Japan is a cultural collision; with its glittering skyscrapers, mind-boggling technology and wonderfully weird fashion styles, and age-old traditions and values. Much like its diverse surroundings Japan’s cuisine has much to offer with its simple and traditional favourites and its much talked about Michelin starred restaurants. From fish markets, to sushi making, to traditional tea making ceremonies this itinerary offers you both a gourmet and cultural exploration allowing you to get lost between Japan’s modernity and old time tradition.
Cultural highlights include, heading to Kamakura to see Japan’s second largest Buddha statue, before relaxing in hot springs and baths with a spectacular view of Mount Fuji. Discover your inner Zen in Kyoto with its shrines and temples, and the largest giant bronze Buddha. During the final days, you visit Hiroshima and learn about its history. Finish your trip by relaxing at the tranquil and sacred Miyajima Island.
Days 1-4 Tokyo
Tokyo – 3 nights at Park Hyatt Tokyo
Start your day with a private guided visit to the Tsukiji Fish markets, marvel at the sheer vast choice of seafood on offer, the market’s knife and lacquerware makers, and the workers cutting up the huge fresh fish. Following your tour test your sushi making skills with a top chef and sample your own expert cuisine! Cruise down the Sumida River to see Tokyo’s oldest and most important temple, before picking up souvenirs and electronic gadgets in Akihbara. See the romance in Tokyo’s most popular wedding site, the Meiji-jingu shrine, with its beautiful irises. The trip would not be complete without discovering young Tokyoites and their outlandish outfits and fashion styles.
Days 4-6 Hakone
Hakone – 2 nights at Gora Kadan Ryokan
After breakfast your guide and driver will meet you and take you Kamakura for a visit to the giant Buddha, the town’s impressive local temples and impeccably designed gardens. Next take a drive to Hakone to relieve the muscles in traditional onsen baths, with Mount Fuji as a backdrop. The next day allows you to explore the area and take in the views by mountain train, funicular railway, cable car and boat. Art lovers can later get lost in the Open Air Museum, with art from around the world including 300 Picasso works.
Days 6-9 Kyoto
Kyoto – 3 nights at Hyatt Regency Kyoto
The most traditional of Japan’s major cities has over 2,000 temples and a relaxed atmosphere. Visit its ceramic heritage, and step into the mysterious world of geishas in the Gion district. Later dine with private entertainment by two geisha. The next day you see Japan’s largest bronze Buddha and stroll through beautiful gardens flanked by trees.
Days 9-11 Hiroshima & Miyajima
Miyajima – 2 nights at Iwaso Ryokan
Taste Japan’s finest teas at a traditional Tea Ceremony; an infamous and historical tradition that exudes beauty with its simple and methodical movements. Continue on with your cultural education by learning the ancient art of calligraphy and origami. Travel at speed on the bullet train to Hiroshima, before being taken to the sacred island of Miyajima. Spend time wandering amidst herds of deer, which are believed to be messengers of the gods.
Days 11-13 Tokyo & Nikko
Tokyo – 2 nights at Park Hyatt Tokyo
The first day is spent exploring Tokyo’s contrasting areas on your own. The second is a day trip to the World Heritage temples and shrines in Nikko, which is home to eighth century shrines and Buddhist deities. Outside the main temple area, Lake Chuzenji and the Kegon Falls are also well worth visiting.