Luxury Japan    *alt*

10 days, from £8950
Inside Japan
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Description

* Look out over Tokyo's Imperial Palace Gardens from your private balcony at the Palace Hotel
* Enjoy a wine and sake tasting session with a Tokyo expert
* Take a cruise across Lake Ashi overlooked by Mount Fuji
* Attend a private garden party with geisha entertainment at Gesshin-in Temple
* Stay at one of Japan's most exclusive properties in Hakone
* Explore Arashiyama with a rickshaw ride through its bamboo grove and a boat ride on the Hozugawa River

Explore Japan's classic sights in luxurious style on this deluxe group tour, with five-star hotels, top-quality cuisine and an array of exclusive cultural experiences arranged especially for your group.

Luxury Japan is our one and only deluxe-level Small Group Tour, and we've pulled out all the stops to ensure that you have access to the very best accommodation, cuisine, experiences and guiding at all stages of your trip. The tour begins and ends in Tokyo, where you'll be able to survey the neon glimmering skyscrapers from the balcony of your hotel overlooking the Imperial Palace Gardens - a really unique and exclusive location to kick off a fabulous tour. After a day in the capital you'll move on to the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park area. Here you'll enjoy the very best in Japanese hospitality - or omotenashi as it's called in Japan - at your choice of deluxe accommodation. After two days to enjoy the charms of Mount Fuji and its environs you'll move on to spend three days exploring Kyoto, Japan's ancient city of culture, before paying a visit the city Kanazawa, home of one of the country's finest landscape gardens. Finally your trip will bring you full circle as you return to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo for a final night at the elegant, high-rise Park Hyatt - immortalised by Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray in the film Lost in Translation. At every stage of your trip you'll enjoy private transfers, first-class rail travel, fine Japanese cuisine, private local guides and exclusive experiences - all whilst being accompanied by your dedicated InsideJapan senior tour leader, who will ensure that you never have to worry about a thing. Maximum Group Size: 14 Single Supplement: This tour has a mandatory single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour. Transport: Airport transfers will be by private car, and we will have the use of a private minibus most days. You will be travelling by bullet train between Odawara and Kyoto (2hrs), and between Kanazawa and Tokyo (2.5 hrs). Sightseeing will include rides on cable cars, rickshaws and river boat cruises. Whilst sightseeing we can also expect to enjoy walking amongst sites and occasionally exploring by public transport. Fitness: Even when not using public transport, sightseeing in Japan often involves walking between sights, climbing up steps in temples and being 'on the go' for much of the day. To enjoy any of our Small Group Tours you should be of moderate fitness, able to walk and climb stairs without difficulty and able to maintain a pace that is comfortable for the majority of the group. Luggage: Luggage handing between all destinations is included. Although there is porterage available at the hotels we suggest that you pack reasonably light to make your stay more enjoyable. Accommodation: All accommodation on this tour has full en-suite bathroom facilities. The accommodation in Hakone also offers shared hot-spring baths for your enjoyment. International Flights: This tour starts and finishes in Tokyo for arrivals and departures at Tokyo Narita Airport or at Tokyo Haneda Airport. Check-in: Please note that rooms at the Tokyo hotel are only available from 3pm. (You can, however, securely leave your luggage at the front desk at any time).

Itinerary


 Day 1-2

Feel like royalty as you begin your journey with two nights at the Palace Hotel with a private balcony overlooking the Imperial Palace Gardens.
As soon as you touch down at Tokyo's Narita Airport today you'll be met at arrivals and whisked away by private car to the Palace Hotel ' where your neighbours will be the Japanese royal family! Your tour leader will be at the hotel for two days prior to the beginning of the tour, so if you choose to extend your stay in Japan they will be on hand to meet you and help you settle in. On your first evening in the capital you'll enjoy a drinks reception and first-night meal. This is an excellent way to begin getting to know your tour leader and travelling companions whilst simultaneously getting a gentle introduction to Japan's cuisine. On day two of your tour in addition to your tour leader one of InsideJapan's expert private guides, Masa Hattori, will join you for a half day of guiding in the big city. In the morning you'll explore Asakusa, Tokyo's most traditional district and home to the city's oldest temple, Senso-ji. before lunch at the top of the dizzying 634 m Skytree - the tallest tower in the world. After lunch another of our selected guides will join you. A certified wine sommelier and food writer, she will take you for a backstreet tour of Tokyo and will accompany you for dinner, which will be at a wonderful local restaurant with wine and sake tasting included.
Overnight: Palace Tokyo


 Day 3-4

Enjoy the stunning natural beauty of Mount Fuji and the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park while staying in your choice of accommodation.
On day three you'll leave the capital behind as you hop aboard a private coach for the journey to Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Here you'll have the choice to personalise your tour by choosing your accommodation amongst a selection of the most exclusive properties in the area. Be it a luxurious Japanese-style inn or an elegant Western style resort, you'll enjoy the very best of Japanese hospitality, cuisine and hot spring baths. After an included lunch on arrival your tour leader will take you to the outstanding Open-Air Museum, which houses artworks and sculptures by masters such as Henry Moore, Yayoi Kusama and Picasso ' many of which stand outside amid the beautiful scenery of the national park. Afterwards you'll make your way by private bus to your accommodation and enjoy an included dinner there. On day four of your tour you'll spend a full day sightseeing in the beautiful Hakone area, including a cruise across Lake Ashi (hopefully including spectacular Fuji views, if weather permits!) After another included lunch in Moto Hakone, you'll visit a workshop where you'll learn how traditional wooden puzzle boxes are made, followed by an afternoon and evening at leisure.
Overnight: Your choice of Deluxe accommodation


 Day 5-7

Attend an exclusive garden party, mingle with geisha and explore the many exquisite temples and shrines of Japan's former imperial capital.
On day five you will board the Shinkansen bullet train, where you will be seated in first class for the journey from Odawara to Kyoto, capital city of Japan for over a millennium (from 794 to 1868). This illustrious history has left Kyoto with a vast wealth of temples, shrines and gardens, and a cultural heritage unrivalled by any other city in Japan. On arrival in Kyoto you will have lunch with your group before checking-in at your hotel; the afternoon will be free at leisure to enjoy the facilities at your hotel or explore the local area as you wish. In the evening you will join your tour leader and group for dinner at a superb tempura restaurant. On day six of your itinerary you will be joined by one of InsideJapan's expert private guides, Ayako Kiyono, for a full day of sightseeing in Kyoto. First thing in the morning you will make your way to the Arashiyama district on the edge of the city, where you'll enjoy an atmospheric rickshaw ride through beautiful bamboo groves as well as a pleasant thirty-minute cruise on the Hozugawa River. After a simple local lunch, a visit to the wonderful temple of Tenryuji ' also located in the Arashiyama district. This afternoon you will have the option of follow your tour leader on a visit to Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, one of Kyoto's most famous sights, or you can opt to break away from the group for more private time. Dinner will not be included this evening, so you are free to make your own arrangements ' your tour leader will be happy to make recommendations and point you in the right direction. On day seven you will have another full day in Kyoto with your tour leader and Kiyono-san. In the morning you will make your way by private bus to eastern Kyoto, where you'll admire the 1001 kannon statues of the Sanjusangendo; visit Tofuku-ji, one of the city's principal Zen temples; and explore the ten thousand red gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine, dedicated to the god of rice. Lunch will be included at one of you tour leader's favourite local restaurants. After a little free time in the afternoon, dressers will visit you in your hotel room and help you put on kimono ' traditional Japanese clothing. You will then make your way to Gesshin-in Temple . Here after a session of zazen meditation and a tea ceremony performance, the day will conclude with an exclusive garden party at the temple, during which you will be entertained by Kyoto geisha and accompanied by a professional photographer. Dinner this evening will be at The Sodoh, a top-class Italian restaurant located in a wooded glade with beautiful Japanese-style decor
Overnight: Four Seasons


 Day 8-9

From Kyoto to "Little Kyoto": today you'll make your way to the garden city of Kanazawa, home to a fantastic variety of historical monuments including one of Japan's top landscape gardens.
Today you will begin your journey by private coach from Kyoto to Kanazawa, a lovely city located between the Japanese Alps and the Japan Sea Coast. Along with Kyoto, Kanazawa was spared bombing during the Second World War thanks to its impressive cultural heritage, meaning that many historical areas survive intact to this day. During your journey, you'll stop to visit Eihei-ji: an atmospheric temple hidden in the forests of Fukui Prefecture. After an included lunch en route, this afternoon you will have a first taste of the traditional teahouse districts Kanazawa is famous for. The city is also well known for the high quality of its seafood, and dinner this evening will be at a wonderful local sushi restaurant. On day nine, you'll have a full day in Kanazawa to enjoy the city's many attractions. You'll be joined by a selected local guide for the full day, in which you'll pay an early-morning visit to Kenrokuen Garden (widely considered the finest in Japan) and Kanazawa Castle, explore the preserved samurai houses of the Nagamachi quarter, and visit one of the local artisans in their atelier to learn more about the yuzen silk dyeing or gold leaf techniques that still thrive here. Lunch will be included as part of your tour today, and your tour leader will have some excellent suggestions as to where to go for dinner.
Overnight: Nikko Hotel Kanazawa


 Day 10-11

Return to Tokyo on the bullet train for a final night drinks reception and dinner at the luxurious Park Hyatt Hotel.
On day eleven of your tour you will jump onboard the bullet train and speed across the country to Tokyo, where you will be spending your final night in Japan at the luxurious Park Hyatt Hotel of Lost in Translation fame. If the weather is clear, you may even be able to see Mount Fuji from your bedroom window! As the train journey takes just two-and-a-half hours, most of the day will be at leisure to do some last-minute shopping or see some of the Tokyo sights you missed on your first visit. This evening you will toast the end of a wonderful trip with a private drinks reception and dinner at the New York Grill, whilst taking in one last glance at the mesmerising night skyline through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Finally on day 11 you will be collected from your hotel and escorted by private car to Narita Airport for your flight home.
Overnight: Park Hyatt