Japan

A fascinating blend of tradition and modernity, Japan has a unique way of respecting the old and welcoming the new. The quirky Harajuku culture and high-tech gadgets of Tokyo sit peacefully alongside the spiritual serenity of monasteries, temples and shrines, the lasting traditions of the delicate Geishas, ritualistic tea ceremonies and onset bathing. This is a country which lives in the moment with a respectful nod to the past.

Tour TypeTrip NameNo. DaysBookingsPrices per person
Escorted TourJourney Through Japan12From $5,199.00
Escorted TourSplendours of Japan 9From $8,795.00
Escorted TourBest of Japan11From $13,595.00

Journey Through Japan

Begin in Tokyo with sightseeing including the Meiji Shrine, the Akihabara district, and the famous Ginza shopping district. Journey north to Nikko and see the famous Yomeimon Gate. Then we travel to Shirakawa, home to the unique thatched houses.

Journey through the Japanese Alps to the secluded town of Takayama and visit Nagoya, Osaka and Matsue Castle. See the Itsukushima Shrine and its famous floating Torii Gate and the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima. Travel on the bullet trains and enjoy a tour of Kyoto, including many of the city’s temples, shrines, palaces, and pagodas.

Itinerary  
Day 1: Tokyo

Welcome to Japan's capital city. On arrival in Tokyo you will be transferred to your hotel where you will be met by our local representative. The rest of the day is yours to relax or begin your exploration of one of the most exciting cities in the world, home to more than 8 million people.
Hotel: Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu, 3 nights

Day 2: Tokyo

Today's sightseeing tour takes you to the Meiji Shrine, a magnificent 20th century Shinto monument set in a man-made forest. Afterwards, pass by the Imperial Palace Plaza, the State Guest House, the Akihabara district and the famous Ginza shopping street. Your tour concludes with a visit to the Asakusa Kannon Temple and the Nakamise Shopping Arcade. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening in this cosmopolitan city.

Day 3: Tokyo - Nikko - Tokyo

Journey north to Nikko for a visit to Toshogu Shrine and its famous Yomeimon Gate, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Next, continue on to the scenic I-Ro-Ha Zaka driveway, which reaches elevations of 1,200 metres (3,940 feet), to visit Lake Chuzenji and the Kegon Waterfall. Later, return to Tokyo.

Day 4: Tokyo - Matsumoto - Nagano - Toyama

This morning, travel to Matsumoto where you will see Matsumoto Castle and the Matsumoto City Museum. Later, visit Nagano and the Zenkoji Temple. Founded 1,400 years ago, the temple houses what is said to be the first Buddhist statue brought to Japan. Arrive in Toyama this evening.
Hotel: Toyama Excel Hotel Tokyu

Day 5: Toyama - Shirakawa - Takayama - Nagoya

Continue through Japan's beautiful mountain scenery to one of the country's most remote regions, Shirakawa. Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the unique Gassho-Zukuri (joined hands) thatched houses can only be found in this area. This afternoon, journey through the Japanese Alps to the secluded town of Takayama, where old traditions are untouched by the passage of time. Visit the Kusakabe Heritage House for a glimpse of traditional Japanese architecture of the late 19th century before heading to Nagoya.
Hotel: Nagoya Sakae Tokyu Rei Hotel

Day 6: Nagoya - Toba - Osaka

Begin today with a trip to Toba and visit Mikimoto Pearl Island to learn about the pearl cultivation process. Later, enjoy a visit to the most important shrine of the Shinto 'church', Ise Grande Shrine. This afternoon, continue to Osaka, Japan's second largest city, where the rest of the day is at leisure.
Hotel: Shin-Osaka Esaka Tokyu Rei Hotel

Day 7: Osaka - Matsue

Journey to the city of Yonago on the coast of the Sea of Japan. After a brief visit, continue to Adachi Museum Of Art to view Japanese-style gardens and view paintings by one of the greatest Japanese painters Yokoyama Taikan. Later, visit Matsue to see Matsue Castle and Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum, to learn about the life of an international writer.
Hotel: Matsue Excel Hotel Tokyu

Day 8: Matsue - Hiroshima

En route to Hiroshima, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Of ITSUKUSHIMA SHRINE and its famous Floating Torii Gate. From here, continue to Hiroshima. This city bears significant historic importance, for it was here that the world's first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Your tour features the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, which commemorate the victims of that fateful day. Also visit the Shukkeien Landscape Garden, which dates back to 1620.
Hotel: Hiroshima Tokyu Rei Hotel

Day 9: Hiroshima - Kyoto

Your fascinating journey to Kyoto, aboard one of Japan's famous Bullet Trains, is sure to be a highlight of your tour. Kyoto is one of the most fascinating cities in Japan and the remainder of your day is free to explore.
Hotel: Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, 2 nights

Day 10: Kyoto

Enjoy a tour of Kyoto, visiting many of the city's temples, shrines, palaces and pagodas. A highlight of the day is a visit to the extraordinary Nijo Castle, built in 1603 as the official residence of the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. You will also visit Kinkakuji, the Temple of the Gold Pavilion and the Heian Shrine And Garden. During the day there will also be a chance to participate in a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Day 11: Kyoto - Hakone National Park - Tokyo

Drive to Hakone National Park for a leisurely Cruise on Lake Ashi and an aerial Cable Car Ride (weather permitting) over the beautiful Owakudani Valley. From here, enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, before continuing on to your Tokyo airport hotel.
Hotel: Narita Excel Hotel Tokyu

Day 12: Tokyo

Your tour ends today with a transfer to the airport.

Inclusions 
Meals: 11 breakfasts
Transport:Airport Transfers & Luxury air-conditioned coach
Rail:Bullet Train Ticket: Hiroshima - Kyoto
Accommodation: 11 nights
Guide:Experienced Travel Director & Driver
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

Splendours of Japan

We combine eclectic cities, traditional villages, snow-carpet mountains and coastal beauty in this program. Discover the splendorous of Japan on a journey of discovery, from iconic Tokyo to Kanazawa and Kyoto.

Itinerary  
Day 1: Arrive Tokyo

Welcome to Japan. Upon arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda International Airport, transfer by airport shuttle service to your centrally located hotel. This evening join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetisers.
Hotel: New Otani 3 nights

Day 2: Tokyo

This morning your City Tour begins with an orientation drive. See the Tokyo Skytree, the world's highest free-standing broadcasting tower. Continue to Asakusa and visit the Sensoji Buddhist temple. It is one of Tokyo's most colourful and popular temples and has been rebuilt countless times since it was founded in 628, making it Tokyo's oldest temple site. Visit Nakamise, a shopping street over 200 metres long that stretches from the outer gate to the temple's second interior gate. Next head to the famous Ginza district for a hands-on cooking class. Learn how to make sushi with a Local Specialist and then enjoy your sushi creations for lunch. Later choose to either return to the hotel, remain in Ginza at leisure or take part in an Optional Experience.

Day 3: Tokyo

Today continue your City Tour with a visit to the Edo-Tokyo Museum. This fascinating museum displays artifacts and architecture that tell a tale of Tokyo's history and culture during the Edo period. Next drive to Akihabara which began its evolution into 'Electric Town' post WWII when the area became a black market for radio parts. It now houses numerous electronics shops selling a wide range of computer goods and video games. Enjoy some free time here before heading to the Imperial Palace Plaza, a large park area in the centre of Tokyo from where the two bridges that form the entrance to the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace can be viewed. It is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan and built on the former site of Edo Castle. Take a stroll around the Imperial Palace East Gardens before returning to your hotel.

Day 4: Tokyo - Mt Fuji - Matsumoto - Nagano

After breakfast depart Tokyo for the Five Lakes District, dominated by majestic UNESCO listed Mt. Fuji. At 3,776 metres it is Japan's highest mountain and most recognisable icon. Ascend by road to 2,300 metres at the 5th Station before taking a ride on the Kachikachiyama Ropeway, (both weather permitting) a cable car ride offering spectacular views on a clear day of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi. Later drive north to visit Matsumoto Castle, one of the most beautiful and complete original Japanese castles with its unique timber and stone structure. It is also a great Cherry Blossom viewing spot in the springtime. Continue to Nagano for your overnight stay with dinner at the hotel.
Hotel: Shinshu-Matsushiro Royal

Day 5: Nagano - Takayama - Gokayama - Kanazawa

This morning travel through the breath-taking Japanese Alps to the beautiful hillside town of Takayama. Located in the Hida Region, the town has retained a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town. Begin your walking tour of Takayama, known as 'Little Kyoto', and discover its Edo style streets filled with amazing attractions. Explore the Old Town, stopping en route to sample Japanese sake, a Cultural Insight. Lunch today is a Regional Meal of Japanese Hida beef at a local restaurant. Hida beef (Hida-gyu) is the specific name given to beef from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed, it is known as one of the finest quality varieties of beef. This afternoon take a step back in time during a visit to the peaceful mountain village and UNESCO designated site of Gokayama. See the unique Gassho-zukuri wooden houses; the steeply sloped thatched roofs resemble two hands together in prayer. Visit one of the houses and meet the family. Later observe local artisans making washi paper and try your hand at making your own, a Cultural Insight before continuing on to the historic castle town of Kanazawa.
Hotel: Kanazawa Tokyu 2 nights

Day 6: Kanazawa Sightseeing

This morning discover the secrets of gold leaf painting during a visit with a Local Specialist. The production of gold leaf started in Kanazawa at the end of the 16th century and now 99% of Japan's high quality gold leaf is produced in the area. Next visit the gardens of Kenrokuen, rated as one of the top three most beautiful gardens in Japan and a great place to see Cherry Blossom in the springtime. Take your time to relax and explore the ornate landscapes, temples and ponds. Afterwards take a short walk through the Omicho market to see the local fish catch and enjoy an insiders view of everyday life in a busy coastal town. Later visit the Nagamachi District with its old and beautifully preserved samurai houses. Visit the Nomura house, an elegant samurai mansion with beautiful small gardens belonging to a high-ranked samurai family.

Day 7: Kanazawa - Kyoto

This morning leave Kanazawa for Kyoto by Express train. On arrival enjoy a special Be My Guest lunch at a traditional ryokan nestled in the peace and quiet of Mt. Yoshida. The ryokan was built in 1932 by master craftsmen to serve as the second residence of the uncle of the current Japanese Emperor, Akihito. Learn more about local Japanese customs as your hosts welcome you into their beautiful home. Enjoy the pleasures of a truly flavourful and unique dining experience of Kaiseki cuisine, crafted from the very freshest of seasonal delicacies. After lunch visit Kinkakuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its Golden Pavilion. The Kinkakuji history dates back to 1397, when the villa was purchased by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son. Later check in to your hotel for a relaxing evening.
Hotel: Nikko Princess Kyoto 2 nights

Day 8: Kyoto

This morning visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine and see the tunnel of thousands of bright orange torii gates that snake through the forest up into the mountains. Then head to the Sanjusangen-do Hall, a temple famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy and afterwards enjoy a walking tour of the Gion area. Choose to remain in Gion to explore further or return to the hotel. This evening join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Farewell Dinner at the Ninja Kyoto restaurant. Venture into the mysterious labyrinth and secret fortress of the Ninjas, the traditional Japanese heroes and enjoy the creative Ninja-style food, a perfect ending to your holiday in Japan.

Day 9: Depart Kyoto - Osaka

Transfer by airport shuttle service to Kansai International Airport or Osaka Itami Airport for your onward flight. Alternatively, continue to Hiroshima by choosing the 13 day itinerary, Splendours of Japan with Hiroshima.

Inclusions 
Meals: 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
Transport:Airport Transfers & Luxury air-conditioned coach
Rail:Express Train Ticket: Kanazawa - Kyoto
Accommodation: 8 nights
Guide:Experienced Travel Director & Driver
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

Best of Japan

Visit the country’s most beautiful gardens, memorials, temples and sites as you see the best that Japan has to offer.

Itinerary  
Day 1: Arrive Tokyo

Be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure. Tonight, meet your APT Tour Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception at the hotel.
Hotel: Shangri La Hotel, 3 nights

Day 2: Tokyo

After breakfast, set out for a morning tour of Tokyo. Due to its destruction during the 20th Century, admire Tokyo’s overwhelmingly modern architecture. This current urban landscape is one of the most modern and contemporary of its kind, where older buildings are scarce if any. Afterwards, be further captivated by the Imperial Palace East Gardens. The former site of the residence of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867, take a tour within Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defence and wander around the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses that still exist today. Later, enjoy the atmosphere of the Tokyo of past decades in the Asakusa centre of the shitamachi district. Walk around Asakusa’s historic surroundings including the main attraction of Sensoji, a popular Buddhist temple built in the 7th century which is approached via the oldest shopping street in Japan – Nakamise-dori Street. This evening, head out for a Welcome Dinner.

Day 3: Tokyo - Mt. Fuji - Hakone Tokyo

Today you will enjoy a full day tour of Mount Fuji and Hakone. At 3,776 meters, Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain. Worshipped as a sacred mountain throughout the centuries, this perfectly shaped active volcano stands on the border between Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures and can be seen from Tokyo and Yokohama on a clear day. The tour begins at the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, which lies approximately at the halfway point of the Yoshida Trail, which leads from Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine at the mountain’s base to the summit of Mount Fiji. It is the most popular of the four 5th stations and also offers a commanding view of the Fuji Five Lakes area. Later, embark on a sightseeing cruise around Lake Ashinoko, formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano’s last eruption some 3,000 years ago, before climbing Mount Komagatake aboard the Komagatake Ropeway aerial lift line.

Freedom of Choice Dining: Be transferred back to Tokyo this evening for your choice of dining.

Day 4: Tokyo - Kanazawa

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before boarding the refurbished Kagayaki (bullet train) from Tokyo to Kanazawa. Recently reopened due to line extensions, the Hokuriku Shinkansen is the fastest railway category which connects Tokyo and Kanazawa. Featuring twelve train cars, this journey takes just 2.5-hours (where it originally took over 4 hours) and stops only four times.

Freedom of Choice Dining: Upon arrival at ‘Little Kyoto’, enjoy time at leisure to explore the old castle town before your choice of dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel, 2 nights

Day 5: Kanazawa

This morning after breakfast, you will begin a full day tour through the city of Kanazawa. During the Edo Period, Kanazawa served as the home of the second most powerful feudal clan in terms of rice production and fief size, rivalling Kyoto and Tokyo. Explore the 11.4 hectare Japanese Kenrokuen Gardens, located on the central heights and next to the Kanazawa Castle. Known for its scale and beauty, it is regarded as one of the most beautiful feudal lords’ gardens in Japan. Within the gardens, a large artificial pond can be found, as hills and houses dot across the grounds. Whilst here, take a tour of the Seisonkaku Villa which was built within the gardens in 1863. Here, take time to understand and appreciate the fine techniques used when building. For example, the inner pillars and walls often included a wooden panel with openwork carvings of flowers and birds, as did the coffered ceiling for the guest chamber. Then be captivated by the new-style art found within the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. Offering a differing take on conventional museums, the other-worldly UFO-shaped building exhibits experiment-type contemporary arts that visitors can openly interact with. Later, drive past the former residence of the samurai and their families in the Nagamachi district before finishing the day at Kazue-machi, an old geisha district. Delight in the picturesque atmosphere of the wooden lattice fronts of old Geisha houses and restaurants, before taking a brief stroll around the area. Here, savour the view of the area from Asanogawa Ohashi Bridge. Look out upon the rows of historic chaya houses, which have been designated as a national cultural assets since 2008. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 6: Kanazawa - Kyoto

Board the Thunderbird train service this morning, from Kanazawa to Kyoto. The fastest transfer possible between both cities, this high-speed train is a very popular option for both business and leisure travellers across Japan. Upon arrival in the afternoon, take time to leisurely explore Kyoto. Vibrant and colourful, Kyoto served as Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868. Nowadays it is the country’s seventh largest city with a growing population of 1.4 million people. Due to its great historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and spared from air raids during World War II. Enjoy time to walk amongst the countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures scattered throughout the city.
Hotel: Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, 5 nights

Day 7: Kyoto - Osaka

After breakfast, set out on a guided tour of Osaka Castle and its surroundings. The largest castle of its time, Osaka Castle was built to become the centre of a new, unified Japan under Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s rule. Housing an informative museum of the castle’s and Toyotomi’s history, your tour concludes after a cruise along Osaka Bay in the Tempozan Area. A shopper’s paradise to meet any taste, discover the latest of trends in Shinsaibashi before walking amongst the iconic neon lights and mechanized signs of Dotonbori.

Day 8: Kyoto - Kurashiki - Hiroshima - Kyoto

After a delicious breakfast, be transferred to Kurashiki this morning via train. An important point along the distribution route of Japan’s most vital commodity, rice, Kurashiki was put under direct control of the shogunate. Built to allow boats and barges to navigate between the city’s storehouses and nearby port, take time to explore the city’s intricate canal system in the Bikan Historical Quarter. Look out for weeping willow trees here that line the stone bridges that cross over the water. Later, be guided through to Hiroshima. Widely considered at the time as the political and commercial heart of Japan, Hiroshima was chosen as an ideal target for an atomic attack. When the first atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, the destructive power obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometer radius. Destroyed monuments of historical heritage were eventually reconstructed and in the center of the city a large park was built and given a name that would reflect the aspirations of the re-born city: Peace Memorial Park. Spend the afternoon at the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Dome. Here at the museum, observe displays left by victims, photos and other materials that convey the horror before and after the event.

Day 9: Kyoto - Nara

Enjoy a morning at leisure before being transferred to Nara, the capital of Japan’s Nara Prefecture. Stop to admire Japan’s most famous and historically significant temple, Todaiji, before making way to the Kasuga Taisha shrine. Known as the 'Great Eastern Temple', Todaiji was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan. It grew so powerful that the capital was once moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in order to lower the temple's influence on government affairs. Located in Nara Park, which also features several World Heritage Sites, temples, shrines, gardens and museums, you may even meet one of the 1,200 wild deer that freely roam the grounds.

Freedom of Choice Dining: This evening, enjoy the local flavours with a choice in where to dine.

Day 10: Kyoto

Today, discover the attractions of the cultural capital of Japan on a full day tour. An ancient city with 1,200-years of history, Kyoto has always adopted the most advanced standards of the times and often greatly contributed to the nation’s industrial, economic and cultural development as well as strength. Built in 1603 and the residence of the first shogun of the Edo Period – Tokugawa leyasu, the tour starts at Nijo Castle. This five-story Tenshukaku (Castle Keep) is still arguably the best surviving example of castle palace architecture of Japan’s feudal era. Afterwards, visit the Zen temple of Kinkakuji, whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Built to echo the extravagant Kitayama culture that developed in the wealthy aristocratic circles, each floor represents a different style of architecture. Stop by the one of the most celebrated temples of Japan on the site of the Otawa Waterfall. Kiyomizudera is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside, offering fantastic views of numerous cherry and maple trees that erupt in a sea of colour. In the evening, you’ll enjoy a memorable Farewell Dinner.

Day 11: Depart Osaka

After breakfast this morning, your journey comes to an end with a transfer to Kansai Airport in Osaka for your flight home. Alternatively, you may choose to extend your APT holiday with a trip to China.

Inclusions 
Meals:10 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 8 dinners
Transport:Airport Transfers & Luxury air-conditioned coach
Rail:Bullet Train Ticket: Kyoto - Kanazawa
Thunderbird Train Ticket: Kanazawa - Kyoto
Accommodation: 10 nights
Guide:Experienced Travel Director & Driver
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary