- Dinner and a show
- Kinkakuji Temple
- A Proper cuppa
- Cruise on Lake Ashi
- To Tokyo and beyond
Japan: Land of the Rising Sun
- Local flights
- VIP door to door
- All breakfasts and more
Discover the unique culture of Japan
Explore high-tech Tokyo and take a train to Kyoto. Discover the historic village of Shirakawago, take in a traditional kimono show, and uncover serene temples, shrines castles and more on holidays in Japan. You'll soon find that there's plenty to learn about the fascinating Far-Eastern culture of the Land of the Rising Sun…
10 nights in hotels and 2 in flight
13 meals: 10 breakfasts (B) and 3 dinners (D)
Saga tour manager
- Return flights and transfers
- Welcome drink
- Porterage at all hotels
Included excursions and visits
- Coach tour of Tokyo
- Sightseeing in Kamakura
- Komagatake Ropeway
- Cruise on Lake Ashi
- Matsumoto coach tour
- Takayama walking tour
- Historic village of Shirakawago
- Visit the Kenroku-en Garden
- Sightseeing tour of Kyoto
- Exploring the ancient political centre of Nara
- Authentic teahouse visit and tea ceremony
Use of audio headsets on guided tours
The principal island of Honshu, Japan, is divided by the Nihon Arupusu mountains, nicknamed the ‘Japanese Alps’ in the 19th century. The ‘alps’ are in turn made up of three mountain ranges that are home to Japan’s most impressive gorge, six volcanoes, national parks and peaks rising to over 3,000 metres. With their natural beauty and impressive scenery, it is hardly surprising these mountains are sometimes referred to as ‘sacred highland’.
- Day 1 UK to Tokyo
- Day 2 Tokyo
- Day 3 Tokyo
- Day 4 Tokyo-Kawuguchiko
- Day 5 Kawaguchiko-Matsumoto-Takayama
- Day 6 Takayama
- Day 7 Takayama-Shirakawago-Kanazawa
- Day 8 Kanazawa-Kyoto
- Day 9 Kyoto
- Day 10 Kyoto
- Day 11 Kyoto
- Day 12 Kyoto-Osaka-UK
- Day 13 UK
Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo Seafort
Regina Kawuguchiko Hotel
Associa Takayama Resort
Hotel Nikko kanazawa
Kyoto Tokyu Hotel
Day 1 UK to Tokyo
After taking your included VIP door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly overnight to Tokyo.
Day 2 Tokyo
Transfer to the 3-star Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo Seafort (4Q) for two-night stay.
Enjoy a welcome drink and the rest of the day at leisure. The Dai-ichi Hotel enjoys waterfront views, and facilities include a restaurant, bar, coffee shop and free Wi-Fi. Each of the 278 air-conditioned rooms feature a television, telephone, safe, and hairdryer.
Day 3 Tokyo
Tokyo, which translates as 'eastern capital', first became a significant town in the early 17th century, and by the end of the 18th century was one of the largest cities in the world. It became the official capital in 1868, when the Emperor moved here from Kyoto. While it may be one of the world’s most modern cities, among the skyscrapers, huge department stores and busy streets you can still find tranquil gardens, historic temples and wooden houses from another era.
An included morning guided coach tour will reveal Tokyo's contrasting sights of old and new, from the temple town of Asakusa with its famed Kannon Temple and shopping arcade, to the landscaped Hamarikyu Gardens.
Return to the hotel around lunchtime and enjoy the afternoon at leisure. For a different view of Tokyo, perhaps go for a ride on the Yamanote Line. This urban railway weaves its way around Tokyo in a 35-kilometre loop, providing great views of the city. B
Day 4 Tokyo-Kawuguchiko
This morning’s drive heads through Tokyo’s suburbs, across the Rainbow Bridge, past the cities of Kawasaki and Yokohama, and along the coast to Kamakura. This important religious centre was the capital of Japan from 1185 to 1333 and is filled with shrines and temples. Visit one of each during a sightseeing tour – the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shinto shrine, which is a classic example of Japanese Buddhist architecture, and the Hase Kannon Temple. The temple houses an impressive nine-metre-high statue of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, and all 11 of her heads! The gardens here are worth exploring too, they feature peaceful ponds, pavilions and a peppering of small statues. Depending on when you visit, the trees may be alive with the vibrant pink of cherry and plum blossom, or the striking coppers and reds of Autumn, while in summer the lilies, hydrangeas and irises flower.
Continue to the Hakone region (61 miles, 90 minutes), which is watched over by the iconic Mount Fuji. Here take a cable car to the summit of Mount Kamiyama. Afterwards, continue to Lake Ashi where you board a motor cruiser for a leisurely trip on the water. Keep an eye out for the Hakone Sekisho-ato customs post and the red gateway of the Hakone-jinja shrine.
Spend the night at the 4-star Regina Kawuguchiko Hotel (4Q). Amenities at the hotel include a restaurant, hot springs, sauna, and free Wi-Fi throughout. All 68 rooms have a flat screen television, fridge, air conditioning, safe and a hairdryer. B, D
Day 5 Kawaguchiko-Matsumoto-Takayama
Visit Matsumoto on an included sightseeing coach tour which calls at Matsumoto Castle, one of the best preserved in Japan. Visit the castle's keep on an included trip, and admire the contrasting levels of black and white, with ornate gables, that rise over the moat. Ascend the steep staircases inside and you'll be rewarded with excellent views from the higher levels, as long as the weather permits.
Continue to a miso factory for a tour and a tasting of this essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. After free time for lunch, see rural life in Japan as you pass farmers at work in the fields and tea plantations on the final stretch of your journey to Takayama (142 miles, four hours) and the comfort of the 4-star Associa Takayama Resort (4Q), where you’ll spend the next two nights. B, D
Day 6 Takayama
What sets Takayama apart from most large Japanese cities is that it's retained many of its original wooden houses and there are few modern high-rise buildings. Founded in the late 16th century, its compact old town, known as ‘Little Kyoto’, is home to traditional tea houses and shops.
Today's included walking tour of Takayama passes the main highlights of the area, which include the picturesque Asaichi Morning Market that takes place along the banks of the River Miyagawa; Kami Sannomachi Town with its old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries; Takayama Jinya, the last remaining Government House from the 60 original local governor’s offices established during the Edo period; and the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, where you can see some of the elaborately crafted floats or 'yatai' that are paraded through the streets during festivals in spring and autumn.
After free time for lunch, look forward to a sake brewery visit for a tasting session, and free time to explore the Kami Sannomachi neighbourhood. B
Day 7 Takayama-Shirakawago-Kanazawa
A coach tour visits historic Shirakawago – a quiet UNESCO-protected village that is home to unique thatched-roof houses. Later, travel to Kanazawa (70 miles, two hours and 30 minutes) for an included visit to see the Kenroku-en Garden, a private garden developed between the 17th and 19th centuries by the Maeda Clan. It has a large pond, fountains, plum and cherry trees, azaleas and irises, all set upon a serene landscape linked by footpaths and bridges.
Tonight, stay at the 4-star Hotel Nikko Kanazawa (4Q). This large modern property has restaurants, a pool and fitness centre. All rooms are air conditioned and have a television and hairdryer. B
Day 8 Kanazawa-Kyoto
After free time in Kanazawa, take a short walk to the train station for the rail journey aboard the JR limited express Thunderbird to Kyoto (two hours).
Transfer to the 4-star Kyoto Tokyu Hotel (4Q) where you stay for four nights. Facilities include an international restaurant, where you'll have breakfast, a bar, a Japanese restaurant with sushi bar, a Chinese restaurant, and a tea lounge. There's also an art gallery which is worth a look around if you get the chance. Of the 432 air-conditioned rooms, Saga guests stay in rooms equipped with a satellite television, telephone, hairdryer, internet access and a minibar (both extra charge). B
Day 9 Kyoto
Founded in 794, Kyoto is widely considered Japan's cultural heart and is a living museum of the country's artistic and cultural heritage.
Begin the day with a Japanese green tea ceremony, considered a form of art, and a must when visiting Japan. Next, an included sightseeing tour by coach reveals the Kiyomizu and Kinkakuji Temples, as well as Nijo Castle with its two concentric rings of fortifications. You may also like to take a stroll around the pretty Gion district. Keep an eye out for the many shrines and temples – there are nearly 2,000 scattered throughout the city! B
Day 10 Kyoto
Spend today at leisure exploring the streets of Kyoto which are packed with tea houses and modern shops, gardens and fashionable restaurants.
Alternatively, join an optional excursion by bullet train to Hiroshima for a sightseeing tour of the city. B
Day 11 Kyoto
This morning you travel by coach to Nara, second only to Kyoto in terms of its cultural heritage. Established in 710AD as Japan’s first permanent capital city, Nara only served as capital for 84 years, but still remains a major religious centre.
On arrival, enjoy a sightseeing tour that begins with a visit to the Todaiji Temple, believed to be the largest wooden building in the world and home to the largest bronze Buddha ever cast. Nara’s sacred deer inhabit the vast park outside – legend has it that a local deity visited this area riding a deer, and hundreds of years ago killing one was punishable by death!
Continue to the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, famed for its thousands of orange Torii gates which lead to a network of trails into the forests of the sacred Mount Inari. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant with a performance by a maiko, an apprentice geisha. This typically includes traditional Japanese dance and music. B, D
Day 12 Kyoto-Osaka-UK
Travel to Osaka airport (31 miles, one hour) for your return overnight flight to the UK. B
Day 13 UK
Arrive in the UK for your included VIP door-to-door travel service home.
Now a busy and prosperous city, Hiroshima will always be remembered as the target for the world’s first atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. When you arrive after taking the bullet train you'll take the ferry to Miyajima Island in Hiroshima Bay. This scenic island is home to the beautiful Itsukushima Shinto shrine which was built over the water and appears to float during high tide.
After seeing the shrine you'll catch the ferry back to Hiroshima for a sightseeing tour. You'll visit the Peace Memorial Park with its monuments to those who died in the nuclear explosion, including the Peace Memorial Museum. The museum is dedicated to world peace and nuclear disarmament and charts the city's pre-WWII history through the tragic events of 1945, and details the terror of nuclear warfare. Some parts of the museum contain artefacts recovered from the devastation, including clothing, watches and accessories – here's even a set of stone steps upon which a man's shadow was imprinted after the intense heat rays discoloured the area of stone around where he was sitting.
This is a non-exclusive excursion and must be booked at least one month prior to travel and cannot be booked in resort there is no refund if you cancel the excursion within one month of departure.
Optional on 2022 departures itinerary
Post-holiday extension with breakfasts included
After your tour, transfer to Hong Kong for a three-night stay at the 3-star Regal Kowloon Hotel (3Q).
Please call for details.
The fleeting appearance of pink cherry blossom that sweeps across the islands of Japan in spring has inspired a season of celebration, poetry and picnicking among the Japanese for centuries. The best time to see this froth of coloured blooms in Kyoto and Tokyo for yourself is in March and April.
The Takayama Festival has its origins in the late 16th or early 17th century, and continues to take place twice each year from the 14th-15th April, and in October.
During the April Festival – dedicated to the Hie Shrine – 12 stunningly decorated floats built by highly skilled craftsman are displayed and paraded through the town, some with marionettes. The festival is renowned in Japan and regarded as an Intangible Cultural Asset.
Experience it yourself on one of our April departures which coincides with the Spring Festival.