Welcome to Japan! Transfer by coach (SHUTTLE BUS) to hotel.
18H30.- Meeting with guide. Late in the afternoon, we will pay a visit to this fascinating country by taking a trip on the metro (tickets included) to the Shinjuku district and see the crowds of people who use this modern and efficient collective transport system. Then we will take a walk around an hour to the restaurant. Shinjuku is one of the most important nightlife districts. Dinner included and return to hotel by metro with our guide.
08.00 hrs.- In the morning, we take part in a 5-hour trip with our guide to see this amazing city, with its hustle and bustle and extremely modern districts that coexist with quiet, peaceful areas. Brief stop at the Zojoji Temple to make a beautiful photograph of the Tokyo Tower. Pay attention to the hundred of Jizos, stone traditional protecting deities who guide us on our travels, give power to those who are weak (such children) and those in dangerous places, and who are dressed including hats, robes and windmills. Then we head to the junction of Shibuya, a junction that is said to be the most crowded in the world. The Meiji Temple is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, his wife, and their spirits. We continue on our bus along the elegant street of Omotesando. We will edge the most beautiful part of the Imperial Palace and the gardens. Stop to visit the famous Nijubashi Bridge. We will pass through the district of Akihabara, the “electric town” with icons from the popular Japanese Manga and Anime culture and then see Kokugikan, the Sumo stadium, home of this Japanese sport. We will also visit the Buddhist temple of Sensoji, the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo, with its 55-metre high pagoda. Then we will have some free time to visit the traditional commercial street of Nakamise in the district of Asakusa. Lunch included in a local restaurant. Return to hotel.
Free time in the afternoon.
Tokyo - Hiroshima.-
Hiroshima - Matsuyama.
Distance travelled: Journey by boat. Crossing of about 50 km.
Scenery: Interesting scenery on board, passing close to many different islands.
Note: We recommend staying on deck to enjoy the crossing, but bring warm clothing.
Today we will take a boat to the island of Shikoku. The crossing is extremely pleasant and takes two and a half hours, and discover that Japan is formed by many small islands. If there are no changes in the ferry times, it will leave at 09.20hrs (we leave the hotel at 08.00 hrs).
12.00hrs. – MATSUYAMA. Arrival. We will take the cable car and ascend to its impressive castle. Then we will visit ISHITE JI, a beautiful Buddhist temple and place of pilgrimage. Lunch included.
In the late afternoon we will visit DOGO ONSEN (admission included), a traditional Japanese bath built in the 19th century.
Note: we highly recommend you to live the Onsen experience in Japan. There are rules that will be explained to you; The baths are separated by sex and a thorough cleaning must be carried out before entering the hot water naked. In Japanese Onsen they can prohibit the entry of people with tattoos.
Matsuyama - Kotohira - Takamatsu - Naruto - Kobe.
Distance travelled: 345 km
Scenery: Pleasant mountain scenery in some places. We walk along huge suspension bridges over the sea. Wear comfortable walking shoes for the journey.
7.30 hrs- Matsuyama.- Departure-.
10.00 hrs.- KOTOHIRA, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the God of fishermen and a place of pilgrimage built on Mount Zozu. To access it, it is necessary to climb 785 steps. Those who do not want to climb the mountain can enjoy sightseeing and visit the small Sake Museum (the traditional Japanese liqueur).
12.00hrs.- Kotohira –Departure-.
13.00 hrs.- TAKAMATSU. Visit to RITSURIN, one of the prettiest gardens in Japan. Lunch included in a local restaurant.
15.00 hrs.- Takamatsu –Departure-.
16.15 hrs.- NARUTO, an impressive bridge that crosses the sea. We will stop to learn how it was built and walk along its glass floor with the impressive waves below us (depending on the times and tides) at a height of 45 metres.
17.15hrs.- Naruto –Departure-. Pretty scenery as we cross huge suspension bridges.
19.00hrs.- KOBE.- Arrival. Modern city by the sea, you can walk through its active center.
Kobe - Osaka - Mount Koya.
In Kobe we visited the Earthquake Memorial Museum, a place to remind the tragic seism that devastated the city in 1995 and its perfect reconstruction.
Note: Sometimes, the entrance to the Earthquake Museum may be modified by the Sake Museum or the climb to the Kobe Tower.
10.30hrs- We continue to Osaka.
11.15hrs- OSAKA, arrival to the second biggest city in Japan.
12.00hrs- We will depart Osaka to visit, MOUNT KOYA, one of Japan’s sacred mountains and Japan’s main centre of Shingon Buddhism. There are 120 shrines and monasteries on this mountain which is a magical place of pilgrimage. We will visit Okuno Mausoleum, a spiritual place and an immense cemetery in the wilderness that has more than 200,000 graves. We will visit Kongobuji temple, built in 1593.
Note: In winter, as it gets dark earlier, we will not have time to enter Kongobuji temple.
We will spend this night at a Buddhist monastery. The monks will offer us a Zen meditation session (Ajikan). Dinner included (vegetarian food). There is religious ceremony at the temple early in the morning if you wish to attend it.
Note: We consider the sojourn at the monastery as an experience of great existential value. The rooms at this place are modest, without bathrooms, in the traditional Japanese style with tatamis. Bathrooms are communal.
Mount Koya - Kyoto.
Total distance: 130km.
Japanese breakfast at the temple.
07.30hrs- We leave early for Kyoto.
10.00hrs- KYOTO, we spend the whole day in the city, which was the capital of Japan between 794 and 1868 and home to the Imperial Court. During World War II the city was the only major Japanese to escape the bombardments, and so it still preserves its wealth of artistic heritage; the famous protocol restricting greenhouse gas emissions was signed in Kyoto in 1997.
The visit includes a trip to one of the most important parts of the city. We will see the marvellous Shinto Shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji temple, “the golden pavilion” and its wonderful gardens.
19.00hrs- At night, a transfer to GION will be included, a busy traditional quarter famous for its Geisha. Free time. The return to the hotel will be free, we suggest you take a taxi. The guide will explain how.
Note: If you already visited Kyoto on your circuit, our guide will offer you information and advice on visiting the other parts of the city unaccompanied.
Kyoto - Tsumago - Matsumoto.-Nagano
Total distance: 320 km.
08.00 hrs- We leave Kyoto to set out for Tsumago, passing attractive country scenery on our way.
11.15 hrs- TSUMAGO. This small village with its wooden houses is one of the prettiest places in Japan. Free time to explore and lunch included in a local restaurant.
13.30 hrs- Tsumago departure.
14.45 hrs- MATSUMOTO, arrival to this tourist city, where we will visit the impressive 16th century castle, known as the “Crow Castle”. Free time to explore this bustling tourist city.
18.00hrs.- Matsumoto.- Departure.
19.15hrs.- NAGANO, arrival.
Note: In some tours, we will not sojourn in Nagano but in the town of Matsumoto.
Nagano - Monkey Park - Kusatsu - Ikaho Onsen.
Total distance: 160 km
Scenery: Today our journey takes us through the beautiful Japanese Alps.
Note: Wear comfortable shoes to walk around the Monkey Park
Early in the morning, in NAGANO, we will visit Zenkoji temple, a pilgrimage site where the first Buddhist image of Japan is located. Passengers will have the opportunity to take part in the Gomakuyo ceremony that brings good luck.
10.30hrs- Nagano departure. We continue through the high mountains.
11.30hrs- Monkey Park, with lunch included and wander through its forests with their rivers and thermal fountains where colonies of Japanese monkeys live and bathe.
13.45hrs- We leave the park, our journey takes us through beautiful mountain scenery (reaching an altitude of 2,172 metres) with semi-active volcanoes.
15.00hrs- KUSATSU is an attractive spa city with a lively main square. Our visit includes admission to the Yumomi performance, with actresses who sing songs about the traditional method for cooling spa waters. Then we can stroll through the city park with its outdoor Onsen.
17.45 hrs- Departure from Kustasu.
19.15hrs- IKAHO, arrival to a picturesque spa town where we will stroll in its ancient centre with its staircase streets. We will stay at a RYOKAN, a Japanese style hotel where we will continue to enjoy its baths. Traditional Japanese dinner included. .
NB: In the autumn, depending on the amount of fruit in the mountains, the movement of the monkeys is unpredictable. If the macaques do not come down to the park, it may be closed. The visit to Kusatsu and the Yumoni show are cancelled due to the weather from November to April.
Ikaho - Nikko - Sendai.
Total distance: 425km
07.45 hrs- Ikaho Onsen. Departure.
10.00hrs- NIKKO, a fantastic town where we will visit the impressive Nikko Toshogu Shrine and the hall of the crying dragon. We will also visit the Taiyuinbyo Mausoleum, set in an impressive, peaceful site, followed by a walk near the river, in Kanmangafuchi, under the watchful eye of hundreds of Jizo statues!
Free time for lunch and visit the city centre.-
15.30hrs- Nikko, departure.
19.45hrs- SENDAI, arrival to this modern, bustling city with over 1 million inhabitants. Passengers can explore the city and have dinner in its busy, thriving centre.
Sendai - Matshushima - Hiraizumi - Morioka.
Total distance: 217km.
Landscapes of forests and mountains, wonderful in the area of the thousand islands.
08.00hrs-We depart for the marvellous city of Matsushima.
08.30hrs-MATSHUSHIMA, a city on the “Thousand Islands” Bay in the Pacific Ocean and considered one of the most attractive cities in Japan. After arriving, we will visit a magnificent “tea house” overlooking the sea and enjoy a cup of traditional tea while our guide tells us about the city. Then we will go on a 50-minute cruise (included).
11.00hrs- Departure. Lunch included.
14.00hrs.- HIRAIZUMI to visit its temples and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Takkoku no Iwaya, carved in the rock in 801, followed by a visit to the magnificent Buddhist temples of Chusonji. We take time to relax in the gardens of Motsuji temple, where passengers can take part in a Zen ceremony (admission included).
17.15hrs- We tren carry on to Morioka.
18.45hrs- MORIOKA, the pleasant capital of Iwate province, where we settle in at our hotel and have some free time to explore.
Morioka - Hirosaki - Aomori - Hakodate.
Total distance: 197km.
Note: We recommend you to wear warm clothing to enjoy the deck of the boat.
07.30hrs- Departure. In a region of beautiful scenery we travel to Hirosaki.
09.30hrs- HIROSAKI. Ancient capital cultural during the Edo period with its castle of the seventeenth century. We will visit its castle in a beautiful park where more than 2,500 cherry trees blossom in the spring.
11.40hrs- AOMORI, the provincial capital, located on Mutsu Bay. Time for visit to Nebuta Museum where we will learn about the Japanese festival tradition, which reminds us of the Carnival, with its vivid, painted floats. Lunch included.
Then we board the ferry to HOKKAIDO Island, the departure of the ferry is scheduled at 14.20hrs. The crossing takes just over three and a half hours.
18.00hrs- HAKODATE –Arrival-. Before going to our hotel, we will ascend Mount Hakodate, which has wonderful views. We make the descent by cable car. Time in the beautiful city pedestrian centre in which to admire the influence of other cultures in the city (Russian Orthodox and Christian churches).
Hakodate - Onuma - Noboribetsu - Sapporo.
Total distance: 338km
Landscapes: Beautiful landscapes. Impressive volcanic areas.
Note: We recommend wearing comfortable shoes for walking through the Hell’s Valley.
In the morning we visit the impressive and busy fish market. Then we climb the GORYOKAKU Tower with its impressive views, from where we can make out the star-shaped fortress of Hakodate. Then we will take a stroll through the castle area before continuing our journey.
11.45hrs- ONUMA. Free time in this wonderful tourist site, with its countless small islands in which to explore the islands, go on a boat trip and have lunch included.
13.45hrs- Departure. Our journey takes us towards the ocean.
16.15hrs- NOBORIBETSU, an impressive volcano site, where we can walk amidst geysers in Jigoku Dani (Hell’s Valley), admire the hot spring lake of Oyunuma and follow the path next to the hot spring to the site of the footbath.-
20.15hrs- SAPPORO.- At the end of the day, we arrive at this beautiful city, the capital of North Japan.-
Sapporo -Hill of Buddha- Otaru - Sapporo.
Total distance: 120 km.
08.30hrs- City tour (included) stopping at the clock tower and Odori Koen avenue-park, dominated by the telecommunications tower. We will enjoy for an hour the beautiful Shinto shrine of Hokkaido Jingu. The visit includes a ceremonial Kito (prayer session) in which we give thanks for the journey.
11.00hrs- At the surronding of Sapporo, we visit the Ainu Cultural Museum, with information about the Ainu culture, a people of Eskimo origin that lived in the North of Japan.
12.15hrs- We continue to Otaru.
13.00hrs- OTARU, arrival to this small city with a European air and streets filled with shops, an old canal and tiny museums. Lunch included.
15.30hrs-Departure. We return to Sapporo at about 16.30hrs. Free time in the afternoon in Sapporo.
After breakfast, end of our services.
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