Solo - Essence of Japan
Day 1 UK - In flight
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Tokyo.
Day 2 Tokyo
On arrival, we transfer by coach to our hotel located in Shinjuku, in the very heart of the Tokyo metropolis, for a two-night stay.
Day 3 Tokyo
We embrace this dazzling city with a full day tour, taking in legendary landmarks - the moated Imperial Palace, the Ginza (Silver Mint) district, the five-storey Asakusa Kannon Temple and the 634m Tokyo Skytree. One of the star attractions is Meiji Shrine, the picturesque Shinto shrine set in a delightful tree-lined avenue.
Day 4 Tokyo - Mt Fuji - Matsumoto
The Five Lakes District is dominated by majestic Mt Fuji, an icon of world travel towering over this region of exceptional natural beauty - on a clear day, the snow-capped, conical volcano is mirrored on the placid waters of Lake Kawaguchi. From here we continue to Matsumoto and our accommodation.
Day 5 Matsumoto - Takayama
This morning we visit Matsumoto Castle, a striking timber and stone structure with a unique moon-viewing turret. We also take time to sample sake at a traditional brewery. Our journey proceeds through the breathtaking Japanese Alps to the hill town of Takayama. Here we stop at the Hida Folk Village, a large open-air museum with a collection of antique houses from the region and a fabulous showcase of crafts and ancient traditions. We spend the next two nights in Takayama.
Day 6 Takayama
Our walking tour of Takayama, known as ‘little Kyoto’, is filled with fabulous attractions from the open-air flower and fruit market to government house.
Day 7 Takayama - Kanazawa
We transfer by coach to Kanazawa, visiting the World Heritage Shirakawago Village en route. Kanazawa is a historic castle town, which boasts beautifully preserved samurai and geisha districts. Our sightseeing tour includes Omicho market and Higashi Chayagai.
Day 8 Kanazawa - Hiroshima
We pack overnight bags whilst our main luggage is transferred to Kyoto for our arrival on day 10. We’ll have another sweep of the city before we leave this morning, stopping at the gorgeous Kenroku-en Garden and BukeYashiki (Samurai’s house). Located outside the gates of Kanazawa Castle and covering an area of 11.4 hectares, the Kenroku-en Garden was created by the Maeda family in the 1620s and opened to the public in 1874. The name is derived from a book by a Chinese poet and symbolises spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, waterways and panoramas. It’s the epitome of a traditional Japanese garden with plum and cherry blossoms, artificial ponds, hills and buildings. Other plants include azaleas, traditional Japanese trees and irises - making it a garden not to be missed. From the quaint, quiet streets of Kanazawa, we’ll go full throttle (quite literally) into one of Japan’s other passions. The Shinkansen (bullet train) will hurtle us from Kanazawa to Hiroshima in perfect comfort - you’ll hardly notice you’re travelling at 198mph.
Day 9 Hiroshima
Our journey begins at Miyajima Port to catch a ferry over to Miyajima Island, otherwise known as Itsukushima or Divine Island. On arrival we admire the ancient Itsukushima Shrine, rising out of the sea (may be under restoration), and spend time strolling through the park, which dazzles with beautiful maple in autumn. On our return to Hiroshima, we take a walking tour around Peace Memorial Park to see the Flame of Peace, continually burning to symbolise the hope for worldwide peace. Our tour concludes with a visit to the Atomic Bomb Museum, just a short walk from our hotel.
Day 10 Hiroshima - Nara - Kyoto
We transfer to Hiroshima Station for our JR Bullet Train journey to Shin Osaka, where we board our coach for Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan. Attractions here include the famous Todaiji temple, which was built in 794 and became the guardian temple for the city. The building is claimed to be the oldest wooden structure in the world and houses a huge bronze Buddha. We also visit Nara Park, also known as Deer Park, to see hundreds of freely roaming deer. Our adventure proceeds to culturally-rich Kyoto, known historically as ‘Hana No Miyako’, the flowering capital with its wealth of fine architecture in its shrines and temples, gardens with their profusion of colour and variety of art and craft shops. We spend time in the Gion area, the country’s most famous geisha district, before heading to the hotel.
Day 11 Kyoto
Highlights of this morning’s tour include the wonderful Ryoanji Temple, a Zen temple with a famous rock garden, and also the beautiful Kinkakuji Temple, or the ‘Golden Pavilion’, whose top two floors are completely bedecked in gold leaf. We also visit Nijo, a fortified castle with ornate audience halls and unique ‘nightingale’ floors designed to replicate the sound of the nightingale song when stepped on.
Day 12 Kyoto - Hakone/Izu
After further exploration of Kyoto, including the Kiyomizu Temple, we also enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. We later take the JR Bullet Train from Kyoto to Mishima and continue to Hakone or Izu.
Day 13 Hakone/Izu - Tokyo
This morning we embark on a cruise on Lake Ashi, from where stunning views of the snow-capped mountains can be seen. We continue by cable car to the Owakudani Valley and Hot Springs, lying in the crater of Mt Hakone. We later enjoy marvellous views of Tokyo Bay before continuing to our hotel.
Day 14 Tokyo - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.