Day 1: Australia –– Osaka
Depart Australia on a flight to Japan. Upon arrival at Kansai Airport (KIX) in Osaka, travellers are welcomed with a hotel transfer. The tour guide or escort will be waiting at the arrival lobby exit gate inside the airport.
Please note that some flights may depart 1 day earlier.
Day 2: Osaka – Nara – Osaka (B, D)
Travel to Nara to visit the Todaji Temple, one of the most famous temples in Japan. Inside, see the 15-metre tall bronze statue of Buddha (Daibutsu). Walk through Nara Park, home to almost 1200 freely-roaming deer. Back in Osaka, the itinerary takes you to Osaka Castle and then onto Dōtonbori for the welcome dinner.
Day 3: Osaka –– Kyoto (B)
The morning starts by boarding the Shinkansen Bullet Train, bound for Kyoto. This trip takes only 15 minutes. Once in Kyoto, the group takes in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), the Nishijin Textile Centre, and a traditional kimono show.
Day 4: Kyoto (B)
You have a free day to explore Kyoto. There are more than 1600 Buddhist temples in the city, as well as 400 Shinto shrines and several palaces and gardens. As you explore and wander this city, keep your eyes peeled for geisha.
Day 5: Kyoto – Kanazawa (B)
Today includes a trip to Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate; the Arashiyama District, the Togetsu Bridge and then Bamboo Grove. Travellers continue towards Kanazawa in the afternoon.
Day 6: Kanazawa (B)
The Higashi Chayagai district in Kanazawa is known for its teahouses built in traditional Japanese style. Visit one of the teahouses before moving onto the Kenroku-en Garden, a beautifully maintained feudal lord’s garden. The day’s next stop is Nagamachi Buke Yashiki district. This samurai district is located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle, where samurai and their families once lived. See the remaining residences and soak in the local history before ending the day with a tour of Omicho Market.
Day 7: Kanazawa (B)
Further explore Kanazawa at your leisure.
Day 8: Kanazawa – Shirakawa Go – Takayama ((B)
After breakfast, the group makes its way to Takayama and stops at Shirakawa-go enroute. This small, traditional village is recognised as being one of the best examples of the gasshō-zukuri style. Arrive in Takayama in the afternoon.
Day 9: Takayama – Nagano (B)
Take in some of the top sights in Takayama today, including the Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village. This open-air museum features more than 30 examples of traditional houses from the region. Today also includes the Matsuri-no-mori museum and Sanmachi Suji. Travel to Nagano afterwards.
Day 10: Nagano – Matsumoto (B)
Begin by seeking out Hokusai Museum, dedicated to the eponymous artist, and then make for the city’s Zenkoji Temple. Afterwards, you will leave Nagano for Matsumoto. On arrival, there is a visit to Matsumoto Castle – perhaps the city’s most recognisable site. You will also have time in the afternoon to explore the old merchant district of Nakamachi, which is lined with well-preserved heritage buildings.
Day 11: Matsumoto – Mt Fuji (B,D)
Travel to Mt Fuji and visit Oshino Hakkai, eight ponds fed by the mountain’s melting snow. The crystal-clear filtered water is highly revered by locals. From the ponds, visit Mt Fuji 5th Station for an outstanding view of the Fuji Five Lakes area below and snap plenty of photos as keepsakes.
Day 12: Mt Fuji – Tokyo (B)
Visit Gotemba Peace Park to take in the incredible outlook of Mt Fuji and then enjoy a scenic cruise of Lake Ashi. You are encouraged to make the most of your time in the Hakone region. This area is a part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is famous for its hot springs, natural beauty and mountain views. Return to Tokyo in the afternoon.
Day 13: Tokyo (B)
A free day to explore and discover Tokyo at your own pace.
Day 14: Tokyo – – Australia (B)
You will be transferred to the airport for the flight home to Australia.
Day 15: Australia
Arrive home today.
Day 1: Australia –– Osaka
Depart Australia today on your flight to Japan. Upon arrival at Kansai Airport, clear customs and immigration before boarding the transfer to your accommodation. The tour guide or escort will be waiting at the arrival lobby exit gate (inside the airport). Please do not go away from the exit gate if you don’t see the tour guide immediately, the tour guide will come and meet you.
Please note: some flights might depart 1 day earlier.
Day 2: Osaka – Himeji – Hiroshima (B)
After breakfast we make the trip to the moving city of Hiroshima. Largely destroyed when the first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the city became known worldwide for this unenviable distinction. Enroute, we stop in Himeji to visit the Himeji castle. The castle is regarded as the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture, comprising a network of 83 buildings with advanced defensive systems from the feudal period. It was registered in 1993 as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.
Day 3: Hiroshima – Osaka (B)
Today we begin with the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, which commemorates the victims of the atomic bomb used in WWII. Then visit the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima, where you can see the torii gate on the water at high tide. After we make our way back to Osaka.
Day 4:Osaka – Nara – Osaka (B, D)
This morning, 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.
Then visit 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, where we will have our welcome dinner.
Day 5: Osaka –– Kyoto (B)
This morning, we board on the Japan famous Shinkansen Bullet Train to Kyoto (15 minutes). We begin with the UNESCO World Heritage, Kinkaku-ji, 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. 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 6: 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 7: Kyoto – Kanazawa (B)
This morning we visit Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate and is designated a UNESCO world heritage site. After we relax in the Arashiyama District, visit to the Togetsu Bridge, the landmark of Western Kyoto for over four hundred years. Then stroll through Bamboo Grove, one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason: standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world. We then contine to the city of Kanazawa.
Day 8: 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.
Day 9: Kanazawa (B)
Today free day at your leisure to enjoy the city at your own pace. Kanazawa is known for well-preserved Edo-era districts, art museums and regional handicrafts.
Day 10: Kanazawa – Shirakawa Go – Takayama (B)
Today after breakfast we make our way to Takayama. Enroute, we visitS hirakawa-go. Shirakawa-go 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 11: Takayama – Nagano (B)
Today we visit some of Takayama’s highlights. We begin our day with theH ida 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. After, we continue on to Nagano.
Day 12: Nagano – Matsumoto (B)
We begin with a visit to Hokusai Museum which is a museum dedicated to the ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai, commonly referred to as Hokusai. His most well-known works include The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Red Fuji, which are a couple of prints from the collection Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. We then continue to the Nagano’s Zenkoji Temple – one of the most important and popular temples in Japan.
Then we leave Nagano 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 13: Matsumoto – Mt Fuji (B,D)
Today we leave Matsumoto behind us and travel to Mt Fuji. 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. Continue your tour with a visit to the Mt Fuji 5th Station, which at 2300 meters above sea level, the offers a commanding view of the Fuji Five Lakes area below.
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 14: Mt Fuji – Tokyo (B)
Today, 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 15: 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 16: Tokyo – – Australia (B)
At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the airport for your homebound flight.
Day 17: Australia
Arrive home today.