Bucket List Japan with Hiroshima
HighlightsDay 1 Arrive Osaka
You will be greeted upon arrival at Kansai International Airport with directions for your independent transfer to JR Amagasaki Station, a short 5 minute walk to your hotel via the interconnected station concourse. Vibrant Osaka is Japan's third largest city with a beautiful river cutting through its centre and unique neighbourhoods popular for their sophisticated architecture, nightlife and love for food.
Note: You may be required to depart one day before, subject to flights.
Accommodation: Hotel Vischio Amagasaki by Granvia (2 nights) - conveniently situated one minute away from Amagasaki JR Station in the up and coming and off the beaten track neighbourhood of Amagasaki. The hotel features a restaurant and is within walking distance to two shopping malls.Day 2 Nara Deer Sanctuary
Begin your adventure with a visit to massive Nara Park, known for incredible cultural heritage in a natural setting of unspoiled woods. You will be amazed by the sheer size of the Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple, housed within the massive park. Then, prepare for a change in scenery as we reach the stupendously colourful Dotonbori, famous for extravagant signage glittering off its canal waterways and an overwhelming variety of restaurants. Next up is your chance to explore the five-story Osaka Castle, one of the world's most visibly striking historical landmarks situated smack bang in the middle of Osaka city - a memorable way to cap off your day.
BONUS Authentic Experience: Get up close and personal with the free-roaming sika deer at Nara Park. You may even pet or feed the friendly deer. Sika deer have had a long history of cultural importance in Nara Park, beginning in the eighth century with a legend that a god rode into the park on the back of a white deer.Day 3 Himeji Castle & Bullet Train Experience
A proper half day is set aside to tour Himeji Castle, regarded as Japan's most spectacular castle for its elegant white appearance atop a hill, and is considered the finest surviving example of early 17th century architecture. Near the castle, you will have time for a leisurely stroll at Kokoen Gardens, a traditional Japanese garden featuring themed ponds and lovely bridges, beautiful in any season. Late in the afternoon, experience a dramatic change in pace and glide effortlessly to Hiroshima on the shinkansen bullet train. High-speed trains in Japan are a popular mode of long distance travel thanks to the shinkansen's reputation for extreme punctuality, supreme convenience and superior comfort to flying.
BONUS Authentic Experience: Many tours only offer a distant photo opportunity of Himeji Castle en route to Hiroshima. On this tour however, there will be no rush to venture into the realms of the castle interiors thanks to the rapid shinkansen bullet train waiting for you later this afternoon.
Note: You are required to pack a separate light bag containing overnight clothes, amenities and essentials for days 3 to 5 (2 nights). This morning, your main bag will be securely transferred by a dedicated courier service from Osaka to Kyoto. You will not have access to your main bag until arrival at your Kyoto hotel on the evening of day 5.
Accommodation: Hotel Granvia Hiroshima (2 nights) - renowned as a premier Michelin hotel in Hiroshima, it is directly connected to JR Hiroshima Station.Day 4 Ferry to Miyajima Island
The only way to properly discover Miyajima is with a comprehensive full day tour. After a leisurely breakfast, board the Miyajima ferry across to the island famous for its giant torii gate. The star attraction is Itsukushima Shrine and its iconic torii gate, seemingly floating in the sea during high tide and is easily one of the most photographed wonders of Japan. You will enter the shrine which consists of a complex of buildings connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the sea. Enjoy free time to soak up the sights before returning to Hiroshima in the evening.
Note: The gate is undergoing indefinite repairs and views may be obstructed but the shrine remains open.Day 5 Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum & Atomic Bomb Dome
A tour is not complete without a visit to Hiroshima and the Peace Memorial Park. The Atomic Bomb Dome is the only structure left standing at the site where the first atomic bomb exploded in 1945. A tribute to the solidarity of the region, the structures have been preserved in the same state as the immediate aftermath of the bombing. Today, the dome is a powerful symbol of world peace and the quest for denuclearisation. You will be admitted to the Peace Memorial Museum, devoted to exhibiting the events of the calamity through the belongings of victims, photos and other materials. In the afternoon, transfer to the classical city of Kyoto.
Accommodation: Hotel Vischio Kyoto by Granvia (2 nights) - brand-new hotel awarded for its ultra-modern decor and convenient access.Day 6 Kyoto Geisha District & Showpiece Kaiseki Dinner
Prepare your camera for a day packed full of colourful photo opportunities. The first stop is Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for the seemingly unending path of bright orange torii gates that wind through the hills, making it one of the most recognisable icons of Japan. Then, enjoy a colourful Kimono Fashion Show at the Nishijin Textile Centre. Before long, you will be immersed in gold at the famous Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion. We will then take a stroll along the atmospheric streets of Gion, the famous entertainment and geisha district. Last but not least, indulge in a special Japanese multi-course kaiseki dinner with a classical maiko performance, a truly authentic and unforgettable experience.
BONUS Authentic Experience: 1. Kaiseki is much hyped a must-try culinary experience. To an outsider, kaiseki appears to simply be a traditional multi-course meal but in reality, is a meticulously prepared, exquisitely served and usually expensive banquet in a private setting. 2. Maiko are highly skilled entertainers who wear colourful kimono with long sleeves and a variety of extravagant hairpins on their own hair.Day 7 Toyota Museum & Japanese Ryokan Stay
Pay a visit today to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology for a fascinating insight into a company that transformed from humble beginnings as a textile manufacturer to the modern day industrial superpower that helped shape Japan's history and culture. Later, transfer to the Mt Fuji region and enjoy an overnight stay in a traditional ryokan with Japanese set dinner included. More than just a place to sleep, a ryokan stay is a unique opportunity to experience traditional Japanese lifestyle and hospitality.
BONUS Authentic Experience: Ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese hotel that typically features tatami-matted rooms with soft futon mattresses or Western beds, communal baths or onsen hot springs, and other public areas where visitors may wear a casual version of the kimono known as yukata.
Accommodation: Lake Land Hotel Mizunosato or similar (1 night) - a ryokan situated on the shore of Lake Kawaguchi by Mt Fuji, featuring an open-air bath with panoramic views of the region.Day 8 Mt Fuji Sightseeing
Today we set out to catch views of Mt Fuji from the best vantage points of the region, including Oishi Park and Oshino Hakkai, a village where snowmelt from Mt Fuji runs through 8 ponds resulting in crystal clear fresh spring water revered by locals. Then, head two hours east where the eclectic city of Tokyo awaits. We will take you to the trendy Asakusa neighbourhood to check out Sensoji Temple - Tokyo's oldest temple, followed by some free time to wander the traditional Nakamise Shopping Street for souvenirs and snacks. En route to our final stop at Shibuya, drive-by Jingu-Gaien for a glimpse at the new National Stadium, the main venue for the 2021 Olympic Games (traffic permitting). Conclude your day at the famous Shibuya Crossing, the world's busiest intersection where pedestrians cross at all directions at once, giving it a notoriously chaotic yet Times Square-like feel.
Note: Visibility of the Mt Fuji is subject to fair weather on non-cloudy days.
Accommodation: Sunshine City Prince Hotel (2 nights) - situated on a large shopping complex in the bustling entertainment district of Ikebukuro. Prince Hotels is one of the largest and most reputable Japanese hotel chains.Day 9 Tokyo Free Day
The day is yours to explore Tokyo at your own pace. Japan's bustling capital juxtaposes ultramodern neon-lit skyscrapers with the charm of traditional old-world buildings. The abundance of beautiful scenery, quirky activities, indulgent food and a vibrant nightlife means there's something for everyone. Consider trying the boisterous izakaya, ramen or sushi bars tucked away in alleyways of Harajuku.Day 10 Depart Tokyo
You will be provided a transfer ticket to make your way independently to the airport, leaving behind Japan but taking home incredible memories.
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