The ultimate tour for those wishing to combine the very best of two ancient nations. Join us on an incredible journey from Beijing to Tokyo by road, boat, rail and air on this epic three-week tour!
Our Ancient Empires of China & Japan tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine.
Walk along this incredible wall, one of the modern great wonders
Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo on the stunning Li River
Discover the vibrant, forward-thinking city of Hiroshima
Witness the fusion of past and present on a city tour in Japan's capital
Our Ancient Empires of China & Japan Tour has been thoughtfully designed and thoroughly researched to bring you a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, many of which are entirely exclusive to us.
Ascend to the observation deck of the new Orizuru Tower. Rising high above Hiroshima it offers beautiful views over the Peace Memorial Park, the A-Bomb Dome and the city as a whole.
Wander through the delightful Bikan Historical Quarter, stretched along Kurashiki’s Edo Period canals, taking in the picturesque scenes of weeping willows, old stone bridges and lovely, traditional architecture.
Venture into Beijing's atmospheric old neighbourhoods, the hutongs, exploring the narrow alleyways and visiting the traditional courtyard house of a family, who will give you a glimpse into their daily life.
Fly to China’s historical capital, Beijing. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
This morning is dedicated to China’s most iconic sight – the Great Wall. Taking a walk on this incredible structure is the best way to appreciate the sheer magnificence of the wall itself and the dramatic scenery that surrounds it. In the afternoon, enjoy the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace. End the day enjoying a traditional Peking Duck dinner.
Begin the day soaking up the harmonious ambience of the glorious Temple of Heaven where you can mingle with the locals and watch or participate as they practise Tai Chi, dance or play cards. Next, walk through the hutong neighbourhood and visit a family at home, to learn about life living in the hutongs. Later, head to Beijing’s symbolic heart, Tiananmen Square, before entering the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City to explore this complex full of imperial riches.
Board the bullet train to the ancient city of Xian. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Shui Jiao dumpling dinner and a lively Tang Dynasty dance show.
After their fortuitous discovery in the 1970s, the Terracotta Army of China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, has intrigued visitors ever since. Spend the morning viewing the enigmatic ranks of life-sized warriors, followed by a visit to the workshop of the craftsmen who recreate them. Later, stroll on the beautifully preserved 14th century city walls that enclose Xian’s old town.
Visit the Little Wild Goose Pagoda and then fly to the beautiful city of Guilin.
Take a relaxed cruise along the Li River to the charming town of Yangshuo. Around every river bend is a view to take your breath away as jagged karst peaks tower over rural scenes of lush greenery, grazing buffalo and local fishermen. Here, enjoy some time strolling along West Street and visit the local markets.
Return to Guilin. En route, see the colourful stalagmites and stalactites of Reed Flute Cave and visit the South China Pearl Factory.
Begin today with a stroll around Ronghu Lake and admire the Sun and Moon Pagodas – two towering examples of traditional Chinese Buddhist architecture before flying to the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai, also known as the ‘Paris of the East’.
Shanghai is China’s great metropolis, where east and west collide on streets lined with futuristic skyscrapers and 10th century temples. Start with a visit to the peaceful Yu Garden, pass through the old town and visit a Silk Factory. View the city at night from the Huangpu River on a panoramic cruise.
It’s time to say goodbye to China and hello to Japan! Fly to the vibrant city of Osaka.
Explore Osaka Castle, take a short cruise along the Yodogawa River and stroll through vibrant Dotonbori, a restaurant mecca, where you can sample local delicacies for lunch. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore this fascinating city.
Transfer by bullet train to Okayama and visit Korakuen Garden, one of the three great gardens of Japan. Continue to Kurashiki to explore the beautifully-preserved Bikan Historical Quarter, where the streets along the banks of the Kurashiki River are lined with white-walled kominka (traditional houses).
Hop on a ferry to the holy island of Miyajima and visit Itsukushima Shrine. After lunch, return to Hiroshima and find a moment to reflect at the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, paying homage to the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing. Later, ascend to the observation deck of Orizuru Tower and enjoy the panoramic views.
Transfer by bullet train to Kyoto, Japan’s imperial capital for 1,000 years. Visit Ryoanji Temple, home to Japan’s most famous Zen garden and Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the ‘Golden Pavilion’.
Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, remarkable for its 10,000 torii gates and then head to Nishiki Market, also known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’ with its lively open-air market specialising in all things food! Also visit a restored wooden Japanese townhouse to experience the rituals of a tea ceremony and try your hand at the traditional art of origami.
Transfer by bullet train to Hakone. Upon arrival, enjoy a boat trip on Lake Ashi before venturing up the Komagatake Ropeway where the views of the surrounding landscape and Mt Fuji are breathtaking, but weather dependent of course! Later, continue to Tokyo, Japan’s capital city.
Tokyo is the ultimate 24-hour city, but look behind its frantic, high-tech frontage and you will find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore. Begin at the observation deck of the 634-metre Skytree, before wandering through the old district of Asakusa. Stop to explore the ancient Buddhist Sensoji Temple and drive past the Imperial Palace Plaza. Later, soak up the atmosphere at the peaceful Meiji Jingu Shrine. End your tour with a dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay.
Fly to New Zealand, arriving home the same or following day.
We draw from a wide range of hotels on our holidays, each one is chosen to suit the tour you are travelling on meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. Here are some examples of the type of hotel you can expect to find on this tour.
Places Visited: Beijing (3N) - Xian (2N) - Guilin (1N + 1 N) - Yangshuo (1N) - Shanghai (2N) - Osaka (2N) - Okayama - Kurashiki - Hiroshima (2N) - Miyajima - Kyoto (2N) - Mt Fuji - Tokyo (2N)
If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs or you prefer travelling with your own personal guide, contact us to arrange this as a Private Tour.
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There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.
Extend your holiday or break up your journey with one of our extensions and stopovers. Choose from city breaks or some beach time, or spend more time in your chosen destination.
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