14 DAYS ●
Japan is a country of contrasts, where ancient gods rub shoulders with modern technology, skyscrapers give way to paddy fields and crowds disperse into the tranquillity of a classical garden. This tour is the perfect introduction to this fascinating archipelago.
Ascend Japan's iconic and inspirational highest mountain
Stop in amazement at the dramatic flair of the Matsumoto Castle
Explore this authentic Japanese town known as the 'thousand-year capital'
Meander through the 10,000 red torri arches of this stunning shrine
Our Discover Japan itinerary has been intricately designed for those who wish to see iconic sites and magnificent treasures. You'll travel with the assurance that all your arrangements are taken care of, with international flights, accommodation and all the touring listed below. You will be accompanied by our industry-leading National Escorts whose unparalleled knowledge and talent will turn your tour into an unforgettable experience.
Fly to Tokyo, Japan's capital, for a two-night stay. Tokyo was once known as Edo and was a small fishing town. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Head to the top of Tokyo Skytree for sweeping views of the city. Next, visit Asakusa and wander through Nakamise shopping street and Senso-ji Temple, one of Tokyo’s most colourful and popular temples. Enjoy lunch and stop at the Imperial Palace to view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. This afternoon, stroll through the Hamarikyu Gardens and in the evening, enjoy a dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay.
Take the super-fast bullet train to Odawara for a boat trip on Ashi Lake, which gives spectacular panoramas of this beautiful area before venturing up the Komagatake Ropeway for amazing views back over the lake and Mt Fuji. Heading up to the 5th Station (weather permitting), take in the breathtaking views over the Fuji Five Lakes below.
This morning, drive 2 hours to Nagano to explore the formidable 16th century Matsumoto Castle. There are steep ladder-style steps in the Matsumoto Castle that you must climb up and back down again. If you choose not to look inside the castle, you can enjoy the surrounding gardens, moat and architecture of Matsumoto Castle. After lunch, stop at a Miso House to learn about the process of making this Japanese seasoning. Try Miso soup before travelling a further 2 and a half hours to Takayama, nestled high in the mountainous Hida region
Wander to the Miyagawa morning market and sample some of the region’s fruit and vegetables. Later you will visit traditional houses and local museums, including the Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, Kusakabe Folk Museum and the Takayama Jinya. Enjoy some free time to explore the local shopping streets, which date back to the 17th century.
Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage listed village, Shirakawago, famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Try your hand at making traditional Japanese washi paper before continuing to Kanazawa. On arrival, wander through the beautiful Kenroku-en, one of the 'Three Great Gardens of Japan', before checking in to your hotel
This morning, learn the process of how gold leaf is made and applied to everyday objects. Try it for yourself by decorating a pair of chopsticks and take your newly created artwork home! Later, stroll down the traditional Higashi Chaya (Eastern Teahouse District), visiting Ochaya Shima – a historical geisha house. After lunch, drive 4 hours to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Kyoto was capital for a thousand years; today it is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens. This morning, head to a restored Japanese wooden townhouse and try your hand at origami and enjoy the rituals of a tea ceremony. In the afternoon, visit Ryoanji Temple, which means 'temple of the peaceful dragon', and the famous Kinkakuji, a Zen temple known as the 'Golden Pavilion'.
Visit the unforgettable Fushimi Inaritaisha Shrine, which features in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. It is famous for its thousands of orange torii gates and is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, and you will see many fox statues here. Later travel to Nara, a charming town virtually untouched by the ravages of modernity. Home to much early art and architecture, you will stroll through Nara Park to Todai-ji Temple, meeting the resident Sika deer en route, before exploring Isui-en Gardens.
The holy mountain of Koyasan is home to a cluster of over a hundred monasteries nestled in a valley enclosed by peaks said to resemble a lotus flower. Full of atmosphere, savour the tranquillity and spectacular views as you discover Kongobu-ji Temple and the Garan Temple complex before wandering around Okunoin – a vast forest cemetery of 200,000 stupas. Continue on to Osaka.
This morning, visit the famous Osaka Castle before taking a stroll around the Dotonbori district, a restaurant mecca, where you can sample delicious local delicacies. Next, enjoy a 20-minute cruise along the Yodogawa River. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure before a farewell dinner this evening
Fly to New Zealand, arriving home the following day. (B)
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. Our tour prices are from prices based on per person, twin share and are subject to the availability of specific economy class fare levels. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal.
New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to travel to Japan. Other passport holders should arrange visas well in advance of departure, if required. Please note that a visa will be required for the China section of our Ancient Empires of China & Japan tour.
While travelling overseas, the Wendy Wu Tours contact number during business hours is +64 9 975 8117. Emergency Assistance (24-hours) is 0044 1888 288 288. You will find mobile phone coverage to be quite high throughout Asia. We recommend contacting your mobile carrier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated call and data costs before you leave New Zealand. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi, which usually comes at a cost.
Tipping is not part of the culture in Japan and therefore is not required during our tours in Japan, but if you would like to show your appreciation, you can do so in local currency. Note that tipping is customary in South Korea and China and for the tours that include those countries, a customary tipping amount is indicated.
Shopping is a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure. In keeping with most people’s interests while on holiday, your tour includes a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs. Included are visits to establishments that provide locally produced goods, unique to your destination. Witness the creation of these products, and see first-hand how their production supports the local economy. As most travellers like to take home souvenirs, we ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity.
We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or too unusual. Breakfast at your hotel includes local and western dishes. In remote areas, we suggest embracing local specialities. Bento boxes are a common lunch option. A traditional bento contains rice, seafood or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables. Drinks such as beer, soft drinks or bottled water are at your own expense locally.
At Wendy Wu Tours we are all avid adventurers, constantly seeking out the best ways for you to experience Asia. That's why we are Asia experts and New Zealand's leading Asia tour operator - our customer reviews and numerous awards say it all. This website is all about showcasing both Asia's top sights and its magnificent hidden gems; about the plethora of different types of authentic and exciting experiences that we can offer you; and about giving you the very best holiday, whether it's your first visit or your 10th.
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Wendy Wu Tours offers the best selection of tours to Asia, Central and South America.
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