Japan Tour - Gardens of Japan
We have designed this Best of Japan tour to provide additional focus on some of the best examples of Japanese garden design. This two week tour around Japan includes many of the famous, historic and noteworthy sights Japan has to offer. From the metropolis of Tokyo to the mountain township of Takayama our "Best of" tours allow you to experience what Japan has to offer.
As we provide custom tours, we have personalised the schedule for a confirmed departure at the beginning of November 2017. This schedule also allows for early arrivals and later departures if that matches your travel dates. Alternatively, check out our other scheduled tours, or design your own tour to suit your own interests.
Friday 3rd November Tokyo: We will meet you at the airport (either Haneda or Narita) and transfer you to your hotel in central Tokyo.
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 city. For Haneda arrivals we take local trains (which require a single station transfer).
Saturday 4th November Tokyo: 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.
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.
Sunday 5th November Tokyo: Hakone day trip: Romance Car train from Tokyo to Hakone-Yumoto, bus to Lake Ashi (walk along the cedar avenue to the Hakone checkpoint), boat cruise across the lake to Togendai, ropeway and the Tozan cable car, Tozan train back to Hakone-Yumoto for the return trip to Tokyo. Hakone provides many places to view Mt Fuji (on a clear day) including from the lake and the ropeway.
Monday 6th November Tokyo: Day trip to either:
- Nikko: Taking the bullet train north and then the local train to visit the famous shrines at Nikko including the lavishly decorated Toshugu shrine and Iemitsu mausoleum.
- Sendai: Head north by Shinkansen to Sendai. Then take the local train to visit 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. Several restaurant options are available for lunch in this area.
Tuesday 7th November Tokyo to Kyoto: Leaving Tokyo we take the shinkansen to Kyoto, which delivers us to the historic old capital of Japan around 1 p.m. 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…
Wednesday 8th November 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.
Shopping at the covered Nishiki Market, which includes a selection of local food stalls. The Isetan and Takashimaya department stores are also excellent for shopping and both have vast food halls.
Thursday 9th November Kyoto: Visit the beautiful Arashiyama district for viewing the autumn leaves and enjoy the view across the Katsura River and the nearby Sagano bamboo grove. Visit some of the temples and gardens. The nearby Ryoanji Temple is the site of Japan's most famous rock garden.
Optional: Day trip to the world heritage site at Nara. At Nara there is both Todai-ji temple (with the world's largest bronze Buddha), and Kagusa Shinto shrine. There are sacred deer roaming the park and some excellent souvenir shopping options.
Friday 10th November Himeji and Okayama day trip: Take the bullet train south to the castle towns of Himeji and Okayama. Korakuen at Okayama is a beautiful landscape garden and is ranked as one of Japan's three best landscape gardens. It is located just beside Okayama Castle. The main building of Okayama Castle is the six story castle keep. The keep's interior is modern and displays exhibits on the history and development of the castle.
At Himeji, Kokoen is a relatively recently constructed Japanese style garden, which was opened in 1992. Himeji Castle is also known as White Heron Castle due to its elegant, white appearance. It is considered by many to be Japan's most spectacular castle for its imposing size, beauty and its well preserved, complex castle grounds.
Saturday 11th November 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. Accommodation at a Japanese ryokan (inn), complete with onsen (hot springs bath).
Sunday 12th November Takayama: During the morning explore the town's historic buildings, morning market and shops on foot and/or visit the festival floats exhibition hall. The afternoon is reserved for a ½ day bus tour that visits the World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go with its old traditional “A frame” farmhouses.
Monday 13th November Takayama to Kanazawa: Leaving the mountains, complete the journey across the main island of Honshu to Toyama and then catch the shinkansen train to Kanazawa. The afternoon is set aside to visit the famous Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa castle and it's small (but beautiful) castle garden.
Tuesday 14th November Kanazawa to Tokyo: Omi-cho market is a smaller, friendlier version of the Tokyo Tsujiki fish market and a great location for a fresh sashimi breakfast. Travel by shinkansen to Tokyo which will be our base for the remaining time in Japan.
Wednesday 15th November Tokyo: Mito day trip: Taking a limited express train an hour north of Tokyo, visit Mito, the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture. Kairakuen Garden is ranked among Japan's three finest landscape gardens. It is most famous for its over three thousand plum trees. Kairakuen also features a bamboo grove, cedar woods and the Kobuntei, a traditional Japanese style building.
Thursday 16th November Tokyo: Option to visit Ashikaga Flower Park. Located in Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture this is focused more on flowering plants rather than landscapes. Other options for the day include visiting the national gardens at Shinjuku, the Palace East gardens or Hamarikyu Garden that feature seawater ponds that change level with the tides, and a teahouse on an island where visitors can rest and enjoy the scenery (including the Tokyo skyscraper skyline).
Friday 17th November Tokyo: Final time in Tokyo before heading to the airport for your flight home.
Pricing is takes into account the accommodation rates that we expect to be in place at the time of bookings. The tour price reflects the fact that rates are lower when booked in advance, and more expensive when booked shortly before the tour commences.
For bookings within two months of the start of the tour the price for a fifteen day tour (accommodation for fourteen nights) is from Y595,000 per person share twin/double. Shorter or longer duration is also available.
For bookings more than two months prior to the start of the tour the price for a fifteen day tour (accommodation for fourteen nights) we are able to provide a discounted price of Y495,000 per person share twin/double.
For solo travellers (one person, without a shared room), 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 JPY695,000. An early confirmed booking discount would also apply.
Prices include rail transfers from Narita to Tokyo and 14 day rail pass (Green Class), entrance fees and tour fees. Accommodation is selected to average 4-star or higher and will normally include breakfast. Please let us know if you would like either twin or double beds.
Bookings and Inquiries