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 perfect holiday

Depart the UK on non-direct flightOn board
Day 1Arrive to Narita Airport. Meet a driver holding a board with your name in the arrival area. This is a shuttle service and you may need to wait while other customers are gathered. You will then be driven to your hotel. Stay in comfortable and centrally located hotel with helpful staff.
Stay in Tokyo hotel
On board
Day 2Free day in Tokyo. Today we recommend that you visit Imperial Palace East Garden, Ginza, Hamarikyu Garden, Asakusa Kannon Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street. 
Stay in Tokyo hotel
Day 3Use All Nikko Pass provided to take a direct train to Nikko.
Explore Nikko with unlimited rides on all local buses and trains. We recommend that you visit Toshogu Shrine, Tamozawa Imperial Villa and Kirifuri Falls. The area forms a part of the Nikko National Park, with green forests and dramatic mountain landscapes.
Toshogu Shrine is where the famous Shogun of the Edo Period in the 17th century, 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 luxurios, colorful entgravings and elegant architecture of this world heritage site are stunning.
Take a bus to Lake Chuzenji from where you can walk to see one of 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 a theme park Nikko Edo Wonderland to step back in Tokyo (former name - Edo) 200 years ago, 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 hire kimono or costumes of samurai, ninja, merchants and other Edo citizens. Use the pass to take a train back to Tokyo.
Stay in Tokyo hotel
Day 5Check out. Travel to Matsumoto by train.
Visit Matsumoto Castle - the symbol of the city with remaining original wooden interiors and stonewalls dated back to 16th century. The castle is also known as “Karasu-jo” or “Crow Castle” because of it’s beautiful black exterior.
It’s one of 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 part of Nakasendo used to be the most difficult section for travellers because of the deep forests and steep slopes, though today the area is popular and pleasant for hiking and sightseeing of old post towns situated along the road. Tsumago, Magome and Narai are the most worth visiting.
Stay in Minshuku - small ryokan run by a local family. 
In the evening, you will be served 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 the 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 armor, 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 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 it’s traditional atmosphere today with earthen walls and stone pavement along with the Onosho Canal.
Another must see is Japanese garden Kenroku-en, which is considered one of 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 six elements that should conflict if existing in one garden: "spaciousness and seclusion," "artifice and antiquity," and "waterways and panoramas".
Visit one of three chaya (teahouse) districts with former geisha houses where they entertained people by performing dances and playing traditional Japanese musical instruments. Each district still has an operating chaya, so you may catch a glimpse of geisha gliding by in their colourful robes, on their way to their evening engagements.
Stay in Kanazawa hotel
Day 9Check out. Use your JR Pass to take an express train to Kyoto.
Join afternoon tour of Kyoto. You will visit “Silver Pavilion” Ginkakuji and take a pleasant walk on the Philosopher’s Path along canal, which is beautifully lined with hundreds of cherry trees. Enjoy 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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