Expert-Led Group Tour

Japan group tour - Science and technology with New Scientist

11 days

from £4,995pp
  • Visit Japan's three cosmopolitan and iconic cities; Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto
  • Take an exclusive tour of The University of Tokyo and receive a private talk on robotics
  • Get involved in a research project on the coral-fringed island of Okinawa

Experience cutting edge Japan on a 11 day journey taking in Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto and Okinawa. Travel from snow-capped mountains to buzzing cities and from hot springs to subtropical coral reefs.

Home to Erica the robot, a burgeoning centre for technology and countless areas of spectacular natural beauty, Japan is a must-see destination for science and nature lovers. Join us on a special journey across Japan in wintertime to see exceptional landscapes, visit top universities and get involved in a research project on the coral-fringed island of Okinawa.

Tokyo is a futuristic city, both functionally and aesthetically. One of the Steppes' team recently returned from the city and commented on how he felt he was wandering around the film set of Blade Runner. A guided tour of Miraikan, Tokyo’s Science and Innovation Centre will do nothing to disavow this notion. At the cutting edge of technology, Miraikan provides a fascinating insight into neutrino observation, space and frontier exploration, natural disasters, iPS cell research and next-generation medicines. In short, a museum designed to satisfy the curiosity of the human mind.

This tour is not just about visiting museums as there is time set aside for experiencing the extraordinary natural phenomena of Japan. Visit the volcanic region of Owakudani and walk the trails around the steam vents and bubbling natural springs. Travel by boat across Lake Ashi, an enormous volcanic crater born out of an eruption, 3,000 years ago. The cultural side of Japan is also a feature of this trip as we have included a journey on the iconic bullet train to Kyoto for a taste of quintessential Japanese lifestyle, history and culture.

The tour concludes with five days spent in Okinawa, located in the island’s capital, Naha. From this base, visit Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology campus to meet with local researchers and academics to learn about coral restoration, trap insects and input data into a research project and visit the ‘sustainable homes’ development project – a blueprint for sustainable living.

This is a one-off itinerary exclusive to New Scientist readers and Steppes Travel clients, with special access to research facilities and institutions. As group size is limited, we advise early booking. 

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN JAPAN IN NOVEMBER?

Autumn is a pleasant time to visit Japan, as the leaves begin to change colours in Tokyo and in the central regions of the country. The days will be getting cooler in northern and central regions, whilst in Okinawa it will be slightly warmer and dryer.  

WHAT IS FOOD LIKE IN JAPAN?

Based around fresh, seasonal produce, Japanese cuisine is renowned for being nutritious and tasty. Rice is a staple ingredient and is generally offered with miso soup as an accompaniment. Sushi is Japan's most famous delicacy and can be found throughout the country.

Breakfast is included as part of this tour and will mainly comprise of international food. Dinners are also included and will vary throughout the different regions.

WHAT IS ACCOMMODATION LIKE IN JAPAN?

Japan offers a large range of both Japanese and western style accommodation, including some unconventional forms such as capsule hotels and temple lodgings.

As part of this tour you will be staying in mainly western style 3-4* hotels.

WHAT IS THE MIRAIKAN MUSEUM?

The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, also known as Miraikan, opened in 2001. Its name translates as "Future Museum". It was created by Japan's Science and Technology Agency. It is situated in a new purpose-built building in the Odaiba District of Tokyo, which, can be reached by the Yurikamome driverless fully automated transit system from downtown Tokyo in about 15 minutes.

Some of the museums highlights include real-time displays of data from a huge array of seismometers across Japan which show how the country is permanently, gently vibrating. The occasional earthquakes for which Japan is noted show up as larger movements. Visitors can search the online database of recent earthquake activity.

WHAT IS THE OKINAWA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE?

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, alternatively known as OIST, is a graduate school located in Okinawa, Japan. Over half of the faculty and students are recruited from outside Japan, and all education and research is conducted entirely in English.



Departing on:
  • 4th November 2018

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

DEPART UKARRIVE UKPrice Excluding Flights (£)Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
4th Nov 2018 14th Nov 2018 £ 4,995 £ 950 £ 535 Local Guide Limited
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accompanied by an English speaking guide
  • Airport transfers by private vehicle
  • All dinners (except on day 9)
  • Breakfast included everyday
  • Entrance fees to Miraikan museum
  • Four nights 3* accommodation in Okinawa
  • Gratuities
  • Half day Tokyo city tour with guide by private coach.
  • Internal flight from Kyoto to Okinawa
  • Kyoto city tour by private coach inc Nijo Castle visit
  • One night 4* accommodation in Hakone
  • Rope Way and Pirate boat in Hakone
  • Service charges
  • Three nights 3* accommodation in Tokyo
  • Train travel Shinjyuku to Hakone Yumoto in economy
  • Transport to/from Miraikan museum
  • Transport to/from OIST
  • Transport to/from Tokyo University
  • Travel from Odawara station for Kyoto by Bullet train
  • Two nights 4* accommodation in Kyoto

what is excluded

  • All drinks
  • All lunches
  • Dinner on day nine
  • Entrance fees not mentioned
  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature

TO ALLOW FLEXIBILITY, OUR GROUP TOURS DO NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS AS STANDARD. WE CAN ARRANGE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS ON YOUR BEHALF AND THE ABOVE IS AN INDICATION OF COST, BASED ON RETURN FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM LONDON. ALL INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Tokyo
On arrival at Haneda Airport, you will be met by a local guide holding a Steppes Travel sign in the arrivals hall for your transfer to the hotel by private coach, a journey time of around 60 - 90 minutes. After checking in there will be time to relax before your afternoon city tour.

Your guide will discuss what time he will meet you to depart for your half day Tokyo city tour. Firstly, visit Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. You will have the chance to walk down Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree-lined avenue, home to the flagship stores of the world's top brands.

Next, travel to the Roppongi District to visit the Roppongi Hills Observation Deck. The 238 meters tall Mori Tower is the centrepiece of the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo's Roppongi district. The tower houses the entrance to the excellent Mori Art Museum and the Tokyo City View observation deck. On a clear day, you can see Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree and even as far as Mt. Fuji.

You will then be driven back to your hotel.

Overnight in Tokyo

Japan is an intriguing blend of the resolutely traditional and the restlessly innovative - and nowhere typifies this more so than Tokyo. Look beyond its futuristic façade and you will discover a different Tokyo, where ancient traditions and customs are quietly maintained. An enthralling and captivating city of many layers, it is an essential place to visit for any keen traveller.


Dinner included.


You will be staying at Shinjuku Washington Hotel, As specified

Day 2

Miraikan Museum
After breakfast at the hotel, meet up with your local guide for your transfer by private coach to the Miraikan Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, simply known as the Miraikan, is a museum created by Japan's Science and Technology Agency. Some of the highlights of the museum include real-time displays of data from a huge array of seismometers across Japan. which shows the country is gently vibrating, as well as a Asimo - the Honda robot, who is one of the star attractions along with the model maglev train.

Proposed itinerary:

10:00 arrival at Miraikan

10:00-11:10 Miraikan tour guided by a science communicator (probably Masatoshi Shimizu)

11:10-11:30 a short talk about Japanese robotics by the same science communicator in a separate room

11:30- Free tour (open till 17:00)

After a full day exploring the museum, return to your hotel in the late afternoon.


Breakfast included at your hotel. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Lunch not included


You will be staying at Shinjuku Washington Hotel, As specified

Day 3

The University of Tokyo
After breakfast at your hotel you will be met by your local guide and transferred to The University of Tokyo. You will spend a full day at the university where there will be a lecture from a robotics academic.

In the late afternooon transfer back to your hotel.


Breakfast included at your hotel. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Lunch not included


You will be staying at Shinjuku Washington Hotel, As specified

Day 4

Tokyo to Hakone
** Please prepare an overnight bag for the Hakone stay, your luggage will be sent to the hotel in Kyoto separately ***

After breakfast, check out and meet your local guide in the lobby (timings to be discussed with the guide).

Walk to Shinjuku Station and take a limited express service from Shinjyuku to Hakone-Yumoto station (a journey time of around two hours).

After arriving to Hakone - Yumoto station, you will be met with your private coach and depart to Owakudani station. You will smell sulphur in the air, which is coming from this active volcano. The walking trails around Owakudani lead to steam vents and bubbling pools and the eggs sold locally are boiled in the volcano's natural hot springs and are said to prolong life by seven years.

Continue your journey via Rope Way heading towards Togendai, where you will board a pirate boat to Hakonekomachi. Both are ports on the shores of Lake Ashi, which is an enormous volcanic crater created by an eruption 3,000 years ago.


Transfer by private coach to your hotel for check in.

The rest of the day at leisure.


Breakfast included at your hotel. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Lunch not included


You will be staying at Hakone Hotel Kowakien, As specified

Day 5

Hakone to Kyoto
After breakfastl, check out and meet your guide in the lobby before being driven to Odawara Station.

Depart Odawara station for Kyoto by Bullet train, a journey time of around two hours.



After arriving to Kyoto station, you will be transferred by private coach to your hotel.

Hakone is a natural nature wonderland famous for its hot springs, outdoor pursuits and the view of the nearby Mount Fuji. It is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is less than 100 km from Tokyo, thereby providing a popular weekend destination for city residents keen to escape the frenzy of the capital. Besides the towering mountains, lakes and views of Mount Fuji, it is also blessed with interesting historical sites.


Breakfast included at your hotel. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Lunch not included


You will be staying at Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa, As specified

Day 6

Kyoto
After breakfast, meet your guide to travel Nijo Castle by private coach.

Nijo Castle was built by the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate as the Kyoto residence of the Shogun and is surrounded by stunning gardens. The ornamental building was completed in 1603 and is well-known for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors, and 'chirping' nightingale floors. From Nijo castle a private coach will take you to Kinkakuji

Kinkakuji is also known as the Golden Pavilion, which, was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After the death of Shogun Yoshimitsu it became a Buddhist Temple at his request, and is now one of Kyoto's most famous temples, with its top two floors completely covered in gold-leaf. After visiting Kinkakuji, a private coach will take you to the nearby town of Arashiyama.

Ranked among Kyoto's five great Zen temples, Tenryuji is the largest and most impressive temple in Arashiyama. Founded in 1339 at the start of the Muromachi Period, the temple is now considered an important cultural property and ranked by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In addition to its temple buildings, there are beautiful gardens with walking paths.

On the way to Nonomiya shrine the path will take you through Arashiyama's famous bamboo groves, which are unlike any other place in Japan. The bamboo has been used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes and mats at local workshops for centuries. Nonomiya shrine is a Shinto shrine where in ancient times, unmarried imperial princesses stayed for a year or more to purify themselves. The shrine is referenced in numerous works of literature, most notably in the world's first novel; The Tale of Genji.

You will then travel by private coach back to the hotel.

Kyoto is quintessentially Japan. Peaceful temples, lavish gardens, and majestic palaces combine to create a slice of Japan at its purest and most distilled. Witness Geishas darting from one liaison to the next, or amble through one of the famous bamboo thickets. The home of Japanese cuisine and wearing its rich culture on its sleeve, Kyoto is a truly magical city.


Breakfast included at your hotel. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Lunch not included


You will be staying at Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa, As specified

Day 7

Kyoto to Okinawa
After breakfast, check out and depart for the airport by private coach with your local guide.

Fly Kyoto to Okinawa & the Southern Islands


Okinawa
On arrival into Okinawa you will have a half day city tour exploring the highlights of the city by private coach.


Breakfast included at your hotel. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Lunch not included


You will be staying at Comfort Hotel Naha, As specified

Day 8

Okinawa
Today you will have a full day at leisure.


Breakfast included at your hotel. Lunch and dinner not included


You will be staying at Comfort Hotel Naha, As specified

Day 9

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
After breakfast, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology by private coach, where you will spend the day.

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) is an interdisciplinary graduate school. Over half of the faculty and students are recruited from outside Japan, and all the education and research is conducted entirely in English. The research community consists of faculty and researchers divided into 'units' based on area of study. The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology has no departments. OIST researchers conduct multi-disciplinary research in neuroscience, mathematical and computational sciences, physics, chemistry, integrative biology and molecular, cell, and developmental biology.

After a welcome by OIST staff, you'll get the chance to participate in a day of environmental research. At the moment the University is undertaking a complete environmental survey of the island of Okinawa. This involves checking on insect traps, which are strategically placed around the island, collecting and identifying samples of different species and entering data into a large database. At the same time, an ornithological survey is identifying all the bird species in Okinawa. Out in the field, you'll take part in the full cycle of checking traps, identifying species and entering them into the system.

Late afternoon, transfer back to your hotel. After some time to rest, you will be invited to dinner with OIST Vice President for Communications & Public Relations, Neil Calder, at his residence on the waterfront. Here, you'll get the chance to talk with researchers and learn about life on the island.

Transfer back to the hotel after dinner.


Breakfast included at your hotel. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Lunch not included


You will be staying at Hotel Monterey Okinawa Spa resort, As specified

Day 10

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
After breakfast, you will be transferred for your second day at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), where time will be spent discovering more about coral regeneration and sustainable living.

You will travel in a specially designed glass-bottom boat to study the extent of coral bleaching on the island. Guided by OIST researchers, there will be chance to learn about the coral research taking place. Coral is an endangered species, not only in Okinawa, but around the world. The institute is one of the world leaders in identifying the causes of this potentially disastrous environmental situation.

After lunch, you will be taken to see OIST's sustainable homes and will learn about their plans for efficient, intelligent use of solar power. There may also be an opportunity for a guided tour around the university and a chance to interact with both professors and students.

Later this afternoon, return to your hotel.

Breakfast included at your hotel. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Lunch not included.


Breakfast included at your hotel. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Lunch not included


You will be staying at Hotel Monterey Okinawa Spa resort, As specified

Day 11

Okinawa departure
After breakfast, you will have time at leisure until your departure.

You will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Japan

Charles Knights, Travel Expert

"Charles was most attentive without becoming intrusive, he changed the schedule several times to meet our changing needs."

"Charles was extremely helpful, swift in replying to emails and when he was away another consultant carried on the good work."

"Charles Knights was superb. He gave us all the information we requested, was very patient with the number of queries we had running up to our trip and was extremely helpful throughout from the start thinking about our trip to taking off. Fantastic service."

Read More

Paul Craven, Travel Expert

" I spoke to five different companies, but Paul was by far the most knowledgeable and empathetic."

"The service which I received from your Travel Expert Paul Craven was excellent, he was able to answer any queries I put to him."

"Paul must be congratulated on his expertise and great patience in dealing with all my programme changes. He must dread my phone calls!! A big thank-you from both of us to Paul and Carol."

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Lecturer

Local Guide

This tour is escorted by local guides throughout.

Other tours by this lecturer:

Enquire about this holiday:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Local Guide

Departure Date (S):

  • 4th November 2018

Holiday Ideas in Japan

You are unique, so we believe your holiday should be too.

We listen to what you want and create a personalised itinerary tailored around you.

Your holiday. Your experience. Your way.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Call our Travel Experts on +01285 880 980
Start Your Journey

Expertise

  • Established for over 25 years creating journeys across 100 destinations worldwide
  • Exclusive access to the best private guides

PRICING

  • We negotiate the best rates with hotels and expert guides
  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates

RESPONSIBLE STEPPES

  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

Fully Protected

  • Your monies are financially protected
  • 24/7 Emergency UK contact whilst abroad
 

Featured in the Press

Financial Times
The Telegraph
Sunday Times logo
CNT
Food and Travel Mag
House and garden
The Week
Wanderlust

Our Partners

Afri Cat
African Parks
Durrell logo
Galapagos Conservation Trsut
Meningitis_Logot
OF_Primary_Logo_Tan
Restless Development
Save The Rhino
Tusk Trust
World Land Trsut
Gorilla Doctors
 

Steppes Travel, 51 Castle St, Cirencester, GL7 1QD, United Kingdom

© Steppes Travel | Legal Niceties | Privacy Policy