Tailor-Made Holidays | Pope&Sons

12 day Tour of Japan

Watching Joanna Lumley’s Japan on ITV may have whetted your appetite for visiting this amazing country . With that in mind we would love to take you on this this exciting 12-day tour of Japan that travels mostly by high-speed bullet train. Take in all the essential  attractions as you explore the mind-blowing modern city of Tokyo, historic Hiroshima, imperial Kyoto with its geisha heritage and temples, and finally Mount Fuji – one of Japan’s most iconic landmarks.

Day 1: UK to Tokyo Arrive at London Heathrow before boarding your overnight flight to Tokyo and on your way to start your tour of Japan.

Day 2: Tokyo Arrive in Japan’s capital and transfer to your hotel for two nights. Tokyo is an unforgettable place to visit, with fascinating contrasts of ancient and futuristic, a distinctive culture and a friendly welcome. Join your fellow travellers in the evening for a welcome dinner. Stay: Grand Pacific Le Daiba.

Day 3: Tokyo Today, spend the day exploring this fascinating city. Visit the Meiji Shrine which is dedicated to the sacred spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. This lovely example of a Shinto shrine is set in a peaceful wood and constructed out of fine Japanese cypress. You will also visit the legendary Asakusa Kannon Temple, dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of compassion, which offers the chance to see a part of old Tokyo from before the city’s modernisation. Enjoy some free time in the commercial area of Ginza before exploring the tranquil Imperial Palace East Garden. The Imperial Palace itself is closed to the public but you can visit the garden, once the heart of the old castle, where the Tokugawa Shogun ruled from 1603 until 1867. Stay: Grand Pacific Le Daiba.

Day 4: Tokyo to Hiroshima Journey to the city of Hiroshima aboard Japan’s incredible bullet train, known locally as the Shinkansen. At speeds of up to 200 180 miles per hour, you will pass mountain ranges and travel through modern cities and along the coast. Hiroshima, infamous for the atomic bomb of 1945, is crossed by six rivers and known as the ‘water city’. Later this afternoon visit the poignant A-Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park. Stay: Sheraton Hiroshima.

Day 5: Hiroshima Today, catch the ferry to picturesque Miyajima Island which is worshipped as a god in Japan and has been considered a holy place for most of Japanese history. It is home to the intriguing 6th-Century Itsukushima Shrine, noted for the impressive Torii Gate which rises out of the water at high tide. Wander through the small town before returning to Hiroshima for a visit to the charming 17th-Century Shukkeien Garden. Stay: Sheraton Hiroshima.

Day 6: Hiroshima to Kyoto Board the high-speed bullet train and travel inland across central Honshu to Kyoto, a modern city that was Japan’s capital for over a thousand years. Discover ornate temples, serene Japanese gardens, palaces and museums as well as hidden corners offering a glimpse of traditional Japan. Visit the Heian Shrine and continue to the eastern hills and the historic UNESCO-listed Kiyomizu Temple. Paths lead down the hillside to the Otowa waterfall, where you can drink the sacred waters which are believed to offer good fortune and longevity. Stroll around the Gion area where you may be lucky enough to spot a geisha dressed in her finery. Stay: Kyoto Hotel Okura.

Day 7: Kyoto Today you will visit some of Kyoto’s historic temples and peaceful parks, starting with the famous Golden Pavilion which lies on the shores of a picturesque lake. Continue to the Ryoanji temple which has a perfect example of a Zen rock garden, and the beautifully ornate Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) which is set in an extensive wooded garden. Enjoy some free time to shop for souvenirs, visit some of Kyoto’s palaces and quiet gardens, or just relax and take in the atmosphere of the city. This evening an Italian dinner is accompanied by Japanese entertainment – a delightful performance of geisha and maiko dances featuring traditional music and costume. Stay: Kyoto Hotel Okura.

Day 8: Kyoto Today is at leisure for you to discover more of the city and its numerous historic sites, gardens, parks and bustling streets as well as the surrounding countryside. Your Tour Manager is on hand to advise you about excursions and optional tours available. Stay: Kyoto Hotel Okura.

Day 9: Kyoto to Lake Kawaguchi This morning travel by bullet train to Mishima station and continue by coach for a scenic journey into the countryside along the foot of Mount Fuji, Japan’s iconic, perfectly shaped volcanic peak. Stop off at the visitor centre before continuing to Lake Kawaguchi. Spend a night at the lakeside Kazeno Terrace Kukuna which offers breathtaking views of snow-capped Mount Fuji. Unwind in this serene setting and perhaps enjoy a hot spring bath (taken nude in the traditional manner). This evening feast on fresh Japanese delicacies at the hotel. Stay: Kazeno Terrace Kukuna.

Day 10: Lake Kawaguchi to Tokyo Travel further into the Hakone National Park and take the cable car to the ‘Owakudani Boiling Valley’. As you climb up and over the surrounding mountains, enjoying great views on a clear day, you will see the steaming vents of the volcanic crater which was created by the eruption of Mount Hakone three thousand years ago. Stop for a walk around the mountain side pathway, where it is possible to buy eggs that have been cooked in the boiling springs – the eggs turn black with the sulphur and it is said that they prolong life by seven years! The cable car then descends to Lake Ashi, where you can enjoy a cruise past forested shores and beautiful scenery. In the afternoon return by coach to Tokyo for a further two nights. Stay: Grand Pacific Le Daiba.

Day 11: Tokyo Your final day is at leisure so you are free to explore this vibrant city. Once you have your bearings, it is quite easy to use Tokyo’s astoundingly efficient transport network to discover some new areas. Tokyo is a wonderful place to shop, whether it is in the large department stores or bustling market streets. Choose from an array of dining options, from fast food outlets offering delicious noodle dishes to contemporary fine dining at some of the world’s top restaurants. You might choose to head to Ueno Park and visit the Tokyo National Museum which features the world’s largest collection of art and antiquities, including beautiful kimonos and samurai armour. Or why not venture out of the city and arrange a day trip to historic Nikko or the country retreat of Kamakura. This evening there will be a farewell dinner at the Sky revolving restaurant which offers spectacular night views of the Tokyo skyline. Stay: Grand Pacific Le Daiba.

Day 12: Tokyo to London Transfer to the airport for your return flight to London Heathrow. Alternatively you could choose to extend your holiday with extra nights in Tokyo or Kamakura.

If you would like some further information on this wonderful tour of Japan , please contact Dave Pope 0n 0778 6623304 or escape@popeandsons.co.uk