A master of modernity and steward of tradition, Japan delights and surprises with neon-lit highstreets, ancient temples and boundless natural beauty. Meet knowledgeable locals, see iconic sites, taste exotic flavours and wonder at Mother Nature, as you journey via bullet train from cutting-edge cities to unexplored wildernesses in luxurious comfort.
Duration: 11 days
Day 1Welcome to Osaka, Japan! On arrival at Kansai or Itami airport, you will be welcomed and taken to your five-star hotel situated in the heart of the city, where there is time to relax. At 20:00, meet your Travelling Concierge and travel companions at the hotel's Rainbow Lounge for your Welcome Dinner. Enjoy stunning views over Osaka while you enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine including tempura and sushi. Hotel: Imperial Hotel Osaka. Meals: Dinner with Wine
Day 2 - Relaxed StartHighlights of Osaka. Situated in the heart of Japan where rivers and sea routes converge, Osaka is a hub of cutting-edge architecture, exotic flavours and laid-back locals. Today you will discover the city’s highlights, starting with a visit to Osaka castle, beautiful during cherry blossom season. Then, together with your Travelling Concierge and fellow traveller, discover why Osaka is known as the kitchen of Japan as you embark on a food-tasting exploration along Dotonbori Street with a passionate local foodie. Try local specialities such as Takoyaki, rounds of ground octopus wrapped in batter, before sitting down to a tasty two-course lunch. In the afternoon, venture to the top of the Floating Garden Observatory in the Umeda Sky Building for incredible city views. With the evening at leisure, ask your Travelling Concierge for local recommendations to explore this exotic city further. Hotel: Imperial Hotel Osaka. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3A Local Perspective on Hiroshima. Experience Japanese technology at its best as you journey to Hiroshima station on the Shinkansen bullet train. On arrival, explore the UNESCO World heritage Site of Peace Memorial Park and Museum, the only structure left standing after the first atomic bomb was dropped during World War II. The bomb was the single-most destructive force ever created by humankind and changed the course of history forever. During your visit, meet a survivor who will share insights into this dark chapter of world history. For lunch you will be treated to traditional Japanese savour pancakes known as Okonomiyaki, a dish typical of the region. Enjoy free time in the afternoon to explore Hiroshima and delve further into the city's history. You may wish to finish your visit with a special prayer for peace. Your journey continues by bullet train to Kyoto known for thousands of years as the Imperial capital of Japan. After you check in to your centrally located hotel the rest of the evening is yours. Hotel: Hotel Granvia Kyoto. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4 - Relaxed StartThe Temples and Geisha of Kyoto. Kyoto is Japan's geisha capital, and during your city tour with your Travelling Concierge you will discover why this is the hub of ancient tradition and culture. Marvel at the Zen Buddhist temple of Kinkakuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and see its famed Golden Pavilion to appreciate its classic architecture, intricate history and expansive gardens. Visit the famous Giouji Temple, situated on a majestic grove of bamboos and maple trees, where you'll learn about local folklore and explore the temple's thatched hut and walk through the indigenous bamboo forest. Savour a Highlight Lunch of traditional Kyo-Kaiseki cuisine made of seasonal ingredients, whilst you enjoy a performance by a Maiko, an apprentice geisha. Central to Kyoto culture, geisha are highly-skilled entertainers, specializing in classical music, dance, conversation and games. This fine art has evolved over many centuries and today attracts visitors from around the world. Embark on a walking exploration of the vibrant Gion neighbourhood, known as Kyoto's primary geisha district. With free time to explore for the rest of the evening, perhaps enjoy the local teahouses, lantern-lit restaurants and bars or simply absorb the electric atmosphere, as you shop for souvenirs. Hotel: Hotel Granvia Kyoto. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5Mt Fuji and Onto Tokyo. Board the bullet train to Mishima to stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mount Fuji. See Lake Kawaguchi where you will be captivated by the flawless reflections of the mountain. Continue to enjoy spectacular views of this UNESCO World Heritage Site as you enjoy lunch made of fresh, seasonal ingredients at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, explore Mt Fuji Your Way with a choice between a visit to the Icchiku Kubota Art Museum with its unique works of art, traditional architecture and seasonal gardens or climb aboard the Kachi-Kachi yama ropeway for amazing views of the mountain. Travel to Tokyo and check in to your hotel for the evening at leisure. Hotel: Imperial Hotel Tokyo. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine
Day 6 - Relaxed StartExplore Traditional Tokyo. Tokyo is an economic powerhouse and home to national museums, festivals, theatres and sacred temples. Seasonal tea ceremonies date back a thousand years and play an important part in Japanese culture, they are central to good hospitality. Experience this for yourself when you visit a traditional teahouse and learn how to prepare the perfect cup of Matcha Green Tea. Try your hand at making sushi with the highest quality fish and discover why it takes ten years to become a Master Sushi Chef, before sitting down to a delightful Highlight Lunch. With time at leisure, why not enjoy time exploring Ginza, known as the Champs-Élysées of Tokyo. During a Your Choice Evening you're in for a true local experience with the choice of two hand-picked restaurants, each specialising in local delicacies. You may try either Shabu-shabu which are hotpots of meat and vegetables or Teppan-yaki where rice, meats and vegetables are freshly cooked on a grill. Hotel: Imperial Hotel Tokyo. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with Wine
Day 7Journey to Sendai. Journey north by bullet train, your destination is the Sendai, known as the City of Trees. This is a true locals region, off-the-beaten path and away from the tourist crowds. Enjoy a private cruise along the dazzling Matsushima Bay, taking in views of countless pine-covered islands. The bay has often featured in Japanese poetry since ancient times. For lunch meet the owner of a local inn on one of the many islands in the bay to enjoy local seafood and hear stories from a local with insights in to life on the island. Continue to your five-star hotel where the evening is at your leisure. Perhaps sign up for a massage at the in-house spa or discover how Kokubuncho comes to life at night time? Hotel: The Westin Sendai (Superior Rooms). Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8Tsugaru and Hirosaki Castle. Journey to Shin-Aomori Station via bullet train. Visit Hirosaki Castle, famous for its bright cherry blossom trees that bloom between April and May. Meet a cherry blossom doctor who will explain how his team nurture these beautiful trees from sapling to maturity and ensure all the cherry blossoms of the region are strong, healthy and able to thrive during the cherry blossom season. As you explore the Tsugaru han Neputa Village you will see the colourful decorations used during the summer Neputa Festival and watch skilled craftsman at work, they spend month lacquering to create the perfect chopsticks. You then enjoy a special Experience, a private musical performance of Tsugaru Shamisen and Taiko, traditional Japanese guitar and drumming. Your journey continues to Oirase Gorge, one of Japan’s most-revered nature havens. Hotel: Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel, Oirase Gorge. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 9 - Relaxed StartExploring Oirase. Explore the spectacular Oirase Gorge, a place of special scenic beauty. Wander along the crystal-clear Oirase Keiryu stream, admire the cascading waterfalls and marvel at the seasonal colours of the indigenous forest. Continue to a local restaurant for lunch. Once back at the hotel, guests will have time at leisure. After a day of exploring, perhaps experience a soul-soothing Onsen, a traditional Japanese hot bath, in the nearby forest. For those wanting something more flavoursome, journey to a local brewery to taste Japan's national drink, sake, an alcoholic beverage made from fermenting rice. Hotel: Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel, Oirase Gorge. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with Wine
Day 10Oirase to Tokyo. Return to Tokyo via bullet train for your last night in this intriguing city. Visit the Sensō-ji Buddhist Temple, the oldest and most-visited temple of Japan, and wander along the famous Nakamise Street and explore Kappabashi, a local back-street known as Tokyo’s foodie hub. In the evening, get ready for a dazzling Celebration Dinner as you venture to the heart of the city. Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai is a famous restaurant with old-world charm and surrounded by a Zen garden. It specialises in tofu cuisine, but you will savour a range of intricately prepared dishes including simmered eggplant and fried shrimp, fresh sashimi and deep-fried tofu coated with miso, all accompanied with beer or wine. Hotel: Imperial Hotel Tokyo. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 11Farewell Japan. Bid farewell to your travel companions and head to Narita or Haneda International Airport for your onward journey. Meals: Breakfas
- Mount Fuji: Choose between a visit to the Icchiku Kubota Art Museum with its unique works of art, traditional architecture and seasonal gardens or climb aboard the Kachi-Kachi yama ropeway for amazing views of the mountain.
- Hiroshima: Be part of a truly poignant travel experience, as you meet a survivor of the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bomb, which destroyed most of the city during World War II and changed world history forever.
- Osaka: Discover why Osaka is known as the kitchen of Japan during your food-tasting exploration with a knowledgeable local foodie. Taste local specialities such as rounds of ground octopus wrapped in batter, called Takoyaki, and savory pancakes, named Okonomiyaki.
- Osaka: A beautiful testament to traditional Japanese architecture, Osaka Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in Japan. Explore the 5 story castle, each level home to a variety of artefacts showcasing Osaka's extensive history.
- Bullet Train: Experience travelling like a local as you ride the high-speed bullet train. Catch views of mountains and quaint Japanese towns as you journey between each city.
- Miyajima: Visit the Itsukushima Shrine and see the famous red Otorii Gate.
- Hiroshima: Travel by ferry to Hiroshima and take in the beautiful scenery.
- Hiroshima: Visit the emotive Hiroshima peace memorial park.
- Hiroshima Join in the paper crane making and learn about the meaning behind this symbol for peace.
- Kyoto: Join in the sight-seeing in Kyoto with your Travelling Concierge and discover this hubs ancient culture.
- Kyoto: Discover this hub of ancient tradition and culture. Visit the Zen Buddhist temple of Kinkaku-ji, and embark on a walking exploration of the vibrant Gion neighbourhood, known as Kyoto’s Geisha district.
- Kyoto: Visit the famous Giouji Temple one of the most scenic spots of this area, overlooking the moss covered grotto.
- Kyoto: Enjoy a short walk in the bamboo forest, a most magical experience.
- Kyoto: Join your Travelling Concierge for an orientation of Gion neighbourhood known as Kyoto's geisha district.
- Tokyo: Visit the Sensō-ji Temple, the oldest temple in Japan.
- Tokyo Join in the exploration of Nakamise Street and Kappabashi the local backstreet known as the foodie hub.
- Mount Fuji: Soak in the magnificent views of Mount Fuji from the 5th Station.
- Kawaguchi: Be captivated by the peacefulness of Lake Kawaguchi and explore the sights.
- Tokyo: Visit the Icchiku Art Museum and see traditional kimono displays.
- Sendai: Join a private cruise along the dazzling Matsushima Bay to Katsurashima Island.
- Matsushima Bay: Meet the owner of a traditional Japanese inn and learn about their life.
- Aoba Castle: Witness a samurai performance by local artists.
- Matsushima Bay: Explore the sights where once stood the Aoba Castle.
- Hachinohe: Visit the Hashoku Centre Market.
- Hirosaki Castle: Visit the Hirosaki Castle and admire the surrounding park grounds. In spring the grounds are decorated with flowering cherry blossom trees.
- Hachinohe: Learn about the meticulous care and nurturing of cherry blossom trees from a cherry blossom doctor who ensures all cherry blossoms, from saplings to mature trees are healthy and thriving during the beautiful cherry blossom season.
- Tsugaru han Neputa Village: See the colourful decorations for the summer Neputa Festival and witness a private musical performance of Tsugaru Shamisen and Taiko, traditional Japanese guitar and drumming.
- Oirase Gorge: Join in a gentle nature walk through Hachimantai National Park.
- Tokyo: Join in panoramic sight-seeing of Tokyo, explore Ginza the shopping district also known as the Champs- Elysees of Tokyo.
- Kyoto: Enjoy a performance by a Maiko, an apprentice Geisha, as you savour a Highlight Lunch of traditional Kyo-Kaiseki cuisine made of seasonal ingredients.
- Tokyo: During a Your Choice Evening choose from two hand-picked restaurants, each specialising in local delicacies. Try Shabu-shabu which are hotpots of meat and vegetables or Teppan-yaki where rice, meats and vegetables are freshly cooked on a grill.
- Tokyo: Participate in a private sushi-making class in Tokyo and discover why it takes ten years to perfect this 2000-year-old Japanese art before sitting down to a freshly prepared Highlight Lunch.
- Tokyo: Enjoy a famous tea ceremony and watch as they show you the traditional art of making matcha green tea.
- Tokyo: Amid one of the most tranquil Japanese gardens in the heart of Tokyo, overlook Tokyo Tower and dine on local delicacies for your Celebration Dinner at the famous Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai.
- Dining Summary: 10 Breakfasts (B), 8 Lunches (L) and 5 Dinners with Wine (DW).
- Osaka: With over 100 years of hospitality experience, this five-star Imperial Hotel Osaka places you along the Okawa River in the heart of vibrant Osaka. Stay in the midst of one of Japan’s best cherry-blossom-viewing locations and enjoy a range of state-of-the-art facilities, including a luxury spa and fine-dining restaurants.
- Kyoto: Hotel Granvia Kyoto is more than a modern hotel located in the heart of Kyoto as it features over a thousand modern and traditional artworks by local, Kyoto-based artists.
- Tokyo: The grand Imperial Hotel Tokyo has welcomed royalty, heads of state and celebrities for over 120 years. Stay within walking distance of Tokyo’s most iconic attractions and enjoy award-winning dining, flawless Japanese hospitality and five-star facilities.
- Sendai: Old-world elegance and modern comforts combine to make the luxurious Westin Sendai an ideal oasis in the heart of the city, within your Superior Rooms.
- Oirase Gorge: Exclusively situated moments away from the serene Oirase Keiryu stream, this luxurious resort hotel offers spacious bedrooms, five-star facilities and easy access to natural hot springs situated in the nearby forest.
INCLUSIVE LUXURY GOLD SERVICES
- You will be escorted by one of our fine Travelling Concierges, handpicked to serve as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
- Luxury Gold is proud to offer various modes of transportation, from luxury coach to included train travel and more, so that you always travel in comfort and experience your journey and destination in the best possible and most appropriate way.
- Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary, available on departures with 15 or more guests.
- At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling, with prompt delivery inside your room.
- Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
- Stay connected with friends and family with hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
- From time to time, your Travelling Concierge will enchant you with a Luxury Gold Flourish, which is a local speciality representing the destination.
- Complimentary, private airport transfers are included on start and end dates and when additional accommodation has been booked through Luxury Gold. Complimentary, private train station transfers are included when train travel is included within the itinerary. Transfers to train stations or alternate hotels, in the same start or end city of the itinerary, may be requested but are not guaranteed.