A mixture of unique and traditional Japanese sights
This exciting trip through Tokyo and Kyoto offers authentic experiences and luxurious comforts while discovering Japan's ancient traditions and modern innovations.
This immersive trip through Tokyo and Kyoto offers a blend of Japan's modern culture and ancient traditions. After arriving in Tokyo, highlights include visiting Meiji Shrine, indulging in a food tour through lively neighborhoods like Shibuya and Harajuku, and marveling at the futuristic digital art at teamLab Planets museum. An excursion to the Tokyo Skytree observatory provides panoramic city views.
In Kyoto, you'll be immersed in serene temples like Kinkakuji's Golden Pavilion and immersed in nature while walking through Arashiyama's bamboo forest. Excursions outside the cities provide opportunities to see the Great Buddha statue in Nara, stroll under vermilion gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine, and tour a historic sake brewery.
Authentic experiences like a tea ceremony, dressing in kimono, and tasting fresh sushi straight from Toyosu fish market provide insight into traditions. With private guides and drivers, luxurious hotels, and bullet train travel, this trip balances in-depth cultural experiences with convenient transportation and modern comforts.
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Day 1: International departure
Head to your nearest international airport and board your flight to Tokyo
Day 2: Arrive Japan
Arrive at Tokyo Narita airport, where you will be met and transferred to Aoyama Grand Hotel, where you will spend four nights. After check-in, the rest of the day is at your leisure to explore Tokyo or relax after your long journey.
Day 3: Meiji Shrine and Evening Food tour
Today's itinerary starts with breakfast at the hotel before a full day of sightseeing in Tokyo. Highlights include visiting Meiji Shrine, known for its pure Shinto architecture, and the trendy Shibuya and Harajuku neighborhoods, home to Japanese pop culture. After lunch, we'll visit the Nezu Museum to admire its collection of Japanese and East Asian art and wander through its peaceful gardens. The day wraps up in the lively Shinjuku Golden Gai area, where we'll embark on a 3-hour foodie walking tour to sample 10 different kinds of sushi, skewers, ramen, and other classic Japanese fare. It's a full day of culture, cuisine, and exploration in Tokyo.
Day 4: Toyko Skytree and Sumo Wrestling extravaganza
After breakfast at the hotel, we'll embark on a full day of sightseeing in Tokyo. The highlights include visiting the Tokyo Skytree, the city's tallest structure, for spectacular views from the observation deck. Next is a unique sumo experience - we'll watch an exhibition by professional wrestlers, then suit up to take them on ourselves! A lunch of tonkatsu pork and chanko soup follows. In the afternoon, we'll explore the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, an iconic Tokyo landmark. The tour wraps up with a return to the hotel by 5:30pm after a busy day immersed in Japan's traditions and scenery. The evening is at your leisure.
Day 5: Fish markets and futuristic Japanese art
After breakfast, we'll have a behind-the-scenes tour of Toyosu fish market with a sushi chef, observing how the pros select the catch of the day. We'll then visit the chef's restaurant to watch him prepare the fresh fish into sushi for us to sample. Lunch follows at the sushi restaurant Imayoshi. In the afternoon, we'll experience the futuristic digital art exhibits at teamLab Planets museum followed by a visit to the Imperial Palace Plaza, home to Japan's royal family. The day wraps up with an incredible teppanyaki dinner of Kobe beef while admiring the nighttime views of Shibuya before returning to the hotel.
Day 6: Bullet train to Kyoto
After breakfast and sending luggage ahead to Kyoto, we'll transfer by private car to Tokyo Station. We'll board a bullet train to Kyoto, arriving early afternoon. An English-speaking guide will meet us and we'll begin sightseeing Kyoto's charming Arashiyama district. After a shojin ryori lunch, we'll visit the atmospheric bamboo forest and 14th-century Tenryuji Zen temple, a UNESCO site with an exquisite zen garden. After exploring this serene area and its fine temples, we'll return to Kyoto in the evening, ending our tour at the Hotel Genji Kyoto, where you will stay for the next three nights.
Day 7: Nara and Fushimi day excursion
After breakfast, we'll embark on a full day excursion to Nara and Fushimi. In Nara, we'll visit the magnificent Todaiji Temple and its Great Buddha statue, along with the picturesque stone lanterns of Kasuga Shrine. Both are UNESCO sites. After an independent lunch, we'll head to Fushimi to walk under the thousands of vermilion torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine. The day ends with a special closed-door sake brewery tour and tasting at the 300-year old Tokubei Masuda Shoten to learn about sake production and sample their sparkling nigori sake. We'll return to our Kyoto hotel after a day immersed in Japanese history, culture, architecture and cuisine.
Day 8: Kyoto temples and tea ceremony
After breakfast, we'll have a full day of sightseeing in Kyoto. We'll visit the Golden Pavilion temple with its golden building and stunning gardens. Next is Kiyomizu Temple, known for its scenic hillside location and sacred spring. After an independent lunch, we'll see the imposing Sanjusangendo Temple with its 1,001 Buddha statues. A highlight is experiencing a traditional tea ceremony and maiko performance while dressed in kimono. The day ends with a local foodie tour of Kyoto's backstreets and neighborhoods to sample authentic cuisine and immerse in local culture. Return to the hotel after a day steeped in Kyoto's beauty, traditions, architecture, and cuisine.
Day 9: Sayounara Japan
After your final breakfast at the hotel, you are free to explore Kyoto until it is time for your private driver to take you to the Osaka-Kansai airport for your flight home.
Day 10: Arrive home
Land back in your home country, with incredible memories of an amazing destination.
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Japan holidays, North Asia
From £9,175pp based on two people sharing, excluding international flights.
The trip includes all accommodation and activities specified above. Rooms and meals as below:
- 4 nights at Aoyama Grand Hotel - standard garden queen room, breakfast included.
- 3 nights at Hotel Genji - city premium king room, breakfast included.
- Other meals specified in itinerary as included.
- Private guides, drivers, and all transfers.
- Activities and entrance fees mentioned as included.
This trip excludes:
- International flights
- Meals not mentioned as included.
- Activities not mentioned as included.
- Single Supplements.