Japan by Rail

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An all-encompassing journey through Japan, travelling mainly by bullet train and taking in the highlights of all three main islands: Kyushu, Honshu and Hokkaido. Experience ancient traditions and modern Japan’s unique charm.

Why you’ll love this trip

An all-encompassing journey through Japan, travelling mainly by bullet train and taking in the highlights of all three main islands: Kyushu, Honshu and Hokkaido. Experience ancient traditions and modern Japan’s unique charm.

  • Stroll through Glover Garden of Nagasaki, home to foreign residents during the end of the era of seclusion in the late 19th Century
  • Under the guidance of a skilled instructor, try your hand at making Momiji manju (maple leaf bean buns)
  • Explore Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its unusual architectural style
  • Cruise one of Japan’s Three Great Sights, Matsushima Bay
  • Under the guidance of a skilled instructor, try your hand at making Momiji manju (maple leaf bean buns), Miyajima’s most famous confectionary for over a hundred years
  • Learn about the role of the masu sake cup in Japan’s culture before stepping into the studio to make your very own cup with an original design, which you can then take home as a souvenir
  • Discover the history and etiquette of making and appreciating sushi with a hands-on lesson before sitting down with your instructing chef to enjoy Japan’s most famous cuisine. It’s the taking part that counts!

This incredible 21 day trip through Japan starts at £9,090 per person.

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Alternatively please scroll down to view the full itinerary.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1-2: Fly to Fukuoka

Fly overnight to the charming city of Fukuoka, the gateway to the island of Kyushu. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.

Meals: Dinner

Day 3: Explore Nagasaki

Begin the day by travelling on the limited express train to Nagasaki. Upon arrival, enjoy a stroll through the Glover Garden, an open-air museum that exhibits mansions attributed to the Scottish merchant who contributed to the modernisation of Japan. Also, visit the Oura Catholic Church and Atomic Bomb Museum before returning to Fukuoka.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: Miyajima Island

Board the bullet train to Hiroshima, located on Japan’s largest island, Honshu. Upon arrival in Hiroshima, take the ferry across the Seto Inland Sea to the holy island of Miyajima. Here, visit the Itsukushima Shrine and enjoy a momiji manju making cooking experience. Later, return to Hiroshima.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Hiroshima Highlights

Spend the day in Hiroshima starting with a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Museum where you will have the opportunity to pay homage to the victims of the 1945 atomic bomb. Enjoy okonomiyaki for lunch before ascending Orizuru Tower to view the city from above, followed by a stroll through the historical Shukkeien Garden.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Admire Himeji Castle

Depart Hiroshima by bullet train, stopping at Himeji to visit the magnificent Himeji Castle, followed by a walk through Kokoen. Continue by limited express to Osaka.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Osaka & Nara Day Trip

Begin the day with a visit to the Umeda Sky Building followed by a lunch at the famous Dontonburi district. Later, head to Nara and explore Todaiji Temple which houses the impressive Daibutsu, a 15-metre tall bronze statue of Buddha. Enjoy an ink making and calligraphy class before returning to Osaka.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Kyoto's Temples

Journey by road to Kyoto. Capital for 1,000 years, this enchanting city is the epitome of traditional Japan. Upon arrival, stroll through the Arashiyama bamboo forest and admire the towering thickets. Also visit Ryoanji Temple, home to Japan’s best-known zen garden and the famous ‘Golden Pavilion’ Kinkakuji Temple.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Tea Ceremony & Fan Painting

The day begins with a visit to Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto. Next, immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy the age-old rituals of a sacred tea ceremony, zen mediation and try your hand at fan painting. Also explore Gion – Kyoto’s famous geisha district.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Explore Kanazawa

Take the limited express train to Kanazawa and upon arrival, meander your way through Kenrokuen, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Also visit the Nomura Samurai House and Kunani Pottery Factory.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: Shirakawago Village

Travel by road to Takayama stopping en route at Inami for a sake wooden cup making experience and sake tasting. Next, continue to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shirakawago Village to get a glimpse of rural Japan. Continue to Takayama.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12: Discover Takayama

Spend the morning browsing the local handicrafts and fresh produce at Miyagawa market, the Takayama Floats Museum and Takayama Jinya. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13: Snow Monkeys

Travel to Matsumoto and spend time at the Daio Wasabi Farm to see the plantations and learn about its cultivation. Continue to Yudanaka and head to Jigokudani Yaen-Koen. Walk through a picturesque forested valley to the hot pools where you will see the famous Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) bathe and play before returning to Matsumoto.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 14: Matsumoto Castle

Begin the day with a visit to the magnificent 16th-century Matsumoto Castle, also known as ‘Crow Castle’, due to its intense black exterior. Next, head to a miso house and learn about the process of making this famous Japanese seasoning. Also visit the former post town of Naraijuku before continuing to Suwa.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 15: Mount Fuji

Travel to Hakone and ascend 2,400 metres to the 5th Station (weather permitting) for magnificent views of Mt Fuji. Also, enjoy a peaceful cruise on Lake Ashi before taking to the skies on the Komagatake Ropeway. Later, continue to Tokyo by road.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 16: Tour Tokyo

Begin the day with a stroll through Hamarikyu Gardens. Next, take part in a sushi making class and enjoy your own creations for lunch! Later, soak up the atmosphere at Sensoji temple, browse the stalls on Nakamise shopping street and drive-by the Imperial Palace Plaza.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 17: Even More Tokyo

Begin the day at the Tokyo Metropolitan Building and ascend to the observation deck for breathtaking views over the sprawling city. Next, soak up the atmosphere at the peaceful Meiji Jingu Shrine and drive-by the world-famous Shibuya crossing. End the day with a relaxing dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 18: Sip Whisky in Sendai

As the tour journeys to northern Honshu, board the bullet train to Sendai, the largest city in Tohoku. Upon arrival, transfer by road to Matsushima and enjoy a cruise on Matsushima Bay. Also, visit Zuiganji Temple and the famous Nikka Whisky factory in Sendai.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 19: Explore Hakodate

Say goodbye to Honshu Island as you board the bullet train to Hakodate located on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. Visit the Goryokaku Tower, a star shaped fortress followed by some time at leisure. This evening, journey on the Mt Hakodate Ropeway and enjoy the fabulous views of the city below.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 20: Sapporo Sightseeing

Board the bullet train for the very last time to Sapporo. Head to the Clock Tower and Odori Park and in the evening, stop by the Sapporo Beer Museum and enjoy a tasting or two, followed by a farewell dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 21: Fly Sapporo to UK

Fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day.

Meals: Breakfast

What’s Included:

This 21 day trip through Japan starts at £9,040 per person and includes…

  • Save up to £940 per person for solo travellers on selected dates in 2022/2023/2024
  • Partner flies for free on selected dates in 2022/2023/2024
  • Fully inclusive – Touring with guides and entrance fees
  • 19 nights accommodation
  • Included meals – 19 breakfasts, 18 lunches, 19 dinners
  • Group tour – Max group size is 28
  • Includes international flights and current taxes

Price based on selected departures in October 2022 (please note prices & availability are subject to change).

Please enquire below and one of our travel partner’s Japan experts will be in contact to discuss this trip.

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