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Classic Golden Route
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Uncover the very best of Japan on this exciting Journey taking you from the hustle and bustle of modern Tokyo to the palaces and shrines of Kyoto and the lantern-lit backstreets of Osaka. Along the way, you’ll contemplate world history in Hiroshima and admire the towering peak of Mount Fuji from Hakone. If you choose to visit between March and May, look out for the gorgeous pink hues of the cherry blossom trees.
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Your Example Itinerary
Fly from the UK to Tokyo
Arrive in the whirlwind that is Tokyo, a city like no other, with the juxtaposition of traditional and modern and past and future in evidence. Join a morning city tour and check out the stunning Sensō-ji temple, then perhaps visit the electronics district at Akihabara, where you’ll find all sorts of electronic gadgets and software as well as anime and manga comics. Brave the famous street crossing at Shibuya, the largest in the world and constantly thronging with pedestrians. For a spot of culture, take a look at Tokyo’s most impressive Shinto shrine at Meiji-jingū, with its 12m high torii entrance gate.
Fuji- Hakone National Park
View the famous cone of Mount Fuji towering in the distance as you approach the pretty city of Hakone, found in a volcanically active region known for its hot springs. Ascend Mount Fuji as far as the 5th Station, about half way up, for pretty mountain views. Spend the rest of the day in Hakone itself, where you’ll cruise the beautiful Lake Ashi, with its snow-topped mountain backdrop visible on a clear day. Ride the Komagatake Ropeway by the side of the lake for further scenic views of Hakone National Park and beyond. Stay overnight in a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese Inn.
Head on to historic Kyoto and take a walk through the atmospheric streets of Gion, the geisha quarter. Don’t miss Kyoto Imperial Palace, built in 1855, former home to the Emperor of Japan and found in the pretty grounds of Tokyo Imperial Park. While in Kyoto, you’ll enjoy a private tour of Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, a spectacular area where the bamboo towers high above you, rustling gently in the breeze and making for some Instagram-worthy photos.
Your next stop is bustling Hiroshima, a city that has risen from its infamous past. Hiroshima will forever be known for the terrible events of August 6th 1945, but those expecting a sombre place will be pleasantly surprised - it’s bright and vibrant with some pretty spots, such as the Peace Memorial Park. Included in your holiday is a trip to Miyajima Island, famous for its torii gate that ‘floats’ at high tide. See if you can spot wild deer, and be sure to try the local grilled oysters, especially tasty with miso sauce.
The final stop on your Classic Golden Route itinerary is Osaka, the Kansai region’s largest city and second only to Tokyo in size. While a visit to the age-old Osaka Castle should be on your must-see list, the real joy in Osaka is soaking up the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the markets, pachinko halls and shops. As part of your itinerary, you’ll head off on an evening Kansai Soul tour, taking you to the lantern-lit streets to soak up the vibe of the city, sample the street food and learn exactly why Osaka earned its reputation as the soul of western Japan.
Depart Osaka and return to the UK
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