Tokyo to Shanghai - 18 Days
From 2021-03-27 to 2022-11-12
Departure dates & prices
Dates Availability Price
13 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners (inclusive of a Japanese dinner at the Lake Kawaguchi).
17 nights 3 - 4 star accommodation (inclusive of 1 night in a traditional Japanese inn).
Japan: Airport arrival transfer (by train) from Narita or Haneda International Airport on day 1.
Departure transfer (unescorted) - by train or bus from Kyoto Station to Osaka Airports (ITM and KIX) on day 8.
China: Airport arrival transfer from Beijing Capital Airport on day 8 and departure transfer to Shanghai Airport on day 18.
Guided sightseeing and walking tours in Tokyo, Kamakura, Lake Kawaguchi, Kyoto, Luoyang, Shanghai, Suzhou, Xi'an, Beijing and Badaling.
Lake Kawaguchi and Mt Fuji - Kachikachi-yama Ropeway and Observatory.
For tours staying at Lake Kawaguchi between 14 Apr – 28 May each year we'll visit to the Fuji Shibazakura (Moss Phlox) Festival with Mt Fuji as the backdrop.
Shanghai - Huangpu River cruise.
Suzhou - Historic Grand Canal cruise.
Xi’an - Bike ride on medieval City Wall.
Chinese acrobatic performance.
Rickshaw ride through Beijings' Hutongs.
Escorted by a licensed English speaking Japanese/Chinese tour guide/s (for groups of 6 or more) and English speaking specialist guides at local sites.
All transportation and transfers - buses, trains and rail passes (including Suica Swipe Card).
Baggage forwarding service from Tokyo to Kyoto (one bag per person).
Day 1 - Tokyo Saturday. Welcome to Japan! Upon arrival in Tokyo you will be met at either Narita or Haneda International Airport by your guide. Travel by train into the heart of the city and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure.
Day 2 - Tokyo Taking the subway to Asakusa, today we explore the capital. Our first stop is the lively Sensoji Temple District, home to Tokyo’s first temple and scores of craft stalls and interesting souvenirs. After lunch, we head to Harajuku, a magnet for the young and fashionable Tokyoites with its hip shops and cafes. Whilst here, we will explore the impressive Meiji Shrine where the emperor Meiji and his wife are enshrined. We then head to Yoyogi Park where we can see bands playing, drum circles, dancers and busking – this is a popular hangout for locals especially on Sundays.
Our final stop for today is one of the busiest intersections in the world, Shibuya Crossing. The famed junction has no less than 7 pedestrian crossings and when the traffic lights turn red a wave of pedestrians, up to a 1000, converge onto the intersection from every direction. Known as 'the scramble', it's a well-practised art to duck and weave with sportsman like agility to avoid collision, which we'll watch from the second floor of Starbucks. Tonight, is at leisure, though if travelling in January, May and September you might like spend the evening watching a Sumo tournament (bookings must be made in advance). Please see our Trip Notes for more information.
Day 3 - Kamakura Tokyo - Kamakura - Tokyo. After breakfast, we board our train for the hours journey to Kamakura, Japan’s first feudal capital and a popular seaside location, with a quaint village life feel and some stunning Zen temples. Here, we’ll visit the iconic bronze Big Buddha and the Zen Temple of Hokokuji with its beautiful bamboo garden. You can drink tea and learn about tea ceremony’s, before walking the cobbled shopping district - adorned with lovely locally made items before returning to Japan’s bustling capital for the night.
Day 4 - Tokyo Today offers a guided tour of the Tokyo Edo Museum which focuses on the lifestyle and culture experienced of Tokyoites over the city’s 400-year history. The museum houses some of the city’s best original artefacts and replicas of Edo-era buildings and landmarks, along with several large-scale models. The remainder of the day offers free time to independently explore.
Day 5 - Hakone Tokyo - Lake Kawaguchi. This morning we travel by highway bus (with luggage forwarding) to Lake Kawaguchi, located at the foot of Mt Fuji in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. The scenery is stunning with panoramic views of a snow-capped Fuji most of the year. Upon arrival we’ll travel along the Mount Fuji Panoramic Ropeway and visit the observatory. For tours staying at Lake Kawaguchi between 15 Apr – 28 May each year we'll visit the Springtime Fuji Shibazakura (Phlox Moss) Festival held at Motosu Lake, where the landscape is covered in a vibrant, hot pink moss with Fuji as the backdrop. No trip to Japan would be complete without sampling authentic Japanese hospitality at a traditional ryokan (a Japanese inn), which is where we’ll bed down tonight. At the ryokan, sample tasty local cuisine and take a relaxing dip in the natural hot spring baths.
Day 6 - Kyoto Lake Kawaguchi – Kyoto. The area has some great hiking trails and early this morning you might like to opt for a hike along the foreshores of the lake. We then travel by bus to Mishima, then bullet train to Kyoto - Japan’s ancient and cultural capital.
As one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, Kyoto is home to an abundance of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Here we enjoy a guided tour of Sanjusagen-do Temple, famous for its statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The one thousand life-size statues of Kannon are made of Japanese cypress clad in gold leaf. They stand in 10 rows of 50, each hand crafted and slightly different from the next. Late this afternoon we head to Gion, for a walking tour of this famous Geisha District. After, you may wish to watch a cultural performance at Gion Corner Theatre where you'll have the opportunity to see a Maiko (apprentice Geisha) performing.
Day 7 - Kyoto This morning, we enjoy a guided tour of Nijo Castle, one of the city’s most impressive UNESCO sites. Built by the first Tokugawa shogun in 1603, the exquisite Nijo Castle is a wonderful example of Momoyama architecture. After, we visit Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) a stunning Zen Buddhist temple and part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. The top two floors of the monument are completely covered in gold leaf. Set upon a small lake with landscaped gardens, the large completely gilt structure is impressive, as it is a beautiful Temple. Kinkakuji Temple continues to be one of Japan's most visited temples.
This afternoon offers free time for you to relax or to further discover the many sights of Kyoto your own way. Consider visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its winding path lined by thousands of bright red torii gates. Just a short train ride away from the main Kyoto Station, this must-see sight is free to visit and is open 24 hours a day. You might also wish to hire a Kimono and walk the streets as many Japanese do or take part in a cooking lesson.
Day 8 - Kyoto Saturday. Kyoto - Osaka - Beijing. Take the train (unescorted) from Kyoto Station to Osaka Airport for your flight to Beijing (flight not included). Arrive Beijing Capital Airport and included transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or head out and explore the city.
Please note: The flight from Osaka Airport to Beijing Capital Airport is not included in the cost of this tour. If you provide us with your flight details, we will be there to meet you at Beijing Capital Airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Day 9 - Beijing Today, we embark on a guided tour of the nation’s capital. Tiananmen Square, a patriotic vision of grandeur and the Forbidden city, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors boasting stunning temples, courtyards and reception halls. We take an afternoon rickshaw ride navigating the old back lanes and courtyards of Beijing’s Hutongs. This evening, we enjoy an eye boggling Chinese acrobatic performance. Swinging ropes, juggling hoops, spinning plates and human pyramids are just a few tricks these show stoppers pull out, followed by a Peking Duck welcome dinner.
Day 10 - Great Wall After a free morning to further explore the city, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, to walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Built in the Ming Dynasty, a 6m wide pathway makes a formidable defence, following the highest contours of a steep range of hills. We also visit a Jade Carving Centre before heading to our quaint hotel near Juyongguan Pass, which offers views of the Great Wall.
Day 11 - Juyongguan Pass Beijing - Luoyang. We rise early this morning and head (5 min by bus) to the Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass when it opens to beat the crowds. Later, we return to Beijing to explore the famous Pearl Market - an Aladdin's Cave of clothing, jewellery and electronic gadgets before taking an afternoon bullet train to Luoyang. Reaching speeds of up to 305km per hour the journey is an experience in itself! Check in to our hotel in Luoyang, late evening.
Day 12 - Luoyang First thing today we drive to the Shaolin Kung Fu Temple (approx 2 hours), set on the foothills of the Songshan Mountain. Here, generation after generation of Shaolin monks have devoted themselves to practising Chan Buddhism and a martial art widely recognised as the origins of kung fu. Over the years hundreds, if not thousands, of people have flocked to this very site to learn this ancient discipline and we'll have the opportunity to watch a performance of kung fu during our visit. Returning to Luoyang you’ll have some free time, and the option to walk to Xiyuan Park where ball room dancing, tai chi, aerobics and badminton lessons take place every evening.
Day 13 - Xi'an Luoyang - Xi’an. Today we explore the UNESCO-listed 5th and 6th Century Longmen Caves, etched into the cliffs of the Yi River. The 2,300 caves (grottoes) are adorned with 110,000 statues and images of Buddha, carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty. This afternoon, we board our high speed train to Xi’an (journey time approx 2hrs). After hotel check-in and some time to fresh up we’ll embark on a casual bike ride around the Xi’an City Wall. Looking around as you pedal offers delightful views of the Old City in the centre of the walls and the modern city on the outside.
Day 14 - Xi'an Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors are reputed to be the greatest discovery of the 20th century - 7,000 life-sized clay soldiers stand ready for battle. We visit the archaeological site and the workshop where the replica warriors are crafted. Tonight, we welcome you to join the optional Tang Dynasty Show which includes dinner, a traditional performance and transfers (bookable locally).
Day 15 - Xi'an Xi’an - Shanghai. First up this morning, we tour the lofty Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The complex of temples, pagodas and expansive gardens, constructed during the 7th century offered refuge and a store house for Chinese Buddhists translating the very important Buddhist sutras from India. After we visit the Muslim Quarter and enjoy some free time to explore the backstreets of this lively area. After lunch, we board our express train to Shanghai, where upon arrival we check into our hotel late this evening.
Day 16 - Shanghai Good morning Shanghai! Just the mere mention of ‘Shanghai’ conjures up mystery, romance and general decadence. Pre – 1949, cosmopolitan Shanghai was a magnet for seekers of wealth, idle colonialists, explorers and the dispossessed. Everything went belly up in 1949, when Mao and the communists took to power and swept the good times and rock and roll away. A legacy of these heady times is Shanghai’s Bund where on and around this waterfront promenade are a vast series of grandiose pre-1949 buildings. Just across the Huangpu River is the new Shanghai, a high-tech development of gravity defying skyscrapers.
Today we tour many of the city’s top spots - Yu Gardens and Bazaar - Shanghai’s finest traditional garden, the Bund, Pudong and the Shanghai Plaza Tower and lastly, take a cruise along the Huangpu River.
Day 17 - Suzhou Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai. Today we travel by road to ancient Suzhou. A sort of oriental Venice, ancient Suzhou is interwoven by a series of canals and pretty waterways which feed a series of classical gardens, laid out here since the Song dynasty a thousand years ago, they are justly famous across China. Suzhou sits very close to the Grand Canal, we enjoy a cruise on the Grand Canal before exploring the Lingering Garden - a beautiful classical Chinese garden dating back from the Ming Dynasty. Today’s final visit is a silk workshop before returning to Shanghai.
Day 18 - Shanghai Tuesday. Our momentous journey come to an end after breakfast and included onward departure transfer to airport.
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