Japan's Nature and Culture

Prepare yourselves for the adventure of a lifetime, uncovering Japan's fascinating history and culture while also experiencing the natural wonders of this multifaceted destination! Your tailor-made trip showcases the splendors of Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, and much more. Wander through enchanting temples, hike in the stunning Northern Japanese Alps, and soak in geothermal waters. Appreciate the zen and intricate details of stunning gardens and shrines, and lose yourself in the chaos of bustling back alleyways. Savor it all and you're sure to fall in love with Japan!

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo Arrival

Tokyo Arrival
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Narita Airport - Tokyo Hotel (Private Car)
  • Transportation: IC Transport Card
  • Accommodation: Hotel Century Southern Tower

Welcome to Japan! Your adventure begins upon arrival at Tokyo's Narita Airport. Your driver will be waiting in the arrivals lobby, holding a sign with your name on it. They will transfer you by private vehicle to your accommodation in Tokyo, making for a smooth and comfortable start to your trip. Narita Airport is located 40 miles to the east of Tokyo, so the drive into the city will take around 90 minutes, depending on traffic. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views of Tokyo's skyscrapers as you approach your destination. (This service is on a private basis.)

You will be provided with Manaca cards today, Nagoya’s version of the IC card. You will be able to use this throughout your time in Japan for traveling on buses, subways, overground railways and in some places you will even be able to pay for taxis, buy drinks from vending machines and pay for your bento in a convenience store! Your card comes with 2,500 yen of credit and can be topped up in any major city at the automatic ticket machines at any station. And don't worry - instructions in English are provided! We are sure you will get great use out of this during your trip and can have that satisfying feeling of travelling like a local! All in all, an essential accessory for any visit to Japan.

We have also included for you the rental of a mobile wi-fi device which we will arrange to be delivered to your first hotel. This will mean that you can have wi-fi on the move and at all of your accommodation making staying in touch with friends or browsing the internet on your smartphone or laptop a breeze! The wi-fi can be shared between up to 10 devices. We have included full insurance for you in case of loss or damage. At the end of your stay simply return the device in the pre-paid envelope provided. The internet provider for your WiFi device is AU. This has wide coverage across Japan including most small islands and rural areas. There is unlimited data usage.

Tokyo

One quarter of all Japanese live in Tokyo or the near vicinity and with a population of over 12 million inhabitants, Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world. With its huge skyscrapers, underpasses, overpasses and crowds of pedestrians, Tokyo may not seem the most attractive city on the surface, but the city has a vibrant charm all of its own. The street level detail is what makes Tokyo such an incredibly interesting place to explore and at every turn you will be met with an array of sights, sounds and smells to enliven the senses. The city has many major sights to visit such as Senso-ji Temple in the old downtown area of Asakusa or the fashion hub of Shibuya from where all new trends are said to emanate. All in all a stay in Tokyo is to experience one of the world's most vibrant and interesting cities; a capital hurtling headlong into the future while maintaining its links with the traditions of ancient Japan.

Day 2: Tokyo

Tokyo
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Tokyo Full Day Guided Tour
  • Accommodation: Hotel Century Southern Tower
  • Meals: B

Tokyo Full Day Guided Tour

Today, you will be taken on a full day private tour of the city with a local guide. In order to get a real feel for Japan's capital, you will travel by public transport, just like the locals. On this fascinating introduction to Tokyo, you will have the chance to explore the classic highlights and best kept secrets. Following in the footsteps of your expert guide, you will discover the exclusive features of Tokyo, known only to locals. You are free to set the pace of the day to be as busy or relaxed as you want, as you get to grips with the excellent transport network.

In addition to learning the history and culture of Tokyo, your guide will sure to include some pop culture sights related to Japan’s famed manga/anime industry, such as ultra- trendy Harajuku and Shibuya as well the electronics and anime district of Akihabara, which is home to lots of game centers where you can test your skill on a variety of games!

Your guide will meet you at the hotel around 9:00 AM this morning, or any other time you may prefer. Rather than making a fixed itinerary in advance, you will have full flexibility to select the attractions and activities that interest you. This means that you will need to pay for any entrance fees on the day of your tour, in addition to your transport costs. In order to make the most of this experience, please let us know if you have any specific areas of interest, and we will pass that on to your guide in advance. Around 5:00 PM, your tour will end either back to your hotel, or anywhere else in the city that you may wish to spend the evening. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 3: Tokyo

Tokyo
Daily Summary
  • Accommodation: Hotel Century Southern Tower
  • Meals: B

Free Day

Sunday is one of the best days for sightseeing in Tokyo and today, you will get to experience that for yourself! To enjoy the action, you must head to Harajuku and Yoyogi Park, which are located on the JR Yamanote Line. Here, you will really get to see Tokyo at play! Groups of fantastically dressed girls hang around Harajuku Bridge, waiting for fashion photographers to come and snap their pictures for the latest fashion magazines. Stand up comedians entertain bystanders in the park, while the regular fixture of rockabilly dancing men twist and shake the day away to the rhythm of the 50's.

If you take a stroll along the shaded precincts of Meiji Shrine, you are likely to see a wedding ceremony. Admire the beautiful bride dressed in a vibrantly colored kimono, with her head covered by a white hood to hide her horns of jealousy, before the vows are exchanged! The exciting streets of Harajuku and the bustling Takeshita-dori provide just a glimpse into Tokyo's fast moving and often bizarre youth culture scene. In contrast, the lovely boutiques and exclusive stores of Omotesandou, are the height of the up market chic and fashion sophistication. All in all, there is more than enough in this small area of the city, to keep you entertained throughout a lazy Sunday.

Day 4: Tokyo - Tateyama

Tokyo - Tateyama
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: 7 Day Japan Rail Pass (Ordinary Class)
  • Transportation: Tokyo - Toyama (Rail Pass)
  • Transportation: Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket
  • Accommodation: Hotel Tateyama
  • Meals: B, D

Your package includes the 7 Day Rail Pass (Ordinary Car). This pass entitles you to unlimited travel on any trains within the extensive Japan Railways (JR) network. This includes all of the famous Shinkansen "Bullet" Trains, with the exception of the Nozomi Shinkansen. You will be provided with an exchange voucher, which must be exchanged for the pass itself, once you have arrived in Japan. Full details of when and how to do this will be included with your travel documents. You can also use your Rail Pass to make seat reservations for no extra charge. However, this cannot be done until you have exchanged the voucher.

Today, you will leave Tokyo behind, as you board the modern Hakutaka Shinkansen line. This route will take you on a journey straight to Toyama, where you are invited to see some of the more rural, scenic parts of Japan. It takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to cover the 244 mile trip.

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a spectacular region of the Northern Japanese Alps, which features gorgeous scenery and many modes of transportation! In order to make this journey, you will need to buy a Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket from Toyama Station. The ticket costs 9,000 yen per person and is valid for five days. You will need to show your passport at the time of purchase, as this discount ticket is only available for overseas visitors. Unfortunately, we cannot buy this ticket in advance for you, as it can only be sold to the passport holder.

Beginning at sea level in Toyama, you’ll tackle the first half of the route which climbs to Murodo at 2,450m. Here you will be rewarded with glorious Alpine vistas with Mount Tateyama towering above. To reach Murodo you will travel by train, funicular train, and bus. Total journey time is around three hours and all transport is covered by the Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket.

From mid-April to mid-June the bus will take you through the Tateyama snow corridor, where 20m high walls are carved out of snow. (Please note that by mid-July most of the snow will have melted, so it's not possible to see the snow corridor at this time.)

Murodo

Murodo is the highest point on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, a place of starry skies and fantastic views across the Tateyama mountain range. In summer and autumn, hiking trails lead to the surrounding peaks and to bubbling volcanic pools. But Murodo's most famous attraction is the snow corridor - a road flanked with walls of snow up to 20 meters high, which opens in April each year after months of heavy snowfall. Due to all this winter snow, Murodo is completely inaccessible in winter!

Day 5: Tateyama

Tateyama
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Climbing Mt. Tate
  • Accommodation: Hotel Tateyama
  • Meals: B, D

Climbing Mt. Tate

Murodo is the highest point along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and is home to an extensive network of hiking trails of various lengths and difficulty levels. One of these trails will take you along the 2-hour ascent to the top of Tateyama itself.

Tateyama (also known as Mt. Tate) is one of Japan's three holy mountains, along with Mt. Haku in Ishikawa Prefecture and Mt. Fuji near Tokyo. It has several peaks, and the most spiritually significant of these peaks is called Oyama.

From Murodo, follow the trail signs and paved path to Ichinokoshi saddle, where you will find a bathroom and small hut where you can purchase drinks. From Ichinokoshi, the climb becomes much steeper with multiple switchbacks and loose rocks. Watch your step!

Near the top of the mountain, you will reach a small, flat area where you can rest for a bit before making the final short climb to Oyama peak. There is a small shrine on the peak where you can undergo a purification ritual in exchange for about 500 yen.

Day 6: Tateyama - Kyoto

Tateyama - Kyoto
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket
  • Transportation: Toyama - Kanazawa (Rail Pass)
  • Transportation: Kanazawa - Kyoto (Rail Pass)
  • Accommodation: The Celestine Kyoto Gion
  • Meals: B

You will return to Toyama today on the reverse route via bus, funicular, and train.

Following a spectacular time in Toyama, you will take the Shinkansen bullet train from onward to Kanazawa today. This short trip will take just under 25 minutes.

From Kanazawa, your journey will continue on a 2 hour direct train to Kyoto, using your Japan Rail Pass.

Kyoto

Kyoto is one of the most culturally rich cities in all of Asia. Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. Kyoto boasts a variety of world class gardens, majestic festivals and delicate cuisine, which collaborate into something truly beautiful. The colorful changing seasons, feature a different adventure in itself, during every time of year. At first glance, Kyoto appears to have its fair share of neon and concrete, typical of large Japanese cities. However, you will quickly be able to pick out Kyoto’s charming treasures - sacred shrines tucked between shopping arcades, time-honored tea houses nestled amidst modern businesses and mysterious geishas scuttling down backstreets between tourists.

Day 7: Kyoto

Kyoto
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Kyoto Full Day Guided Tour
  • Accommodation: The Celestine Kyoto Gion
  • Meals: B

Kyoto Full Day Guided Tour

Today, you will be taken on a full day tour of Kyoto by public transport. Learning through the eyes of a local guide offers the best way to discover this city, that is so rich in UNESCO World Heritage sites, it can be hard to know where to begin! Your guide can offer the insight of a local's perspective, to truly reveal the city's authentic culture, iconic highlights and best kept secrets.

Your guide will meet you at the hotel around 9:00 AM, or any other time you choose this morning, from where you will begin your tour by public transport. Although Kyoto does offer an extensive bus route, we recommend taking a few taxis along the way as well, in order to speed things up and make the most of this experience. Please note that you will need to pay for your own lunch, transport costs, and entrance fees on the day of your tour. It will be time to say goodbye to your guide around 5:00 PM, either back at your hotel, or anywhere else in the city you may wish to spend the evening. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 8: Kyoto

Kyoto
Daily Summary
  • Accommodation: The Celestine Kyoto Gion
  • Meals: B

Sightseeing in Kyoto

Make the most of this free day in Kyoto to continue exploring on your own. This charming city has a tremendous amount to offer, whether you retreat to some of the smaller temples and hidden shrines, or stroll through the bustling Nishiki Shijo Market in search of tasty treats. The Kimono fashion show in the Nishijin textile district is a great way to spend an afternoon, or a traditional boat ride down the lovely Hozugawa River showcases some of the area's finest natural beauty. If you have any special requests for today, please ask and we will see what we can do.

Day 9: Kyoto

Kyoto
Daily Summary
  • Accommodation: The Celestine Kyoto Gion
  • Meals: B

Suggested Hike from Kibune to Kurama

A great day trip from Kyoto is to escape up into the mountains surrounding the city for a half day hike. We'll give you instructions for the rink-a-dink local train that potters from Demachiyanagi Station in central Kyoto. A 30 minute ride will bring you to Kibune-Guchi, the penultimate stop. First take a look around the hamlet of Kibune and visit the shrine home to a pair of 700 year old cedar trees. Then follow the trail up the steps over the mountain pass, then down past mountain temples to arrive into Kurama. According to local folklore this area is home to the mythical tengu or red-faced goblins with long noses who trained the samurai hero, Minamoto Yoshitsune. The hike takes two to three hours and the first part is quite steep in places. But your efforts will be rewarded; Kurama boasts a lovely outdoor onsen, perfect for resting tired feet.

Day 10: Kyoto - Hakone

Kyoto - Hakone
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Kyoto - Odawara (Rail Pass)
  • Transportation: Odawara - Hakone (Private Car)
  • Accommodation: Motoyu Kansuiro
  • Meals: B, D

Today, you will use your Japan Rail Pass to travel to Hakone National Park, located in the foothills of Mount Fuji. From Kyoto, you will board the Shinkansen to Odawara Station, the gateway to the National Park. This journey will take about 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Upon arrival at Odawara station, you will be greeted by a private taxi driver, who will be holding a sign with your name on it. Although your driver will probably not speak that much English, they will make sure you are transferred to your accommodation in Hakone safely and comfortably. This ride will take between 40-60 minutes. (This service is on a private basis.)

Hakone

Hakone is a beautiful National Park region nestled beside Mount Fuji, Japan's most sacred peak. The area showcases a handful of small villages and hamlets, all connected by a variety of local transport routes that wind through the charming hillsides and valleys. Hakone offers plenty to see and do, from tasting eggs boiled in volcanic waters, to boarding a boat cruise across Lake Ashi. The outdoor sculpture park and Picasso gallery is a great place to spend a unique afternoon. An enticing dip in one of the famous therapeutic hot spring baths is always a good idea as well! However, it is Hakone's close proximity to the iconic Mount Fuji, that truly makes this destination so popular. With its near perfect symmetrical form, soaring through the sky above the surrounding hills, it is an attraction that makes a trip to Japan complete. From Hakone, you have one of the best chances to admire Mount Fuji's epic beauty, although she is a notoriously shy mountain!

Day 11: Hakone - Tokyo Departure

Hakone - Tokyo Departure
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Hakone - Odawara (Private Car)
  • Transportation: Odawara - Tokyo - Narita Airport (Rail Pass)
  • Meals: B

After an enchanting experience in Hakone, you will be driven by private car from your hotel to Odawara Station. This transfer will take between 35 and 45 minutes. (This service is on a private basis.)

From Odawara Station, you will use your Japan Rail Pass for the journey to Narita Airport. The 1 hour and 45 minute trip involves taking the Shinkansen to Shinagawa Station in Tokyo, where you will then change to the Narita Express train, for the final part of your journey.

We hope you had an incredible experience in Japan and we wish you safe and pleasant travels home!

Accommodation

Hotel Century Southern Tower

Hotel Century Southern Tower

Located just a 5 minute walk from Shinjuku Station, the lovely Hotel Century Southern Tower makes for the perfect base from which to explore not only Shinjuku, but the whole of central Tokyo and beyond. The hotel lobby, which sits on the 20th floor, features spectacular views of the city and on clear days, you may even be able to spot Mount Fuji towering in the distance! All rooms are stylishly decorated with quality amenities and the bathrooms offer a range of beauty products for your convenience. In the evenings, you can enjoy a variety of dining options in the hotel, from Chinese and French influences, to even a superb Teppanyaki restaurant.

Hotel Tateyama

Hotel Tateyama

Murodo, located at the highest point of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, is the most popular scene for sightseeing and mountain climbing. From Murodo-daira, you can set off for the three 3000-meter tall Mt. Tateyama peaks, Mt. Tsurugi, the Dainichi Mountain Range, as well as a variety of great places for walking, such as Mikurigaike and Jigokudani.

The Celestine Kyoto Gion

The Celestine Kyoto Gion

For those who want to truly experience the sights and sounds of Kyoto, The Celestine Kyoto Gion is the perfect choice. From its location in the heart of the Higashiyama District, you are invited to enjoy easy access to all that this lively city has to offer. Just outside your door, you can find Kyoto's most popular attractions and hidden treasures.

Motoyu Kansuiro

Motoyu Kansuiro

Kansuiro Ryokan in Tonosawa, Hakone, was founded in 1614 in the Motoyu hot springs area of Hakone - one of the seven major hot springs in the area. With just one step into this Ryokan, you can feel its rich sense of history. Surrounded by artifacts related to the imperial family and calligraphy from artisans of the past, you will truly be able to indulge in this treasure house during your stay. You can experience the romantic atmosphere of the early 20th century by the charming design and detail. Kansuiro Ryokan is famous for its architecture of a four story wooden high rise construction, which many architects and artisans come to admire for its structural technique. The open-air baths on property are situated on a hillside where you are nestled amidst the beautiful scenery of the Hayakawa river, Mt. Hakone and the mountains nearby. All of the baths are Kakenagashi-style, which means the spring water is not recycled and only comes directly from the spring source.

Pricing and Details

Starting from $ 11,780 per person

*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.

Price Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

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