8 days Japan in style

Summary

Capture a glimpse of Japan’s stylish side with a fascinating journey from Tokyo to Hakone and Kyoto. Enjoy exclusive tours that bring local culture to life and visit lesser-known monuments that exemplify Japan’s sophisticated architectural taste. Relax in the evenings at stylish properties, from East-meets-West hotels to charming traditional inns.

Tour includes:

  • Economy flights from London Heathrow
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • 2-Day Hakone Free Pass from Day 5 to Day 6 (valid from Odawara).
  • One-way bullet train ticket from Odawara Station to Kyoto Station
  • All transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfer from Hakone to Kyoto
  • English-speaking guides and entrance fees for tours mentioned in the itinerary
  • Dinner with a Maiko on Day 8

Price

From £6,769 per person based on 2 people sharing a room

Best time to go

Japan is a year round destination and can be visited at any time of year, with each season bringing its own surprises, Spring is great for seeing the infamous cherry blossoms, with Autumn brings the dramatic turning of the leaves to a brilliant red.

Tour Highlights

  • Cruise across stunning Lake Ashinoko & catch glimpses of Mt Fuji
  • Admire Heinan’s famous gardens
  • Explore Kyoto’s Nijo Castle
  • Admire tranquil temples and shrines in Nara, the 8th-century capital
  • Enjoy exclusive experiences with an elegant geisha
  • Stay in a traditional Japanese Inn in the mountains

Day 1: Depart the UK

Depart London Heathrow on an overnight flight to Tokyo, Haneda International Airport.

Day 2: Arrival in Tokyo & dinner

Upon arrival to Tokyo Airport, a private chauffeur will be waiting to provide transport to the Palace Hotel Tokyo for check in. The rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight’s dinner consists of a special kaiseki-course dinner at their award winning restaurant ‘Wadakura’. Enjoy the seasonal specialities carefully prepared and presented by the chef.

Overnight: Palace Hotel [Breakfast]

Stay at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo

 

Day 3: Tokyo

This morning there will be a private pickup from the chauffeur and guide at the hotel for a full day of sightseeing in Tokyo. One of the stops includes Asakusa, part of Tokyo’s Shitamachi (old town). Asakusa is home to Senso-Ji, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, and is also the city’s oldest Geisha district. Afterwards, visit Meiji Jingu, Tokyo’s most famous shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and a popular venue for traditional Shinto weddings.

The drive will also cruise past famous Tokyo landmarks including the Ginza area, the Imperial Palace, and the Shibuya ‘scramble’ crossing. The day’s itinerary is entirely flexible; other sights within the city can be substituted for the day’s visits. 

Overnight: Palace Hotel [Breakfast]

Top places to visit in Tokyo - Imperial Palace

 

Day 4: Tokyo – Kamakura – Hakone

Leave the hustle and bustle of Tokyo behind, journeying by private transport to Kamakura for a morning of sightseeing. One of Japan’s former capitals, Kamakura is a delightful seaside town home to many ancient temples and the Daibutsu, a giant bronze Buddha. Continue on to the Fuji Hakone National Park, where the night’s accommodation will be at the Hakone Ginyu ryokan (traditional Japanese-style accommodation).

The Ginyu is built on a mountain, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The room is complete with tatami flooring and comfortable futon, and each room has an outdoor terrace with a private hot spring bath. The dinner will be a traditional multi-course meal served in the room.

Overnight: Hakone at the Hakone Ginyu in a Japanese-Style Room [Half Board]

Stay at the Hakone Ginyu Ryokan in Japan

 

Day 5: Hakone

Today tour the surrounding national park with a guide and private car. The adventure will begin with a ride on the Guinness World Record-holder ropeway, heading all the way up to Mt. Owakudani, the source of the hot water in Hakone’s hot springs. Continue onwards to Togendai, where a majestic replica pirate ship will sweep across Ashinoko, a lake that was formed by a volcanic eruption 3,000 years ago.

After the cruise, the next stop will be the Hakone Open Air Museum, which creates a harmonic balance of nature and art by exhibiting various sculptures on its spacious grounds in combination with beautiful views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. Besides the sculptures, the Hakone Open Air Museum also features various indoor galleries, including a sizable Picasso Collection that displays some paintings, prints, sculptures, and ceramic creations of the legendary artist. Throughout the day, there will be chances to catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji. Please bear in mind, however, that the mountain is notoriously ‘shy’ and necessitates an entirely clear day to be seen in full.

Dinner tonight will be served in the room.

Overnight: Hakone at the Hakone Ginyu in a Japanese-Style Room [Half Board]

Travel across Lake Ashinko on a pirate ship

 

Day 6: Hakone – Kyoto

Get ready for the journey to Kyoto, home to around 2,000 shrines and temples, 17 of which are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A private taxi provides transport from the ryokan to Odawara Station, where the Shinkansen (bullet train) can be caught to Kyoto.

Upon arrival at Kyoto Station, our private chauffeur and guide will be waiting to lead an afternoon of sightseeing around the cultural capital. The first stop will be at Heian Shrine, home to one of Japan’s largest torii gates. The highlight of this shrine is definitely its gardens collectively called ‘Shin-en’. Naka Shin-en, one of the four gardens, was featured in the movie ‘Lost in Translation.’ The stone pillars where the actress walked on are called “garyu-kyo,” which serves as a walkway through the serene Soryu Pond.

Continue on to Kiyomizu-Dera, the temple situated on Mt. Otowa. The most impressive part of the temple is probably the veranda, which stands at 13 meters tall and was built without any nails. The view from the veranda is breathtaking, especially when the sakura (cherry blossoms) are in full bloom or when the leaves change colour in fall.

Note: Kiyomizu Temple is currently undergoing partial renovations until June 2017.

Overnight: Hyatt Regency Kyoto [Breakfast]

Visit the Heian Jingu Shrine Shrine in Kyoto

 

Day 7: Kyoto and Nara

Explore the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara with the guide, travelling around in a private car. Start the day with a visit to Nijo Castle. This ornamental castle, surrounded by stunning gardens, was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence. The main building was completed in 1603 and is well-known for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors, and ‘chirping nightingale’ floors. Continue on to Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion, which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death, it became a Buddhist Temple at his request and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples.

Afterwards, travel to Nara, a small town that used to be Japan’s capital for 74 years during the 8th century. Most of its main tourist spots are located around Nara Park, where a great number of tamed deer reside. Visit Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha, or Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most celebrated shrine.

Overnight: Hyatt Regency Kyoto [Breakfast]

Top ten temples to visit in Japan Todaji Temple

 

Day 8: Kyoto, Dinner with a Maiko

Today, spend the morning free at leisure. It is possible to arrange a private car to tour the city with (must be booked in advance; supplementary charges apply). In the afternoon, get an in-depth, exclusive look at Japan’s Geisha culture in Kyoto. Late this afternoon join a guide for a walking tour of Gion, Kyoto’s Geisha district, followed by a truly special dinner with a Maiko! Start with an introduction, listening as the guide explains about Geiko, the local name for Kyoto’s geishas, and their Maiko, or apprentices. Then explore the atmospheric streets, walking past local shops and restaurants on the way to Yasaka Shrine. From here continue to Hanami-koji where lavish tea shops line the roadside.

Carry on to a theatre where Geisha and Maiko perform traditional dances. Then cross Kyoto’s famous Tatsumi Bashi Bridge, passing a legendary tea house and small street shrine along the way. Arrive at Shirakawa Canal for a walk along the streets which are lined with cherry trees and brimming with charm. (Note: depending on the location of the restaurant, the walking tour may need to backtrack to one of the places mentioned above).

After the walking tour, enter a local restaurant for a memorable dinner in the company of a Maiko. Dine on a traditional multi-course meal called Kaiseki Ryori. Interact with the Maiko, learning about her craft and the world of Geisha. During dinner, the Maiko will entertain by performing traditional dances and teaching popular Japanese drinking games.

Pose for photos with the Maiko, capturing memories to share with friends and family back home, before bidding farewell to the hostess and returning to the hotel.

Overnight: Hyatt Regency Kyoto [Breakfast]

Watch a Geisha Dance performance in Kyoto

 

Day 9: Departure from Kyoto

The rest of the day is at leisure until the included private transfer to Kansai International Airport. Depart on a daylight flight via Tokyo to London Heathrow.


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