Japan’s Golden Route

9 Days | 8 Nights

Price per person from *$4789 (*Based on Double Occupancy)
Land Only

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The classic Japan itinerary showcases three completely different places, connected by the bullet train. Tokyo, famous for its cutting edge modernity, neon-lit landscape and towering skyscrapers. Hakone, a natural nature wonderland, famous for its hot springs and superb views of nearby Mount Fuji (on a clear day). Kyoto where temples, shrines and pagodas impart a sense of history to all who visit. 

  • Airport transfers
  • 7 nights 4.5-star hotel accommodation
  • 1 night Japanese Inn accommodation
  • Breakfast daily
  • Kaiseki dinner in Hakone
  • Travel by bullet train
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This vacation begins in Tokyo, Japan's bustling capital. A vibrant metropolis where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modern innovations. From landmark Tokyo Skytree to the historic streets of Yanaka, Tokyo offers a dynamic fusion of culture, cuisine, and entertainment. Explore Senso-ji historic temple, Meiji Jingu shrine and trendy Harajuku neighborhood, all in the same day.  Visit busy Tsukiji market where the long lines of gourmands waiting patiently for specialty foods are part of the fun.  Still hungry? Opt to add a sushi-making class to learn the art of creating nigiri sushi, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Next, visit Hakone, a tranquil mountain lake retreat renowned for its natural beauty and therapeutic hot springs. Visitors can cruise across Lake Ashi, marveling at Mount Fuji's reflection, or ascend to Owakudani to witness volcanic activity and savor black eggs boiled in sulfuric hot springs. Riding the zig-zag railway  and ropeway up to Gora to visit the open-air museum is recommended.

Hakone's picturesque landscapes offer a complete contrast to Tokyo. Your accommodation here is in a traditional Japanese Inn called a ryokan, offering an immersive cultural experience steeped in hospitality and tranquility. Guests are welcomed into serene tatami-matted rooms adorned with minimalist decor and sliding shoji doors. At dinner, indulge in kaiseki cuisine, a multi-course feast highlighting seasonal delicacies, followed by a relaxing soak in the communal hot spring baths, known as onsens. Sleeping on futon bedding laid out on tatami floors, guests awaken to the peaceful ambiance of the inn, rejuvenated and immersed in the timeless traditions of Japanese hospitality.

Travel by bullet train to Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital. From historic landmarks to scenic landscapes, Kyoto's timeless beauty and rich cultural heritage enchant visitors, offering a profound journey into Japan's past. Home to over 2,000 temples and shrines, including the iconic Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto exudes a serene ambiance. Stroll through historic districts like Gion, where trainee geisha gracefully glide through cobblestone streets. Discover the beauty of Japanese gardens at Arashiyama or savor traditional tea ceremonies in tranquil tea houses. Plan a visit to Nishiki market at lunchtime and choose from a wide array of tantalizing foods on offer. Buy a high quality Japanese knife and have your name engraved on the blade – the perfect souvenir. 

In Nara, Japan's first capital, you’ll find a treasure trove of history and culture. Renowned for its ancient temples, including the majestic Todai-ji with its colossal Great Buddha statue, Nara Park offers tranquil strolls amidst friendly deer. Explore the picturesque streets of Naramachi, lined with traditional machiya houses, and sample local delicacies like mochi and sake. Nara's serene ambiance, rich heritage, and natural beauty make it a captivating destination, perfect for immersing oneself in Japan's timeless traditions.

At the conclusion of this itinerary, you can choose to overnight in either Tokyo or, if you are departing from Kansai Airport, in Osaka. 

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Travel Dates

*Price per person from Based on Double Occupancy
Jul 1, 2024 - Jul 31, 2024 from $4939*
Aug 1, 2024 - Aug 31, 2024 from $5049*
Sep 1, 2024 - Sep 30, 2024 from $4979*
Oct 1, 2024 - Nov 30, 2024 from $5479*
Dec 1, 2024 - Dec 31, 2024 from $4789*

Prices are quoted in USD and are ‘from’, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplements apply. Advertised price is valid for departures June 1, 2024 - June 30, 2024. Pricing for other dates on request. Prices are current at time of posting (4/9/2024) and may differ when you book your travel and are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed.

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  • Airport transfers
  • 7 nights 4.5-star hotel accommodation
  • 1 night Japanese Inn accommodation
  • Breakfast daily
  • Kaiseki dinner in Hakone
  • Travel by bullet train

Inquire Now


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  • 01
    Day 1 Tokyo Imperial Palace DAJ

    Day 1: Tokyo

    Upon arrival at Narita Airport, you will be met by an assistant at the arrival lobby before boarding your shared transfer to your hotel in Tokyo, The Gate Hotel Tokyo by HULIC, or similar. 

    • Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic  (Deluxe)
  • 02
    Day 2 Tokyo Sensoji temple DAJ

    Day 2: Tokyo

    Take a full-day tour by public transportation with a local guide. First up is Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of traditional Tokyo. Visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Next, travel down the Sumidagawa River on Tokyo's Water Bus, a unique means of transportation (doesn’t operate on Tuesdays). Visit Hamarikyu Garden, an Edo-period Japanese garden where you will stop for a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea house on a small island in the park’s lake. Later, enjoy a visit to Meiji Shrine. As the sunlight fades, take a walk down Harajuku and Omotesando shopping street. (B)

    • Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic  (Deluxe)
  • 03
    Day 3 Takeshita Dori

    Day 3: Tokyo

    Meet your guide and go to Tsukiji to stroll around the market. While the wholesale market has moved to its new location, the outer market remains, and you can explore both the vegetable and fruit areas plus the impressive seafood section as you wander the streets here. You will also be able to try some tasty samples as you explore. Tsukiji market is closed on Sundays and Wednesdays. (B)

    • Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic  (Deluxe)
  • 04
    Day 4 Hakone DAJ

    Day 4: Hakone

    Take Japan’s world-famous shinkansen (bullet train) to Hakone. Using your included Hakone Free Pass, take advantage of the extensive local transport network to explore this stunning area. Ride zig-zag trains, cable cars, ropeways, and buses – then embark on a pirate ship cruise, which will sweep you across the volcanic Lake Ashi while providing views of Mt. Fuji on clear days. In the evening, enjoy your stay at Hakone Kowakien Tenyu, a traditional Japanese ryokan, complete with delicious multi-course meals, a steaming onsen (hot spring) and futons laid out on tatami mats. (B,D)

    • Hakone Kowakien Tenyu  (Deluxe)
  • 05
    Day 5 Kyoto Kinkakuji Golden pavilion DAJ

    Day 5: Kyoto

    In the morning, make your way to Odawara Station using your Hakone Free Pass, then board the bullet train bound for Kyoto. On arrival in Kyoto, make your way to your hotel for the following three nights, Granvia Hotel Kyoto.  Rest of day at leisure.  (B)

    • Granvia Hotel Kyoto  (Deluxe)
  • 06
    Day 6 Kyoto Fushimi Inari Thousands of vermilion Torii Gate DAJ

    Day 6: Kyoto

    Explore Kyoto by public transportation with your guide.  First, head to the world-famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. Thousands of bright red torii gates line the mountain trail, and walking through them is a visually stunning experience.  Next, visit Sanjusangendo,  the longest wooden temple structure in Japan. Inside, you will find 1001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist god of mercy.  Next stop is Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a celebrated UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon, you will visit Kinkakuji Temple, the Golden Pavilion.   

    Finally, visit Kitano-Tenmangu shrine, then marvel at the surrounding entertainment district of Kamishichiken, every bit as charming as its more touristy cousin Gion, with the bonus of fewer crowds and excellent photo opportunities. (B)

    • Granvia Hotel Kyoto  (Deluxe)
  • 07
    Day 7 Nara DAJ

    Day 7: Kyoto

    Enjoy a day tour to Nara, Japan’s former capital,  with a local guide. First, you will visit the beautiful Isuien Garden, a striking example of Japanese horticulture, borrowing the water from the Yoshikigawa River and the mountain backdrop of Mt. Wakakusayama to create its striking appearance.  Next, wander through Nara Park, also known as the ‘deer park’ due to the more than 1,000 free-roaming deer living there. Within Nara Park is Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s biggest Buddha statue. Next stop is Nara’s most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns donated by worshippers. End your day with a stroll around Naramachi, a charming historic merchant district showcasing some exceptionally well-preserved ‘machiya’ town houses. (B)

    • Granvia Hotel Kyoto  (Deluxe)
  • 08
    Day 8 Kyoto Yasaka Shrine DAJ

    Day 8: Tokyo or Osaka

    Depending on whether your international flight departs from one of Tokyo’s airport or from Kansai airport in Osaka, you will travel to Tokyo or Osaka for your final night.  Accommodation in Tokyo is at The Gate Hotel Tokyo by HULIC, or similar. Accommodation in Osaka is at Hotel Granvia Osaka, or similar. (B)

    • Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic  (Deluxe)
    • Hotel Granvia Hiroshima  (Deluxe)
  • 09
    Day 9 Bamboo Forest DAJ

    Day 9: Depart

    Take a shared transfer to the airport for departure.  (B)

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