Trip reference number: 102306

Trip Operator: Wexas Travel

Tokyo, Hakone And The Japanese Alps

From: £5745.00

Holiday overview

On mountain train journeys, private cross-country drives past thatched villages and coastal bullet train sprints you’ll explore the great cities, ancient towns and rural beauty of central Japan. Along the way, you’ll stay in luxury hotels amongst city neon and timber ryokan inns, complete with hot spring onsen and multi-course traditional meals. In Tokyo and Kyoto – Japan’s capitals new and old – tailor-made guided tours will take you between lacquered shrines and hidden gastronomic delights. Public transport passes will also bring you on cable cars through picturesque Hakone’s forested national park villages. You’ll also head off the beaten track to study original, wooden castles in alpine towns and samurai quarters in historic cities, learning to cook soba noodles and how to conduct a tea ceremony as you go.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1: Depart UK

Your trip will start in relaxing style with complimentary VIP airport lounge access before an overnight flight from the UK, arriving on the second day.

Day 2: Tokyo

Upon arrival, a private driver will meet at the airport to transfer you to your central hotel in the Shiodome district, a high-tech jumble of multilevel walkways that lead to parks, noodle bars and teahouses. On your first day, perhaps rest up after your flight, explore the saltwater ponds and pretty walks of next-door Hamarikyu Gardens or make use of your transport card to explore the city sights.

Day 3: Tokyo

Today, on an eight-hour private guided tour, you’ll set out to explore the city, making use of the famously efficient Tokyo public transport system. Your guide will consult you on what you’d like to see, tailor-making a trip that suits you. Perhaps you’d like to experience the bustle of Shibuya’s five-way crossing and Harajuku’s colourful shops or you’d rather take time out in a locals-only sushi bar after wandering through the Shinto shrines of Yoyogi Park. You’ll also be provided with tickets to the Tokyo Skytree. As the tallest tower in the world, it offers unparalleled views over the city’s skyscrapers out to – on a clear day – Mt. Fuji’s iconic peak.

Day 4: Tokyo

Your last day in the Japanese capital will be free to explore any sights you might have missed. Or if you’d rather get out of the city there’s an excellent range of day trips you can take advantage of. There’s the 12th century former capital, Kamakura, a sleepy coastal town known for its beautiful Buddha statues and temples or the waterfalls and lakes of national park Nikko and its intricately decorated 17th-century Tosho-gu Shrine. Alternatively, sacred Mount Takao – Tokyo’s natural boundary – and its wooded ranges make for excellent hiking and cable car rides.

Days 5-6: Hakone

Catch the 40-minute train to Odawara – the gateway to Hakone – where a private transfer will bring you to your ryokan accommodation. Here, you’ll feast on multi-course kaiseki meals and enjoy onsen baths in authentic, timber inns set among riverside verdure. You’ll then have two days to explore the national park making use of your Hakone Freepass. Mountain railways, cable cars and funiculars knit together charming hamlets, forest-ringed lakes and waterside shrines, all watched over by Mt. Fuji’s imperious gaze. Don’t miss out on a pirate ship boat cruise on sparkling Lake Ashi, also included in your pass.

Stay: Motoyu Kansuiro (Superior) or KAI Hakone (Deluxe)

Day 7: Kyoto

A private driver will once again pick you up from your hotel to take you to Odawara where you’ll catch a train to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital. Your journey will be a two-hour race down the country’s eastern seaboard aboard a Shinkansen bullet train. On arrival, you’ll be treated to a private tea ceremony. An English-speaking teacher will guide you through the ikebana flower arrangements and Kanji calligraphy adornments of the beautiful Camelia Tea House before guiding you through the history and philosophy of the ceremony. Of course, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to taste the tea and its traditional sweet accompaniments. 

Stay: Granvia Kyoto (Superior) or Hyatt Regency (Deluxe)

Day 8: Kyoto

Today, an eight-hour private guide will introduce you to Japan’s cultural capital. Again making use of the excellent public transport, you’ll explore some of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Walk through bright green bamboo groves and under the shocking vermillion of Fuhsimi Inari-Taisha’s gated walkways as you explore some of the city’s 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines. Your local guide will also be able to introduce you to geisha culture in Gion or point out the best spot to grab a steaming bowl of ramen noodles.

Stay: Granvia Kyoto (Superior) or Hyatt Regency (Deluxe)

Day 9: Kyoto

Although you might want to explore the sights you missed yesterday – perhaps taking a walk in the vast gardens of the city’s Imperial Palace – we recommend a day trip to Nara, just 40 minutes by local train out of Kyoto. As the end of the Silk Road, this is where Buddhism first arrived in Japan and you can still visit its grand monasteries today. Don’t miss out on the giant daibutsu Buddha housed in the sweeping wooden curves of Todai-ji temple. Alternatively, take a walk in Nara Park where overly friendly deer roam free.

Stay: Granvia Kyoto (Superior) or Hyatt Regency (Deluxe)

Days 10-11: Kanazawa

Travelling north by train out of Kyoto you’ll skirt the shores of Japan’s largest lake – Lake Biwa – before plunging through pretty rural scenery to Kanazawa, one of Japan’s best-preserved historical cities. You’ll have the two days to explore its sights that recall the romance of feudal Japan. Highlights include the charming teahouses of the geisha district and the samurai quarter’s walled bukeyashiki houses. There are also the beautiful landscape gardens of Kenrokuen and markets that sell traditional crafts such as weaving, lacquerware a...

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