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Japan Express: Osaka to Tokyo

Japan Express: Osaka to Tokyo


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Itinerary

Countries Visited

Japan

Tour Itinerary

Take in views of Mt Fuji, stay in temple lodging and a traditional ryokan, gaze at the famous floating torii gate in Miyajima, explore Kyoto's Nijo Castle

From the Buddhist monks of Kōyasan to the high rollers of Tokyo, see the many faces of Japan on this condensed tour beginning in Osaka. Savour the region's culinary delicacies and the beautiful views at Mt Fuji. You'll stay in a traditional ryokan and really soak up local culture in onsen hot springs. A great combination of the traditional and the contemporary, this adventure provides a taste of the rich culture of Japan.

Day 1: Osaka
Arrive at any time.
Activity: Your opportunity to meet your CEO and fellow travellers, and learn more about your tour. Opt to join the group for a local meal afterwards. Don't forget to see the notice in the lobby (or ask reception) for the official time and place to meet up with the group.
Accommodation: Ibis Styles Osaka (or similar)

Day 2: Osaka/Kōyasan
Depart early and travel to the centre of Buddhism in Japan and sleep in a temple atop the 800m Mt Koya. Savour a traditional dinner of shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine). Watch the monks pray in the morning.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Activity: During the overnight stay in the mountain temple, witness the routines of the monks and dine on typical fare. Explore the temples and moss covered Oku-no-in cemetery in the afternoon. In the evening, savour the shojin-ryori vegetarian cuisine, and relax in a yukata or kimono. Early morning at the temple offers the chance to observe the monks praying, before a vegetarian breakfast. Breathe the fresh mountain air and soak in the beautiful surroundings.
Activity: Oku-no-in is the most sacred site in Koyasan and the location of the mausoleum for Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), the founder of Shingon Buddhism. The area is surrounded by a massive cemetery, the largest in Japan. With over 200,000 tombstones lining the almost 2km path to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum, there is plenty of area to explore. Be sure to see Torodo Hall (Hall of Lamps), the main place of worship, where more than 10,000 lanterns are kept burning day and night.
Accommodation: Ekoin Monastery (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Dinner (Enjoy shojin-ryori, typical vegetarian cuisine.)

Day 3: Kōyasan/Hiroshima
Watch the monks pray in the morning and enjoy a traditional breakfast before travelling to Hiroshima. This afternoon, visit the Peace Park and Memorial Museum commemorating the events of 1945.
Transport: Get to your next destination faster than the speed of light (ok maybe not that fast) aboard a high-speed train.
Activity: Walk through the Peace Park in the centre of Hiroshima, a living memorial dedicated to the tens of thousands who died from the atomic bomb blast in 1945. Visit the statue of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who died of leukemia as a result of the bomb blast, despite folding 1,000 origami paper cranes to appeal to the gods to make her well. See the frame of the Gembaku Dome, the sole building to withstand the explosion. Reflect, remember, and be reminded of the power we all hold to create peace.
Accommodation: Hotel New Hiroden (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 4: Hiroshima
Take a ferry ride over to the sacred island of Miyajima to see the famous floating Torii Gate. Opt to hike around Mt Misen.
Transport: Hop a ferry to reach the island and journey back in the evening.
Activity: Take a trip to Miyajima Island, famed as one of Japan's most scenic spots, with a free afternoon to explore. See the famous floating Torii Gate, set out in the bay, which glows extraordinarily at sunset. The island is dotted with shrines and temples, populated by deer and monkeys, and traversed with hiking trails for those who want to get some exercise. There are also lanes full of souvenirs and tasty treats. Visit Miyajima at your own pace, and have the option to hike up to the peak of the island, Mt Misen, to see spectacular views of the surrounding islands.
Free Time: Free time on Miyajima Island to make the most of this beautiful location.
Accommodation: Hotel New Hiroden (or similar)

Day 5: Hiroshima/Kyoto
Travel to Kyoto and start exploring. Visit the impressive Nijo Castle and gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the evening, explore the geisha district of Gion on a CEO-led walking tour.
Transport: Get to your next destination faster than the speed of light (ok maybe not that fast) aboard a high-speed train.
Activity: Walk through Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district. Visit shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain.
Activity: Visit the Nijo Castle, the residence of the first shogun of the Edo Period built in 1603. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the property is divided into three areas: the Honmaru (main circular fortification), Ninomaru (secondary circle of defense), and the gorgeous gardens that surround both.
Accommodation: The b Kyoto Sanjo (or similar)

Day 6: Kyoto
Enjoy a visit to the beautiful Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine and walk under the bright torii gates. Opt to shop, stroll along the riverbank, or explore another of Kyoto's many temples with free time.
Activity: Visit the Fushimi Inari shrine, located just outside of Kyoto. Walk under the thousands of iconic torii gates (as seen in the film Memoirs of a Geisha) and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The shrine itself is at the base of the Inari mountain but includes many trails up to smaller shrines in the area.
Free Time: Continue exploring Japan's historic capital with some free time.
Accommodation: The b Kyoto Sanjo (or similar)

Day 7: Kyoto/Hakone
Take a boat ride on Lake Ashino-ko, and hopefully catch a glimpse of majestic Mt Fuji. Enjoy a stay in traditional ryokan accommodation, feast on a Japanese multi-course kaiseki meal, soak in the natural hot springs, and sleep on a futon.
Transport: Get to your next destination faster than the speed of light (ok maybe not that fast) aboard a high-speed train.
Transport: Climb aboard, grab a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Activity: Hop aboard a passenger boat to cruise the waters of Lake Ashinoko. If you are lucky, on a clear day you can capture a view of Mt Fuji. The lake was formed from the caldera of Mt Hakone following its eruption 3000 years ago. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Activity: Enjoy the ryokan, savour a complex meal of traditional Japanese foods, then finish the day with a soak in the onsen.
Accommodation: Hakone Pax Yoshino (or similar)
Meal(s): Dinner (A traditional multi-course kaiseki meal.)

Day 8: Hakone/Tokyo
Head to Tokyo with time to do some last-minute shopping.
Transport: Get to your next destination faster than the speed of light (ok maybe not that fast) aboard a high-speed train.
Free Time: With so much to do, start exploring now.
Accommodation: The B Ikebukuro Tokyo (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 9: Tokyo
Depart at any time.

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Inclusions

Meals Included
3 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport
Bullet train, tram, ferry, public bus, walking.

Inclusions
Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in Mount Kōya Temple, Kōyasan. Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum visit. Miyajima excursion with floating torii gate visit. Nijo Castle and gardens visit (Kyoto). Gion walk. Fushimi Inari shrine visit. Lake Ashino-ko boat ride (Hakone). Traditional ryokan stay with kaiseki meal. Japan Rail (JR) pass (7 days). All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

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Accommodations

Hotels (6 nts), mountain monastery (1 nt, shared facilities), traditional inn (1 nt, shared facilities).

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
4.2
Itinerary
3.8
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
3.8
Value for Money
4

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Ratings based off 10 reviews - currently showing 5 reviews with comments only

Trip seemed to follow the published itinerary to the letter. Accommodations were better than I expected. Experienced parts of Japan I would not have thought of on my own. A very well balanced trip with appropriate amounts of free time.

Not based on this experience. The itinerary was inefficient with too much travel by subway and trains when it would have been a better experience and better use of time to travel by coach. Also tour guide was difficult to hear without a microphone as she was very soft spoken. Also explanations were not clear because of language. She was a lovely person and she took great care of us.

The Japan vacation was better than I expected!!!! It was an active "moving" trip, which I truly enjoyed. I've done "coach tours" where you sit on the bus and they take you -- this experience was "hands on" riding the buses, trains and running through the streets -- it was amazing !!!!! We got the full feel of Japan and the people. This trip is not for the weak or slow pace crowd - you drag your luggage through the streets, up and down stairs --- it was truly exciting and exhilarating. G adventures has a fan for life. The instructions and assistance was outstanding -- Great job - Steve (AffordableTours.com) was outstanding !

The Japan Express tour first and last days were essentially 'on your own'. This is a bit misleading as they were official tour days. As the itinerary made this clear, I am not really complaining, but some guided activities on the first, and particularly the last day, would have made the tour better. I have already passed on this comment to the tour operator. Having said that, I enjoyed the tour and would recommend it to others.

I enjoyed the trip but there was too much walking which I find difficult. Because we had to change different modes of travel so frequently, guide suggest we pay extra to have luggage transferred separately. Both facts should have been explained in advance.


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