Gather up the family and embark on this escorted small group adventure through Japan, surely one of the world’s most intriguing countries. From ancient emperors to technological gizmos, it’s a flurry of excitement. Learn an age-old style of calligraphy, feast on sushi and Japanese pancakes, gaze across Tokyo from the heights of the city, soak your bones in steaming onsens, sleep on a traditional tatami, and explore some of the most amazing temples and forest lands in the country. With local expertise to draw on at every step of the way, this is a family holiday that’s sure to yield lifelong memories.
Depart London for Tokyo, arriving the next day. You will be met and transferrred to your hotel in time for the important welcome meeting at 5 pm. Overnight in Tokyo (3 nights)
Kick things off with a visit to the Sensoji in Asakusa, a key Buddhist temple in Tokyo. You'll also be treated to a traditional calligraphy lesson where you’ll learn to write your name in Japanese (and maybe learn to say a few words!) with a local teacher. Tonight head out for Okonomi-yaki - a non-sweet pancake with vegetables and meat on a boat on Tokyo Bay, surrounded by the city lights. (B, D)
Depending on availability, visit the Tsukiji Fish Market – the biggest seafood market in the world - for an eye-opening experience. Your market visit concludes with a delicious sushi breakfast. Later, take a walk through a Tokyo depachika, a food-specific department store with a mind-boggling array of traditional and non-traditional Japanese foods. (B,L)
Bid farewell to Tokyo and board your train to Hakone. Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is a place of staggering natural beauty. It's also a veritable playground with a long list of holiday activities on offer – soaking in hot springs, going on bush walks, chilling out by peaceful lakes, taking in beautiful views of Mt Fuji, even exploring an open-air modern art museum. Overnight in Hakone ryokan (2 nights) (B,D)
Renowned as an excellent resort area since the Meiji period, Hakone and its onsens make a great place to relax and unwind with the family. Pay a visit to the Karakuri secret box museum – try to open the boxes to find a unique Japanese gift to take home. Then enjoy a walk around the scenic lake area. (B,D)
A visit to Hiroshima is sobering, but the tragedy that happened here is an important part of history to confront. You’ll learn more about the aftermath of the atomic bombing of the city in World War II. Overnight in Hiroshima Ryokan (2 nights)
This morning we head for the beautiful island of Miyajima, just a short ferry ride across the Inland Sea. The island is home to the venerable Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, famous for its huge bright orange gate (tori). Back in the city of Hiroshima you are free to explore at leisure.
Travel to Kyoto, arguably the most stunning city in Japan. On the way there, make a stop at Himeji Castle. While you're here, you'll see some of the finest temples, shrines, palaces and gardens in the country. Spend the evening wandering the Gion district with your leader, seeing if you can spot geikos (geishas) or maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dresses and make-up. Afterwards, travel to a food market and learn all about the local ingredients and how to best use them. Overnight in Kyoto (4 nights) (B)
Today we’ll head to Kyoto’s famed Fushimi Inari Shrine – known throughout the world as the ‘Path of the Red Gates.’ If we are feeling fit we’ll walk further than most visitors, allowing us to experience both the well-known part of the shrine, as well as taking time to appreciate the quieter corners and stunning city views from the shrine’s ‘half-way point.’ We’ll also take in one of Kyoto’s many beautiful temples. (B)
This morning you'll enjoy a boat cruise down the Hozu River - look along the banks for Japanese maples. Then you will visit the Tenryu-ji Temple which is near an incredible bamboo grove. This bamboo forest is one of the most photographed sights in the city, and you'll see why. It's like stepping into another dimension. (B)
Today is yours to enjoy Kyoto however you please. Choose from the many optional activities available or head out on your own to discover more of this amazing city. (B)
The adventure comes to an end today. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)
Fully ATOL protected
Tours as specified
Meals as specified (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)