Samurai, Geisha and Castles Tour [Tokyo, Nikko, Nagoya, Kanazawa, Kyoto]

Product Code: SGCT
from £ 2,430

[Self-Guided] 11 days

See Japan as it was two centuries ago...samurai districts, geisha tea houses and beautiful castles surrounded by moats.

Included in this tour:

☑ Economy class non-direct flights from London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Newcastle or Southampton

☑ Accommodation based on 2 people sharing twin/double rooms

☑ Meals as detailed in the itinerary

☑ Airport transfers

☑ All Nikko Pass

☑ 7-day Ordinary Japan Rail Pass to cover all your train transfers

☑ Guided afternoon tour of Kyoto

☑ All airport taxes and charges

☑ ATOL protection for your financial security

☑ As with all our packages we can add, subtract or modify this package to suit your individual needs and make your holiday perfect.

Depart the UK on a non-direct flightOn board
Day 1Arrive to Narita Airport. You will be met by the driver in the arrival area and taken to your hotel. This is a shuttle service and you may need to wait for other customers as well. Stay in a comfortable and conveniently located hotel.
Stay in Tokyo hotel
On board
Day 2Free day in Tokyo. Today we recommend that you visit the Imperial Palace East Garden, Ginza, Hamarikyu Gardens, Asakusa Kannon Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street. 
Stay in Tokyo hotel
Day 3Use the “All Nikko Pass” provided to take a direct train to Nikko. Explore Nikko with unlimited rides on all local buses and trains. We recommend a visit to Toshogu Shrine, Tamozawa Imperial Villa and Kirifuri Falls. The area is part of Nikko National Park, green forests and dramatic mountain landscapes enriching its natural beauty.
Toshogu Shrine is where the famous Shogun of Edo Period, Tokugawa Ieyasu, was worshiped after his death. It became as luxurious and elaborate as it looks today when the grandson of Ieyasu, the third Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, reconstructed it. The luxurious, colourful engravings and elegant architecture of this world heritage site are stunning.
Take a bus to Lake Chuzenji, from where you can walk to the most beautiful waterfalls in Japan- Kegon.
Then, take a local train to Kinugawa Onsen, a hot spring resort in the city of Nikko. Stay in a Japanese style hotel, in a room with traditional tatami floor and futon bedding. Enjoy a multicourse dinner in the evening.

Stay in Kinugawa Onsen ryokan
Breakfast Dinner
Day 4Check out. Today you may explore the local area of Kinugawa Onsen or visit Nikko Edo Wonderland theme park. You can step back in a 200-year-old Tokyo (former name – Edo), with streets lined with inns, trading houses and samurai manors. There are numerous shows and activities throughout the day and if you want, you can rent a kimono or samurai and ninja costumes. Use the pass to take the train back to Tokyo.
Stay in Tokyo hotel
Day 5Check out. Travel to Matsumoto by train.
Visit Matsumoto Castle - the city symbol with wooden interiors and stonewalls that date back to the 16th century. The castle is also known as “Karasu-jo” or “Crow Castle” because of its beautiful black exterior. It’s one of the four castles designated as "National Treasures of Japan" and the oldest among them.
After visiting the castle, continue to Kiso Valley by train and local bus.
The deep valley formed by Kiso River and surrounded by mountains was a part of Nakasendo, “the main trade road through the central mountains”, the trunk road connecting Kyoto and Tokyo in the Edo Period (1603–1867). The Kiso Valley used to be the most difficult section for travellers because of the deep forests and steep slopes, though today the area is popular for hiking and sightseeing. Tsumago, Magome and Narai are also worth visiting. Stay in Minshuku – a small ryokan run by a local family. 
In the evening, you will be served a traditional multicourse dinner.
Stay in Kiso Valley minshuku
Breakfast Dinner
Day 6Free time in Kiso Valley.
Today you can hike on a scenic route between Tsumago and Magome, which will take approximately 3 hours.
Stay in Kiso Valley minshuku
Breakfast Dinner
Day 7Check out. Take a local train to Nagoya and visit the castle and Tokugawa Art Museum. Here you can travel back in time: Nagoya Castle, a symbol of the city and one of the major castles of Japan, was constructed in 1609 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Edo Shogunate.
The "Tokugawa Art Museum"displays armours, headpieces, tea ceremony utensils and other artefacts owned by the powerful Tokugawa family. After sightseeing in Nagoya, take a direct train to Kanazawa. Your hotel is a short walk from the station.

Stay in Kanazawa hotel
Day 8Free time in Kanazawa. Visit the samurai district Nagamachi, located at the foot of former Kanazawa Castle grounds. It was a residential area for middle and upper-class samurais and still keeps its traditional atmosphere till today.
Another must see is the Japanese garden Kenroku-en, which is considered one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. Kenroku-en, which means "the garden that combines six attributes" is said to be so named because it combines the six elements of a good garden: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, use of water and panorama.
Visit one of the three most well preserved chaya (teahouses)
districts, where geishas used to entertain people, performing dances and playing traditional Japanese musical instruments. Each district still has an operating chaya, so you may catch a glimpse of a geisha gliding by in her colourful robe, on her way to an evening engagement.

Stay in Kanazawa hotel
Day 9Check out. Use your JR Pass to take an express train to Kyoto. Join an afternoon tour of Kyoto. You will visit the “Silver Pavilion”, Ginkakuji and take a pleasant walk on the Philosopher’s Path, which is beautifully lined with hundreds of cherry trees. Enjoy an authentic tea ceremony in a small Japanese-style teahouse in Gion, the geisha quarter.
Stay in Kyoto hotel
Day 10Free time in Kyoto.
We recommend that you visit the temples of Sanjusangen-do, Ryoan-ji, famous for its mysterious rock garden, Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu-dera.

Stay in Kyoto hotel
Day 11Transfer to Kansai Airport by shared taxi shuttle.
Depart Kansai Airport on non-direct flight
Arrive to the UK airport

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