As the world gathers on Japan’s major highlights this Summer, our Hidden Honshu itinerary will do its best to keep you away from the mass crowds and bring you to some hidden gems we have found along our journey through Japan over the past twenty years. A great escape from Tokyo either before or after you watch your games, with your first ride on the super shinkansen taking you to a ‘Little Kyoto’ called Kanazawa. From here you will meander into the mountains and farm villages of Gokayama where 400 year old houses & families still stand proudly.
Kanazawa Back Street with Local Guide
Arrive into Kanazawa from Tokyo using your Japan Rail Pass (included in your package) on one of the super shinkansens. Explore the back streets and secret spots our Kanazawa guides love to show off. Your itinerary will give plenty of suggestions to visit in this bustling city!
Kanazawa has several small geisha districts and one where you can go inside an old tea house and see where the clients were entertained and even take tea yourself (unfortunately not by a geisha anymore)! Samurai houses, ninja temple and the city’s most famous sight, the beautiful Kenrokuen garden rated as one of the three best stroll gardens in the whole of Japan; are just some of the places your guide will take you to on your first day!
Kanazawa is a small city so nightlife will be light, fun, and easy! No need to worry about where to go as your guide will give you the best tips for your evenings here. Try out the local cuisine at some of our recommended Kanazawa restaurants! Culinary delights and rural nightlife will keep you entertained on both nights in Kanazawa.
Rice Fields With A View - Noto Peninsula
Wake up the next morning to be whisked off to the stunning Noto Peninsula. This wild peninsula stretches like a crooked finger up into the Sea of Japan just north of Kanazawa. Its wild and sparsely populated area is rarely featured on any tourist itinerary, yet offers a wonderful experience of rural Japan. Summer is a time of celebration in this region so if you are there in July, expect a festival of some kind!
This full day tour will take in the Wajima Morning Market, Senmaida Rice Fields, and a visit to a remote Buddhist temple. View some of the country’s most unique coastline on this one-of-a-kind day out. You will be accompanied by our local Kanazawa guide with transport provided too.
Get Cultured in Gokayama
Nestled along the deep gorge of Sho River, 33 Gassho-zukuri houses have been preserved in the historic villages of Gokayama including Taira and Ainokura. Recently awarded Unesco World Heritage status, it is still not as busy as the more well known ‘Shirakawago’. We favour Gokayama as it is still not on main tourist trails (probably because of ease of access getting there)! Allow our team take you there!
Experience meeting locals in the 400 year old gassho zukkuri farm houses, eating local cuisine (famous for Soba Noodles), making traditional Washi (rice) paper which you can take home, and finishing off your day with the local farmers over a nice cup of tea! Subject to availability at the time you book, we may be able to arrange an overnight stay in one of these farm houses. Alternatively, you will stay in a local minshiku with onsen and dinner a real treat!
Lunch in Takayama
En route to the Kiso Valley, you will stop off in Takayama to have lunch and spend an hour or so exploring the town. Famous now for its old town area of narrow streets of Edo-era inns, tea houses, shops, and merchants, the town was known through the ages for the very high quality of its craftsmanship.
Ryokan & Onsen
Time to Rest! Relax, unwind, zone out from the madness that you just experienced. We choose our ryokans carefully so depending on your pace of travel prior to arriving, will depend on the type of ryokan we choose. Japan has thousands to offer, with all shapes and sizes. Don’t be under any illusion that moving around Japan requires energy. It’s our job to ensure we keep your energy balanced. Staying in a ryokan for one/two nights is a must! We promise you will thank us!
Your travel pack will include the must-have 14 Day Japan Rail Pass. If you feel like spoiling yourself, why not upgrade this to a Green Pass to allow you board the 1st class carriages. Riding on bullet trains throughout Japan will only add to your experience.
Insider Guide to Kyoto
Kyoto is Japan’s culture capital, for many reasons. We at Unique Japan Tours prefer to give you a more real-life Kyoto experience, than a mass-tourism one. So, allow our guide bring you on a trail of where he/she recommends on your available day. For the Summer Games 2020, rest assured, your itinerary will be carefully planned using our local Kyoto guides input and expertise.
Historical Hiroshima & Magnificent Miyajima
Explore the must see Unesco World Heritage city of Hiroshima with one of our local knowledgable guides. Get the inside story of what it was like to have grown up in the city after such horrific devastation at the end of WWII. Visit the powerful museum and A-Bomb dome. Finish the tour on a lighter note across the water on the magical Miyajima Island. Enjoy some free time here to stroll taking in the quintessential Japanese ambience.
Dates and Prices
TOKYO (4 nights / Western Style)
- Bronze: Candeo Hotels, Daiwa Group, Gracery Hotels, (or similar)
- Silver: Shibuya or Akasaka Excel Hotel, Okura South Wing, Shinjuku Granbell (or similar)
- Gold: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Imperial Hotel, Hilton Hotel, Okura Prestige Tower, Hoshinoya (or similar)
- Platinum: Ritz Carlton, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Okura Heritage, Conrad (or similar)
HAKONE (2 nights / Japanese Style)
- Bronze: Ichinoyu Ryokan (or similar)
- Silver: Setsugetsuka or Hakone Yumoto (Ryokans)
- Gold & Platinum: Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa (or similar
|SILVER||On Request||On Request||On Request||On Request|
|GOLD||On Request||On Request||On Request||On Request|
|PLATINUM||On Request||On Request||On Request||On Request|
Prices are per person and based on two people sharing a Twin or Double Room. Single room supplements apply. Triple room discounts available. Exchange rate fluctuations may lead to price changes. Prices are based on travel between July 15th ~ August 30th 2021. Supplements may apply however we always try our best to get you the best price available. Immediate booking is highly recommended.
Bronze & Silver Inclusions:
- 11 Nights Bed & Breakfast in bronze or silver hotels (see ‘Accommodation’)
- 2 Evening meals at your ryokan
- 4 x English speaking tours in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima & Hakone including your entrance fees, tour guides, lunch, and transport (Shared Service using public transport)
- 7 Day Japan Rail Pass (Ordinary)
- Airport Transfers (Standard Service)
- Detailed Travel Pack
- 24/7 Local Emergency Contact
Gold & Platinum Packages:
- UJT Concierge Service throughout your whole trip (dedicated team on the ground to assist you make restaurant bookings, other travel services, advice, etc).
- 11 Nights Bed & Breakfast in gold or platinum hotels (see ‘Accommodation’)
- 2 Evening meals at your ryokan on 2 nights
- 4 x English speaking tours in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima & Hakone including your entrance fees, private guides, lunch, and transport (Private Service/Luxury Vehicles)
- Special Kyoto Geisha Meet/Greet
- 7 Day Japan Rail Pass (Green / 1st Class with special assistance on day of arrival)
- Airport Transfers (Luxury Vehicle)
- Detailed Travel Pack
- 24/7 Local Emergency Contact
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