Japan - Nippon naturally in Spring
Japan - Nippon naturally in Spring
16 days Tour
Monday 1st to Tuesday 16th April 2024
Discover Japan’s culture, history and its people. Visit the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Kanazawa with their spectacular temples, castles and and gardens together with their delicious cuisine. Immerse yourself in the mystique of the centuries old Buddhist temples, pagodas and tombs of Koyasan and Nara. Walk the ancient ‘foot highway’ through the tranquil Kiso Valley and admire the exquisite beauty and unspoilt villages of the Gokayama and Shirakawa Valleys. Experience the colours and movement at the Takayama and Matsumoto cultural festivals. Photograph the stunning scenery of Mt Fuji, the Fuji Five Lake, the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route and the Izu Islands. Travel by Bullet Train at speeds of 250 kilometres per hour and enjoy it all at the peak of the Cherry Blossom season!
*This tour includes domestic transportation fees and accommodation, 15 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 11 dinners, site fees and Australian Tour Leader and Local English speaking guides. Includes return flight to Japan from Melbourne (Australia).
**Price adjustment will apply to packages not including the return flight from Melbourne to Tokyo
Day By Day Presentation:
Day 1: Tokyo Frenzy
Fly to Japan’s capital city Tokyo and wander around the city in daylight as well as at night with opportunities to taste the local cuisine. Marvel at the splendour of the Cherry Blossom season! There are many “Wow” factor attractions to experience. Tokyo is the world’s wealthiest city and it’s all on show!
Day 2: Oshima Island
Today you travel by ferry to Oshima Island located in the Izu Islands group which are enriched with natural attributes and breathtaking beauty. Oshima Island is home to Mt Mihara – one of the world’s top 3 liquidity volcanos, the Tsubaki Tunnel of blooming Camellia, fabulous walking trails and a fascinating Geo Park.
Day 3: Bullet Train
Visit the Atami MOA Art Museum and its national treasures and embark for the Bullet Train Experience till Kyoto, providing a view of the scenic Mt Fuji. During the afternoon, enjoy the cherry blossoms, temples and museums of Kyoto. Enjoy your evening with a Geisha Show, musical drama and comic theater.
Day 4: Kyoto
Some iconic temples remain from the Heian period (in 794). Visit these monuments which recount the Japanese History: Temple To-ji, Nijo-jo Castle, Niromaru-goten Palace and gardens and the Kar-mon Gate. During the afternoon participate in a range of hands on cultural activties including cooking classes, handcrafts or a samurai experience.
Day 5: Osaka
Embark for the second time in the Bullet Train to visit the city of Osaka, experience the traditional cultural treasures and culinary delights of this food loving city.
Day 6: Tranquil Koyasan
After visiting the Osaka Castle, depart for the town of Koyasan, perched on top of one of Japan's holiest mountain. The tranquillity of this World Heritage treasure, with its anciant pilgrinage trails, temples, pagodas and tombs will astound you. Spend the night in a Buddhist Temple.
Day 7: Buddha's Birthday
After breakfast, you will attend this annual celebration at Kongobuji Temple. Departure for Nara by private bus and explore the Todai-ji Temple, Buddhist Art Museum, the Primeval Forest and the charming old district of Nara-machi.
Day 8: Kiso Valley
Early departure to Kyoto's Arashiyama district including the iconic bamboo Grove, the Kimono Forest and the Tenryu-ji Temple. Departing for Kiso Valley and the fantastically preserved post towns of Magome and Tsumago. There you can walk for 3 hours on the Nakasendo path, through a mountain pass, forests, farmlands and past waterfalls and shrines.
Day 9: Iconic Mt Fuji
Mt Fuji is the most sacred volcano and the highest mountain in Japan. Enjoy the reflection of this iconic mountain on the surface of Lake Kawaguhchi-ko. Visit the Kawaguchiko Music Forest and Itchiku Kubota's Art Museums.
Day 10: Fuji Five Lakes
Travel around the Fuji Five Lakes area, enjoy a morning walk in the forest at the discovery of the Ice and Wind Caves. Drive to Matsumoto and visit of the Crow Castle which has been standing since the 8th Century. Depart to Kanazawa by Bullet Train
Day 11: Kanazawa
The city is known as a mecca of traditional arts and culture. Enjoy the Hokuriky Handicrafts Village and the 17th century castle, Kenroku-en, regarded as Japan's best. Finish the day by viewing traditional geisha performances.
Day 12: Shirakawa Valley
Travel by train inland to Takayama. You can escape on one of the walking paths that traverse the surrounding mountains of great beauty or partake in a relaxing visit to a sake brewery! Explore the smaller neighbouring town of Furukawa and the picturesque villages in the Shirakawa-go and Gokayama valleys and their UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Day 13: Takayama
After a morning walk discovering the local temples and shrines, enjoying the cherry blossoms, escape the festival crowds in the afternoon with the visit of a local sake brewery. After dinner, get into the swing of the famous festival of Sanno Matsuri, in the streets of Takayama.
Day 14: Alpine Route
Traverse the 90 kilometers Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route to view its gigantic snow walls, Japan's highest waterfalls, the Rock Ptarmigan bird, dating from the Ice Age and discover the Beautiful Woman Cedar tree, all amongst the wild Alpine landscape. Warm yourself in the highest hot spring bath "onsen" of Japan.
Day 15: Matsumoto
Continuing the journey through the gorgeous scenery before reaching the lowlands and the city of Matsumoto in its cherry blossom splendour. There you will enjoy the visit of the Crow Castle which has been standing since the 8th Century. From here, continue to travel to Tokyo and discover more of what this exhilarating city has to offer.
Day 16: Tokyo City
Today your tour ends in Tokyo but not before enjoying some more of the activities and sights this big Asian city has to offer! There are many Gardens, Galleries, Museums, Temples, Shopping and Fashion Centres. Well known attractions include The Imperial Palace, the Shibuya Crossing and the Tsukiji seafood market.
5 things about Japan
1. Japan, which is called "Nihon" or "Nippon" in Japanese, is made up of 6,852 islands
2. There is an average of 1500 earthquakes yearly in Japan due to its location in the Ring of Fire (but most of them can't be felt)
3. Trains in Japan are the most punctual in the world with an average delay of only 18 seconds
4. There are more pets than children in Japan
5. More than 50,000 people in Japan are over 100 years old. About 21% of the country's population is elderly - one of the highest proportions in the world