Into the Heart of Japan

Operator: Saga
Destination: Japan
Price From: £3799.00

Discover the unique culture of Japan

Immerse yourself in Japanese culture from the bright lights of Tokyo to the haunting beauty of Hiroshimas Memorial Peace Garden. See Mount Fuji and snow monkeys, sleep in a ryokan, explore historic temples, make sushi, and meet a charming and courteous people.


VIP door-to-door travel service

11nights in hotels and 2 in flight

16meals: 11 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners

Excursions and visits

  • Coach tour of Tokyo
  • Sushi making experience
  • Kimono wearing experience
  • Owakudani cable-car ride
  • Cruise on Lake Ashi
  • Marquetry experience
  • Visit Mount Fujis 5th Station
  • Explore a wasabi farm
  • Overnight stay in a traditional Japanese Inn
  • See the Snow Monkeys of Hell Valley
  • Tour of Kanazawa
  • Explore the mountain village of Shirakawa-go
  • See traditional architecture in Takayama
  • Artisan gold-leaf demonstration
  • Sightseeing tour of Kyoto
  • Authentic teahouse visit and tea ceremony
  • Dine in a Ninja themed restaurant
  • Walking tour of Tomonoura
  • Sake tasting
  • Visit Hiroshimas Peace Memorial Park
  • Explore the historic Senko-Ji temple
  • City tour of Osaka

Plus all this


Day 1
UK to Tokyo, Japan

After taking Sagas UK door-to-door travel service to Heathrow, fly overnight to Tokyo.

Day 2

On arrival at the airport youll be met and taken to Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo Seafort (4Q) for two-night stay.

Day 3

Compare and contrast Tokyos old and new sights, on a tour from the traditional Asakusa district to modern streets swathed in neon signs. Visit Imperial Palace Plaza to see the Japanese Royal Familys official residence, the upmarket shopping district of Ginza, then, after a sushi demonstration, make your own sushi lunch. Move on to Tokyos oldest temple, Senso-Ji, and finally learn about the coded rules of traditional Japanese dress, slip into a kimono, tied with an obi and, thus attired, take a walk in Asakusa where kimono is still everyday dress. B, L

Day 4
Tokyo to Kawaguchi

Head for Hakone in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park which is celebrated for its ethereal scenery. Ride the Hakone Walkway a cablecar and sail over Owakudanis steaming crater, then take a cruise across Lake Ashi to drink in the world-famous view of snow-capped Mount Fuji, and to see the hot springs that bubble up in this crater lake. After lunch youll be treated to a demonstration of the ancient art of Japanese marquetry Yosegi and can even try your hand at it. Move on to Lake Kawaguchi, lying at the base of Mount Fuji and one of Fuijs five lakes, for a one-night stay at the Fuji View Hotel (4Q). B, D

Day 5
Kawaguchi to Yudanaka

Ascend Japans tallest mountain travelling up to the 5th station, the highest point you can reach if youre not climbing, you may find youre looking down at the clouds! Move on to Matsumoto Castle, dubbed Crow Castle because of its black walls and roofs that look like spreading wings, it dates back to the Sengoku period and is the countrys oldest castle. Next stop is Daio Wasabi Farm, where you can learn about the complexities of wasabi cultivation and its culinary uses, you can even treat yourself to a wasabi-themed lunch. Tonight youll stay in a traditional Japanese inn or ryokan. Expect traditional architecture and customs footwear is removed. Ryokan offer therapeutic hot-spring baths onsen. The custom is to wash before entering the water for a long soak. Baths are communal (single sex only) and it is customary to enter naked, using only a towel to discreetly preserve your modesty, this is then folded and placed on your head while you contemplate your navel. Swimsuits are frowned upon. After bathing don a long cotton robe called a yukata and geta Japanese sandals. Traditional dishes will be served for dinner and youll dine at a low table, sitting on a floor chair. Visitors sleep on a mat on the floor. B, D

Day 6
Yudanaka to Kanazawa

A highlight of your trip will be todays visit to Hell Valley in Yaen Jigoku National Park, home to snow monkeys. These Japanese macaques survive at lower temperatures than many primates, and here they go about their business and frolic in and out of the hot springs, apparently oblivious to the watchful eyes of the visitors. Move on to Iiyama and catch the bullet train to Kanazawa taking just a weekend bag with you so you dont have much to carry (your main baggage will travel separately to Kyoto by road). On arrival enjoy a city tour and see the Kenroku-en garden said to be one of the countrys three great gardens and the Nomura samurai house, the area is famous for its samurai history. Stay two nights at the Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel (3Q). B

Day 7

Today youll visit Shirakawa-go a UNESCO-listed mountain village with Gassho houses with thatched roofs designed to withstand large amounts of snow and constructed like hands in prayer. Inaccessible for long years, here the locals cultivated mulberry trees and reared silk worms. Tour Wade-Ke house that dates from the mid-Edo period and enjoy some free time here. Move on to Takayama to explore the perfectly preserved streets of merchants houses in Sannomachi street and enjoy lunch. You could even treat yourself to a ride in a rickshaw before visitng Takayama Jinya, a former government office, now museum, with a traditional rice storehouse. B

Day 8
Kanazawa to Kyoto

Gold was found in Kanazawa some 400 years ago, and working gold leaf is a flourishing local craft. The leaf is so thin that if you hold it up, you can see light though it. See an artisan at work and learn about the complexities of the process. Move on to explore the traditional Higashichaya district, to see the wooden houses where ornately costumed geishas and maikos once entertained. For a change of scene visit Omicho market to see the range of fresh food on offer, and you can get yourself lunch here. Take a coach to the train station for your speedy rail journey to Kyoto, and stay two nights at the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel (4Q). B

Day 9

Founded in 794, Kyoto is widely considered Japans cultural heart and is a virtual living museum. On a full-day sightseeing tour see the Kiyomizu and Kinkakuji Temples, Nijo Castle, you can treat yourself to lunch in Nishiki market and enjoy a stroll around the Gion district, once the haunt of geisha. While here participate in the intricacies of a tea ceremony and sample matcha tea and Japanese sweetmeats. Later youll be treated to a dining experience in a ninja-themed restaurant. B, D

Day 10
Kyoto to Kurashiki

Travel to the small coastal town of Kurashiki and walk the willow-lined canals and get a feel of the local culture and architecture. Stay overnight at the Kurashiki Kokusai Hotel (3Q). B

Day 11
Kurashiki to Hiroshima

Head off to the atmospheric old port of Tomonoura, large parts of which date from the Edo period, see the historic harbour and wander the streets. Move on to Saijo dubbed the spring water capital of Japan to visit a Sake brewery. The water here is perfect for the production of top quality sake and youll be treated to a tasting to sample the different blends which vary in sweetness, umani, and acidity just remember its commonly at least 15% proof. Continue to Hiroshima for a two-night stay in the Grand Prince Hotel. B

Day 12

Tour this thriving modern city, and pay a moving visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Dedicated to the victims of the worlds first nuclear attack, and build on land flattened by the explosion, it is designed to advocate world peace and is home to museums, monuments and memorials. Stop in Okonomi village for lunch where you can try the celebrated Hiroshima dish of okonimiyaki, then move on to the coastal town of Onomichi for superb views across the Seto Sea and to see the Senko-Ji temple, which was founded in 806 AD. As Japan comprises of thousand of islands, youll cross over to Innoshima for a taste of traditional island life. B, L

Day 13
Hiroshima to Osaka to UK

Take the ferry to Mijima Island your luggage will be taken separately to the airport to see the centuries-old Itsukushima shrine which has been named as one Japans three best views. Built over water it seems to float at high tide. Return to Hiroshima and take the bullet train to Osaka. Embark on a tour of this thriving commercial city and spend time in Dotonbori, a canal-side district famous for its gastronomical offer and neon signs before transferring to the airport for your return overnight flight. B

Day 14

Arrive and take your onward UK door-to-door travel service.

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