Japan: Land of the Rising Sun

7th Nov - 23rd Nov 2015
Japan

Highlights

  • Absorb many aspects of unique Japanese culture
  • Take a boat cruise across the Sumida River
  • Try your hand at making traditional Japanese Sushi
  • Bathe in the legendary hot springs at Mount Fuji

What's Included

  • Flights and transfers from the UK
  • 3* accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Specified excursions
  • Services of a local tour guide
  • Services of a Socialeyes tour manager

Excursions

  • City Tour of Kyoto
  • Tour of Nara and Gion
  • Bullet Train from Kyoto to Takayama
  • Tour of Takayama and Shirakawago
  • Tour from Takayama to Lake Kawaguchiko, via Matsumoto
  • Tour of Hakone
  • Tour of Mount Fuji
  • City tour of Tokyo
  • Green Tea Ceremony
  • Sushi making and tasting (optional)
  • Tour of Hiroshima and Miyajima (optional)
  • Tour of Nikko (optional)

Experience with us the uniquely fascinating archipelago of islands which comprises Japan. This ancient land of stunning contrasts offers a fine culture so harmonised with nature as to ascribe a thousand words of wisdom to the graceful positioning of a single flower, whilst simultaneously fostering a hi-tech revolution which changed the entire world. Discover such contrasting attributes happily coexisting amid truly beautiful scenery. From geisha to samurai, sushi to sumo... Japan welcomes you, and will amaze and delight at every turn.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Mt Fuji

Day 1: Saturday 7th November
Flight to Osaka Kansai International Airport.

Day 2: Sunday 8th November
Arrival and transfer to our hotel in Kyoto.
After check-in, we spend the rest of the day relaxing and acclimatising to a new world.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Kyoto.

Day 3: Monday 9th November
Half day city tour of Kyoto.
Kyoto is likely to resemble the Japan you have always imagined. Rich in culture and history, this city has a strong claim to represent the very heart of Japanese tradition. We spend five days enjoying its numerous attractions.

Our visit begins with the Zen Gardens at the Ryoanji Temple ("The Temple of the Peaceful Dragon"). This quaint religious establishment is best known for these gardens which are laid out with beautifully simple but richly symbolic rock and gravel designs to inspire visitors with sensations of peace and reflection. We continue to the Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. Set in serene grounds, the two upper floors of this fascinating structure are covered with gold leaf which creates a stunning effect when reflected in the surface of the nearby lake.

A free afternoon to explore Kyoto.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Kyoto.

Day 4: Tuesday 10th November
Visit to Nara and the Gion area of Kyoto.
We take a short local train journey to Japan's former capital, Nara. Here among other attractions we visit the celebrated Great Buddha statue. This giant representation of the Buddha has been seated in a characteristic meditative state for over 1000 years, enshrined within the Todai-ji Temple which has the distinction of being the largest wooden structure in the world. We also visit the local Deer Park where numerous sacred Nara deer roam freely in natural surroundings.

We arrive back in Kyoto in the afternoon and take a stroll around Gion, the district of Kyoto most synonymous with the ancient culture of the geisha. Here, nestling among historic wooden architecture, we find traditional tea houses which seem to have remained unchanged for centuries. The lucky visitor might even catch a fleeting glimpse of an actual geisha, their quaint attire and shyly discreet demeanour remaining steeped in the cultural mystique of ages.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Kyoto.

Day 5: Wednesday 11th November
This is a free day to relax and explore further the delights Kyoto has to offer.
Some may wish to try an optional sushi making and tasting experience. With the help of a local culinary expert we have the chance to make sushi and to enjoy the produce of our labours for lunch!
Breakfast included. Overnight in Kyoto.

Day 6: Thursday 12th November
A free day to relax, explore or perhaps re-trace steps to revisit a favourite place.

One option is to spend the day relaxing at our hotel, another might be to spend some time browsing the impressive array of shops, old and new. Alternatively, there's a full day excursion to Hiroshima and Mijajima. Those taking the latter option will travel to Hiroshima on the futuristic 'bullet train' and from there will take the ferryboat across to Miyajima. This small island is home to the Itsukushima Shrine with its famed "floating" Japanese torii gate. At high tide, both the torii and shrine seem to float magically upon the surface of the sea. UNESCO designated the Itsukushima Shrine a World Heritage site in 1996. We visit the Peace Memorial Museum set in the large park of the same name. This offers a powerful and moving reminder of the destruction which the atomic bomb visited upon Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Not only does this poignant place serve to remember the victims of that explosion, it also stands as a symbol for the promotion of world peace.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Kyoto.

Day 7: Friday 13th November
Transfer to Takayama.
Another memorable ride on Japan's renowned 'bullet train' takes us from Kyoto to Takayama, a picturesque historic town set amid hills which are known as the "Japanese Alps". The afternoon is free to spend exploring the locality. Particularly recommended is Kamisannomachi Street with its beautifully preserved traditional wooden houses. Here we find ourselves wandering amid a quaint and wonderful tapestry encapsulating the diverse textures of human life and culture. Alternatively, some may choose to enjoy the rooftop hot spring baths which offer panoramic views over the city and the surrounding Hida Mountains.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Takayama

Day 8: Saturday 14th November
A full-day excursion to Takayama and Shirakawago.
Takayama has a famous morning market where local crafts, farm produce and delicious ready-to-eat food are on sale. From here we commence a scenic drive to Shirakawago Mika-en where there's an extensive collection of picturesque, steeply thatch-roofed, timber-framed farmhouses arranged in wonderful settings. These memorable characteristics contributed to Shirakawago Mika-en being designated a World Heritage site in 1995. The architectural style here is called 'gassho-zukuri' ('hands-clasped in prayer') and this is indeed the exact pictorial gesture which the roof profiles bring to mind. The beautiful structures are attractively situated around ponds, paddies, flower beds, and streams, providing a vivid glimpse of life in Japan in bygone centuries. We pay a visit to Shiroyama Park where beautiful hills surround the ruins of historic Takayama castle and instil a remarkable atmosphere of peace and tranquillity to accompany the stunning views out across the locality.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Takayama

Day 9: Sunday 15th November
Transfer from Takayama to Lake Kawaguchiko via Matsumoto.
We travel by coach to Lake Kawaguchiko which attracts a multitude of visitors every year. The journey takes us through a colourful tapestry of traditional rural life, all set against a magical backdrop of the 'Japanese Alps'. We stop off for lunch at picturesque Matsumoto Castle, one of the finest and best preserved in Japan. This impressive structure was built more than 400 years ago and remains complete with its elegant black and white exterior, three turrets and moat. The castle also contains a notable collection of medieval weapons.

We continue onward to Lake Kawaguchiko where a host of geographical features includes hot springs or 'onsens' which provide an essential experience for all travellers. In the afternoon, we can choose to relax in the hot springs or absorb the refreshing and invigorating mountain ambience.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Lake Kawaguchiko

Day 10: Monday 16th November
A free day to relax and explore.
The best way to acclimatise to this beautiful location is to choose from a selection of many local activities which Lake Kawaguchiko has to offer. Whether choosing to take a dip in Japanese hot spring baths within sight of Mount Fuji, or following one of the enchanting lakeside hiking trails, the serenity and breathtaking volcanic scenery combine into a multitude of natural sensory attractions which tends to carve the name of 'Lake Kawaguchiko' indelibly into every visitor's heart.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Lake Kawaguchiko

Day 11: Tuesday 17th November
Transfer to Tokyo via Mount Fuji and Hakone.
Today we travel by coach to Tokyo. During our transfer we have the opportunity to stop and visit Mount Fuji and Hakone. Japan's highest mountain has been worshiped as a sacred site for many centuries. The beautiful town of Hakone, situated at the mountain's foot, boasts an array of hot thermal springs which offer relaxation before proceeding to Tokyo's mesmerizingly bright lights.

There'll be an opportunity to take the Hakone Ropeway from Sounzan down to Togendai on Lake Ashinoko, via the boiling sulphur pits of Owakudani. Here the hot springs, erupting geysers and bubbling pools of boiling mud dominate a fascinating landscape. We take a boat journey around beautiful Lake Ashi, a water-filled volcanic crater with a circumference of nearly 18 kilometres. The deck of our excursion boat is the ideal place from which to savour the flame-tinted foliage of the trees which line these shores before extending their spectacular range of russet tones up into the surrounding mountainside terrain.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Tokyo.

Day 12: Wednesday 18th November
A half day sightseeing tour of Tokyo.
In stark contrast to the natural tranquillity of Lake Kawaguchiko, Tokyo is the ultimate modern metropolis which nonetheless manages to maintain a unique blend of tradition alongside the technology. The hustle and bustle of business, the unashamed glitz of neon lights, the glittering multitude of fine shops and restaurants all meet with the contrasting calmness and poise to be found in the charming traditional backwaters which co-exist splendidly in a memorable city which thrives and pulses like no other.

We visit the Imperial Palace, official residence of Japan's Emperor. We partake in a traditional Green Tea Ceremony and experience the essence of this unique aspect of Japanese culture. Starting from the exotic Hama Rikyu Garden, we take the Sumida River Boat Cruise, disembarking to spend the afternoon in the thriving Asakusa market, one of the districts where atmospheric old Tokyo has been most strikingly preserved.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Tokyo.

Day 13: Thursday 19th November
A free day or an optional Nikko full day excursion.
Today offers the chance to explore some of Tokyo's hidden treasures, or alternatively to escape the bustle of the city with an optional excursion to experience the delights of Nikko. We visit the majestic Toshogu Shrine, decorated with brilliant colours, lavish gold, silver and wooden carvings. Close by is Lake Chuzenji, famed for its beautiful shoreline, which is especially so when it's bedecked with the brindled colours and russet textures of autumn. From such a scene of mountainous tranquillity we proceed to the spectacular Kegon Waterfall, its towering 97 metre drop easily justifying its reputation as one of the most photographed locations in all of Japan. Visitors can take an elevator ride down from the top of the falls to an observation platform from where the full force of plummeting water bombards every one of the senses simultaneously!
Breakfast included. Overnight in Tokyo.

Day 14: Friday 21st November
A final free day in Tokyo.
We spend our last day in Tokyo relaxing and perhaps choosing to re-visit favourite destinations for a more detailed chance to savour the kind of features, textures and atmosphere which never fail to imprint this most unique travel destination upon the memory of every world traveller.
Breakfast included. Overnight in Tokyo.

Day 15: Saturday 22nd November
We transfer to the airport for our return flight.

Day 16: Sunday 23rd November
Arrive back.

This unique Socialeyes experience offers a truly magical trail of discovery, through history, the arts, technology, cuisine and a kaleidoscope of some of nature's most exhilarating wonders, a collection of experiences to delight the senses, inform the mind and soothe the soul. Japan is certain to earn a very special place among your own most cherished world travel memories.

UK Travellers from £2699 per
person
Including flights & transfers

Non-UK Travellers from £1999 per
person
Excluding flights & transfers

For a flight quote from your local airport, please click Quote me and our team would be delighted to provide you with a flight quotation. Alternatively, you may arrange your own flights.