If you take an overnight flight to Tokyo, you’ll enjoy more time to explore this fascinating city.
Arrive in Tokyo for a warm A&K welcome before being transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
This morning, meet your English-speaking guide for a full-day tour of Tokyo the local way: by public transport. Head to the Tsukiji Fish Market for an authentic taste of the city’s culture and wander around lively market stalls, shops and restaurants. Breakfast today will be some of the freshest sushi you’ll ever taste. Then it’s time for a boat ride along the Sumida River – disembark to visit the 17th-century Hamarikyu Gardens and continue to Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple. After lunch at a local restaurant, more highlights await at the famous Kappabashi ‘Kitchenware Street’ and, a short subway ride away, the Ameyoko Street area known for its sweet treats. There’ll be the chance to taste some before taking a stroll in Ueno Park, a popular place during hanami (cherry blossom season).
The Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto is one of the world’s most iconic journeys and today you’ll discover why, as you whizz west for a city tour. Start at the Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), now Kyoto's most famous temple. Your next temple stop is the Kiyomizudera (Temple of Pure Water), where you can take in beautiful views over the city. The tour ends with a walk through the atmospheric Higashiyama district, where bustling lanes are lined with quaint souvenir shops.
Your second day in Kyoto is at leisure. You might choose to explore more of the city’s shrines and temples, or take a day trip to Hiroshima.
Enjoy a relaxing morning in Kyoto ahead of your afternoon train journey to Osaka and a foodie tour of Japan’s culinary capital. Get ready to experience kuidaore, which roughly translates as ‘eat until you’re ruined’ – in a good way – on guided visits to three of Osaka's most popular food areas.
Fly from Osaka to Okinawa, Japan’s fifth largest island, known for its tropical climate and sandy beaches. On the way to your hotel, you’ll pass pretty sugarcane and chrysanthemum fields. Then it’s time to laze on the beach and make the most of your hotel’s facilities, including the swimming pool right by the ocean with stunning sunset views.
Travel to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and northern Okinawa. This area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Yanbaru forest is one of the largest subtropical rainforests in Japan and it houses many endemic, rare and endangered species, including the Okinawa rail bird and Okinawa woodpecker. An English-speaking guide will take you around the old village of Kijoka in Ogimi-son, known for bashofu (banana fibre fabric) weaving. Ogimi-son is one of the world’s five ‘blue zones’, where people live the longest and stay the healthiest. Food plays a big part, so make the most of your lunch and dinner here.
Check out of your hotel and travel to Okinawa Airport for your flight to Ishigaki. Arrive in Ishigaki and take a taxi to the port, then hop on a boat to Taketomijima – an idyllic island with beautiful beaches, a strong culture and just three villages where traditional homes are well preserved. There will be the chance to see the Ryukyu red-tiled roofs topped with Okinawa shisa (lion-dog figures) before transferring to your hotel for time at leisure.
In Taketomijima, set out on a half-day sightseeing tour. Ride in a water buffalo cart and tour the inland village while your driver sings traditional folk songs. Listen to the sound of the sanshin, a traditional three-stringed instrument, then visit a dazzling beach with emerald waters and tiny star-shaped grains of sand. After the tour, there will be time to explore independently – you might choose to find a small local café, relax on the beach or head back to your hotel for an afternoon by the pool.
Travel by boat to Ishigaki port, take a taxi to the airport and fly back to Tokyo for your final night in Japan.