10 Nights / 11 Days
OSAKA – NARA – KYOTO – YUDANAKA – NAGANO – MATSUMOTO MOUNT FUJI – MISHIMA – KAMAKURA -TOKYO
This tour not only visits the famous sights of Japan including Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Mt Fuji and Tokyo but is brim full of experiences allowing you to immerse in the local culture! From a tea ceremony and origami to fan painting, miso tasting and sake tasting!
● Discover delightful Nara
● Visit Matsumoto & Osaka castles
● Explore Arashiyama bamboo forest
● Watch snow monkeys play
● See Kamakura’s Grand Buddha
● View the impressive Mt Fuji
Day 1-2 Osaka
Fly overnight to the lively, fast-paced city of Osaka. On arrival you will be met by an English-speaking representative and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to start soaking up the local culture. 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.
Osaka – Osaka is Japan’s third largest city and is often referred to as the culinary capital. The phrase kuidaore (eat until you drop) could be considered the city's slogan, What Osaka lacks in sightseeing locations, it makes up for with its flamboyance, fun loving people and amazing food.
Day 3 Discover Nara
Spend the morning in Osaka with a visit to the impressive Osaka Castle before cruising along the Yogodawa River. After lunch, continue by road to Nara and enjoy a leisurely stroll through Nara Park to Todaiji Temple and admire the traditional Isui-en Garden before returning to Osaka.
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.
● the gentle Yogodawa river connects the cities of Osaka and Kyoto, a sail down the river offers visitors beautiful unobstructed views of the city.
Nara – Due to Nara’s past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Todaiji Temple – One of Nara's many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Todaiji Temple is one the Seven Great Temples of Japan and is home to the world’s largest bronze statue, Daibutsu.
Isui-en Garden – Isui-en is an attractive Japanese garden divided into two parts, a front garden and a rear garden, with a number of tea houses scattered throughout. The front garden dates back to the mid-17th century, while the rear garden, the larger of the two, was built in 1899 by a wealthy merchant.
Day 4 Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Travel approximately 1 hour by road to Kyoto, Capital of Japan for 1,000 years, this enchanting city is the epitome of traditional Japan. Upon arrival, visit Togetsukyo Bridge located in the heart of the vibrant district of Arashiyama and stroll through the bamboo forest with its towering and impressive thickets. Also visit Ryoanji Temple, home to Japan's most famous zen garden and the famous 'Golden Pavillion' Kinkakuji Temple. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to further explore the city.
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.
● The Togetsukyo Bridge spans the Katsura River at the foot of Arashiyama Mountain and offers guest wonderful views, particularly during spring and autumn. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
● Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is an iconic area of scenic beauty, gaze up at the vast number of towering bamboo thickets.
Ryoanji Temple – Ryoanji Temple 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.
Day 5 Experience Kyoto
Begin the day with a visit to one of Kyoto’s most famous sites – Fushimi Inari Shrine, renowned for its 10,000 vermillion torii gates and follow a forested hillside pathway passing numerous shrines along the way. Later, enjoy the age-old rituals of a tea ceremony with a tea master, and try your hand at origami. After lunch, your immersive experience continues with a fan painting class where you will learn the technique of this highly refined and sought-after visual art.
Fushimi Inari Shrine (Taisha) – An important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari is most famous for its thousands of vermillion torii gates which form a network of tunnels around the main shrine buildings. The shrine itself is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. There are many fox statues in the grounds of the shrine as foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers.
● Origami, from "oru" meaning to fold and "kami" meaning paper, was first recorded in Japan in the Heian Period (794-1185) and as paper was still a rare commodity in this time period, origami was very much a pastime for the elite.
Day 6 See the Snow Monkeys
This morning travel approximately 3 and a half hours to Nagano, firstly by bullet train to Nagoya and then journey on the limited express train to Nagano. Upon arrival, head to Jigokudani Yaen-Koen and walk through a picturesque forested valley to the hot pools where you will see the famous Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) bathe and play. Also visit the 7th-century Zenkoji Temple, one of Japan’s most prolific Buddhist temples before continuing by road to Matsumoto. Please note your luggage will be transferred to Matsumoto separately and will arrive on your second night, please ensure to pack an overnight bag for your first night in Matsumoto.
Nagano – The host city of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano is the main access point for the Japanese Alps.
Jigokudani Yaen-Koen – Home to Japanese Macaques, also known as Snow Monkeys, Jigokudani literally means ‘hell’s valley’. It is named this because of the steam and boiling water that bubbles out of small crevices in the ground. It is in the baths of this hot water that the resident Japanese Macaques like to soak. The monkeys live in large social groups and it can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions.
Zenkoji Temple – Built in the 7th Century, Zenkoji stores what many believe to be the first Buddhist statue brought to Japan. Zenkoji's main hall has a tunnel in its basement where visitors try to find and touch the ‘key to paradise’ in complete darkness. The key is attached to the wall and grants enlightenment to anybody who touches it.
Day 7 Miso & Sake Tasting
Begin the day with a visit to the magnificent 16th-century Matsumoto Castle, also known as ‘Crow Castle’, due to its intense black exterior. Next, head to a miso house and learn about the process of making this famous Japanese seasoning. After lunch, visit a sake brewery and enjoy a tipple or two! There will be some free time this afternoon to further explore Matsumoto.
Matsumoto Castle – Matsumoto Castle dates back to the 16th century and is the oldest wooden castle in Japan, it is a "hirajiro" meaning that the castle is built on plains rather than a hill or mountain.
Miso -Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning, a fermented paste created from a mixture of soybeans, sea salt and rice koji. It is often used in soups, marinades and condiments.
Day 8 Mount Fuji
Travel by road to the Fuji Five Lakes area, the journey will take approximately 2 and a half hours. Weather permitting, ascend the road to the 5th Station to view Mt Fuji. Also, enjoy a peaceful cruise on Lake Ashi before taking to the skies on the Komagatake Ropeway to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the below. Continue to Mishima and stay overnight.
Fuji Five Lakes – Formed by previous Mount Fuji eruptions, the Fuji Five Lakes is a region at the northern base of Mount Fuji made up of five beautiful lakes. It is one of the best places to view the famous Mt Fuji from a close distance.
Mt Fuji – 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.
Lake Ashi – 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.
Day 9 Kamakura Grand Buddha
With no less than 65 Buddhist temples and 19 Shinto shrines, begin the day with a 2 hour journey by road to Kamakura, a popular coastal city located south of Tokyo. Visit Kotokuin Temple which houses Japan’s second tallest bronze buddha statue followed by a stroll through Komachi Street which is lined with pretty little shops before visiting Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura’s most important shrine. After lunch, continue to Tokyo and enjoy a leisurely stroll through Hamarikyu Garden.
Kamakura – A seaside city just south of Tokyo, Kamakura was the political centre of medieval Japan and is now a prominent resort town. The town is home to numerous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrine, best known for the remarkable Kotokuin Temple's Great Buddha.
● Kotokuin Temple is famously home to the second tallest bronze statue of Buddha in Japan, surpassed only the Nara's Todaiji Temple. The statue was originally cast in 1252 and placed inside a large temple hall, however since the late 15th century the Buddha has been out in the open air.
● Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is Kamakura's most important shinto shrine and was founded in 1063 by Minamoto Yoriyoshi. The shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, the patron god of the Minamoto family and of the samurai in general.
Tokyo – 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 m oved it to Tokyo in 1867.
Day 10 Discover Tokyo
A dazzling, high-tech metropolis, Japan’s capital has wonderfully traditional roots. Begin the day by ascending the soaring Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower for panoramic views of the city below. Next, head to the old district of Asakusa and soak up the atmosphere at Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest and most famous temple, before browsing the stalls on Nakamise shopping street. After lunch, take time to explore the Tokyo National Museum to learn about Tokyo’s historical heritage. End the day with cruise of the waters of Tokyo Bay and enjoy dinner from the perfect vantage point to admire the supercharged lights of the city.
Tokyo Skytree – The tallest structure in Japan and the tallest tower in the world at 634 metres, Tokyo Skytree is predominantly a television and radio broadcast tower and is earthquake resistant.
Asakusa – Asakusa is the centre of Tokyo’s Shitamachi (Old Town) District, with its traditional craft shops and street food stalls here Asakusa retains the atmosphere of an older Tokyo.
Sensoji Temple – 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.
Tokyo National Museum
● Located in Ueno Park, the Tokyo National Museum is Japan’s oldest museum. Here you'll find the world's largest collection of Japanese art, including ancient pottery, Buddhist sculptures, samurai swords, colourful woodblock print s, eloquent kimonos and much, much more.
Day 11 Depart Tokyo
This morning is free at leisure before transferring to the airport for your return flight home. Please note: Only breakfast is included today. Late check-out is not included in our Experience Japan tour. If you wish to book a late check-out for your final day in Tokyo, 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.
Experience Japan Tour Inclusions:
- 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
Please ask our sales team to price the International Flights