Cherry Blossom Season (March)
Autumn Colours (end October)
Welcome to the mesmerising land of Japan, a country brimming with captivating beauty, ancient traditions, and cutting-edge modernity. Embark on a remarkable discovery that will take you through the major highlights of this enchanting nation. Join us on this small-group tour, as we delve into the vibrant tapestry of Japan's rich culture, awe-inspiring landscapes, and iconic landmarks.
Our adventure begins in the dynamic metropolis of Tokyo, where tradition and innovation seamlessly blend. Next, we journey to Mt. Fuji for a day tour, marvelling at its majestic beauty. Cruise along Lake Kawaguchiko, taking in the breathtaking scenery. In Matsumoto, visit the awe-inspiring Matsumoto Castle and explore the spiritual Zenkoji Temple. Continuing our journey, we arrive in Kanazawa, renowned for its arts and crafts. Discover the grandeur of Kanazawa Castle and the tranquility of Kenrokuen Garden. We then venture to the picturesque villages of Shirakawago, Gokayama, and Ainokura, immersing ourselves in their rustic charm. In Hiroshima, pay homage to the past at the Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Dome. Explore the city and visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. On Miyajima Island, admire the beauty of Itsukushima Jinja and encounter friendly deer. Kyoto awaits with its ancient traditions. Wander through Arashiyama's bamboo groves and visit Tenryuji Temple. Experience the vibrant Nishiki Market and marvel at the golden splendor of Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion. Discover the allure of Gion.
Our journey ends in Osaka, where modernity thrives. Enjoy the panoramic view from the Umeda Sky Building and explore Osaka Castle. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi. Join us on this unforgettable tour of Japan, a country that seamlessly blends its rich heritage with modern marvels. Unlock the secrets of this extraordinary destination and create lifelong memories.
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
SIGHTSEEING & GUIDES
Travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for joining this tour and is in addition to the package price.
PER PERSON AUD$
STANDARD Package per person
PRE TOUR: Tokyo group hotel with breakfast
POST TOUR: group hotel with breakfast
Arrival Transfer – Haneda International to Tokyo Group Hotel
RETURN TRAVELLER REWARD - SAVE $100
Once you have booked and departed with us on an international tour, you qualify for our Return Traveller Reward on your next international tour booking. The offer does not apply to any cruises, resort packages, or tours within Australia. Terms apply.
Arrive to Tokyo at your leisure. The day is at your leisure.
Get ready for an exciting day ahead. After breakfast, we kick-start our adventure in Tokyo with a full-day city tour that promises to be an unforgettable.
Our first stop is the Asakusa Sensoji Kanon Temple, a serene and ancient temple. Next up, meander through Nakamise Street, a bustling marketplace brimming with vibrant stalls selling all sorts of trinkets and souvenirs. Feel free to indulge in some local shopping and grab unique keepsakes to cherish. We'll then head to the iconic Ueno Park, a sprawling oasis of greenery in the heart of the city for an easy paced discovery.
For lunch, you have the freedom to choose your own culinary adventure. Tokyo is a food lover's paradise, offering a myriad of choice.
In the afternoon, we take a scenic drive and orientation of this massive city of cities; passing by some of Tokyo's most renowned landmarks, such as the Tokyo Station, the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, the House of Parliament, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, and the vibrant neighbourhoods of Shinjuku and Roppongi.
Nearer the day’s end we return to our hotel. And tonight, our group welcome dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Today, some of Tokyo's most unique and vibrant spots, promising a day filled with immersive experiences and urban delights.
First, Team Lab Planets. Get ready to be mesmerised by a digital art wonderland that's sure to ignite your imagination. This interactive art exhibition will take you on a journey of colours, lights, and creativity – a very unique experience not to be missed!
Next up, we'll explore the trendy neighbourhoods of Harajuku and Omotesando. Harajuku is a vibrant hub of youth culture and fashion, known for its quirky street style and trendy boutiques. Omotesando, on the other hand, offers a more upscale shopping experience, with luxury brands and stylish architecture lining the tree-lined avenue. It's a fantastic contrast to the youthful energy of Harajuku.
Lunchtime arrives, and we'll give you the freedom to choose. .After lunch, we'll make our way to the iconic Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. Later in the afternoon we head back to the hotel to leave you some free hours at the end of the day to make your own discoveries or take some time to relax.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
An easy paced morning as we set off towards awe-inspiring Mount Fuji, Japan's tallest and most revered mountain. The journey itself offers glimpses of the picturesque countryside, making it a treat for the eyes.
Our first stop is Oshino Hakkai, a tranquil village with scenery nothing short of enchanting, with the majestic mountain as a captivating backdrop. After a lunch stop, a relaxing cruise on Lake Kawaguchiko. Unwind and enjoy the stunning panoramic views of Mount Fuji reflected on the serene waters. But the day’s discoveries don’t stop here. We'll continue to the Mount Fuji Panoramic Ropeway, to take in sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscapes.
As the day draws to a close, we check into our hotel. There will be the end of day to relax – the ideal destination to experience a Japanese Onsen! Dinner tonight in house.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
We farewell the awe-inspiring Mount Fuji and make our way to the charming city of Matsumoto.
After breakfast, we head to the renowned Mount Fuji 5th Station. Take your time to soak in the beauty of the landscape and capture some memorable snapshots. From here, we travel to Matsumoto with countryside along the way. We arrive with time for a lunch break, then onto the iconic Matsumoto Castle, a national treasure and one of Japan's most stunning historic landmarks.
Late in the afternoon we arrive to the hotel and there’s the rest of the day at leisure.
After breakfast, journey to the captivating town of Takayama. The road to our destination promises to be a scenic, with breathtaking views of the countryside. Arrival to Takayama is well timed for lunch in the city together. In the afternoon, delve into the heart of Takayama's charm. Our first stop is the Takayama Old Town, a place that oozes nostalgia with its beautifully preserved traditional buildings and streets. As you walk through the alleys, you'll feel as if you've stepped back in time, surrounded by the rich cultural heritage of Japan.
Next up, visit the Hida Folk Village, where you can immerse yourself in the local history and culture. This open-air museum showcases traditional houses and structures from the region, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past. At the Hida Takayama Crafts Experience Center, you'll have the opportunity to try your hand at crafting, guided by skilled artisans who will share their expertise with you.
Later in the afternoon check into our hotel for our overnight stay and there is time at the end of the day to enjoy the town at your leisure.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Our day begins with a morning departure from the charming Takayama, setting our course for the enchanting city of Kanazawa. Our first stop is Ogimachi Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled amidst the captivating mountains of Gifu. Here, traditional thatched-roof houses known as "gassho-zukuri" stand as living testaments to Japan's rural heritage. Stroll through this idyllic village, where time appears to have stood still.
Lunchtime is yours to savour at your leisure, offering the freedom to explore local culinary delights. Continuing our journey, we venture to Gokayama, another treasure trove of ancient traditions. Here, we visit Ainokura Village, where the thatched-roof houses of Gassho-style architecture create a picturesque setting that feels like stepping into a fairytale.
Our final destination for the next two nights is Kanazawa, a city renowned for its refined arts and rich cultural heritage.
Unveil Kanazawa, a city steeped in history and sophistication. Our first stop is the majestic Kanazawa Castle, an architectural masterpiece and tales of samurai glory. Next, we unveil the exquisite Kenrokuen Garden, often acclaimed as one of Japan's most breathtaking gardens.
Lunchtime beckons, and we take lunch together at a local restaurant before our afternoon unfolds. Wander through the Higashi Chaya District. This well-preserved geisha district offers a glimpse into Japan's traditional culture, where wooden teahouses exude an old-world charm that transports you to a bygone era.
Our day culminates with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, an art form that embodies grace and ritual. Sip on fragrant matcha tea, and let the tranquil ambiance wash over you as you partake in this age-old tradition.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Today, we continue our journey, leaving Kanazawa behind for the historically significant city of Hiroshima.
We journey by both the Limited Express and Shinkansen Bullet train, whisking us away from Kanazawa to the vibrant city of Okayama. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the swift and comfortable trip by rail.
By the time we arrive in Okayama, it’s time for lunch with the freedom to explore and pick your own lunch spot. After lunch we visit the iconic Okayama Castle, a stunning symbol of the city's history. Next up is the tranquil Korakuen Garden, one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens; showcasing seasonal beauty and a sense of harmony with nature. Near the day end, we make our way to the picturesque Kurashiki Canal area. The charming canal, lined with traditional buildings, exudes an old-world charm that will transport you to a simpler time.
Then, onto Hiroshima for our next two nights of stay arriving in the early evening.
Before we depart, pack an overnight bag for our two nights of stay in Hiroshima.
Today, a tribute to Hiroshima’s past and embracing the beauty of the present.
Our first stop is the poignant Hiroshima Peace Park and the iconic Atomic Bomb Dome. These powerful landmarks stand as symbols of hope, peace, and resilience in the face of tragedy of lives affected by the atomic bomb during World War II. Next, delve deeper into Hiroshima's history with a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This thought-provoking museum offers insights into the events of that fateful day in 1945.
After lunch together, we venture to the enchanting Miyajima Island and visit Itsukushima Jinja by ferry. The island is famous for its picturesque torii gate, which appears to float on the water during high tide.
Near the day end return to our hotel in Hiroshima, where you can relax and reflect on the emotional and captivating day you've had.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Today, we continue our journey from Hiroshima to Kyoto, with a delightful stop at the enchanting city of Himeji - a city known for its splendid castle and historical significance.
We visit the majestic Himeji Castle, also known as the "White Heron Castle" due to its pristine white exterior, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an epitome of traditional Japanese architecture.
After lunch at leisure, we set off for the culturally rich city of Kyoto. By the end of the day we arrive to Kyoto. We check into our hotel for our next three nights of stay. Kyoto, with its ancient temples, serene gardens, and traditional arts, promises to be a captivating destination that will transport you back in time.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Today is dedicated to exploring the cultural treasures of Kyoto, a city renowned for its rich history and breath taking landscapes.
We start our day by immersing ourselves in the natural beauty of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. As you wander through this enchanting bamboo forest, feel the tranquillity and magic that surrounds you. Next, a visit to the iconic Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers sweeping views of the city and is known for its wooden terrace that seems to float in the air.
Kyoto is a culinary haven, and today we enjoy lunch together. In the afternoon, our journey continues with a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine. Prepare to be mesmerised by the thousands of vibrant red torii gates that wind their way through the forested Mount Inari. We'll also explore the nearby Fushimi Sake District, where you can learn about the art of sake brewing and even sample some of the finest varieties.
As the day draws to a close we return to our hotel for time at leisure before dinner together
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Another day of cultural wonders as we continue our exploration of Kyoto.
We visit the majestic Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion. This iconic Zen Buddhist temple is a sight to behold, with its shimmering gold leaf exterior. It's a picture-perfect scene that embodies the essence of Kyoto's architectural splendour.Next up is a trip to the impressive Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of the city's feudal past. You have the freedom to choose your own lunch spot today, and Kyoto offers a myriad of delightful dining options to satisfy every palate.
In the afternoon, visit Maruyama Park, a serene oasis in the heart of the city. Take a leisurely stroll through the park's tranquil paths, and if it is the spring cherry blossom season and the trees are in bloom you’re in for a treat.
Next, we'll venture to the charming Gion area, known for its traditional architecture and historic tea houses. Keep an eye out for geisha and maiko dressed in elegant kimonos, as this area is a hotspot for traditional entertainment and culture.
As the day draws to a close, we'll transfer you back to your hotel.
We depart Kyoto for the historic city of Nara and the vibrant metropolis of Osaka.
Arriving to Nara we begin our exploration at the awe-inspiring Todaiji Temple - one of Japan's most iconic landmarks and houses a massive bronze Buddha statue and with deer that roam freely in Nara Park, creating a unique and charming atmosphere.
We visit the Deer Park. This picturesque park is home to hundreds of friendly deer, considered sacred messengers of the gods in Japanese culture. You'll have the opportunity to interact with these gentle creatures and even feed them special deer crackers.
After lunch at leisure, we depart for the bustling city of Osaka, known for its modernity and vibrant energy. Osaka is a melting pot of culture, shopping, and entertainment, so you'll have plenty of exciting options to choose from.
As the day draws to a close, we arrive to our hotel for our final two nights of stay.
Today is dedicated to experiencing the dynamic and lively city of Osaka.
Our morning starts with a visit to the magnificent Osaka Castle – this iconic structure is a symbol of the city's rich history. Next, a visit to Nishinomaru Garden, a beautiful park surrounding Osaka Castle. Osaka is a gastronomic delight with plenty of choices for lunch at leisure.
In the afternoon, our exploration continues with a visit to Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi, two vibrant neighbourhoods known for their shopping and entertainment. Dotonbori is famous for its flashy neon lights, large billboards, and lively atmosphere, making it a must-visit spot in Osaka. Shinsaibashi, on the other hand, is a bustling shopping district with a mix of traditional shops, trendy boutiques, and modern malls.
Later in the afternoon, return to our hotel. There’s time for your own exploring for the rest of the day before our farewell group dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
A morning at leisure before your hotel checkout and your onward journey.
Hotel rooms in Japan are small compared to many western country hotel standards. As a guide four star hotel rooms are 15-20m2, and three star hotels are 10-14m2.
Rooms with double beds are not guaranteed and may be two single beds, even when reserved for one person as double room for solo occupancy. Porter services are not available and travellers are required to manage their own luggage.
Mt Fuji Area (March)
Hotel MyStays Fuji Onsen Resort (March travel dates only)
1 - March
1 - March
Keihan Kyoto Ekiminami or similar
Art Hotel Osaka Bay Tower or similar
Hotels above are indicative and may change. Should this occur, a hotel of a similar standard will be provided.
SOTETSU GRAND FRESSA TOKYO-BAY ARIAKE
In addition to Simmons beds which promise the best sleep, guest rooms are fully equipped with air purifier with humidifying function. Breakfast buffet includes a well-balanced Japanese and Western-style choices.
HOTEL MYSTAYS FUJI ONSEN RESORT, MT FUJI AREA (MARCH TRAVEL DATES ONLY)
A new hotel set in Fujiyoshida region. The hotel’s prime location gives it an incredible Mount Fuji view. Rooms provide flat TV, Free Wi-Fi, private bathroom with a bath and bidet. Slippers, toiletries and a hairdryer are also provided. This hotel boasts an incredible traditional Japanese bath where you can soothe away all stress and gaze out on Mt. Fuji.
IROHA GRAND HOTEL, MATSUMOTO
TOKYU STAY, KANAZAWA
A modern 4 star hotel and centrally located. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms offering a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a microwave, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a shower. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy an American or an Asian breakfast.
Wi Fi: Free
WAT HOTEL & SPA, TAKAYAMA
A 3.5 – 4 star hotel standard located in Hida Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture of Hida Takayama City. The hotel is close to the old townscape of sightseeing spots. The hotel features an Onsen (natural hot springs) and open air baths.
GRAND PRINCE HOTEL, HIROSHIMA
A 4 star hotel. Located beside Motoujina Park, Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima looks out toward the picturesque islands that dot the Seto Inland Sea. With magnificent views of the Hiroshima Port and Miyajima Island, the dramatic prism structure towers 23 floors.
Wi Fi: Free
HOTEL KEIHAN KYOTO EKIMINAMI, KYOTO
Hotel Keihan Kyoto Ekiminami opened July 2020. From JR Kyoto Station Hachijoguchi Exit, the hotel is conveniently located just a few minutes from the exit. The hotel offers a coin operated laundry.
Wi Fi: Free
ART HOTEL OSAKA BAY, OSAKA
The 4 star, Art Hotel Osaka Bay Tower is a 51 floor hotel, and is directly connected to Bentencho Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line and the Osaka Metro. The hotel has ‘Solaniwa Onsen’ with a wide range of onsens from open-air springs flowing directly from the source, terrace baths with fantastic views of the grand garden, carbonated and four-season springs.
Wi Fi: Free
twin share rooms have single beds.
hotel descriptions are taken from the hotel website and edited to suit our page.
If we have confirmation of hotel Wi-Fi inclusion we state it above. However if Wi-Fi is not stated it does not mean that a hotel is without Wi-Fi. Most hotels have Wi-Free; free or otherwise for a service fee. Our inclusion of free Wi-Fi above is not a guarantee as this can change without notice due to telco service interruptions or changes to hotel policy.
First Day Information
Arrival day (day 1) is at your leisure. Touring services commence the next day.
Final Day Information
There are no tour excursions on the final day.
Hotel Check In/Out Times
Consider the hotel check in time on arrival and the hotel check out time on departure. If you arrive prior to the check in time, the hotel will store your luggage until the check in time and can also store your luggage until you are ready to depart for your onward journey.
The standard check in time is from 3PM.
Airport Transfers are not included, but private services can be booked with us for a fee.
Arrival: Haneda Airport, Tokyo is closer to Tokyo City compared to Narita International Airport. Transport services, private and public are a lower cost when arriving to Haneda Airport compared to Narita International.
If you are making your own flight arrangements, we require your flight itinerary no later than 45 days priors to travel (and even if you are not making airport transfer arrangements with us). Where transfers are part of your arrangement, if your itinerary is not provided to us within the required timeframe, you forfeit the airport transfers, or additional fees may be incurred for the service.
note: if you have extended your stay by your own arrangement transfers cannot be provided, and are by your own arrangement.
As an Australian travel company we can provide flight assistance for flights originating from Australia. If joining the tour from outside Australia we recommend making your own flight arrangements or to use the service of a travel advisor located within your country of residence for access to best fares.
Read on for other key trip information that you should know before you decide on joining the group.
If this trip seems right for you then we encourage you to book early and secure your place with a deposit. Tour space is limited. Also, many services on this tour must be booked well in advance. To ensure your place, please check trip availability at your earliest convenience
You will enjoy this group experience with a maximum of 20 travellers. This is a Solos Only tour (couple free). You are welcome to join with a friend, but couples do not join this tour.
THE PACE [3 out of 5]
Travellers of 70 years or over may be required to return a Fit to Travel form that is completed by their doctor. Porter services are not available and travellers are required to manage their own luggage.
ABOUT THE MEALS
It’s regular that our trips include welcome dinners and farewell dinners for our groups. In addition, we include other group dining experiences to ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefit of travelling and dining as a group. There’s nothing better than to share a meal with new friends and discuss the day’s adventures.
Are you a flexitarian?
If you have dietary requirements, please advise if it is due to allergies or for medical reasons or if it is a personal preference and if you are flexible. Dietary requirements will limit choices. If a dietary requirement is not essential due to medical reasons and you are a flexitarian, then we recommend that you exclude your personal preferences if not necessary to provide more options with the meal choices.
GROUP TOUR GUIDE/S
This is a private group tour escorted by a tour guide, or guides. There may be two or three guides (one at any one time) across the duration of the tour that escort the group for different parts of the tour. Your tour guide is locally based and a tour professional, there to provide guiding services and assist with group arrangements and to act as the liaison for all tour services.
LUGGAGE INFORMATION AND RESTRICTIONS
For airline luggage restrictions refer to your ticket details. Please note that the maximum luggage weight for touring may be less than the airline maximum limit.
Checked Luggage Maximum Weight: 20KG
'I really enjoyed the traditional side of Japan ........ Had a wonderful time.'Tracey, 56 years, QLD
' Japan is a very diverse place - the country is wonderful.'Nikki, 50 years, QLD
'My third Solo Holiday with Encourter Travel and it was fantastic. We didn’t just see Japan, we did Japan as we had hands on experiences wherever we went. Our tour guide was amazing as she taught us about the Japanese language, culture and wonderful Japanese traditions. Our group got on exceptionally well. I’m looking forward to my next adventure with Encounter Travel.'Cay, 67 years, NSW