Undiscovered Japan - Japanspecialist
Explore some of the nation’s treasured hidden delights.
Dive deep into the nation's untouched side, with an exploration of a Japan you didn't know existed. You'll travel along the beautiful Sanin Coast and visit well-kept secrets like Kinosaki Onsen, one of Japan's oldest hot spring resorts; Tottori, famous for its unique sand dunes; Matsue, a quiet medieval town; and Hagi, famous for its pottery.
Take your overnight flight from Europe to Tokyo and get ready for the adventure ahead of you.
From the airport, you'll head to Odaiba, a futuristic neighbourhood by Tokyo Bay. You'll cross over the Rainbow Bridge to the famous fish market Tsukiji and visit the outer part of the market, which is also full of restaurants and food-related shops.
After lunch, the tour continues to the Zojoji Temple, which houses a mausoleum and burial chamber for the ancient shogun family Tokugawa. The original temple was established in 1598. The temple is located at the foot of the iconic Tokyo Tower, which is a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
From Roppongi, it's off to Shinjuku to check in to your hotel. After checking in, it's off to do a little sightseeing in the area and end with a well-deserved welcome dinner not far from the hotel.
Today starts with a visit to Tokyo City Museum (Edo Tokyo Museum), to learn about the city's evolution. Next, it's off to Tokyo Sky Tree, one of the tallest buildings in the world. You'll ascend to the upper observation deck to enjoy the stunning views of the city. In clear weather it is even possible to see Mt. Fuji.
Next, it's off to Asakusa district for lunch and a visit to Senso-ji temple, which is the oldest in the city and dedicated to the goddess of compassion of Buddhism, Kannon. After this, the rest of the day is free to enjoy as you wish.
Today you'll start by going to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, which with its small lakes and an impressive variety of plants and trees, is a wonderful oasis in the middle of the busy city.
After, it's over to Yoyogi park, where you'll visit the Meiji Jingu shrine and the vibrant Harajuku neighbourhood. From Harajuku, it's over to Shibuya. The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish, but we suggest you check out the Shibuya Sky building to get an impressive view of the city and Shibuya Scramble.
Today it's on the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto, where you'll visit the Miho Museum. The museum was opened in 1997 by a mother and her daughter, who both wanted a beautiful place to store and exhibit their art treasures. The pair asked the Chinese architect I.M. Pei, who also designed the pyramid of the Louvre Museum in Paris, to design a building in harmony with the beautiful surrounding mountainous landscape.
After, you'll check into your hotel and freshen up before exploring Kyoto Station and its impressive architecture. There are many restaurants in and around the station to explore.
Today is dedicated to Kyoto's most famous sights. Kyoto was the capital of Japan from 794 to 1868 and is still the country's spiritual and cultural centre. The city has an abundance of UNESCO-listed buildings, and today you're going to see some of the most impressive.
By bike, you'll travel to the northern part of the city, where Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, is located. After, it's off to Saga-Arashiyama, a district just outside of Kyoto. You'll visit Ryoan-ji Temple, which has one of the most beautiful rock gardens in Kyoto, and so on to the magnificent scenery at Arashiyama with mountains, lakes, and bamboo forests. The trip ends in Arashiyama around lunchtime, where you can keep the bikes or drop them off. Lunch is on your own, and the rest of the day is at your disposal.
This day is free to explore Kyoto at your leisure. The city has over 1600 temples and 400 Shinto shrines, so there is plenty to do. In addition, Kyoto is also the centre of cultural experiences, and you can buy the finest Japan has to offer here, such as silk, paper fans or exquisite green tea. You can also book a full day trip to the country's oldest capital, Nara.
At 09:00, you'll meet with the guide outside the hotel and go to Kyoto Station. From Kyoto Station, you take the local train to Nara Station.
Upon arrival, you'll visit the Todai-ji Temple, where the world's largest bronze Buddha figure stands - 16 meters high and weighing 437 tons. In Nara Park and in the area around the park, you'll be greeted by friendly deer who roam freely.
After lunch, the tour travels to the forest to Kasuga Shrine. The shrine houses thousands of lanterns and is beautifully situated on the mountain of the same name and guards the entrance to a sacred primaeval forest.
From Kasuga Shrine, the trip goes again down through the forest and to Kofuku-ji. Here you will see the impressive five-storey pagoda and visit the small National Treasure Museum, which contains a fine collection of historical art treasures. The train from Nara runs back to Kyoto station, where the trip ends in the afternoon.
After breakfast, it's off to Kinosaki Onsen. Along the way, there's a stop at the city of Miyazu to take a lift up to a viewpoint for a beautiful view over the entire bay and the beautiful Amanohashidate.
On arrival in Kinosaki Onsen, you'll enjoy a seafood lunch, and after, you'll head to the ryokan, where you'll check in. Here you will have time on your own to enjoy the hot springs or take a walk along the canal in the middle of the city.
In the evening, you'll enjoy a delicious Japanese kaiseki dinner, which consists of many small and meticulously prepared delicacies.
Today you'll continue the journey heading to Tottori, which is best known for its large sand dunes. Along the way, there's a stop on the Uradome coast to take a boat trip along the impressive rocky coast. After an hour at sea, you'll arrive at the large sand dunes outside the town of Tottori.
Following time at the dunes, you'll continue to the hotel, located in the middle of the city, and find a restaurant for a well-deserved lunch. After lunch, the rest of the day is at your disposal.
Today it's off to Matsue. You'll start the day with a visit to a local whiskey distillery. From here, you'll head to Mt. Daisen and enjoy the view of the beautiful mountain. The next stop on the route is the Adachi Museum of Art - perhaps best known for its impressive Japanese garden, which is neatly landscaped with small grass elevations, fine spherical shrubs, small trees, sand and stones. The museum has a large collection of paintings by the famous Japanese painter Yokoyama Taikan, who is known for his many paintings of the iconic Fuji mountain. Later you'll head to the hotel and check-in.
Today begins with a visit to Yushien Garden, a garden laid out as a miniature version of the Izumo area, located just southwest of Matsue town.
Then, it's over to Matsue Castle, which is one of the few castles in Japan that has survived both fires, earthquakes, and war. It was completed in 1611 and is surrounded by a large moat and numerous walls, which effectively kept enemies out of the castle. You'll visit the old samurai quarter, where it is possible to explore one of the old samurai homes. The rest of the day is free to spend how you wish.
After breakfast, you'll start the day by visiting Izumo Taisha Shrine, which is believed to have been built in the early 7th century. It is one of the most important shrines in Japan.
Next up, it's off to the Kawamoto area, where you'll enjoy a traditional vegetarian dish, shojin ryori, in a small local temple. The dish is believed to be the forerunner of the more sophisticated kaiseki meal. After lunch, you'll experience a local Taiko drum show.
You'll then drive to the small coastal town, Hagi, where you'll check into our hotel in the afternoon and have some time to yourself before enjoying dinner at the hotel.
You'll start today with a visit to the breathtaking shrine, Motonosumi, located right next to the sea. In this sanctuary, a total of 123 torii gates were erected as a corridor to the sea - an unusual and beautiful sight. The red gates stand in stark contrast to the green slopes and the blue sea in the background.
After the visit here, you'll return to Hagi. If the weather is right, you'll make a small stop at another lookout point, from which you have a nice view of the sea and the surrounding islands. After the lookout, it's off to Tokoji Temple, which is a simple temple that stands in stark contrast to the modern Motonosumi shrine.
Next up, it's off to the Hagi Uragami Museum in Hagi town, where you'll see a selection of the local porcelain and enjoy some time on your own in the city, where you can look more at the beautiful crafts, or you can find a small cosy restaurant and try the local specialities.
In the afternoon, the bus will run from the city to the hotel for those who want it, and otherwise, you can just go back yourself. Dinner is again included in the hotel in the evening.
It is your last day! You'll travel from Hagi to Akiyoshido Cave, one of the largest and most beautiful stalactite caves in the country. From here, the trip now goes to Yamaguchi, where you'll board the shinkansen and travel to Osaka, which is your last stop on the trip.
The afternoon is free to spend however you wish. Consider checking out Osaka Castle, which is a modern reconstruction of the original castle that was destroyed during World War II.
The city also houses an impressive aquarium. In the evening, you'll go to the nearby Dotombori, which lies along the canal of the same name. Here you'll enjoy a "sayonara" (goodbye) dinner.
It's time to go! Early in the morning, you'll transfer to Kansai Airport and fly back to Europe. We hope this has been a journey that will enrich your life forever.
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Length: 15 Days
Visiting places: Tokyo, Kyoto, Kinosaki Onsen, Tottori, Matsue, Hagi and Osaka
Departing from: All major European airports
Price: From EUR 4.500,-
- Airport tax, fees and 20-23 kgs checked luggage
- 3 nights in western style hotel in Tokyo
- 3 nights in western style hotel in Kyoto
- 1 night in Japanese style ryokan with hot-spring in Kinosaki Onsen
- 1 night in western style hotel in Tottori
- 2 nights in western style hotel in Matsue
- 2 nights in Japanese style ryokan with hot-spring in Hagi
- 1 night in western style hotel in Osaka
- 13 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 5 dinners.
- All entrances and transport according to the program
- Tour leader on all days
- Valuable and detailed information about your trip
- Transport not mentioned above (e.g. local metro/bus/taxi etc.)
- Beverages during meals included (except tap-water and green tea)
- Optional excursion to Nara (EUR 115 pp)
- Meals not mentioned above.
- Local city tax which needs to be paid on the spot.
- Travel and cancellation insurance