22 DAYS ●
For those where time is no limit, this is the ultimate top-to-toe tour of Japan covering three islands in one trip – Kyushu, Honshu and Hokkaido whilst travelling on the bullet train! Experience ancient traditions to new-world charm.
Our Japan by Rail 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 overnight to the charming city of Fukuoka, the gateway to the island of Kyushu. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Begin the day by travelling on the limited express train to Nagasaki. Upon arrival, enjoy a stroll through the Glover Garden, an open-air museum that exhibits mansions attributed to the Scottish merchant who contributed to the modernisation of Japan. Also, visit the Oura Catholic Church and Atomic Bomb Museum before returning to Fukuoka.
Board the bullet train to Hiroshima located on Japan's largest island, Honshu. Upon arrival in Hiroshima, take the ferry across the Seto Inland Sea to the holy island of Miyajima. Here, visit the Itsukushima Shrine and enjoy a momiji manju making cooking experience. Later, return to Hiroshima.
Spend the day in Hiroshima starting with a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Museum where you will have the opportunity to pay homage to the victims of the 1945 atomic bomb. Enjoy okonomiyaki for lunch before ascending Orizuru Tower to view the city from above, followed by a stroll through the historical Shukkeien Garden.
Depart Hiroshima by bullet train, stopping at Himeji to visit the magnificent Himeji Castle, followed by a walk through Kokoen. Continue by limited express to Osaka.
Begin the day with a visit to the Umeda Sky Building followed by a lunch at the famous Dontonburi district. Later, head to Nara and explore Todaiji Temple which houses the impressive Daibutsu, a 15-metre tall bronze statue of Buddha. Enjoy an ink making and calligraphy class before returning to Osaka.
Journey by road to Kyoto. Capital for 1,000 years, this enchanting city is the epitome of traditional Japan. Upon arrival, stroll through the Arashiyama bamboo forest and admire the towering thickets. Also visit Ryoanji Temple, home to Japan's most well-known zen garden and the famous 'Golden Pavilion' Kinkakuji Temple.
The day begins with a visit to Kiyomizu Temple temple in Kyoto. Next, immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy the age-old rituals of a tea ceremony, and try your hand at fan painting. Also, explore Gion – Kyoto's famous geisha district and centre of the city's traditional arts.
Take the limited express train to Kanazawa and upon arrival, meander your way through Kenrokuen, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Also visit the Nomura Samurai House and Kunani Pottery Factory.
Travel by road to Takayama stopping en route at Inami for a sake wooden cup making experience and sake tasting. Next, continue to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shirakawago Village to get a glimpse of rural Japan. Continue to Takayama.
Spend the morning browsing the local handicrafts and fresh produce at Miyagawa market, the Takayama Floats Museum and Takayama Jinya. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
Travel to Matsumoto and spend time at the Daio Wasabi Farm to see the plantations and learn about its cultivation. Next, travel to Yudanaka and head to Jigokudani Monkey Park. Walk through a picturesque forested valley to the hot pools where you will see the famous Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) bathe and play before returning to Matsumoto.
Begin the day with a visit to the magnificent 16th-century Matsumoto Castle, also known as 'Crow Castle', due to its intense black exterior. Next, head to a miso house and learn about the process of making this famous Japanese seasoning. Experience zen meditation at Narai-juku before continuing to Suwa.
Travel to Hakone and ascend 2,400 metres to the 5th Station (weather permitting) for magnificent views of Mt Fuji. Also, enjoy a peaceful cruise on Lake Ashi before taking to the skies on the Komagatake Ropeway. Later, continue to Tokyo by road.
Begin the day with a stroll through Hamarikyu Gardens. Next, take part in a sushi making class and enjoy your own creations for lunch! Later, soak up the atmosphere at Sensoji Temple, browse the stalls on Nakamise shopping street and take a drive-by of the Imperial Palace Plaza before returning to your hotel.
Begin the day by ascending to the Tokyo Metropolitan Observatory deck and soaking up the atmosphere at the peaceful Meiji Jingu Shrine. After lunch, see the world's most famous road crossing at Shibuya. You will have the afternoon free at your leisure to explore this exciting city.
As the tour journeys to northern Honshu, board the bullet train to Sendai, the largest city in Tohoku. Upon arrival, transfer by road to Matsushima and enjoy a cruise on Matsushima Bay. Also, visit Zuiganji Temple and the famous Nikka Whisky factory in Sendai.
Say goodbye to Honshu Island as you board the bullet train to Hakodate located on Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island. Visit the Goryokaku Tower, a star shaped fortress followed by some time at leisure. This evening, journey on the Mt Hakodate Ropeway and enjoy the fabulous views of the city below.
Board the bullet train for the very last time to Sapporo. Head to the Clock Tower and Odori Park and in the evening, stop by the Sapporo Beer Museum and enjoy a tasting or two, followed by a farewell dinner.
Fly to New Zealand, arriving home the following day.
Our tour prices are from prices based on per person, twin share and are subject to the availability. 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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