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Japan – Endless Discovery - 9 Days

On the surface, Japan appears exceedingly modern, but travelling around it offers numerous opportunities to connect with the country’s traditional culture.The neon-lit streetscapes of Japan’s cities look like sci-fi film sets, even though many of them are decades old. On the contrary, Japan is a long and slender, highly volcanic archipelago. It’s over two-thirds mountains, with bubbling hot springs at every turn. In the warmer months there is excellent hiking, through cedar groves and fields of wildflowers, up to soaring peaks and ancient shrines. For most of us, Japan is truly timeless, a place where ancient traditions are fused with modern life as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Places to visit:

The Imperial Palace

Seated in the heart of Tokyo this immense moated castle is the home of the rarely seen Royal Family. The massive castle walls and the water filled moats are as impressive as they were in the days of the Shogun. The Imperial Palace East Garden is immaculately kept and is open to the public.

Asakusa Kannon Temple

One of the oldest temples in Tokyo famed as the home of its rarely seen Golden Goddess to whom millions of Japanese come to pray. The long street of shops leading to the Temple is the Nakamise Dori where an incredible range of tourist souvenirs and Japanese arts and crafts can be found. 

Harajuku

The fashion district for young Japanese. It is best visited on a Sunday afternoon when the nearby Yoyogi Koen Park is closed to traffic. Young Japanese display their subcultures here. To see the often weird costumes worn by youth in revolt against their ordered society is reason enough for the visit. Nearby is the Meiji Shrine to the Emperor who led Japan into the modern world. 

Roppongi

The playground of the rich. By night it becomes the glittering disco capital of Tokyo with many noisy bars and restaurants. Tokyo Tower is nearby but is a much overrated tourist trap. 

Ginza

The area with the designer label shops and designer label prices. It is the most expensive shopping area in Tokyo. It is worth a visit to stroll past the shop windows and gasp at the prices. 

Akihabara

The famed “Electric City” where every imaginable electrical device is on display. Multi-storied department stores sell only electrical goods which get cheaper as the distance from the railway station increases. Many new electrical products not released overseas can be found here. 

Tsukiji Fish Market

The largest fish market in the world. Fish from every ocean in the world are sold here including some varieties not sold in other countries. It is worth a visit to see the distribution system which delivers fresh fish every day to thousands of restaurants not only in Tokyo but all over Japan. 

Tokyo Disneyland

If you have never been to a Disneyland this one is the most popular in the world and worth a visit. It is a near perfect replica of the Anaheim California original’s rides, slides and shows.

Shinjuku

The commercial centre of Tokyo with skyscrapers competing for space as they dominate the skyline. Many major international companies have their headquarters here. Among the highest buildings is the Metropolitan Government Office Building. From the 45th floor there is one of the best (and free) views of the City of Tokyo. On a clear day Mount Fuji can be seen.

Kinakauji 

(The Golden Temple) Completely covered with gold leaf and situated on the edge of a garden enclosed lake, this temple is so beautiful it is one of the most visited and photographed of all the Kyoto temples. 

Ginkakuji 

Known as The Silver Temple, even though it was never covered with silver as originally planned, it is famed for its manicured gardens and walkways.

Kiyomizu Dera 

First built in 789 has a huge verandah supported on hundreds of pillars from where there is a splendid view over magnificent gardens to Kyoto. Visitors can drink from the sacred waters from the temple waterfall. 

The Philosopher’s Walk 

Follows a traffic free path along a canal past many traditional houses and gardens. While beautiful in any season it is most spectacular in April when the cherry trees which line the walk are in full bloom. 

The Peace Park 

A visit to this park is a must for every visitor to Japan. The A Bomb Dome is left as it was immediately after the atom blast. Its twisted ruins will be left for all time as a reminder of the explosion. The A Bomb Museum contains graphic exhibits showing Hiroshima before and after the blast. A filmed presentation on giant screens shows the attack from cameras on the American planes. Hiroshima is dedicated to preventing the use of atomic weapons for all time. 

Hiroshima Castle 

Originally built in 1589 and rebuilt after being destroyed by the A Bomb. It is not one of the notable Japanese castles but it has many interesting displays using 3D laser techniques

Miyajima Island 

Short train and ferry ride from Hiroshima. It is one of the three most beautiful islands of Japan. From the top of Mount Misen, the highest point of the island , there is a breathtaking view over the Inland Sea of Japan to the Japanese mainland. In Autumn and Spring the island is famous for the colours of the maple and cherry trees which grow wild on the island. Tame deer wander all year among the visitors.

Engakuji Temple

3 minute walk from JR Kamakura Station, is one of the city’s most celebrated Zen Temples. Its various buildings are arranged in a straight line, and the precinct shaded by old Japanese cedars. Stone-paved steps, worn down under the tread of visitors, recall the temple’s long history.

Tokeiji Temple

10 minute walk from Engakuji, is a Zen temple founded in 1285. It was called a “divorce temple” in feudal days, as the only place of refuge for wives mistreated by their husbands. Nowadays it is popular as a temple of flowers.

Kenchoji Temple

15 minute walk from Tokeiji, is foremost among the Five Great Zen Temples, and is situated in a grove of magnificent Japanese cedar trees. A bronze bell cast in 1255 is designated a national treasure. On view in the main hall is considered one of the finest examples of art in the Kamajura Period.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine 

10 minute walk from the station, ranks with the “Daibutsu” (Great Buddha) as one of Kamakura’s foremost tourist attractions.

Kamakura Museum of National Treasure 

Exhibits some 100 items of fine art, sculpture, arts and crafts, and historical documents. Built in 1928, the museum was constructed on the model of the Shosoin in Nara, resembling a large log house on stilts. Open daily from 9:00am to 4:30pm. Admission is charged.

Enoshima Island 

Scenic islet about 4 km in circumference. Enoshima Shrine is one of the main draws. In older times, fishermen prayed here for a good catch and sailors for a safe voyage. The island is connected to the mainland by the Benten Bridge.

Lake Ashi

The 400,000 year-old volcanic crater lake that never freezes! Ashiko is a popular place for fishing, boating and water sports. Use your “Hakone Free Pass” to cruise the lake by pirate ship. On a clear day you will be able to take pleasure in Mt. Fuji’s inverted reflection.

Owakudani (Greater Boiling Valley)

Accessible by ropeway this entire gorge reeks of sulphurous fumes, spewing clouds of steam from crevasses among bubbling hot springs.

Ancient Cedar Avenue

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along this superb 2km flora-lined winding passage; once the pathway to Edo (Tokyo).

Kegon Falls

At 97 metres in height, is one of Japan’s finest waterfalls (originating from Lake Chuzenji). Descend 100 metres by elevator through the bedrock to the lookout point at the base of the gorge to see the falls plummeting downward.

Lake Chuzenji 

Especially beautiful in early May for its cherry blossoms and in October for its brilliant crimson foliage. The water is a beautiful indigo blue. To enjoy more of the lake’s scenery a 50 minute sightseeing cruise is highly recommended. Regular boat service on the lake connects Fune-No-Eki with Shobugahama in 20 minutes. The service is suspended from December through March.

Chuzenji Onsen

On the north-eastern shore of the lake, is the centre of the Lake Chuzenji area. There are many souvenir shops, restaurants and Japanese-style inn with hot spring baths.

Todaiji Temple

The world’s largest wooden architecture, houses the “Giant Buddha” that soars 16 metres in height.

Nara-machi 

An old precinct full of traditional houses, shops and tearooms in calm and pleasant surroundings, giving a good contrast to the great temples and old burial mounds.

Hida / Takayama

A traditional medieval town located in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture. It is possible to walk across the centre of Hida Takayama in about 20 minutes, and most of the attractions are concentrated in the old part of town, within minutes of each other. Enjoy a stroll around this museum-like town, dotted with attraction after attraction, including a variety of small museums devoted to traditional crafts embodying the town’s long standing tradition of the fine craftsmanship.

Visit the Old private houses that lie in the area between Miyagawa River and the famously lush and picturesque Shiroyama Park. This quiet residential area is replete with shops selling traditional wares, antique shops Japanese-style inns, sake breweries and restaurants serving local specialities. Located on the banks of the Miyagawa River, Takayama Jinya Market and the Miyagawa Market are open daily from 7am to noon. Here you will find people from nearby farms selling fresh produce and flowers.

Day 1
Arrive in Tokyo

From Narita Airport you will be picked by our representative. Using your Limousine Bus Coupon take the Limousine Bus to the Hotel. (90 min). Accommodation is a two walk from Shinagawa Station – the ideal place to stay for its convenient location and access to a wide range of restaurants and shops.

Day 2
Tokyo

This morning you will be collected from the Hotel at 07:50am for your Tokyo Morning Tour. Your tour will disband in the Ginza shopping district at approximately 1:00pm.

You will be guided by an English-speaking Japanese local and transported by coach to the following sites: Tokyo Tower Meiji, Shrine Akasaka Guest House, National Diet, Imperial Palace East, Ginza Shopping District (Drive through) Stroll at Ginza area.

Post tour, make your way to the closest JR Yamanote Line train station and board a local train to JR Akihabara Station. To most foreign visitors Akihabara is known as Electric Town due to its rank as the world’s largest electrical equipment town. Only one JR Yamanote Line train stop north of Akihabara is the Ameyoko Ueno Market. The long market lanes run from JR Okachimachi Station to JR Ueno Station.

In the evening return to JR Shinagawa Station on the Yamanote Line local train.

Day 3
Tokyo – Takayama

Today, activate your 7 Day Japan Rail Passes at the Japan Rail Travel Service Centre within Shinagawa Station. Board the Shinkansen Hikari bullet train to JR Nagoya Station (1.5 hrs). Within the station change trains and board the Limited Express Hida train to JR Takayama Station (2 hrs 20 min). This magnificent train journey through the Japan Alps (often compared to the Alps of Europe) will be one of the highlights of your trip to Japan.

Hida Takayama is a traditional medieval town located in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture. Most of the attractions are concentrated in the old part of town, within minutes of each other.

Enjoy an afternoon stroll around this museum like town with a number of attractions including a variety of small museums devoted to traditional crafts embodying the town’s long-standing tradition of fine craftsmanship. Visit the old private houses that lie in the area between Miyagawa River and the famously lush and picturesque Shiroyama Park. This quiet residential area has shops selling traditional wears, antique shops Japanese-style inns, sake breweries and restaurants serving local specialities.

Day 4
Takayama – Kyoto

An excellent start to the day can be had at the Takayama Jinya Market and the Miyagawa Market. Located on the banks of the Miyagawa River these morning markets are open daily from 7am to noon. Here you will find people from nearby farms selling fresh produce and flowers.

Return to Takayama Station where you can purchase a Hida-no-Sato (Hida Folk Village) discount ticket – 900 yen – (Hida-no-Sato Setto-Ken) which includes a return bus ride (10 minutes each way) and admission to the Hida Folk Village. Here you will find restorations of more than 30 typical old thatched-roofed (gassho-zukuri) houses, relocated here from various places around the Hida area. The site recreates the atmosphere and scenery of mountain villages of old in a beautiful mountain setting. Here you can try your hand at making candles and senbei (rice crackers). From Takayama Station board the Limited Express Hida train to JR Nagoya Station (2 hrs). Change trains board the Shinkansen Hikari train to JR Kyoto Station (40 min).

Day 5
Kyoto

Commence your exploration of the ancient city of Kyoto. At 08:45am, you will be collected from your hotel’s lobby to join the Kyoto Morning Tour. Your English-speaking local guide will take you by bus to Nijo Castle, the Golden Pavilion, and the Kyoto Imperial Palace (on Sat., Sun. & national holidays, visit Higashi Honganji Temple instead). The tour will disband at Kyoto Station with a likely return at 1:30pm.

In the afternoon, board a local bus to the base of Kiyomizu Dera (Temple) (300 yen / open 6:00am-6:00pm) Walk up this attractive winding road lined with colourful souvenir and craft shops. Kiyomizu Dera is famous for its giant wooden stage overlooking panoramic views of Kyoto.

In the evening board a subway two stops to Shijo Station and walk to Gion, Kyoto’s famous traditional entertainment district. Gion is the one place in Japan where you may see Maiko or Geisha walking between appointments. As darkness falls watch the traditional lanterns gradually come to life as you wander down tiny alleys housing restaurants offering a variety of tempting cuisine.

Day 6
Kyoto - Nara - Kyoto

A full day of sightseeing awaits you in Nara. Here, you can find peace of mind and natural beauty as you uncover the many treasures of Japan’s former capital (710-784AD).

From JR Kyoto Station board a JR Nara Line limited express train for Nara (45 min). All sightseeing is within comfortable walking distance of Nara Station. From the station make your way along Sanjo-Dori and head towards Nara Park.

The picturesque Nara Park is famous for the many tame deer that roam the area. This is the world’s largest wooden building and houses the Giant Buddha that soars 16 metres in height. JPY 500 / open. 8:00am-4:30pm. Return to Nara Station via Nara-machi, an old precinct full of traditional houses, shops and tearooms in calm and pleasant surroundings, giving a good contrast to the great temples and old burial mounds.

Return to Kyoto in the late afternoon. Be sure to take the many escalators to the top of Kyoto Station to the Sky Plaza Observation Deck for a free panoramic view of the surrounding area of Kyoto. This modern station also contains a large shopping mall, specialty shops, department store and restaurants.

Day 7
Kyoto - Hiroshima

Check out of the Hotel and from JR Kyoto Station board the Shinkansen Hikari bullet train to Hiroshima. You may need to swap trains at Shin Osaka on the way. (2.5 hrs)

From JR Hiroshima Station, your accommodation is nearby.

Hiroshima was a city left in ashes after the Atomic bomb was dropped. Hiroshima has made a remarkable recovery and has been rebuilt as a modern thriving city. Hiroshima is now known as the “International City of Peace” dedicated to a total ban on the use of Atomic weapons. A visit to the Peace Memorial Park should be included in every Hiroshima itinerary. To visit the Park, board a tram in front of Hiroshima Station and get off at Genbaku Domu-Mae (Atomic Bomb Dome) stop (cost 150 yen – 15 min.).

The highlight of the Park is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This state of the art museum focuses on Hiroshima both before and after the explosion.

On the way back to station, make sure you visit Hiroshima Castle. This castle was first built in 1589 until its destruction in 1945. Having been rebuilt in all its glory, it is now used to exhibit historic artifacts from Japan’s feudal past.

Day 8
Hiroshima - Miyajima Island – Hiroshima

Enjoy a day of exploration upon the sacred earth of Miyajima Island. From Hiroshima Station board the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station (26 min). Walk down the hill to Miyajima Pier and board the JR Ferry using your JR Pass to Miyajima Island.

The entire 30 sq. km. island is designated by the Japanese government as a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty. The must see Itsukushima Shrine, built in the sixth century, is dedicated to the maritime guardian goddesses. Be sure to take the 1.7km ropeway (JPY 1,800 round trip) to Mount Misen summit to enjoy one of the three most spectacular panoramic views in Japan. Keep your eye on the summit’s mischievous monkeys before descending on a peaceful walk through the ancient forest.

Return to Hiroshima in the early evening and try one of the many okonomiyaki restaurants which surround the station. Okonomiyaki is a savory, layered noodle pancake which is cooked on the hotplate in front of you. Okonomiyaki is always a very affordable and entertaining evening dinner.

Day 9
Depart Japan / Hiroshima – Airport

Spend your last day in Japan completing any final sightseeing or shopping.

For those departing from Tokyo, board the bullet train from JR Hiroshima Station to JR Tokyo Station (approx. 5.5 hrs). Within the station board the Narita Express to Tokyo International Airport. (80 min)

For those departing from Osaka, board a bullet train from Hiroshima Station to Shin Osaka Station. Within the station change trains and boards the Haruka train to Kansai International Airport (60 min).

Inclusion

  • 2 nights Accommodation & breakfast in Tokyo .
  • 1 Night’s Accomodation & Breakfast in Takamaya.
  • 3 Nights Accomodation & Breakfast in Kyoto.
  • 2 Nights Accomodation & Breakfast in Hiroshima.
  • Tokyo Tower Meiji, Shrine Akasara Guest House , National Diet , Imperial palace East , Ginza Shopping District Stroll at Ginza area tour.
  • Visit Takayama Maket and Miyagawa market.
  • Full Day sighyt seeing in Nara.
  • The tour of scared earth of Miyagima Island.
  • All tours and travels are on SIC Basis.
  • English speaking local guide

Exclusion

  • Tips for guides, escort, drivers etc.
  • Optional shows and meals mentioned in the itinerary, which will be added up if the clients desire to take the activities.
  • Personal expenses such as excess luggage fees, postage, communications and beverages.
  • Travel insurance
  • Any other changes caused by the acts of god, natural disasters, fires, weather, governmental and local authority orders, political change , strikes, war, riot, quarantine, custom regulations, damages or injury caused by accident.
  • Any items not specified in the plan.
  • Visa Fee
  • International and domestic airfare

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Price From USD 1,300 USD $ 1,199/person
Group Discount Available
Group Discount Price
Cost Per Adult Traveler:
$ 1199 USD
1199
Total $ 1,199 USD

Trip Facts

  • 1 - 10
  • $$$$
  • plane, train, bus
  • breakfast
  • all year long

Customer Reviews

Gabriel Max
Gabriel Max
12:57 25 Aug 19
Shishu tours were fantastic, nothing was a problem for them as they go out of their way to make sure your trip is fantastic! From guides to porters they do a wonderful job, thanks for some amazing memories.read more
orla santiago
orla santiago
12:44 25 Aug 19
I visited Nepal in early 2015 for the Shishu Tours' Everest Base Camp trek. It was well organised, with a thorough briefing from Sonu before we started. The guides, led by Hari, were knowledgeable, friendly and skilled. They ensured everyone in the group was save and well looked after, as well as being informative, conveying a true sense of love and awe for the environment. The accommodation in Thamel was good and out on the trek it was as good a standard as could be expected. This was my second trip to the Everest region and I if I get the opportunity to go again, I would certainly consult with Sonu and her Shishu Tours team.read more
chilou zhuu
chilou zhuu
12:42 25 Aug 19
I hiked with a group of 11 people with the goal of Everest Base Camp. When I got to Namchee Bazaar, I had a lot of diarrhea and fatigue. I discussed with my head guide that I did not feel I had the stamina to continue to higher elevations. The head guide arranged for a porter to accompany me back to Lukla over the next 2 days. All arrangements for accommadations and flight back to Kathmandu were arranged by Shishu Tours. The rest of the group successfully went to Everest Base Camp. I am very grateful for the excellent adaptability of the head guide Hari to help my special situation. And I appreciated the help of my porter Krisha on the trip back down to Lukla. Shishu Tours did a great job with all the travel arrangements.read more
felix yeap
felix yeap
12:34 25 Aug 19
This was a magic experience and the team at Shishu tours where exactly what we needed. They looked after us, where professional and most I felt safe in their hands. Would recommend them to anyone wishing to trek in the Everest especially if it is your first time trekking and first time in Nepal.read more
oliver rim
oliver rim
12:32 25 Aug 19
I can't recommend Shishu Tours enough. Throughout the trip, it really did feel like MY trip. Any extra/ side trips I wanted to make, any extra days I wanted - my guides were more than happy and quick to accommodate.read more
babu kaji maharjan
babu kaji maharjan
12:26 25 Aug 19
I have just returned from what I can only describe as a once in a lifetime opportunity to trek to Everest Base Camp. Thank you so much to Sonu who were my points of contact for the trek. When my flight got cancelled due to poor weather , Santosh did everything he could to get me to Lukla so I would not miss the trek and stayed at the airport with me until a helicopter was arranged. Sonu met me in Lukla and was a great porter and guide for the entire duration. He helped me get through my altitude anxiety and we made it to base camp on the most beautiful day ever. Santosh kept in contact with me the whole way and was very helpful advising me to drink lots of water, stay hydrated and not to sleep during the day ( all of which are very useful tips for the trek).Trusted his advice 100 percent especially since he has summited Everest. Thank you so much...Would love to do Annapurna in future perhaps !read more
Gautam sharma
Gautam sharma
12:23 25 Aug 19
It was my first time to Nepal, first time trekking, and a friend of mine recommended Shishu to me as she already went with them before so I did EBC trekking with them. From the minute they picked me up from the airport, I knew everything is gonna be alright. Guys were so cheerful and paid a lot attention to my needs. I felt like traveling with friends, we talked a lot, shared a lot, with the great view of Himalayas and delicious meals. This has been one of my best trip and not the last. Go with them and you won't regret!read more
shrisha gurung
shrisha gurung
12:17 25 Aug 19
We went to EB trek with Shishu Tours last November, it’s kind of surreal. In the middle of nowhere and then you come across this amphitheater of a town with coffee shops and bakeries. Most travel through it going north but it worth ha gong out for a couple of days. Go to the art shop and buy something special for yourself. So genuine and humbleread more
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