Saga Holidays - Escorted Tours Sep 2019-Nov 2020
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Into the Heart of Japan

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JAPAN Into the Heart of Japan 13 nights from £4299 Including optional travel insurance or from £4228 without insurance§ Immerse yourself in Japanese culture from the bright lights of Tokyo to the haunting beauty of Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park. See Mount Fuji and snow monkeys, sleep in a ryokan, explore historic temples, make sushi, and meet a charming and courteous people. Kyoto's Kinkakuji temple ACTIVITY LEVEL Day 1: UK-Tokyo. Fly overnight to Tokyo. Day 2: Tokyo. Arrive in Tokyo for a two-night stay. Day 3: Tokyo. Compare and contrast Tokyo's old and new sides on a tour from traditional Asakusa to the bright neon lights hoardings. Visit Imperial Palace Plaza to see the Japanese Royal Family's official residence, the upmarket shopping district of Ginza, then, after a sushi demonstration, make your own lunch. Move on to Tokyo's oldest temple, Senso-Ji, and learn about the coded rules of Japanese dress. Slip into a traditional kimono and stroll through Asakusa, where this style is still favoured. B, L Day 4: Tokyo-Kawaguchi. Head for Komagatake in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park which is celebrated for its ethereal scenery. Ride the 1800-metre Komagatake Ropeway to the top of Mount Komagatake. Take a cruise across Lake Ashi for the world-famous view of snow-capped Mount Fuji, and see the hot springs. Enjoy a demonstration of Japanese marquetry ­ Yosegi ­ and try your hand at it. Stay overnight in Kawaguchi. B, D Day 5: Kawaguchi-Yudanaka. Ascend Japan's tallest mountain to the 5th station ­ you may find you're looking down at the clouds! Move on to Matsumoto Castle ­ the country's oldest fort ­ then stop at Daio Wasabi Farm to learn about wasabi cultivation and perhaps sample a wasabi-themed foods. Stay overnight in Yudanaka in a traditional Japanese Inn. B, D Day 6: Yudanaka-Kanazawa. Fall in love with the snow monkeys that gather around the hot springs in Yaen Jigoku National Park. The snow monkeys are less in evidence in autumn, which is mating season, but the park's autumn colour is glorious. Move on to Iiyama and catch the bullet train to Kanazawa for a two-night stay. Take a city tour, see the Kenroku-en garden and the Nomura samurai house. B Day 7: Kanazawa. Head up to Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO-listed mountain village with thatched roof Gassho houses constructed `like hands in prayer'. In this once inaccessible area the locals cultivated mulberry trees and reared silk worms. Tour Wade-Ke house, then move on to Takayama. Walk Sannomachi Street to see the perfectly preserved merchant's houses, before visiting Takayama Jinya, a museum with a traditional rice storehouse. B Day 8: Kanazawa-Kyoto. Gold was found in Kanazawa some 400 years ago, and here you can see a local artisan working the paper-thin gold leaf. Explore the traditional Higashichaya district to see where ornately costumed geishas and maikos once entertained. Then visit Omicho market to see the food on offer. Take a coach to the station for your high-speed train journey to Kyoto where you'll stay for two nights. B Day 9: Kyoto. Founded in 794, Kyoto is widely considered Japan's cultural heart. On a city tour see the Kiyomizu and Kinkakuji Temples and Nijo Castle. Treat yourself to lunch in Nishiki market and enjoy a stroll around the Gion district, once the haunt of geisha. Participate in the intricacies of a tea ceremony and sample matcha tea and Japanese sweetmeats. Tonight's dinner will be at an Izakaya ­ a traditional Japanese pub. B, D Day 10: Kyoto-Kurashiki. Travel to the small coastal town of Kurashiki, and walk the willow-lined canals to get a feel of the local culture and architecture. Stay overnight in Kurashiki. B Day 11: Kurashiki-Hiroshima. Head off to the old port of Tomonoura and wander the streets, then move on to the coastal town of Onomichi to explore historic Senko-Ji temple. Cross to Innoshima, one of Japan's thousands of islands, for a taste of island life. Continue to Hiroshima for a two-night stay. B Japan Kanazawa Iiyama Yudanaka Yaen Jigoku Park Tokyo Takayama Lake Ashi Kawaguchi Mount Fuji Kyoto Hiroshima Onomichi Saijo Kurashiki Tomonoura Osaka nights in hotel 196 Please quote SMT19 Questions on an existing booking? Call FREE on 0800 504 555 or visit