Sake it to Me
Slurping your food is considered a compliment. You get to wear slippers inside. You can buy beer, comic books and undies from a vending machine. And it's home to sushi, samurai and sumo wrestling. What's not to love?
(Was Empire of the Sun)
Day 1-2 - Tokyo
Tokyo's all about old school versus new school. Ginza's department stores, Akihabara's gadgets and Shinjuku's nightlight versus the Senso-ji temples, cherry blossoms and Kabuki theatre.
- Arrive in Tokyo. Today is a free day to get acquainted with this city of contrasts
- Set off on a morning orientation tour of Tokyo
- Glimpse the Imperial Palace, home of the Emperor
- Pass through Ginza, the city's main shopping street
- Enjoy a free afternoon to explore this multi-faceted city
- Perhaps visit Yoyogi Park to view the vibrant street scenes, temples, pagodas, and shrines of Tokyo
- Opportunity to visit a Kabuki theatre (dependent on season)
- Take a metro to Tokyo's major religious site, the Meiji Shrine
- Make the most of a chance to see a Kabuki play
- Why not make a day trip to nearby Kamakura to see the Daibutsu (Great Buddha)
Day 3-4 - Takayama
Hold your nose, grab some fresh sushi and watch the show unfold at Tsukiji Market's famous tuna auctions. Then spend a full day exploring Takayama, stopping at sake breweries along the way.
- Optional (but unmissable) early morning visit to the Tsukiji fish market
- Take the bullet train for the first time, and perhaps indulge in a ‘Bento' box for lunch
- Transfer at Nagoya and journey into the Japan Alps
- Arrive in Takayama, far from the modern life of Tokyo
- Spend a full day exploring the landscape of Takayama
- Set off on an optional bike ride
- Perhaps visit the ‘Praying hand’ houses at the Hida Folk Village or the Festival Floats at Yatai Kaikan
- Walk around the houses and stop for a cup of sake at one of the local breweries
- Why not embark on a forest walk past numerous small shrines
Day 5-6 - Kyoto
Kyoto is home to three of our favourite things: geishas, the bamboo forest from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Nekokaigi - a cafe where you can play with kittens while sipping coffee.
- Arrive in Kyoto, former Imperial Capital of Japan and home of the country’s most treasured remnants of Japanese imperial life
- Wander past huge wooden structures and multi-storied pagodas, all linked with famous walkways
- View the huge temples of the Hongan-ji sect or the Golden Pavilion
- Take time out to relax in Zen gardens like Ryoan-ji and the Silver Pavilion
- Enjoy a leisurely stroll down the lovely Philosopher’s path to Nanzen-ji or just walk around Gion and perhaps catch a glimpse of a geisha going from tea house to tea house
- You have a full free day to discover the Zen gardens, huge wooden temples, pagodas and shrines
Day 7 - Nara
Day trip to the ancient capital of Nara, which is more than 1300 years old. Try kaki-no-hazushi, a local favourite of sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves.
- Day trip to Nara, Japan’s ancient capital and an UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 8 - Himeji - Nagasaki
Spend the morning at Himeji Castle, which was built in 1333 and is often called the 'White Egret' (it's white). Then take a train ride to Nagasaki.
- Visit the impressive Himeji Castle - one of the most spectacular castles in Japan - and continue to Nagasaki for the night
Day 9 - Nagasaki
Take time for a bit of quiet reflection, but as night falls and the neon shines you'll see how far Nagasaki has come. The karaoke is strong in this one.
- Visit Nagasaki, a city that refuses to be defined only as the target of the second atomic bomb that brought WWII to a close
- Explore the city and perhaps set off on a cruise around Nagasaki's natural harbour
- Gain great views of the city from the hills of Glover Gardens and Mt Inasa
Day 10 - Yufuin
Pack yourself a bento box and spend the day trekking up and around Mt Yufu. Reward yourself with a soak in the hot springs.
- Set off on optional mountain walks around Mt Yufuin
- Stroll alongside many small art museums, craft shops and small rivers
- Perhaps ave a soak in the onsen after your climb up Mt Yufuin
- Enjoy excellent views over the village from Mt Yufuin
Day 11 - Hiroshima
Wander through Peace Park, where a flame is waiting to be extinguished when all the world's nuclear weapons are destroyed.
- Arrive in Hiroshima in the afternoon
- Visit the Peace Park in the centre of the city, dotted with memorials
Day 12-15 - Miyajima - Osaka
'Kuidaore' means 'eat 'til you drop' and it's basically Osaka's motto. Try takoyaki (round octopus fritters), kushikatsu (deep fried kebabs) and board the sushi train one last time.
- Take a trip to Miyajima over the Inland Sea
- View what is perhaps the most photographed shrine in Japan - The Torii Gate
- Head to Osaka, Japan’s ‘second city’, and culinary capital
- Enjoy two full days to explore dynamic city
- Take in some of the plentiful shopping and nightlife, as well as cultural sights such as the National Museum of Art and the modern Osaka Science Museum
The trip ends this morning in Osaka. You can depart at any time
What to Know
Tour guide, accommodation, transportation, meals and sightseeing excursions as per itinerary.
- Visa costs, entrance fees, drinks, tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature. International flights, departure and arrival transfers, meals unless stated in itinerary.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 08 Jun 2013 - 22 Jun 2013 7+ Request US $5,040 On Sale Sale: US $4,380 Promo code: 1355 Book Now 14 Sep 2013 - 28 Sep 2013 7+ Available US $5,040 Book Now 01 Mar 2014 - 15 Mar 2014 7+ Available US $5,040 Book Now 15 Mar 2014 - 29 Mar 2014 7+ Available US $5,040 Book Now 29 Mar 2014 - 12 Apr 2014 7+ Available US $5,040 Book Now 12 Apr 2014 - 26 Apr 2014 7+ Available US $5,040 Book Now 26 Apr 2014 - 10 May 2014 7+ Available US $5,040 Book Now 10 May 2014 - 24 May 2014 7+ Available US $5,040 Book Now 24 May 2014 - 07 Jun 2014 7+ Available US $5,040 Book Now 07 Jun 2014 - 21 Jun 2014 7+ Available US $5,040 Book Now
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What to know
Departures between 01July and 28 August will include an ascent of Mt Fuji (Trip Code GCEMF). At all other times the itinerary will spend an extra day in Osaka (Trip Code GCEM).