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Japan, land of temples, gardens & wabi sabi

Priced From $2,975 per person

14 Days | 13 Nights

Whether it’s your first time to Japan or returning for a deeper exploration of this fascinating country, our Japan, Temples and Gardens program gives you the authentic insight in to Japan’s unique culture, traditions and natural beauty. With close to 100,000 Shinto shrines and 80,000 Buddhist temples across Japan, the beauty of these sacred spaces will be etched in your heart forever. The natural beauty of Japan encompasses breathtaking gardens, landscapes, coastlines, mountains, lakes and volcanic islands.

13 nights hotel accommodation

Visit Tsukiji Market, Tokyo’s atmospheric old retail Fish & Vegetable Market

Tour of  Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest Temple, said to have been established almost 1400 years ago

Meander the grounds of Meiji Shrine, one of Japan’s premier Shinto sites, completed in 1920 and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji

Tour of Tamozawa Imperial Villa, the expansive 106-room Summer Residence of the Imperial Family

Enjoy a picture perfect moment at the Waterfall Observation point, to see the waters of Lake Chuzenji cascade almost 320 feet down to the river below

Visit to the Tomioka Silk Mill, an ultra-modern factory in its day that functioned for just over 100 years, closing in 1980, and was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014

Explore Hokusai Museum for the most comprehensive gallery of the works of Japan’s most famous artist, Katsushika Hokusai

Day trip to Jigokudani Monkey Park, a unique opportunity to see Japanese macaques (‘Snow Monkeys’) bathing in large numbers in a natural hot-spring pool

Ferry to Miyajima Island – enjoy a walk along the waterfront to visit Itsukushima Shrine and its famous torii-gate in the sea

Walk to the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima for a visit, followed by a walk through the Peace Park, stopping at the Eternal Flame, the Children’s Memorial, the Memorial Mound, Peace Bell and A-Bomb Dome

Spend an evening in Gion Quarter, walk through the Geisha District, enjoying the Shimbashi area used in the filming of ‘Memoirs Of a Geisha’

Visit to a Zen Temple along with an opportunity to experience Zen Meditation together with an experience of another element of Japanese culture derived from Zen, a Tea Ceremony

Enjoy a walk in Nara Great Park, and see its most famous inhabitants, the sacred Deer, considered to be messengers of the Gods

Daily breakfast

Day 1 – Arrive Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo, Japan’s exciting capital. Upon arrival, your Sky Vacations ambassador will meet and transfer you to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to unwind. 

Day 2 – Tokyo City Tour

After breakfast at your hotel, its time for a full day city tour of magical Tokyo. Start with a visit to Tsukiji Market, Tokyo’s atmospheric old retail Fish & Vegetable Market, including a stop to taste some of the World’s freshest sushi. Continue to a traditional house in eastern Tokyo which is home to what is arguably the finest private collection of Bonsai in Japan.  Here, enjoy a Kimono-wearing experience and a tour of the Garden and short introduction to Bonsai, followed by a Bento Box lunch while enjoying the superb garden. Transfer to Asakusa, the historical district on the banks of the Sumida River from which grew first Edo, the capital of the Shogunate in medieval Japan, and then Tokyo, one of the modern World’s great metropolises.  Visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest Temple said to have been established almost 1400 years ago, the 820 feet long Nakamise Arcade Market which dates back to the 17th century and at its end the iconic Kaminarimon Gate, housing a huge paper lantern donated over a century ago by Konosuke Matsushita, founder of the Panasonic Electronics Empire. After free time in Asakusa, visit the 1148 feet high Main Observatory, at Tokyo Sky Tree, the World’s tallest tower, dwarfing Tokyo from 2080 feet.  Here, on a clear day, one can see the sun setting in late afternoon behind the majestic Mount Fuji.

Day 3 – Tokyo South Western Corner

Today, its time for a morning tour of Tokyo’s modern south-western corner. A short train ride to Shibuya takes you to the famous Scramble Crossing which became a Tokyo icon thanks to the film Lost in Translation. Then take the national railway to Harajuku, and walk to the grounds of Meiji Shrine, one of Japan’s premier Shinto sites, completed in 1920 and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, great-great-Grandfather of the current Emperor, and the first Emperor of modern Japan. The Shrine is beautifully appointed in a forest of 10,000 trees, making it a delightfully peaceful oasis in this city with a daytime population of 20 million plus. Leaving the Shrine, stroll into the immediately adjacent throbbing streets of  Tokyo’s famous fashion hotspot, Harajuku. Here, enjoy a walk along Takeshita-dori & Cat Street, in whose backstreets lie shops frequented by Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani & David Beckham, then free time for exploring, shopping, or simply watching the metropolis go by over coffee.

Day 4 – Nikko

An exciting day awaits you as you depart for Nikko on an express train. Upon arrival, visit Toshogu Shrine, one of Japan’s most spectacular and impressive sites, originally built on a simple scale as the Mausoleum for the country’s most famous Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, then lavishly enhanced to its current superb scale by his grandson Tokugawa Iemitsu. Impeccably set in a forest, enjoy the 5-storey pagoda by the entrance, then the ornately carved storehouse and its famous ‘life of a monkey’ frieze, one panel of which depicts the ‘hear no evil, see no evil & speak no evil’ 3 monkeys. At the centre of the Shrine stands the dazzlingly ornate Yomeimon Gate. Enjoy free time for lunch. Continue to Tamozawa Imperial Villa to tour the expansive 106-room Summer Residence of the Imperial Family.  Also well over 100-years old, & itself impressive both architecturally and for its Collection of Imperial artefacts, the contrast between this understated Imperial Residence & the dazzlingly ornate & elaborate Toshogu reveals much about the power-balance & differences in approach between the Imperial Family and the Shogun, Japan’s most powerful warlord and political chief. We then continue our tour with a visit to the famous Iroha winding road to Lake Chuzenji – a picture perfect moment at the Waterfall Observation point, to see the waters of Lake Chuzenji cascade almost 320 feet down to the river below. 

Day 5 – Central Japan

Today is an opportunity to learn about and experience the influence of western culture on Japan, and the influence of Japanese culture on the West. We start with a visit to the Tomioka Silk Mill perhaps the single most famous building in Japan’s belated industrial revolution of the late 19th Century, an ultra-modern factory in its day, produced with French co-operation, to process silkworm cocoons into raw silk.  The Factory functioned for just over 100 years, closing in 1980, and was given World Heritage status in 2014. Proceed for lunch at Villa D’Est Garden Farm & Winery. We continue with a visit to Hokusai-kan Museum for a tour of the most comprehensive gallery of the works of Japan’s most famous artist, Katsushika Hokusai. This evening enjoy a slow-food Japanese dinner featuring a cornucopia of local ingredients (optional). 

Day 6 – From Alps To The Japan Sea – Snow Monkeys, Sake & Shinkansen

Today lies an exciting day ahead of us with a visit to the Jigokudani Valley, within the Joshinetsu -Kogen National Park. Upon arrival at Jigokudani Monkey Park, enjoy the unique opportunity to see Japanese macaques (‘Snow Monkeys’) bathing in large numbers in a natural hot-spring pool. We continue to Nagano, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics, and the city in the centre of the Japan Alps, and visit Nishinomon-Yoshinoya Sake Brewery, followed by lunch. Arrive in Kanazawa and check in to your hotel for overnight stay. This evening stroll in to Kanazawa Town Centre and across the Aasano River where you can enjoy dinner (optional). 

Day 7 – Kanazawa 

Morning city tour of Kanazawa to see the beauty and history of this glorious town.

Day 8 – Gokayama Village – Hiroshima

The morning after breakfast at your hotel, check out and continue to Gokayama Village. Visit the Viewing Point, the Folk Museum & Washi Workshop in Gokayama. View the famous ‘gassho-zukuri’ (literally ‘hands-in-prayer’) thatched-roof houses, then enjoy an opportunity to make ‘washi’, Japan’s traditional paper.  Then transfer to Shirakawago for lunch at a local restaurant (optional). We then continue to Meiji-mura, the original Frank-Lloyd-Wright designed entrance of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, opened on September 01, 1923, the date of the last Great Tokyo Earthquake and enjoy a unique view of Japan’s integration of Western Culture 150 years ago. Continue by bullet train and arrive in Hiroshima for your overnight stay.

Day 9 – Hiroshima

After breakfast at your hotel, its time to board a ferry to Miyajima Island, where you can enjoy a walk along the waterfront to visit Itsukushima Shrine and its famous torii-gate in the sea. We then move on to Daishoin Temple for a tour followed by a Zen Shojin Lunch in the room which was the quarters of the Dalai Lama during his visit to Japan to attend a Peace Summit in Autumn 2006. We now take a ferry to Hiroshima Peace Park. Upon arrival, walk to the Peace Memorial Museum for a visit, followed by a walk through the Peace Park, stopping at the Eternal Flame, the Children’s Memorial, the Memorial Mound, Peace Bell and A-Bomb Dome. Meet a ‘Hibakusha’ A-Bomb Survivor at Orizuru Tower (refreshments provided), then visit the building’s Rooftop Observatory. 

 Day 10 – Kyoto

The morning starts with a visit to Himeji Castle considered Japan’s finest followed by a visit to the adjoining Kokoen Japanese Gardens. After lunch of Tempura & Noodles at Restaurant Kassui-ken in Kokoen Gardens , we take a bullet train and head to Kyoto. The remainder of the day is at leisure to unwind and relax. This evening we head to Gion Quarter for a  walk through the Geisha District, enjoying the Shimbashi area used in the filming of ‘Memoirs Of a Geisha’, and the famous Hanamikoji Main Street. 

Day 11 – Kyoto

Morning city tour of Kyoto awaits you – we begin the tour with a visit to Rokuonji Temple. Continue with a tour of Zen Temple followed by an opportunity to experience Zen Meditation together with an experience of another element of Japanese culture derived from Zen, a Tea Ceremony. Visit a traditional Geisha House, for an opportunity to meet and talk to a Maiko (trainee Geisha), and of course to watch her dance. Enjoy a late afternoon stroll through Nishiki Market, an indoor arcade street stretching for around 1300 feet, and known locally as Kyoto’s Kitchen.

Day 12 – Kyoto 

After a sumptuous breakfast, walk over to Rengeo-In Temple to see its famous and stunning Sanjusangendo Hall, containing 1,001 statues of the Kannon Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Continue to Kiyomizu Temple for a tour of one of Kyoto’s oldest, most-storied and physically impressive sites.  Built on the hillside that is Kyoto’s East boundary, the ‘Pure Water Temple’ enjoys unrivalled views across the city from the terrace of the Main Hall. Leaving the Temple, stroll down the hill through the charming streets of Higashiyama, including the famous Ninenzaka & Sannenzaka.

Day 13 – Nara – Mt. Fuji

After breakfast and check out, it’s time to head to Fushimi Inari Shrine through the seemingly endless line of red ‘torii’ shrine gates, leading up the mountains-side. Continue to Nara and upon arrival, enjoy a walk in Nara Great Park, and see its most famous inhabitants, the sacred Deer, considered to be messengers of the Gods, en route to visit Todaiji Temple, originally constructed in 752 AD. Then continue for lunch at a local restaurant. Take a bullet train and arrive in Mishima for check-in and overnight. 

Day 14 – Sayonara Japan

It’s time to say goodbye ‘sayonara’ Japan – transfer to the airport for your onward journey. 

LOCATION NUMBER OF NIGHTS ACCOMMODATION
Tokyo 3 Trunk Boutique Hotel
Nikko 1 Kanaya Hotel
Nagano 1 Kyukaruizawa, Curio by Hilton
Kanazawa 2 Mitsui Garden Hotel
Hiroshima 2 Granvia Hotel
Kyoto 3 Hana Touro
Mishima 1 Daiwa Roynet Hotel

 

Prices are land only per person based on double occupancy. Restrictions apply. For our complete terms and conditions, click here.

13 nights hotel accommodation

Visit Tsukiji Market, Tokyo’s atmospheric old retail Fish & Vegetable Market

Tour of  Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest Temple, said to have been established almost 1400 years ago

Meander the grounds of Meiji Shrine, one of Japan’s premier Shinto sites, completed in 1920 and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji

Tour of Tamozawa Imperial Villa, the expansive 106-room Summer Residence of the Imperial Family

Enjoy a picture perfect moment at the Waterfall Observation point, to see the waters of Lake Chuzenji cascade almost 320 feet down to the river below

Visit to the Tomioka Silk Mill, an ultra-modern factory in its day that functioned for just over 100 years, closing in 1980, and was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014

Explore Hokusai Museum for the most comprehensive gallery of the works of Japan’s most famous artist, Katsushika Hokusai

Day trip to Jigokudani Monkey Park, a unique opportunity to see Japanese macaques (‘Snow Monkeys’) bathing in large numbers in a natural hot-spring pool

Ferry to Miyajima Island – enjoy a walk along the waterfront to visit Itsukushima Shrine and its famous torii-gate in the sea

Walk to the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima for a visit, followed by a walk through the Peace Park, stopping at the Eternal Flame, the Children’s Memorial, the Memorial Mound, Peace Bell and A-Bomb Dome

Spend an evening in Gion Quarter, walk through the Geisha District, enjoying the Shimbashi area used in the filming of ‘Memoirs Of a Geisha’

Visit to a Zen Temple along with an opportunity to experience Zen Meditation together with an experience of another element of Japanese culture derived from Zen, a Tea Ceremony

Enjoy a walk in Nara Great Park, and see its most famous inhabitants, the sacred Deer, considered to be messengers of the Gods

Daily breakfast

 

Day 1 – Arrive Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo, Japan’s exciting capital. Upon arrival, your Sky Vacations ambassador will meet and transfer you to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to unwind. 

Day 2 – Tokyo City Tour

After breakfast at your hotel, its time for a full day city tour of magical Tokyo. Start with a visit to Tsukiji Market, Tokyo’s atmospheric old retail Fish & Vegetable Market, including a stop to taste some of the World’s freshest sushi. Continue to a traditional house in eastern Tokyo which is home to what is arguably the finest private collection of Bonsai in Japan.  Here, enjoy a Kimono-wearing experience and a tour of the Garden and short introduction to Bonsai, followed by a Bento Box lunch while enjoying the superb garden. Transfer to Asakusa, the historical district on the banks of the Sumida River from which grew first Edo, the capital of the Shogunate in medieval Japan, and then Tokyo, one of the modern World’s great metropolises.  Visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest Temple said to have been established almost 1400 years ago, the 820 feet long Nakamise Arcade Market which dates back to the 17th century and at its end the iconic Kaminarimon Gate, housing a huge paper lantern donated over a century ago by Konosuke Matsushita, founder of the Panasonic Electronics Empire. After free time in Asakusa, visit the 1148 feet high Main Observatory, at Tokyo Sky Tree, the World’s tallest tower, dwarfing Tokyo from 2080 feet.  Here, on a clear day, one can see the sun setting in late afternoon behind the majestic Mount Fuji.

Day 3 – Tokyo South Western Corner

Today, its time for a morning tour of Tokyo’s modern south-western corner. A short train ride to Shibuya takes you to the famous Scramble Crossing which became a Tokyo icon thanks to the film Lost in Translation. Then take the national railway to Harajuku, and walk to the grounds of Meiji Shrine, one of Japan’s premier Shinto sites, completed in 1920 and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, great-great-Grandfather of the current Emperor, and the first Emperor of modern Japan. The Shrine is beautifully appointed in a forest of 10,000 trees, making it a delightfully peaceful oasis in this city with a daytime population of 20 million plus. Leaving the Shrine, stroll into the immediately adjacent throbbing streets of  Tokyo’s famous fashion hotspot, Harajuku. Here, enjoy a walk along Takeshita-dori & Cat Street, in whose backstreets lie shops frequented by Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani & David Beckham, then free time for exploring, shopping, or simply watching the metropolis go by over coffee.

Day 4 – Nikko

An exciting day awaits you as you depart for Nikko on an express train. Upon arrival, visit Toshogu Shrine, one of Japan’s most spectacular and impressive sites, originally built on a simple scale as the Mausoleum for the country’s most famous Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, then lavishly enhanced to its current superb scale by his grandson Tokugawa Iemitsu. Impeccably set in a forest, enjoy the 5-storey pagoda by the entrance, then the ornately carved storehouse and its famous ‘life of a monkey’ frieze, one panel of which depicts the ‘hear no evil, see no evil & speak no evil’ 3 monkeys. At the centre of the Shrine stands the dazzlingly ornate Yomeimon Gate. Enjoy free time for lunch. Continue to Tamozawa Imperial Villa to tour the expansive 106-room Summer Residence of the Imperial Family.  Also well over 100-years old, & itself impressive both architecturally and for its Collection of Imperial artefacts, the contrast between this understated Imperial Residence & the dazzlingly ornate & elaborate Toshogu reveals much about the power-balance & differences in approach between the Imperial Family and the Shogun, Japan’s most powerful warlord and political chief. We then continue our tour with a visit to the famous Iroha winding road to Lake Chuzenji – a picture perfect moment at the Waterfall Observation point, to see the waters of Lake Chuzenji cascade almost 320 feet down to the river below. 

Day 5 – Central Japan

Today is an opportunity to learn about and experience the influence of western culture on Japan, and the influence of Japanese culture on the West. We start with a visit to the Tomioka Silk Mill perhaps the single most famous building in Japan’s belated industrial revolution of the late 19th Century, an ultra-modern factory in its day, produced with French co-operation, to process silkworm cocoons into raw silk.  The Factory functioned for just over 100 years, closing in 1980, and was given World Heritage status in 2014. Proceed for lunch at Villa D’Est Garden Farm & Winery. We continue with a visit to Hokusai-kan Museum for a tour of the most comprehensive gallery of the works of Japan’s most famous artist, Katsushika Hokusai. This evening enjoy a slow-food Japanese dinner featuring a cornucopia of local ingredients (optional). 

Day 6 – From Alps To The Japan Sea – Snow Monkeys, Sake & Shinkansen

Today lies an exciting day ahead of us with a visit to the Jigokudani Valley, within the Joshinetsu -Kogen National Park. Upon arrival at Jigokudani Monkey Park, enjoy the unique opportunity to see Japanese macaques (‘Snow Monkeys’) bathing in large numbers in a natural hot-spring pool. We continue to Nagano, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics, and the city in the centre of the Japan Alps, and visit Nishinomon-Yoshinoya Sake Brewery, followed by lunch. Arrive in Kanazawa and check in to your hotel for overnight stay. This evening stroll in to Kanazawa Town Centre and across the Aasano River where you can enjoy dinner (optional). 

Day 7 – Kanazawa 

Morning city tour of Kanazawa to see the beauty and history of this glorious town.

Day 8 – Gokayama Village – Hiroshima

The morning after breakfast at your hotel, check out and continue to Gokayama Village. Visit the Viewing Point, the Folk Museum & Washi Workshop in Gokayama. View the famous ‘gassho-zukuri’ (literally ‘hands-in-prayer’) thatched-roof houses, then enjoy an opportunity to make ‘washi’, Japan’s traditional paper.  Then transfer to Shirakawago for lunch at a local restaurant (optional). We then continue to Meiji-mura, the original Frank-Lloyd-Wright designed entrance of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, opened on September 01, 1923, the date of the last Great Tokyo Earthquake and enjoy a unique view of Japan’s integration of Western Culture 150 years ago. Continue by bullet train and arrive in Hiroshima for your overnight stay.

Day 9 – Hiroshima

After breakfast at your hotel, its time to board a ferry to Miyajima Island, where you can enjoy a walk along the waterfront to visit Itsukushima Shrine and its famous torii-gate in the sea. We then move on to Daishoin Temple for a tour followed by a Zen Shojin Lunch in the room which was the quarters of the Dalai Lama during his visit to Japan to attend a Peace Summit in Autumn 2006. We now take a ferry to Hiroshima Peace Park. Upon arrival, walk to the Peace Memorial Museum for a visit, followed by a walk through the Peace Park, stopping at the Eternal Flame, the Children’s Memorial, the Memorial Mound, Peace Bell and A-Bomb Dome. Meet a ‘Hibakusha’ A-Bomb Survivor at Orizuru Tower (refreshments provided), then visit the building’s Rooftop Observatory. 

 Day 10 – Kyoto

The morning starts with a visit to Himeji Castle considered Japan’s finest followed by a visit to the adjoining Kokoen Japanese Gardens. After lunch of Tempura & Noodles at Restaurant Kassui-ken in Kokoen Gardens , we take a bullet train and head to Kyoto. The remainder of the day is at leisure to unwind and relax. This evening we head to Gion Quarter for a  walk through the Geisha District, enjoying the Shimbashi area used in the filming of ‘Memoirs Of a Geisha’, and the famous Hanamikoji Main Street. 

Day 11 – Kyoto

Morning city tour of Kyoto awaits you – we begin the tour with a visit to Rokuonji Temple. Continue with a tour of Zen Temple followed by an opportunity to experience Zen Meditation together with an experience of another element of Japanese culture derived from Zen, a Tea Ceremony. Visit a traditional Geisha House, for an opportunity to meet and talk to a Maiko (trainee Geisha), and of course to watch her dance. Enjoy a late afternoon stroll through Nishiki Market, an indoor arcade street stretching for around 1300 feet, and known locally as Kyoto’s Kitchen.

Day 12 – Kyoto 

After a sumptuous breakfast, walk over to Rengeo-In Temple to see its famous and stunning Sanjusangendo Hall, containing 1,001 statues of the Kannon Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Continue to Kiyomizu Temple for a tour of one of Kyoto’s oldest, most-storied and physically impressive sites.  Built on the hillside that is Kyoto’s East boundary, the ‘Pure Water Temple’ enjoys unrivalled views across the city from the terrace of the Main Hall. Leaving the Temple, stroll down the hill through the charming streets of Higashiyama, including the famous Ninenzaka & Sannenzaka.

Day 13 – Nara – Mt. Fuji

After breakfast and check out, it’s time to head to Fushimi Inari Shrine through the seemingly endless line of red ‘torii’ shrine gates, leading up the mountains-side. Continue to Nara and upon arrival, enjoy a walk in Nara Great Park, and see its most famous inhabitants, the sacred Deer, considered to be messengers of the Gods, en route to visit Todaiji Temple, originally constructed in 752 AD. Then continue for lunch at a local restaurant. Take a bullet train and arrive in Mishima for check-in and overnight. 

Day 14 – Sayonara Japan

It’s time to say goodbye ‘sayonara’ Japan – transfer to the airport for your onward journey. 

Prices are land only per person based on double occupancy. Restrictions apply. For our complete terms and conditions, click here.

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