September and October Scheduled Tours

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 admin@japancustomtours.co.nz

Tours for September and October 2019

We have three small group tours scheduled and confirmed for the early autumn months of September and October.  These have been designed with our guests in mind and take in many of our regular sightseeing spots, taking into account the weather and the season.  We have also worked around the major sports tournament taking place in Japan (the Rugby World Cup), as that has an impact on our planning and our guest enjoyment.

If you are interested in joining one of these tours, get in touch with us either via the contact us form or email us at admin@japancustomtours.co.nz.  We have flexibility to add additional days at the beginning and end of each of these tours to suit arrival/departure flights.

Tour: September 7th to 21st

Saturday September 7th - Day 1 Tokyo: For our tours we operate a "meet&greet" service for our guests. This first day of the tour is simply for pick-ups and transfers to the hotel in Tokyo with free time depending on the time of your arrival.

Sunday September 8th - Day 2 Tokyo: For the start of the day we head across to the Asakusa district and Sensoji Temple. A feature of Sensoji (the oldest temple in Tokyo) is Nakamise Street, where for the past few centuries, stalls and shops sell souvenirs to visitors to the temple. The temple complex also features the Hozomon gate and a five story pagoda. Our next main stop of the day is the expansive Ueno Park. We make a visit to the Tokyo National Museum, but the park also includes Tokyo Zoo and the beautiful Tōshō-gū shine that enshrines the first Shōgun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Finishing our visit in Ueno we include a walk through the Ameya-Yokochō shopping district of stalls and small shops located including many under the railway tracks.

Monday September 9th - Day 3 Tokyo to to Nikko: Departing Tokyo we travel by train towards Nikko and to Kinugawa Onsen Station. As check-in is not available until mid-afternoon we have time in the local area to visit the Tobu World Square or the Edo Wonderland history theme park that recreates Japanese town life during the Edo Period (1603-1868).

Tuesday September 10th - Day 4 Nikko: With a full day we visit several of the famous World Heritage listed sites including the lavishly decorated Toshogu shrine and Iemitsu mausoleum. After lunch head to the scenic Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls.

Wednesday September 11th - Day 5 Nikko to Nagano: With an early afternoon arrival into Nagano there is time to visit Zenko-ji temple: The temple was founded in the 7th century and houses the first Buddhist image in Japan (552CE) and the city grew around the temple.

Thursday September 12th - Day 6 Nagano:  After breakfast, we head to Nagano station and take a bus to Jigokudani Monkey Park. There is an approximately 2km walk to visit the famous "snow monkeys" although the cedar forest provides more shelter from the heat at this time of year rather than lining an icy/snow covered path.

Friday September 13th - Day 7 Nagano to Takayama: Departing Nagano, we combine a short one hour train journey to the castle town of Matsumoto before getting the bus for the direct and scenic route though the Japanese Alps.

Arriving in Takayama the afternoon is available to explore the preserved historic commercial district of old buildings featuring many sake breweries and local craft shops. A visit to the Showa-kan museum is an interesting peak into the 20th century of Japan with many items of nostalgia, or the hillsides above the town and its easy walking courses.

Saturday September 14th - Day 8 Takayama: During the morning we visit the river-side morning market and shops on foot and/or visit the festival floats exhibition hall. Nearby to the festival float museum is a small museum that displays the operation of traditional puppets.

After lunch we head to the world heritage site of Shirakawa-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 activities.

Sunday September 15th - Day 9 Takayama to Kanazawa: Departing from Takayama we travel along the scenic Miyagawa River to Toyama before a short shinkansen ride to Kanazawa.

The local Omi-cho fresh food market as across the street from the hotel and provides a good option for a fresh sushi/sashimi lunch. After lunch visit the beautiful Kenrokuen Gardens (one of the top three gardens of Japan) and Kanazawa Castle. The city also boasts the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art which is also an option.

Monday September 16th - Day 10 Kanazawa to Hiroshima: Departing Kanazawa pass through Osaka for the transfer to the shinkansen that will take us south to Hiroshima. With an afternoon arrival time, there time to visit the Peace Park and Peace Museum. Alternatives are the Hiroshima Castle (there is a samurai museum inside the rebuilt castle), and the Shukkei-en miniature garden.

Tuesday September 17th - Day 11 Hiroshima: The start of the day includes a visit to Iwakuni and the famous Kintaikyo Bridge. Beyond the bridge is an interesting array of local attractions and, including a coomorant traing facility, the Kikko shrine and a selection of older style buildings and gardens.

For the afternoon we return to Miyajima Island and its Itsukushima Shrine. This is the location of the famous "floating" torii gate. The ropeway (cable car) provides easy transport up Mount Misen for views across the Seto inland sea.

Wednesday September 18th - Day 12 Hiroshima to Kyoto: With a mid-day arrival into Kyoto we visit the Fushimi Inari shrine founded in 711AD. The unique feature are the 10,000 torii gates that line the path from the main shine buildings along the route to the top of Inari mountain (takes around two hours for the hike to the top and back: optional).

Thursday September 19th - Day 13 Kyoto: Visit Nijo Castle (the palace buildings are one the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture of Japan's feudal era) and then the "Golden Pavilion" Kinkaku-ji in the north-west of the city.  From Kinkaku-ji we then head to the beautiful Arashiyama district for lunch. We enjoy the view across the Oi River from the Togetsukyō Bridge.  Among the famous sights in the area is the Sagano bamboo grove and the Tenryu-ji temple gardens.

Friday September 20th - Day 14 Kyoto: 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. We visit several temples and shrines across the day with entry to some and viewing others. Of course, there are also 2,000 deer roaming the shrine/temple area.

Saturday September 21st - Day 15 Kyoto to Tokyo: A shinkansen transfer back to Tokyo and the end of the tour.

Tour: October 8th to 22nd (two spaces available)

Tuesday 8th October 2019 - Day 1 Tokyo:  For our tours we operate a "meet&greet" service for our guests. This first day of the tour is simply for pick-ups and transfers to the hotel in Tokyo with free time depending on the time of your arrival.  Accommodation for the first night in Tokyo will be adjacent to Tokyo Station  at the Hotel Metropolitan Marunouchi.

Wednesday 9th October 2019 - Day 2 Tokyo to Hiroshima:  From Tokyo we travel to Hiroshima.  With an afternoon arrival time, there is then an opportunity to visit the Peace Park and Museum in Hiroshima city.  For Hiroshima accommodation we will be staying at the ANA Crown Plaza.

Thursday 10th October 2019 - Day 3 Hiroshima:  Taking advantage of our full day in Hiroshima we have time to explore Miyajima Island, its Itsukushima Shrine and the Daishoin Temple. This is the location of the famous 'floating' torii gate. Also on the island we can make use of the 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).

Friday 11th October 2019 - Day 4 Hiroshima to Kyoto: Leaving Hiroshima we head north by shinkansen to Kyoto. We arrive in the historic old capital of Japan midday giving time to visit the very accessible Fushimi Inari Shinto shrine.  From Fushimi Inari given time and/or inclination we can visit one of the other nearby attractions in the eastern side of the city such as Sanjusangendo that has 1,000 hand carved statues. Each statue is slightly different, and the fact it was more than 100 years in the making helps to make it more impressive.  Accommodation in Kyoto, is at the Kyoto Century Hotel.

Saturday 12th October 2019 - Day 5 Kyoto:  The day begins with a visit to 'Golden Pavilion' Kinkaku-ji in the north-west of the city followed by Nijo Castle (the palace buildings are one the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture of Japan's feudal era). From Nijo-jo we head back towards the central city, Teramachi Street and the 400 year old Nishiki Market Street.

Sunday 13th October 2019 - Day 6 Kyoto: day trip Nara:  To experience one of the most important cultural and historic places in Japan, we visit Nara, Japan's first capital. At Nara there is both Todai-ji temple (with the world's largest bronze Buddha), and Kagusa Shinto shrine. We visit several temples and shrines across the day with entry to some and viewing others. Many people love the sacred deer roaming the Nara Park grounds.

Monday 14th October 2019 - Day 7 Kyoto to Kanazawa:  From Kyoto we take the 'Thunderbird' Express train to Kanazawa. Arriving mid-afternoon we head to the beautiful Kenrokuen Gardens (one of the top three landscape gardens in Japan) and the Kanazawa Castle. The city also boasts the interesting 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.  Accommodation is at the Kanazawa Sky Holiday Inn.

Tuesday 15th October 2019 - Day 8 Kanazawa to Takayama:  We leave Kanazawa by Shinkansen to Toyama and then local train into the Japanese Alps to the onsen (hot spring) mountain town of Takayama. The journey from Toyama is through some very scenic valleys and into the mountain regions of central Japan. After arrival there is time to explore the town's historic buildings and shops on foot.  The Hida Plaza offers a mix of room configurations and one of our preferred locations in the city.

Wednesday 16th October 2019 - Day 9 Takayama:  Explore the town and its easy walking courses; enjoy the local morning markets or visit one of the several small museums and temples scattered around the town. Takayama is famous for its woodworking and its biannual floats festival (matsuri). A visit to the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall is a recommended stop.  An additional stop we have recently added is the 'Showa' period museum. The Showa period covered December 1926 to Jan 1989 and the museum is a great place for nostalgia and a look back to a period in history many people remember fondly.  After lunch we head to the world heritage site of Shirakawa-go (a half day bus trip) with its unique steep thatched-roofed houses.

Thursday 17th October 2019 - Day 10 Takayama to Nagano:  With the approaching autumn, we have an opportunity to travel through a portion of the Japanese Alps to see some of the changing autumn leaves. The higher altitude and cooler air produces some nice yellow and brown hues on the mountain sides. The journey From Takayama to Matsumoto climbs to 1,475 meters and provides some great mountain scenery.  The afternoon is available for a visit to Zenko-ji temple.  Accommodation is at the Hotel Metropolitian.

Friday 18th October 2019 - Day 11 Nagano to Tokyo: After breakfast, we head to Nagano station and take the express bus service to Jigokudani Monkey Park. Depending on the weather it could be cold. There is an approximately 2km walk to visit these famous "snow monkeys".  Returning to Nagano around 3 p.m. we take the shinkansen back to Tokyo for an evening check-in to our Tokyo in Shinjuku, the the Century Southern Hotel.

Saturday 19th October 2019 - Day 12 Tokyo:  We start the day with a visit to Asukusa and Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. Passing through the Kaminarimon ("Thunder gate"), we view the stalls of Nakamise Street established more than 300 years ago, providing a wide range of souvenirs and snacks on the approach to the second main gate Hozomon. The temple complex includes a five story pagoda, Sensoji Temple and a number of other sub-temples in the nearby area.

Sunday 20th October 2019 - Day 13 Tokyo:  Start the day with a visit to the Meiji Shrine. The Meiji Restoration marked an important period of change in Japanese history and society with the shine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, set in a central Tokyo forest.  As the shrine is adjacent to Harajuku, walk through Takeshita Street to the nearby upmarket shopping district of Omotesando. This provides a good stopping point for lunch.

From Omotesando we take the subway to Shinjuku to see the expansive Shinjuku National Gardens. From the gardens, head to the Golden Gai area of old style bars (for viewing in the daytime while the area is quiet) before seeing Godzilla towering above the night life area of Kabukicho.

Monday 21st October 2019 - Day 14: Tokyo to Hakone-Yumoto:  Departing Shinjuku 90 minute trip to the famous Hakone area.  For the day in the Hakone area we typically do the Hakone Loop. Taking the bus to Lake Ashi with a walk along the cedar avenue to the Hakone checkpoint, boat cruise (a pirate ship) across the lake to Togendai. The ropeway brings us to the Owakudani geothermal area and the Tozan cable car to Gora. The Tozan mountain train returns us to Hakone-Yumoto.

Tuesday 22nd October 2019 - Day 15 Hakone Yumoto to Tokyo:  A relaxing start to the day before transferring back to Tokyo and the end of the tour.

Tour: October 15th to 27th

Tuesday 15th October - Tokyo: For our tours we operate a "meet&greet" service for our guests. This first day of the tour is simply for pick-ups and transfers to the hotel in Tokyo with free time depending on the time of your arrival.

Wednesday 16th October - Tokyo 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 port area.

Thursday 17th October  - Aomori: With a full day available we journey to the nearby city of Hirosaki, famous for its castle and park. The main feature of the town is the castle park with 2600 cherry trees (and maybe some early for the fall colours) and its botanic gardens.

Friday 18th October - 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.)

Saturday 19th October - Akita to Sendai: Heading towards the east coast and to Sendai we can include a stop at Kakunodate. The old Samurai district and houses are picturesque and there are a few small/interesting museums in the area too.  Completing the trip to Sendai, the prefectural capital there is some time in the late afternoon to the Date Masamune mausoleum (Zuihoden).

Sunday 20th October - Sendai: We take the local train to visit Matsushima Bay, one of the three "views of Japan" The day includes a sightseeing 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.

Monday 21st October - Sendai to Odawara: Heading south from Sendai we pass through Tokyo on the way to the coastal town of Odawara a short distance south of Tokyo. Our stay in Odawara helps break up the journey south, and also provides access to the Hakone area for those wanting to head to Lake Ashinoko for a view of Mt Fuji (if the weather is good).

Tuesday 22nd October - Odawara to Kyoto: Leaving Odawara we head south by shinkansen to Kyoto. Arriving mid-day this still gives us time to 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 23rd October - Kyoto: Sightseeing for the day includes Nijo Castle 'Golden Pavilion' Kinkaku-ji and then beautiful Arashiyama district. At Arashiyama we enjoy the view across the Oi River from the Togetsukyō Bridge, the Sagano bamboo grove and the Tenryu-ji temple gardens.

Thursday 24th October - Kyoto: day trip Nara: To experience one of the most important cultural and historic places in Japan, we visit Nara, Japan's first capital. At Nara there is both Todai-ji temple (with the world's largest bronze Buddha), and Kagusa Shinto shrine. We visit several temples and shrines across the day with entry to some and viewing others. There are sacred deer roaming the park and some excellent souvenir shopping options.

Friday 25th October - Kyoto to Kanazawa: From Kyoto we head to the west coast city of Kanazawa.  Arriving mid-day we visit the Omi-cho food market where fresh sushi and sashimi is an option for lunch. The city is famous for its Kenrokuen Gardens (one of the top three landscape gardens in Japan) and the Kanazawa Castle. The city also boasts the interesting 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art which is also an option for those wishing to visit at the end of the day.

Saturday 26th October - Kanazawa to Nagano: Departing from Kanazawa we head into the Japanese Alps to the city of Nagano.. After lunch there is an opportunity to visit the Zenko-ji temple, founded in the 7th century. The temple houses the first Buddhist image in Japan (552CE) and the city grew around the temple.

Sunday 27th October - Nagano to Tokyo: From Nagano we have the option to visit the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park during the day before a late afternoon trip back to Tokyo and the end of the tour.

Price Inclusions/exclusions

The price for these each of these tours is set at JPY595,000 per person share twin/double.  If you require extra accommodation at the beginning or end of the tour we will discuss those requirements with you. We can also convert the Japanese yen price into your local currency for you.

Our pricing includes:

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.  Flights to/from Japan are also not included in the price or transport arrangements.

Bookings and Inquiries

If you are interested in joining this tour, please contact us or email us directly at admin@japancustomtours.co.nz.


 

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