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The land of the rising sun boasts one of the world's most enthralling and unique cultures and civilisations. Perhaps nowhere else on earth is there such a stark juxtaposition between the future and the past.
On arrival at your centrally located hotel you will have the rest of the day at leisure to relax and settle in to this fascinating urban metropolis.
Originally a small fishing village, Tokyo has survived a turbulent past to prosper as one of the world's major metropolises. Neon skyscrapers rise up to dizzying heights amongst ancient shrines and temples, all home to the city's population surpassing 13 million. From juicy yakitori to fresh sushi and ramen noodle, it is a foodie's heaven with a plethora of exciting dishes to try. A full day of sightseeing will take you to Sensoji, Tokyo's oldest temple and to the traditional Asakusa area for a special sushi making experience. Stroll through the popular area of Ginza and visit the iconic Akihabara Electric Town to experience the city's passion for all things electronic. After the day's sightseeing, spend the night at your hotel in the city.
Your excursion today is to Hakone National Park, home to one of Japan's most instantly recognisable sights, the iconic Mount Fuji. Fringed by thick forests and a crescent-shaped ring of shimmering lakes, a stop at fifth station is the best place to appreciate the spectacular views on a clear day. Heading south your guide will take you to explore the charming mountain resort of Hakone town itself before passing the velvety dark blue waters of Lake Ashi on the return to your hotel in Tokyo.
After breakfast you will travel to Matsumoto, a small city embraced by the great peaks of the Japanese Alps and home to the exquisite Matsumoto castle. Dating back to the 8th century, the city's protected position saw the Ogasawara clan prosper through the defining Edo period to the present day. The castle itself, known locally as 'Crow Castle' due to its striking black and white design contains narrow wooden windows once used by archers and gunmen and now affording picturesque vistas of the regal mountains, city and koi fish circling the moat below. Continuing your journey, pass through spectacular alpine scenery to the secluded mountain town of Takayama.
Nestled between the snowcapped peaks of the northern Alps, the mountain town of Takayama has retained a traditional atmosphere like few others in Japan. Established as a merchant town, the high altitude and remote location has allowed a unique culture to develop. Boasting intricate and ornate oriental facades, the Edo period buildings found scattered throughout the town are some of the finest in the country. This morning, a guided tour takes you back to a bygone Japan, along Sannomachi Street in the heart of the quaint Old Town. Here canals flow under the eaves of merchant houses with their latticed bay windows, and sake brewing houses display bundles of cedar leaves indicating that the new season's rice wine is available.
Today takes you to the fairy tale World Heritage Site of Shirakawago. Located in a quiet highland region, unique farm-style houses date back to the 11th century and can be seen dotted throughout the rolling green countryside and rice fields. This afternoon, continue your journey to the UNESCO city of Kanazawa. On arrival, a visit to the Nagamachi Samurai district provides a fascinating insight into the life-style of a samurai during the feudal era when Japan was almost totally secluded from the outside world. Taken over in 1583 by Maeda Toshiie, companion of the Great War Lord Toyotomi Hideyosh, Kanazawa remained at the centre of the feudal domain until its collapse in the 1860s. Wander around the well-preserved samurai region where grandiose residences still line the streets that once belonged to the Kaga Clan; with ochre clay walls covered with shingled roofs, many remain exactly as they stood over 400 years ago.
Most definitely a highlight of the tour, today includes a visit to the famed Kenroku-en, an exquisite 17th century garden next to Kanazawa Castle. Initially an intimate private terrace after the first lord of the Kaga Clan made his triumphant entry into the castle, the site now covers an area of 28 acres and is one of the top three gardens in Japan. The beauty of the expertly landscaped grounds twist and turn, boasting meandering streams framed by pastel irises and avenues of cherry blossom trees. Departing Kanazawa, a train journey will take you south, arriving into the ancient capital of Kyoto late afternoon. After some time to rest at your hotel, this evening is host to a spellbinding traditional geisha dance performance and dinner. Famous the world over, geishas generally only perform at small private gatherings in certain districts so it is considered a great honour to observe the unique art form that has been developed over many generations, particularly as now the number of geishas in Japan are in decline.
Once the imperial capital of Japan, the ancient city of Kyoto boasts a history of over 1200 years and as many as 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was lucky enough to be relatively unscathed from the devastation of World War II and pockets of the old world still linger where traditional geishas can be seen shuffling along narrow streets in their wonderfully colourful kimonos. A full day tour delves into the city's rich history exploring the Zen Buddhist temple of Kinkakuji, the impressive Fushimi Inari shrine and the 400 year old Nikshiki Market. Enjoy a stroll around the Gion area, a collection of streets defined by old wooden buildings, teahouses and exclusive restaurants before returning to your hotel.
After a morning of leisure you will board the gleaming bullet train to travel back to Japan's capital. With comfortable, spacious seating and reaching speeds of over 180 miles per hour, gliding across the country on the effortless 'Shinkansen' is an experience in itself. On arrival in Tokyo enjoy the evening at leisure.
Following breakfast and check out from your hotel, this tour of the 'Land of the Rising Sun' comes to an end. If you have chosen to extend your stay in Tokyo or Kyoto you will proceed to your extension.
A visa is not required for Australians entering Japan for a stay of up to 90 days.
Visitors must ensure their passport has at least six months? validity from their planned date of return to Australia, with two blank facing visa pages. A recent passport photo and proof of travel arrangements, including entry and exit details into / out of the country.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure and be able to provide evidence of your cover to our agents and ground suppliers.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance cover you purchase is adequate for your particular needs. If you choose to travel without adequate insurance cover, we will not be liable for any losses howsoever arising.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of $250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
All internal travel is in air-conditioned/heated vehicles.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot and includes some hiking, trekking, climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches. Please note that this tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travelers in your group will be 16 and the maximum will be 40. In the unlikely event that there are less than 16 people booked on your tour date, you may be asked to change to a different date. The choice to switch to any of our other tours, or cancel with a full refund will also be available to you should an alternative date not be suitable.
This is an escorted tour, meaning you will be met on arrival at Tokyo airport and will have a guide with you for the duration of your tour, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge and assistance at all times.
The currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY). You can purchase the currency before you travel but you will probably get a better exchange rate if money is exchanged when in Japan. You can buy Yen at foreign exchange banks and at the airport. Credit, debit and prepaid cards from international brands are accepted at a wide variety of places in the major cities within Japan. Outside of these, cards may not be widely accepted, although you will be able to withdraw cash in the local currency across the country at ATMs.
You will need to take money with you to cover any personal purchases such as souvenirs, laundry, any meals not included in the itinerary as well as drinks and any additional snacks. We recommend you bring along a minimum of $800-$1000 per person to change in to local currency. It is a good idea to try and maintain a supply of small notes and change in the local currency for tipping or small purchases.
|07 Nov 2017||16 Nov 2017||$5290pp|
Weather can vary quite considerably throughout the year, so please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.
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