ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Arrive Tokyo
Arrive in the frenetic city of Tokyo, Japan’s current capital. Your driver will be waiting with your name on a sign board to transfer you by shared shuttle service to your hotel in Asakusa, Tokyo’s old-town district.
The city is renowned for its futuristic architecture, high-rise buildings and characteristic neon lights - but Asakusa has an old-fashioned atmosphere much more akin to the Tokyo of yesteryear. With your first night at your leisure, take a quick stroll from your hotel to Senso-ji, the oldest and best-loved temple in the city. From there, take in the view from across the river, where Tokyo's newest landmark towers, the 634 meters high Tokyo Skytree. Savour the unique juxtaposition as you explore this incredible city.
On arrival at your hotel in Tokyo, you will be provided with an IC card to be used for buses and trains with 1500Y value already loaded.
Day 2: Tokyo Free day
Today you’re free to peel back the layers of Tokyo, and can do whatever you fancy. If you’re a food lover, wake up early and head to Tsukiji Fish Market to explore the bustling stalls with a wide array of fresh seafood. For the urban explorer, head to the famously busy scramble crossing at Shibuya, before venturing to the Maid Cafés and comic book stores of Akihabara “electric town”. For a break from the buzz of the city, venture to Hamarikyu Gardens or take a leisurely stroll around the Imperial Palace grounds for some quiet serenity. To see the city in full swing, spend the evening in Shinjuku to take advantage of some of the country's best restaurants, bars, clubs and karaoke boxes.
Day 3: Tokyo – Hakone freepass
Leave the frenzy of the city behind and take the Odakyu Limited Express train from Shinjuku into the mountainous Hakone National Park.
Spend the day exploring the park with your included Hakone Transport Pass and drift on a pirate ship across the three thousand year-old Lake Ashi or catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji as you ride the ropeway above the boiling valley of Owakudani.
Finally, return to your traditional ryokan inn, for a relaxing soak in your onsen, or hot spring bath. Get transported to the Edo period by sliding screen doors and tatami mats before tucking into your traditional Japanese dinner.
Day 4: Hakone – Kyoto free afternoon
Take one last soak in the onsen before continuing your journey to the ancient capital of Kyoto. This refined city is home to an array of World Heritage Sites, spectacular gardens and beautiful vistas.
Arrive and spend a free afternoon discovering what makes Kyoto so magical.
Day 5: Kyoto – Full day tour
Today, ride the public transit and see some of Kyoto’s most famous sights and lesser-known treasures with a professional guide. Start off the day at Nijo Castle, built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate, the ornamental walled castle grounds are surrounded by stunning gardens. Venture next to Japan’s most well-known rock garden Ryoan-ji, and get a glimpse of Zen Buddhist tradition as you gaze onto the famously precisely arranged stones. Next, venture to Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavilion, the most famous Buddhist temple in the city that was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun.
This afternoon, take a stroll in Kyoto’s most charming district, Higashiyama. Begin with Kiyomizu Temple, famous for its incredible views of the city from the 13-meter high veranda! Marvel at the unique architecture of the main hall, built without the use of any kind of joiners.
Finish up in Gion, famously known as the geisha district; the area is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya teahouses. Soak up the atmosphere as you explore some of the local cafés or restaurants amidst traditionally garbed geisha shuffling to their next appointment. Learn more about the Japanese culture by participating in a tea ceremony at an ochaya. An ancient ritual, learn straight from a tea master every movement crucial in the preparation and service tea for a truly culturally immersive experience.
Day 6: Kyoto – free day
Today, consider another day of wandering Kyoto’s mesmerizing streets, or venture onward for a day trip to Nara or Hiroshima. Thanks to your Japan Rail pass, you can easily get out of town at no additional cost!
Nara, another ancient capital, is only 40 minutes away from Kyoto. Journey there and discover the array of impressive World Heritage Sites. Ride a bit further to visit the charming city of Hiroshima, and wander about the Peace Park reflecting on the turbulent mid-century event and how far the city has come. You could also go to the fun-filled city of Osaka, which is known for its gastronomic delights and frank yet friendly locals. Details on how to reach these and many other great destinations will be included in your Info-Pack.
Day 7: Kyoto – Tokyo
Return to Tokyo for one last night in one of the world's greatest cities. If there is anything you didn't get around to on your first couple of nights in Tokyo, now is your chance to fit it in!
Day 8: Depart Tokyo
Bid farewell to the bustling metropolis as you head to the airport to continue on to your next destination.