Japan Gourmet Autumn Platinum Tour
Departs Friday, 9th November 2018
Be captivated by the beautiful autumn colours and Japan’s hidden treasures on our relaxed, Japan Gourmet Autumn Tour in Platinum style and comfort. Experience a traditional Kyoto style Kaiseki multi-course dinner accompanied by a young geisha who will perform a traditional dance exclusively for our group. Stay in the best hotels and enjoy exquisite meals by Michelin star chefs. Experience vibrant Tokyo and tranquil Kyoto, a combination of famous destinations and out of the way places. The best way to experience Japan in style.
Platinum Series Tours Include
Chauffer Pick Up
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.
Japan’s second largest city after Tokyo, Osaka with its 42 municipalities has a population of more than 8.8 million – around 7% of all of Japan. With 1400 years of history, this port city has long been a centre of commerce. Situated in the heart of Osaka is Osaka Castle which towers over the city and whose public park grounds cover 60,000 square meters. In springtime its 4000 cherry trees make it a popular destination for cherry blossom viewing.
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.
Upon arrival in Tokyo, be greeted by your driver and transferred to our 5-star hotel where you check-in for 3 nights. For our first full day we start off with a morning sightseeing tour of Tokyo on a chartered coach, through Ginza streets, Imperial palace and Asakusa Temple where we stroll down the colourful Nakamise shopping street. Lunch is at one of the finest famous Iron Chef restaurants. In the evening we will all gather for a Welcome Cocktail with a light dinner at a private lounge at the hotel overlooking the Imperial Palace at sunset.
On Day 3, enjoy a slow-paced walking tour by metro. Visit the Meiji shrine and promenade of Harajuku, where Tokyo’s old and new cultures meet. End with a walk down trendy Omotesando, visit a small private Japanese Woodblock Printing art gallery, or visit Nezu Museum – a small private art museum with beautiful gardens, before returning to the hotel for a Teppan Yaki lunch. Remainder of the day is at your leisure. In the evening, follow your leader to the local businessman’s district and enjoy local street food.
Accommodation:3 nights, The Imperial Hotel Tokyo
This morning we travel to Mount Fuji and Hakone National Park. It is difficult to really get a feel for the massive mountain from pictures alone. Today (weather permitting) you will see Mt. Fuji from far enough away to appreciate its amazing symmetry and close enough to experience the awe its presence has instilled in the Japanese people and begin to understand its place in their culture. Enjoy a cruise across Lake Ashi and ride the ropeway (gondola) up to Mt Komagatake. After lunch at a local restaurant, we travel by Bullet Train on to Kyoto, home to the finest art, crafts and culture in Japan. Check in for 4 nights of luxury accommodation. Accommodation: 4 nights at The Kyoto Hotel Okura
Visit the UNESCO world heritage sites of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and Nijo Castle. Kinkakuji is a beautiful Zen temple once the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga in northern Kyoto, and whose top two storeys are completely covered in gold leaf. Nijo castle (built in 1603) as the Kyoto residence of the first Shogun, Tokugawa, is one of the best surviving examples of feudal Japan’s castle palace architecture. Enjoy lunch at a former Ochaya-san (Geisha house) in the Gion district. A walking tour of Kiyomizu temple, nestled in a mountain on the east of the city and overlooking the city, will have you appreciating the temple from the steep and busy lanes of Kyoto’s old atmospheric Higashiyama district. Visit the south-west Sagano Arashiyama district, well known to the Japanese traveller but little visited by Western tourists. The area provides a taste of the Kyoto countryside and we will visit a private garden and a bamboo forest walkway, and will get to browse through specialty handcraft shops including pottery, Japanese rice paper, bamboo craft and handmade clay bell shops. A sumptuous dinner at a traditional restaurant that has won 7 consecutive Michelin awards, will be accompanied by a Geisha who will perform a special traditional dance exclusively for our group.
Catch a bullet train to Hiroshima and travel on to Kintaikyo, little visited by western tourists, to visit the Kintaikyo Bridge famously immortalized in Ukiyoe paintings. We will catch a gondola to the mountaintop Iwakuni Castle from which we can also get a bird’s eye view of the valley. After another leisurely start we visit Miyajima Island in The Inland Sea, to enjoy sightseeing around the Sacred Goddess Miyajima Floating Shrine and the world famous Torii gate. We return to Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park and have a guided tour of the park visiting Hiroshima Peace Museum. This evening you will have the opportunity of drinks at the club lounge and for dinner a buffet at the hotel restaurant is also organised.
Accommodation: 2 nights at The Hiroshima Sheraton Hotel
We travel to Himeji by bullet Train and then on to Osaka. Visit the famous majestic Himeji Castle, considered Japan’s most spectacular. Unlike many other Japanese castles, Himeji Castle was never destroyed in wars or fires and survives in its original form. It is both a national treasure and a world heritage site. Travel on to Osaka and enjoy a Wagyu Teppanyaki dinner served at our hotel. Experience a full day tour by train to Mt. Koya, a World Heritage site due to its more than 1,000 year old teaching and meditation sites. Smooth headed monks in colourful robes, mist covered mountains and wooden temples create a serene and spiritual place.
Accommodation: 2 nights at The Imperial Hotel Osaka
We begin our exploration of Kanazawa with an afternoon tour which includes the old district of Higashiyama, a Geisha district, Kutani pottery workshops where you can see a demonstration by a master potter, the former samurai residential area and one of Japan’s most famous gardens, Kenrokuen garden. Enjoy a French dinner with a panoramic view of City of Kanazawa, located on the top floor of the hotel which offers sophisticated service together with dishes featuring fresh fish and Noto Wagyu Beef selections from the Hokuriku local region.
Not too far from Kanazawa are the ancient towns and villages of Takayama and Shirakawago. Takayama’s isolation has allowed Edo period streets, lined with tiny shops, museums and eating places, to survive to this day. We will take lunch at a local fine dining restaurant in Takayama and after spending some time taking in the local sights we will travel on to Shirakawago, a small world heritage listed village, nestled in the mountains beside a pristine mountain river. We stroll around this fascinating village with its famous thatched roofs for a while before heading back to Kanazawa.
Accommodation: 2 nights at Nikko Hotel Kanazawa
We travel back to Tokyo today by the new Hokuriku Bullet Train line, “Gran Class” arriving midday for 1 night’s stay. The remainder of the day is free to either relax or explore a bit of Ginza. Your tour coordinator will help you organise your activities. Relax this evening with farewell drinks and light meal at the Imperial lounge.
Accommodation: 1 night at The Imperial Hotel Tokyo
Today is our last day in Japan, so you might wish to do some last minute souvenir hunting or an optional half day activity. Late afternoon, we check out from the hotel and leave for Haneda or Narita airport by private transfer service.
Morning arrival in Australia. Interstate passengers connecting flight.
Other Tour Inclusions
Your Japan Gourmet Autumn Tour package includes:
- Fully escorted tour by experienced English speaking, licensed tour escorts
- Same day luggage delivery service
- Private airport transfers for all Tokyo arrival and departure flights
- 5-star luxury accommodation, or best available in remote areas
- First class train travel, experience Hokuriku bullet train, Gran Class
- Michelin Star, Iron Chef and exquisite local cuisine experiences
- All transfers and admissions for sightseeing as specified
- Total of 27 Meals: Daily Breakfast (14), Lunch (7) and Dinner (6)
- All tours specified, with local tour guides
- All tipping – coach drivers, hotels (and service fees) and restaurants
Exclusions: Airfares, travel insurance, beverages during meals (except where specified)
Platinum package: $12,580 pp twin share. Single room from $15,280