• Duration

    10 days

  • Location

    Kyoto to Tokyo

  • Price


  • Package by Tucan Travel

Conflict, peace perseverance and prosperity have each shaped the history of Japan, which you can discover for yourself on this fascinating journey. From the early imperial palaces, traditional temples and sacred shrines, to 20th century memorials to the devastation of war, you can follow the evolution of a nation. Explore modern cities, climb dormant volcanoes and enjoy a soak in natural thermal springs and on this adventure tour to remember.

Day 1 to 1 – Arrive Kyoto

The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre tour accommodation. On arrival please ask at the reception for information on when the pre departure meeting will be held.

You will find that in Kyoto, the old and the new co-exist in perfect harmony. Close to the city’s famous Toji temple is an impressive 57 metre high Buddhist pagoda dating back to 794AD, the year the city was established as the Imperial Capital. Right next door, the monthly Kobo-san flea market offers a bargain hunter’s paradise, where you can rummage through a range of items from second hand kimonos to war memorabilia, food and sculptures.

If you are interested in Japanese cultural history, you may like to visit the Kamo Shrines, called the Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, which are both recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are among the most important in Japan. Predating even the Toji temple, these shrines were traditionally visited by members of the Imperial court, who would worship Shinto gods called Kami, and ask them to protect the city and help it to prosper. The Shimogamo Shrine is surrounded by the Tadasu no Mori forest, which features trees that are up to 600 years old, while the nearby Kamigamo Shrine is known for sand cones at its entrance, which have been built and rebuilt since ancient times to help purify and protect the shrine.

Optional Excursions: Ginkaku-ji Temple of the Silver Pavilion – US$4. Also known as Jishō-ji, Temple of Shining Mercy, this Buddhist temple was built in 1474, and is surrounded by a peaceful, pretty Japanese garden. • Nanzen-ji – US$3.50. A Zen Buddhist temple, one of the ‘Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto’.
• Kinkaku-ji – Golden Pavilion Temple – US$3.50. Also known as Rokuon-ji, Deer Garden Temple, this temple was originally built in 1397 to serve as a retirement home and later became a Zen Buddhist temple, but has burned and been rebuilt several times. The temple is set in a beautiful strolling garden, with a mirror lake before it.
• Ryōan-ji – Temple of the Peaceful Dragon – US$3.50. This Zen Buddhist temple is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is famous for its karesanui dry rock garden.
• Nijō Castle – US$5. Completed in 1626, this castle was built as the residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns. Within two rings of fortifications are the Honmaru Palace with its garden, the beautifully decorated and cunningly protected Ninomaru Palace, kitchens, guard house and several other gardens.
• Sanjūsangendō – US$5. This Zen Buddhist temple, officially known as Hall of the Lotus King, was built in 1249 and rebuilt after fire in 1266. The temple is famous for its 1000 life-size statues of the Thousand Armed Kannon which stand on both the right and left sides of the main statue of the TAK in 10 rows and 50 columns.

Accommodation: 1 night(s) in hotels

Day 2 to 2 – Kyoto

We take the early morning local train to our bullet train which will deliver us to the modern, vibrant Imperial Capital of Kyoto. Kyoto was fortunate to be spared in the World War II bombings and has retained literally thousands of ancient shrines, temples and palaces, some dating back centuries.

There is an included tour of the Geisha District. Keep an eye out for Gion Square where some scenes from the movie ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ were filmed. If you haven’t read the book it’s a great insight into traditional Japanese life and the effects of the war on society. It may also be possible to see a geisha dance performance or tea ceremony demonstration.

Included Excursions: Tour of Geisha District

Accommodation: 1 night(s) in hotels

Day 3 to 4 – Hiroshima

Today we take a morning train journey to visit one of Japan’s most famous architectural wonders, Himeji Castle, which amazingly still remains intact despite the heavy bombing of the nearby town throughout World War II. Known as the ‘White Heron’ castle because of its brilliant white exterior, the castle features more than 80 buildings, and an intricately designed series of paths within the fortified complex which are designed to confuse any potential invaders. An optional guide can be hired or you are free to explore on foot yourself.

We then head to Hiroshima, the first city in history to be hit by an atomic bomb, and as a result is now dedicated to promoting peace. Your tour leader will take you to The Peace Memorial Park which was built to promote a peaceful world. Here you will see where the bomb hit on August 6, 1945 at approximately 8:15 am. You will also have a chance to visit the outstanding but chilling museum with real images, video footage, various surviving objects, and true accounts left by the survivors. The Atomic Bomb Dome is one of the few buildings around the explosion’s epicentre that partially survived the blast and the city’s only remaining bomb damaged building. The former Industrial Promotion Hall is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From Hiroshima we can enjoy a day trip to Miyajima, the holiest island in Japan, where you can watch sun setting over the famous floating torii gate, which is the entry place to the Shinto shrine Itsukushima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Passing underneath a torii gate on the way to visit a shrine is an act of sanctification and purification. The floating torii can be accessed only when the tide is out. It is common practice for visitors to place coins in the cracks of the legs of the gate and make a wish. As the island is considered a sacred place, the maple trees which cover the island cannot be cut down and deer and monkeys roam freely.

Included Excursions: Hiroshima Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum • Visit to Himeji Castle •Miyajima day trip and Itsukushima Shrine

Accommodation: 2 night(s) in hotels

Day 5 to 6 – Yufuin

Back on the train again, we head towards Yufuin, a spa town famed for its natural hot water springs or ‘onsens’. This a great place for you to rest in the springs surrounded by a naturally beautiful environment. The rest of the day you will be free to explore on foot, or you may wish to rent bicycles.

There is an option to climb Mt Yufu, if you choose this option it is an early morning start to begin the climb. At 1584 metres above sea level it’s an impressive feature of the landscape, last erupting over 300 years ago. It’s quite a hard climb to the top but the views over the city and the ‘Bungo Fuji’ area are spectacular. The rest of the day you will be free to explore on your own, either on foot or you may wish to rent a bicycle. This a great place for you to rest in the springs surrounded by a naturally beautiful environment.

Accommodation: 2 night(s) in hotels

Day 7 to 8 – Nagasaki

Today we board the train bound for Nagasaki. Nagasaki is an attractive port city on the island of Kyushu and the capital of Nagasaki Prefecture. Nagasaki has played a prominent role in foreign trade relations for many centuries and as a result it became the second city after Hiroshima to be targeted and destroyed by an atomic bomb towards the end of World War II. Your Tour Leader will take you on an early morning tour to the memorial park site which is dedicated to the dark day of August 9, 1945 when the bomb struck and destroyed vast parts of the city, killing tens of thousands of people. There is also a Peace Statue and other memorials such as a black pillar which marks the atomic explosion’s epicentre in the nearby Hypocenter Park. Above the park stands the sobering Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, which we can visit as an included excursion

Included Excursions:
• Nagasaki Peace Park & Museum
Optional excursions • Glover House & Gardens – US$5. Located on the Minamiyamate hillside overlooking Nagasaki harbor, the pretty Glover House is the oldest Western style building surviving in Japan, built in 1863.

Accommodation: 2 night(s) in hotels

Day 9 to 9 – Tokyo

We now fly back to Tokyo for our final farewell Japanese dinner together and possibly finish off with our last traditional Japanese experience, karaoke!

Accommodation: 1 night(s) in hotels

Day 10 to 10 – Depart Tokyo

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

What’s Included

  • Hiroshima Peace Park & Museum
  • Visit Himeji Castle on route to Hiroshima
  • Visit Miyajima & floating Tori Gate
  • Nagasaki Peace Park and Museum
  • 9 night(s) in hotels
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Travel by Train, 1 flight(s)
  • Tucan Travel tour leader

What’s not included

  • International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes
  • Tips on included excursions, visas,travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
  • Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation
  • Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
  • Optional excursions – Please see the optional excursions on the dossier page for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
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