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Japan Discovered 2019/2020

Japan Discovered 2019/2020

13 Nights/14 Days Small Group Tour

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 (Per Person sharing twin, double or triple room)
€5,500 / £4,950 / US$6,400 / AU$9,000 (Single room throughout)
If you are willing to share a room with a fellow traveller of same gender, let us know. We will do our best to match you with a suitable room-mate.

“A contrast of traditional and modern Japan, unforgettable experiences and visits to some of Japan’s must-see UNESCO World Heritage Sites”. 

If your dream is to see Japan’s highlights while experiencing some of its culture and popular destinations, then Japan Discovered two-week tour is the perfect choice for you. Glittering cities, rural towns & villages, history & heritage, gardens & wildlife, local festivals, cultural experiences, and a taste of real local foods; just some of the best bits on this trip!

 

*Summer Sale – up to 5% off on any of our 2019 Japan Discovered tours!

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Itinerary

Japan Discovered - Video Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive to Tokyo

Arrive in one of Tokyo’s International Airports (Haneda or Narita) where you will be transferred to your Tokyo hotel. You will have free time in Tokyo until tour orientation in the evening where you will meet your tour leader and the rest of the group. Meeting time is usually 6pm. Enjoy a welcome dinner at local izakaya (Japanese style casual restaurant).

Day 2: Tokyo Sightseeing

After breakfast, your group will meet in the hotel lobby for a full day of sightseeing in Tokyo with one of our local guides, including:
  • Tsukuji Fish Market & Outer Shopping Streets
  • Hamarikyu Garden
  • Lunch in local restaurant (pay locally)
  • Asakusa Sensouji Temple & Shopping Street
  • Ueno Area including Tokyo National Museum

Day 3: Nagano: Hot springs, castles & countryside

After breakfast, you will transfer to Matsumoto for a visit to one of Japan’s finest Samurai castles. Then we’ll stop for lunch before making our way to a small onsen village near Yudanaka Onsen. Tonight will be your first introduction to a traditional and typical Japanese style hotel known as a ryokan. Kaiseki Dinner & Onsen (hot springs) are a real treat tonight!

Day 4: Snow Monkey Park & Takayama

After a Japanese style breakfast at your ryokan, we take a short ride to the start of where the snow monkeys live at Jigokudani. Here you can enjoy the wild monkeys’ antics in the natural hot spring bath out in the open. A one kilometre mountain walk is essential here so if you have problems walking, inform us in advance.

After lunch, we will continue our journey on to Takayama. The route we take is sure to take your breath away. River valleys and majestic mountains are at either side, giving you the chance to see the real rural Japan, often difficult to find when traveling along any shinkansen tracks!

Day 5 : Takayama

Your local guide will meet you in the hotel lobby after breakfast. Together, you will explore Takayama on foot, visiting:

  • Takayama Morning Market
  • Kusakabe Folk Park
  • Takayama Yatai Kaikan (Festival Float Hall)
  • Takayama Jinya (preserved Government town hall)

You will have free time in the afternoon to walk through the streets by yourself, sampling the street food and visiting local artisans’ shops. During festival tours (April & October) this itinerary will be subject to our guide’s recommendations. The night-lights and entertainment during festival season brings great excitement to the tour. Highly recommended.

Day 6: Gokayama & Kanazawa

After breakfast, we will head north into Toyama prefecture stopping in Gokayama, recently awarded UNESCO world heritage status. Today will be filled with cultural experiences, unique to both Japan and this area:

  • Washi paper making (take home your work of art)
  • Soba noodle making followed by lunch (you better concentrate and do your best as you will be sampling your own creations)!!
  • Wander through the 400 year-old gassho-zukuri farmhouse villages of Suganuma

After lunch, we will drive further north, up to Kanazawa.

Day 7: Kyoto

In the morning, after breakfast, you will have time to visit Kenrokuen Garden before boarding the express train down to Kyoto in the afternoon. A special audience with a Kyoto Geisha is arranged in the evening.

Day 8: Kyoto

Our local Kyoto guide will meet you all after breakfast and show you Kyoto’s top places to see. Depending on the season will depend on where we visit. Typically, our discovery day in Kyoto includes:
  • Nijo Castle
  • Kinkakuji Golden Pavillion
  • Lunch at local restaurant (pay locally)
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Grove
  • Fushimi-Inari Shrine

Day 9: Kyoto Free Day

Today will be a well deserved day off in Kyoto. Your tour leader will be able to assist you if you would like to go anywhere specific. We will also provide itinerary and access maps for suggested day trips. If you are very tired you can take it easy today!

Day 10: Hiroshima & Miyajima Island

This morning we start a little earlier, at 7.30am, in order to catch the most suitable shinkansen train to our next stop, Hiroshima! Just a swift two-hour journey on the speedy shinkansen: once you find your seat, we promise you can sleep again. These trains offer first class comforts unlike any train you may have been on in the western world.
In Hiroshima, follow your guide and listen to the story of how this humble city has rebuilt itself after the devastating A-Bomb blast of WWII. Emotions and perspectives may well move here, but we guarantee you will listen with pure interest and curiosity. Or you’re free to take the morning to yourself in this friendly and lively city.
We will continue on to Miyajima Island after lunch, another UNESCO World Heritage spot! Here, we will visit the impressive Itsukushima Shrine that seems to float so peacefully on the water along with the giant Torii Gates. Free time for shopping is included here, with overnight stay in a traditional ryokan with kaiseki dinner & onsen (hot springs) another treat for the day!

Day 11: Hakone

Our final rural retreat will be in Hakone, found right in the heart of the Fuji National Park. After a relaxed and comfortable journey along the Tokaido Shinkansen line, we should arrive to Hakone before dinnertime. Enjoy your final traditional ryokan dinner and full use of the hot spring baths.

Day 12: Tokyo

After breakfast, you will explore Hakone with your tour leader. A refreshing cruise on Lake Ashi followed by a ride across the mountains on a scenic cable car will with any luck afford us that perfect view of that majestic giant, Mt Fuji. We then head back to the capital Tokyo where you will have a free evening with plenty of options on your doorstep.

Day 13: Tokyo Free Day

Your final full day in Tokyo can be spent in many ways; revisiting some of the sights, exploring new places taking, some last minute shopping or a day trip to Kamakura or Yokohama etc. Your travel consultant or tour leader will be more than happy to oblige in helping you make your plan. 
No matter what you do for the day, a farewell dinner will be arranged by your tour leader with the option to continue the night out at a local karaoke bar & Japan-style pub!
May & September tours will include tickets to see a live Sumo Tournament!!

Day 14: Tour Ends

Japan Discovered comes to an end after breakfast today and you will be provided with an airport transfer service from your hotel. If you would like to stay longer in Tokyo, discuss some post-tour options with your travel consultant.

Dates and Prices

Tour Starts:

Japan Discovered Sept 1st

Tour Ends:

Sept 14th

Prices from:

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 pp
Book Now

Tour Starts:

Japan Discovered Oct 6th

Tour Ends:

Oct 19th

Prices from:

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 pp
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Tour Starts:

Japan Discovered November 24th

Tour Ends:

December 07th

Prices from:

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 pp
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Tour Starts:

Japan Discovered March 25th, 2020

Tour Ends:

April 7th, 2020

Prices from:

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 pp
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Tour Starts:

Japan Discovered April 10th, 2020

Tour Ends:

April 23rd, 2020

Prices from:

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 pp
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Tour Starts:

Japan Discovered May 10th, 2020

Tour Ends:

May 23rd, 2020

Prices from:

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 pp
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Tour Starts:

Japan Discovered September 06th, 2020

Tour Ends:

September 19th, 2020

Prices from:

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 pp
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Tour Starts:

Japan Discovered October 05th, 2020

Tour Ends:

October 18th, 2020

Prices from:

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 pp
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Tour Starts:

Japan Discovered November 25th, 2020

Tour Ends:

December 07th, 2020

Prices from:

€4,500 / £4,100 / US$5,250 / AU$7,400 pp
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What’s Included?

DateService
Accommodation10 Nights Western (3-star & 4-star), 3 Nights in traditional style Ryokan with hot springs & Kaiseki dinner (total 13 nights)
English Speaking tour leaderWhen 6 or more are on the group you will be escorted by our English speaking tour leader. If your group is less than 6 people, you will be doing the tour on a semi-escorted basis (Met in each area by our local assistants and guides).
TransfersAll transfers required for your tour as well as arrival & departure airport transfers to & from Tokyo hotel
Private Tour GuidesLocal English speaking tour guides in Tokyo, Kyoto, Gokayama, Takayama, and Hiroshima & Miyajima Island
Entrance Fees
Included into all sights listed in itinerary
Cultural ExperiencesTokyo Fish Market, Karaoke Bar, Izakaya Dining Out, Tea Ceremony in traditional tea house featuring Kyoto geisha, World Heritage Temples and Shrines in Kyoto, bullet train journeys, visit to one of Japan’s top 3 Japanese Gardens, Washi Paper Making, Soba Noodle Making, Local Toyama Dance, Takayama Festival (April & October tours only), Snow Monkey Park, Samurai Castle in Matsumoto, Tokyo Sights by Day & Night!! Sumo Tournament Tickets (May & September tours only).
Meals Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 3 evening meals
Other Inclusions:
  • Comprehensive Travel Pack
  • Local Emergency Contact
  • All Taxes & Accommodation Surcharges
  • Fixed Price Policy
  • Minimum 6 / maximum 16 people
  • No hidden Costs!!
This package does not include:
  • International Flights [Arrange own flights into and out of Tokyo’s Haneda or Narita Airports – Always check the arrival date on your flight e.g. if flying from Europe/US, you will arrive into Tokyo the following day (depending on airline you use)]
  • Meals other than those specified in the itinerary. Generally, you can expect to pay 1,000yen for lunches and anything from 2,500yen for your evening meals.
  • Beverages consumed at any meal (Water served freely)
  • Baggage Handling (You are requested to carry your own bags so be careful when packing! Your tour leader will help you arrange luggage forwarding on some journeys by the reliable ‘Takkyubin Service’)
  • Tour Leader, Guide or Driver Gratuity – can be arranged among your group (Optional)

Accommodation

Keio Plaza Hotel (Or similar)

Two Nights

The Keio Plaza Hotel is located in the heart of Tokyo’s famous Shinjuku district. Shinjuku is considered a city within the greater city of Tokyo. A luxurious well established hotel just minutes walk from the JR station and all amenities.

 

Kanbayashi Hotel Senjukaku (or similar)

One Night

Founded in 1928, Senjukaku was a famous rural retreat of the Meiji Era and one of the earliest hotels to introduce a mix of Japanese and Western aesthetics. It has been the favorite of many cultural figures historically. During the post-War Occupation, it was also used as a resort by the American army. Rebuilt in 1989, with its wooden beams and family treasures on display, this expansive ryokan resort very much retains the same “modern” mood as the original. Senjukaku’s offerings include garden walks on site, indoor and outdoor hot spring baths and a massage service, as well as superb service from the staff and delicious and generous multi-course meals. In short, Senjukaku continues to uphold its proud tradition as a perfect country getaway.

Hotel Associa Takayama Resort (or similar)

Two Nights

This stylish resort in the mountainous landscape of the Japan Alps has an entire wing dedicated to indoor and outdoor hot spring baths. At the Hotel Associa Takayama Resort, Gifu, each of the huge rooms has panoramic mountain views and elegant European or Japanese style furniture. The hotel operates its’ own frequent shuttle to the train station, which is only an 8 minutes drive away. The most spectacular feature of the resort is it’s hot spring bath wing which spans two floors and offers many different experiences. If you’re looking for a special and unique experience, look no further than Hotel Associa Takayama Resort

Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel (or similar)

One Night

Kanazawa Excel Hotel Tokyu is very conveniently located in the heart of the Ishikawa city. Kanazawa Station is situated 6 minutes (by car) away and 40 minutes from the Komatsu Airport. Located in this city are such attractions like Kenrokuen, Nagamachi Samurai Houses and Kanazawa Castle Park, all just mere minutes away. Dining options in the hotel includes Temari Restaurant and Kincharo, specializing in Kaga Japanese cuisine. Step into the Lounge for a perfect end to the day with servings of tea and cocktails. Whether for business or pleasure, the friendly and proficient staff takes pride in anticipating and satisfying guests’ needs.

The Thousand Kyoto (or similar)

Three Nights

Arising from Zen minimalist philosophy of ‘less is more’, facilities and services at The Thousand Kyoto are characterized by simplicity and comfort rather than lavish décor.
Doors opened in January 2019 so expect a stylish hotel filled with light, greenery, and wind drawing upon the ingenuity of Kyomachiya townhouses that harmonize with nature. Located in the perfect downtown Kyoto area with all facilities on your doorstep including both modern and traditional.

Miyajima Grand Hotel Arimoto (or similar)

One Night

The island of Miyajima, where this hotel is located, has been called the “Island of the Gods” since ancient times. As a modern, sacred place considered to have spiritual power, the entire island is popular with adult travelers seeking relaxation. It is also the home of the Itsukushima Shrine, which has received visitors for more than 400 years, since the Edo period. The Miyajima Grand Hotel Arimoto is very familiar with Miyajima’s history and culture, and is a hotel where you can fully experience the charm of this “Island of the Gods”.

Hotel Okuyumoto (or similar)

One Night

Surrounded by the peaceful natural scenery of Hakone, enjoy hot springs and the beauty of Japanese nature. The building is a 9-story structure supported by reinforcing steel with 50 mainly Japanese-style rooms. The hotel is about a 10-minute drive from Hakone Yumoto Station and is conveniently located for sightseeing, about a 20-minute drive from Lake Ashi.

Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar)

Two Night

Grand Prince Hotel, located within walking distance of Tokyo’s southern shinkansen (bullet train) hub of Shinagawa, is a very convenient base. Like most superior hotels in Tokyo you will find all the necessary facilities one would expect such as a choice of restaurants, consierge, english speaking staff, porter service, and so on, and with a recently refurbished but still classic style and lovely garden surroundings you’re unlikely to come across everywhere else!

Reviews

Unique Japan Tours
Average rating:  
 3 reviews
by Cheryl & Dennis on Unique Japan Tours
Our May Japan Discovered holiday was absolutely fantastic

Our May Japan discovered holiday was absolutely fantastic. The accommodation, the variety of transport and activities and our amazing guide Sakura were outstandingly.  Sakura was always there for us in a very friendly way and she helped us all to understand the customs and the people of Japan. Whats not to like about an onsen - getting naked and soaking in a beautiful hot spring with strangers. All good fun.

I would (and am) recommending Unique Japan tours to everyone who is thinking of a trip to Japan. The itinerary was excellent with the right amount of free time and interesting tours especially the soba noodle making and washi paper making. Lots of laughs.

We thank you for making our holiday so memorable.

Cheryl & Dennis

June 2019

by Sandra on Unique Japan Tours
Amazing

I cannot praise the Unique Japan Tours organisation skills enough! The itinerary is very detailed and your time in Japan is maximised to its full potential. They organise our transport, hotels, tickets etc. they even include Japanese messages for hotel staff when forwarding your luggage to different hotels (all hotel staff speak English, but it’s nice to have it confirmed in Japanese).
* The hotels are all 4 or 5 star with good breakfast arrangements and friendly staff. The ryokans are a unique experience and expect a 10 course dinner and breakfast (try the Japanese style breakfast), while wearing a yukata.
* The guides know their areas well and show you hidden gems such as restaurants and shops that are unique to the area you are in. I cannot praise the guides enough for their help and kindness. Especially Megumi who made a few phone calls or reservations for us.
It was an amazing holiday and experience and we are looking forward to our next trip with Unique Japan Tours! Thanks again!

by Roger and Swee Lewis on Unique Japan Tours
We had a great time and saw and did the things we wanted

I would just like to thank you for your efforts in organising our recent tour of Japan. We had a great time and saw and did the things we wanted. I would also like to pass on our satisfaction with all the local guides and especially Emiko. She did a little bit extra when she could and the entire trip was better because of her efforts. Our thanks to everyone involved.

Yours Sincerely

Roger and Swee Lewis


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