Colours of Japan

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Best time to go: March to May, September to November

10 Nights | from £5,110pp

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Holiday type: Tailor-made

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  • Witness the kaleidoscope of colours on show in Japan throughout the seasons
  • Visit some of the country’s best botanical gardens, including Shinjuku Gyoen and Kenroku-en gardens
  • Head into the mountains of Nikko National Park in Tochigi Prefecture to visit the Toshogu Shrine complex
  • Spend a day exploring some of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites alongside your private guide
  • Stay in a traditional ryokan

Day 1 Tokyo
On arrival into Japan you will be met by an A&K representative who will drive you to your hotel for the next three nights, the Palace Hotel. Spend the rest of your day to explore at your own pace.
Palace Hotel Tokyo

Day 2 Tokyo
Begin your morning at the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market for a refreshing sushi breakfast. From the market make your way to Hamarikyu Tien, the former duck-hunting ground of an Edo Period lord and now a peaceful public park. Then cruise down the Sumida Gawa River to Asakua, the city’s oldest Geisha district. End with a visit to the botanical gardens of Shinjuku Gyoen, one of our favourite places to enjoy the cherry blossom.
Palace Hotel Tokyo | Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 Nikko
A two hour train journey will take you high into the mountains of Nikko National Park in Tochigi Prefecture, where you will discover the UNESCO World Heritage listed, Toshogu Shrine complex. Your local guide will show you around the numerous temples and shrines. Return to Tokyo for your final night in the big city.
Palace Hotel Tokyo | Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 Tokyo / Hakone
The mountain town of Hakone, just two hours from Tokyo, feels like another world. Here, Mount Fuji looms above the lake and hot springs are dotted amid the hills. Ride cable cars to visit springs, shrines, steaming rivers and sulphurous pools, then bed down in a traditional ryokan (inn), complete with comfy futons and far-reaching views.
Yama No Chaya | Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 Hakone / Kanazawa
Travelling by the speedy shinkansen, make your way to Kanazawa, one of the highlights of the Hokuriku region and often known as Little Kyoto thanks to its wide array of cultural attractions. In the 17th century, this beautifully preserved castle town used to be Japan's wealthiest area. We suggest a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art which is well known for its progressive architecture and ever-changing exhibits.
Hotel Nikko | Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 Kanazawa
In a country famous for its gardens, we’d always recommend a stop at Kanazawa’s 17th century Kenroku-en gardens, one of the three ‘great gardens’ of Japan. After head to the imposing Kanazawa Castle, former residence of the powerful Maeda clan. Home to arguably the best sushi in the country, a visit to the bustling market, Omi-cho, makes the ideal lunch stop. Shop for souvenirs in the Higashi Chaya-gai old town before making your way across town to the old Samurai district.
Hotel Nikko | Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 Kanazawa / Takayama
Today take the bus to UNESCO-listed Shirakawa-go, a historic silk-farming village of thatched Gassho-style houses –a real glimpse back in time before continuing on to Takayama. The Old Town here is a time-warp cluster of narrow streets lined with Edoera merchant houses. Overnight at a ryokan and enjoy a traditional style dinner, including Hida beef, and relaxing evening onsen.
Honjinhiranoya Kachouan | Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 Takayama / Kyoto
After breakfast, stroll around Takayama’s old town until you reach Miyagawa Morning Market, where locals come to sell crafts and produce. This is also a good opportunity to try some of the region’s delicious produce. Then it’s time for one last train ride to Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto, where you’ll spend your final three nights.
Hyatt Regency Kyoto | Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 Kyoto
With your private guide, spend the day exploring some of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Start with Nijo Castle. This ornamental castle was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning gardens. Then visit the Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji and Daitoku-ji Zen temple complex, home to the country’s best Zen rock garden. Later, visit Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. From the 13m high veranda jutting out from the Main Hall you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto. Finish off the day with a stroll through the atmospheric Higashiyama district.
Hyatt Regency Kyoto | Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 Kyoto
Today is for relaxing at the hotel, sightseeing at your own pace or making the 45 minute journey to the former capital, Nara. We recommend visiting Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha, and Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most celebrated shrine. Particularly popular in Spring and Autumn, you may also wish to enjoy a rickshaw tour of the mesmerising Arashiyama bamboo forest.
Hyatt Regency Kyoto | Meals: Breakfast

Day 11 Kyoto
Head to the airport for you flight home.
Meals: Breakfast

At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. As a guide, this 11 day suggested holiday will cost from £5,110 per person, based on two sharing, including international flights.

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Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Smith, Lynne and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget.

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Useful info

japan map

Best time to be there

Spring (late March to April) for cherry blossom, early summer (May to early June) for warm sunshine, autumn (October to November) for sunny weather and spectacular colours.

Fly to

Osaka/ Tokyo Narita and Haneda (Japan Airlines, British Airways)

flying time

12 hours 30 minutes from London

time difference

GMT +9 hours


Not required for UK passport holders

Health Requirements

No vaccinations required

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