Japan Autumn Dreams Tour
Departs Sunday, 14th October 2018
Departs Sunday, 11th November 2018
Enjoy the cool Autumn ambiance of Japan while strolling through rustic villages, majestic castles and beautiful temples and speeding between cities on the famous bullet train. Experience the majesty of Mt. Fuji, the tranquillity of Kyoto and the excitement of Tokyo. Amble through inspiring bamboo forests and visit famous gardens to enjoy the seasonal colours of Japan. Experience the rich Japanese culture exploring historic Kyoto, staying in an historic Onsen (hot spring) village ryokan and visiting a world heritage listed village in the countryside for a truly unique experience. Visit Hiroshima and the famous Miyajima floating shrine. This package is designed for the experienced traveller with a limited timeframe or on a budget without compromising on quality.
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.
Just an hour’s drive from Nagano city, Nozawa Onsen is a charming hot spring village at the foot of Kenashi-yama Mountain. People have been making the pilgrimage to Nozawa for its therapeutic hot springs for 700 years and it is now home to around 4,000 people and renowned also for its traditional inns and in more recent times, its ski terrain. Nozawa offers a rich experience of culture, food, architecture, public onsens and traditional ryokan. The nearby Snow Monkeys of Japan are a highlight for most travellers. Japanese Macaque bath in natural hot springs and spend their time in the snow covered forest.
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.
Arrive in Tokyo and check in at hotel. Settle in and perhaps go for a stroll to acclimatise yourself for your Japanese odyssey.
We travel today to visit Mt. Fuji, Japan’s most famous icon. From the vantage point of the coach you will get your first glimpse of rural Japan. We stroll around the ancient Sengen shrine dedicated to the spirits of the volcano and visit the “5th station” on Mt. Fuji. Travel on to scenic Lake Kawaguchi area and check in at our hotel with majestic Mt Fuji views for 1 night. Welcome dinner.
We travel on to the ancient capital Kyoto by Bullet Train. In the afternoon, enjoy a Kyoto sightseeing tour, visit to World Heritage listed Golden Pavilion and Nijo Castle. A visit by local trains to Fushimi Inari Taisha is where we explore the array of almost 5,000 vermilion torii gates winding their way through the hills behind Fushimi-inari-taisha Shrine. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of historic Nishiki arcade, provedores to Kyoto’s leading restaurants. Visit Kiyomizu temple, built into the mountainside overlooking the city. We join pilgrims and locals as they climb the steep and busy lanes of the Higashiyama district. Visit Ohara, a rural town up in the mountains of northern Kyoto, famous among Japanese travellers not only for the nearby Sanzenin temple gardens, but also its charming string of tiny shops lining the path from the town to the temple.
We travel to Hiroshima by bullet train, to visit Miyajima Island, famous for Itsukushima Shrine and floating torii gate – officially one of Japan’s ‘Top 3 Views’ and another well-known UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and learn about the history of Hiroshima. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the A-Bomb Dome is a tangible link to Hiroshima’s unique past. A-bomb Legacy Successors will give testimony on behalf of survivors in a talk to JANESCO members.
On Day 9 we travel to the samurai town of Kanazawa. Upon arrival enjoy sightseeing of the Nagamachi Samurai District located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle. Well preserved streets and buildings evoke the ambiance of the Edo Period. Visit Nomura-ke, a restored samurai residence displaying the lifestyle and artefacts of the era when samurai were prosperous. Visit also Kenrokuen garden, one of Japan’s 3 most famous gardens before checking in at our hotel in Korinbou, in central Kanazawa for 3 nights.
On Day 10 we travel on to Shirakawago Ogimachi, a small world heritage listed village, nestled in the mountains beside a pristine mountain river. After a stroll through this bucolic village we move on to another old town Takayama whose isolation has allowed Edo period streets, lined with tiny shops, museums and eating places, to survive to this day. The next day, JANESCO offers a trip to Noto peninsula and visit to Wajima Morning Market famous for local seafood product and Wajima lacquer ware. On the way back to Kanazawa we visit Kutani Pottery master potter’s workshop for a demonstration by the master himself.
Travel to Iiyama and transfer to Nozawa, a 370-year old authentic hot spring town with a quaint village atmosphere. Enjoy a dip in an Onsen and a traditional ryokan dinner for some truly memorable experiences.
This morning we travel back to Tokyo by the new Hokuriku Bullet Train line, arriving midday. Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel and check in for 2 nights. The next day we take a morning sightseeing tour of Tokyo by local transportation, visiting Asakusa Temple where we stroll down the colourful Nakamise shopping street, Meiji shrine and Omotesandou. The remainder of your day is free before a farewell dinner at the hotel. On Day 15, enjoy your last day in Japan with some last minute souvenir hunting or perhaps an optional half day activity as our tour concludes.
Our journey concludes and we travel home to Australia.
Dreams Series Tours
Enjoy the cool Autumn ambiance and gentle Spring air as you wander through rustic villages, majestic castles and ancient temples. Wonder at the majesty of Mt Fuji and the beautiful Cherry Blossom trees. Follow the Golden Route and visit places off the beaten track, from the Northern island of Hokkaido to the Southern islands of Okinawa and Kyushu.
Our Dreams Series of tours are fully escorted and offer a deluxe service that’s great value for money.Book Online
Your Japan Autumn Dreams 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
- Deluxe quality accommodation with private facilities
- Total of 18 meals included – Breakfast (14) and Dinner (4)
- All tours specified
Available with English speaking guides:
- Day 4 Kyoto Geisha Dinner $220: Japanese Dinner with Geisha accompaniment & traditional dance performances.
- Day 5 Kyoto Sagano Tour $45: Half day tour of Kyoto countryside Sagano Bamboo Grove region by local trains. Famous for its bamboo groves and specialty handcraft shops including pottery, Japanese rice paper, bamboo craft and handmade clay bell shops.
Package tour price: $6,980 pp twin share. Single room from $8,280