Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka
Day 1 - 5 - London - Tokyo
To really enjoy Japan, unless you are a fluent Japanese speaker, you need a good guide and we know several! Spend a few days sightseeing and absorbing the energy of Tokyo. If you are lucky enough to be there in May or November for the blossom or autumn leaves, take a walk in the Imperial Palace grounds and enjoy the beautifully manicured park. Climb Tokyo Tower to get your bearings. Enjoy a sushi lunch – recommendations available, but for a real treat head to Jiro’s Sushi Bar in a Tokyo Subway station – the only three Michelin Star sushi restaurant (but you need to book well in advance). Enjoy dinner in a specialist wagyu beef restaurant. Take a ride on the subway (avoid rush hour!). Visit the towering Meiji Shinto Shrine. Enjoy Kabuki theatre – but you only need to stay for one or two acts. If you prize yourself out of bed early, the Tsujiki Fish Market. There are so many museums to visit and be sure to walk around Roppongi and Shinjuku and just enjoy watching the locals busily going about their business, and brave the Shibuya Crossing. For a bit of peace and quiet head to Rikugien Garden. Enjoy a drink in one of the hotel bars overlooking the city lights.
Day 6 - 9 - Tokyo - Kyoto
Take a bullet train to Kyoto and zip past Mount Fuji. Or stop off at Odawara to visit/climb Mount Fuji. Arrive in beautiful Kyoto. Sightseeing – Kinkaju-ji the magnificent golden temple, Kiyomizu Dera (a UNESCO world heritage site) and other amazing temples and pagodas. Visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace and perhaps enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Sample some delicious tempura at a specialist restaurant. If you’re interested we can arrange for you to spend time with a Meiko and trainee Geiko (Geisha as we know them). Learn about their life and their total dedication to their art. See their amazing make-up close up and marvel at its perfect application. Wander around and get lost in the fascinating old quarter, Gion with its maze of alleys and small streets. There are some great restaurants to sample all types of different cuisine, so be a little adventurous – shabu shabu (cook your own meat at your table in a delicious broth), tempura, kaiseki (multiple course dinner a Kyoto speciality), and sushi of course. If you’re there in November, the Eikando Temple is a must – properly stunning. For a little tranquility head to Arashiyama for the stunning bamboo forests and the odd monkey if you’re lucky. Why not take a tour of the sake brewery. Stay one night in a Ryokan and sample a traditional Japanese guest house, sleeping on tatami mats.
Day 10 - 12 - Kyoto - Osaka
In the morning, hop back on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) and take the 15 minute journey to Osaka, the busy port city on Honshu Island. Osaka is a huge city, with historic and modern points of interest. Perhaps start by climbing the Tsūtenkaku Tower to get your bearings. If you happen to be there mid-March, then get tickets to the Sumo Spring Grand Tournament – fascinating! Check out the quirky museum to the “cup noodle”. Visit the Kaiyukan Aquarium, one of the biggest in the world, and boasts a whale shark. Why not go on a pub crawl of Osaka sampling the local beer. On the historic side, there’s Osaka Castle, with its park that looks amazing in blossom season, or the Sumiyoshi Shrine – one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan and several other temples and shrines. There is also the Osaka Peace Museum with interesting exhibits relating to atrocities committed by Japan and on Japan, with a view to promoting peace.
Day 13 - Osaka - Tokyo
Either head back to Tokyo on the Shinkansen and maybe take in an onsen (relaxing spa) or perhaps extend your trip to other parts of Japan or take your flight back to London.
- Internal flights
- Half board
- Entrance fees to sites and attractions
- International flights
- Visa fees
- Travel insurance