From ancient cities and UNESCO World Heritage sites to bustling markets and wildlife parks, this tour has plenty for the whole family to discover. This itinerary is a great way to immerse yourself and the kids in the unique and fascinating history of this country.
· Economy class: Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, fr $550
· Premium economy: Cathay Pacific fr $2400
· Business class: China Southern fr $3300, Singapore Airlines fr $4750, Cathay Pacific fr $5850
Day 1: Depart for Osaka
Fly to Osaka via a connecting city. Note: some flights may depart the next day.
Day 2: Arrive in Osaka
Arrive in Osaka. Your friendly tour representative will be waiting for you at the airport arrival hall. You will then make your way to the hotel.
Day 3: Osaka Nara Osaka Amagasaki (B, D)
This morning we travel to Kasuga-Taisha Shrine – A UNESCO world heritage site. It is Nara’s most celebrated shrines. The interior is famous for its many bronze lanterns and stone lanterns that lead up the shrine. Next, we visit Todaiji Temple (Great Eastern Temple), with its Great Buddha Hall – the world’s largest wooden building. This impressive building houses a huge 15m tall bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. We then wander through Nara Park, where over 1,200 tame sika deer roam freely. Later we head to Namba and Dotonbori area in the city’s South encompasses premier shopping districts, restaurants and bars. We then move on to something more modern – the Umeda Sky Building Floating Observatory, which provides an unparalleled elevated view of Osaka. The viewing platform is suspended between two 40-story towers, at 173 metres above the city streets. Tonight you will enjoy a dinner buffet at the hotel with your fellow travellers.
Day 4: Amagasaki Himeji Kurashiki Hiroshima (B)
Today we travel to Himeji Castle, which is the largest surviving example of a traditional Japanese castle. Comprising 83 buildings, the white roof of this UNESCO-registered complex is said to evoke the wings of a heron taking flight – hence the popular name ‘Shirasagi-jō’ – White Heron Castle. In 1945 an American firebomb was dropped into the top floor of the keep, but didn’t ignite, and the castle was renovated in 1956. Himeji Castle is the most visited in Japan, and the site offers some wonderful views of surrounding Himeji city. Later we travel to Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter located in Okayama prefecture, known for its traditional historic buildings situated along a picturesque canal.
Day 5: Hiroshima Miyajima Hiroshima Amagasaki (B)
Today we travel by ferry to Miyajima – a small island in Hiroshima Bay known for its forests and ancient temples. Here we will visit Itsukushima Shrine a UNESCO world heritage site famous for its floating torii gate. We head back to Hiroshima to visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Dome, which commemorates the victims of the atomic bomb explosion in World War II.
Day 6: Amagasaki Kyoto Amagasaki (B)
We visit Kinkakuji: Golden Pavilion. This is a Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold, set within a beautiful classical Zen garden. The detailed architecture incorporates three distinct architectural styles – Shinden, Samurai, and Zen. Next, we get a taste of Kyoto by visiting Nishiki Market located in downtown Kyoto. Try local specialties while walking down a five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Then we head to Gion also known as Geisha district. Delve into Kyoto’s rich history while admiring the beautifully preserved architecture and traditional customs. Lastly, we visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine – famous for the magical, seemingly unending path of over 5000 vibrant orange torii gates that wind through the hills making it one of the most popular shrines in Japan.
Day 7: Amagasaki Kanazawa (B)
Our first stop today is Omicho Market located in Kanazawa. Known as Kanazawa’s Kitchen, it is a colourful and bustling fresh food market with over 200 shops and stalls. Next we visit Nomura Clan Samurai House, the historic residence of the Nomura Samurai clan. The house and grounds provide an insight into the lifestyle of the Samurai class during the 16th-19th centuries, and feature beautiful architecture, gardens, and décor such as painted screen doors. We also visit Kenrokuen Garden – one of Japan’s top three landscape gardens. Developed over 200 years ago, starting in 1620, the garden contains almost 9000 trees and 200 plant species.
Day 8: Kanazawa Shirakawago Takayama Matsumoto (B)
Today we travel to Shirakawago Village, a World Heritage site where 114 Gassho-style houses with steeply-pitched roofs in the shape of a triangle. Built many hundreds of years ago, these historic houses stand together in a beautiful natural setting. Enjoy some free time to explore the sights at Shirakawago observation deck (approx. 10 min by foot), where you can enjoy a spectacular panoramic views of Shirakawago. Next, we head to Kami-Sannomachi Street also called Takayama Old Town, a wonderfully well-preserved slice of old Japan, with houses and shops dating back to the Edo period (1600-1868). It is well known for its charming architecture, unique cafes and old saké breweries famous for some of the best tasting saké in Japan.
Day 9: Matsumoto Mount Fuji Tokyo (B)
This morning we will visit Matsumoto Castle, also known as ‘Crow Castle’ due to its dramatic black exterior. The keep, or “tenshu”, completed around 1593, is listed as a National Treasure of Japan. Then we head to Arakurayama Sengen Park where the instagram-famous Chureito Pagoda is located. Witness the breathtaking view of Chureito Pagoda^ back dropped by the iconic snow-capped Mount Fuji^. Later we visit Oshino Hakkai. Known as the springs of Mount Fuji, it’s a small village with a scenic view of Mount Fuji^. The eight crystal clear ponds are fed by melting snow filtering down from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji, through porous layers of lava, resulting in the finest clear spring water that is revered by locals. Here you will also find many restaurants, souvenir shops and food vendors around the ponds.
Note^: The visibility of Mount Fuji is subject to weather. In mid-March the parking lot at Chureito Pagoda will be closed off and you will need to walk up the stairs (approx. 398 steps) to see Chureito Pagoda. Alternativly you may explore Arakura Fuji Sengen Shrine if you do not wish to walk up the steps.
Day 10: Tokyo Kamakura Yokohama Tokyo (B)
Today we visit the incredible Daibutsu (Great Buddha) at Kotoku-in Temple located in Kamakura. Constructed in 1252 and once covered in gold, the bronze Great Buddha is an impressive sight. This is followed by KomachiDori Shopping Street, a fashionable street located in the middle of the ancient city of Kamakura. Next we head to Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, a historical building erected a century ago as customs buildings for Yokohama Port. The two warehouses survived the 1923 Kanto earthquake, and remained unscathed from World War II thanks to its iron reinforcements. Building No.2 is now home to a number of shops, bars and restaurants, while building No. 1 is used for a wide range of events, exhibitions, fashion shows and concerts.
Day 11: Tokyo (B)
Enjoy a free day of leisure in Tokyo. You may join our guided World Heritage Nikko Day Tour (NZD$320, incl. lunch) or visit Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea (NZD$140, admission only excl. transfers).
Day 12: Tokyo (B, D)
This morning we visit Tokyo Sky Tree, the landmark of Tokyo. Opening in May 2012, the Skytree is a television and radio broadcast site, and contains a restaurant and two viewing platforms. At 634 metres, this is the 2nd-tallest structure in the world! Next we visit Senso-ji Temple located in Asakusa. This is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Later we take a stroll to Nakamise Shopping Street, a centuries-old promenade of shops selling traditional snacks and souvenirs like kimonos and bottles of saké. We then visit Imperial Palace Plaza, the residence for the Japanese Imperial Family. The inner grounds of the palace are not open to the public but you can enjoy the natural scenery surrounding the palace grounds, including the Lotus Moat and Nijubashi (double Bridge). The next stop is Odaiba, a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay. Built as an island fortress in the 19th century, Odaiba will be a venue location for the 2020 Olympic Games, and is already a popular leisure and sightseeing area. Tonight you will enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant with your fellow travellers
Day 13: Depart Tokyo (B)
Spend today free at leisure as time permits before boarding a limousine bus to the airport for your flight home.
Day 14: Arrive home
Arrive home today. Note: Some flights may arrive on day 13.
All prices are per person twin-share in NZD unless otherwise stated and subject to revision without notice. Itineraries, airlines, hotels & ships are subject to availability and change. Hotel locations can be within or outside itinerary cities and may not be centrally located. Double-bedded rooms are not guaranteed. Nexus Holidays reserves the right to provide substitutes of similar quality and adjust the itinerary as we see fit to ensure smooth operations. Late March to early April is historically the best time to view cherry blossoms and early November to see crimson leaves, but is not guaranteed as they are highly seasonal and subject to climatic conditions. Passengers must remain with the group at all times. Fees may apply for deviations from the set itinerary. Total length of trip includes time spent in flight and is subject to flight schedule. Final itineraries and flight info may not be available until within 2 weeks before departure. Travellers are required to pay tipping ($150 per person) to tour guide and driver before departure. Booking conditions apply, refer to your World Travellers consultant for latest information. ver30JUL2019