Aki Autumn in Japan - Japanspecialist

Aki Autumn in Japan

14 Days, From EUR 4.299,-

  • Group tour
  • 14 Days
  • All major European Airports
  • Tokyo, Izu, Okayama, Naoshima, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji, Kyoto 

Immerse yourself in Japan’s most spectacular time of year.

Experience Japan in the autumn, arguably its most underrated and spectacular season. This program is perfectly balanced, combining both group sightseeing with free time to explore on your own, go shopping or soak up the ambience of the country at this extraordinary time of year.

The tour starts in futuristic Tokyo and finishes in ancient Kyoto. Along the way, you'll experience the unspoilt beauty of Izu and Okayama and head to Hiroshima to visit the island of the gods Miyajima. Other highlights include the contemporary art island Naoshima and the samurai city of Himeji. With our knowledgeable English speaking tour leader, you will experience Japan at its best, and you will gain a broader understanding of the country's unique traditions and culture.

Itinerary

Day 1

You'll depart from Europe for Tokyo on an overnight flight. Get some rest and get ready to explore Japan head-on.

Day 2

You'll arrive at Tokyo Airport and meet your tour leader in the arrival hall, then take the bus to the city centre, after you have lunch in a local restaurant, followed by a walk in vibrant Shinjuku, close to your hotel. In the evening we will have a welcome dinner in an izakaya, a local Japanese pub which serves excellent food and drinks.

Day 3

You'll arrive at Tokyo Airport and meet your tour leader in the arrival hall, then take the bus to the city centre, after you have lunch in a local restaurant, followed by a walk in vibrant Shinjuku, close to your hotel. In the evening we will have a welcome dinner in an izakaya, a local Japanese pub which serves excellent food and drinks.

Day 3

Today you'll kick off the adventure, sightseeing until lunch. The day begins with a visit to the Tokyo City Museum (Edo Museum), where you'll learn about the evolution of the city. Next, it's off to Sensoji in Asakusa. It's Tokyo's oldest and is dedicated to the goddess of compassion of Buddhism, Kannon.

Leading up to Sensoji is Nakamise Street, a street selling traditional Japanese goods and snacks. It's a great place to look for souvenirs. You'll have sushi for lunch, and the rest of the day is free to enjoy independently.

If you want to explore further, near Sensoji is Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo's tallest building, which offers breathtaking views of the city. Alternatively, you could visit the upmarket shopping neighbourhood of Ginza or head to Akihabara, a mecca for new electronics and manga culture.

Day 4

Today starts by visiting the beautiful and tranquil Meiji Jingu Shrine, which sits like an oasis in the middle of the big city. you'll continue on foot to nearby Harajuku, home to eccentric street fashion.

After lunch, the rest of the day is free to spend as you please. One of the best sights to visit nearby is Shibuya Station. Take in the views from the top of Shibuya Sky, a 47 story high-rise building with an outdoor observation deck.

Day 5

Today is open to spend however you wish. If you want to stay in Tokyo, there are countless options. You can visit Odaiba, home to futuristic architecture and the fascinating teamLab digital art exhibition. Foodies should head to Tsukiji's Outer Market, a great place to experience street food and eat fresh sashimi.

If you want to explore further, book an optional day trip to nearby Nikko, an area with incredible nature and architecture. Nikko's hallmark is Toshogu Shrine, a mausoleum of the Tokugawa shogunate. The construction of this sanctuary required 15,000 of Japan's most skilled craftsmen and 2.5 million layers of gold leaf.

After lunch, you'll visit Nikko's beautiful national park, where you'll find the 97-meter-high Kegon Falls and Chuzenji Lake, which surrounds Nikko's sacred mountain, Nantai Volcano. Later in the afternoon, you will drive back to Tokyo and be dropped off at one of the city's major stations. Your guide will explain how to return to your hotel.

Day 6

Today you'll leave Tokyo. After breakfast, you travel down to the scenic Izu-Kogen peninsula, home to wonderful views of Mt. Fuji to the north.

Upon arriving, it's time for lunch and an easy hike to admire the magnificent and unspoiled nature. In the afternoon, you'll check in at your ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn that has a hot-spring spa with water from volcanic springs. Spend the afternoon relaxing in the baths and in your beautiful traditional rooms before enjoying a gourmet dinner at your ryokan.

Day 7

After relaxing in the hot springs and breakfast, you'll take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Okayama. To experience the shinkansen like a local, we'd recommend picking up a Japanese lunch box (ekiben) at the station before boarding. You'll get to Okayama in the late afternoon, home to plenty of authentic Japanese ambience and many excellent local restaurants and shops.

Day 8

From Okayama, you'll take a day trip to Setouchi, the beautiful inland sea, where we visit the island of Naoshima, a small island dedicated exclusively to art.

Here are sculptures, art museums and architectural showcases - all in perfect harmony with the rounding nature. You'll visit the Chichu Art Museum, which is built underground, blending with the landscape. Both this and the island's second main museum, Benesse House, were designed by the world-famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

You'll have free time to explore the island, be sure to put aside time to enjoy lunch at one of the small restaurants in Honmura, the island's main village. If you want an upscale lunch, the Benesse House offers an exceptional experience, either dining inside the museum or by the beach.

In the late afternoon, we meet again in the harbour of Naoshima, and we will return to Okayama by local ferry and train. Upon arriving in Okayama, the evening is free at your disposal.

Day 9

Today you'll continue further south on the shinkansen to Hiroshima and start the day by visiting the island of Miyajima.

The island was considered so sacred it was not allowed to be visited by regular people. Here you'll see the spectacular views of the UNESCO-protected Itsukushima Shrine and its red Shinto gate that seems to balance on the seabed. For lunch, you'll enjoy okonomiyaki, Hiroshima's very tasty soul food - pork, cabbage and noodles in an omelette glazed with a special sauce!

After lunch, you'll continue to central Hiroshima and visit the Peace Memorial Museum, followed by a stroll in the park. We will also visit Orizuru Tower, a former office building transformed into an observation tower. Late afternoon or early evening, we will return to Okayama by shinkansen and enjoy free time in the evening.

Day 10

It is time to head to Kyoto; you'll make a stop halfway at the town of Himeji, home to the spectacular Himeji samurai castle. You'll explore the interior of this World Heritage-designated site and admire the castle's incredible architecture.

Day 11

Today is dedicated to Kyoto's most famous sights.

The city has an abundance of UNESCO World Heritage-listed buildings, including Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion. After, you'll continue to the impressive Nijo samurai castle.

After it's time for lunch in the city centre, and the rest of the afternoon and evening are free. This is a great opportunity to explore the central part of Kyoto, visit the Nishiki food market, a street full of local produce such as sake, vegetables, and Japanese sweets. Later, take a stroll down the narrow street of Ponto-cho, where small local restaurants, where you'll find a nice place for dinner.

Day 12

Today we set out to explore more of Kyoto's cultural treasures. Along the way, we'll visit the 500-year-old and Ginkaku-ji (also known as the Silver Pavilion) and the old Zen temple Nanzen-ji, home to impressive structures and gardens and an excellent place to stroll around.

You'll spend the afternoon exploring Kyoto's sights in more depth, including the UNESCO World Heritage-recognized temple Kiyomizu-dera in the southeast corner of the city. From Kiyomizu-dera, you're rewarded with beautiful views of Kyoto's city skyline. The pedestrian street leading up to the temple is lined with local shops selling souvenirs, snacks and renting kimonos. Nearby also sits the famous Sanjusangen-do temple, another UNESCO site with 1,001 Buddha statues.

Day 13

Today you're free to explore however you wish; as a city with over 1600 temples and 400 Shinto shrines, there's no shortage of things to explore in Kyoto.

Visit the Fushimi Inari shrine (south of Kyoto Station), famous for its thousands of red torii. Kyoto is also the centre of crafts and is home to countless stores selling artisanal wares and excellent green tea.

One must-see experience is to book an optional day trip to the country's oldest capital, Nara. On this tour, you'll meet with your English-speaking guide outside the hotel at Kyoto Station at 9:00 and depart by local train to Japan's very first capital Nara. Once you arrive, you'll explore the town on foot by first visiting Kofuku-ji, famous for the towering pagodas, followed by a local lunch.

After lunch, you'll walk through the town's forest to the Kasuga Shrine. The path is lined with beautiful stone lanterns. We will continue down through Nara park to Nandaimon Gate and Todai-ji temple, home to the largest bronze Buddha in the world. After, it's off to Nara park, where you'll meet many friendly free-roaming deer. We head back to the station and return to Kyoto by train.

In the late afternoon, you'll meet with the guide and group to finish off your tour of Japan in style, with a delicious "sayonara" (goodbye) dinner.

Day 14

This morning there is an early check-out for your return home. You'll transfer to Osaka Airport, where we have our return flight to Europe.

Summary

Length: 14 Days
Visiting places: Tokyo, Izu, Okayama, Naoshima, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji, Kyoto 
Departing from: All major European Airports
Price: From EUR 4.299,- (learn more about prices)

Important information
This escorted group tour operates on a seasonal fixed schedule with various options for different languages. Please contact a representative for more information regarding availability and exact itineraries.

If you want more Japan, we are able to split your return flights from the group reservation and extend your stay. Split fee is EUR 50 per person + price difference to new return date (if any). Departure airport must be the same as original itinerary. You have a golden opportunity to visit the beautiful beaches in Okinawa, or the charming towns of Kanazawa and Takayama in the heart of Japan. Extra days do not a include tour leader.
What’s included
- Flight tickets: Europe – Tokyo / Osaka – Europe
- Airport tax, fees and 20-23 kgs checked luggage 
- 4 nights in a western style hotel in Tokyo
- 1 night in a Japanese style ryokan with hot-spring in Izu-kogen 
- 3 nights in a western style hotel in Okayama 
- 4 nights in a western style hotel in Tokyo 
- 12 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 3 dinners
- E-bikes in Naoshima 
- Ticket to the Chichu Art Museum in Naoshima 
- All entrances and transport detailed within the itinerary 
- Tour leader available all days 
- Valuable and detailed information about your trip
What isn’t included
- Pre-seating on flights (free via online check-in) 
- Transport not mentioned above (e.g. local metro/bus/taxi etc.) 
- Beverages during meals (except tap-water and green tea) 
- Optional excursion to Nikko (EUR 140,- pp) 
- Optional excursion to Nara (EUR 115,- pp) 
- Other entrance fees in Naoshima (approx. EUR 50,-) 
- Other transport in Naoshima 
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Local city tax which needs to be paid on the spot 
- Travel and cancellation insurance

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