Premium Japan – Intrepid

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Premium Japan – Intrepid

12 Days | Ancient culture, celebrated cuisine and stunning scenery come together in Japan

Experience Japan’s perfect harmony of ancient tradition and modern way of life on a 12-day Premium adventure through the cultural heart of the country. Tokyo’s soaring skyscrapers give way to Hakone’s mountainous hot springs, while Takayama delights with its Edo-era beauty and Shirakawa-go immerses you in charming countryside life. Discover the intriguing cultural diversity of Kyoto and a passion for peace in Hiroshima. Travel with a local leader who will share the rich variety of their country as you visit temples, castles, shrines and holy mountains while mixing with locals and experiencing the real Japan.

Why you’ll love this trip

  • Marvel at the city lights of Tokyo during a guided tour, visit the sobering Hiroshima Peace Park and trace the steps of the Geisha around the alleyways of Kyoto.
  • Soak up Japan’s natural beauty in mountainous Hakone and catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji, stroll around the stunning island of Miyajima and be amazed by the Japanese alps in the ancient village of Shirakawa-go.
  • There’s no better way to get around Japan than the country’s famous railway system. Be impressed by the efficiency and ultra-modernity as you zip from place to place with your included 7-day Japan Rail Pass.
  • Enjoy unforgettable Exclusive Experiences, including a sushi making class with a family who have been making the beloved dish for generations, and a guided meditation session with a Zen Buddhist monk.
  • Unwind among the beauty of nature at your Feature Stay accommodation, with mountain views, a traditional ryokan design, modern comforts and a private onsen (thermal pool) for each room.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Japan is best to explore on foot. In fact, most travellers are surprised at how much distance they end up covering just exploring places on foot! Make sure your shoes are comfy and you are fit enough to spend most of each day on your feet.
  • This trip travels primarily on public transport, as it is so efficient and convenient in Japan. Fast trains are used to move between cities, as well as public buses and metro. In order to make the travel easy, we have included luggage transfer (one piece of luggage) between destinations. But please ensure you are still packing light for the trip.

Expired on Thursday December 5th, 2024

Expired on Thursday December 5th, 2024

Day 1: Tokyo

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Your adventure begins in the country’s lively capital, Tokyo. Please see the joining point instructions in the Essential Trip Information for details on how to get to your hotel. You will meet your small group and local leader for a 6pm welcome meeting at the hotel. If you get to the city early, 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. After your meeting, join your new travel companions for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Tokyo’s food scene is undoubtedly one of the world’s best, and the city truly celebrates the art of eating well. Sample a range of regional and seasonal delights including handmade soba noodles, crispy tempura and yakitori. After dinner, you may like to experience Tokyo’s vibrant drinking culture and head to a local izakaya.

Accommodation
The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon or similar (1 night)

Meals
Dinner

Included activities
Tokyo - Welcome dinner

Special information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance and emergency contact details 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.
We will organize to forward your luggage through the trip. This will only include one piece of big luggage so please ensure that you have a day pack for your essentials and valuables.
For 2023, we are currently unable to offer a complimentary arrival transfer in Tokyo. Our previous operator is no longer in business, and we haven’t been able to source a reliable alternative supplier. For 2023, arrival transfers are not included.

Bursting with contemporary urban culture and historic temples and shrines, Tokyo has so much to uncover. Exploring the world’s largest city alone can be a daunting task, but today your leader will introduce you to the old and new Tokyo on a half-day tour. Begin in the Asakusa area, one of the older and more traditional parts of Tokyo, often called the temple district. Here you’ll stop by Senso-ji, the city’s oldest temple – founded almost 1400 years ago when Tokyo was nothing more than a fishing village. Browse the many interesting stalls filled with tasty treats, crafts and souvenirs that line the shopping street of Nakamise dori. Then jump on the metro to explore the buzzing Shibuya area. Check out one of the busiest intersections in the world before heading into a depachika (underground food hall) for a tempting array of Japanese treats. Afterwards, enjoy some peaceful bliss at Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine before diving into Harajuku district, the home of quirky youth pop culture. Then get a birds-eye view of Tokyo from Shibuya Sky, a three-floor, 360-degree, open-air observation deck 46 storeys above the city. Enjoy a toast to Tokyo with an included drink at the rooftop bar, as you soak in the view.

Accommodation
The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon or similar (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast

Included activities
Tokyo - Sensoji Temple
Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
Tokyo - Meiji Jingu Shrine
Tokyo - Yoyogi Park
Tokyo - Shibuya Sky with Drink

Add on activities
Tokyo - Tokyo National Museum - JPY1000

This morning, get ready for a delicious experience at the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, where fresh seafood from Tokyo's largest wholesale fish market (recently relocated to a new site at Toyosu) is delivered and ready to sample daily. Your leader will provide insight into the underwater treasures that go into the local cuisine, then you will attend a wonderful sushi making class to learn about the art and history of this Japanese cuisine that's so loved across the world. Learn how to make nigiri sushi, hand-rolled sushi, or temari sushi, then enjoy your fresh creations for lunch. After learning some valuable skills to take home with you, you can join your leader for a short walking tour in the Ginza area and then enjoy a free afternoon in the city. Perhaps check out the Yayoi Kusama Museum for its amazing exhibits by the avant-garde artist (advance reservation required), browse high-end shops in Ginza, experience the theatre of a kabuki play, or create your own entertainment with some karaoke.

Accommodation
The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon or similar (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast
Lunch

Included activities
Tokyo - Tsukiji Outer Market
Tokyo - Sushi Making Class

Say sayonara to Tokyo this morning and board a train bound for the mountainous onsen (hot spring) town of Hakone. Away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Hakone offers tranquillity among stunning natural scenery. In the afternoon, take a cable car up the mountains to the sulphur vents of Owakudani, followed by a boat trip across the serene Ashinoko Lake. Enjoy spectacular views, and on a clear day, you will catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji in the distance. Later on, check in to the Susukinohara Ichinoyu, your Feature Stay accommodation for the evening. Here you’ll experience the design and ambience of a traditional Japanese ryokan without sacrificing modern comforts. Each room comes with a private onsen, and there are also larger public indoor and outdoor onsens that overlook the surrounding greenery to make use of. Tonight you’ll enjoy dinner at the on-site restaurants which serves up a feast of classic Japanese dishes, then after getting your fill, spend a blissful evening relaxing in your onsen.

Accommodation
Susukinohara Ichinoyu (feature stay) or similar (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast
Dinner

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

Add on activities
Hakone - Open-Air Museum - JPY1600
Hakone – Karakuri Secret Box Museum - Free

Special information
Today’s train journey is approximately 2 hours.

Today, travel to Takayama via shinkansen (bullet train), with a few changes along the way. Takayama is a charming Edo-period town located in the Japanese alps. Renowned for its traditional inns, sake breweries and tranquil atmosphere, this riverside jewel of central Honshu may well be one of the most enjoyable stops on your trip. On arrival, head out on a walking tour with your leader who will point out examples of beautiful traditional architecture as you explore the old part of town. Learn how the town’s isolated location caused it to develop a unique culinary scene. The area is particularly famous for Hida beef, which comes from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed that has been raised in Gifu Prefecture for at least 14 months. Stop off on your tour to sample delicious Hida beef sushi or skewers. Then pay a visit to the Takayama Showa-kan Museum. This is not your average museum – here you’ll find a celebration of pop culture from the turbulent period of Emperor Hirohito’s six-decade reign. Discover exhibits showcasing everything from kitchen appliances to karaoke machines.
Enjoy a free evening and your leader will be able to point out some great restaurants to try more signature local food.

Accommodation
Takayama Ouan or similar (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast

Included activities
Takayama - Leader-led walking tour (with street food sampling)
Takayama - Showa Museum

Special information
Today’s train journey is approximately 6 hours.

Start the day with a visit to the Takayama morning market. The Gifu region is known for its production of high-altitude vegetables, and local women have been travelling in from the countryside to sell their produce for more than 600 years. Your leader will guide you through the market stalls selling colourful pickles, bags of miso wrapped in leaves, genkotsu ame (soy bean candy), preserved fish, spices, and the delicious marshmallow treat of owara tamaten. After some time to peruse the local treats, hop on a public bus and head to the village of Shirakawa-go, home to charming thatched-roof cottages built in the gassho-zukuri style. Learn about ancient countryside life with your leader and explore the fairy-tale village against the magnificent backdrop of the Japanese Alps. Enjoy some free time in Takayama after you return in the afternoon. Perhaps check out Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall which has an excellent array of festival floats on display.

Accommodation
Takayama Ouan or similar (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast

Included activities
Takayama - Shirakawago Village
Takayama - Morning Market visit

Special information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 2 hours.

Today you will travel by train to Hiroshima, a friendly and cosmopolitan city with a tragic past. Today Hiroshima is thriving – the city is full of distinctive cuisine, tightknit communities and a focus on promoting world peace. On arrival, head out with your leader for an orientation walk to familiarise yourself with the city. After working up an appetite, head to a local restaurant for dinner and try some of Hiroshima’s signature dishes. The city is renowned for its fantastic oysters and okonomiyaki – a delicious savoury pancake made with egg, cabbage, soba noodles and meat or seafood.

Accommodation
Hotel Intergate Hiroshima or similar (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast
Dinner

Included activities
Hiroshima - Okonomiyaki dinner
Hiroshima - Leader-led orientation walk

Special information
Today’s train journey is approximately 6 hours.

This morning you’ll visit the Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Your leader will share the devastating story of the fateful day in August 1945 when Hiroshima was attacked by atomic warfare. The dome was just metres from the atomic site and was able to retain its shape – serving as a reminder of the attack and now symbol of peace. The memorial park serves a similar purpose, and has museums, memorials and monuments dedicated to the memory of victims, education on what lead to the bomb’s use, as well as advocating world peace. After your visit, take a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima. The island is home to the Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, known for its huge bright orange gate (torii) that rises majestically out of the sea. Miyajima is an ideal place for walking. There is the lovely Momiji Park from where it is possible to walk or take a cable car up to the top of Mt Misen. Return to Hiroshima for at evening at leisure.

Accommodation
Hotel Intergate Hiroshima or similar (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast

Included activities
Hiroshima - Miyajima Island day trip
Miyajima - Itsukushima-jinja Shrine
Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome
Hiroshima - Peace Museum

Add on activities
Miyajima - Mt Misen Cable Car - JPY2000

As you speed north to Kyoto on shinkansen, you’ll stop en route at Japan’s most impressive samurai castle at Himeji. The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families, learn about their lives and look out over the castle grounds and the city below. Arrive at Kyoto mid-afternoon. 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. Join your leader and walk around Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, and learn about the history of geisha culture as you explore old wooden teahouses and exclusive restaurants. It's a great idea to return here in the evening when it really springs to life. You might spot geikos (geishas) or maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dress and make up on their way out to events.

Accommodation
The General Kyoto Takatsuji Tominokoji or similar (1 night)
Meals
Breakfast

Included activities
Himeji - Himeji Castle
Kyoto - Gion District walk

Special information
Today’s train journey is approximately 2 hours.

Begin your day with a city tour around some of Kyoto’s sights. Visit the extravagantly decorated Kinkakuji Temple, immortalised in Yukio Mishima’s novel 'The Golden Pavilion'. Afterwards visit Daitokuji Temple – the head temple of the Daitokuji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism – built about 800 years ago. Take part in a short guided meditation session, then enjoy a cup of green tea while you speak to a monk about the philosophy of Zen Buddhism and the art of meditation, dedicated to finding inner peace. This spiritual experience will reveal a side of Japan that most visitors don’t get to see, and is sure to be one of the lasting memories of your journey. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy – perhaps check out the range of Urban Adventures we run in the city, or grab a bite to eat at the Nishiki Market, called ‘Kyoto’s kitchen’ by the locals.

Accommodation
The General Kyoto Takatsuji Tominokoji or similar (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast

Included activities
Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
Kyoto - Daitokuji Temple
Kyoto - Zen Buddhism meditation session

Add on activities
Kyoto - Nara Tour - JPY10000

Special information
The time of the visit to the Daitokuji temple and the meditation session may be shifted depending on the availability of our meditation master. Your leader will inform you of the exact time of the activities and help you plan your time in Kyoto.

This morning, head to Kyoto’s famed Fushimi Inari Shrine – known throughout the world as the ‘Path of the Red Gates.’ Take time to appreciate the quieter corners of the shrine, and if you’re feeling fit, a walk to the halfway point provides stunning city views. Continue with a short train ride and walk to a renowned sake brewery. Your visit to the brewery covers every aspect of sake creation – with full-scale historical artefacts in abundance, and a chance to taste different types of sake at the end of your visit. In the evening, celebrate the end of your adventure in Japan over dinner with your travel companions at a local restaurant sharing the authentic flavours of Kyoto.

Accommodation
The General Kyoto Takatsuji Tominokoji or similar (1 night)

Meals
Breakfast
Dinner

Included activities
Kyoto - Fushimi Inari-Taisha
Kyoto - Sake Brewery & tasting
Kyoto - Final dinner

Add on activities
Kyoto - Cooking Class - JPY6000
Kyoto - Kiyomizu-dera - JPY400
Kyoto - Nijo Castle - JPY800
Kyoto - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest - Free
Kyoto - Tenryuji Temple - JPY600

There are no activities planned for the day and you’re free to depart at any time after check out at 10 am. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. We highly recommend spending more time in Kyoto to explore this great city.

Meals
Breakfast

START DATE END DATE PRICE
11 January 2024 22 January 2024
AUD $10,790
AUD $10,251
15 February 2024 26 February 2024 AUD $10,790
29 February 2024 11 March 2024 AUD $11,675
05 March 2024 16 March 2024 AUD $11,220
07 March 2024 18 March 2024 AUD $11,405
10 March 2024 21 March 2024 AUD $11,220
12 March 2024 23 March 2024 AUD $11,220
14 March 2024 25 March 2024 AUD $12,170
17 March 2024 28 March 2024 AUD $12,170
19 March 2024 30 March 2024 AUD $12,170
22 March 2024 02 April 2024 AUD $12,170
24 March 2024 04 April 2024 AUD $12,170
26 March 2024 06 April 2024 AUD $12,170
28 March 2024 08 April 2024 AUD $12,370
29 March 2024 09 April 2024 AUD $12,770
31 March 2024 11 April 2024 AUD $12,370
01 April 2024 12 April 2024 AUD $12,635
02 April 2024 13 April 2024 AUD $13,675
04 April 2024 15 April 2024 AUD $12,635
05 April 2024 16 April 2024 AUD $13,470
07 April 2024 18 April 2024 AUD $12,635
12 April 2024 23 April 2024 AUD $13,470
14 April 2024 25 April 2024 AUD $12,635
15 April 2024 26 April 2024 AUD $12,635
16 April 2024 27 April 2024 AUD $12,635
18 April 2024 29 April 2024 AUD $12,635
20 April 2024 01 May 2024 AUD $12,635
05 May 2024 16 May 2024 AUD $12,635
07 May 2024 18 May 2024 AUD $12,635
09 May 2024 20 May 2024 AUD $12,635
12 May 2024 23 May 2024 AUD $11,650
14 May 2024 25 May 2024 AUD $11,650
16 May 2024 27 May 2024 AUD $11,650
19 May 2024 30 May 2024 AUD $12,225
21 May 2024 01 June 2024 AUD $11,650
23 May 2024 03 June 2024 AUD $11,650
26 May 2024 06 June 2024 AUD $11,650
30 May 2024 10 June 2024 AUD $11,650
02 June 2024 13 June 2024 AUD $10,790
11 June 2024 22 June 2024 AUD $10,790
16 June 2024 27 June 2024 AUD $10,790
25 June 2024 06 July 2024 AUD $10,790
30 June 2024 11 July 2024 AUD $10,790
02 July 2024 13 July 2024 AUD $10,790
05 July 2024 16 July 2024 AUD $10,790
07 July 2024 18 July 2024 AUD $10,790
12 July 2024 23 July 2024 AUD $10,790
16 July 2024 27 July 2024 AUD $10,790
25 July 2024 05 August 2024 AUD $10,790
19 August 2024 30 August 2024 AUD $10,790
20 August 2024 31 August 2024 AUD $10,790
22 August 2024 02 September 2024 AUD $10,790
26 August 2024 06 September 2024 AUD $10,790
27 August 2024 07 September 2024 AUD $10,790
29 August 2024 09 September 2024 AUD $10,790
01 September 2024 12 September 2024 AUD $11,220
05 September 2024 16 September 2024 AUD $11,220
08 September 2024 19 September 2024 AUD $11,220
10 September 2024 21 September 2024 AUD $11,220
12 September 2024 23 September 2024 AUD $11,220
15 September 2024 26 September 2024 AUD $11,220
17 September 2024 28 September 2024 AUD $11,220
19 September 2024 30 September 2024 AUD $11,220
22 September 2024 03 October 2024 AUD $11,310
24 September 2024 05 October 2024 AUD $11,220
26 September 2024 07 October 2024 AUD $11,220
27 September 2024 08 October 2024 AUD $11,220
29 September 2024 10 October 2024 AUD $11,220
01 October 2024 12 October 2024 AUD $11,220
08 October 2024 19 October 2024 AUD $11,220
10 October 2024 21 October 2024 AUD $11,220
13 October 2024 24 October 2024 AUD $11,220
15 October 2024 26 October 2024 AUD $11,220
17 October 2024 28 October 2024 AUD $11,220
20 October 2024 31 October 2024 AUD $11,220
22 October 2024 02 November 2024 AUD $11,220
24 October 2024 04 November 2024 AUD $11,220
27 October 2024 07 November 2024 AUD $11,220
29 October 2024 09 November 2024 AUD $11,220
31 October 2024 11 November 2024 AUD $11,220
05 November 2024 16 November 2024 AUD $10,790
08 November 2024 19 November 2024 AUD $10,790
10 November 2024 21 November 2024 AUD $10,965
14 November 2024 25 November 2024 AUD $10,790
19 November 2024 30 November 2024 AUD $10,790
22 November 2024 03 December2024 AUD $10,790
24 November 2024 05 December2024 AUD $10,790
26 November 2024 07 December2024 AUD $10,790
28 November 2024 09 December2024 AUD $10,790
01 December 2024 12 December2024 AUD $10,790
05 December 2024 16 December2024 AUD $10,790
10 December 2024 21 December2024 AUD $10,790
15 December 2024 26 December2024 AUD $10,790

*Price are per adult in a twin share room

Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room?on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip?and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. It is essential you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. One piece of big luggage is included for transfer from destination to destination on this trip. For any additional luggage to be transferred, additional charges will apply. There are size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains if you plan to take them with you. Luggage over 160–250 cm may require an additional JPY1000 fee per train journey. Luggage over 251 cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains. Please notify your group leader at the welcome meeting if your luggage is over 160–250 cm so they can help you make the necessary arrangements. Please review the Packing section of the ETIs for more details on luggage transfers.
3. Travel is always an adventure and, as destinations reopen, there are a few challenges as everyone gets back up to speed and adjusts to the new normal. Our leaders are experts when it comes to dealing with anything unexpected along the journey, so pack your understanding and flexibility, sit back and relax while they take care of the rest.
4. We are not able to book airport shuttle service between Kyoto and Kansai Airport at the moment. Your leader will be able to advise on best ways of getting to Kansai Airport in Osaka.
5. A 7-day Japan Rail Pass is included in the price of your trip (validated on Day 4). Currently, we are unable to offer an extension of this pass.
6. For 2023, we are currently unable to offer a complimentary arrival transfer in Tokyo. Our previous operator is no longer in business, and we haven’t been able to source a reliable alternative supplier. Already booked customers will be refunded. Please see the joining point instructions for information on how to get to your hotel.

 

Expired on Thursday December 5th, 2024

Inclusions

Meals
11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners

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

Accommodation
Hotel (10 nt), Hakone Feature Stay (1 nt)

Premium Inclusions

  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Tipping for accommodation, activities and transport
  • Luggage transfer
  • Daily breakfast and signature local meal experiences
  • 24/7 on-ground support

Activities

  • Tokyo – Welcome dinner
  • Tokyo – Sensoji Temple
  • Tokyo – Shibuya walking tour
  • Tokyo – Meiji Jingu Shrine
  • Tokyo – Yoyogi Park
  • Tokyo – Shibuya Sky with Drink
  • Tokyo – Tsukiji Outer Market
  • Tokyo – Sushi Making Class
  • Hakone – Cable car/Ropeway
  • Hakone – Lake Ashinoko boat cruise
  • Takayama – Leader-led walking tour (with street food sampling)
  • Takayama – Showa Museum
  • Takayama – Shirakawago Village
  • Takayama – Morning Market visit
  • Hiroshima – Okonomiyaki dinner
  • Hiroshima – Leader-led orientation walk
  • Hiroshima – Miyajima Island day trip
  • Miyajima – Itsukushima-jinja Shrine
  • Hiroshima – Peace Park & A – Bomb Dome
  • Hiroshima – Peace Museum
  • Himeji – Himeji Castle
  • Kyoto – Gion District walk
  • Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
  • Kyoto – Daitokuji Temple
  • Kyoto – Zen Buddhism meditation session
  • Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-Taisha
  • Kyoto – Sake Brewery & tasting
  • Kyoto – Final dinner

Add on activities

  • Tokyo – Tokyo National Museum – JPY1000
  • Hakone – Open-Air Museum – JPY1600
  • Hakone – Karakuri Secret Box Museum – Free
  • Miyajima – Mt Misen Cable Car – JPY2000
  • Kyoto – Nara Tour – JPY10000
  • Kyoto – Cooking Class – JPY6000
  • Kyoto – Kiyomizu-dera – JPY400
  • Kyoto – Nijo Castle – JPY800
  • Kyoto – Arashiyama Bamboo Forest – Free
  • Kyoto – Tenryuji Temple – JPY600

Expired on Thursday December 5th, 2024

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