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Splendors of Japan with Hiroshima & Takayama Festival

13 Days from $5,985 per person

Style: First Class | Pace: Active

Embrace the timeless tradition and modern spirit of Japan's iconic sites, relax in the soothing hot springs of Kotohira, contemplate world peace in Hiroshima and marvel at a captivating parade of festival floats on the streets of hillside Takayama.

Travel to Asia often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1.

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Overview

Embrace the timeless tradition and modern spirit of Japan's iconic sites, relax in the soothing hot springs of Kotohira, contemplate world peace in Hiroshima and marvel at a captivating parade of festival floats on the streets of hillside Takayama.

Travel to Asia often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1.

  1. Your in-depth exploration of Japan begins in Tokyo. 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 appetizers.

    meal(s):Welcome Reception
    hotel:New Otani Garden Tower
  2. We launch our city tour in the old-time entertainment center of Asakusa, where we'll encounter the Sensoji Buddhist Temple. One of Tokyo's most colorful 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, colorful 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.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  3. 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.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    hotel:Fuji Marriott Yamanakako
  4. This morning ascend Mt. Fuji by road to 7,550 feet at the 5th station before taking a ride up Mt. Tenjo on the Kachikachiyama Ropeway (both weather permitting), for jaw-dropping views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko. Continue your journey through the Japanese Alps to the hillside town of Takayama, before enjoying an early dinner at the hotel. Later dive into culture as the warm glow of lanterns beckons and with them, an opportunity to delve into centuries of tradition at the Yomatsuri Night-time Festival. Watch in wonder as ornate floats lit up by hundreds of lanterns parade through the streets to sounds of cheery bystanders, drums and jangling bells.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel:Associa Takayama Resort
  5. 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.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
  6. 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. Make a difference to the sustainability of this small business during your visit. 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.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  7. 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.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch
    hotel:Nikko Princess Kyoto
  8. 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, then enjoy a walking tour of the Gion area. This evening, we indulge in a festive Farewell Dinner with your Travel Director and fellow guests.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
  9. We leave Honshu behind, crossing the world's largest suspension bridge over the Seto Inland Sea to Awaji Island. Enjoy free time for lunch, then walk around Yumebutai, with its '100 Stepped Garden'—a group of 100 square gardens with flowers that bloom during each of the four seasons. 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 we'll stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan. We'll have some time this evening to climb the steps adjacent to the hotel to visit Kotohira-gu Shrine or take a relaxing soak in the onsen (hot spring) bath at our hotel.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel:Kotohira Grand Sakuranosho (ryokan)
  10. Our morning begins with a visit the Zentsuji Temple, birthplace of the high priest Kobo Daishi who was said to have founded the Shingon sect of Buddhism. We'll continue to Omishima Island and make a stop at a local restaurant for lunch. Driving to Hiroshima via the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido Expressway, we'll cross the individual bridges that link the islands of the Seto Inland Sea.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch
    hotel:Rihga Royal
  11. We travel by ferry to the sacred Miyajima Island, where we'll see the famous UNESCO-listed Itsukushima Shrine and elaborate torii gate that stand 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 savory pancake made with egg, cabbage, soba noodles, and meat, seafood or cheese, grilled in layers on a hot plate.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
  12. 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.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
    hotel:Sheraton Miyako Osaka
  13. Our encounter with Japan's centuries-old traditions and modern cityscapes at its end, we take a transfer by airport shuttle service to Kansai International Airport or Osaka Itami Airport for your onward flight.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
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  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

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  • Definite Departure
Start Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
6 Oct 19 18 Oct 19 $6,650$5,985pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 17 Request Quote Book Now

Cherry Blossom season varies between different regions of Japan and is dependent on weather conditions. Late March to mid April are the most likely times to experience it on this trip, but this is not guaranteed.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $1,280.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

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  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

Meal Summary

12 buffet breakfasts, 4 lunches, 7 dinners.

Included Highlights

Connect With Locals

  • A kaiseki lunch at a traditional Japanese ryokan home near Kyoto where you will learn about local customs

Dive into Culture

  • Join the locals at the Takayama Festival.
  • Sample Japanese sake during a walking tour in the Edo-style streets of Takayama Old Town.
  • Learn how local artisans make Japanese washi paper in the UNESCO village of Gokayama.
  • Sample the famous Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki.

Local Specialist

  • Sushi making in Tokyo, Gold Leaf painting in Kanazawa

Make A Difference

  • By supporting 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.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour of Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima
  • See the traditional Gassho-zukuri houses in Gokayama, the beautiful gardens of Kenrokuen in Kanazawa
  • View Mt. Fuji
  • Visit the Edo Tokyo Museum, the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, Mt. Fuji 5th Station, the Kinkakuji Temple, Sanjusangen-do Hall, Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, the Water Temple on Awaji Island, the Peace Memorial Park and Museum in Hiroshima, the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island
Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

Print Itinerary

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Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

Print Itinerary
  • U.S. citizens traveling to Japan must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering Japan.

  • The currency in Japan is the Yen. We recommend bringing a combination of debit and credit cards on your trip. It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before leaving the country.  You can pay by card at larger stores but small shops and markets will only accept cash. The most convenient way to obtain yen is by using your debit or ATM card to withdraw cash at local banks in Japan.  

  • One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine.  Japanese food offers an abundance of delights with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and regional traditions.  Rice, noodles, and miso soup are common staples.  You’ll find a variety of fish, which is often grilled, but also served raw in sushi or sashimi. Seafood and vegetables are also deep-fried as tempura.

  • We suggest bringing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that can be layered. Sturdy walking shoes are important for sightseeing excursions; a hat, lightweight jacket, and shawl or scarf could also come in handy. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • There is no custom of tipping at restaurants in Japan.  If you attempt leave a tip for your waiter it could very well be refused – or even perceived as an insult.  As such, it’s best to follow the local customs by not tipping on top of your bill. 

    It is, however, customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

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