A tale of three iconic cities and three former capitals.
A tale of three iconic cities and three former capitals – your epic journey through Japan blends old and new, with soul-stirring visits to ancient centres and modern cities.
• Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday
• 15 Meals: 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches (Including Be My Guest), 3 dinners
• Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals
• All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
• All porterage and restaurant gratuities
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DAY 1 ARRIVE TOKYO
Tokyo's futuristic cityscape launches your journey through Japan's modern centres and ancient capitals. On arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda Airport, you'll be transferred by airport shuttle to your hotel. This evening, meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception drink with appetisers.
DAY 2 TOKYO SIGHTSEEING
Rub shoulders with the locals this morning as you 'Dive Into Culture' and wander through Ameyoko Street Market, once a black market selling American goods after World War II. Continue to the old-time entertainment centre of Asakusa to visit the Sensoji Buddhist Temple, which has been rebuilt countless times since its founding in 628, making it Tokyo's oldest temple site. Take a stroll down Nakamise shopping street with some free time for lunch, then join a 'Local Specialist' and learn the mesmerising rhythmic art of Taiko drumming, one of Japan's most popular cultural icons. Board a cruise along the Sumida River to admire Tokyo's modern skyline, the traditional neighbourhoods of old Edo and beautiful Hamarikyu Garden. Later, return to your hotel for time at leisure and dinner at a Sumo-themed izakaya restaurant.
DAY 3 KAMAKURA SIGHTSEEING
We journey to Kamakura today. A former political capital, its glory days under the Kamakura shogunate spanned from the 12th to 14th centuries, coinciding with the spread of Buddhism in Japan which is reflected in the city's numerous temples. The most important of these is the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine, which we'll have an opportunity to visit this morning, passing multiple torii gates that line the wide approach from Kamakura's waterfront. We head to Komachi-dori street for some free time to admire the old western-style houses lining narrow alleys that branch off this popular market street. Later, we'll travel to Kotokuin Temple to see its Great Buddha which weighs 121 tons. Returning to Tokyo, enjoy an evening at leisure or an opportunity to join one of Trafalgar's Optional Experiences.
DAY 4 MT. FUJI AND OWAKUDANI
The towering slopes of snow-capped Mt. Fuji loom in the distance as we journey from Tokyo to this celebrated UNESCO-listed site. Admire spectacular views of the surrounding countryside from its 5th station, a magnificent vantage point at 2,300 metres (weather permitting). After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll continue to Owakudani to see the volcanic activity. Consider sampling the local black eggs boiled in geysers, then head back to the hotel for an evening at leisure.
DAY 5 TOKYO - KYOTO
We leave Tokyo, travelling by high-speed bullet train to Kyoto, another former capital of Japan and the centre of Japanese culture for centuries. On arrival, we'll embark on a walking tour of the Gion District, embracing the energy of Kawaramachi street. Enjoy some free time before we head to the UNESCO-listed Kinkakuji Temple, whose glittering golden pavilion is widely regarded as the symbol of Kyoto.
DAY 6 KYOTO SIGHTSEEING
After a late start this morning, we'll visit one of Kyoto's highlights - the historic and scenic district of Arashiyama, renowned for its cherry blossom trees which bloom in the springtime and its beautiful landscapes that change dramatically from season to season. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the towering Bamboo groves and see its iconic Togetsukyo Bridge. Connect with nature in the Zen gardens of Tenryuji Temple, then return to Kyoto for some free time at Nishiki market, a traditional food market known by locals as "Kyoto's Pantry". Return to your hotel or consider joining an optional Japanese tea ceremony experience.
DAY 7 NARA SIGHTSEEING
Start the day off with a visit to Sumiyama Village and discover the stunning Kiyomizu Pottery which originated about 500 years ago in central Kyoto. Learn about the work of the craftsmen and about how they had to move out of the city and into a more rural area due to concerns from the local citizens about air pollution. Next 'Connect With Locals' over a 'Be My Guest' lunch with a local farmer at his home. Gain insights into the life of his family while sampling fresh tea and indulging in a delicious home-made meal, then visit his tea plantation. This afternoon delve into the ancient history of Nara, the first permanent capital city of Japan. Here you'll visit the landmark Todaiji Temple, one of the powerful Seven Great Temples and home to one of Japan's largest bronze statues of Buddha. Take a stroll around Nara Park, home to hundreds of freely roaming tame deer before returning to Kyoto for an evening at leisure.
DAY 8 KYOTO - HIROSHIMA
This morning, we board a high-speed bullet train to Hiroshima, a lively city that celebrates peace in the shadow of the previous century's devastation. Our first stop is to a local restaurant where we'll join our 'Local Specialist' for an Okonomiyaki Making experience. Mix your ingredients to make your own savoury pancake and cook it on a hot plate before enjoying your creation for lunch. This afternoon, we head to the Peace Memorial Park and Museum and see the UNESCO-listed Peace Memorial, the only structure left standing when the first atomic bomb exploded in 1945. Take a moment to contemplate its symbolic expression of hope for world peace, then spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
DAY 9 HIROSHIMA SIGHTSEEING
Take the ferry to Miyajima Island to visit the famous UNESCO-listed Itsukushima Shrine and elaborate torii gate rising majestically out of the sea. Learn how to make Momiji Manjyu, one of the local specialities, shaping your steamed bun in the shape of a maple leaf and filling it with sweet red bean paste. You'll have an opportunity to sample your work before some free time for lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience. Later, join your fellow guests and Travel Director for a Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant.
DAY 10 DEPART HIROSHIMA
Your journey revealing Japan's ancient past and modern cityscape is at its end, take a transfer by airport shuttle to Hiroshima Airport for your onward flight.
Terms & Conditions: Early Payment Discount 7.5% - *Saving is based on maximum 7.5% Early Payment Discount. Early Payment Discount is on the land-only portion of selected holidays and can be combined with other brochure discounts where applicable, does not apply to extra nights' accommodation, optional extensions, airfares, flight supplements and surcharges, taxes and fees and airport transfers. A deposit is required on booking and the full amount must be paid by 27 February 2020 or no later than 60 days prior to departure from Canada for land only guided holidays or 90 days prior for guided holidays including train, cruise or internal flight (whichever comes first) to qualify for the 7.5% Early Payment Discount. Subject to availability at time of booking and may be withdrawn at any time. Not valid for trips featuring Oberammergau.
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