Japan: Land of the Rising Sun – Intrepid

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Japan: Land of the Rising Sun – Intrepid

13 Days | An onsen-soaking, sake-sipping, bullet train-zipping tour

This 13-day tour of Japan will introduce you to the cultures – old and new – that define this small but influential archipelago. Beginning in tech-mecca Tokyo and finishing with three nights in Kyoto, this immersive tour will also introduce you to lesser-known cities through Japan’s centre and southern reaches. Discover scenic beauty on the Hakone ropeway, sip the best sake in Takayama, find out about the Hiroshima of today and wonder at the floating torii gate of Miyajima. You’ll have a local to guide you through these lesser-known destinations and reveal layers of culture and history.

Why you’ll love this trip

  • Soar high above Lake Ashi and (on a clear day) get a glimpse of glorious Mt Fuji on a ride on the Hakone ropeway.
  • Be impressed by the efficiency and ultra modernity of Japan’s bullet trains as you zip from place to place.
  • Explore traditional Japanese culture in Edo-period Takayama and visit a folk village, tour a 600-year-old market and a enjoy a sake brewery tasting.
  • Visit the Peace Park for moving insight into the devastation of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, then cruise to peaceful Miyajima Island where wild deer roam the streets.
  • Finish your tour with three nights in Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital and home to literally thousands of temples, the Gion District where Geisha entertain the wealthy elite and renowned Kyoto sushi.

Expired on Wednesday December 4th, 2024

Expired on Wednesday December 4th, 2024

Day 1: Tokyo

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Bursting with contemporary urban culture, there are many sides of Tokyo to explore, from fascinating museums and world-class shopping, to neighbourhood backstreets lined with hole in the wall eateries and bars. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. You can arrive at any time during the day, as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Afterwards, join your new travel companions for an optional dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation
Hotel (1 night)

Meals
There are no meals included on this day.

Add on activities
Tokyo - Hama Rikyu Garden - JPY300
Tokyo - Edo-Tokyo Museum - JPY600
Tokyo - Sumida Hokusai Museum - JPY1200
Tokyo - Tokyo National Museum - JPY1000
Tokyo - Ueno Park - Free

Special information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

As we depart Tokyo tomorrow, we highly recommend arriving a few days earlier to enjoy more of what this amazing city has to offer.

Catch the shinkansen bullet train today (approximately 1 hour) and then a local train (approximately 1 hour) to get from Tokyo to Nikko. Japanese trains are a quintessential experience and one of the best insights into culture (and efficiency!) of the country. Enjoy shopping for snacks or bento box at the train station or simple snacks are available for purchasing on board too. Arrive in Nikko late afternoon and you'll stay in a small inn tonight with shared facilities.

Accommodation
Ryokan (1 night)

Meals
There are no meals included on this day.

You have a full day to explore Nikko today, an ancient town overflowing with beautiful shrines and temples. A number of shrines here are World Heritage Sites and the town is surrounded with lush mountainous nature. You'll visit Toshugu Shrine, a resting place of a Tokugawa shogun who was one of the most powerful rulers of the country. The opulent shrine contrasts with the traditional minimalist style commonly used throughout Japan. Every corner of this monument is covered in intricate gold leaf, lacquer work, paintings and patterns. Here you can also visit the Nikko Toshogu Museum of Art at the back of the temple complex (extra entrance fee apply). This 1920s mansion has a beautiful collections of sliding doors and screens decorated by the best Japanese painters of the day. In your free time, you can pay a visit to the red-lacquered Shin-ky? bridge, one of the town’s most famous landmarks, and the Buddhist temple of Rinn?-ji, home to fearsome statues and an elegant garden. Or you may prefer time exploring Nikko’s beautiful natural setting with a visit to Chuzenji Lake and Kegon Falls. Kanmangafuchi Abyss is another highlight in Nikko that your leader will take you to visit, where you'll see about 70 Jizo Buddhas looking out to the river.

Accommodation
Ryokan (1 night)

Meals
There are no meals included on this day.

Included activities
Nikko - Toshogu Shrine
Add on activities
Nikko - Bus to Chuzenji Lake (return) - JPY2200
Nikko - Imperial Villa - JPY510

Leaving Nikko, you'll have a long travel day today to our next destination - Hakone. Travel by local train followed by two shikansen bullet trains and finally a bus. Phew! Total travel time can vary depending on the connections, but we will usually arrive by mid afternoon.The journey is certainly worth it as Hakone is a scenic hot-springs resort in the foothills of Mt Fuji. You’ll be staying at a family run ryokan tonight, with tatami-mat rooms, shared bathroom facilities and a lovely outdoor hot-spring onsen.

Accommodation
Ryokan (1 night)

Meals
There are no meals included on this day.

Included activities
Hakone - public onsen

Special information
As you travel on public transport for the next few days, we'll forward your big luggage to Takayama while you take a smaller bag with you to Hakone. 1 x piece of luggage is included in our luggage forwarding service. If you have extra luggage you'd like to be forwarded from Nikko to Takayama, the cost will be about 1800-2300 JPY depending on the size. Your Leader will be able to advise the exact amount whilst on your trip.

This morning, hop on a boat across Ashinoko Lake and then tride the Hakone ropeway cable car to the top of the surrounding mountains. The area around the lake offers plenty of stunning views, and you may even catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji in the distance if weather conditions are clear. The afternoon is free to further explore Hakone’s spectacular mountain scenery and volcanic sites. Perhaps visit the boiling sulphur springs of Owakudani, or Hakone Jinja Shrine with its red torii gate rising from the shore of Ashinoko Lake. Or go for a walk through the hills of the famed grassland ecosystem of Sengokuhara. There’s also a great collection of art at the Hakone Open-Air Museum and the Pola Museum of Art, an eclectic mix that includes work by the likes of Renoir, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gallé. Not what you would expect to find in a small Japanese town, right?

Accommodation
Ryokan (1 night)

Meals
There are no meals included on this day.

Included activities
Hakone - Cable car/Ropeway
Hakone - Lake Ashinoko boat cruise

Add on activities
Hakone - Open-Air Museum - JPY1600
Hakone - Checkpoint Museum - JPY500
Hakone - Onsen (public hot spring bath) - JPY1200

Travel by a local train first then a shikansen towards Takayama in alpine Gifu Prefecture today. You’ll reach speeds of 270 kilometres per hour and it will take around 4 hours to get there in total. Takayama is a charming Edo period town located in the Japanese alps, famous for its traditional inns, sake breweries and the Hida Folk Village. The latter is your first stop, an outdoor museum where the traditional thatched-roof architecture unique to the area has been relocated in a delightful mountain setting in an effort to preserve traditional Japanese culture. Discover the techniques used to build farmhouses that could withstand fierce winters and long periods of isolation due to snow-closed roads. The thick thatching kept in warmth and the roofs were angled so as to minimise snow build-up. Each house is like its own self-contained museum, with displays of personal items and traditional tools. We stay in another delightful ryokan tonight where you can experience traditional Japanese hospitality, sleeping on futon in tatami-mat rooms. Your included dinner tonight will give you the chance to taste some of Takayama’s famous signature dishes.

Accommodation
Ryokan (1 night)

Meals
Dinner

Included activities
Takayama - Hida Folk Village

Special information
During the Takayama Festival (14-15 April and 9-10 October), accommodation is in high demand and may differ from our usual ryokan. Depending on availability, we may need to change which travellers room together during this time and may be accommodated in a hotel instead of a ryokan.

Enjoy a typical local breakfast this morning at the ryokan before our visit to the morning market. Gifu prefecture is known to produce many fine high-altitude vegetables, and these markets have been held for over 600 years. Browse the stalls of seasonal vegetables brought in from the surrounding countryside, set up by local farm women from 6am every morning. Look out for the unique local style of pickles, the bags of miso wrapped in leaves, Genkotsu ame (soy bean candy), preserved fish, spices, and the delicious marshmallow treat of owara tamaten. The alpine climate and crystal clear mountain waters are perfect for creating sake, so you'll also visit a local brewery for a taste of the region's prized signature drop later today. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this delightful little town.Takayama is also very famous for Hida beef. Don't miss the opportunity to try some of the country’s best while you're in town for lunch or today.

Accommodation
Ryokan (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast
Dinner

Included activities
Takayama - Market visit
Takayama - Sake brewery tasting

Add on activities
Takayama - Festival Float Museum - JPY1000
Takayama - Merchant House - JPY700
Takayama - Bike hire (per day) - JPY800
Takayama - Showa Museum - JPY800
Takayama - Takayama Jinya Building - JPY430

Time to leave Takayama and travel by express train and shinkansen (approximately 5 hours) to Hiroshima. Depending on arrival times, we will either visit Hiroshima’s Peace Park this afternoon or tomorrow morning. The Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome and Peace Memorial Museum stand testament to the fateful day in August 1945 when Hiroshima was chosen as target for the first ever wartime use of the atomic bomb. The dome was just metres from where the bomb detonated so it was able to retain its shape and the fact that it looks almost exactly as it did after the bombing has made it an enduring symbol of peace. The memorial park serves the same purpose, and has museums, memorials and monuments dedicated to the memory of victims. This evening, maybe try one of the city’s signature dishes for dinner – okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake of egg, cabbage, soba noodles, and meat or seafood. Our accommodation tonight will either be a simple ryokan or hotel.

Accommodation
Ryokan/Hotel (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast

Included activities
Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome
Hiroshima - Peace Museum

Today you'll make your way to the nearby island of Miyajima with its famous 'floating' torii gate. You might like to further explore the island by climbing to the top of Mt Miyajima (or hopping on the cable car instead) for 360-degree views of the Inland Sea. Keep your eyes out for inquisitive and hungry deer that roam the streets. You have the rest of the day free to enjoy some of the other sites in this very welcoming and pleasant city. You could stop by the magnificent five-storied Hiroshima Castle, which originally dates from the 1590s. It was destroyed by the bomb but reconstructed in all its glory in the 1950s, and now holds an informative museum. The wonderful Shukkeien Garden, with its graceful teahouses and waterfalls, is also a perfect place to decompress on a break from sightseeing. For something a bit louder, there are local baseball and soccer teams (if the day is right), or endless shopping choices. Ask your leader for other tips and suggestions as there is plenty to see and do.

Accommodation
Ryokan/Hotel (1 night)

Meals
There are no meals included on this day.

Included activities
Hiroshima - Miyajima Island

Add on activities
Miyajima - Itsukushima-jinja Shrine - JPY300

Leave Hiroshima today and head to Japan’s most impressive samurai castle at Himeji by shinkansen (approximately 1 hour). The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015. The moats, baileys, towers and walled alleyways were ingeniously designed to trick attackers – perhaps so intimidatingly that they were never in fact tested. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families and look out over the castle grounds and the city below from the seventh floor. Hop back on the shinkansen for the 1 hour train trip to Kyoto. Originally founded as Heian-kyo (literally “tranquillity and peace capital”) by Emperor Kammu in 794, Kyoto had its golden age during the imperial court's heyday from 794 to 1185. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years (the name means “Capital City”) but the emperor and government are now located in Tokyo. With over 2,000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a great place to get lost in. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk on arrival to get your bearings and you may like to spend some further time getting acquainted with Kyoto by wandering through its historical streets lined with traditional machiya houses. Stay in a ryokan or simple hotel during our time here.

Accommodation
Ryokan/Hotel (1 night)

Meals
There are no meals included on this day.

Included activities
Himeji - Himeji Castle

With its many cultural landmarks and historical sites, and the abundance of traditional arts and literature, Kyoto is regarded as the cultural heart of Japan. Your tour leader will take you to visit two of the best temples this morning. Afterwards, it's your free time to explore this charming ancient capital. You will have almost one and half free days here to exploreand there is a lot to see and experience here. Your tour leader will be able to help you with making the most out of your time.

Fushimi Inari is definitely one of the most photographed shrines in Japan. For the more active, hiking up the mountain following the red torri gates is a great way to enjoy the expansive forest on the shrine’s grounds and views of the city below. Otherwise, maybe head off to Arashiyama to enjoy a wander through the Sagano bamboo forest, or cycle along the Kamo River. Another great stop is the architecturally impressive Higashi Honganji Temple and the almost surreal Sanjusangendo, home to 1,001 statues of Kannon, or the Nishiki food market.

A gentle stroll through Kyoto's eastern hills along the ‘Path of Philosophy’ that links Ginkaku-ji, the Temple of the Silver Pavilion, with Nanzen-ji Temple is also recommended. This walk can be extended south through the well-preserved ‘old town’ areas to Kiyamizu-dera (Temple of Clear Water) with its famous viewing platform. Also recommended, for those visiting in spring, is a visit to the theatre for a presentation of Miyako Odori (Cherry Blossom Dance) performed by elaborately dressed maiko (apprentice geisha), or a visit to the extravagantly decorated Kinkakuji Temple, immortalised in Yukio Mishima’s novel “The Golden Pavilion”.

On one of the evenings, your leader will take you on a stroll through Gion, Kyoto's famous Geisha district. Even today you can observe the age-old tradition of geisha as they head out to perform dances and song for members of the wealthy elite in small teahouses tucked away in tiny back streets.

Accommodation
Ryokan/Hotel (2 nights)

Meals
There are no meals included on this day.

Included activities
Kyoto - Temple/Shrine entrance (2)
Kyoto - Gion District walk

Add on activities
Kyoto - Bike hire (per day) - JPY800
Kyoto - Sanjusangendo Temple - JPY600
Kyoto - Obanzai cooking class - JPY6500
Kyoto - Kiyomizu-dera - JPY400
Kyoto - Tea Ceremony with Maiko - JPY4000
Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) - JPY500

There are no activities planned for the day and you’re free to depart the hotel at any time after check out at 10 am. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.

Meals
There are no meals included on this day.

 

START END PRICE
07 January 2024 19 January 2024
AUD $9,405
AUD $8,935
28 January 2024 09 February 2024
AUD $9,405
AUD $8,935
08 February 2024 20 February 2024 $9,405
11 February 2024 23 February 2024 $9,405
25 February 2024 08 March 2024 $9,405
10 March 2024 22 March 2024 $10,040
14 March 2024 26 March 2024 $9,785
17 March 2024 29 March 2024 $9,785
19 March 2024 31 March 2024 $9,785
21 March 2024 02 April 2024 $9,785
23 March 2024 04 April 2024 $9,785
24 March 2024 05 April 2024 $10,160
26 March 2024 07 April 2024 $10,160
28 March 2024 09 April 2024 $10,245
31 March 2024 12 April 2024 $10,855
01 April 2024 13 April 2024 $10,160
02 April 2024 14 April 2024 $10,160
04 April 2024 16 April 2024 $10,160
05 April 2024 17 April 2024 $10,160
06 April 2024 18 April 2024 $10,160
11 April 2024 23 April 2024 $10,160
14 April 2024 26 April 2024 $10,160
16 April 2024 28 April 2024 $10,160
05 May 2024 17 May 2024 $10,160
07 May 2024 19 May 2024 $10,160
09 May 2024 21 May 2024 $10,160
14 May 2024 26 May 2024 $9,785
16 May 2024 28 May 2024 $9,785
19 May 2024 31 May 2024 $10,040
22 May 2024 03 June 2024 $9,785
26 May 2024 07 June 2024 $9,785
28 May 2024 09 June 2024 $9,785
02 June 2024 14 June 2024 $9,785
09 June 2024 21 June 2024 $9,785
16 June 2024 28 June 2024 $9,405
23 June 2024 05 July 2024 $9,405
30 June 2024 12 July 2024 $9,405
02 July 2024 14 July 2024 $9,405
07 July 2024 19 July 2024 $9,405
14 July 2024 26 July 2024 $9,405
21 July 2024 02 August 2024 $9,405
23 July 2024 04 August 2024 $9,405
15 August 2024 27 August 2024 $9,405
20 August 2024 01 September 2024 $9,405
22 August 2024 03 September 2024 $9,405
25 August 2024 06 September 2024 $9,405
27 August 2024 08 September 2024 $9,405
29 August 2024 10 September 2024 $9,405
01 September 2024 13 September 2024 $9,785
05 September 2024 17 September 2024 $9,785
08 September 2024 20 September 2024 $9,785
10 September 2024 22 September 2024 $9,785
15 September 2024 27 September 2024 $9,785
17 September 2024 29 September 2024 $9,785
22 September 2024 04 October 2024 $10,160
24 September 2024 06 October 2024 $10,160
29 September 2024 11 October 2024 $10,160
01 October 2024 13 October 2024 $10,160
06 October 2024 18 October 2024 $10,160
08 October 2024 20 October 2024 $10,160
10 October 2024 22 October 2024 $10,160
13 October 2024 25 October 2024 $10,160
15 October 2024 27 October 2024 $10,160
17 October 2024 29 October 2024 $10,160
20 October 2024 01 November 2024 $9,785
22 October 2024 03 November 2024 $9,785
24 October 2024 05 November 2024 $9,785
27 October 2024 08 November 2024 $9,785
29 October 2024 10 November 2024 $9,785
03 November 2024 15 November 2024 $9,785
07 November 2024 19 November 2024 $9,785
10 November 2024 22 November 2024 $9,405
14 November 2024 26 November 2024 $9,405
21 November 2024 03 December 2024 $9,405
28 November 2024 10 December 2024 $9,405
01 December 2024 13 December 2024 $9,405
15 December 2024 27 December 2024 $9,785

*Price are per Adult twin share room

Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is currently not available for this trip due to limited rooms at our chosen accommodation.
2. It is essential that you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. There are size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage from 160cm to 250cm may require an additional JPY1000 oversize luggage fee per train journey. Luggage over 251cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is from 160cm to 250cm so they can make the necessary arrangements.
3. Renovation works on Miyajima’s famous floating torii gate started in June 2019. During the renovation works, the torii gate is covered up under a partially transparent scaffolding. Furthermore, a bridge is being built on the left side of the gate (when viewed from the shrine) to aid the renovation works. A date for the completion of the renovation works has not been set yet.
4. We are currently unable to book pre or post trip accommodation at our start and finish point hotels due to limited room availability. We recommend booking a hotel of your choice through your booking agent.
5. We are not able to book airport shuttle service for Japan now. Japan has an extensive and efficient public transport system and the joining and finishing point instructions are listed in the Essential Trip Information.

 

Expired on Wednesday December 4th, 2024

Inclusions

Meals
2 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport
Boat, Public Bus, Cable Car, Ferry, Metro, Bullet Train, Train

Accommodation
Hotel (1 night), Ryokan (11 nights)

Activities

  • Nikko – Toshogu Shrine
  • Hakone – public onsen
  • Hakone – Cable car/Ropeway
  • Hakone – Lake Ashinoko boat cruise
  • Takayama – Hida Folk Village
  • Takayama – Market visit
  • Takayama – Sake brewery tasting
  • Hiroshima – Peace Park & A – Bomb Dome
  • Hiroshima – Peace Museum
  • Hiroshima – Miyajima Island
  • Himeji – Himeji Castle
  • Kyoto – Temple/Shrine entrance (2)
  • Kyoto – Gion District walk

Add on activities

  • Tokyo – Hama Rikyu Garden – JPY300
  • Tokyo – Edo-Tokyo Museum – JPY600
  • Tokyo – Sumida Hokusai Museum – JPY1200
  • Tokyo – Tokyo National Museum – JPY1000
  • Tokyo – Ueno Park – Free
  • Nikko – Bus to Chuzenji Lake (return) – JPY2200
  • Nikko – Imperial Villa – JPY510
  • Hakone – Open-Air Museum – JPY1600
  • Hakone – Checkpoint Museum – JPY500
  • Hakone – Onsen (public hot spring bath) – JPY1200
  • Takayama – Festival Float Museum – JPY1000
  • Takayama – Merchant House – JPY700
  • Takayama – Bike hire (per day) – JPY800
  • Takayama – Showa Museum – JPY800
  • Takayama – Takayama Jinya Building – JPY430
  • Miyajima – Itsukushima-jinja Shrine – JPY300
  • Kyoto – Bike hire (per day) – JPY800
  • Kyoto – Sanjusangendo Temple – JPY600
  • Kyoto – Obanzai cooking class – JPY6500
  • Kyoto – Kiyomizu-dera – JPY400
  • Kyoto – Tea Ceremony with Maiko – JPY4000
  • Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) – JPY500

Expired on Wednesday December 4th, 2024

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