QUINTESSENTIAL JAPAN

See the best of Japan on this 14 day classic tour combining the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima with real Japanese experiences and the stunning beauty of the Mt. Fuji region

TOUR INTRODUCTION

14 Days, 13 Nights     FROM JPY 308,917 PER PERS

See the best of Japan with expert guides and real Japanese experiences. Discover the vibrancy of Tokyo, the beauty of Kyoto and the generosity of Hiroshima. Japan’s natural beauty is explored further with stays in the stunning Mt. Fuji region as well as an unseen town located high in the Hida Mountains.

Tour Tokyo’s highlights with an expert guide. Board a boat for a cruise down the Sumida Gawa River, seeing Tokyo from the water. Go to a tea ceremony held on an island oasis in the heart of the city. Visit the world’s largest fish market, go to the electronics district of Akihabara, or take a look around Tokyo’s world class museums and art galleries.

Leave the bustle of Tokyo for Hakone, the gateway to Mt. Fuji. Explore the area’s national park, staying in a traditional Japanese ryokan, and enjoy a kaiseki, a beautifully presented meal.

Relax in your yukata (cotton robe) and take an after dinner soak in the onsen. Board the famous shinkansen, or bullet train to a beautifully preserved mountain town and sample the prized sake of the area.

Take another train ride to the 17th century town of Kanazawa. This ancient castle town was once a cultural and artistic centre of Japan. Visit, Kenroku-en; ranked as one of the top three most beautiful gardens in Japan. Head to Hiroshima, a vibrant, interesting metropolis with friendly, welcoming people.

See the Peace Park and Museum, a sobering, moving experience. Journey to Kyoto and study one of Japan’s Traditional Arts, discovering the city with a knowledgeable local guide.

 

Each of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and our destination based teams will start planning a unique and personalized trip.

The Backyard Travel Team,

THE BACKYARD TRAVEL DIFFERENCE

See beautiful Tokyo from a cruise on the Sumida Gawa River
Indulge yourself with a kaiseki, a beautifully presented meal of many small courses, soak in an onsen and stay overnight in a local ryokan
Stay in the beautifully-preserved, previously inaccessible town of Takayama
Learn some of Japan’s ancient, traditional arts at the home of a professional instructor



Daily Itinerary

QUINTESSENTIAL JAPAN

  • Daily Itinerary
  • Day 1: Tokyo

    Upon arrival in Tokyo, you will be welcomed by our airport representative who will assist you with transferring by either train or airport limousine to your hotel. The rest of your day is free at leisure.

    Overnight in Tokyo

    Meals included on this day: None

    Day 1
  • Day 2: Tokyo

    Take a full day to look at some of Tokyo’s highlights with the aid of your guide and the convenient, efficient transport system. Your first stop is Meiji Jinja, Tokyo’s most famous shrine, dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji. It’s a popular site for Japanese Weddings and if you’re lucky you may see a happy couple here dressed in traditional Shinto wedding garments.

    Next we’ll walk down ‘Tokyo’s Champs Elysees’; Omotesando. This broad, tree lined avenue is filled with flagship designer shops and boutiques. It’s a short trip by underground train to the old town area of Asakusa. Asakusa is Tokyo’s oldest Geisha district, and also home to Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, Sensoji. The streets here are a great place to wander, full of old-Japanese character with many interesting stalls and shops.

    Next board a boat for a cruise down the Sumida Gawa River; seeing Tokyo from the water is a must-do experience. We’ll get off at Hamarikyu garden, a delightful private garden oasis surrounded by a sea of skyscrapers. There is a tiny island in the middle of the park’s lake, and we’ll go here to see a short tea ceremony.Note: The order of this itinerary may change according to the location of your hotel.

    Overnight in Tokyo

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Day 2
  • Day 3: Tokyo - Kamakura Day Trip

    Your day is free to explore the wonders of Tokyo.

    If you get an early start you can head to Tsukiji Fish Market and spend the morning at the world’s largest fish market. Visit the electronics district of Akihabara, a techie’s paradise, or take a look around Tokyo’s world class museums and art galleries. If you prefer, you can choose to take the one hour train journey from Tokyo to the seaside town of Kamakura. Once the former capital, Kamakura has many ancient temples as well as the Daibutsu, a giant bronze Buddha.

    Sitting high in the mountains of Nikko National Park, Nikko houses the Toshogu Shrine complex and mausoleum, Japan’s most extravagant display of religious architecture and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Note: Return train tickets to Kamakura or Nikko need to be arranged in advance at an additional cost.

    Overnight in Tokyo

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Day 3
  • Day 4: Tokyo-Hakone and Mt Fuji

    This morning, leave the bustle of Tokyo for the 2 hour journey to Hakone. Hakone is the gateway to Mt. Fuji and is famous for its onsen or natural hot springs. Explore the area’s national park with your Hakone Transport Pass (included). Take Guinness World Record-setting ropeway all the way up Mt Owakudani and walk around its other-worldly landscape filled with craters and bubbling, sulphurous pools. The famous ‘black eggs’ here are boiled in the pools and it is said that eating one will add seven years to your life.

    Next, walk down to the pier to board a replica pirate ship which will take you across Lake Ashinoko, formed by a volcanic eruption 3000 years ago. Your next form of transport is the Hakone Tozan Switchback Train, which can ascend and descend the mountain by zigzagging back and forth across its face, giving you excellent views of the surrounding valleys.

    Tonight you will stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan. This charming accommodation includes tatami mat floors and traditional roll-out futons, as well as rice paper sliding doors and onsen baths. In the evening, indulge Japanese style as kimono clad waitresses serve you a kaiseki, a beautifully presented meal consisting of many small courses. Relax in your yukata (cotton robe) and enjoy an after dinner soak in your onsen.

    Overnight in Hakone

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and Dinner

    Woman Planting Rice
  • Day 5: Hakone-Takayama

    You’ll have time for another soak in the onsen before you take the four hour train journey to Takayama. Board the famous shinkansen, or bullet train, for the first part of your journey, before changing to the Limited Express Hida Wideview for one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan.

    The train winds through mountain ranges and over stunning gorges on its way to this beautifully preserved town which was once cut off from the rest of Japan due to its inaccessible location. Once checked in, we recommend a trip to one of the town’s many sake breweries to sample their product. The sake of this area is especially prized due to the purity of the water used to make it.

    Enjoy another stay in a ryokan tonight, of course with its own onsen.

    Overnight in Takayama

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

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  • Day 6: Takayama - Shirakawago

    After breakfast, head up to the Miyagawa morning market, which sells interesting local crafts and produce.

    A short ride from the market will take you the Takayama Festival Floats Museum, which displays the beautiful floats that parade during the famous Takayama Festival. The museum is a bit separated from all other main sightseeing spots in Takayama.

    Shortly after lunch, get back on the road as you take the bus to your next destination, Shirakawago. Shirakawago, and its neighboring Gokayama region, lines the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that stretch from Gifu all the way to Toyama Prefecture. Both of these prefectures are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. They were also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

    Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer," as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. The architectural style developed over many generations, intricately designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, which were constructed without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms.

    Tonight, you will stay in one of these farmhouses, a great way to experience a traditional Japanese family home or minshuku, and get the chance to become more intimate with gassho-zukuri buildings.

    Tonight’s dinner will be served in your accommodation.

    Overnight in Shirakawago

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

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  • Day 7: Shirakawago-Kanazawa

    Enjoy another train ride through beautiful scenery to the 17th century town of Kanazawa. This ancient castle town was once a cultural and artistic centre of Japan, and its buildings and gardens have been beautifully preserved. The afternoon is free to explore.

    Our suggestion for the day is to take the Kanazawa Sightseeing Bus to visit some of the major highlights in the city. Start with the prisitine Kenroku Garden, which is ranked as one of Japan’s top 3 gardens. The name ‘kenroku-en’ literally means ‘Six Attributes Garden,’ and it has been said that a perfect garden comprises of these six attributes - spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, water-courses, and panoramas.

    Located adjacent to Kenroku-en is Kanazawa Castle, which can be easily accessed through Ishikawa Gate, one of the major gates of the castle. One unique characteristic of Kanazawa-jo is that its whitish roof tiles are made out of lead.

    Make your way to the final suggest stop of the day which is in the Higashi Chaya District, one of the three, well-preserved chaya districts in Kanazawa. A cha-ya, which means ‘tea house’ in Japanese, was where geisha used to entertain her guests with a song or a dance. Here you will find Hakuza, the shop that sells Kanazawa’s specialty – gold leaf products. The tearoom inside the shop is totally covered with gold!

    Overnight in Kanazawa

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Japanese Red Umbrella/Janome
  • Day 8: Kanazawa

    Today is at your leisure to explore more of this amazing city.

    We suggest starting with Nagamachi, the old samurai district of Kanazawa is. Here you will find Nomura-ke, a restored samurai house that showcases the artifacts during the golden era of the Japanese warriors.

    Across town is the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, which is known for its progressive architecture and ever-changing exhibits. Also in the area is the D.T. Suzuki Museum, an homage to the man who helped bring zen buddhism to the west.

    Kanazawa is also home to many interesting temples as well as a bustling seafood market that you may want to explore.

    Overnight in Kanazawa

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Day 8
  • Day 9: Kanazawa-Hiroshima

    It’s a 4.5 hour train journey today to Hiroshima. You may be surprised to find that this place, once the focus on one of the darkest days in history, has bounced back to become a vibrant, interesting metropolis with friendly, welcoming people, a thriving arts scene and, of course (this is Japan, after all!) fantastic food.

    This afternoon head to the Peace Park and Museum for a sobering reminder of the events 65 years ago.

    However, far from being a depressing experience the overriding theme of the Museum is one of hope and peace.

    Note: The Peace Memorial Museum is currently undergoing renovations, and the east building will be closed from September 2014 to spring 2016.

    Overnight in Hiroshima

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    http://www.dreamstime.com/-image14991933
  • Day 10: Hiroshima-Miyajima

    The Peace Park and Museum are of course a must-see when visiting Hiroshima. Built on ground zero and dedicated to all those killed in the atomic bomb attack, it can be a sobering, moving experience. The theme of the Museum is one of hope and peace, and you’ll find this mood reflected in the city’s inhabitants, many of whose families survived the attack. The Floating Torii Gate of Miyajima Island is well-worth a visit. Take a short ferry trip to see this 6th century shrine, designated one of Japan’s three most beautiful structures. From here, you have the option to hike up to the peak of the island, Mt. Misen, which will give you spectacular views of the surrounding islands.

    Overnight in Hiroshima

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Day 10
  • Day 11: Hiroshima-Kyoto

    Journey to Kyoto next on another shinkansen train ride. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit the home of an instructor of one of Japan’s Traditional Arts.

    The rest of the day is at your leisure.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Day 11
  • Day 12: Kyoto

    Discover Kyoto today with your knowledgeable local guide, who will take you to the best sites using the local form of transport, the city’s comprehensive, efficient bus system.

    First visit Nijo Castle, which is famous for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors. The building was completed in 1603 and is set in stunning gardens. Next is the Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji, originally constructed as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death and at his request it became a Buddhist Temple, and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous. Before lunch we’ll go to Daitoku-ji Zen temple complex, which consists of a main temple and 22 sub-temples, one of which, Daisen-in, is home to one of Japan’s best Zen rock gardens.

    After lunch, visit Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. This beautiful, iconic temple is famous for the magnificent views of Kyoto its veranda offers, and also for the fact that the veranda, along with the Main Hall, was constructed entirely without the use of nails or joiners. We’ll end the day with a stroll through the busy little lanes of Higashiyama, whose shops sell traditional souvenirs including Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets and pickles.

    Spend another night in your ryokan.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Gion story
  • Day 13: Kyoto-Nara-Kyoto

    It’s a short-hop train ride this morning to Nara. Nara was the capital of Japan in the 8th century and retains many of the temples and shrines built at that time. We recommend visiting Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to the largest Buddha statue in Japan. Deer Park, or Nara Park as it is officially known, is filled with tame deer and you’ll see many of these animals on a stroll around the area.

    The afternoon is free at your leisure.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Day 13
  • Day 14: Kyoto

    Your day is at leisure until your transfer by train or shuttle bus to Kansai Airport. If you’re departing from Tokyo Narita airport, we can arrange a return ticket to Narita Airport (4 hours) as well as an additional night in Tokyo, should you need one.

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

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All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Local vietnamese woman

Tour Details

All of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

icon Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

icon Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)



Talk to us about Your Holiday

Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.


 

 

 

Why Backyard Travel?


Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.

We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.

With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.