Day - 1
Location: Tokyo - Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Your adventure begins in Tokyo – a dynamic, modern hub and the thriving capital of an ancient land – with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you arrive early, why not explore at your own pace? You could check out the free Sensoji Temple or the Imperial Palace, then hit up the Avatar Robot Café for lunch. This purpose-driven enterprise is not driven by AI at all – the waiters are actually operated by people living with disabilities. This is to give employees who have difficulty leaving their homes a better chance at employment. After your meeting, go for a leader-led walk around one of Tokyo’s most popular hubs. Then, you might like to join your new travel buddies for an optional dinner.
Day - 2
Location: Tokyo - Head out to explore the Shibuya area with your group this morning. Look down on one of the busiest intersections in the world at Shibuya station and visit the statue of Hachiko – the famous loyal dog. Next, indulge your eyes and your belly at a depachika food hall, where vendors sell everything from bento boxes to formal gifts. Maybe grab lunch to eat in Yoyogi Park (home to many events from the first Japan Olympics) before your visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine. This afternoon, you’ll visit Harajuku – the home of quirky youth pop culture. The rest of the day is free for you to explore. If you’re a cat lover, the Gotokuji Cat Temple might be right up your alley. Tonight is also the perfect opportunity to hit Tokyo’s nightlife, whether it’s at a bar with laser shows or you’re belting out some tunes at karaoke.
Day - 3
Location: Kanazawa - This morning, speed through central Japan on a bullet train bound for Kanazawa. This city is best known for Kenroku-en – the 17th-century gardens – and as the home of the Samurai. Here, you can find beautifully preserved Samurai and Geisha districts, historic temples and some awesome markets. After checking into your hotel, maybe explore Kenroku-en Garden and Kanazawa Castle Park. Tonight is a free evening so you can explore the streets at your own pace and maybe indulge in Kanazawa's izakaya and famed fresh seafood.
Day - 4
Location: Kanazawa - Explore Kanazawa on foot today, on a walking tour of the Higashi Chaya district. Get lost among Geisha as you walk through alleyways and traditional Chaya houses, known locally as places of tradition, feasts and entertainment. If tea's your thing, perhaps enjoy a traditional tea ceremony at one of the local tea houses. The afternoon will then be free for you to explore on your own.
Day - 5
Location: Kyoto - Today, catch a train through the Japanese Alps to Kyoto – once the imperial capital of Japan and one of the most beautiful cities in the country. With over 2000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a great place to get lost in. With a good bus network linking all its key sites, you can hop on the bus to get around today – maybe visit the magnificent, gold-plated Kinkaku-ji Temple with its expansive grounds in Kyoto’s northwest, or Nijo Castle – the feudal-era castle famous for its squeaking ‘nightingale floors,’ designed to alert inhabitants to approaching ninja. In the early evening, meet up with your leader for a walk through Kyoto’s famous Gion district – the heart of the city’s Geisha culture.
Day - 6
Location: Kyoto - Join your leader this morning for a walk in the wooded hills of Inari Mountain, famous for its Shinto 'fox temple' and atmospheric red torii gates – a must-see for keen photographers. The afternoon is free for you to explore, and your leader can give you recommendations on what to see and how to get there. Cycling is also a great way to see the city, and renting a bike is inexpensive. It's your last night in Kyoto, so make sure you try some of Kyoto’s famed Kyo-ryori (Kyoto cuisine) or wander the food market of Nishiki in the city’s heart. In true Japanese tradition, you could also hit the karaoke bar and show off your impressive pipes.
Day - 7
Location: Hiroshima - Hiroshima is a bustling metropolis with a tragic history and this morning, you’ll travel there via bullet train. When you arrive, your leader will take you to the Peace Park and the ruins of the A-Bomb Dome building – one of 11 structures left partially standing as a reminder of the destruction of nuclear war following the atomic bomb blast on 6 August 1945. The Peace Park contains monuments and a sobering museum dedicated to Hiroshima and international peace. The afternoon is free to rest, relax or continue exploring the city. Tonight, try Hiroshima’s most famous dish – okonomiyaki (savoury pancake of cabbage, meat or seafood) – grilled in front of you on a sizzling hotplate.
Day - 8
Location: Hiroshima - Today you’ll jump on a local train and a ferry to spend the day at the nearby island of Miyajima with its famous 'floating' Torii Gate and the grand Itsukushima-jinja Shrine. Hike through the woods to the peak of Mt Misen for some stunning views of the Inland Sea stretching far out below you. Be sure to watch out for inquisitive and eternally hungry deer that roam the island. Back in Hiroshima, you can enjoy a free evening tonight.
Day - 9
Location: Osaka - Travel by bullet train to Osaka today – what better way to finish your trip than in a city with the motto 'kuidaore' (eat until you drop)! Osaka is Japan's unofficial culinary capital, with its tiny backstreets overflowing with restaurants and bars serving up local delicacies. You can also discover Japan's answer to fast food – Osaka is credited with the first kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurants after its inventor (the owner of a sushi restaurant with staffing issues) watched beer bottles on a conveyor belt at the nearby Asahi brewery. When you arrive, head out on a leader-led walking tour of the Dotombori district, famous for its shopping and entertainment. At night, this place is lit with the colour of hundreds of neon lights! Today, you could also take on a taiko drum lesson or try a traditional Japanese Onsen. For dinner, maybe try takoyaki (grilled octopus), an Osaka speciality.
Day - 10
Location: Osaka - There are no activities planned for today, and you can depart at any time after check out. If you’d like to extend your stay and explore Universal Studios or more of Osaka’s nightlife, just speak to your booking agent ahead of time.