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Our best selling Japan Tour!Gardens & Galleries of Japan 2019/2020

Gardens & Galleries of Japan 2019/2020

11 Nights / 12 Days

€4,600 / £4,200 / US$5,400 / AU$7,500 (Per Person sharing twin/double)
€6,150 / £5,600 / US$7,200 / AU$10,150 (Single Room Throughout)

“A deluxe tour steeped in horticultural richness, spiritual zen, and culture preserved at various UNESCO World Heritage Sites & Museums, with visits to the best Japanese gardens and award-winning art galleries”

Gardens & Galleries of Japan is a once in a lifetime tour taking you to the best Japanese Gardens and Award Winning Art Galleries. You will experience not only the incredible beauty of these gardens but also the stunning natural landscapes that inform their design. Our Japanese garden experts will accompany you throughout explaining the concepts and execution of the different styles of Japanese Gardens.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo (3 nights)

Arrive in one of Tokyo’s International Airports (Haneda or Narita). Met by transfer staff on arrival and taken to your Tokyo hotel. You will have free time in Tokyo until tour orientation that evening, where you will meet your tour leader and the rest of the group. Enjoy a welcome dinner at local izakaya-style Japanese casual restaurant.

Accommodation: Chinzanso 5* Hotel (or similar)

Day 2: Tokyo Sightseeing

Today you will travel around Tokyo like locals with our expert local guide. Begin with a visit to Hamariyku Garden and the famous Tsukiji fish market where you can explore the market and surrounds and sample some of the freshest sashimi imaginable. Next you will visit Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most important temple. Located in Tokyo’s  Asakusa district, it offers a real taste of the old city’s traditional side.

From Asakusa, continue on after lunch to one of the most popular shrines in all of Japan, Meiji Jingu. Close to Yoyogi and Harajuku, Meiji Shrine is an oasis of calm, cloistered away at the center of an evergreen forest of 120,000 trees of 365 different species. Finish up at Shibuya’s iconic ‘Scramble Crossing’, where you can watch the waves of people passing through this famous junction, or join in the throng yourself!

Accommodation: Chinzanso 5* Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: Kamakura (Day Trip)

Kamakura is located one hour from Tokyo Station on the JR Yokosuka Line. This charming coastal town was capital of Japan between 1185 and 1333, a turbulent and bloody time in Japan’s history. Today Kamakura is a haven of tranquillity and home to many secluded temples and shrines which, once you leave the main tourist trail, you will often have to yourself.

Engaku-ji is one of the leading Zen temples in Japan and the second most important of Kamakura’s five great Zen temples. Built into the slopes of Kita-Kamakura’s forested hills and surrounded by maple trees, Engaku-ji is set in stunning surrounds. There is a lovely walk through the hills from Kita-Kamakura to the famous Big Buddha at Kotokuin Temple. Along the way you can visit the money washing shrine, Zeniarai-benten, where money washed in the sacred waters is said to double its value! You will also visit Hasedera Temple home to an 11-headed wooden statue of Kannon, hand-carved by the monks of the temple. Enjoy stunning views out over Kamakura Bay and be sure to explore the amazing underground cave-temple. In the evening we’ll return to Tokyo and enjoy some free time in the capital.

Accommodation: Chinzanso 5* Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: Kanazawa (1 Night)

You will start using your Japan Rail Pass today to transfer to Kanazawa, a lovely small city close to the Japan Sea coast. Until the turn of the century Kanazawa was the 4th biggest city in Japan. However, its wealth was built on rice production and traditional crafts such as weaving and gold leaf and with the full scale industrialisation of the country Kanazawa was somewhat left behind. Today the city is flourishing again and still maintains all of its old charm. There are 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 (sadly no longer served by geisha!). There are also samurai houses, a ninja temple and the city’s most famous sight, the beautiful Kenroku-en garden rated as one of the three best promenade gardens in the whole of Japan.

In Kanazawa you will visit the nostalgic Higashi Chaya district which is not unlike the old streets of Kyoto, but a little more preserved: almost pristine, in fact. Then move to Kenroku-en garden beside Kanazawa Castle for a relaxing stroll around. In the evening you can use your free time to visit Kanazawa’s incredible 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.

Accommodation: Hotel Nikko Kanazawa (or similar)

Day 5: Kyoto (3 Nights)

Today you will transfer to Kyoto by train using your Japan Rail Pass.

Flowing with tradition, Kyoto is the ultimate destination for anybody who wants to soak up time-honoured Japanese culture. Home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. Kyoto boasts an array of world-class gardens, majestic festivals and delicate cuisine, all of which make much of the rhythms of nature and the changing of the seasons. On first glance however, visitors will see that like any large Japanese city, grid-like Kyoto has its fair share of neon and concrete. But the discerning eye will soon pick out Kyoto’s treasures: sacred shrines tucked in among shopping arcades, timeless teahouses nestling among modern businesses and mysterious geisha rustling down backstreets among the tourists and souvenirs. Kyoto’s charm lies in these details and whether you’re here for three days or three years, the closer you look, the more you’ll discover.

Your tour leader will guide through your introduction to Kyoto which includes: Saihouji Temple & Garden (subject to availability), Arashiyama scenic sightseeing, Torokko Train Ride and Nanzenji Evening Light-Up (Optional).

Accommodation: Okura Hotel Kyoto (or similar)

Day 6: Kyoto Full Day Private Tour

Prepare to be blown away today by Kyoto’s most spectacular sights: Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavillion), Kiyomizu Temple, and the Gion District famous for the geisha who live and work there. Our local guide really brings to life the history and culture of Japan’s ancient capital, providing great insight into special the character of this unique city.

Some highlights:

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Temple of the Golden Pavilion
  • Ryoanji Temple
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Kiyomizudera Temple
  • Gion District (Geisha district) Walk

Accommodation: Okura Hotel Kyoto (or similar)

Day 7: Free day in Kyoto / Optional day-trip to Nara OR Hiroshima & Miyajima Island

Today you can have a full day off from touring. Take a break from it all, or go see the sights in Kyoto that inspire you the most. Your guide will have discussed your options for today with you and there will be suggestions in your travel pack. There is the option of participating in an Ikebana workshop (Japanese flower arrangement) for those would like to try their hand at this elegant and refined art form.

Still full of energy and keen for more sightseeing? We recommend an optional day-trip to either Nara or Hiroshima & Miyajima Island.

Accommodation: Okura Hotel Kyoto (or similar)

Day 8: Matsue (2 nights)

Matsue, located in rural Shimane, is Japan’s best kept secret. So much so, in fact, that popular cartoon character Yoshida-kun frequently quips that no one in Japan can find Shimane on a map, even though the area is known as the birthplace of Japan and the home of the gods.

En route to Matsue, you will visit the stunning number one ranked Adachi Museum of Art Japanese Gardens in Yasugi. Here at Adachi you will have the chance to experience a traditional tea ceremony in the magical environs of the Juryu-an Garden Tea House. Other highlights include a delicious traditional kaiseki dinner at your ryokan and Lake Shinji’s fabulous sunsets.

Accommodation: Minamikan Ryokan (or similar)

Day 9: Matsue

On your guided day of Matsue, you will visit Yuushi-en garden on Daikonshima island, a traditional walk-through garden with carp-filled ponds, streams and waterfalls. In springtime you can expect to see the famous peonies. Then the Horikawa Sightseeing Boat offers a fascinating and unique perspective of Matsue Castle and the old-town area through its moat and canal network. Get a real sense of the atmosphere of this old castle town by walking along Shiomi Nawate street parallel to the moat. And you won’t want to miss the finely preserved buke yashiki or samurai residence. There are only twelve original castle structures remaining in Japan and Matsue Castle is one of the finest examples of these Edo Period feudal strongholds, having survived for over 400 years. In the evening you will enjoy another sumptuous kaiseki dinner at your ryokan.

Accommodation: Minamikan Ryokan (or similar)

Day 10: Tokyo (2 nights)

This morning you are in for a real treat. After your ryokan breakfast, you will be taken to one of the most sacred Shinto sites in Japan: Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine. In the afternoon you will travel to the airport for an internal flight back to Tokyo.

Accommodation: Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar)

Day 11: Tokyo

Have a final day of leisure in Tokyo now to spend in the city as you like. Of course, you can discuss options and sample day itineraries with our travel consultants before departure and our group tour leader during your trip. As Tokyo has literally something for everyone, the challenge will not be finding something to do, but rather choosing between the many great options.

Accommodation: Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar)

Day 12: Sayonara

The tour 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, you can discuss various post-tour options with your travel consultant.

Dates and Prices

Tour Starts:

Gardens & Galleries September 24th

Tour Ends:

October 5th

Prices from:

€4,600 / £4,200 / US$5,400 / AU$7,500 pp
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Tour Starts:

Gardens & Galleries November 12th

Tour Ends:

November 23rd

Prices from:

€4,600 / £4,200 / US$5,400 / AU$7,500 pp
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Tour Starts:

Gardens & Galleries March 27th, 2020

Tour Ends:

April 7th

Prices from:

€4,600 / £4,200 / US$5,400 / AU$7,500 pp
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Tour Starts:

Gardens & Galleries May 10th, 2020

Tour Ends:

May 21st

Prices from:

€4,600 / £4,200 / US$5,400 / AU$7,500 pp
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Tour Starts:

Gardens & Galleries September 23rd, 2020

Tour Ends:

October 4th

Prices from:

€4,600 / £4,200 / US$5,400 / AU$7,500 pp
Book Now

Tour Starts:

Gardens & Galleries November 12th, 2020

Tour Ends:

November 23rd

Prices from:

€4,600 / £4,200 / US$5,400 / AU$7,500 pp
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What’s Included?

ServiceIncluded
Accommodation9 nights in 4-star & 5-star Western-style hotels and 2 nights in luxurious Japanese-style ryokans (with hot spring baths and kaiseki evening meals)
English Speaking tour leader/Garden Expert When 6 or more are in 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).
Airport Transfers Arrival & departure airport transfers included to & from Tokyo hotel
Private Tour Guides Local English speaking tour guides in some places (Tokyo, Kamakura, Kanazawa, Matsue, and Kyoto)
Entrance Fees
 Included into all sights listed on itinerary
Cultural ExperiencesTokyo city sightseeing, Izakaya Dining Out with local tour leader, ‘21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art’ in Kanazawa, Kenrokuen Garden, World Heritage Temples and Shrines in Kyoto, bullet-train journeys, multiple award-winning Japanese Garden visits, Samurai Castle & Authentic Tea Ceremony in Matsue, Adachi Museum of Art, Izumo Taisha Shrine, Ikebana ‘flower arranging’ Workshop, calligraphy or meditation (optional) at Saihoji.
Meals Breakfast daily, 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 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 Or Driver Gratuity – can be arranged among your group (Optional)

Accommodation

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo (or similar)

Three Nights

Hotel Chinzanso is one of the most elegant and refined in the city offering large guest rooms, a range of restaurants, lovely indoor pool, health club and spa and first class service. The guest rooms which come equipped with LCD television and hi-fi equipment all have corner windows with great views and feature marble bathrooms with a deep-soaking tub and a glass-enclosed shower. The jewel in the crown of this great hotel though are the grounds; 17 acres of peaceful and historic gardens providing a real haven from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. The hotel is a short taxi ride from two subway lines and about 20 minutes in a taxi from Shinjuku and Tokyo stations.

Hotel Nikko Kanazawa (or similar)

One Night

The luxury accommodations of Hotel Nikko Kanazawa combine an elegant European atmosphere with the beauty of the four seasons. Business and leisure guests will appreciate that the hotel is conveniently located in front of JR Kanazawa Station and within walking distance of some of the most famous tourist spots in Kanazawa, Japan. At 130m, it is the tallest hotel in the Hokuriku area.

Okura Hotel Kyoto (or similar)

Three Nights

Kyoto Hotel Okura is a 16-story hotel, conveniently located in the heart of Kyoto and eminently suited for both business and leisure guests. Centrally located, the property is close to the business district and Kyoto’s central shopping area of Shijo-Kawaramachi. Many local attractions are a short distance from the hotel, including the Imperial Palace, Kyoto’s oldest temple, Toji, and Nijo Castle. The Kyoto Hotel Okura is also a 15-minute drive from the Kyoto Train Station. Providing a tranquil setting within an urban environment, the lavish décor of this hotel encompasses a touch of the 1920s, with warm wood paneling, majestic columns, and comfortable armchairs in the spacious hotel lobby that towers up to the 2nd floor. Combining stylish décor with the high level of service synonymous with Okura Hotels & Resorts, the Kyoto Hotel Okura is dedicated to guests’ comfort and relaxation.

Hotel Ichibata Matsue (or similar)

Two Nights

Hotel Ichibata is situated by Lake Shinji and guests can enjoy beautiful views out over the lake and castle.

Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar)

Two nights

The hotel is located at the top of Zakuro-zaka street, which inclines up from the Takanawa exit of Shinagawa Station. The hotel is located in an urban resort environment that also includes convention facilities such as the Hien banquet hall and the International Convention Center Pamir, as well as a wide variety of Japanese, Western, and Chinese restaurants.

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