Land of the Rising Sun Trip Notes

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

  • Trip code : ICJST
  • Trip length : 14 Days
  • Trip starts in : Tokyo, Japan
  • Trip ends in : Kyoto, Japan
  • Maximum group size : 12
  • Ages : Min 15
  • Meals : 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners
  • Accommodation : Guesthouse (5 nts), Hotel (1 nt), Ryokan (7 nts)
  • Transport : Boat, Bus, Cable car, Ferry, Train, Train (bullet)

daily-itinerary1

Day
1

Tokyo

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan.You can arrive at the joining-point hotel at any time as there are no planned activities aside from a group meeting on the evening of day 1, followed by dinner. Your leader will leave a note for you at reception informing you of what time and where this important meeting will take place. If it is likely that you will be arriving after 6pm on day 1, please inform us at time of booking. Tokyo is a dynamic, modern hub, the thriving capital of an ancient land. Contradictions are everywhere, as hi-tech gadgetry and neon lights play an integral part in the lives of a population steeped in tradition. As we only spend one night in Tokyo, we strongly recommend that you arrive a few days prior to this trip in order to explore the city. Ueno Park, with its many galleries and museums, is a great place to spend a day, the Sensoji Temple is a serene way to pass an afternoon and the sumo stables are a must-see.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day
2

Tokyo/Nikko

On day 2, the morning is free for you to stroll the outer grounds of the Imperial Palace, heading to the famous shopping district of Ginza. Then it's time to catch a train out of Tokyo, a chance to appreciate the countryside that makes Japan one of the world's most beautiful destinations.From Toyko we take an express train (approx. 1 hr) and then a local train (approx. 1 hr) to Nikko.Trains in Japan are fantastic and the best you'll ever experience. They are clean, fast, punctual, and have plenty of recycling bins for paper, bottles and cans. There are non-smoking and smoking carriages (we use the former) and a trolley cart comes around regularly, bearing all kinds of yummy things for purchase. Be sure to buy a bento box for lunch - these are compact trays containing tempura, sushi, etc., as well as a popular Japanese drink such as cold green tea or Asahi.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 nt)

Day
3

Nikko

Nikko has been a sacred site since the middle of the 8th century and the shrines and temples dotted throughout the area are inspiring evidence of the city's glory. We'll visit Toshu-gu Shrine, a resting place of a Tokugawa shogun. The mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the warlord who controlled all of Japan and whose shogunate lasted 250 years, the shrine contrasts with the traditional minimalist style commonly used throughout Japan. Instead, every corner of this monument is covered in intricate gold-leaf and lacquerwork, paintings and patterns. Our charming accommodation in Nikko has private facilities, a shared onsen and is located next to the river.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 nt)

Day
4-5

Hakone

Leaving Nikko, we hop aboard a local train (approx 1 hr), a bullet train (approx 1 hr), another bullet train (1 hr) and finally a bus (approx 30 mins) to reach Hakone.In the hot spring region of Hakone, we take a boat across Ashino-ko followed by a picturesque cable car journey over the surrounding mountains. On the way, we may be lucky to get a glimpse of Mt Fuji looming in the distance - a shy mountain, getting a glimpse is not guaranteed. However, the lake and its surroundings offer plenty of stunning panoramas. For those who are adventurous, a bath in an outdoor onsen (hot spring bath) is a real highlight. Although there are separate baths for males and females, remember that no clothes or swimming costumes are allowed in the hot springs - so it's time to shed those inhibitions!Our family run guesthouse in Hakone is located in a quiet part of town and has shared facilities and a lovely outdoor onsen.

Accommodation: Ryokan (2 nts)

Day
6-7

Takayama

Travelling by Shinkansen (bullet train) is an absolute buzz as we reach speeds of up to 270 km per hour! Needless to say, after we descend from the mountains of Hakone by bus and get on the bullet train, we get to Takayama very quickly (approx. 2 hrs by bullet train and 2 hrs by express train).Takayama is famous for its traditional inns, sake breweries and the Hida Folk Village. We visit the outdoor museum of the Hida Folk Village which aims to preserve the traditional architecture of the area and has a collection of farmhouses we can explore. There is free time here to explore the many folk art galleries, local markets, museums or just wander the streets of this delightful little town nestled amongst the Japanese Alps as well as to pop in to one of the many sake breweries to taste their products. We visit the 600-year-old morning market as well, to try out some of the unusual local specialities that farm women put out on sale from 6:00am every morning.Our stunning ryokan in Takayama has an irori hearth, included meals and is located within walking distance of the old town. Please note that during the Takayama Festival (14-15 April, 9-10 October), accommodation in Takayama may be multishare. Depending on rooming configurations, couples may sometimes have to be split up for these nights.

Accommodation: Ryokan (2 nts)

Day
8-10

Hiroshima

Hiroshima is a bustling metropolis with a tragic history (approx. 5 hrs from Takayama by train). We have free time here to visit the ruins of the A-Bomb Dome building, one of 11 structures left partially standing after the nuclear bomb blast on 6 August 1945, left as a horrifying reminder of the destruction of nuclear war. Around its perimeter is the peace park with monuments and a museum dedicated to Hiroshima and international peace. Alternatively, you can spend an afternoon at the nearby island of Miyajima with its famous 'floating' Torii Gate and the grand Itsukushima-jinja Shrine - be sure to watch out for inquisitive and eternally hungry deer that roam the streets of the island.Our comfortable accommodation in Hiroshima is within walking distance of the peace park and has internet access.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (3 nts)

Day
11-14

Kyoto

We travel on to Kyoto via Himeji-jo Castle, a sight to behold. Built in 1580, this 5-storey castle is not only a fantastic example of amazing architecture, but a great insight into ancient life in Japan. From Hiroshima to Himeji-jo, the journey takes approx. 1 hr, and then it's a further 1 hr on to Kyoto. Once in Kyoto there is just so much to do - this ancient city boasts over 2,000 temples, shrines and gardens! The magnificent gold-plated Kinkaku-ji Temple should not be missed, nor should the chance to join in a Tea Ceremony class (optional). Kyoto is also a great place to get 'lost' in - walk the streets and soak up the wonderful atmosphere. The city's lively nightlife provides plenty of options for our final evening. There is so much to do in and around Kyoto you might choose to extend your stay here. There are no activities planned for day 14 and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.

Accommodation: Ryokan (3 nts)

included1

  • Hakone - Cable car
  • Hakone - Lake Ashino-Ko boat trip
  • Himeji - Himeji Castle
  • Kyoto - Temple/Shrine entrance (2)
  • Nikko - Toshogu Shrine
  • Takayama - Hida Folk Village
  • Takayama - Market visit

optional-extras

  • Hamarikyu Garden - JPY300
  • Shinjuku Garden - JPY200
  • Tokyo Edo Museum - JPY300
  • Nikko - Bus to Chuzenji Lake (return) - JPY2200
  • Nikko - Imperial Villa - JPY500
  • Checkpoint Museum - JPY500
  • Hakone - Onsen (hot spring bath) - JPY1200
  • Open Air Museum - JPY1600
  • Bike hire (per day) - JPY800
  • Merchant House - JPY700
  • Festival Float Museum - JPY820
  • Hiroshima - Peace Park & Museum - JPY40
  • Hiroshima - Miyajima Island - JPY450
  • Hiroshima - Itsukushima-jinja Shrine - JPY300
  • Bike hire (per day) - JPY800
  • Sanjusangendo Temple - JPY600
  • Home-cooking class - JPY3800
  • Kiyomizu Temple - JPY400
  • Tea Ceremony - JPY2000
  • Kyoto - Kinkakuji Temple - JPY400

not-included1

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.

tripgrade1

Standard

For those of you who dream of experiencing a location in depth and comfort but are mindful of budget. Ideal for those that enjoy the quirkier side of a destination without roughing it. Join inquisitive travellers of all ages for an fun, informative experience.

Style Facts

  • Comfortable tourist class hotels
  • Family Homestays
  • Private and local transport
  • More inclusions than Basic tours
  • Fully trained and experienced leaders

Discovery

Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.

This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.

visa1

A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.

The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.

Please click here for more information

health-and-fitness

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Money1

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping.

travel-insurance

You must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information

responsible-travel1

Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.

As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.

We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.

For further information about responsible travel please click here.

other-important-information

JAPAN RAIL PASS
A 14 day Standard/Ordinary Japan Rail Pass is included in the price of your trip. For those wishing to stay and travel longer in Japan, a Japan Rail Pass extension (total 21 days) is available. Intrepid offer the chance for passengers to extend their Japan Rail Pass however these Japan Rail Passes cannot be picked up or validated before your tour begins, they can only be extended post tour for another 7 days maximum. Please get in contact with your booking specialist to discuss your options. Please note that Japan Rail Passes are only valid for foreign tourists visiting Japan from abroad for sightseeing under the entry status of temporary visitor (tourist visa).

For the CJST the Rail Pass will cover 1 more day post trip, for passengers wanting to travel by train back to Tokyo.Please note at numerous locations you will be required to share Bathroom facilities with other passengers.We are unable to offer additional accommodation at Kinuya Hotel. Please see the joining point instructions for more information.

* Important *

You will be expected to carry your own luggage, including moving about busy public transport hubs to make tight connections, up stairs and escalators and on and off buses and trains. Although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, you are expected to be able to walk and handle your own luggage for up to 30 minutes, sometimes at a fast pace. Good general fitness and mobility plays a big part in making your trip more enjoyable.

* Update *

Please note Himeji Castle is currently closed for restoration and is expected to be closed until May 2015.

For passengers who are travelling during this period we will replace this activity instead with a visit to Nijo castle in Kyoto.

 

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