The Pearls of Honshu Island

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274
15 days
Availability : All the year
TOKYO
TOKYO

Looking for a complete, both historical and spiritual voyage ? If you are a first or second-time traveler in Japan and you don’t want to let your desires go unmet, we have something for you. This trip includes all you need to have a real and deep experience of Japanese diversity.

  • Complete and rich in knowledge

The spiritual Miyajima, Nara, Takayama, Kanazawa… enjoy all of them and much more thanks to our curated selection and 2 private guided tours in Tokyo and Kyoto.

  • Relax time in Hakone

Enjoy one of the very best Japanese leisure that exists: onsen among the mountains…

Map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo - Yôkoso!

As soon as you land under the Rising Sun, your guide hands you vouchers, a pocket wifi device, train tickets and all you need for a comfortable trip. Don’t waste a moment and set off to explore Tokyo! Your first encounter with Japan will immediately seduce you. Stroll through the warm neighbourhoods of Shinbashi or Shibuya and revel in the famous street food of Tokyo while sampling yummy gyoza and steaming noodles.
 

Day 2: Tokyo, from Neon Lights to Lanterns

Here you are in Shinjuku, the temple of Japanese business which is worth a detour. The neighborhood invites you to stroll everywhere, like in the Golden Gai, where you can feel the unique atmosphere of Tokyo in the 1930s.

Your journey continues south towards Shibuya. Go ahead and visit the majestic Shinto site Meiji-jingu in the eccentric Harajuku district: a breath of fresh air in the capital and a shock of eras guaranteed! Modern Japan quickly catches you up. Let it surprise you. The excess of Tokyo also leads you to explore the favorite neighborhoods of Japanese youth like Akihabara.

Among the off-the-wall and kawaii-dressed youngsters, you notice many trendy boutiques and cafes whose offbeat themes surprise you. You can try to understand this Tokyo at the antipodes of our Western cities by discovering a maid cafe!

Are you going to have tea with the owls and the cats? Or a bowl of steaming noodles between neon lights and lanterns?

 

Day 3: Tokyo, the soul of Japan

Visit the main temple of Tokyo, the Sensô-ji, whose large vermilion gate is a symbol of the Asakusa district and shows you how alive Edo is. We suggest you walk the shopping street of Nakamise and its 200 metres of craft shops among the Tokyoti people. Quickly, modern Japan will catch you! Let it surprise and drive you to visit the favourite districts of the Japanese youth, Akihabara, Shibuya and Harajuku. Take the time to live in Tokyo between neon lights, lanterns and steaming noodles.
 

Day 4: Kanazawa - the Last Samurai

Today, you take the shinkansen towards Kanazawa. You will feel the nostalgia of old Japan by strolling its numerous historical streets. Let’s wander in Kenrokuen Garden, considered by many to be the most beautiful garden in Japan. Nostalgia will pursue you to the Geisha district of Higashi Chaya. Savour some freshly caught fish, carved by the hands of sushi and sashimi masters in the central Omicho market.
 

Day 5: Takayama - the Pearl of the Japanese Alps

Take the bus to the charming town of Takayama in the middle of the Japanese Alps. Start strolling along the river right away and make the most of the local market and its various mountain products. Feel like a samurai! In the afternoon, go visit the traditional alleys where plenty of sake distilleries await – you won’t be able to refuse a drink! Tonight, you enjoy an immersive stay in a traditional ryokan where the water of the thermal bath heals your body and soul.

Day 6: Takayama and Its Thatched Roofs

People of Takayama are proud of the World Heritage status they received for all the cultural treasures like Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum with many traditional houses with interesting architecture. Takayama’s massive farmhouses are named after their steep thatched roofs which resemble a pair of hands joined in prayer gassho. They were moved here from nearby Shirakawago village that you can also reach by a little local bus.
 

Day 7: Kyoto - The Fushimi Inari God greets you !

Kyoto is full of spiritual wonders. With Zen, Shintô, Shingon schools coexisting in the city, each of them have their own emblematic places of worship. Head to the famous Fushimi Inari, the largest Shinto shrine in the archipelago, built more than 13 centuries ago. As you admire the thousands of vermilion torii that form a path winding the hill, you understand how important Inari Ookami, deity of cereals, rice, industry and trade, is in Japan.
 

Day 8: Kyoto's Western Jewels

Let’s head to Arashiyama, home to the bamboo forest and Tenryu-ji temple. A walk along the Katsura river gives you an overview of Japanese poetry and art-de-vivre. Let’s move towards the Kinkaku-ji “Golden Pavilion” where the golden glow is reflected in a zen pond. `Finally, the “Ryoan-ji” zen garden, will impress you with its famous stone garden. For those who prefer to find some calm, we recommend the peaceful Daitoku-ji temple to end the day.
 

Day 9: Excursion to Nara, the first capital and kingdom of deers

Close to Kyoto is located the very first capital of Japan. Hosted by the local cervids, we begin with a visit of the park where the main sights of the city are located. Many temples and shrines await you ! For the more sporty of you, the ascension of the Mount Wakasuka offers a great challenge and a magnificent view of the city. For the gourmet, we recommand the ropeway plus a sweet break in the old district of “Nara-machi”. Enjoy the lovely wooden houses that plunge you back into old Japan.
 

Day 10: Kyoto - The Hidden Treasures of The East

Spend the morning in the Ginkaku-ji Pavilion stone garden before losing yourself along the old canal bordered by hundreds of cherry trees at the Nanzen-ji temple. The alley, known as the Philosophers Path, takes you to the Heian Jingû Shrine. In Teramachi, the heart of the imperial capital, dozens of merchants will offer you a sample of their signature dishes from their stalls while in the Nishiki Market. Considered to be some of the best food in Kyoto, you have to try!
 

Day 11: Hiroshima and Bound for Miyajima

The bullet train takes you to a place rich in emotions with a heavy history: Hiroshima. Sadly famous for being the first city in the world to be hit by an atomic bomb, Hiroshima has rebuilt itself with an energy and dynamism that will move and surprise you. You visit the Peace Memorial Park and its museum where you will be saddened by the photos of the tragedy but confident in Japan’s commitment to peace. Tonight you will go to Miyajima to experience a change of atmosphere!
 

Day 12: Torii in Miyajima

As soon as the sun rises, you witness the spectacle of the famous Itsukushima shrine that seems to float on the inland sea. This panorama is considered to be one of the three most beautiful views in Japan. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can understand why facing its majestic vermilion torii. Afterwards, climb Mount Misen. The short hike can be sweeter by cable car, you will still be stunned by the magnificent panorama of Hiroshima Bay.
 

Day 13: Hakone: on the way to the baths!

Let’s have some fun! You will travel in the morning to Hakone where you will experience one of the Japanese’s favourite hobbies, the onsen. These natural hot springs are scattered all over the archipelago and preserve the vitality of Japanese people since the dawn of time. Hakone thermal baths have the particularity to offer, in case of good weather, a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji. Enjoy a walk at the Hakone Open Air Museum and the village filled with charming inns and old bath houses !
 

Day 14: Last Night in Tokyo: The city of all possibilities

Free day! Free to lose yourself in the excessiveness of the capital and the multitude of activities it offers. You can visit museums, temples & gardens, go shopping, discover amazing cuisine and crafts, dive into the heart of manga or samurai culture … or simply stroll through the full-of-contrasts small streets of Tokyo where old the temples rub shoulders with skyscrapers. The city that never sleeps might also seduce the noctambules among you. Gather your last memories !
 
 

Day 15: Sayônara Tokyo - We already miss you :)

We hope you enjoyed your stay in Japan, between temples and skyscrapers. Have you gathered unforgettable memories ? See you soon for another spiritual and traditional trip that could lead to exploring the Kumanokodo trail or Nikkô this time …  
 
 

Budget

Includes

  • 14 Nights Hotel Accommodation
  • 14 breakfasts and 6 dinners
  • Your personal road book
  • Rental of a wifi router
  • Transfer by public transport from the airport to the hotel with an English-speaking guide
  • Japan Rail Pass for 14 days
  • Contactless card for ground transporation with a charge of 1500JPY
  • An english-speaking guide in Kyoto for the whole day (8h)
  • An english-speaking guide in Tokyo for the whole day (8h)

Excludes

  • International flights
  • Entrances to sites other than those mentioned as included
  • Meals, except those mentioned as included, as well as drinks
  • Transport other than that mentioned as included (taxis, ferry ...)
  • Tourist tax, between 100 and 500 yen per night and per person, collected on site in cash in hotels in major cities
  • The thermal tax, about 150 yen per night and per person, collected in thermal cities in cash
  • The amount to be paid in cash for baggage shipments (see above luggage delivery slip)
  • (Optional) Concierge service 7/7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help you book certain services and activities (except restaurants, be careful, some establishments may refuse reservations)
  • Your personal expenses
  • Tips (mainly for non-Japanese guide or assistants)
  • Insurance (repatriation, cancellation)