See Japan by coach! This 12-day tour visits the highlights of Japan on a guided coach tour – a unique and exciting new concept. See Tokyo, Kawaguchiko, Himeji, Inbe, Hiroshima and Matsuyama, ending in Osaka. This is a GROUP tour with regular departures until March 2018. An extended version of this tour also visits Mt.Koya, Matsumoto, the Monkey Park and Nikko, ending in Tokyo.

This coach tour visits the highlights of Japan, including small towns which are not easily accessible by other means. An English-speaking guide accompanies the group throughout.

Visits:

  • Tokyo
  • Kawaguchiko, and the beautiful natural surroundings of Mt. Fuji
  • Kyoto, the magnificent Himeji Castle, and the pottery town of Inbe
  • Mt.Koya, with its important temples in tranquil forest
  • Old-world Okayama and Kurashiki
  • Hiroshima and picturesque Miyajima

 

Tour departures:

April 2017 – March 2018  (see “Departure dates” tab)

Day 1 : Leave UK

Depart from London Heathrow on overnight flight to Tokyo.

Day 2 : Arrive Tokyo

Arrive at Tokyo Narita Airport. Transfer by coach to hotel in Tokyo.

In the late afternoon,  meet the tour guide and the other members of the group and travel by metro to the Shinjuku area of Tokyo; a visit to the top of the Metropolitan Government Building is included, for great views of the city and Mt.Fuji beyond, weather permitting. Shinjuku is an area with lively nightlife and plenty of restaurants; dinner is included this evening before returning to the hotel.

Day 3 : Tokyo

A full morning’s sightseeing of Tokyo with local guide. Pass near the walls and gardens of the Imperial Palace and visit the Shinto shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife. Visit the Yasukuni Shrine, built in remembrance of the 2.5 million Japanese who lost their lives in World War II. Pass through Akihabara, the “electric town” full of electronics, anime and manga merchandise, and Kokugikan, the sumo stadium. Visit the Asakusa Kannon Temple, and the shops of the Nakamise Arcade.
Lunch is included.

Afternoon free.

Day 4 : Tokyo - Mt Fuji - Kawaguchiko

Board the coach to leave Tokyo for the beautiful region of Mt.Fuji. On arrival at the pretty town of Kawaguchiko, visit the Fuji Sengen Shrine, the starting point for the traditional pilgrimage to the mountain. The trip includes a cablecar ride to Mt Tenjo, for wonderful views of the nearby lakes and Mt.Fuji. Take a boat trip on Lake Kawaguchi, and take in the spectacular scenery. After lunch, drive up to the “5th station” halfway up Mt.Fuji (if winter snow makes the route impossible, the coach will proceed to the highest possible point.) Return to Kawaguchiko, to your ryokan (Japanese inn) in Kawaguchiko so that you can enjoy its onsen (public hot spring bath) and Japanese dinner.

Day 5 : Kawaguchiko - Toyota - Nagoya

Drive along the lake roads to Iyashinosato Nenba, a small town that was devastated by a landslide during a typhoon in 1966 and then rebuilt as a traditional outdoor highland museum town. Its typical thatched houses have been converted into craft workshops, restaurants and museums. Then visit the Shiraito Falls, with a waterfall height of 150m. A stop for lunch (included) and then on to Nagoya. A visit is included the the Toyota Museum, a must-see for motor-lovers.

Day 6 : Nagoya - Kyoto

Leave early today for the drive to Kyoto (130km) in time for a full day tour of the city. Kyoto was the country’s capital from 794 to 1868, and because it escaped bombing during WW2, historic buildings are preserved and many temples and shrines in the city are designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. With the local guide visit Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion), Fushimi Inari and the Imperial Palace. Visit the Gion area of Kyoto, well-known for its traditional streets and sights of maiko (apprentice geisha).

Day 7 : Kyoto - Nara - Osaka

We head for Arashiyama, a peaceful refuge amid nature on the outskirts of Kyoto. Visit the Tenryuji Temple – one of the “five major Zen temples of Kyoto” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the bamboo forest. Then leave for the nearby city of Nara, which was also an ancient capital, to visit the Todaiji Temple with its giant Buddha statue. After lunch (included), continue to Horyuji Temple on the outkirts of Nara, a World Heritage site. Its main pagoda is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. Then continue to Osaka, the second city of Japan. In the evening visit Dotonbori, a district of bright lights, nightlife and plenty of restaurants.

Day 8 : Osaka - Himeji - Inbe - Okayama

Leave Osaka for Himeji, home of one of the best Edo-period castles in Japan, which has re-opened after extensive restoration work. Then on to Inbe, a small town famous for its pottery (Inbe ware, also known as Bizen ware). Stroll though its quiet streets lined with traditional houses and visit its shops and pottery kilns. Continue to Okayama, to visit Korakuen, one of the most beautiful traditional gardens in Japan, with its lakes, waterfalls and traditional tea houses.

Day 9 : Okayama - Kurashiki - Hiroshima

Leave Okayama for Kurashiki, a town with a very well-preserved historic centre. Time to explore this town and its old-world charm. Continue to Miyajimaguchi, for the short ferry ride to Miyajima, with its Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, dedicated to the guardian of the seas and built partially on the sea. Time to explore the shrine, stroll through the town and have lunch. Then return on the ferry and rejoin the coach to drive the short distance to Hiroshima, to visit the Peace Memorial, the atom bomb dome and the impressive Peace Memorial Museum.
Dinner is included.

Day 10 : Hiroshima - Matsuyama

Today we take the ferry across Japan’s “Inland Sea” to the major island of Shikoku. Landing at Matsuyama, visit the impressive castle, and Ishiteji, a beautiful Buddhist Temple and place of pilgrimage. After lunch (included), visit Dogo Onsen, one of the oldest onsen hot springs in Japan, with a history stretching back over 1,000 years. The main building in the movie Spirited Away was modeled on the present building of the Dōgo Onsen public bathhouse.

Day 11 : Matsuyama - Takamatsu - Naruto - Tokushima

We depart for Kotohira, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the god of sailors and a place of pilgrimage. The shrine stand on Mt. Zosu and is reached by climbing 785 steps. Then in Takamatsu we will visit the Ritsurin Garden, one of the best traditional gardens in Japan. After lunch (included), continue to the bridge across the Naruto Strait, where large tidal whirlpools can be seen from the glass windows in the floor of the bridge 45m above. Arrive at Tokushima, famous as the home of one of the most notable festivals of Japan with its Awa Odori dances. Admission to a dance performance is included.

Day 12 : Tokushima - Kobe - Osaka. Extended tour: Osaka - Mt Koya

Travelling to Kobe we visit Kawasaki World, a museum showcasing the technological prowess of Kawasaki in building motorbikes, planes, high-speed trains and construction technology.

Arrive in Osaka.

Basic 13-day tour: leave the group, and spend 2 more nights in Osaka to unwind before taking the flight home.

Extended 16-day tour: after a stop in Osaka for lunch, continue to Mt Koya, one of Japan’s sacred mountains and the centre of Shingon Buddhism. We will visit Okuno Mausoleum, an immense cemetery in the wilderness with more than 200,000 graves, and – remaining daylight permitting – Kongobuji Temple, built in 1593. We stay overnight at Buddhist monastery accommodation. The monks offer a Zen meditation session. Dinner is included (monk’s food, vegetarian). Accommodation is modest, with tatami mat flooring and communal bathrooms.

Day 13 : Mt Koya - Kyoto

There is a prayer ceremony at the temple early in the morning for those who wish.
After a simple Japanese breakfast, leave for Kyoto, to spend the whole day in the city which was the nation’s capital from 794 to 1868. We will see the Shinto shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji (the “Golden Pavilion”) with its wonderful gardens.
Free time in the city before a visit to Gion, a busy traditional quarter famous for its geisha.

Day 14 : Kyoto - Tsumago - Matsumoto

We set out for Tsumago, a small town on the Nakasendo route whose traditional streets and wooden houses are well preserved. Free time to explore and take lunch (included). Then continue to Matsumoto, and visit the impressive 16th century castle.
(Some tours may stay overnight in Nagano rather than in Matsumoto)

Day 15 : Matsumoto - Nagano - Monkey Park - Takasaki

Today the coach travels through the Japan Alps to Nagano, to visit the Zenkoji Temple, built in the 7th century, around which the current town had developed. We continue through the mountains to the Monkey Park, to walk through the forests where colonies of Japanese macaque monkeys come to the thermal springs to bathe. Continue through mountain scenery to Kusatsu, and take in a Yumomi performance – a traditional method of cooling down hot spring water to bathing temperature by stirring the water with large wooden paddles, accompanied by the singing of a local folk song. On to Takasaki for overnight accommodation.

In autumn, if the wild monkeys do not go down to the Monkey Park, it may be closed. In winter, the route may be changed in the case of heavy snow. In this case, the visit to the Monkey Park will be omitted. The Yumomi performance does not take place November – April.  

Day 16 : Takasaki - Nikko - Tokyo

In Takasaki, climb the hill to the Byakui Daikannon, a giant statue of the the Goddess of Mercy. Then we leave the town to move on to Nikko, home of the Toshogu Shrine, an important Shinto shrine complex and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk near the river in Kanmangafuchi, along a wooded path lined with a collection of jizō statues (the small stone effigies of the Buddhist protector of travellers and children). Free time in Nikko town before continuing to Tokyo, arriving around 7pm.

The group tour ends.

Day 17 : Tokyo - Narita - UK

After breakfast and checkout, free time in Tokyo until departure.
A transfer is provided to Narita Airport for your flight back to the UK, arriving the same day.

per person
sharing twin
Supplement for
single room
Supplement for
departures in July/August
Basic 12-day tour £ 3,644 £ 981 £ 250
Extended 16-day tour £ 4,592 £ 1,092 £ 250

Total package price is a “from” price, and is subject to availability of flights on the specified airline in the required class of travel. Different airlines may be offered, at different package prices, depending on availability on your selected dates of travel.

Included

  • Return flights from the UK in Economy class on Finnair via Helsinki
  • Day2 - 12 (basic) Day2-16 (extended): group tour by JTB/Europamundo, including:
  • - English-speaking meeting assistant at Narita airport on arrival, and transfer Narita Airport - Hotel
  • - English-speaking guide throughout
  • - Accommodation on room & breakfast basis at the hotels indicated or similar - (Basic tour) 2nts Tokyo, 1nt Kawaguchiko, 1nt Nagoya, 1nt Kyoto, 1nt Osaka, 1nt Okayama, 1nt Hiroshima, 1nt Matsuyama, 1nt Tokushima. Extended tour: 1nt Mt.Koya including Japanese dinner and breakfast, 1nt Kyoto, 1nt Matsumoto, 1nt Takasaki.
  • - Basic tour: 9 meals (lunch on day 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, dinner on day 2, 4, 9). Extended tour: additional 3 meals (lunch on day 14 & 15, dinner on day 12)
  • - Full sightseeing programme including entrance fees
  • Additional 2 nights accommodation in Osaka (Basic 12-day tour)
  • Additional 1 night accommodation in Tokyo (Extended 16-day tour)
  • Transfer Hotel - Airport on final day

Not included

  • Travel Insurance
  • Any meals, beverages, accommodation or travel arrangements not shown in the itinerary
  • Incidental costs such as personal laundry, drinks, snacks
  • Passport and other visa document fees (UK citizens do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days in Japan)

These tours operated by JTB/Europamundo have found great success in the Latin American market, and are guaranteed to operate on all the following dates.

Dates refer to flight departure from the UK, in order to join the group tour the following day. 

2017 Apr 07, 14, 21, 28
May 05, 12, 19, 26
Jun 02, 09, 16, 23, 30
Jul 07, 14, 21, 28
Aug 04, 11, 18, 25
Sep 01, 08, 15, 22, 29
Oct 06, 13, 27
Nov 10, 24
Dec 08, 22
2018 Jan 05, 19
Feb 02, 16
Mar 02, 16

 

Tour ref: 13391, 13392

Hotels used for this tour are Superior grade throughout (Japan has no star rating system, but these are equivalent to 4-star). Actual hotels confirmed are subject to confirmation for each particular group, but are expected to be:

TOKYO: Shinagawa Prince Hotel or Courtyard Marriott Ginza

KAWAGUCHIKO: Oike Hotel Ryokan or Hotel Mifujien or Tagaogi Ryokan

NAGOYA: Hotel Mercure Cypress

KYOTO: New Miyako Hotel or Hotel Kyoto Tokyu or Hotel Nikko Nara

OSAKA: Courtyard Shin Osaka Station

OKAYAMA: HOTEL ANA Crowne Plaza

HIROSHIMA: Grand Prince Hotel or Gran Via Hiroshima or ANA Crowne Plaza

MATSUYAMA: Candeo Hotel Matsuyama or ANA Hotel Matsuyama

TOKUSHIMA: Hotel Clement, or Daiwa Roynet

MT.KOYA: Hojoin Monastery or Fukuchi-in Monastery

MATSUMOTO: Hotal Buena Vista or Hotel Matsumoto Tokyu Rei or Nagano Tokyu Rei

TAKASAKI: Hotel Metropolitan or Takasakai View or Maebashi Sakura