Two-week Japan Tour: East to West

14 days
Nara, Ishikawa, Gifu, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Tokyo

Highlights

  • Explore Tokyo, its most famous and popular districts such as Shibuya, Akihabara, Asakusa
  • Visit Kyoto and Nara, former ancient capitals of Japan, and its wonderful temples and shrines
  • Tour Hiroshima and Miyajima, both having designated UNESCO World Heritage sites

Description

Experience the best of Japan on our carefully designed two-week tour. Start off your journey in the bustling Tokyo. Explore its quaint gardens, lively Akihabara, and scenic Odaiba. Head to the historical Asakusa and immerse in the crowds in colorful Shibuya. Continue your trip to the traditional Kanazawa and the unique village of Shikarawa-go, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Your next destination is Kyoto, Japan's former capital, filled with charm, elegance, and history. Spend a day in Nara as well, and check out some amazing shrines and temples, as well as the playful deer who freely roam in Nara Park. Next, travel to Hiroshima, a city with a special place in the heart of the Japanese, symbolic of both great tragedy as well as the world peace. Take a ferry to a nearby Miyajima, an island with both abundance of nature as well as culture and tradition. Head back to Tokyo after visiting Hiroshima, and this concludes the end of your two-week trip to Japan. 

Details

Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo
Arrive at Tokyo, Haneda or Narita International Airport, and transfer by public transport to the station near your hotel. Get some rest and then set off exploring the city, its bustling streets, restaurants and more.
Accommodation: Mitsui Garden Hotel Gotanda or similar class

Day 2: Tokyo
Start the day by visiting the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden where you can stroll among beautiful Japanese gardens and a part dedicated to the Western world. Continue to checking out the famous Tsukiji fish market, a place full of energy where locals go for quality shopping and where you can enjoy fresh sushi and many other Japanese specialties! In the afternoon, explore Akihabara, a popular center for electronic stores and Japanese manga, and an integral part of the country's culture. Then go to the foot of Tokyo Tower where the majestic Zojo-ji Temple is located, with its very suggestive atmosphere of peace and reflection. Towards evening continue with a visit to Odaiba, where you will enjoy a picturesque view of Tokyo Bay, Rainbow Bridge, and even the replica of Statue of Liberty. If you are interested in the famous and relaxing Japanese onsen * (thermal baths) it is also worth going to Oedo Onsen Monogatari, the largest onsen in Tokyo. Here you can try different types of thermal waters and enjoy typical Japanese dishes. The facility was built in such a way as to resemble the old Edo period of Japan. 
Accommodation: Mitsui Garden Gotanda or similar class

Day 3: Tokyo
Day dedicated to the exploration of the capital. Your first stop is Asakusa. Here you will rent a (very comfortable) kimono, the traditional Japanese dress that will allow you to feel the Japanese culture first hand. Clad in kimono you can visit Asakusa, the perfect place for this experience! You will see the famous Senso-ji Temple and the whole neighborhood in which it is located, which has maintained an atmosphere reminiscent of old Tokyo with its traditional craft shops and street-food stalls not to be missed. Enjoy this fascinating part of Tokyo and take some beautiful souvenir photos. You will then move to the famous Meiji Shrine, to follow with an exploration of the Harajuku of Japanese youth fashion, contemporary culture and architecture. In the evening explore the center of the lively Shibuya with its iconic attractions known all over the world, including the statue of the popular dog Hachiko, the world's most trafficked pedestrian crossing and much more!
Accommodation: Mitsui Garden Gotanda or similar class

Day 4: Kanazawa
Start early in the morning, and head to Kanazawa, home to history, culture and art. Have your lunch at the famous Omicho Market. Spend the day visiting the most important destinations, including Kanazawa Castle and the Kenrokuen Garden, considered one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. Then immerse yourself in the small districts and tea houses, including the popular Higashi Chaya district, which projects visitors into ancient Japan. Here you will also find beautiful souvenir shops of local handicrafts created using special golden leaves. Be enchanted by the atmosphere of Kanazawa!
Accommodation: Mitsui Garden Hotel Kanazawa or similar class

Day 5: Shirakawa-go
In the morning, visit the Ninjadera Temple with its hidden passages and secret chambers, designed at the time to escape and defend from enemy attacks. In the early afternoon take the bus from Kanazawa and take a day trip to the old village of Shirakawago, declared a UNESCO heritage site more than twenty years ago thanks to its charming wooden houses, some of which are more than 250 years old, built in such a way that they can withstand the winter cold and heavy snowfall. Some of the houses can be visited from inside, which allows you to rediscover the old daily life of Japan of the past. You will then return to Kanazawa at the end of the day.
Accommodation: Mitsui Garden Hotel Kanazawa or similar class

Day 6: Kyoto
Go through the quaint streets of the old Gion geisha district, famous all over the world for its traditionally preserved wooden structures and the small boutiques of local sweets that guide visitors to the Kiyomizudera Temple, one of the most impressive and famous throughout Japan. An unforgettable experience of Japanese culture with a traditional tea ceremony awaits you in the Gion area! In the evening, immerse yourself in the atmospheric Pontocho district, where you will find small restaurants where you can taste typical Japanese dishes.
Accommodation: Hotel Resol Kyoto Shijo Muromachi or similar class

Day 7: Kyoto
Meet the guide at the hotel and start the guided exploration of Kyoto. You can visit the Ginkakuji, called the "Silver Temple", the old residence of a 15th century shogun, which later became a Zen temple. This temple has a beautiful Japanese garden and several maple trees that are perfect to admire in autumn. You can then walk along the nearby "Philosopher's Path", particularly spectacular in autumn thanks to the diversity of trees that present a multitude of bright and unforgettable colors. You will then go to the Eikando Temple (about 15 minutes on foot or 5 minutes by taxi from the Ginkakuji), consisting of several buildings connected to each other by wooden corridors. Here you can also admire the beautiful pond and the stone garden inside the Temple area. The temple has hills with over 3,000 maple trees, an ideal place for autumnal views. Weather and time permitting, you can also immerse yourself in the world famous Arashiyama area and enjoy a stroll through the famous bamboo forest trails.
Accommodation: Hotel Resol Kyoto Shijo Muromachi or similar class

Day 8: Kyoto & Nara
Start the day at the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, an unforgettable icon of Kyoto with its 10,000 "torii" vermilion gates marking the path that accompanies you to the top of the mountain. Then move to Nara where you will be greeted by the famous deer of Nara Park and where you can visit the giant Todaiji temple, another treasure of Japan with its Great Hall of the Buddha.
Return to Kyoto at the end of the day.
Accommodation: Hotel Resol Kyoto Shijo Muromachi or similar class

Day 9: Koyasan
Today go to "Koya-san" together with the Italian guide, with whom you will meet in the hotel lobby!. Koyasan is the center of Shingon Buddhism in Japan. You will walk along the paths used for the pilgrimage, passing through temples and small shrines. You will spend a night here in a ryokan located in one of the temples of the area, enjoying the life of the local monks, and being able to taste the typical vegetarian Buddhist food.
NB. For the suitcases you can ask the Kyoto hotel to use the baggage shipment service (for a fee - around USD 30/EUR 25 per suitcase) to have them sent to the hotel in Osaka the following day. At Koyasan you will only bring a backpack so you can travel in complete comfort.
Accommodation: Koyasan 

Day 10: Koyasan
Today you will have the opportunity to participate in morning Buddhist meditations and prayers and then enjoy Koyasan's magical atmosphere further, always with the guide which will remain in Koyasan until the end of the day. You will go to explore the pilgrimage route that reaches the Okunoin Temple with its local Mausoleum of a famous monk who was called "Kukai. This area is considered one of the most sacred places in Japan and the path inserted in the middle of the forest leads to some secular tombs of famous people and important families in Japanese history. In the afternoon you will then leave for Osaka. Check in at the hotel and explore the Shinsekai district - a neighborhood full of restaurants and entertainment areas, and an important hub in Osaka.
Accommodation: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Osaka-Shinsaibashi

Day 11: Hiroshima
Today you will move to Hiroshima. Leave your bags at your accommodation and visit the most important destinations in the city, including the Peace Memorial, Peace Park, the Shukkeien Park and Hiroshima Castle. Then enjoy downtown Hiroshima, particularly Hondori Street, a traffic-free street full of shops and excellent restaurants where you should try the okonomiyaki, the highlight of the local cuisine, a wonderful savory pancake with numerous toppings. 
Accommodation: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hiroshima

Day 12: Miyajima
Today take the ferry from Hiroshima to the fantastic island of Miyajima, using your JR Pass. Relax by immersing yourself in a magical atmosphere at the Itsukushima shrine, one of the most famous symbols of Japan in the world as it is built to make it look like it is floating in water. Have lunch on the main street of Miyajima, Omotesando street, where you can try Japanese steamed ravioli and grilled oysters, the most popular dishes of Miyajima. The rest of the day you can enjoy a visit to the Daisho-in Buddhist temple and go for walks in the beautiful paths scattered around the island, such as the one at the Momijidani Park. Return to Hiroshima at the end of the day.
*** The famous red Torii (gate of the sanctuary) that seems to float on water will probably be covered with scaffolding until June 2020, as it is being restored. However, it does not preclude visits to the island.
Accommodation: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hiroshima

Day 13: Tokyo
Today you will return to Tokyo ***, where after leaving your bags at the hotel you can continue the day by visiting the Imperial Palace and its beautiful interior gardens. In the evening, you may visit visit the spectacular Japanese Rikugien garden, another gem among traditional gardens in the capital. Then move to Roppongi for the most panoramic view of Tokyo by purchasing a ticket for the Roppongi Hills observatory in the midst of skyscrapers, where you can have a 360 ° view of the city. In daytime, in the same building you can also visit the Japanese Mori Art Museum of Contemporary Art free of charge.
*** This would be the longest route to take, about 4 hours 45 minutes.

Day 14: End of the Tour
Today is the day of return to your country and we advise you to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours in advance.
Have a good trip!

Important information

Included in price

  • 12 nights in a hotel
  • 1 night in a ryokan with breakfast and dinner included
  • Two 14-day JR Passes covering long-distance journeys between the most distant and internal destinations during the period of validity
  • A portable WiFi for 14 days
  • Kimono rental for two persons in Tokyo
  • Return bus tickets for two persons to Shirakawa-go
  • A guided tour in Kyoto
  • Tea ceremony for two persons in Kyoto
  • A guided tour of Koyasan
  • Assistance during office hours during the trip

Not included

  • Transportation not covered by the JR Pass
  • Possible small tourist tax for accommodation
  • Meals except those mentioned above
  • Expenses for entrance to temples and other attractions not included in the package
  • Travel insurance
  • International flights
  • Personal expenses

Tour price: from 349,000 yen per person, based on twin room occupancy.
Minimum of two persons are required for this tour to run. 
For further details, questions and bookings, contact us at <tours@japantravel.com>

Meeting point

Tokyo International airport - Haneda or Narita International Airport is the starting point of the tour. 

View Directions

Organised by Japan Travel KK

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