in one of the more exclusive temples in the city. Truly a typically-Kyoto and memorable experience.

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  • In the morning, head to the brewery Fushimi district just South of Kyoto station for the chance to try some of the local sake and learn about how it is brewed. The exquisite sake in the area is created using the exceptionally clean water from the hills surrounding Kyoto. Spend the rest of the day seeing the Fushimi-Inari shrine close to the breweries.

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  • Just west of Kyoto is the secluded area of Arashiyama, home to a wonderful bamboo forest, some gentle hiking, river scenery and little teahouses with rickshaw outside.

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  • Take the bullet train up to Tokyo and have the final afternoon at leisure in the capital.

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  • Take the airport shuttle bus from the hotel lobby to the airport in time for your flight onwards. Your return flight will arrive the same day.

Accommodation options

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

When to go

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July is one of the best times to visit
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Audley Travel specialist Layla

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