Highlights of Japan

Highlights of Japan
Highlights of Japan
Highlights of Japan
Highlights of Japan
Highlights of Japan
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Exodus

Uncover the cultural highlights of Japan on this 8 day trip

Commencing in electrifying Tokyo, this cultural highlights adventure is the ideal way to experience some of Japan's most iconic cities and sites in just 8 days! Visit atmospheric Kyoto to delve into the heart of Japan's cultural heritage, taste the amazing and diverse cuisine, uncover the beautiful Japanese nature and UNESCO world heritage sites of magical Nikko before discovering historic Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park and Museum and captivating Miyajima. This rich journey through the land of the rising sun ends in vibrant and lively Osaka before heading home with memories that will last a lifetime!

* Discover iconic cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka! * 8 day trip covering Japan's cultural highlights * Enjoy Nikko's natural beauty and UNESCO sites * Experience cherry blossom season or beautiful autumn colours * Take the high speed Shinkansen- 'bullet train' * Taste a variety of Japanese cuisine

All breakfasts and 1 dinner 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, Ramen or Udon noodles, Sukiyaki (meat, fish and vegetables cooked in broth) and Yakiniku (grilled meat). 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.

  • Asia
  • Japan
  • Kyoto
Tour Types
  • Natural Wonders
  • Adventure
  • New Cultural Holidays
  • Cultural
Day 1

The group flight to Tokyo departs from London today.

Day 2

Those on the group flight to Tokyo will be met on arrival at the airport by your tour leader and transfer to the hotel. Later in the afternoon there will be a group welcome meeting, followed by an optional group dinner and casual tour around Shinjuku, the famous nightlife district of Tokyo.

Day 3

Today we utilise Tokyo's efficient metro system and enjoy a full day tour of the city.  We start the day with an early morning visit to Meiji Shrine. Tokyo’s most famous shrine is dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji while the park that surrounds the shrine is a forest of some 120,000 trees of 365 different species, making you forget that you are in the world’s largest city. Outside of Meiji Shrine is Harajuku, the shopping haven for all fashionistas and the popular meeting place for teenagers who are usually in eccentric clothing. The landmark of Harajuku is Takeshita Street, a 400-meter long alley filled with boutiques, shops, and cafes. Neighbouring Harajuku is Omotesando, commonly referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysee. This broad, tree-lined avenue features a number of fashion flagship stores designed by internationally renowned architects like TOD’s Omotesando, designed by Toyo Ito. From Omotesando, we can take the metro to Ginza, one of Tokyo’s most famous upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment districts. It is said that 1sqm of land in Ginza is worth over 10 million yen (€ 90,000)! Our last stop Asakusa, is Tokyo’s oldest Geisha district and home to Senso-ji Temple which is the city’s oldest Buddhist temple. The streets around Senso-ji feature many traditional shops that sell Japanese crafts and souvenirs and are a delight to wander through. Please note that the order of activities and areas visited today in Tokyo may change depending on the weather conditions and other factors. Your tour leader will provide full details of the schedule during the initial trip briefing.

Day 4

After breakfast we bid farewell to Tokyo and travel by train (approx. 2 hours) to beautiful Nikko, famous for its towering cedar trees and the UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Toshogu Shrine. Upon arrival we set out to visit a few of Nikko's most popular sites.  The Shinkyo Bridge is one of the most iconic sights and landmarks of Nikko. This bright, vermillion bridge spans a river on the outskirts of the main shrine complex, and is, aside from Toshogu Shrine, the most photographed attraction in Nikko. Often featured in traditional Japanese art prints known as /ukiyoe/, it is considered to be one of Japan’s top three most beautiful bridges, and is photogenic in all seasons. No visit to Nikko would be complete without a visit the the Toshogu Shrine, which was built as a mausoleum for Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate who ruled Japan for over 250 years. This lavishly decorated shrine complex consists of more than a dozen Shinto and Buddhist buildings located in a beautiful forest setting. We spend the night in Nikko in a traditional style guesthouse. 

Day 5

Today we set out on a longer journey (approx. 4.5 hours) west to the historical former capital of Japan, Kyoto by local train and shinkansen. As we will arrive in Kyoto after 14:00, we can enjoy a bento lunch on the train. After checking into our hotel, we visit the Nishiki Market, where we embark on a tour that will delight your senses. Here we walk the narrow, mile-long Nishiki covered food markets, where you’ll find many interesting food shops to explore. This is a great opportunity to learn about local Japanese produce and snap some photos of goods you won’t find back home. Some of the shops give out or sell samples, so make sure to keep some space in your stomach! The late afternoon is the best time to visit the Gion District – also known as the “Geisha District” for being one of the city’s hanamachi (flower towns) where Geisha live and work. The highlight of the area is Hanami-koji, the most popular street in Gion where lavish teahouses and machiya (old houses) are lined up. Usually in the early evening you may have a chance to catch a glimpse of a Geiko or Maiko in the streets on the way to her engagement, if you are lucky!

Day 6

Today, along with your tour leader, enjoy an exploration of the highlights of Kyoto whilst using the comprehensive bus and metro systems to visit some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites. The tour starts with an early morning visit to one of the most unusual Shinto shrines in Japan. Fushimi Inari is composed of thousands of vermilion torii gates following trails inside the forests of Mt Inari. The Shrine, also featured in “Memoirs of a Geisha”, is very famous for the impressive contrast and mystical atmosphere created by the colours of the Torii and those of the surrounding nature. Next on our schedule is Arashiyama, one of Kyoto’s richest areas for sightseeing, Arashiyama contains some of the area’s most stunning scenery. Starting at Togetsukyo Bridge, one of Arashiyama’s most recognizable landmarks, we make our way to the bamboo forest path on the west side of the river before stopping at Nonomiya Shrine. After a lunch break we continue to the serene Ryoan-ji Temple, which is famous for its well-maintained rock garden and known to be the Myoshinji School of the Rinzai Buddhist sect. Just a short distance from Ryoan-ji is the stunning golden pavilion collectively known as Kinkaku-ji Temple. The temple grounds are relatively smaller than that of most temples and shrines found in Kyoto but what is undoubtedly impressive is the pavilion that is completely covered in handmade gold leaves.

Day 7

Following breakfast, we move further west by shinkansen (bullet train) to the city of Hiroshima (approx. 3 hours). Along the way we will break our journey for a visit to one of the most beautiful and most famous castles of Japan, Himeji Castle. Also called “Shirasagi-jo” (the White Heron Castle) or “Hakuro-jo” (the White Egret Castle) by some of the locals, Himeji Castle resembles a white bird in flight due to its white exterior and distinctive roof design. After visiting the castle, we pick up lunch to enjoy on the train and continue our way to Hiroshima. Perhaps more than any city in the world, Hiroshima is famous for one moment in history; on 6 August 1945, it became the first target of an atomic bomb. However, Hiroshima has risen phoenix-like from its ashes, and rebuilt itself as one of Japan's most laid back and vibrant cities, full of wide boulevards and museums and famous for its great food and friendly, welcoming people. This afternoon we visit the Peace Memorial Museum for a sobering reminder of the events of 1945 before experiencing the surrounding Peace Park, where the atmosphere is one of hope and peace. Tonight we spend the night in Hiroshima.

Day 8

This morning, we take a short trip by ferry to Miyajima, a famous wooded island located in the Inland Sea near Hiroshima. Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan - The Floating Torii Gate. Deer are roaming freely on this lovely island where we spend some time at leisure before we make our way by shinkansen (approx. 2.5 hours) to our final destination on our tour of Japan, Osaka. The 2nd largest metropolitan area in Japan, Osaka has a very distinct and vibrant character, the locals are colourful and lively and are known to work hard and play hard. Osaka is also known as the shopping, dining and nightlife capital of Japan. A good place to buy some last souvenirs and enjoy a last dinner together with your fellow travellers or sing a song in a karaoke box before heading home!

Day 9

Those on the group flight will be transferred (on the group flight departure transfer) to Kansai (KIX) airport by taxi and limousine bus for your flight back to London. Group flights usually depart in the late morning arriving back to London later that same day.

* All breakfasts and 1 dinner * All accommodation * All transport (including 7 day Japan Rail Pass) and listed activities * Flights from London (if booking flight inclusive) * Free shared shuttle arrival transfer (for group flight and Land only clients- must be booked in advance before trip commences if you wish to utilise this service) * Group departure transfer (for group flight)  

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
07-May-2021 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
08-May-2021 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
24-Sep-2021 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
25-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
22-Oct-2021 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
23-Oct-2021 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
05-Nov-2021 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
06-Nov-2021 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
25-Mar-2022 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
26-Mar-2022 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
15-Apr-2022 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
16-Apr-2022 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
06-May-2022 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
07-May-2022 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
23-Sep-2022 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
24-Sep-2022 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
21-Oct-2022 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Oct-2022 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
04-Nov-2022 for 8 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
05-Nov-2022 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal

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.


tour details

This tour is operated by Exodus

8 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Group Size:6 - 16
Suitable For: 16 to 99
Meals:7 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 1 dinners.
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