Best of Japan | 16 days
Best of Japan – as the name suggests, this 16 day tour includes the very best that Japan has to offer. It touches the country's main highlights: Futuristic Tokyo, cultural Kyoto and iconic Mt Fuji, together with a visit to Hiroshima – one of Japan’s most vibrant cities, and adds a trip high into the Japan Alps to visit the quaint town of Takayama, continuing on to Kanazawa and the famous Kenroku’en garden, one of Japan’s top three gardens.
Day 1: Fly Tokyo
Day 2: Arrive in Tokyo
Day 3: Tokyo sightseeing, enjoying the old and new of the city
Day 4: Cultural experience in Tokyo (you can choose to attend a session of sumo training, visit Tsukiji fish market, and more)
Day 5: Train to Hakone. Hakone sightseeing. Overnight stay at a Japanese style hotel (ryokan)
Day 6: Train to Takayama
Day 7: Visit the well-preserved mountain town of Takayama
Day 8: On to Kanazawa by coach, with a stop en-route at the quaint mountain village of Shirakawago
Day 9: Explore Kanazawa and its gardens and traditional townhouses
Day 10: Train to Hiroshima
Day 11: Visit Hiroshima, including Miyajima Island with its famous floating torii gate
Day 12: Train to Kyoto, followed by a market walk and Japanese cuisine cooking lesson
Day 13: Visit Kyoto and some of its many World Heritage sites
Day 14: Visit Nara and Fushimi Inari
Day 15: Fly from Kyoto to London
Day 16:Arrive London
guide price £3,570 per person
Fiona’s travel tipsGETTING THERE: Flying time from the UK to Japan is around 12.5 hours for direct services.
TIME DIFFERENCE: Japan is GMT+9 and does not operate a daylight-saving system.
GETTING AROUND: Japan’s travel infrastructure is among the most advanced in the world, symbolised by its futuristic bullet train. The network these trains serve is highly efficient and covers most of the country. It’s probably best to fly when travelling from the country’s main hubs to some of its more far-flung destinations such as Okinawa and Hokkaido. Ferries are surprisingly uncommon as all the major islands are linked by bridges and tunnels. Tokyo has an extensive metro and overground rail system. Taxis can be useful over short distances but they are very expensive during peak travel hours.
WEATHER: Japan has a mostly mild climate, but as it is an archipelago stretching over 3,000 km from north to south, there are local weather variations, as well as in flora and scenery. Pleasant temperatures arrive with spring which, together with autumn, is one of the best times to visit. Sakura (cherry blossoms) bloom in Kyushu in March, reaching Tokyo by early April. Early summer is rainy, but July and August are hot and humid - except in Hokkaido. The autumn is cool and typhoons may occur. Winter is chilly, but heavy snowfalls are limited to the mountainous regions.
A COUPLE OF DON’TS: Do not enter a Japanese home with your shoes on. It is customary to remove shoes at the door. There will almost certainly be a pair of slippers set aside for guests. Never leave your chopsticks sticking up out of a bowl of rice, or other dish. This gesture is associated with Buddhist funerals in Japan, as this is how rice is offered to the dead.
TOP TIP: Do bow when greeting someone. Bowing is the customary greeting in Japan, but handshaking is becoming more common during business meetings with Westerners. Bowing is a very important custom as it can express many meanings, including respect, gratitude, apology, etc.
“We have just returned from a fantastic holiday! All aspects were brilliant. Japan is an amazing country, and we've seen so many amazing parts of it, thanks mostly to your organisation. All three of us are very glad we decided to go through Far Frontiers Travel. We found it rather difficult to think of anything that could be improved on! We have many happy memories of our time in Japan,thank you so much”.
Emily Thomson, Japan