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Splendors of Japan with Hiroshima and Takayama Festival

Operated by: Trafalgar

13 Days from $7,225 per person
OCT 2023 - APR 2024
Japan Kyoto Maikos Women

Countries Visited

Japan ...more Japan

Locations Visited

Tokyo, Yamanakako, Takayama, Gokayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Kotohira, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Osaka ...more Tokyo, Yamanakako, Takayama, Gokayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Kotohira, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Osaka
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Entry Guide

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  1. Day 1 Konnichiwa Tokyo

    Your in-depth exploration of Japan begins in Tokyo. On arrival at Narita or Haneda Airport, take a shuttle bus transfer to your centrally located hotel, where you’ll join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetisers.

    meals Welcome Reception
    hotel New Otani Garden Tower
  2. Day 2 Explore Vibrant Tokyo

    We launch our City Tour in the old-time entertainment centre of Asakusa, where we'll encounter the Sensoji Buddhist Temple. One of Tokyo's most colourful and popular temples, Sensoji has been rebuilt countless times since it was founded in 628, making it Tokyo's oldest temple site. Strolling down Nakamise next, we immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of shitamachi (downtown Tokyo), admiring the wooden dolls, colourful chiyogami (origami paper) and traditional Japanese sweets. We'll ascend Tokyo Skytree, the world's highest free-standing broadcasting tower for panoramic views of the city, then enjoy the rest of the day at leisure or on an Optional Experience where a professional stylist will dress you in a traditional Japanese kimono.

    meals Breakfast
  3. Day 3 Off to the Five Lakes District

    Our first stop today is the Imperial Palace Plaza from where the two bridges that form the entrance to the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace can be viewed. We'll have the opportunity to explore the leafy Imperial Palace East Gardens before continuing our City Tour. At the Edo-Tokyo Museum, we delve into the history and culture of Tokyo’s Edo era, then continue to the Ginza district where we’ll learn how to make sushi with a Local Specialist. We venture to the Five Lakes District next, keeping a keen eye out for the UNESCO listed Mt. Fuji which dominates the landscape.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    hotel Fuji Marriott Yamanakako
  4. Day 4 Majestic Mt. Fuji and Timeless Takayama

    Visit Oshino Hakkai, a small rural village in the Fuji Five Lakes district, renowned for eight natural spring water ponds that are fed by melted snow from Mt. Fuji. Admire the reflections of the sky and landscapes in its clear waters, then ascend Mt. Fuji by road to 2,300 metres at the 5th station. Ride up Mt. Tenjo on the Kachikachiyama Ropeway next, for jaw-dropping views (weather permitting) of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko. Then, journey through the Japanese Alps to the beautiful hillside town of Takayama, before enjoying dinner at the hotel.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Associa Takayama Resort
  5. Day 5 Join the locals at the Takayama Festival

    Immerse yourself in tradition as you walk through the Edo-style streets of Takayama's Old Town. Indulge in a lunch of Japanese Hida-gyu – beef from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed, renowned as one of the finest quality varieties of beef. After lunch, immerse yourself in the town’s festive atmosphere. Admire the intricately carved yatai (floats) that date back to the 17th century and feature karakuri ningyo (marionettes) which move and dance as their strings are managed by the tsunakata (puppeteers). Later, return to the hotel by coach.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch
  6. Day 6 Experience Gokayama and On To Kanazawa

    Journey back in time this morning during a visit to the peaceful UNESCO-listed Gokayama, a mountain village set amidst five valleys. Admire the unique construction of the local Gassho-zukuri wooden houses that have been built without the use of nails with steeply sloped thatched roofs to prevent snow from building up on them. Later Dive Into Culture observing local artisans making washi paper and trying your hand at making your own. This MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience contributes to the sustainability of this small business. Then, continue to Kanazawa and take a short walk through the Omicho market and enjoy an insider’s view of everyday life in a busy coastal town. Next, visit the gardens of Kenroku-en, shaped over a hundred years before continuing with a visit to a Local Specialist to learn the secrets of painting gold leaf. Stay overnight in Kanazawa.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Kanazawa Tokyu
  7. Day 7 Onwards to Kyoto

    We board an Express train this morning to Kyoto, where we’ll Connect With Locals at a traditional ryokan, built in 1932 to serve as the second residence of Emperor Akihito’s uncle. We’ll enjoy a Be My Guest lunch and learn about local Japanese customs as our hosts welcome us into their beautiful home. After lunch, we visit the UNESCO-listed Kinkakuji Temple with its famous Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion), the proud symbol of Kyoto and a Zen temple, which has its origins as a 14th century villa.

    meals Breakfast, Be My Guest
    hotel Nikko Princess
  8. Day 8 Discover Enchanting Kyoto

    The blazing orange torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine guide our path through the forest, up into the mountains and to a sacred site that has heard prayers for prosperity and happiness since the 8th century. We continue to Sanjusangen-do Hall and admire the minute detail of each of its 1,001 “thousand-handed” goddesses of mercy statues, then enjoy a walking tour of the Gion area. This evening, we indulge in a dinner with your Travel Director and fellow guests.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
  9. Day 9 Cross the Seto Island Sea to Awaji Island

    This morning we leave Japan’s main island Honshu behind, crossing the world’s largest suspension bridge over the Seto Inland Sea to Awaji Island. Enjoy free time for lunch, then take a walk around Yumebutai, a complex of buildings built on the side of the mountain. One of the most striking features is the ‘100 Stepped Garden’ — a group of 100 flowerbeds in small square gardens on an incline and arranged in grids spread over several levels. Visit the Water Temple and admire the reflection of the surrounding mountains, rice paddies and bamboo groves as you descend the steps to the Buddhist temple beneath its still waters. Journey to the small mountain hot springs village of Kotohira where our accommodation tonight is one of Trafalgar's Stays With Stories - a traditional Japanese ryokan. We’ll have some time this evening to climb the steps adjacent to the hotel to visit Kotohira-gu Shrine and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Later perhaps take a relaxing soak in the onsen (hot spring) bath at our hotel.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Kotohira Grand Sakuranosho Ryokan
  10. Day 10 Spiritual Kotohira and Onwards to Hiroshima

    This morning visit the Zentsuji Temple, birthplace of one of the most revered figures of Japanese Buddhism, the high priest Kobo Daishi. It is the 75th temple on the 88 temple Shikoku Pilgrimage, which covers approximately 1,200 kilometres and was traditionally done on foot taking up to 60 days to complete. It is still done by many people today although modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles or motorcycles. Continue to Omishima Island and make a stop at a local restaurant for lunch. Drive to Hiroshima via the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido Expressway, a 60-kilometre highway that links the islands of the Seto Inland Sea with nine individual bridges. Check into your hotel for a relaxing evening.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch
    hotel Rihga Royal
  11. Day 11 Set Sail for Miyajima Island

    We travel by ferry to the sacred Miyajima Island, where we’ll see the famous UNESCO-listed Itsukushima Shrine and elaborate torii gate that stands majestically in the sea. After some free time for lunch and to explore the island’s spiritual sanctuaries, we return to Hiroshima for a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Imagine the devastation and horror that followed the world’s first atomic explosion in 1945 as you see the UNESCO-listed Peace Memorial, the only structure left standing in the area and an expression of hope for world peace. This evening, we’ll indulge in Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake made with egg, cabbage, soba noodles, and meat, seafood or cheese, grilled in layers on a hot plate.

    meals Breakfast, Regional Dinner
  12. Day 12 High Speed Bullet Train to Osaka

    Board the high-speed bullet train to Osaka this morning and enjoy some free time for lunch and shopping in the Dotonbori Street area. Visit Osaka Castle, which played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. This evening, join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

    meals Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
    hotel Sheraton Miyako
  13. Day 13 Sayonara Osaka

    Our encounter with Japan's centuries-old traditions and modern cityscapes at its end, take a transfer by airport shuttle service to Kansai International Airport, or Osaka Itami Airport for your onward flight.

    meals Breakfast
Splendors of Japan with Hiroshima - Celebrate the Takayama Festival
Price Includes

Dining Highlights

  • 1 Be My Guest
  • 1 Welcome Reception
  • 12 Breakfasts
  • 3 Lunches
  • 4 Dinners
  • 1 Regional Dinners
  • 1 Farewell Dinner

First class travel Highlights

  • An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
  • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
  • All porterage and restaurant gratuities
  • All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
  • Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals
  • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
  • Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
  • Optional Experiences and free time

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Explore Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima
  • Visit the Sensoji Temple, the Skytree Observation Tower, the Edo Tokyo Museum in Tokyo, Mt. Fuji 5th Station, the Kinkakuji Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine and Sanjusangen-do Hall in Kyoto, the Water Temple on Awaji Island, Zentsuji Temple, the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island, the Peace Memorial Park and Museum in Hiroshima and Osaka Castle
  • View Mt. Fuji
  • See the traditional Gassho-zukuri houses in Gokayama, the beautiful gardens of Kenrokuen in Kanazawa
  • Connect with Locals Enjoy a kaiseki lunch at a traditional Japanese ryokan home near Kyoto where you will learn about local customs.
  • Dive into Culture Learn how local artisans make Japanese washi paper in the UNESCO village of Gokayama.
  • Dive into Culture Join the locals at the Takayama Festival.
  • Dive into Culture Sample the famous Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.
  • MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Help support a local business with a visit to a washi paper workshop. You'll watch the family at work, and test your paper-making skills for yourself.
  • Stays with Stories Enjoy genuine Japanese hospitality at a traditional ryokan in the mountain hot springs village of Kotohira.

Dates & Prices

Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.

Online Booking Process

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October 2023
AARP Members Save $100
Oct 6 Fri
Oct 18 Wed
AARP Members Save $100
DOUBLE OCCUPANCY PRICE/PERSON
$7,225
April 2024
AARP Members Save $100
Apr 11 Thu
Apr 23 Tue
AARP Members Save $100
DOUBLE OCCUPANCY PRICE/PERSON
$7,450
Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Trusted Customer
Monday, July 1, 2019
Service
Highly experienced, gracious, effective. I would recommend good word around.
Vacation
I'm fascinated by the high service, help provided all over. The sightseeing grandiose, variety of food healthy and tasty. I'll keep vivid, pleasant memories.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We are so happy that you enjoyed your latest trip to Japan. We also appreciate your loyalty and repeat business. Thank you
Monday, July 1, 2019
Trusted Customer
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Service
We had credit from previous trip to Europe that my husband couldn’t make it, Alyssa helped us apply credit to our trip to Japan. Thank you for making it easy for us!
Vacation
It was an excellent trip to Japan. We have not only the cities the towns but the culture and history! Suzuki San, our tour guide for all 9 days, is so lovely, helpful and well organized. All bus drivers we had are good and very polite. Hotels choices are excellent! As a Buddhist, we would love at least one big Buddha in Japan but we didn’t!
Samuel Bass
Monday, April 15, 2019
Service
Booking was easy, with good recommendations, and worked out well
Vacation
Overall Japan was a disappointment. . Too modern with little history other than temples and Hiroshima. Did not like the food at all.
Trusted Customer
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Service
This was second trip I've taken- and everything was well organized and a great value!
Vacation
Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Everything was as hoped for!
Trusted Customer
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Service
It was a great trip. We saw major highlights of more than 10 cities/towns (large and small) across Japan from Tokyo to Hiroshima. It was a wonderful, educational and fun experience. Learned to make washi paper as well as sushi. Ate authentic Japanese meals. Visited Fuji mountain, numerous shrines and temples, beautiful gardens and rural areas with 200 year old thatched roof homes. Traveled on tour buses, express train and bullet train. Japanese tour guide was very knowledgeable with nice personality. I am not a big shopper, so the only negative thing was too much time allotted for shopping in various cities. Could have used that time to tour more areas.
Vacation
no information on purchases.
Trusted Customer
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Service
I took a Trafalgar tour package of Europe 20 years ago, and I was displeased with the trip. I was especially unhappy about the numerous optional experiences. If you wanted a complete tour, you had to pay an additional large amount. My experience of this tour of Japan was a very pleasant surprise. I will not hesitate to take another trip.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you so much for giving us another chance. We are so happy that you enjoyed Japan, Grand European Travel
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Vacation
It was a very enjoyable trip. I had only one objection, and that was the visit to the Okonomiyaki Museum. It was totally a commercial purpose, and almost all the persons on this tour agreed with this explanation. And by the way, the description of this activity in our travel itinerary had a total of eight lines, but the same paragraph gave the Peace Memorial Park a mere two lines. Did Trafalgar Company receive a monetary reward for bringing travelers to this facility?
Trusted Customer
Friday, May 27, 2016
Service
While contact person was pretty good, the air department appeared lacking. They told me to review flights and let them know what I wanted; I thought it was their purpose to research and provide the best flights. Everything did turn out quite well.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for your valuable feedback. We're sorry to hear about the difficulty booking your flights with us. We do try to find the perfect fit when it comes to flight arrangements and will often ask for more input form our Guests when there several options available. It sounds as if you had a wonderful time once you arrived. Grand European Travel
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Vacation
The hotels, locations visited and food included were all excellent. The tour guide was extremely informative about every subject and included a visit to a high point for views on one of the islands. The pace was perfect and not rushed with a perfect group size. A very enjoyable tour in every respect.
Trusted Customer
Friday, October 23, 2015
Service
Hotels were better than expected. While we've traveled with GE before, this was actually our first experience with Trafalgar. Impressed with accommodations.
Vacation
Our Guide, Kimiko Tsukushi, made the trip an awesome experience. This will rank among our favorite trips.
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