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An all-encompassing journey through Japan, travelling mainly by bullet train and taking in the highlights of all three main islands: Kyushu, Honshu and Hokkaido. Experience ancient traditions and modern Japan's unique charm.
Our Japan by Rail tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine.
Stroll through Glover Garden, home to the city's foreign residents during the end of the era of seclusion in the late 19th Century.
Under the guidance of a skilled instructor, try your hand at making Momiji manju (maple leaf bean buns)
Explore Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its unusual architectural style.
Cruise one of Japan's Three Great Sights, Matsushima Bay.
Our Japan by Rail Tour has been thoughtfully designed and thoroughly researched to bring you a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, many of which are entirely exclusive to us.
Under the guidance of a skilled instructor, try your hand at making Momiji manju (maple leaf bean buns), Miyajima's most famous confectionary for over a hundred years.
Learn about the role of the masu sake cup in Japan's culture before stepping into the studio to make your very own cup with an original design, which you can then take home as a souvenir!
Discover the history and etiquette of making and appreciating sushi with a hands-on lesson before sitting down with your instructing chef to enjoy Japan's most famous cuisine. It's the taking part that counts!
Fly overnight to the charming city of Fukuoka, the gateway to the island of Kyushu. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Begin the day by travelling on the limited express train to Nagasaki. Upon arrival, enjoy a stroll through the Glover Garden, an open-air museum that exhibits mansions attributed to the Scottish merchant who contributed to the modernisation of Japan. Also, visit the Oura Catholic Church and Atomic Bomb Museum before returning to Fukuoka.
Board the bullet train to Hiroshima located on Japan's largest island, Honshu. Upon arrival in Hiroshima, take the ferry across the Seto Inland Sea to the holy island of Miyajima. Here, visit the Itsukushima Shrine and enjoy a momiji manju making cooking experience. Later, return to Hiroshima.
Spend the day in Hiroshima starting with a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Museum where you will have the opportunity to pay homage to the victims of the 1945 atomic bomb. Enjoy okonomiyaki for lunch before ascending Orizuru Tower to view the city from above, followed by a stroll through the historical Shukkeien Garden.
Depart Hiroshima by bullet train, stopping at Himeji to visit the magnificent Himeji Castle, followed by a walk through Kokoen. Continue by limited express to Osaka.
Begin the day with a visit to the Umeda Sky Building followed by a lunch at the famous Dontonburi district. Later, head to Nara and explore Todaiji Temple which houses the impressive Daibutsu, a 15-metre tall bronze statue of Buddha. Enjoy an ink making and calligraphy class before returning to Osaka.
Journey by road to Kyoto. Capital for 1,000 years, this enchanting city is the epitome of traditional Japan. Upon arrival, stroll through the Arashiyama bamboo forest and admire the towering thickets. Also visit Ryoanji Temple, home to Japan's most well-known zen garden and the famous 'Golden Pavilion' Kinkakuji Temple.
The day begins with a visit to Kiyomizu Temple temple in Kyoto. Next, immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy the age-old rituals of a tea ceremony, and try your hand at fan painting. Also, explore Gion – Kyoto's famous geisha district and centre of the city's traditional arts.
Take the limited express train to Kanazawa and upon arrival, meander your way through Kenrokuen, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Also visit the Nomura Samurai House and Kunani Pottery Factory.
Travel by road to Takayama stopping en route at Inami for a sake wooden cup making experience and sake tasting. Next, continue to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shirakawago Village to get a glimpse of rural Japan. Continue to Takayama.
Spend the morning browsing the local handicrafts and fresh produce at Miyagawa market, the Takayama Floats Museum and Takayama Jinya. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
Travel to Matsumoto and spend time at the Daio Wasabi Farm to see the plantations and learn about its cultivation. Next, travel to Yudanaka and head to Jigokudani Monkey Park. Walk through a picturesque forested valley to the hot pools where you will see the famous Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) bathe and play before returning to Matsumoto.
Begin the day with a visit to the magnificent 16th-century Matsumoto Castle, also known as 'Crow Castle', due to its intense black exterior. Next, head to a miso house and learn about the process of making this famous Japanese seasoning. Experience zen meditation at Narai-juku before continuing to Suwa.
Travel to Hakone and ascend 2,400 metres to the 5th Station (weather permitting) for magnificent views of Mt Fuji. Also, enjoy a peaceful cruise on Lake Ashi before taking to the skies on the Komagatake Ropeway. Later, continue to Tokyo by road.
Being the day with a stroll through Hamarikyu Gardens. Next, take part in a sushi making class and enjoy your own creations for lunch! Later, soak up the atmosphere at Sensoji Temple, browse the stalls on Nakamise shopping street and take a drive-by of the Imperial Palace Plaza before returning to your hotel.
Begin the day by ascending to the Tokyo Metropolitan Observatory deck and soaking up the atmosphere at the peaceful Meiji Jingu Shrine. After lunch, see the world's most famous road crossing at Shibuya. You will have the afternoon free at your leisure to explore this exciting city.
As the tour journeys to northern Honshu, board the bullet train to Sendai, the largest city in Tohoku. Upon arrival, transfer by road to Matsushima and enjoy a cruise on Matsushima Bay. Also, visit Zuiganji Temple and the famous Nikka Whisky factory in Sendai.
Say goodbye to Honshu Island as you board the bullet train to Hakodate located on Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island. Visit the Goryokaku Tower, a star shaped fortress followed by some time at leisure. This evening, journey on the Mt Hakodate Ropeway and enjoy the fabulous views of the city below.
Board the bullet train for the very last time to Sapporo. Head to the Clock Tower and Odori Park and in the evening, stop by the Sapporo Beer Museum and enjoy a tasting or two, followed by a farewell dinner.
Fly to Australia, arriving home the same or following day.
We draw from a wide range of hotels on our holidays, each one is chosen to suit the tour you are travelling on meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. Here are some examples of the type of hotel you can expect to find on this tour.
The 4-star Hakata Excel Tokyu is located in the heart of Fukuoka and offers classically decorated rooms, featuring beautiful wood furnishings and air conditioning. The en-suite bathrooms are spacious and offer toiletries and slippers.
Overlooking the Seto Inland Sea, Grand Prince Hotel offers 5 dining options, a seasonal outdoor pool and hot spring baths. Air-conditioned rooms with a large picture window and a flat-screen TV await guests of the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima.
In the heart of Osaka, the Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka provides modern guest rooms with air conditioning, a flat screen TV and free WiFi. The hotel features a fitness centre and an impressive 20 dining options, offering a variety of cuisines from French to traditional Japanese.
Located near the hub of transportation Kyoto station and many of Kyoto's top attractions, the Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto is in a great location for exploring this beautiful city. It's contemporary guest rooms are complete with Japanese touches and ensuite bathrooms. The hotel features many facilities, including six restaurants, a luxurious bar, a heated indoor pool, and a fitness gym.
Close to Kanazawa Train Station, Hotel Kanazawa is conveniently located and offers guests modern accommodation with a choice of dining options. Pico restaurant serves Western dishes while Japanese cuisine can be found at Kitano Shoya restaurant.
Boasting beautiful views of Suwa Lake, the Rako Hananoi Hotel offers ensuite guest rooms equipped with free Wifi, a flat screen TV and a mini fridge. The hotel features relaxing spa and wellness facilities including a hot spring bath and sauna.
The Sunshine Prince is located in Sunshine City, a shopping and entertainment hub of Tokyo and close to Ikebukuro Station, providing convenient transport links to the rest of the city. The hotel's en-suite rooms are simple, comfortable and traditionally furnished with a television, electric kettle, a mini fridge and a safety deposit box. Facilities in the hotel include onsite restaurants serving Japanese, Cantonese and Western cuisines, a café and bar and a 24 hour convenience store.
In the city of Sendai, the Hotel Vista Sendai boasts beautiful rooms with modern interiors and an on-site restaurant. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, an air purifier and flat screen TV.
The lovely Hakodate Kokusai Hotel provides guests with beautiful coastal views from the West Wing, while the East Wing offers views of the city of Hakodate. Unwind in the hotel's hot spring bath facilities and enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
In the heart of Sapporo, the Sapporo View Hotel is just a short walk from Odori Park and offers guests a relaxing stay with large windows offers views across this beautiful city. Rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi, a private bathroom and electric kettle.
Places Visited: Fukuoka (2N) – Nagasaki - Hiroshima (2N) – Miyajima – Himeji – Osaka (2N) – Kyoto (2N) – Kanazawa (1N) – Takayama (2N) – Yudanaka – Matsumoto (1N) - Mt Fuji (1N) – Tokyo (3N) – Matsushima – Sendai (1N) – Hakodate (1N) – Sapporo (1N)
All of our tour departures (Excluding Antarctica and Australia tours) include international flights and taxes in the price. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal. If your tour departs in less than 30 days, please call our travel experts to book.
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There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.