“A very well priced 10 day self-guided tour of Japan’s cultural and natural highlights, with added extra and expert guide to help get your head around Kyoto and Tokyo.”
HighlightsTokyo | Kyoto | Guided tours in Tokyo and Kyoto | Hakone National Park | Night in traditional
ryokan inn | Hot spring baths
Description of Japan golden route holidayTreading in the footsteps of samurai along the old Tokaido Road, the Golden Route will take you from neon-spangled Tokyo to Kyoto, the ancient capital and epicentre of Japanese culture and tradition. En-route you’ll also visit the hot springs region of Hakone, a national park in the foothills of Mount Fuji.
Tokyo is a phenomenon; a city that rose like a phoenix from the ashes of World War Two to become an economic powerhouse. Tokyo has many major sights to Senso-ji Temple in the historic downtown area of Asakusa, or the teenage hangout of Harajuku and electronics district Akihabara to try out the latest technology. An early morning visit to Tsukiji fish market or a sumo stable training session can be taken in, or for a more relaxed pace take a cruise down the Sumida River to Hamarikyu Garden to try your hand at tea ceremony.
Just an hour from Tokyo but a world apart, lies Hakone National Park. Here you’ll stay in a traditional Japanese inn to experience sliding doors, tatami mat floors, futon bedding, green tea and dinners of fantastic Japanese food. The national park is loved for its views of Fuji-san, visible from the cable cars, mountains railways and even a pirate ship that criss-cross the region making it easy to explore.
The elegant Shinkansen or ‘bullet train’ will whisk you from Hakone down the coast to Kyoto. Here you’ll find Japan’s best gardens, temples, shrines and the famous geisha, not to mention bamboo groves, kaiseki cuisine, antique shops and craft experiences.
The included Japan Rail Pass means that from Kyoto it is possible to take day trips for no extra cost. Hikone-jo, an original samurai castle; the historic temples and deer park in Nara or Hiroshima’s Peace Park memorial of the atomic bombing are just some of the possibilities.
As well as breakfast each morning, two evening meals, transport between destinations and quality, tried and tested accommodation, your holiday package includes the services of a professional guide for a day in both Tokyo and Kyoto - a fantastic way to get a true insight into these must-see cities.
Responsible tourism: Japan golden route holiday
EnvironmentThis trip makes use of Japan's excellent public transport system for environmental reasons, but also because it is fast, efficient and the most fun way to travel; all part of the Japanese experience!
You'll receive a pair of reusable chopsticks at the start of this trip to avoid the use of wooden disposable chopsticks. Thousands of disposable chopsticks are thrown away each year in Japan; usually after less than 10 minutes of use. The manufacture of disposable chopsticks results in huge deforestation in neighbouring countries such as China, and after use, there’s the problem of landfill and pollution from incineration.
We encourage all accommodation on this trip to reduce energy as part of our annual supplier survey. We provide clients with cards requesting hotel staff not to replace towels and linens, to save water, energy and reduce the use of potentially harmful detergents.
Japan is big on recycling so look out for separate bins in the accommodation and outside convenience stores.CommunityAll the accommodation on this trip is Japanese owned and run, and in Hakone you'll experience the traditional way of doing things at a historic ryokan such as bathing in a hot spring bath, sleeping on futons, wearing slippers (not shoes!) and a light kimono around the building.
Dinner is included at the Hakone ryokan, a chance to eat seasonally, locally produced cuisine. Our Info-Pack contains details of local restaurants and craft shops for the other places on your itinerary.
In Tokyo and Kyoto you'll spend the day with Japanese guides who will give you the local lowdown on each city and really help you understand the culture and history of all the sights you see. For example many temples have legends attached; stories that you’d never get to know if you just wandered around by yourself. Why not ask the guides to teach you some Japanese etiquette tips, to show you how to write your name in Japanese or to recommend restaurants that you might be otherwise too scared to try; they can translate the menu for you and introduce you to new dishes.
|Day 1:||TOKYO (no meals) | Meet and greet at Narita Airport, train and taxi transfer to first hotel in Tokyo’s historic Asakusa district. The hotel is close to Senso-ji Temple, the Kaminarimon market streets and the Sumida River.|
|Day 2:||TOKYO (breakfast) | 8 hours with a private local guide. Itineraries are not fixed in advance and the guide will be happy to incorporate your sightseeing ideas, or make suggestions. You will travel around Tokyo by public transport and must pay for any entrance fees on the day.|
|Day 3:||TOKYO (breakfast) | Free sightseeing day. Your tailor-made Info-Pack will have sightseeing ideas and information.|
|Day 4:||HAKONE (breakfast & dinner) | 40 minute Shinkansen 'bullet train' journey to Odawara, then a local bus to your accommodation in Hakone. Stay in a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan).|
|Day 5:||HAKONE (breakfast & dinner) | Free sightseeing day. Use the included Hakone Freepass to travel around Hakone using the buses, mountain railways, cable cars and even a pirate ship across Lake Ashi. Top sites include the volcanic craters of Owakudani, the outdoor sculpture park and art gallery, as well as Hakone Shrine.|
|Day 6:||KYOTO (breakfast) | Take the Shinkansen on to Kyoto in 2 hours 10 minutes. In the evening why not head to Kyoto’s Gion district where you may catch a glimpse of a geisha scurrying between tea houses.|
|Day 7:||KYOTO (breakfast) | 8 hours with a private local guide. The itinerary is not fixed but suggestions include Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji (the Golden Temple), Ryoan-ji and the famous Zen rock garden, the red shrine gate tunnels at Fushimi Inari, the Path of Philosophy, Kiyomizu-dera.|
|Day 8:||KYOTO (breakfast) | Free sightseeing day. You may like to continue exploring Kyoto, or use the included Japan Rail Pass to make a day trip to Nara, Hikone Castle, Osaka or Hiroshima.|
|Day 9:||TOKYO (breakfast) | Travel by Shinkansen back to Tokyo, around 2 hours 40 minutes. Tonight you will stay in the bright neon entertainment district of Shinjuku; the perfect spot for karaoke, last minute shopping or simply a great final Japanese meal out.|
|Day 10:||DEPART (breakfast) | Use the Japan Rail Pass one last time to take the Narita Express train from Shinjuku to Narita Airport.|
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Responsible Travel