Ancient & Modern Japan

Ancient & Modern Japan
Ancient & Modern Japan
Ancient & Modern Japan
Ancient & Modern Japan
Ancient & Modern Japan
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • FAQ
  • Reviews
  • Dates
  • Exodus

Ancient wooden temples, raked-pebble Zen gardens and chanting Buddhist monks juxtaposed with space-age towers, neon lights and bullet trains; Japan’s captivating blend of old and new is legendary. As we explore the southern and western stretches of Honshu, Japan's largest island, we discover the country's unique culture amongst the serene shrines and gardens of Nara and Kyoto and the rarely visited mountainous heartland of castles and spas. Our last stop is the vast and futuristic capital city of Tokyo: sprawling, inimitably busy, welcoming and extraordinary.

Highlights
  • Spot mysterious geishas in Kyoto's Gion district
  • Take the incredible high speed 'bullet train'
  • Watch the famous snow monkeys bathing in hot springs
  • Experience cherry blossom season or beautiful autumn colours
  • Explore temples in Kyoto and discover futuristic Tokyo
Food

3 breakfasts and 3 dinners are included. Japanese cuisine is usually one of the main highlights of any trip to Japan. It is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes which are usually prepared with seasonal ingredients. Seafood is very is common, and it usually comes grilled or deep fried. Sushi and sashimi aside, other staple dishes include Soba or Udon noodles, Sukiyaki (meat, fish and vegetables cooked in broth) and Yakiniku (grilled meat). The included dinners are usually taken at traditional guesthouses which will serve a /kaiseki/ style dinner, a multi-course meal including a dozen of tiny dishes prepared with locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. When food is not included, your leader will always be on hand to recommend the best local eateries and arrange some group meals for a full immersion in Japan's varied and excellent cuisine.  Please note that in Japan the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free, strict vegetarian (no fish/seafood) or vegan is minimal or non-existent. The group meals arranged by the tour leader will be in traditional eateries where the choices of vegan dishes may be limited to simple salads or boiled rice. However in Kyoto and Tokyo a number of vegan restaurants are available.  It may also be a good idea to bring with you some foodstuffs that you normally consume, or to supplement meals with snacks purchased in the local convenience stores. Please advise us at time of booking you have any specific dietary requirements.

Destinations
  • Sakura
  • Kyoto
  • Matsumoto
  • Tokyo
  • Hiroshima
  • Hakone
  • Takayama
  • Far East
  • Japan
Tour Types
  • Active
  • Adventure
  • Singles
  • Sightseeing
  • Cultural
  • Foodie
  • Rail

Location: Kyoto

The trip starts in Kyoto, an atmospheric city set amidst beautiful hills. 

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Kinkakujicho, Ryōan-ji, Nijō Castle, Nishiki Market, Gion

With over 2000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a treasure house of Japan's cultural heritage and remains undoubtedly one of the most fascinating cities in Asia. Unlike many other Japanese towns, it escaped the ravages of both the Second World War and modern urban development, thereby keeping intact much of the spirit and architecture of traditional Japan. Today, we have an introductory tour of the city. Starting with a visit to the famous Golden Temple of Kinkakuji, built in 1397 as a summer villa for the shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga and immortalised in Mishima Yukio's novel, 'The Golden Pavilion'. We then visit the Ryoanji temple, home to Japan's most famous and iconic rock garden, before moving onto the impressive Nijo castle, built in 1603 as a residence for the Tokugawa shoguns. At lunch we will head back to central Kyoto for a stroll at the famous Nishiki Market, known as 'Kyoto's Kitchen', which specialises in all things food related and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. Those who wish may opt to take a leisurely lunch at one of the local restaurants in the area or rest at the hotel. Later in the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to walk around historic Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district. Packed with bars, restaurants and traditional teahouses, Gion is at its most atmospheric in the early evening, when the lanterns are lit and apprentice geisha will flit about the back streets on their way to their appointments.

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Location: Nara, Ancient, Tōdai-ji, Nara Park, Kasuga-taisha, Kyoto

Today we make a day trip to Japan's ancient capital, Nara (approx. 1hr each way). With eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it's second only to Kyoto as a repository of Japan's cultural legacy. Our walking tour includes a visit to the most iconic temples and shrines, including the Todaiji Great Buddha temple. Built in 752 by the Emperor Shomu this enormous 15 meter tall bronze Buddha is housed in what is reputed to be the largest wooden building in the world. We also spend time in the Nara Koen park, famous for its large numbers of overfed and slightly unruly deer, and visit the attractive Kasuga Shinto shrine, before returning to Kyoto in the late afternoon.

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Location: Kyoto, Tetsugaku No Michi

Today is a free day for individual sightseeing. With so much to see and do in Kyoto it can be difficult to know where to begin. Our advice is to start with a very early visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto's most important Shinto shrine and famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. Getting there before the crowds at sunrise is the secret for a magical experience. The rest of the day could be spent exploring one of the several well established and easy-to-follow walking tours that take in many interesting sights. The eastern part of Kyoto is particularly rich in temples and gardens, and one can spend the day in this area, perhaps strolling along the tree-lined canal known as the Philosophers' Path and taking time out for contemplation in one of the many intriguing Zen gardens that dot the hillsides. Another day-trip to consider would be to Arashiyama, a pleasant tourist district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and autumn colour seasons. If you are interested in Japanese arts and cultural activities, there is also the option of visiting a cultural show to see some of Japan's ancient traditions such as the tea ceremony and Japanese theatre (these can be arranged locally by your tour leader and subject to availability).

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Location: Hiroshima, Itsukushima, Mount Misen, Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima

Today is our first experience of Japan's shinkansen (bullet train) as we speed our way to Hiroshima for the day (approx. 2hrs each way). Once in Hiroshima, we make a short excursion by local tram and ferry to the beautiful island of Miyajima; famous for the 'floating' tori (Shinto gate) of the Itsukushima-jinja Shrine. At high tide, when set against the backdrop of Mt Misen, this tori makes for one of the most beautiful and photogenic sights in Japan. Please note, whilst the ‘floating’ tori of Itsukushima-jinja Shrine is currently undergoing renovation works, we still recommend a visit to this enchanting island as part of the day trip to Hiroshima. In the afternoon we spend time at the A-Bomb museum and the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, both monuments to the fateful day in August 1945 when the city was selected as the target for the world's first wartime use of the atomic bomb. In the park burns a symbolic flame that will only be extinguished when the last nuclear weapon on earth has been destroyed. We depart Hiroshima late afternoon arriving back at our hotel in Kyoto in the evening.

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Location: Kyoto, Takayama, Hida Folk Village

Travelling by train through forested valleys we make our way this morning to the peaceful and attractive old town of Takayama (approx. 4 hrs) nestling sleepily in the centre of the majestic Hida Mountains. We spend two nights here and have plenty of time to appreciate the charm and ambience of this delightful place. In the afternoon we visit the Hida Folk Village, an interesting outdoor museum of traditional rural architecture set in pleasant landscaped gardens, located a short walk from our accommodation. We stay in a traditional Japanese style accommodation where we have the opportunity to experience the Japanese lifestyle and hospitality (please refer to the accommodation section for more information).

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Location: Takayama, Miyagawa River

With over a dozen museums and galleries to suit all interests and several well-kept temples and parks, there are plenty of ways to spend a relaxing day in Takayama. We start with a short orientation tour around the morning market held daily along the banks of the Miyagawa River in the centre of town. Here amidst the friendly farmers with their familiar, and not so familiar, agricultural produce it is also possible to find some interesting souvenirs. Not so far away and of particular interest is the well-preserved collection of streets known as Sannomachi, where the many wooden built shops, restaurants and sake breweries give the area a mediaeval feel. For an insight into the life of medieval Japanese officials and the way they dealt (often not so compassionately) with those in their charge, a visit to the old Government House of Takayama-jinya is recommended. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town at your own pace: we recommend taking a stroll along the temple-line path called the Higashiyama Walkway and visit the several temples and attractions created by the mediaeval warlord, Kanamori Nagachika (1524-1600), who longed for Kyoto.

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Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Old Nakasendo, Matsumoto, Odaki-Medaki Waterfalls (Male & Female Waterfalls), Tsumago, Matsumoto

Today we travel by express and local trains to the historic castle town of Matsumoto (approx. 4hrs). Enroute, we visit the mediaeval village of Tsumago that has changed little from its heyday as a post town in the Edo period. This is the best preserved of the many staging posts along the old Nakasendo Way, which fulfils the same role it did in centuries past - offering food and refuge to travellers. Those who wish can join the leader for an optional 1hr walk through peaceful forest trails, starting by the Odaki and Medaki waterfalls and finishing in Tsumago. We reach Matsumoto late afternoon where we have time to relax and perhaps take a leisurely stroll after dinner to see the impressive castle by night.

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Location: Matsumoto, Yudanakamachi

This morning we visit the impressive Matsumoto castle. Founded in 1504, this castle, otherwise known as Crow Castle due to its black colour, is one of the two best preserved in Japan, most others having been destroyed following the Meiji Restoration. Its imposing six story donjon has been designated a national treasure. Please note that the castle preserves its original interior and structure, with very tall steps and steep staircases which some might find difficult to ascend and descend. We return to Matsumoto train station for our afternoon journey (approx. 3hrs) to the relaxing spa town of Yudanaka, which boasts some fantastic natural hot springs, where we spend a night in another Japanese-style accommodation.* *

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Location: Jigokudani Hot Spring Korakukan, Tokyo

As well as being home to some of Japan's best hot springs, the small spa-town of Yudanaka is mainly famous for being the gateway to the famous Jigokudani Onsen or 'Snow Monkey Park'. Here, the indigenous macaque monkeys have discovered the benefits of descending from the hills to soak and play in hot baths - observing their behaviour up close is fascinating! This is the only tribe of monkeys anywhere in the world to bath in hot springs for warmth. The sight is most spectacular in winter, when snow covers the grounds and the hot steam creates some amazing visual effects but despite the name, the so called 'snow monkeys' actually inhabit the area year-round. To reach the park we walk for approx. 20-25 mins on an easy forest trail and we will have approx. 1hr free to admire and photograph these entertaining creatures. No visit to Japan would be complete without a trip to Tokyo. This afternoon, we travel from Yudanaka to the capital by bullet train (approx. 4hrs), arriving in the early evening. On arrival in Tokyo we'll transfer to our hotel and start exploring the bright lights of the big city at night.

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Location: Hakone, Mount Fuji, Kamakura

For those wishing to see still more of this wonderful country, today is the last day of your Japan Rail Pass, entitling you to free train journeys to many destinations. One popular day-trip amongst tourists and Japanese alike looking for a break from Tokyo is Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 1hr and 30 mins by train. Famous for hot springs, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji, Hakone area also encompasses Lake Ashi, which can be toured by boat. Another alternative blissful escape from the city is the coastal town of Kamakura, offering numerous temples, shrines, historical monuments as well as panoramic hiking trails. For those not wishing to leave Tokyo, this day is free to soak up the atmosphere of this truly astounding city. Whilst being perhaps the most  energetic and futuristic city in the world, for a capital, Tokyo still remains a remarkably friendly, safe, manageable and delightful place to visit.

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Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Tokyo, Sensō-ji

Today we have a guided tour of Tokyo. Making use of the city's highly efficient tube system we can visit some of Tokyo's main attractions including Ueno (depending on season) and the lively Senso-ji Temple in the old entertainment district of Asakusa. We will also visit one of the city's parks or gardens which become especially spectacular during cherry blossom and autumn season. There is also some free time to discover other attractions at your own pace. For those with a head for heights we recommend an optional visit to the iconic Skytree Tower for breathtaking views of the city. With a height of 634 meters, it is the tallest building in Japan and the second tallest structure in the world at the time of its completion. In the evening, the possibilities for entertainment are almost limitless with Tokyo's nightlife as exciting as anywhere in Asia.

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Location: Tokyo

Today has been left free for further individual exploration of Tokyo. Worth visiting is the Meiji Shrine; surrounded by tranquil forest, this Shinto shrine is one of the most popular in Japan and combines traditional Japanese architecture with love for the nature. Or for those interested in culture or shopping, there are limitless opportunities with districts like Ginza, Harajuku and Shinjuku catering for all tastes and needs! Your leader will be on hand to advise how best to maximise your free day in Tokyo. * *

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Location: Tokyo

The tour ends this morning for land only client.  Clients who are booked on the group flights to London will be transferred to Tokyo Narita Airport in the evening. If you are not travelling on the group flight, it is possible to have a free shuttle service departure transfer to Narita or Haneda Airports. Please contact our Operations team for more information or to request this. Please note, the free shared shuttle departure transfer *must* be requested in advance with Exodus before departure if you wish to utilise this service (all requests are subject to availability and must be confirmed before departure). It is not possible to request this service once a trip has commenced.

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Included
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Group arrival transfer (for group flight)
  • 3 breakfasts and 3 dinners
  • Free departure transfer by shuttle service (must be booked in advance before trip commences with Exodus and is subject to availability)
  • Japan Rail Pass
  • All accommodation 

Not Included
  • Travel insurance
    -
  • Visas or vaccinations
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  • Single accommodation- (limited availability & on request)- 10 nights only at hotels in Kyoto, Matsumoto and Tokyo
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Minimum 16 years and above passenger can go on this tour.
There are no specific health risks.
Most nationalities do not require a visa to visit Japan. South African passport holders do require a visa; but it is worth all nationalities verifying visa requirements directly at your embassy before travel.
high standard with excellent modern facilities and English speaking staff.
4* The Land of the Rising Sun Ancient & Modern Japan
A great organised holiday full of activities, exciting days and a superb highlige holidaht everyday
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
Excellent introduction to all aspects of Japan from ancient, beautiful temples, shrines and castles to the peace of the mountains (and snow monkeys in the hot pools) to the crazy, neon, shopping madness that is Tokyo. Busy, long days starting at 08.00 finishing around 17.00 or later. Lots of walking - a total of 120 miles in the 14 day trip. All travel by local transport on trains, buses or trams. On two consecutive days we took 5 or 6 trains each day. This was quite an achievement for our guide who ensured that all 15 of us were extremely punctual. In busy places 15 felt too big a group. We saw a huge amount in the two weeks and don't think it would have been possible to have seen so much without a guide. The hotels in Kyoto and Tokyo were excellent, one riokan was a bit like a youth hostel. The Garden Hotel in Matsumoto was a disaster as it only had single rooms and half were smoking rooms.
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5* Beautiful Japan
I booked this trip as I wanted to be in Japan for the Autumn colours and it didn't disappoint. Mix the colour with the shrines, temples and culture of this amazing country and it made a for a great trip.
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5* Great experience
A condensed package deal of the diversity spectrum of Japan. Full on city life, ancient culture and traditions. Good variety of things to see and do.
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4* Ancient and Modern Japan
We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, we loved Japan & the Japanese, loved travelling everywhere on public transport, which was excellent. The holiday lived up to our expectations & certainly fulfilled the title of Ancient & Modern Japan. In the 2 weeks we experienced a good insight into Japan, which has wetted our appetite for further visits.
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
I really enjoyed the trip. Japan was everything I expected and more. So much so that I want to return in the next couple of years. I loved the fact that quite a few of the train journeys were made by bullet train. We were fortunate to be in Tokyo whilst the Cherry Blossom was in flower. Big tick on the bucket list.
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5* Japan - Ancient and Modern
Having wanted to visit Japan for some years my wife and I picked the Exodus trip - 'Japan - Ancient and Modern' because it seemed to offer an interesting range of locations and was a few days longer than trips offered by other companies. The opportunity to spend nights in ryokans sleeping on the floor, bathing in onsens and experiencing traditional Japanese hospitality was also a factor as were travel by train between destinations and sightseeing on foot. The reality lived up to and beyond our expectations, we loved Japan and its people. The country is safe, ordered and steeped in a unique culture with a wealth of sights and sounds so very different from western societies. The trip took us to many historically important sites, to places of religious significance, both Buddhist and Shinto and to the quiet back streets and public spaces and gardens of ancient towns and the serene districts of the bigger cities. These were juxtaposed with the ultra modern cityscapes of Tokyo, a city which would take half a lifetime to explore and the reality of travel by bullet train and the technological wonder that is the Japanese toilet. Although the trip is full on, up early and off most days, there is also built in some time for personal exploration or just resting and taking in the passing scene. My only negative comment would probably be about the snow monkeys, which are never at Yudanaka at the time we visited, they are still feeding in the woods and have recently had their babies and don't come down to the hot springs until later in the year when the snows come. I suppose the clue is in the name. In any event Yudanaka itself is not to be missed and the hotel and onsen at which we stayed were superb. Through Exodus we arranged to fly home seven days after the 16 day trip had finished and spent a further week visiting two locations of particular interest to us with an extra day and night in Tokyo. Exodus staff were extremely helpful during our researches and the success of this extra time was in no small way down to their expert knowledge and readiness to give advice. All in all a wonderful experience which has whetted our appetite for a return visit to Japan to explore some of the many fascinating destinations it has to offer.
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5* Fascinating experience!
You really couldn’t pack any more into 2 weeks! We walked round cities (lot of walking), visited temples, shrines, markets, gardens and castles and saw beautiful scenery from the trains. Our guide was very helpful and knowledgeable and always available for advice on what to do, where to go and where to eat in our free time.
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5* JAPAN - ANCIENT & MODERN
A thoroughly enjoyable trip from beginning to end
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4* Wonderful Introduction to Japan
An excellent trip that enabled us to experience a wide variety of regions from the old capital of Kyoto to the smaller towns and villages in the Japanese mountains and finishing with the hustle and bustle of vibrant Tokyo. The travelling was very comfortable in clean, punctual trains and there weren't any ridiculously early morning starts. The Japanese people were friendly and extremely polite and it was great to learn about their culture and traditions. A great itinerary with a good balance between organised activities and free time to explore alone.
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4* Captivating Japan
A brilliant introduction to Japan, its people and its culture. A top notch guide and a friendly, cohesive group made up for the terrible but unseasonal weather. Despite raining for 15 out of 18 days it didn't stop us from completing the itinerary (except for a landslide which closed the park where we were due to see the snow monkeys). And it was a packed itinerary, so not much downtime (which you might or might not prefer). The biggest disappointment for me however, was the lack of autumn colour. It was really too early in this part of Japan so I think Exodus should revise their note where it says "Best for autumn colour". I was expecting to find the food to be a challenge but it wasn't, the food was good with plenty of choice and variety. The Temples, shrines, gardens and parks are exactly as you would expect. What you might not expect is that some ancient sites sit cheek by jowl with modern high-rise buildings but usually not the main tourist sites. The Shinkansen was actually better than expected, not to be missed. Plenty of ordinary folk wearing traditional dress, especially in Kyoto.
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5* Ancient and modern Japan - a must-do tour
We loved this tour! We had wanted to visit Japan for years, and this was everything we'd hoped for. Loved the Japanese design ethos, which permeated everything. The contrast between rural Japan and Tokyo was huge, yet the underlying culture was a stratum running through it all. Touring round Tokyo by train and metro may look off-putting at first (the crowds!!!) but it's actually quite easy once you get the hang of it. We thought this trip would be a once-in-a-lifetime event: I can now say with confidence that it will not be!
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5* ANCIENT & MODERN JAPAN
A really fantastic trip covering many varied aspects of Japan, with so many opportunities to learn about the country and culture as every day was fascinating. I left with so many amazing memories.
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5* Japan in Blossom Time!
We were incredibly lucky to visit Japan at peak blossom time and it was absolutely stunning! This trip is a well-planned and well balanced introduction to Japan, ranging from ancient temples and shrines to the buzz of downtown Tokyo, and includes visits to small, rural towns as well as modern cities. Finishing in Tokyo means you are familiar with finding your way around on Japanese trains by the time you get there. The tour packs a lot in and, although it didn't feel rushed, there are some long days and be prepared for plenty of walking.
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5* Fantastic introduction to Japan
A packed and very varied two weeks from the majesty and beauty of old Kyoto, through to the traditional ryokans in the Japanese mountains and finally the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo. The travelling was a joy in clean, comfortable and punctual trains. The Japanese people were friendly and polite and always happy to help.The shrines, temples and breathtaking scenery were memorable but so was enjoying traditional Japanese restaurants and being introduced to a vast selection of street food.
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
This is definitely a trip worth booking. Japan is such a beautiful place and my partner David and I really felt that this tour is ideal for a first visit. If you would love to see Japan but are unsure which places to visit or how to work out the transport systems then this trip is ideal, you truly see a diverse range of places and are able to experience so many different things. If you're like me and get a bit anxious with trains, buses and lots of people then I highly recommend booking this trip. Having a tour guide in Japan really allows you to relax and truly take everything in while your guide does all the confusing stuff for you. From beautiful, traditional Kyoto to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and everything in between, this trip is really worth experiencing.
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5* Japan Ancient and Modern
This was an outstanding trip. The gardens were beautiful and I learnt a lot about the history of Japan and how it impacts on the culture today. It is an absolutely fascinating country.
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4* Japan trip
A great introduction to Japan , covering several major cities and lots of shrines/ temples . Fortunately still caught some of the cherry blossom which arrived early ( 2018 ) .
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5* Ancient & modern Japan
This was a brilliant trip with a great group of fellow travellers. It took us along the length of Honshu, from the coast, cities, and into the mountains, using very efficient public transport - the Shinkansen & Tokyo metro which are experiences in themselves. We saw friendly deer, excitable snow monkeys and dressed-up dogs in prams (an example of an eccentric sight Japan will offer many of). It offered relaxing moments like bathing in the hot springs and warming sake, to quite intense moments like navigating busy train stations and some longer days on our feet exploring parks and cities.
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5* The serene and the frantic
A good balance of the ancient and modern, as the trip title suggests. Travelling by public transport helps to convey the flavour of "normal" life in the country rather than a whistle-stop tour of "tourist" destinations.
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5* Japanese journeys
A diverse itinerary from temples to snow monkeys, geishas and locals in stunning kimonos, relaxing onsens, castles and other historic areas, rural settings and Tokyo illuminated at night
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5* Wonderful time in Japan
Had a great time on this trip, it lived up to its promise of seeing Ancinet and Modern Japan
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
This tour was amazing on many levels. From the beginning, communications were prompt, helpful, and clear. All questions and concerns were addressed. The tour preparation information was very helpful and appropriate, assisting in smooth transition for the tour. The tour guide, agenda, and opportunities for personal impute, made the tour like a customized personal tour. Attention to needs and wants of the participants was consistently attended to, making the tour so very pleasurable and memorable.
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5* Japan Ancient and Modern
I'd wanted to go to Japan for 20 years, having worked with Japanese students whose stories fired my enthusiasm. The tour more than met my expectations. It was well planned to ensure we experienced a wide variety of regions, travel, hotels, culture and food.
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5* Konichiwa and arigato!
This trip exceeded expectations in many ways - incredibly well-organised with a good balance between group activities and private exploration. The breadth of Japanese culture, both ancient and modern, was well covered, the accommodations were excellent, the food was extraordinary and the transport system very impressive. And the Japanese we met were always polite, respectful, friendly and calm. We came home with the feeling that the UK has a lot to learn!
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
Really interesting and varied trip, an excellent taste of many aspects of Japan.
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
A very comprehensive and inspirational trip ,though the travelling and walking was quite taxing in such a short time(2 weeks)
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5* Excelllent way to discover Japan ‘s varied scenery, culture and cuisine
Japan is a country I have wanted to travel through for a long time and this itinerary seemed to cover most of the stuff I wanted to see and do. The fact we managed to visit during cherry blossom season, and that the weather was unseasonable kind to us was a bonus. Also, it has to be said that this trip would not have been the same without expert guidance and help from our tour leader, Akemi Nozawa. Nothing was too much trouble, she even managed to find a Fugu restaurant close to the hotel in Tokyo, enabling me to tick off another of my lifetime bucket list items!
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5* Holiday of a lifetime
My wife and I really wanted to see the snow monkeys but never expected that our reason for travelling to Japan could be so overshadowed by everything else this trip has to offer. The shrines, temples, cities and sights are excellent. The people are friendly, helpful and interested in knowing what you think about their country and whilst english is rarely spoken, the locals don't allow this small detail get in the way of the conversation. The cities are spotless, buzzing yet incredibly safe and we never felt intimidated or felt the need to worry about keeping wallets and the like hidden from view when in crowds. Travelling around Japan on this trip is extensive but never a chore, dull or a waste of valuable time as there is so much to see en-route and even more to see at each destination. Travelling independently is simple with instructions in english everywhere and a refreshingly simple set up in the train and underground stations. Food is amazing with so much choice on the days where self catering required but the food included in the trip is as good if not better than what could be found on the the self catering days. In the ryokan's we could dress in traditional dress for group dinners which was a giggle and of course there was the relaxing in the hot spring onsen to look forward to as well. The pace of the trip is fast because of the amount of things to see and do but it suits all age groups as could be seen by the group we travelled with. Our group I would guess spanned four decades, got on superbly with each other and to a person we understand everyone had an incredible time. A wise man on the trip (who hopefully will recognise himself if he reads this review) summed it all up by saying "There are not enough superlatives to describe the trip and the time had by all". Oh, and the snow monkeys were brilliant by the way.
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4* I think I'm turning Japanese?
We loved Japan. The people were amazingly friendly and helpful, the food was an experience in itself. The different culture had to be witnessed. The lack of litter was refreshing. The punctuality of the trains had to be seen to be believed.
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4* Ancient and Modern Japan
Very interesting trip using public transport to get around. We got a fascinating insight into the culture of Japan and enjoyed the variety of cities visited in contrast with a lovely few days spent in the mountains.
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5* Exodus Trip AOP 11-25 April 2018
We enjoyed the entire trip from the moment that we arrived.The varied scenery, the culture and the history were all fascinating for us.We enjoyed the great variety of lovely food that we had every day.Ayaka, Our guide, was superb and she made the whole experience memorable and most enjoyable.
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5* EXCELLENT , BRILLIANT
Had the most brilliant time with Ayaka in Japan. She is truly helpful, genuine, kind and goes out of her way to even arrange activities you might be interested in outside normal touristy things. Moreover, she has really really good taste in food, being a vegetarian, I must say I found Japan to offer some delicious veg. things that she showed me!! Thank you Ayaka, hope to tour with you again!!!
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5* ANCIENT & MODERN JAPAN
A great holiday, with plenty to see and do.
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5* Japanese exploration
A great tour, which we both enjoyed tremendously. A wide variety of interesting sites to visit and different modes of transport to experience. Being able to visit Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Takayama, Matsumoto, Yudanka and Tokyo was just superb and everything went exceedingly smoothly with all the trains, buses, subways, trams, and PIRATE ships! The group was 18 in number and we always were able to travel together and experience all the sights. Hotels were good and offered restful nights and hot spring water baths at one. Meals were usually together and fish eaters were well catered for alongside the meat eaters. The two luggage transfers were great and suitcases were whisked off to be reunited a couple of days later. The trip schedule meant that most days we had several sights to visit and even on 'free-days' our guide, Ayaka, skilfully put together individual packages depending on our needs. The variety of experiences across the main island of Japan was wonderful.
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
A wonderful trip , accompanied by a great bunch of fellow travellers and a guide who made it her job to ensure that we all got the best out of it. We could not possibly have achieved so much in so short a time without the company of our exceptional guide Ayaka who just made everything work like clockwork in the nicest possible way. The whole trip was truly exceptional. Excellent hotel accommodation in Kyoto and Tokyo. The Ryokans are quirky and a good experience of yet another cultural difference. The food at the ryokans was amazing, beautifully presented and a feast for the senses.
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4* Ancient and Modern Japan
Fascinating, full of interest and led by a very capable and knowledgeable guide
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5* Best holiday I've ever had
We'd never used a tour group before but decided to give it a go for this holiday as we wanted to make sure we fit plenty in. Straight away we knew that we had made a good decision. All of the hotels and Ryokans that we stayed in were excellent. We managed to go to a lot of places and learn a lot about the areas. Having all of the technical details taken care of meant that we could really enjoy our time in Japan.There was a good mix of places to go and things to see and although there is a lot of walking the pace is quite slow so it's not to bad. The balance between group and free time is very well struck so you can definitely fit in the things that you want to do outside of the tour.
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4* Japan
Mount Fuji. It was breathtaking.
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5* Exodus Trip AOP 11-25 April 2018
We enjoyed the entire trip from the moment that we arrived.The varied scenery, the culture and the history were all fascinating for us.We enjoyed the great variety of lovely food that we had every day.Ayaka, Our guide, was superb and she made the whole experience memorable and most enjoyable.
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5* Discovering Myanmar
This has been an outstanding holiday. We have seen some wonderful sights, heard about a delightful country and been given a real insight into life in a country facing many challenges.
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4* Thoroughly enjoyable trip
Excellent trip giving a great introduction to the culture & history of Japan.
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5* ANCIENT & MODERN JAPAN
The Ancient and Modern Japan trip exceeded our expectations. The balance between urban and more rural life was excellent as was the travel on local transit and the free time to explore on our own. Both guides (Catherine and Alexi) were outstanding.
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5* JOYOUS Japan
i have been fortunate in doing many trips around the world and i would say that Japan is one of the top 3 countries - whythe trip covers the old and extensive past history of Japan - from Shoguns (rather violent times but magnificent buildings, and beautiful artwork) to Hiroshima (moving), and the modern with Tokyo, a city of 13million, and clearly the inspiration for Blade Runner neon city (but without the fog)Japanese people, polite, honesty, impeccable service (only place where you really want to leave a tip - but not allowed too as considered rude), always helpful to lost tourist. I have never visited a country where i have felt so safe at any time of the day
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5* Deers, monkeys, cherry blossoms and saunas in clean Japan with nicely behaved Japans.
Wild deers, snow monkeys, cherry blossoms, temple cats, bullet trains, metros, lovely and friendly Japans in clean Japan.
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5* Exodus Trip AOP 11-25 April 2018
We enjoyed the entire trip from the moment that we arrived.The varied scenery, the culture and the history were all fascinating for us.We enjoyed the great variety of lovely food that we had every day.Ayaka, Our guide, was superb and she made the whole experience memorable and most enjoyable.
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5* A Wonderful Trip to a Fascinating Country
I have been on many trips, all over the world, during the past decade or so, including many with Exodus. This Exodus trip I would rank as one of the very best. From start to finish, it was a wonderful experience, with a great group of fellow travelers. Each day was filled with new delights. The Japanese people were consistently kind, friendly, welcoming, and polite. The transport system is absolutely superb. The spotlessness of every location - even side streets in huge cities - has to be experienced to be believed. I am absolutely adamant that I will return to Japan in the near future because I was so enthralled by my experience during this trip.
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5* Fascinating culture, country, food & people
What we loved about the trip: travelling by excellent, clean & efficient public transport rather than buses. Good mix of tempkes, activities and scenery. Noku hotel in Kyoto was our favourite hotel, excellent location. The people were very friendly, courteous, respectful and helpful. Loved Kyoto and the alps. Tokyo was very tiring. Our guide Ayaka Tsukamoto was very friendly, extremely helpful, great sense of humour, brilliant organisational skills and imparted the right amount of infirmation.What we didn’t like about the trip: Only organise one meal in the first Ryokan instead of 2. The second Ryokan banquet meal was good but the accommodation was very, very old, tired and not very nice at all. The onsens were disappointing too. The description of these experiences didn’t match the reality. Loved the idea of staying in a Ryokan but you need to find better ones, maybe with a nice garden.
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5* Japan. Ancient and Modern
A superb trip, exploring a wide variety of destinations and experiences. Very stimulating. Wonderful to travel on public transport. I never expected to see and do so much. I loved the traditional wooden buildings / hotels we stayed in in the mountain areas. All the accommodation was excellent.
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5* Temples, Trains and T'cherry Blossom
An absolutely brilliant introduction to Japan: Plenty of time to see Kyoto and Tokyo as well as sampling the delights of the Japanese alps in Spring. And, of course, the cherry blossom. We went in April and hit it just right.We experienced ancient Japanese culture with an array of stunning temples and modern Japan where the simple phrase "Shopping" cannot do justice to the experience that is the Ginza (and other parts of Tokyo) on a Saturday. Nearly all the travelling on this trip is by train - which I thought was fantastic. Bullet trains and little narrow gauge jobs up in the mountains - and ALL of them we spot on time.Staying in Royokans was interesting - if a little challenging to my aging joints - and pretty basic but it's worth the effort for the experience and the hot tubs.
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5* aop ancient and modern japan
We had a wonderful time - Japan is an amazing country and this exodus tour really helped us appreciate that to the full.
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5* Fascinating culture, country, food & people
What we loved about the trip: travelling by excellent, clean & efficient public transport rather than buses. Good mix of tempkes, activities and scenery. Noku hotel in Kyoto was our favourite hotel, excellent location. The people were very friendly, courteous, respectful and helpful. Loved Kyoto and the alps. Tokyo was very tiring. Our guide Ayaka Tsukamoto was very friendly, extremely helpful, great sense of humour, brilliant organisational skills and imparted the right amount of infirmation.What we didn’t like about the trip: Only organise one meal in the first Ryokan instead of 2. The second Ryokan banquet meal was good but the accommodation was very, very old, tired and not very nice at all. The onsens were disappointing too. The description of these experiences didn’t match the reality. Loved the idea of staying in a Ryokan but you need to find better ones, maybe with a nice garden.
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5* Japan Ancient and Modern
Good trip to get a taste of Japan.We'll definitely be going back to explore more.Apart from a day of rain,we were very lucky with the weather which was warm and sunny. The trip involves a lot of journeys by trains and it's essential that all group members are punctual. Food was varied. Hotels etc of a good standard and comfortable. The trip covers busy cities and visits to small villages.
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5* ANCIENT & MODERN JAPAN
This trip was a great mix of guided time and time (with planning assistance) to do our own thing. We got to see an enormous range of places and the use of public transport meant we got comfortable and confident with getting ourselves around very quickly, making us feel really at home. Having the Tokyo section at the end really works from this point of view. We had thought of Japan as the holiday of a lifetime - thinking we would only ever go once; because of this tour, we can't wait to go back for more!
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5* aop ancient and modern japan
We had a wonderful time - Japan is an amazing country and this exodus tour really helped us appreciate that to the full.
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4* Full On Japan
A trip that enabled an effective, varied view of key parts of Japan
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5* AOP
A wonderful trip in a fabulous country
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5* One of our best holidays
This was a superb holiday from start to finish. The itinerary was well thought out and we loved using the rail network rather than being stuck on busses. We were lucky to arrive at the peak of the cherry blossom, to have wonderful views of Mount Fuji and to arrive in Takayama on the day of the spring festival. The ryokans were great fun and we enjoyed the whole experience of the olsens. We found the Japanese people to be polite and helpful and we always felt very safe which made it a very stress free holiday.
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4* AOP181027
Good holiday with an excellent guide called Keigo Ninomiya. He was always available and provided some fantastic optional trips such as the temple of a thousand budhas in Kyoto called Sanjusangen-do.I do not understand why this was not in the itinerary.
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4* Fast paced and exhausting tour of Japan - certainly not a leisurely holiday!
It was great touring using public transport including bullet trains but it meant deadlines to catch trains. Because of this we sometimes felt rushed with not enough time to fully enjoy the sights we were visiting. But we certainly saw a slice of Japanese life.
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4* AOP 180512
I have just returned from AOP 180512,it was quite a rewarding trip, we saw lots in our travels there was great variety from the rural countryside and small towns to the wonder that is Tokyo.It might be an idea to indicate in the title that travel is exclusively by train (AOP......by train).We had the most fantastic hotel in Kyoto, our hotel in Tokyo was very good also,both were next door to the subway which made travelling around very easy,all train stations have english signs and announcements.There are many many historical and cultural sights to visit and lots of shopping opportunities. This country has everything. It also feels very safe,people can leave their belongings unattended. I witnessed this on several occasions. There are lots of food options also.......
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5* ANCIENT & MODERN JAPAN
We enjoyed every minute of it. It combined a wealth of opportunites to get closer to an understanding of the Japanese view of life with many of the 'must see' sites. Add to that the exposure to a fantastic cuisine and a great bunch of fellow travelers, and what more could you ask for?
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5* Japan - in nearly full bloom!
Whistle-stop tour of Japan's best bits - people have asked if I'd go back - well of course I would if someone was paying my fare! Fantastic country full of culture, contrast and contradiction.
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5* Land of contrasts
This trip was everything I had hoped for, AND so much more.Our mid-March tour was a little too early for us to catch the cherry trees in full bloom, but meant we were able to view the first blossom without the crowds and queues.Japan is full of stunning contrasts: from the tranquillity of the beautiful Golden Temple to the noise and bustle of the Tokyo fish market; from the dignified Peace Memorial at Hiroshima to the hilarious showmanship of a crazy pancake chef. Photo-opportunities are EVERYWHERE …
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5* Cherry Blossom and so much more in Japan
We had high expectations for our visit to Japan for the Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season and they were exceeded. Not only did we get to see the beautiful blossom but also the old Japanese streets of Kyoto, dancing Geisha, the spring fair in Takayama, snow monkeys bathing and so much more.We got to stay in a traditional ryokan with great dining which was a great Japanese experience. Over and above the standard tour, our group leader also arranged on our free days to see Mount Fuji (wonderful view from Lake Ashi) and the sumo wrestlers training.We've been back a week and still processing all the wonderful experiences.
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5* Great Trip
We had booked this trip to mark our 40th wedding anniversary and it did not disappoint.The travel arrangements all worked very well and our accommodation was of a very good standard.We had a brilliant guide, who introduced us to a series of memorable experiences, including our first taste of authentic Japanese cooking.The trip lived up to our expectations and was very much in line with what had been set out in the Trip Notes.
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4* Ancient & Modern Japan
An excellent way to see the variety of sights that Japan has to offer, and as with other Exodus trips the trade-off is some long days on trains, subways, trams and walks (and variable standards of accommodation). However, all the public transport ran like clockwork, and even complicated travel days with 15 of us to look after were easily dealt with by our guide ...and I loved the Shinkansen (bullet train). Kyoto was more westernised than I was expecting, but there was still plenty to see. Hiroshima was surprisingly emotional for me, and I loved the local okonomiyaki we had for dinner. The areas around Takayama and Yudanaka were definitely more traditional Japanese, and the ryokans were a big change from the city hotels but they still had wifi (bathing was interesting though!!). Finishing off in Tokyo worked well, getting back into western ways.
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4* ANCIENT & MODERN JAPAN
A country which is was a genuine surprise, the amazing friendliness and helpfulness of people everywhere, the beauty of the pine forests in the mountains, the buzz of Tokyo, gardens, temples, castles. Fantastic      
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
Another excellent trip from Exodus, lots of train journeys of all sorts were part of the fun. Japanese onsen were great fun.
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5* Fabulous, well paced trip to see the best of ancient and modern Japan
This was a bucket list trip for me and I was really pleased with the pace and the amount we covered in two weeks. The travel dates that I chose were specifically to see the blossoms and although they were late this year, we were lucky to see them and experience their serenity in Tokyo. The trip has lots of other amazing things in it too.
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5* Fascinating culture, country, food & people
What we loved about the trip: travelling by excellent, clean & efficient public transport rather than buses. Good mix of tempkes, activities and scenery. Noku hotel in Kyoto was our favourite hotel, excellent location. The people were very friendly, courteous, respectful and helpful. Loved Kyoto and the alps. Tokyo was very tiring. Our guide Ayaka Tsukamoto was very friendly, extremely helpful, great sense of humour, brilliant organisational skills and imparted the right amount of infirmation.What we didn’t like about the trip: Only organise one meal in the first Ryokan instead of 2. The second Ryokan banquet meal was good but the accommodation was very, very old, tired and not very nice at all. The onsens were disappointing too. The description of these experiences didn’t match the reality. Loved the idea of staying in a Ryokan but you need to find better ones, maybe with a nice garden.
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
I really enjoyed the trip. Japan was everything I expected and more. So much so that I want to return in the next couple of years. I loved the fact that quite a few of the train journeys were made by bullet train. We were fortunate to be in Tokyo whilst the Cherry Blossom was in flower. Big tick on the bucket list.
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4* A great introduction to Japan
This is an excellent introduction to Japan. The days are quite busy but not excessively so and there is a good balance of free time to do your own thing. I found the balance of time in most places to be spot on and there is a good mix of big cities and smaller places. The group size at 18 is too large especially for a tour which is all by public transport. Japan was wonderful - if in doubt go!
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4* Japan Ancient and Modern
The trip was well planned and organised with a good combination of free and organised time, so that it was possible to see and do as much as possible in the time available.
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5* Japan - land of dreams
Japan is a must in regards to countries you should see in your lifetime. This itinerary covers a lot and you will get a comprehensive outlook on Japanese culture through it. Every single day was an experience of it's own. There is a lot to say about Japan: transport system is excellent, streets are spotlessly clean. The best costumer service you will get and one of the kindest/most efficient people you will have a pleasure to meet. The diversity between new and old that you can see so clearly just by visiting Kyoto and Tokio is so interesting to witness. I will definitely come back to Japan after this trip!
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5* A wonderful introduction to Japan [Ancient and Modern]
This trip balanced history with ultra-modern culture. At one point, I started the day with a traditional bath at our ryokan, then we visited the snow monkeys and by evening we were in the centre of Tokyo's night life.The last week of March was cherry blossom time in Kyoto but early April was too late for most of the blossom in Tokyo: I guess you can't have everything! Also bear in mind Mount Fuji's modesty: I've now visited Japan twice but haven't caught the slightest glimpse.
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5* Two weeks of fun!
Our trip was two weeks of non-stop fun and adventure - I enjoyed the time spent in both the cities and the mountains. Japan surprised me in so many ways -- the politeness of the people, the speed and efficiencies of the RR system, the beauty of the mountains, the throngs of people in Tokyo, the majesty of its shrines and temples, and the rich traditons best seen in Kyoto. I was not disappointed by anything.
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5* Ancient and Modern Japan
A well paced tour of Japan. We saw a lot but it never felt rushed. The mix of city, both Kyoto and Tokyo, with the smaller towns and countryside was well balanced. It's an amazing country, so different to Britain, with the modern skyscrapers sitting side by side with the temples, shrines and gardens. The sight of the snow topped mountains at the same time as the cherry blossom was beautiful. The people are friendly and polite and despite my expectations I enjoyed the food.
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5* Japan Ancient and Modern
Starting in Kyoto and then going into the countryside. Down to Hiroshima and then on to Tokyo.
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4* An unforgettable holiday
I loved this trip! We have seen a variety of places and we have learnt learn so much about the Japanese culture.Overall this trip is well organised and I thing that there is a good balance between free and organised time.
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5* A great experience, a wonderful country and an amazing tour leader.
A fantastic tour with so much to see in such a short time. Our group leader (Ayaka Tsukamoto) kept us informed of historical and cultural details throughout the tour and she also went out of her way to ensure that everybody was able to get what they wanted from the free time available..
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4* ANCIENT & MODERN JAPAN
My friend & I chose this trip to celebrate our joint 60th birthdays as we wanted to do something really special and this exceeded our wishes and desires  in many ways - with the walking, sights and especially the food.  We jokingly called it our walking and eating tour of Japan.  From the moment we arrived till the time of our departure we had the most fantastic time.
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Touring with Exodus

With over 45 years’ experience of taking people on amazing adventure holidays, Exodus can help you reach some of the most incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across more than 90 countries around the world. All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure, and some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus. But that’s not all. This reputable company is a Which? recommended escorted tour provider and has won many prestigious awards, including Best Activity and Sports Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards.

Exodus is all about adventure and helping others to achieve their travel dreams by offering a fantastic range of guided group holidays, self-guided trips, tailor-made getaways and escorted tours. So, if you’re looking to discover different countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts or even jungles, the expert team at Exodus can help you plan an unforgettable solo, group or family adventure.

Each tour and adventure has been created to give you maximum value for money, often including authentic activities, as well as flights, accommodation and a tour guide. And as the team has developed one of the very best and most exciting collections of guided-group tours and self-guided holidays, you’re guaranteed the adventure holiday of a lifetime, no matter which one you pick. Trips include everything from family adventure holidays and walking and cycling tours to mixed-activity tours and seasonal getaways. You can also ask Exodus to plan a tailored itinerary from scratch or tweak an existing one, which means you can book a bespoke holiday that is designed just for you.

Need some inspiration? You can enjoy varied walks in the stunning Spanish mountains, experience the magic of Italy in Tuscany or explore the rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike. Try a host of different activities in glorious Turkish surroundings, ski through the magnificent Norwegian wilderness or embark on a journey through India’s tropical south. Visit Iceland and East Greenland, see the spectacular marine wildlife in the Maldives or cruise along the mighty Amazon River in Peru – the options are endless!

When it comes to travelling together as a family with Exodus, all family holidays are specifically designed to offer a mix of education and exploration, with plenty of downtime. Each adventure and tour has been created with one of three age ranges in mind, but children outside of the 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16 age bracket are welcome to travel too. Plus, the price for children up to the age of 16 is 25% lower than the adult cost for Exodus guided holidays to help make your trip more affordable. From canoeing and cycling in the Dordogne to safari tours in Africa and dolphin watching in Costa Rica, Exodus offer family adventures all over the world.

Something that makes this adventure holiday and escorted tour operator unique is the loyalty scheme, the Exodus Collective. When you book your second trip, you’ll join the Collective and be given access to exclusive discounts, sales previews and special travel benefits. The more you travel with Exodus the more you’ll be entitled to, and your membership also grants you special access to exclusive travel content.

At Exodus, they make sure that everyone travels respectfully and courteously in a small group to minimise their impact and to ensure each holiday is a beneficial experience for all those involved. Where possible, they believe in putting money directly into the communities they visit by eating locally produced food and using locally owned and run accommodation. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible to make it simple for you to experience a memorable holiday, your way.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Exodus

15 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Start:Kyoto
Finish:Tokyo
Group size:6 - 18
Suitable for: 16 to 99
Physical rating:Moderate
Meals:3 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 3 dinners.
Diets:Please inform Exodus of specific dietary requirements
Tour operated in: English
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