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Cities & Tradition in Japan

Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Miyajima Island, Naoshima

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This example itinerary

from £5,700 $8,500 pp

14 days

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Highlights

  • Eat at any of Tokyo’s many Michelin-starred restaurants
  • Shop till you drop in one of the world’s new fashion capitals
  • See some of the most prominent artists’ work in Japan’s Art Island
  • Learn to make sushi after a tour of the fish market 
  • Bathe in a hot spring for a detox and relaxation time

This example itinerary

from £5,700 $8,500 pp

14 days

Speak to Katie

+44 (0)203 137 1247

+1 (0)800 635 8124

What’s Included

  • 13 nights Bed & Breakfast
  • All train tickets
  • Private airport transfers
  • Tea Ceremony
  • Naoshima Art Gallery entries
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum entry
  • Cookery Class
  • Full day of private guiding in each location
  • International Economy class flights

Example Itinerary

Day 1-3

TOKYO, Japan

  • Eat dinner 345 metres up in the sky for unrivalled views over the city
  • Take a break with a relaxing stroll through a forest shrine dedicated to an Emperor

A neon-lit city with skyscrapers to rival New York, Tokyo provides constant stimulation for the eyes and ears.

Rise early for breakfast at the Toyosu fish market, followed by a wander through Akihabara, also known as Electronic Town. Here you can get a feel for the more modern side of Tokyo as you immerse yourself in the world of anime, manga comics and themed cafes. Stop for a quick lunch in Yurakucho before spending the afternoon experiencing the more traditional side of Japan’s capital. Marvel at ancient shrines as you stroll through the sprawling Imperial Palace Gardens, conveniently located opposite the Palace Hotel, where you’ll rest your head for the night.

Day 3-4

TAKAYAMA, Japan

  • See the famous mechanical Karakuri marionettes at a puppet show
  • Experience the Takayama Festival, one of Japan’s most beautiful festivals in spring and autumn

Rise into the mountains for a night in a wooden town with over 400 years of history.

Takayama retains tradition like few other places in Japan, which is particularly visible in its well-preserved old town. The city was an ancient timbre centre and enjoyed a good deal of prosperity despite its remote location. Stroll through the atmospheric streets soaking in a slower pace of life. Ascend into the Japanese Alps for beautiful views and hiking trails overlooking the city and retreat to a rural ryokan to relax in the region’s abundant natural hot springs.

Day 4-6

KANZAWA, Japan

  • Visit one of the three Great Gardens of Japan, with incredible landscaping
  • Spend a day in an ancient castle that once housed one of Japan’s top universities

A city full of well-preserved buildings from Japan’s Edo era, Kanazawa’s many ponds and streams also make this a peaceful stop.

Experience the contrasting sides of Japan as you skip between beautifully preserved Edo period temples and the world-renowned 21st Century Art Museum in the idyllic coastal town. Indulge in the spoiling array of traditional spa treatments on offer at Beniya Mukayu and relax in your own private ‘onsen’ (open-air hot spring bath). Sample some delicately prepared Japanese cuisine in the boutique hotel’s ‘Kaiseki Horin’ dining room, then learn the techniques yourself during an onsite cooking class.

Day 6-9

KYOTO, Japan

  • Enjoy tea with a geiko in a traditional geisha house
  • Temple hop around some of Kyoto’s stunning Buddhist and Shinto shrines

Kyoto is the cultural and educational centrepiece of Japan, with ancient rituals to experience and delicious cuisine.

Get a feel for ancient Japanese culture as you make your way around the magnificent temples and Shinto shrines of Kyoto. Stay at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton on the banks of the Kamo River and enjoy a tea ceremony with a Maiko in the nearby Gion District. Wander through the towering Bamboo Groves in Arashiyama and taste the incredible selection of street food in the Dotonbori district of Osaka (also famed for its neon lights).

Day 9-11

MIYAJIMA ISLAND, Japan

  • Visit the boundary between the spirit and human world at The Great Torii
  • See the world’s largest wooden rice spoon on Omotesando Street

Known as the Island of Gods, Miyajima is one of the most scenic and serene spots in Japan to recharge before the next leg of sightseeing.

Enjoy peaceful island life on Miyajima, in the company of sacred deer and serene shrines that appear to be floating in the water. Explore quaint, market lined streets and sample fresh local oysters. By night, stay at the authentic Iwaso Ryokan, nestled in a tranquil forest. Take a cable car to the top of Mt. Misen to observe the beautiful surroundings of Hiroshima Bay and visit the fascinating Peace Memorial Park on the mainland.

Day 11-13

NAOSHIMA, Japan

  • Be greeted at the port by Yayoi Kusama’s iconic pumpkin sculpture
  • Visit a subterranean art gallery built directly into the earth

Famously known as Japan’s Art Island, Naoshima’s galleries are home to some of the world’s best artwork and even allow guests to stay overnight amongst the masterpieces.

We recommend jumping on a bike to navigate your way around Naoshima’s incredible collection of galleries. Admire pieces by the likes of Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Monet, as well as the iconic ‘Yellow Pumpkin’ by native contemporary artist, Yayoi Kusama. Stay amongst the creativity yourself at Benesse House; both a museum and hotel, it incorporates guest rooms and public spaces for the display of contemporary art.

Day 13-14

TOKYO, Japan

Round off your trip with a final night back amongst the bustling lights of Tokyo, before heading for the airport. Visit Shibuya for the best shopping and a glimpse at the iconic Tokyo crossing, followed by dinner at one of the city’s many world-class restaurants. Marvel at the spectacular views of the skyscraper city from the spacious, modern Japanese guest rooms at Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills.

Mike & Rose

We felt so relieved on arrival into Tokyo that everything had been prearranged. Japan can feel quite busy and mad, but we knew that Katie had taken care of everything. We had the best guides and easy transfers, and we loved every minute of the cherry blossom experience.

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