Japan September Grand Tour 2018
If you are interested in joining this tour or one of our other tours of Japan,
you can use the contact us form or email us at
September Grand Tour 2018
We have designed our September tour to include an interesting mix of
locations ranging from traditional experiences through to the modern, industrial
Japan of today. This allows guests to enjoy a range of famous, historic
and noteworthy sights that showcase the variety and beauty of the country.
This extensive tour allows you to experience a wide variety of what Japan has to
offer across the month of September.
While we are running this Grand Tour across the whole month of September, it
has a natural break at the mid-point allowing people to join for either the
first half or second half of the month. If you are interested in joining
you can use the contact us form or email us at
so we can discuss your requirements.
September Tokyo: We will meet you at the airport (either Haneda or
Tokyo) and transfer you to your hotel in central
Upon arrival, after clearing Immigration, luggage collection and
Customs, they will meet you at the exit of the Arrivals Hall. You will
recognise us as we will have a welcome sign displaying your name and our company
logo. For Narita arrivals we then take the Narita Express (N'Ex) train into the
2nd September Tokyo: For the first day in
Japan we suggest a fairly low key day with some sightseeing around the city.
This allows you some time for familiarisation with Japan and some of the small
items that will become second nature by the end of your journey.
Starting the day, visit Asukusa Kaminarimon ("Thunder gate"),
Hozomon and pagoda. An array of stalls lines Nakamise Street (the entrance to
this shrine) providing a wide range of souvenirs and snacks on the approach to
Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo (founded 645).
In the afternoon, visit Shinjuku and enjoy the
view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Building (200 metres above ground level). There
is also time to see the expansive Shinjuku National Gardens with its interesting
and large green-house.
Monday 3rd September Tokyo to Sendai:
Taking an early train head to Sendai and Matsushima Bay, one of
the 'three views of Japan' and the cruise around the bay with its many beautiful
pine-tree covered islands. After viewing the pine covered islands, walk to Zuigan-ji past the caves carved into the approach to the temple. The caves were
used for memorial services and as a cinerarium to house the ashes of the
deceased. The caves were constructed some 700 years ago and remained in use
until a few hundred years ago.
Tuesday 4th September Sendai to Aomori:
Taking the Hayabusa shinkansen at speeds up to 320 km/h travel to
Aomori. There will be time during the afternoon to see Wa Rasse, a museum
celebrating the summer Nebuta festival, or the floating car ferry museum in the
Wednesday 5th September Aomori: There are several options including a day trip to Mount Osorezan
(one of the most sacred sites in Japan) or visit the extreme end of the island
at Cape Oma. (Oma is also known for its huge tuna.) Another option is
to visit the nearby town of Hirosaki, famous for its castle and park (with 2600
cherry trees that will not be in bloom).
Thursday 6th September Aomori to Sapporo:
Taking the newest shinkansen link under the Tsugaru Strait (via the Seikan
tunnel) transfer to the express train for the trip to Sapporo.
Friday 7th September Sapporo:
Sightseeing around the city. Attractions in Sapporo include The Sapporo Beer
Museum, Moerenuma Park, Mount Moiwa and Susukino among others.
Saturday 8th September Sapporo:
A '-day trip across to Otaru, its beautifully preserved canal area and merchant street areas. The afternoon for
some relaxing or shopping.
Sunday 9th September Sapporo to Lake Toya to
Hakodate: An interesting excursion we have done
previously was to Lake Toya site of many ryokan/onsen overlooking the lake. An
attraction is the Usuzan ropeway onto a (not very active) volcano. The walk
around the volcanic crater is very good - although a good degree of fitness
would be required (as there are lots of steps).
Monday 10th September Hakodate to Aomori:
Start your day in Hakodate exploring the morning market as well as Japan's first
western style fortress, Fort Goryokaku, and take the ropeway to the top of Mount
Hakodate for views of the city. For timing, we suggest
taking a late afternoon train back to Aomori ' approximately two hours.)
Tuesday 11th September Aomori to Akita:
From Aomori to Akita is one of the most scenic train trips in Japan. The train,
known as the Resort Shirakami takes the Gono line around the north west
coastline. (The train departs at 8:10 a.m. so an early
start to the day.)
Wednesday 12th September Akita:
A relaxation day allowing short trips to Lake Tazawa, a visit to the Senshu-koen
park, or go to Kakunodate to explore the old Samurai district and houses.
Thursday 13th September Akita to Niigata:
Continue our journey along the western coast to Niigata.
Friday 14th September Niigata: Visit Sado Island by jetfoil. The remoteness of the island made
it ideal for exiles and retains a distinct "out of the way" atmosphere. Niigata
also has an old style market - Hon-cho.
Saturday 15th September to Togura/Nagano:
Head into the mountains for a stay at a traditional Japanese inn including onsen
and local foods prepared on-site. There is a small castle (fort) on the hill
behind the ryokan that gives great views across the valley and mountains around
the area. There is a local cycling tour around Togura available opposite the
ryokan. We will arrange the local geisha to provide dinner entertainment (music
Sunday 16th September Togura/Nagano:
Several options are available. Explore the local town, the city of Nagano and
Zenko-ji temple in Nagano, founded in the 7th century, Togakushi Shrine in the
forest to the north-west of Nagano, with its impressive tree-lined approach and
Ninja Museum, or Jigokudani Monkey Park.
Monday 17th September Nagano to Tokyo: A short trip back to Tokyo for time sightseeing in the city such
as the Meiji Shrine and the nearby
neighbourhoods of Harajuku (a trend setting shopping area for the Tokyo youth),
and the higher-end stores of Omotesando. Uneo Park is another good option with
a selection of museums and zoo.
Tuesday 18th September Tokyo: Optional day trip
to Hakone: Taking the Shinkansen to Odawara make a
brief side trip to Odawara castle before visiting the local food hall to collect
items for lunch (the range is pretty amazing). Head to Hakone-Yumoto,
taking the bus to Lake Ashi (walk along the cedar avenue to the Hakone
checkpoint), boat cruise (a pirate ship) across the lake to Togendai, ropeway
and the Tozan cable car to Gora. Hakone provides many places to view Mt Fuji
(on a clear day) including from the lake and the ropeway. Attractions around
the Hakone area the Venetian Glass museum or the Open Air Art Museum.
Shrine (left), Kodaiji Temple Gardens (right)
Wednesday 19th September Tokyo to Hiroshima:
To manage train travel timing, we travel to Hiroshima. This is one of our
longer travel days, covering 900km in five hours by shinkansen (high-speed
'bullet' train). There is a transfer at Shin-Osaka and an opportunity to buy an
o-bento (Japanese lunch box) or other food for lunch on the train. With an
early afternoon arrival time, there is then an opportunity to visit the Peace
Park and Museum in Hiroshima city.
Thursday 20th September Hiroshima: A full day in Hiroshima allows us time to visit and explore
Miyajima Island: Itsukushima Shrine is the location of the famous "floating"
torii gate. The island is accessed by a short local train and ferry ride.
Depending on fitness and inclination, we can use the ropeway
(cable car) and head to the top of Mount Misen for views across the Seto inland
sea. If feeling energetic, the walk back down the mountain provides some good
viewing and vantage points (otherwise we can get the ropeway back down).
The rebuilt Hiroshima Castle (the castle
includes a samurai museum)
Hiroshima is the location of one of the
Mazda vehicle factories and there is a tour and museum. (Advance reservations
At Kure there is the Yamoto Battleship
museum and the also the JMSDF museum with interesting exhibits relating to mine
sweeping and also a submarine
Friday 21st September Hiroshima to Kyoto: The journey north to Kyoto is a modest 400km (2 hours by
shinkansen), which delivers us to the historic old capital of Japan around
midday. During the afternoon we usually visit the very accessible Fushimi Inari
Shinto shrine with its famous 10,000 torii gates. The walk to the top of Inari
Yama (to see all 10,000!) takes a couple of hours and is definitely optional'
Saturday 22nd September Kyoto: Visit the "Golden Pavilion" Kinkaku-ji in the north-west of the
city and then Nijo Castle (the palace buildings are one the best surviving
examples of castle palace architecture of Japan's feudal era), before
heading to Heian Shrine and gardens.
The afternoon/evening can be used to visit the old Gion area,
Yasaka shrine and Maruyama Park (a famous site for hanami (picnicking under the
cherry blossom trees).
Sunday 23rd September Kyoto: Day trip to the World Heritage Site at Nara. At Nara there are
both Todai-ji temple (with the world's largest bronze Buddha), and Kagusa Shinto
shrine. Sacred deer roam the park and temple/shrine areas.
Temple at Nara (left), Kasuga Shrine, Nara (right)
Monday 24th September Kyoto:
Visit the beautiful Arashiyama district for viewing the gardens and temples of
this famous area. Enjoy the view across the Katsura River or from the river with a
short and leisurely boat ride before heading to the nearby Sagano bamboo grove.
The nearby Ryoanji Temple is the site of Japan's most famous rock garden.
Yamazakai Distillery Tour (advance reservations
Exploring the 400 year old covered Nishiki food
Market and adjacent Teramachi covered shopping street
Ginkaku-ji (the ''Silver Pavilion'') followed by
a walk along the cherry tree- lined Philosopher's Path (although there will not
be cherry blossom at this time of year).
Tuesday 25th September Kyoto to Takayama: Travel by Shinkansen and then local train to the onsen (hot
spring) mountain town of Takayama. Explore the town's historic buildings and
shops on foot. The local specialty is Hida beef, very good quality - we
recommend enjoying it at one of the local bbq restaurants.
Wednesday 26th September Takayama: A free morning to explore the town, check the local markets or
visit one of the different museums or temples scattered around the town. After
lunch head to the world heritage site of Shirakaga-go (a half day bus trip) with
its unique steep thatched-roofed houses. The Hida Folk village provides a
different range of historic buildings and could be included in the morning
Thursday 27th September Takayama to Kanazawa: Leave Takayama and head to the west coast of Japan and
a city renown for its seafood. The afternoon is available to visit the famous
Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa castle
Friday 28th September Kanazawa:
Omi-cho market is a smaller, friendlier version of the Tokyo Tsujiki fish market
and a great location for a fresh sashimi breakfast.
An option for the day is to visit the craft village near Kaga
onsen to the south of Kanazawa
http://www.yunokuni.jp/mori/en/. Alternatives include the 21st Museum of
Contemporary art or the local temple district or exploring the tea house
Saturday 29th September Kanazawa to Tokyo: Transfer back to Tokyo for a final day to indulge in souvenir
shopping before an evening flight.
Sunday 30th September Tokyo:
A place holder day if you choose to have extra time in Tokyo.
The price for the full tour tour (30 days) is from Y1,265,000 per person share twin/double.
Shorter or longer duration is also available.
For guests wanting to join for half of the tour (two weeks) the prices are from Y595,000 per person share twin/double.
For solo travellers the cost of
accommodation is unable to be shared, but we have a policy to limit the extra
cost and have priced our tour for a single person at 25% higher than he shared
The price includes:
- Our tour service, including a dedicated guide for the duration of your
tour. That includes a meet&greet at the airport and transfers to the hotel in
- Accommodation, averaging 4* - 5* properties and usually including
breakfast. We aim to book superior rooms to give additional space
and comfort during your trip.
- Transport, all train travel, subways, and transfers. Taxis are also covered
during the day for our sightseeing as well as the occasional bus connection.
(Not flights to/from Japan.)
- Entrance fees for temples, shrines, castles, parks, gardens, and museums.
These are listed in your agreed tour schedule.
- Evening meals at ryokan (Japanese inn) accommodation are normally
included as well as breakfast. In general, we do not include lunch and
dinner meals because Japan has a huge range of foods and we prefer not to
restrict options, especially when food is a significant part Japan.
Exclusions are generally items such as theatre performances, sporting or
other special events, theme parks, lunch and evening meals, snacks/drinks and
other incidental costs such as hotel room service/laundry.
Bookings and Inquiries
If you are interested in joining this tour, please contact us or email us