Itinerary in brief:
- 3 nights Tokyo
- 3 nights Kyoto
Day 1: Arrive Tokyo
On arrival into Tokyo you will be met by a representative who will assist you with boarding the right train or shuttle bus to your hotel.
The remainder of the day is at leisure so relax at the hotel before heading out to do some exploring.
Day 2: Tokyo
Today you have the services of a private guide to take you around the highlights of Tokyo. Stroll through private gardens and visit the teahouse on the lake known as ‘Nakajima No Chaya’. Be sure to try some ‘matcha’, Japanese green tea.
Take a boat cruise along the Sumida River before heading to Asakusa, the oldest Geisha district in Tokyo. Wander through traditional shops lining the streets and selling crafts and souvenirs and spot Geishas in traditional dress going about their daily business. In the afternoon explore Tokyo’s most famous shrine, Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji.
Day 3: Tokyo – Day trip to Kamakura
Today, you’ll visit the historical town of Kamakura. Visit Engaku-ji Temple, second of the five great Zen temples and home to a Japanese teahouse where you can try amazake (a sweet sake) and some Japanese confectionary before heading to Kotoku-in Temple and Daibutsu, the second biggest bronze Buddha in Japan.
After stopping off at Hase-dera Temple, famous for its hundreds of stone statues of Jizo and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, dedicated to the Shinto god of the Samurais you will be escorted back to Tokyo by your guide.
Day 4: Tokyo to Kyoto bullet train
Leaving Tokyo behind, today you’ll board the Tokyo to Kyoto bullet train or ‘shinkansen’; one of Japan’s famously reliable and punctual high speed trains, reaching 30 kph.
In the afternoon, you’ll meet your guide for a tour through the Nishiki Market, to learn about Japanese food. Your guide will help you find the ingredients for your cooking class, before taking you through the backstreets to a former sake brewery, for the chance to sample the local sake (rice wine).
Your cooking class will take place in a machiya, a wooden house typical of Kyoto. Here you will learn how to make rolled sushi, miso soup and a salad before sitting down and eating your creations with your teacher.
Day 5: Kyoto
A private guide will collect you from your hotel this morning and will accompany you on a tour travelling with the locals by bus through Kyoto. First stop is Nijo Castle, home to some stunning gardens and Momoyama architecture as well as its ‘chirping nightingale floors’ and decorated sliding doors.
Visit Japan’s most famous rock garden at Ryoan-ji Temple and Kyomizu-dera or ‘pure water temple’ where you will enjoy amazing views over Kyoto from the high veranda.
Day 6: Kyoto – Day trip to Nara
Today is a self-guided day, so we’ve included return train tickets to Nara, a small town nearby. Mingle with the tame deer in Nara Park and explore Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s giant Buddha.
Day 7: Depart Kyoto
Today is yours to spend at leisure until your transfer via shared shuttle to Kansai International Airport and your onward journey.