Classic Japan

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

12 Nights | from £4,877pp

Holiday type: Tailor-made

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  • Bathe in hot springs, in the shadow of Mount Fuji
  • Sail to a sacred island to stroll amid shrines and cherry trees
  • Immerse yourself in Japanese culture at a glorious Kyoto townhouse
  • Spend the night in a traditional ryokan
  • Explore Hiroshima's moving Peace Park, a phoenix from the atomic ashes

Day 1 UK / Tokyo
Maximise your time by flying overnight flight to Tokyo.

Day 2 Tokyo
Neon-bright and lantern-hung, state-of-the-art yet enduringly traditional, Tokyo is modern metropolis and ancient capital rolled into one. After an in-depth orientation with your guide, head out to soak up the atmosphere, then retreat to the comforts of the Palace Hotel, where many rooms overlook the Imperial Palace and Garden.
Palace Hotel Tokyo

Day 3 Tokyo
It's time to plunge into Tokyo. Use the city's excellent public transport to explore both old enclaves and futuristic streets, juxtaposing the tranquility of sites such as the Meiji Shrine with the commercial glitz of Omotesando's fashion stores. Pass by Shibuya, the world's most famous intersection, and explore the many themed cafés - maid cafés, cat cafés and even anime cafés - of Akihabara. End your tour in Ginza, Tokyo's most famous upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment district.
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, eat a hard-boiled egg said to add seven years to your life, then bed down in a traditional ryokan (inn), complete with comfy futons and far-reaching views.
Ginyu Ryokan Hakone | Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 Hakone / Takayama
Take one last soak in the onsen (hot-spring bath) before taking one of Japan's most scenic rail journeys through the mountains and gorges to reach the venerable city of Takayama. The Old Town here is a time-warp cluster of narrow streets lined with Edoera merchant houses. Don't miss a visit to one of the many sake breweries.
Hotel Associa Takayama | Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 Takayama
Wander Takayama's old alleys at your own pace. We suggest heading to the Miyagawa morning market to browse fresh produce, pickles and crafts, and peek inside the heritage houses (many are open to the public). Also, visit nearby UNESCO-listed Shirakawago, a historic silk-farming village of thatched Gassho-style houses – a real glimpse back in time.
Hotel Associa Takayama | Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 Takayama / Hiroshima
It's a spectacular train ride through southwest Honshu to reach Hiroshima. Reflect on the city's past tragedies and inspiring regeneration at the poignant Peace Memorial Park, created on land decimated by the nuclear bomb dropped in 1945.
Sheraton Hiroshima | Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 Hiroshima
Today we recommend taking the ferry to sacred Miyajima –'Shrine Island'. Here, Itsukushima Shrine's torii gate seems to float on water, a resplendent Five Tier Pagoda soars into the sky and the slopes are cloaked in cherry trees and maples – a riot of colour in both spring and autumn. Ride the cable car or hike up Mount Misen for the very best views over the island-dotted Inland Sea.
Sheraton Hiroshima | Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 Hiroshima / Kyoto
The speedy Shinkansen (bullet train) makes short work of the journey to Kyoto, Japan's former capital and arguably most intoxicating city. To truly grasp the unique local culture, head to the house of Japanese tea ceremony master, where you can learn about these traditional ceremonies and their long history with Zen Buddhism, as well as the art of kimono wearing.
Ritz-Carlton | Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 Kyoto
You could spend weeks in Kyoto, getting lost down its timeless alleys, glimpsing geisha skittering along the streets, exploring its innumerable temples, castles, gardens and pavilions. Use the city's excellent bus network to make the most of your time, being sure to visit Nijo Castle, which was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning surrounding gardens, and the Daitoku-ji Zen temple complex, which has one of Japan's best Zen rock gardens, perfect for taking some time to relax.
Ritz-Carlton | Meals: Breakfast

Day 11 Kyoto / Nara
This morning, we recommend taking the train to Nara, the former capital of Japan from 710 -784 before the capital was moved to Heain-kyo (present day Kyoto). We suggest visiting Todaiji Temple, the world's largest wooden building and home to Japan's largest Buddha, and Kasuga Taisha, Nara's most celebrated shrine. Return to Kyoto for your overnight stay.
Ritz-Carlton | Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 Kyoto / Tokyo
There's time for one last amble into Kyoto's backstreets, perhaps shopping for geisha hair accessories in the Gion district, before heading to the airport for your flight home.
Palace Hotel Tokyo | Meals: Breakfast

Day 13 Tokyo / UK
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 13 day suggested holiday will cost from £4,877 per person, based on two sharing, including international flights,trains.

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Meet the Orient & Indian Subcontinent Team

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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

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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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