Japan All Over
Japan All Over Tour
Departs Thursday 9th May
& Saturday 6th July 2019
A fully escorted tour over 23 days in Japan takes you across the Japan Golden Route, Kyushu and places off the beaten track, from the Northern island of Hokkaido to the Southern island of Okinawa. From the bustle of vibrant Tokyo to the cultured charm of the traditional capital Kyoto and fascinating aboriginal culture of the Ainu in Hokkaido, will provide a kaleidoscope of experiences. Stroll through exotic locations in Kyoto familiar to many from movies such as Memoirs of a Geisha. Visit hidden places which other package tours do not offer, including the old Nakasendo, Tsumago/Magome village, poignant Hiroshima and the nearby beautiful floating shrine of Miyajima Island, historic pottery villages in the mountains of Kyushu and the secluded island paradise of Okinawa which was once a separate kingdom. Mingle with the locals in morning markets, wander through ancient streets and speed between cities. This is an experience you won’t forget.
It is difficult to believe that the thronging city of Tokyo, grew from what had been a small, little-known fishing village in 1457 into the largest metropolis in the world with an estimated population of 1,000,000 by 1721. It was the centre of the Shogun regime from the 17th century until Japan was opened up to the west in the late 19th century.
No other place in Japan shows the contrast between the historical culture of the samurai period and the modern technical miracle better than bustling Tokyo, with everything from high tech shopping and outrageous fashion districts to the traditional Imperial Palace.
The samurai town of Kanazawa or ‘little Kyoto’ is known for its well-preserved streets and buildings that evoke the ambiance of the Edo Period centuries ago. It has a long history of traditional arts and culture and historical city streets lined with preserved geisha houses that once formed the entertainment district coexist with modernistic buildings.
It is home to the beautiful gardens of Kanazawa Castle Park and Kenroku-en Garden, museums, gold leaf workshop and the Nagamachi Samurai District located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle.
Kyoto is the spiritual heart of Japan and is home some 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the stunning Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and Nijo Castle. It was the main centre for the evolution of religious and secular architecture and of garden design for almost a thousand years. Famous for its classical Buddhist temples, imperial palaces, Zen gardens and traditional wooden houses, it the cultural centre of Japan and with its 2,000 religious places – 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and architecture intact – it is also one of the best preserved cities in Japan.
Hiroshima’s 1500 year history as a trading port and centre of shogunate power has largely been usurped by the devastating atomic bomb dropped on the city during the final months of the 2nd World War. The city, once a centre of Imperial power is now dedicated to teaching humanity about the folly of nuclear war. The poignant Hiroshima Peace museum showing the impact of the bomb on the victims is not to be missed. Not far from Hiroshima city lies Miyajima Island in The Inland Sea, where you can find the Sacred Goddess Miyajima Floating Shrine and the world famous Torii gate.
Hokkaido is Japan’s second largest and the most northern and least developed of the Japanese islands. It was settled by the Ainu, Nivkh and Orok peoples 20,000 years ago. The population remained small (around 60,000) and largely secluded from the rest of Japan until the mid 1800s. Hokkaido has therefore, for much of the last 20,000 years, remained a wilderness area – a frontier territory famous for its natural beauty and as the last refuge of the indigenous Ainu people. Its unspoiled nature and temperate summer climate attracts outdoor adventurers and high snowfall in winter attracts ski enthusiasts.
Arrive in Tokyo and check in to hotel from 3:00 pm. Your evening is free at your leisure to explore and rest after your journey.
Note: Airport transfer is not included
In the morning, enjoy Tokyo sightseeing of Sensouji Temple and the colourful Nakamise shopping lanes before we take a domestic flight to Sapporo. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel and check in for 2 nights. This evening enjoy a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travellers.
Today we visit Otaru port town. The town’s nostalgic, old fashioned atmosphere is enhanced by its architecture and layout and its picturesque canal. In the afternoon, visit an Ainu (Japanese aborigine) outdoor museum to learn about Ainu culture. Return to Sapporo.
The next day we travel from Sapporo to Hakodate by JR train along the coastline of Southern Hokkaido. We make a visit to the Goryokaku fort and to Mt. Hakodate for a spectacular view of Hakodate Bay.
Morning, travel from Hakodate to Aomori by express train. After a bus ride though beautiful Hakkoda-san National Park we arrive at the scenic Lake Towada. This volcanic lake has been a popular summer destination for local Japanese for centuries. This evening we will enjoy a sumptuous dinner at a hot spring (Onsen) resort hotel by the lake. After a leisurely breakfast on the morning of Day 6, we will travel to Oirase Gorge and enjoy a beautiful walk along the river side through the spectacular gorge. We then return to the hotel and the afternoon is free at leisure.
In the morning of Day 7 we transfer to Hachinohe station to board the bullet train for Tokyo. Upon arriving in Tokyo mid-afternoon, we check in for 2 nights.
On Day 8, we take a full day tour to Mt. Fuji & Hakone, one of our most popular activities. Enjoy a view of the famous Mt. Fuji and picturesque Hakone including a Lake Ashi cruise and ropeway (gondola) ride up to a scenic lookout.
Today we leave Tokyo to visit remote mountain villages. We travel to Kiso Valley with its quaint historical post towns, Tsumago & Magome, where cars are banned and signs of modernity such as power lines are hidden to maintain the old style ambiance. Enjoy a traditional home style Japanese dinner and relax in an old inn for 1 night. Finish a wonderful day with a traditional Japanese bath and sleeping Japanese style on futon.
Today we are travelling to another old town, Takayama, whose isolation has allowed Edo period streets, lined with tiny shops and eating places to survive to this day. Shirakawago is a small world heritage listed village, nestled in the mountains beside a pristine mountain river. Enjoy a walk through this village and soak up the atmosphere. Imagine village life centuries ago. Travel on to Kanazawa.
Kanazawa is an old Samurai town, famous for having developed a refined culture of Geisha, the arts and Zen gardens. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Kenrokuen Garden, a Gold Leaf craft work shop and the Higashichayagai geisha district. Afternoon at leisure.
On the morning of Day 12, we travel to Kyoto by train. Afternoon, we visit Kiyomizu temple overlooking the city. Part of the fun of visiting Kiyomizu temple is the approach to the temple along the steep and busy lanes of the enchanting Higashiyama district. Check-in at hotel in Kyoto for 3 nights.
Today, Day 13, guests on the May departure get to enjoy the famous Kyoto Toji flea market only open on the 21st day of each month and which dates back hundreds of years. Guests on the July departure get to enjoy the colourful 1,100 year old Gion Matsuri (festival).
Optional Tour on Day 13: All departures: Another of our most popular activities! Japanese dinner with a Geisha.
The next day we take a Kyoto tour of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, Golden Pavilion and Nijo Castle. The Golden Pavilion is a spectacular gold clad Zen Temple surrounded by a beautiful lake. Nijo Castle, completed in 1626, was built to provide lodging for Tokugawa Shogun and as a palladium for the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Afternoon at leisure.
From Kyoto we travel to Shikoku Island and this afternoon, visit Ritsurin Park, a beautiful scenic garden comprised of six ponds and thirteen hills artfully arranged against pine tree-clad surrounds. Together with the stone arrangements they evoke the style characteristic of the early Edo era (C17th – C19th).
On Day 16 we visit the remote mountainous Iya Valley, deep in the heart of Shikoku Island. The secluded valley is characterized by steep mountain slopes and deep rocky gorges which were traditionally crossed by vine bridges. Its tall peaks and deep gorges were historically a safe haven for the Heike Samurai Clan.
After a morning at leisure, we travel to Hiroshima by Bullet Train and visit the poignant Hiroshima Peace Park and the atomic bomb museum. This evening for dinner we will enjoy Okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients for which Hiroshima is famous. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “how you like” or “what you like”, and yaki meaning “cooked”.
After sleeping off our Okonomiyaki, today we will visit Miyajima Island for sightseeing around the Sacred Goddess Miyajima Floating Shrine which protects the waterways of the Inland Sea. Famous for the Itsukushima Shrine & floating torii gate, it is officially one of Japan’s Top 3 Views and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On Day 19 we begin with a visit this morning to Shukkeien, a famous garden that has a long history dating back to 1620, just after the completion of Hiroshima Castle. Around the garden’s main pond there are a number of tea houses which offer visitors ideal views of the surrounding scenery. We will enjoy traditional green tea at one of these tea houses. Afternoon we travel by Bullet Train to the southern island of Fukuoka. Upon arrival at Fukuoka, we transfer to our hotel and check in for 2 nights.
Today we travel to the old porcelain town of Arita and the isolated mountain village of Okawachiyama. They were the first places in Japan where porcelain was produced about 400 years ago after kaolin – the mineral essential to making porcelain – had been found at a local mountain. We will visit a famous master potter’s workshop.
Today after a domestic flight from Fukuoka to Naha on Okinawa Island, we transfer to our hotel and check in for 2 nights.This afternoon, enjoy a tour of Shuri Castle and walk through Kokusai Dori street, and Kosetsu ichiba market, filled with shops specializing less in trinkets and more in tasty treats.
Enjoy a full day tour visiting Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, the most popular aquarium in Okinawa which features one of the largest aquarium tanks in the world and Ryukyu Mura, a re-creation of a traditional Okinawan village that allows visitors to experience the local culture, performing arts, and nature first-hand.
Travel to Tokyo. Check-in at hotel for 1 night. Afternoon, join a walking tour by metro visiting the forested oasis of Meiji shrine and stylish Omotesando. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner with your fellow tour members to swap stories and memories of your travels.
Today our journey concludes. Enjoy your last day in Japan with some last minute souvenir hunting before heading to Tokyo airport to take your flight home to Australia.
Note: Airport transfer is not included
Arrive home. Sayounara!
Your Japan All Over Tour package includes:
- Fully escorted tour by experienced English speaking tour escorts
- Pre-reserved Japan Rail tickets by ordinary class
- All transfers and admissions for sightseeing as specified
- Baggage porterage – one piece/person
- 23 nights deluxe accommodation with private ensuite facilities
- Total of 32 Meals: Daily Breakfast (23), Lunch(3) and Dinner (6)
- All tours specified
- Tour starts and ends in Tokyo to make it easier for tour members to link with their international flights
Package tour price: $11,900 pp twin share. Single room from $14,400
Exclusions: Airfares, airport transfers, your travel insurance, beverages with included meals (except where specified).
*Please select One World member carriers for your international flights. This land-only arrangement tour price is designed to combine with One World member airlines for the international flights. Flying with non-One World member airlines may incur extra fees for domestic flights in Japan.