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View of Mt Fuji, Central Honshu

Honshu's culture & hot springs

9 days from $4,995pp

View of Mt Fuji, Central Honshu
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Tour highlights

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

  • You'll spend the morning with one of our guides for an orientation. They will run through your trip and offer you any local advice so you can enjoy the country with confidence. You can then spend the afternoon exploring the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. The Hamarikyu Gardens and Asakusa old town are excellent places to start. In the evening, head out with a guide to sample some of the local Tokyo cuisine in the vibrant district of Ebisu.

  • 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' and 'Ryoanji', famed for its beautiful zen gardens.

  • This morning, with the Women's Association of Kyoto, take part in a cultural workshop giving an introduction to Japanese culture. Dress in a kimono, the usual dress for both men and women at important or formal events such as a green tea ceremony in which you will partake. Watch and learn as the master brews and serves tea using slow, deliberate movements steeped in spirituality and ritual. Enjoy a cup of bitter tea along with traditional sweet treats. Try your hand at origami — the Japanese art of folding paper — with a local artist.

  • 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.

  • 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 flavored kaiseki cuisine and spend the day strolling around the picturesque town center in light, cotton kimono known as Yukata.

  • 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, snorkeling and kayaking are available.

  • After checking out of your ryokan, catch the bullet train to Tokyo (which takes around two and a half hours) for your final night in Japan.

  • Take the shared airport bus service to the airport in time to catch your flight 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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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 (°F) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Kinosaki Onsen

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