Cultural Treasures of Japan
Join us to discover the culture and wonder of Japan and it's people.
We have just put the final touches on the tour departing Port Stephens in April 2020 that will be escorted* by our very own Tash Melhuish*, includes transfers to/from Sydney and details as shown below. If you are a Seriously Solo traveller, please book early because there are limited single room available.
We also want you to know that this is an active tour with plenty of walking, including on uneven ground at times and plenty of steps. If you are fit, well and active if will be perfect for you.
*Subject to minimum numbers ~ but the tour will still operate
Try your hand at the centuries-old art of the Japanese tea ceremony, gold leaf decorating and stenciling.
Travel by the famous Shinkansen bullet train.
Explore the famous Ginza district, the first Western-style shopping district in Japan where modern and history blends
Take in magnificent views of Mt. Fuji from the Hakone Ropeway.
Visit multiple UNESCO sites including Shirakawa-go, Nijo Castle, Itsukushima Shinto Shrine and Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
Enjoy a Hida dinner and sake tasting at a local sake brewery.
Experience a traditional kaiseki dinner with Geisha show in Kyoto.
Participate in a sushi making class given by a professional sushi chef
Itinerary ~ Cultural Treasures of Japan
Day 1: Friday, April 17, 2020
Today our adventure begins with our transfer from Salamander Bay to airport and over night flight to Tokyo.
Day 2: Saturday, April 18, 2020 Tokyo, Japan - Tour Begins
Welcome to Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun." Early morning arrival into Tokyo and transfer to our hotel. Begin in the electrifying city of Tokyo, where pop culture is turned all the way up and traditions are rich and long-kept. Tonight, experience a traditional Japanese-style meal alongside your fellow travellers at a festive welcome dinner. (D)
Day 3: Sunday, April 19, 2020 Tokyo Begin the day exploring Asakusa, Tokyo’s oldest Geisha district.
Visit the famous Buddhist temple, Senso-ji, the colourful temple famous for the red chochin (lantern) hanging at the entrance gate. Experience the long standing tradition of the Japanese tea ceremony, dating back to the 15th century. During your free time, explore the Nakamise Shopping Arcade and feel the energy of the oldest shopping street in Japan. Then, head to Edo Tokyo Museum to learn about the fascinating history and culture of Tokyo. The museum displays life-size and model scale replicas of towns and buildings of old Tokyo. Tonight, dine as the locals do at an Izakaya, a preferred establishment among the Japanese “salary man” (business man), featuring Japanese tapas-style food. (B, D)
Day 4: Monday, April 20, 2020 Tokyo
Feel the excitement start to build when you see the magnificent view of the city from above at Tokyo Tower, the iconic symbol of Tokyo. Then, enjoy a morning stroll through the outside grounds of the Imperial Palace, the Kokyo Gaien National Gardens, and see the Niju Bridge and Sakurada Gate, the well-known symbols of the Imperial Palace. Walk through Ginza, one of the most elegant and luxurious streets in the world, where modern landscape meets rich history. Enjoy shopping at some of the most renowned "department stores" in Japan. Later, amid a lush forest outside of Tokyo, visit the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. (B)
Day 5: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Tokyo - Hakone
Journey to the lakeside resort of Hakone, renowned for its hot springs. In the shadow of Mt. Fuji (UNESCO), this scenic town hugs the shorelines of Lake Ashi. Make a stop at Owakudani, located in an active volcanic zone. The Owakudani crater was created some 3,000 years ago, when Mt. Hakone erupted. Climb aboard the Hakone Ropeway, an aerial cable car descending from Owakudani for a breathtaking view* of Mt. Fuji. Next, take to the deep-blue waters of Lake Ashi on a cruise where you’ll see epic views of the local mountains before stopping in the charming town of Moto-Hakone. (B, D)
Day 6: Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Hakone - Matsumoto - Takayama
This breathtaking day begins in Matsumoto at Matsumoto Castle, known as the “Crow Castle” because of its striking black exterior. Enjoy the local cuisine as we stop for lunch at a Soba noodle shop. Later, you’ll step back in time in the rural Edo- period town of Takayama, nestled in the Japanese Alps. Well known to the locals for its connection to sake, this is the perfect place to gather for a visit to one of Japan’s 200-year-old sake breweries. Afterward, experience a true Japanese epicurean treat – traditional rice wine paired with a special Hida beef dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Thursday, April 23, 2020 Takayama
The ancient cultures of Takayama come alive this morning in the town’s historic district. Take a walk through the past and glimpse the 19th-century Jinya government building. Stroll through the morning market along the Miyagawa River, a 600-year-old open air market with locally grown and produced products. Circuit the winding streets, where the town’s traditional charms are preserved in the inns and houses. This afternoon, relish some free time to continue your exploration of Takayama on your own. (B)
Day 8: Friday, April 24, 2020 Takayama - Shirakawa-go - Kanazawa
oday, embrace the unique charms of Shirakawa-go (UNESCO). Hidden away in the mountain, this harmonious village is famous for its gassho-zukuri-style houses – thatched-rooftops designed to resemble two hands joined in prayer. Journey to
Kanazawa, the origin of gold-leaf making since the 16th century. Visit the Samurai district where we’ll enter the former home of the Nomuras, a wealthy samurai family who served the ruling Maeda family. Then, travel to the Geisha quarters of Kanazawa, the Higashi Tea district. Gather in town this evening for dinner. (B, D)
Day 9: Saturday, April 25, 2020 Kanazawa
More than 25 acres of absolute beauty awaits you today at Kenroku-En – Garden of Six Qualities. From the beauty of Japan’s most stunning gardens, dive in to the ancient craft of gold leaf making during a hands-on lesson in decorating your own lacquer box at Kanazawa Katani! In the centre of town, take in the action of the Omicho fish market before venturing out on your own to really immerse yourself in Kanazawa’s dynamic culture. (B)
Day 10: Sunday, April 26, 2020 Kanazawa - Kyoto
Kyoto awaits! The former Imperial capital of Japan is now one of the nation’s top cosmopolitan cities. At the same time, Kyoto’s connection with its past is strong; you won’t need to look far to see one of its 2,000 temples and shrines. Visit Kinkakuji (UNESCO), the Golden Pavilion, a zen temple whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Then, stroll through the Gion district where you may spot women in traditional dress along the narrow lanes of teahouses. Tonight, dine in the heart of the city at a traditional yakitori (grilled chicken) restaurant. (B, D)
Day 11: Monday, April 27, 2020 Kyoto - Bullet Train - Hiroshima - Kyoto All aboard the Shinkansen bullet train to Hiroshima
Upon arrival, board a ferry for the short trip to Miyajima Island, or “Shrine Island” (UNESCO), where the iconic torii gate and the Itsukushima Shrine appear to float on water. After lunch, head into Hiroshima city to visit the Peace Memorial Park, and pause to see the ruined Atomic Dome (UNESCO). Reflect at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. As this moving day comes to a close, return to Kyoto by the Shinkansen bullet train. (B)
Day 12: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 Kyoto
Explore Fushimi Inari Taisha for a tour of the most revered shrine of Inari. Follow the spectacular rows of orange torii (made famous in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha) that weave through the forest, leading you to the inner shrine. For lunch, participate in a sushi making class given by a professional sushi chef and master the art of sushi making. Move on to the home of the first Shogun, Nijo Castle (UNESCO), and see intricate woodcarvings, wall paintings, and the Ninomaru Garden, designed by Kobori Enshu, a landscape architect and tea master. Next, visit Marumasu Nishumuraya for a lesson in the art of stenciling at a traditional Kyoto townhouse. (B, L)
Day 13: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 Kyoto
Today, spend some time relaxing or set out to explore Kyoto on your own. Fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture tonight during a special kaiseki farewell dinner and Geisha show. (B, D)
Day 14: Thursday, April 30, 2020 Kyoto - Tour Ends. Transfer to airport for return flight.
Your tour comes to a close in this fascinating land. As you depart, reflect on its beauty and all you have learned about its rich history and culture. (B)
Day 15: Friday, May 01, 2020 Arrive Sydney
Early morning flight arrival into Sydney before transfer by coach or mini coach back to Salamander Bay