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Winter Highlights of Japan [10 Days]

Extend your Winter Holiday to Japan by adding any of the following recommended towns and cities to your plan. Your dedicated Japan travel consultant will chose the best route to take, depending on which Winter holiday you decide on. From the list, we recommend choosing at least two areas to extend your tour.

SKU: N/A Categories: ,
Duration: 9 Nights / 10 Days Self-Guided Winter Tour
Route: Kyoto - Takayama - Matsumoto (day trip) - Tokyo


Dates: December, January, February (supplement may apply for New Year Season Travel Dates (Dec 28-Jan 5)
Duration: 9 Nights / 10 Days Self-Guided Winter Tour
Starts: Kyoto
Ends: Tokyo
Route: Kyoto - Takayama - Matsumoto (day trip) - Tokyo
Tour Type: Self Guided Tour with local guides in places
Prices from: €1,800 / £1,500 / US$2,300 / AU$2,700
Accommodation Category: Standard Western Hotels & Ryokans


Day 1: Kyoto (3 nights)

Day 4: Kanazawa (1 night)

Day 5: Takayama (2 nights)

Day 6: Matsumoto (day trip)

Day 7: Yudanaka (Snow Monkeys) (1 night)

Day 8: Tokyo (3 nights)

Tour Highlights

Ancient Kyoto

Residence of the emperor and capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, Kyoto holds extraordinary cultural and historical value. Among Kyoto’s sixteen hundred Buddhist temples and four hundred Shinto shrines are some of the most famous and important in Japan. Kiyomizu-dera Temple’s astonishing hanging veranda juts out over the mountainside, and several buildings designated as ‘national treasures’ can be found within the temple grounds. Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, is a Zen Buddhist temple whose top two stories are coated entirely in gold leaf and the temple has become an iconic symbol for the city. These are just two of the incredible seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites you photo-girlcan find in Kyoto.
Exploring Kyoto’s Gion district you can’t help but be taken in by the charm of the traditional wooden merchant houses or machiya (traditional townhouses) that form the façade of the street-front. Gion is also home to many of Kyoto’s best-known ochaya or teahouses, and it is here and in the surrounding streets that many go in the hope of catching a glimpse of geisha or maiko. As part of our tour you will have the rare and amazing chance to take part in an authentic tea ceremony and walking tour of Gion with a geisha or maiko.

'Little Kyoto' - Kanazawa

Parts of this lovely town remind us of a smaller Kyoto. Similarly to Kyoto, you will find a well-preserved Geisha District (called Higashi-chaya) with original tea and samurai houses on display. It is perhaps more famous for housing one of Japan’s top three gardens, Kenrokuen Garden. This is the perfect place to spend an afternoon strolling among the pretty ponds and beautiful bonsai.  Located next to the garden is the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, also a major attraction if seeking a bit of quirkiness on your trip!

Takayama & Matsumoto

Matsumoto is an alpine city surrounded on all sides by the towering peaks of the Japan Alps and has an almost European feel to it. The city is most famous for its original castle which is only a short distance from the station. This is one of the only original castles in Japan and really gives you a sense of ancient Japan and how the samurai used to live and fight. The city also boasts a number of sake breweries, hidden in the backstreets amongst the traditional buildings, a good museum of Ukiyoe woodblock prints, and is the home of soba noodles, the local speciality which is particularly delicious. You can also try some of the city’s other local delicacy – raw horse! The city has a really relaxed atmosphere and a cosmopolitan feel befitting of a city renowned for its musicians and authors. The famous violin teacher, Suzuki (of the Suzuki method) originated from Matsumoto and you will find a commemorative statue on the street opposite the station.
After your brief visit to Matsumoto Castle you will move onto Takayama. Mountains in Japan were once believed to be the sacred dwelling places of divine spirits and the Hida, Kiso and Akaishi ranges of Mountains, known collectively as the Japan Alps rise majestically in northern Honshu. Takayama, in the heart of the Hida Mountains is a delightful town, established in the 16th century as the castle town of the Kanamori family and now famous throughout Japan for its old town area of narrow streets containing many well-preserved inns, tea houses, shops and merchants houses with the latticed windows and overhanging roofs characteristic of the Edo period. The town was also renowned throughout the Edo era (1603-1868) for the very high quality of its craftsmen and many of the temples in Kyoto were built by workers from Takayama. The town has many shrines and temples of its own giving rise to the title of ‘Little Kyoto’. Just on the outskirts of the town is the fascinating Hida folk village where old farm houses from across the Hida region have been brought together and rebuilt (beam by beam) on a hillside overlooking the town. Takayama’s morning market on the bank of the Miyagawa River is famous and well worth a visit to see the stands selling local farm produce, flowers and crafts. There are also some great micro sake breweries affording the chance to sample the wares of Takayama’s most famous product! A stay in Takayama is a chance to get a feel for a way of life that really has all but disappeared from modern Japan.

Metropolitan Tokyo

Finally you will make your way back to the capital, Tokyo. Our local guide will meet you on one of these days and show you around this massive and marvelous city. Tokyo is a city that refuses easy definition.The never-ending hustle-and-bustle of the city creates an energy that is quite contagious. Despite the incredible number of people constantly moving around the city, there is an order that allows everything work efficiently. Towering skyscrapers dominate the skyline in Shinjuku, Ginza is a shopping Mecca, Shibuya displays all the newest trends and fashions, and Asakuse provides a taste of old Tokyo.

Inclusions and/or Prices


Service Standard Superior Deluxe
Airport Transfers (Arrival & departure / door to door service) Mini-van or Limousine Bus Mini-van or Limousine Bus Private Vehicle
Accommodation 3 Star Western x 7 nights 4 Star Western x 7 nights 5 Star Western x 7 nights
Meals 7 breakfasts 7 breakfasts 7 breakfasts
Transport Public transport inc. 7 day Ordinary Japan Rail Pass Public transport inc. 7 day Ordinary Japan Rail Pass Public transport inc. 7 day Green Japan Rail Pass.

Full day private vehicle in Tokyo & Kyoto

Tokyo Guide Included Included Included
Kyoto Guide Included Included Included
Authentic Tea Ceremony Shared Tea Ceremony Private Tea Ceremony + Geisha Meet & Greet Private Tea Ceremony + Geisha Meet & Greet
Hiroshima & Miyajima Guide Optional Extra Optional Extra 4 Hours Private Service Included
UJT’s Essential Travel Pack Included – 2 weeks prior to departure Included – 2 weeks prior to departure Included – 2 weeks prior to departure

Per Person Prices from:

Tour Category EUR GBP US$ AU$
Standard €1,800 £1,500 $2,300 $2,900
Superior €TBC £TBC $TBC $TBC AUD

Prices quoted are based on two people sharing a Twin or Double Room. Single Travellers may incur a supplement, depending on hotel category and availabilty of Single Occupancy Rooms. Exchange rate fluctuations may lead to price changes. All prices are based on December 2017 exchange rates. Peak Season Supplements Apply: Cherry Blossom Season, Autumn Leaf Season, National Holiday Weekends Inside Japan.

How to Book

1. Choose your favourite Small Group Tour

If you like one of our ready-made self-guided tours as they appear on this website, and are ready to book now, move to Step 2 below.

If you like a tour but need more information and/or have some additional places to add or take out, fill out the “Got a question?” form below. Either way, one of our Japan Travel Consultants will be in touch with you right away.


2. Pay deposit now* or…

Paying your deposit today will enable us start your booking process immediately. *Terms and conditions apply .

3. Pay deposit later

If you have more questions and prefer to pay this after seeing a detailed quotation and itinerary, simply fill out the “Got a question?” form below and one of our Japan Travel Consultants will be in touch with you right away.

You will then have a discussion via Email/Phone/Skype with your Japan Travel Consultant.
Following this will be approval of your itinerary before booking commences.

You will then pay deposit once itinerary approved.


4. Tour Confirmation (takes 3-5 working days upon receipt of tour deposit)


5. Manage your Booking

View your complete travel documents & manage your own booking on your own personal travel portal, entering details required before travel pack stage. You may also pay the final balance securely online (or by bank transfer if preferred).


6. Receive your Essential Travel Pack

Our custom made essential Travel Pack will be sent to your home address (worldwide) 2-3 weeks before your departure date.
If your starting date is less than 2 weeks, you will receive it on arrival in Japan.


7. See you in Japan!

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