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Gardens & Galleries of Japan

Created with Sketch. Kyoto, Tokyo, Kamakura, Ishikawa, Shimane
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Duration

12 days 11 nights

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

Unlimited

Languages

Arabic, Chinese, English, Francais, Indonesia

Overview

Start and end in Tokyo! With the Discovery tour Gardens & Galleries of Japan, you have a 12 days tour package taking you through Tokyo, Japan and 4 other destinations in Japan. Gardens & Galleries of Japan includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals and more.

“A deluxe tour steeped in horticultural richness, zen tradition, and more ancient culture carefully preserved at various UNESCO World Heritage Sites & Museums, with visits to the some of Japan’s best gardens and award-winning art galleries”

Gardens & Galleries of Japan is a once in a lifetime tour taking you to the best Japanese gardens and award winning art galleries. You will experience not only the incredible beauty of these gardens but also the stunning natural landscapes that inform their design. Our Japanese garden experts will accompany you throughout, explaining the concepts behind and execution of the various different styles of Japanese gardens represented.

All small group tours in Japan will offer a combination of transport types but you can be assured we have comfort and efficiency to the forefront of our minds when designing these tours.

Standard Inclusions on all Small Group Tours to Japan:

  • Arrival & Departure Airport Transfers
  • Excellent Choice of Hotels, Ryokans, Lodges, etc.
  • Breakfast Daily & 3 Dinners
  • Entrance Fees throughout
  • Cultural Activities led by local guides in local places
  • English Speaking Tour Leader throughout
  • Transfers throughout, including:
    • Reserved Seats on Express Trains,
    • Reserved Seats on Shinkansen (bullet trains),
    • Local buses/subways/taxis (depending on group size),
    • Private Vehicles, or
    • Domestic Flights.

We do not include the international flights into Japan so please arrange these yourselves.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo (3 nights)

Arrive into one of Tokyo’s International Airports (Haneda or Narita). Met by transfer staff on arrival and taken to your Tokyo hotel. You will have free time in Tokyo until tour orientation that evening, where you will meet the rest of the group. Enjoy a welcome dinner at a local izakaya-style Japanese casual restaurant.

Accommodation: 4 stars hotel

Day 2: Tokyo Full-day private tour

Today you will travel around Tokyo like locals with our expert local guide. Begin with a visit to Hamariyku Garden and the famous Tsukiji fish market where you can explore the market and surrounds and sample some of the freshest sashimi imaginable. Next you will visit Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most important temple. Located in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, it offers a real taste of the old city's traditional side.

From Asakusa, continue on after lunch to one of the most popular shrines in all of Japan, Meiji Jingu. Close to Yoyogi and Harajuku, Meiji Shrine is an oasis of calm, cloistered away at the center of an evergreen forest of 120,000 trees of 365 different species. Finish up at Shibuya’s iconic 'Scramble Crossing', where you can watch the waves of people passing through this famous junction, or join in the throng yourself!

Accommodation: 4 stars hotel

Day 3: Kamakura (Day Trip)

Kamakura is located one hour from Tokyo Station on the JR Yokosuka Line. This charming coastal town was capital of Japan between 1185 and 1333, a turbulent and bloody time in Japan's history. Today Kamakura is a haven of tranquillity and home to many secluded temples and shrines which, once you leave the main tourist trail, you will often have to yourself.

Engaku-ji is one of the leading Zen temples in Japan and the second most important of Kamakura's five great Zen temples. Built into the slopes of Kita-Kamakura's forested hills and surrounded by maple trees, Engaku-ji is set in stunning surrounds. There is a lovely walk through the hills from Kita-Kamakura to the famous Big Buddha at Kotokuin Temple. Along the way you can visit the money washing shrine, Zeniarai-benten, where money washed in the sacred waters is said to double its value! You will also visit Hasedera Temple home to an 11-headed wooden statue of Kannon, hand-carved by the monks of the temple. Enjoy stunning views out over Kamakura Bay and be sure to explore the amazing underground cave-temple. In the evening we'll return to Tokyo and enjoy some free time in the capital.

Day 4: Kanazawa (1 Night)

You will start using your Japan Rail Pass today to transfer to Kanazawa, a lovely small city close to the Japan Sea coast. Until the turn of the century Kanazawa was the 4th biggest city in Japan. However, its wealth was built on rice production and traditional crafts such as weaving and gold leaf and with the full scale industrialisation of the country Kanazawa was somewhat left behind. Today the city is flourishing again and still maintains all of its old charm. There are several small geisha districts and one where you can go inside an old tea house and see where the clients were entertained and even take tea yourself (sadly no longer served by geisha!). There are also samurai houses, a ninja temple and the city's most famous sight, the beautiful Kenroku-en garden rated as one of the three best promenade gardens in the whole of Japan.

In Kanazawa you will visit the nostalgic Higashi Chaya district which is not unlike the old streets of Kyoto, but a little more preserved: almost pristine, in fact. Then move to Kenroku-en garden beside Kanazawa Castle for a relaxing stroll around. In the evening you can use your free time to visit Kanazawa’s incredible 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.

Accommodation: 4 stars hotel

Day 5: Kyoto (3 Nights)

Today you will transfer to Kyoto by train using your Japan Rail Pass.

Flowing with tradition, Kyoto is the ultimate destination for anybody who wants to soak up time-honoured Japanese culture. Home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. Kyoto boasts an array of world-class gardens, majestic festivals and delicate cuisine, all of which make much of the rhythms of nature and the changing of the seasons. On first glance however, visitors will see that like any large Japanese city, grid-like Kyoto has its fair share of neon and concrete. But the discerning eye will soon pick out Kyoto’s treasures: sacred shrines tucked in among shopping arcades, timeless teahouses nestling among modern businesses and mysterious geisha rustling down backstreets among the tourists and souvenirs. Kyoto’s charm lies in these details and whether you’re here for three days or three years, the closer you look, the more you’ll discover.

Your guide will give you introduction to Kyoto which includes: Saihouji Temple & Garden (subject to availability), Arashiyama scenic sightseeing, Torokko Train Ride and Nanzenji Evening Light-Up (Optional).

Accommodation: 4 stars hotel

Day 6: Kyoto Local Full Day Private Tour

Prepare to be blown away today by Kyoto's most spectacular sights: Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavillion), Kiyomizu Temple, and the Gion District famous for the geisha who live and work there. Our local guide really brings to life the history and culture of Japan’s ancient capital, providing great insight into special the character of this unique city.
Some highlights:

- Fushimi Inari Shrine
- Temple of the Golden Pavilion
- Ryoanji Temple
- Lunch at a local restaurant
- Kiyomizudera Temple
- Gion District (Geisha district) Walk

Accommodation: 4 stars hotel

Day 7: Free day in Kyoto / Optional day-trip to Nara OR Hiroshima & Miyajima Island

Today you have a full day off from touring. Take a break from it all, or go see the sights in Kyoto that inspire you the most. Your guide will offer suggestions for the best places to visit and there will also be suggestions in your travel pack. There is the option of participating in an Ikebana workshop (Japanese flower arrangement) for those would like to try their hand at this elegant and refined art form.

Still full of energy and keen for more sightseeing? We recommend an optional day-trip to either Nara or Hiroshima & Miyajima Island.

Accommodation: 4 stars hotel

Day 8: Matsue (2 nights)

Matsue, located in rural Shimane, is Japan’s best kept secret. So much so, in fact, that popular cartoon character Yoshida-kun frequently quips that no one in Japan can find Shimane on a map, even though the area is known as the birthplace of Japan and the home of the gods.

En route to Matsue, you will visit the stunning number one ranked Adachi Museum of Art Japanese Gardens in Yasugi. Here at Adachi you will have the chance to experience a traditional tea ceremony in the magical environs of the Juryu-an Garden Tea House. Other highlights include a delicious traditional kaiseki dinner at your ryokan and Lake Shinji’s fabulous sunsets.

Accommodation: 5 stars hotel

Day 9: Matsue

On your guided day of Matsue, you will visit Yuushi-en garden on Daikonshima island, a traditional walk-through garden with carp-filled ponds, streams and waterfalls. In springtime you can expect to see the famous peonies. Then the Horikawa Sightseeing Boat offers a fascinating and unique perspective of Matsue Castle and the old-town area through its moat and canal network. Get a real sense of the atmosphere of this old castle town by walking along Shiomi Nawate street parallel to the moat. You won't want to miss the finely preserved buke yashiki or samurai residence. There are only twelve original castle structures remaining in Japan and Matsue Castle is one of the finest examples of these Edo Period feudal strongholds, having survived for over 400 years. In the evening you will enjoy another sumptuous kaiseki dinner at your ryokan.

Accommodation: 4 stars hotel

Day 10: Tokyo (2 nights)

This morning you are in for a real treat. After your ryokan breakfast, you will be taken to one of the most sacred Shinto sites in Japan: Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine.

In the afternoon, travel to the airport for an internal flight back to Tokyo.

Accommodation: 4 stars hotel

Day 11: Tokyo

Have a final day of leisure in Tokyo now to spend in the city as you like. Of course, you can discuss options and sample day itineraries with our travel consultants before departure and our group tour leader during your trip. As Tokyo has literally something for everyone, the challenge will not be finding something to do, but rather choosing between the many great options.

Accommodation: 4 stars hotel

Day 12: Sayonara

The tour comes to an end after breakfast today and you will be provided with an airport transfer service from your hotel. If you would like to stay longer in Tokyo, you can discuss various post-tour options with your travel consultant.

Included/Excluded

  • Accommodation
  • Guide
  • Meals
  • Additional Services
  • Transport
  • Insurance
  • Flights

Durations

12 Days

Languages

Arabic
Chinese
English
Francais
Indonesia

Tour's Location

Created with Sketch. Kyoto, Tokyo, Kamakura, Ishikawa, Shimane

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