Travel in style through Japan, exploring historic and vibrant cities, rustic villages, Zen gardens and ancient pagodas. This itinerary idea combines ultra-modern Tokyo, the cultural capital of Kyoto, the creative hub of Kanazawa and the exceptional landscapes and hot springs of Yamanaka. All the while you stay in luxurious hotels and ryokan (Japanese inn). Exceptional insider experiences are included at each destination.
- Explore Tokyo's art scene with an expert guide, visiting Tokyo's galleries, studios and backrooms
- Let one of our local experts show you Tokyo's nightlife and get under the skin of the city
- Experience a performance from a Geisha in the traditional and beautiful city of Kyoto
- Meet a local artisan in Kanazawa and learn about many of the traditional crafts that thrive in this city
Tokyo is the example of modern Japan testing the boundaries of tradition. One of the largest and busiest cities in the world finds buildings constructed in every available space and raised expressways winding across the urban landscapes high above crowded walkways. At dusk, neon lighting brings a surreal glow to the city. Interesting sights in the city include the current Imperial Palace, located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the centre of Tokyo. Today it is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family. The Senso-ji Temple, popularly known as Asakusa Kannon, is Tokyo's most sacred and spectacular temple. A shopping street of over 200 metres, called Nakamise, leads from the outer gate to the temple's second gate and is a treasure trove of traditional wares. It has a history of several centuries. Visit Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s biggest seafood market where giant tuna can be sold for thousands of pounds.
Kyoto offers the classic image of Japan, traditional wooden houses, weeping cherry and the sound of geta (wooden soled shoes) on the paving stones. The capital of Japan for over a thousand years Kyoto has an overwhelming number of ancient Buddhist Temples, majestic palaces and gardens of every size and description, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is also one of the only places in Japan where it is possible to cross paths with a real Geisha, a magical experience.
Kanazawa’s array of cultural attractions makes it the drawcard of the Hokuriku region. Best known for Kenroku-en, a castle garden dating from the 17th century, it also boasts beautifully preserved samurai and geisha districts, attractive temples and a wealth of museums. Kanazawa is one of the great centres of Japanese refinement. The production of lacquers, silk, decorative gold leaf and pottery can be admired at the prefectural museum of traditional crafts. Furthermore, Kanazawa is a centre for artisans specialising in traditional Japanese crafts. Private studios and galleries are well worth visiting in order to meet these incredible artists.
The curious can visit the remains of the historical old samurai quarters, including the residence of the Takada family. The modern will in turn be delighted by the huge art museum, whose activity stimulates artistic creation around the entire country.
Yamanaka Onsen, a small resort town along the Kakusenkei Gorge, is one of the four hot spring towns that make up Kaga Onsen. The town's hot springs were discovered over 1300 years ago by the monk Gyoki, and have since been known to produce some of the best waters in the region. Yamanaka Onsen's hot spring waters are said to ease muscle and joint pain, speed up recovery from disease and improve one's health in general.
Ryokan (Japanese Inn)
During your visit to Japan you can stay in a Japanese Inn or what is known as a Ryokan. There are many different types or styles of ryokan. No two ryokan are the same, and the quality of ryokan varies dramatically. Standard ryokan are quite basic with no-frills. Luxury ryokan offer an exceptional ryokan experience with wonderful food, a gorgeous room, a Japanese cypress bath, a view of a Japanese garden and first-class service. It is well worth staying in a ryokan during your visit to Japan and paying a little extra to stay in the more special ones.
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.