Konnichiwa, and welcome to Japan! Upon your arrival at Tokyo International Airport (HND) or Narita International Airport (NRT), you’ll be transferred to your handpicked hotel in the heart of the city.
One of the world’s greatest metropolises, Tokyo is brimming with life and culture, both historical and contemporary. Spend your leisure time immersing yourself in fields of digital flowers at the incredible teamLab Planets art installation or explore the forested paths of Yoyogi Park, visiting picturesque Meiji Shrine. Tokyo’s world-class culinary scene beckons, from the delectable sushi at Michelin-starred Nishiazabu Taku to the much-lauded chocolate delights of Minimal Tomigaya.
For the brave, scramble amongst the crowds through Shibuya Crossing, then rest up back at your hotel.
Your day begins as you ascend to Tokyo Tower’s observation deck for panoramic views of the sprawling city. Continue to Tsukiji Outer Market – a bustling hub selling fresh seafood and other local delicacies. Grab some market-fresh sushi and soak up the atmosphere, then dive into the world-renowned artwork of Katsushika Hokusai at the Sumida Hokusai Museum. Learn about this famed artist, known for creating The Great Wave and Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, among other woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e.
Finish your whirlwind city tour in historic Asakusa district, window-shopping along Nakamise Shopping Street on your way to Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji. In the evening, indulge in traditional Japanese cuisine and a culture exchange with fellow travellers at your welcome dinner.
It’s time to leave behind the dizzying highs of Tokyo for a different kind of skyscraper. Set off for breathtaking Mount Fuji, stopping at serene Hakone along the way. Carve a rippling path through the tranquil waters of Lake Ashi as you take in the surrounding forests.
If the day is clear, journey up to the Fuji-Subaru Line Fifth Station of Mount Fuji for a spectacular elevated view at 2,300 metres. In the event of poor weather, explore the traditional village of Oshino Hakkai – known for its immaculate spring water and thatched-roof houses.
Later, check-in at your onsen accommodation. For thousands of years, the people of Japan have visited onsen to bathe in the therapeutic hot springs. Join this soothing tradition when you opt for a dip at the hotel’s rooftop observatory with stunning views of Mount Fuji.
Start the day at picture-perfect Oishi Park – a vibrant lakeside garden with exquisite views of the mountain. From here, take the scenic journey to Takayama in the mountainous region of Hida. Known for its popular Spring and Autumn Festivals, Takayama offers idyllic scenery with old world charm.
Settle into your hotel and explore at your leisure, wandering the painterly landscape of serene Nakabashi Park.
After breakfast, visit Takayama Jinya – former government office during the Edo period. Due to the region’s abundant timber, Takayama was placed under direct shogun control in the 17th century. Now, this complex acts as a museum of the city’s long and fascinating history.
From here, continue to Takayama’s Old Town. Marvel at beautiful wooden architecture dating back to feudal times, then browse cosy cafes and centuries-old sake breweries. Venture to remote Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage site famed for its gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Designed to bear the weight of heavy snow, these traditional thatched-roof buildings present a unique image of rural Japan.
Later, board your private transport and travel to Kanazawa, where you’ll check in and spend the evening preparing for a full day of exploring the city.
Get to know this colourful city with a trip to buzzing Omicho Market. Taste the city’s freshest seafood and delicious snacks off the street as you chat to the friendly vendors.
Venture out for a breath of fresh air in the intricately manicured Kenroku-en gardens, originally belonging to nearby Kanazawa Castle. Kenroku-en earns its place as one of the ‘Three Great Gardens of Japan’ thanks to the arboreal flames of its autumn leaves and pastel beauty of cherry and plum blossoms in spring.
Wrap up the day with a visit to the historic geisha district of Higashi Chaya. Discover traditional wooden townhouses – known as machiya – and choose to take a moment of reflection with a warm cup of matcha in hand at one of the historic teahouses.
Bid farewell to Kanazawa and stop in at Echizen Washi Village and visit a local workshop. Here, you’ll learn about the specialised craft and cultural tradition of the both delicate and sustainable handmade Japanese washi paper.
Travel on to Kyoto, where you’ll explore the famous Gion geisha district. Stroll between the historic machiya houses of Hanamikoji Street and bear witness to Kyoto’s ongoing cultural heritage. Enjoy the evening at your leisure.
Today starts with a trip to the one-and-only Kinkaku-ji, known as the Golden Pavilion thanks to the gold leaf that coats the top two floors. Watch its dazzling reflection dance across the pond as you learn about the tumultuous history and spiritual importance of this spectacular work of design.
Next, visit Arashiyama and walk through the swaying stalks of the Bamboo Grove, listening to the gentle clacking as you crane your neck toward the canopy.
Conclude your day at Tenryu-ji, Kyoto’s most cherished Zen temple. Meander through the carefully designed gardens, strolling around the central pond and taking in the view of the nearby Arashiyama Mountains.
Retire to your hotel for a free evening in this cultural capital.
No trip to Kyoto is complete without a visit to the glorious Fushimi Inari Shrine. Climb the winding steps through thousands of bright red torii gates, carving a skeletal tunnel through the forest. Pause at the top and feel the serenity of this utterly unique Shinto shrine, then make your peaceful descent.
Switch up the tempo as you board a bullet train to Hiroshima in the afternoon, zipping through the countryside in whisper-quiet comfort. Upon arrival, check in at your hotel and spend your downtime preparing for another awe-inspiring day ahead.
Wake for a day of reflection and make your way to the Atomic Bomb Dome. The stripped frame stands resolute as a reminder of the horrific bombing of 1945. Take your time walking the tranquil avenues of the Peace Memorial Park, considering the numerous monuments highlighting the impacts of the nuclear bomb, both direct and indirect.
From here, travel to the sacred island of Miyajima, where the iconic Itsukushima Shrine is marked by an enormous, floating torii gate. Admire the beautiful natural landscape – and keep your eyes peeled for the hungry deer that wander through the town.
Head to your hotel in Okayama and spend your evening in contemplation of the day and the region’s vast cultural history.
Get started with a visit to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Himeji Castle – an imposing hilltop structure with graceful white exterior, dating back to the feudal age. With its strategic position and sprawling grounds, Himeji is one of only a dozen such feudal castles still standing.
Continue to Osaka and the busy Dotonbori walkway, painted bright with neon signs and home to myriad food vendors. Explore the bustling thoroughfare, then send off your jaunt through Japan with an exquisite feast of local delicacies as you say farewell to your travel companions.
After one final breakfast, it’s time to say sayonara to Japan. You'll be transferred to Kansai International Airport (KIX) where your journey comes to a close.