Day 1: Australia –– Osaka
Depart Australia today. Upon arrival at Kansai Airport, clear customs and immigration before boarding the transfer to your accommodation.
Please note: Some flights may depart 1 day earlier.
Day 2: Osaka (B)
Free day at leisure.
Day 3: Osaka – Nara – Osaka (B, D)
This morning we get to know this neon powerhouse starting with a visit to Osaka Castle. Built in 1583, the castle is an outstanding representation of Japan’s feudal period. After Osaka Castle we continue on to Dōtonbori, which exemplifies Osaka’s vibrant food culture. After we travel to Nara and visit Todaiji Temple, one of Japan’s most famous temples. The massive building houses one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu). The 15 meters tall, seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas. Along the approach to Todaiji stands the Nandaimon Gate, a large wooden gate watched over by two fierce looking statues. Representing the Nio Guardian Kings, the statues are designated national treasures together with the gate itself. After the Todaiji Temple we wander back through Nara Park, home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara’s nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city.
Day 4: Osaka –– Kyoto (B)
This morning, we board on the Japan famous Bullet Train Shinkansen to Kyoto. We begin with the UNESCO World Heritage Kiyomizu-dera Temple and drink to your fortune from the streams of the Otowa Waterfall. The water is said to have a different benefit, namely to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life. The Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan and has spectacular views over Kyoto. After we visit the Nishijin Textile Centre and enjoy a traditional kimono show. Kimono’s are still used for important festivals or formal moments in Japan until this day.
Day 5: Kyoto (B)
Today is a free day to explore Kyoto at your own pace. Kyoto attracts millions of visitors every year and it’s no wonder. With over 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines, palaces and gardens, who wouldn’t want to visit? You might be luck enough to spot a Geisha in the old district.
Day 6: Kyoto – Kanazawa (B)
This morning we visit Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate and is designated a UNESCO world heritage site. It is then on to Kinkakuji, commonly known as the Golden Pavilion. A Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold and detailed architecture incorporating three distinct styles of Shinden, Samurai and Zen. We finish with a visit to the Togetsu Bridge, the landmark of Western Kyoto’s Arashiyama District for over four hundred years. We then contine to the city of Kanazawa
Day 7: Kanazawa (B)
We begin with a visit to the Higashi Chayagai district famous for its teahouses built in traditional Japanese design. We then continue to the Kenroku-en Garden – from its scale and beauty, it is regarded as one of the most beautiful feudal lords’ gardens in Japan and has been maintained over generations. After the gardens we make our way to the Nagamachi Buke Yashiki district. Nagamachi was a samurai district located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle, where samurai and their families used to reside. The area preserves a historic atmosphere with its remaining samurai residences, earthen walls, private entrance gates, narrow lanes and water canals. We finish our tour with a visit to the Omicho Market and sample some local food. Afternoon free at leisure
Day 8: Kanazawa – Shirakawa Go – Takayama (B)
Today after breakfast we make our way to Takayama. Enroute, we visit Shirakawa. Shirakawa is a village located in Ōno District, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. It is best known for being the site of Shirakawa-gō, a small, traditional village showcasing a building style known as gasshō-zukuri. After, we continue on to Takayama.
Day 9: Takayama (B)
Today we visit some of Takayama’s highlights. We begin our day with the Hida Folk Village, an open air museum exhibiting over 30 traditional houses from the region. After, we continue to the Matsuri-no-mori museum which showcases the key aspects of the Takayama Festival, which takes place for two days each spring and autumn. After learning about the Takayama Festival we head to San-machi Suji. Sanmachi Suji is a collection of three streets that make up Hida Takayama’s famous historic district. The area located in the centre of Hida Takayama served as a bustling merchant town in the past. Today it is easily recognized with its distinctive old wooden architecture and charm, a traditional Japanese village area and Takayama Jinya. A small 3 lane area is filled with old wooden buildings consisting of sake breweries, small boutiques and some larger merchant houses which are now museums.
Day 10: Takayama – Matsumoto (B)
Today we leave Takayama for the city of Matsumoto. On arrival we make a visit to Matsumoto Castle, considered in the top 3 feudal castles of Japan and arguably the city’s most famous site. You will have time to stroll through the former merchant district of Nakamachi, lined with well preserved old buildings where you can find lovely local crafts, treasures and great restaurants
Day 11: Matsumoto – Mt Fuji (B,D)
Today we leave Matsumoto behind us and travel to Mt Fuji.
While you still have a few days to enjoy, tonight’s dinner allows you to farewell your fellow travellers before enjoying some free time in Tokyo over the next couple of days.
Day 12: Mt Fuji – Tokyo (B)
Today, visit Oshino Hakkai. Known as the Springs of Mt Fuji, the eight ponds are fed by melting snow filtering down from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji through porous layers of lava resulting in very clear spring water that is revered by the locals. Later, visit Gotemba Peace Park to capture a breathtaking view of Mt Fuji before taking a cruise on Lake Ashi, Savour the numerous delights of nature in the Hakone region. Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji, Hakone is one of the most popular destinations among the Japanese looking for a break from Tokyo.
Day 13: Tokyo (B)
Today is a free day at leisure to enjoy the Japanese way of life in one of the World’s greatest cities.
Day 14: Tokyo – – Australia (B)
At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward flight.
Day 15: Australia
Arrive home today.