12 Nights / 13 Days
TOKYO – MOUNT FUJI – SUWA – MATSUMOTO – TAKAYAMA – KANAZAWA – KYOTO – NARA – KOYASAN – OSAKA
This tour is the perfect introduction to fascinating Japan, where skyscrapers give way to paddy fields and crowds disperse into the tranquility of classical gardens.
• Discover the delights of futuristic Tokyo • Admire breathtaking Mount Fuji • Experience the speedy bullet train • Get a glimpse of Buddhist life in Koya-San • Explore the vibrant city of Osaka
Discover Japan Tour Inclusions:
Fly overnight to Tokyo, the capital of Japan. On arrival, you will be met by an English-speaking representative and transfer approximately 1 and a half hours to your hotel. Please note: Early check in is not included. If your flight arrives in the morning and you wish to arrange this, please speak to your reservations consultant. You will be transferred by shared coach with other passengers who are not part of a Wendy Wu Tour. If you are on a shared bus transfer, you may have to walk for a few minutes to get to your hotel. Transfers will differ depending on group size.
Tokyo – One of the world’s most cutting-edge capital cities, Tokyo is a city of contrasts, famous for its neon-lit landscape, towering skyscrapers, peaceful shrines and lovingly tended gardens. Although long the political and cultural centre of Japan, Tokyo became the official capital when the Meiji Emperor moved it to Tokyo in 1867.*
Tokyo City Tour Tokyo is the ultimate 24-hour city, but look behind its frantic, high-tech frontage and you’ll find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore. Head to the observation deck of the Tokyo Skytree for panoramic views over the city before taking a wander through the district of Asakusa, stopping at the Sensoji Temple and Nakamise shopping street. Drive by the Imperial Palace Plaza and then continue to the peaceful Hamarikyu Gardens. You will be on your feet for 4- 5 hours during your touring in Tokyo. Enjoy your evening meal whilst leisurely cruising for one hour along Tokyo Bay. You will need to get on and off your boat this evening for your cruise on Tokyo Bay without assistance.
The tallest structure in Japan and the tallest tower in the world, Tokyo Skytree is predominantly a television and radio broadcast tower and is earthquake resistant.
Sensoji Temple is an ancient Buddhist Temple and the oldest in Tokyo. The temple was originally founded in the 7th century. The temple adorns an image of the Buddhist Goddess Kannon, who was said to have been rescued by two fishermen from the Sumida River in Tokyo.
Imperial Palace Plaza
Imperial Palace Plaza is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. Built on the original site of Edo Castle, the Plaza is made up of a palace, museum and large park.
Hamarikyu Gardens is a beautiful example of Japanese garden style which sits at the mouth of the Sumida River.
Mount Fuji This morning, transfer to the station and take a 30-minute bullet train to Odawara. On arrival, transfer to tranquil Lake Ashi. Take a cruise across the lake before taking the Komagatake cable car for spectacular views of Mount Fuji and the lake below. Continue by coach to Japan's most iconic landmark Mount Fuji. Start at the 5th Station for breathtaking views of Fuji. Please note, travelling to the 5th station at Mount Fuji is only possible if weather conditions permit it. Drive to Suwa to check in to your hotel for an overnight stay, your hotel this evening will have onsen facilities for you to enjoy. Please note that you will need to pack a small overnight bag for tonight as your main luggage will be transferred separately this morning and arrive at your hotel in Takayama the next day. Due to your early start this morning, you may need to take a packed breakfast with you (provided).
At 3,776m, Mount Fuji is the highest of Japan's mountains and an iconic symbol of the country. Mount Fuji is notoriously shy and is often enveloped by clouds.
Formed after Mount Hakone’s last eruption 3000 years ago, Lake Ashi is the symbol of Hakone and on a clear day offers spectacular views of Mount Fuji in the distance.
Matsumoto Castle This morning, drive 2 hours to Nagano to explore the formidable 16th century Matsumoto Castle. There are steep ladder-style steps in the Matsumoto Castle that you must climb up and back down again. If you choose not to look inside the castle, you can enjoy the surrounding gardens, moat and architecture of Matsumoto Castle. After lunch, stop at a Miso House to learn about the process of making this Japanese seasoning. Try Miso soup before travelling a further 2 and a half hours to Takayama, nestled high in the mountainous Hida region. Check in to your hotel in Takayama and enjoy the relaxing onsen facilities. *Overnight accommodation: In 2022 stay in a ryokan and bedding will consist of a mattress (low bed) on a tatami mat. In 2023, this will be in a hotel and bedding will consist of a western bed.*
Known as the crow castle due to its dark black exterior, the Matsumoto Castle dates back to the 16th century and is the oldest wooden castle in Japan.
Ishii Miso was founded in 1868 and is still producing miso, an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine, by a unique traditional method.
Boasting one of Japan’s most atmospheric townscapes, the layout of Takayama dates back to the 17th century and is home to much Meiji architecture.
Head to the Miyagawa Morning Market, where you can sample some of the delicious local fruits and vegetables (at your own expense). Later, take a leisurely stroll round the traditional houses of the area and visit the museums, stopping at Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, Kusakabe Folk Museum, Takayama Jinya and Kamisannomachi Street. You will spend approximately 5 hours on foot today sightseeing around the town of Takayama. *Overnight accommodation: In 2022 stay in a ryokan and bedding will consist of a mattress (low bed) on a tatami mat. In 2023, this will be in a hotel and bedding will consist of a western bed.*
Destination Information Miyagawa Morning Market
Occurring each morning, there are a number of stalls selling fresh vegetables, local craft works and local food products at the Miyagawa Morning Market. Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall
Housing the floats from the Takayama Festival, which dates back to the 16th century, the Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall is a great introduction to the cultural celebrations of Takayama. Kusabe Folk Museum
Kusabe Folk Museum is a former house for a wealthy merchant named Kusakabe. The house is typical of the style during the Edo Period, with dark wooden beams and pillars. Takayama Jinya
A former government office dating back to the Edo Period, Takayama Jinya is the only one of its type still remaining. The main work of the office was to handle legal cases and tax collection.
Shirakawago & Kanazawa Travel 1 and a half hours to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Shirakawago, famous for its traditional Gassho-Zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. You will spend 1 to 2 hours on foot exploring the area. There are some stairs in the house if you want to explore the higher levels. Drive around 1 hour to try your hand at making washi paper this afternoon, before continuing another 1 and a half hours to Kanazawa. On arrival, wander through the beautiful Kenrokuen, before checking in to your hotel.
– Alongside Gokayama, Shirakawago is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its unusual architectural style known as Gassho-Zukuri. The roofs of these houses are tilted at an almost vertical angle. Washi Paper
– Washi Paper is a type of Japanese paper made from the fibres of bark. This type of paper is commonly used in the art of origami. Kanazawa
– Kanazawa is the capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture and is known for its beautiful samurai and geisha districts, as well as its stunning Kenrokuen Garden. Kenrokuen
– One of Japan’s ‘Three Great Gardens’, Kenrokuen dates back to the early 17th century and is noticeable for its stunning beauty in all seasons.
Gold Leaf Making
This morning, learn the process of how gold leaf is made and applied to everyday objects. Try it for yourself by decorating a pair of chopsticks and take your newly created artwork home! Later, stroll down the traditional Higashi Chaya (Eastern Teahouse District), visiting Ochaya Shima – a historical geisha house. After lunch, drive 4 hours to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Gold Leaf Experience
When a lump of gold is beaten until it is only 1/10,000 mm thick, it becomes gold leaf, as used in temples, shrines and many traditional crafts. Kanazawa and its surrounding areas produce more than 99% of all gold leaf used in Japan. Higashi Chaya Street
Higashi Chaya Street is a traditional Japanese street featuring historical rows of houses. It is also the geisha district of Kanazawa, offering visitors delicious treats and tea, as well as the chance to visit some of the guest houses used in the past by geishas as living quarters. Kyoto
Kyoto was the ancient capital of Japan for approximately 1,000 years until 1867 when it was moved to Tokyo. Many national treasures can be found in Kyoto and in nearby Nara, including old shrines and temples, screen paintings, beautiful gardens, and statues of Buddha.
Explore Kyoto Start the day with a visit to Ryoanji, the ‘temple of the peaceful dragon’ and the famous Kinkakuji, also known as the ‘Golden Pavilion' due to its gold-like exterior. You will spend approximately 2 hours at the temples. In the afternoon, head to a restored Japanese wooden townhouse and try your hand at origami and enjoy the age-old rituals of a tea ceremony with a tea master.
Destination Information Ryoanji Temple
Ryoanji Tempole is a Zen temple renowned for its garden, which features a dry, sand landscape with large rocks and smooth pebbles. Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
Kinkakuji Temple is a Buddhist temple and is an excellent example of Japanese garden design. The structure is a brilliant golden hue colour and is very minimalistic.
Discover Nara Travel 1 hour to Nara, stopping en route at the mesmerising Fushimi Inari Shrine. The Fushimi Inari Shrine stretches from the bottom to the top of Mount Inari (233 metres high). You will walk up part of the mountain; there are some steep steps and the incline allows a steady-paced walk. On arrival in Nara, visit Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden structure and home to Japan’s largest Buddha. Also visit Isui-en Gardens, known for its natural ponds, sightseeing here will be about 3 hours on foot.
Destination Information Nara – Home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Nara is a rewarding destination and a great spot for Japanese culture. Todaiji Temple – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Todaiji Temple is one of the Seven Great Temples of Japan and is home to the world’s largest bronze statue, Daibutsu. Fushimi Inari Shrine – The Fushimi Inari is a corridor of red tori gates which stretch through the thick woods of Mount Inari, a truly remarkable sight.
Koya-san This morning, drive 2 and a half hours to Koya-san, the centre of Shingon Buddhism. See Okunoin, Japan’s largest cemetery and home to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, founder of Shingon Buddhism. Next, visit the Kongobuji Temple and Garan temple complex. The walk through Okunoin Cemetery to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi is roughly 2km and sometimes you will be walking over uneven surfaces. Continue to Osaka, a journey of approximately 1 hour 30 minutes, to check in to your hotel.
Known primarily as the centre of the Shingon sub-section of Buddhism, Koya-san sits in the mountains and is the ideal spot to get a glimpse of Japan’s traditional religious life. Kongobuji Temple
Dating back to 16th century, the Kongobuji Temple is the head temple of the Shingon Buddhist sect. The interior of the building is adorned with paintings of cranes and there are sliding doors throughout. Garan Temple
Garan Temple is a compound of seven halls, the ideal number of halls in Buddhism. The main sight of worship is in front of the Cosmic Buddha. Okunoin Cemetery
Home to Kobo Daishi’s mausoleum (founder of Shingon Buddhism), Okunoin Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Japan, with over 200,000 tombstones, as many wished to be buried near Kobo Daishi. Osaka
Osaka is Japan’s third largest city. What Osaka lacks in sightseeing locations, it makes up for with its flamboyance, fun loving people and amazing food.
Explore Osaka This morning, visit the famous Osaka Castle before taking a stroll around the Dotonbori district, a restaurant mecca, where you can sample delicious local delicacies. Next, enjoy a 20-minute cruise along the Yodogawa River. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure before a farewell dinner this evening.
Destination Information Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle is one of Japan’s most famous castles, known for sweeping views of the city from its hilltop perch. Construction began in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who intended the castle to become the centre of a new, unified Japan under his rule. Dotonbori District
Historically a theatre district and still a popular entertainment area today, the Dotonbori district offer an eccentric and electric atmosphere.
Depart Osaka This morning is free at leisure before you transfer to Osaka airport for your return flight home. Please note: Only breakfast is included today. Late check-out is not included in our Discover Japan tour. If you wish to book a late check-out for your final day in Osaka, please contact our reservations department who can confirm the additional price and make this arrangement for you, subject to availability at the hotel.
*Transfers: In the event that your flight departs outside of the majority group departure time, you will be transferred to the airport by a shared coach (not with other Wendy Wu Tours passengers). If you are on a shared coach transfer, you may have to walk for a few minutes to get to the coach.*
- All accommodation
- All meals (From dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the last day)
- All sightseeing and entrance fees
- All transportation and transfers
- English speaking National Escort
- Specialist advice from our experienced travel consultants
- Comprehensive travel guides
- Safe and secure with ABTA, ATOL and IATA
Extras: Please ask our sales team to price the International Flights
Single Room supplement