Tour code: 13581
Complete Japan - End Sapporo
Explore Tokyo, Mt Fuji, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Mt Koya, Nagano, Sapporo, Morioka, Hakodate & More!
- 20 days
- 1 countries
- 35 meals
- On-trip transport
- 19 Nights Accommodation
- Meals: 19 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 4 Dinners
- Arrival Transfer
- Air-conditioned coach transportation
- English Speaking Tour Guides
- Guided sightseeing city tours – Tokyo, Kyoto & Sapporo
- Evening Transfer: Shinjuku in Tokyo, Dotonbori in Osaka
- Boat: Kawaguchiko Lake, Cruise in Matshushima
- Ferry: Hiroshima - Miyajima, Shikoku Island (Hiroshima - Matsuyama), Aomori Hakodate (Hokkaido Island)
- Funicular: Tenjo Mount in Kawaguchiko, Castle in Matsuyama, Hakodate Mountain
- Admission: Metro
- Admission: Metropolitan Tower (Tokyo)
- Admission: Saiko Iyashi no Sato Nenba village and Museum
- Admission: Fuji Sengen Sanctuary (Kawaguchiko)
- Admission: Toyota Museum (Nagoya)
- Admission: Fushimi Inari Sanctuary
- Admission: Kinkakuji Temple
- Admission: Arashiyama bamboo forest (Kyoto)
- Admission: Tenryu-ji Temple
- Admission: Todai-ji Temple, Horyu-ji Temple (Nara)
- Admission: Castle (Himeji)
- Admission: Korakuen Gardens (Okayama)
- Admission: Itsukushima Shine, Peace Museum (Hiroshima)
- Admission: Castle, Ishite Ji Buddhist temple, Dogo Onsen (Matsuyama)
- Admission: Ritsurin Garden (Takamatsu)
- Admission: Naruto Bridge, Awa Odori dance performance (Tokushima)
- Admission: Kawasaki World (Kobe)
- Admission: Okuno Mausoleum, Kongobuji Temple, Ajikan or Zazen meditation (Mt Koya)
- Admission: Matsumoto Castle
- Admission: Zenko-ji Temple, Gomakuyo tea ceremony, Jigokudani Monkey Park (Nagano)
- Admission: Yumomi performance (Kusatsu)
- Admission: Byakuen Daikannon (Takasaki)
- Admission: Nikko Toshogu Shreine, Taiyuinbyo Mausoleum (Nikko)
- Admission: Traditional Tea (Matshushima)
- Admission: Chusonji and Zen practice (Montsuiji Temple in Hiraizumi)
- Admission: Towada Art Center (Towada)
- Admission: Nebuta Museum (Aomori)
- Admission: Goryokaku Tower (Hakodate)
- Admission: Sanctuary of Hokkaido Jingu and Kito (prayer session)
- Admission: Chocolate Factory, Shiroi Koibito Park (Sapporo)
- Optional Gratuities
- Air-conditioned coach transportation
- Hand-picked Experiences
- Free time to allow you to explore on your own
- Guided sightseeing city tours – Tokyo, Kyoto & Sapporo
- Evening Transfer: Shinjuku in Tokyo, Dotonbori in Osaka
Trip itinerary Download PDF itinerary
Day 1: Tokyo (SAT)
Welcome to Japan! Transfer by coach (SHUTTLE BUS) to hotel.
6pm - Meeting with guide. Late in the afternoon we will pay a visit to this fascinating country by taking a trip on the metro (tickets included) to the Shinjuku district and see the crowds of people who use this modern and efficient collective transport system. The visit includes an ascent to the METROPOLITAN TOWER which has a wonderful view of the city from the 45th floor. Then we will take a walk around an hour to the restaurant.
Shinjuku is one of the most important nightlife districts. Dinner included and return to hotel by metro with our guide.
NOTE: This visit may take place on Saturday or Sunday evening, depending on the passenger flight arrival times.
Day 2: Tokyo (SUN)
In the morning we take part in a 5-hour trip with our guide to see this amazing city, with its hustle and bustle and extremely modern districts that coexist with quiet, peaceful areas. We will pass near the walls and gardens of the Imperial Palace and visit the Shinto shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife, and their spirits.
In Yasukuni Jinja shrine we will have the chance to reflect on peace in this shrine, built in remembrance of the 2.5 million Japanese citizens who lost their lives in World War II. Passengers who wish to do so can visit the War Museum. We will pass through the district of Akihabara, the “electric town” with icons from the popular Japanese Manga and Anime culture and then see Kokugikan, the Sumo stadium, home of this Japanese sport.
We will also visit the Buddhist temple of Sensoji, the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo, with its 55-metre high pagoda. Then we will have some free time to visit the traditional commercial district of Asakusa.
Lunch included. Free time in the afternoon.
Tokyo - Mt Fuji - Kawaguchiko (MON), 191km
Day 3: Tokyo - Mt Fuji - Kawaguchiko (MON), 191km
We set out for the beautiful region of Mount Fuji passing through pretty countryside on our way. We reach the idyllic city of KAWAGUCHIKO with its tiny houses, flowers and mountains and its beautiful lake. On our arrival, we will visit the FUJI SENGEN SHRINE set in a magical site surrounded by tall trees, and the starting point of the traditional pilgrimage to the mountain. At the shrine, we will express our thanks for being able to visit this wonderful place. The trip includes the ascent by cable car to Mount Tenjo. The views of the neighbouring lakes and Mount Fuji are spectacular.
The visit also includes a delightful boat trip on Kawaguchiko Lake.
After lunch we start to ascend Mount Fuji on the road that takes us to the “fifth station”, surrounded by spectacular forests and views, to a height of 2,305 metres.
Note: In winter the route is frequently closed due to snow or other adverse weather conditions; during this season, we will ascend as far as the authorised point. Return to Kawaguchiko with time to stroll near the lake. We will stay at a Ryokan (a traditional Japanese hotel), and have the chance to enjoy its ONSEN (public baths). Traditional Japanese dinner included.
Kawaguchiko - Iyasi no Sato Nenba - Toyota - Nagoya (TUE), 300km
Day 4: Kawaguchiko - Iyasi no Sato Nenba - Toyota - Nagoya (TUE), 300km
In the morning we continue along the pretty road bordered by lakes to IYASHI NO SATO NENBA, a tiny village destroyed by a typhoon in 1966 and later restored as a traditional open-air mountain village and museum. Its traditional houses have been transformed into arts and crafts shops, restaurants and traditional museums. We then have the opportunity to admire the SHIRAITO FALLS, considered one of the most attractive sites in Japan, with a waterfall height of 150 metres. We will stop for lunch included in a service area and then continue to NAGOYA, the third most important city of Japan, on the shores of the Pacific. Here we will visit the TOYOTA MUSEUM (admission included), a must-see for motor lovers.
Nagoya - Kyoto (WED), 130km
Day 5: Nagoya - Kyoto (WED), 130km
We are only 130 km (81 miles) from KYOTO. We leave at first light to spend all day in the city that was the capital of Japan from the year 794 to 1868 and home to the Imperial Court.
During World War II the city was the only major Japanese to escape the bombardments, and so it still preserves its wealth of artistic heritage; the famous protocol restricting greenhouse gas emissions was signed in Kyoto in 1997. The visit includes a trip to one of the most important parts of the city.
We will see the marvellous Shinto Shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji temple, “the golden pavilion” and its wonderful gardens.
Free time before visiting GION, a busy traditional quarter famous for its Geisha.
Kyoto - Nara - Osaka (THU), 125km
Day 6: Kyoto - Nara - Osaka (THU), 125km
We head for the outskirts of Kyoto to Arashiyama where we cross the Togetsukyo Bridge (“bridge over the moon”), which has fantastic views. We will visit the Tenryuji temple, one of the "five major Zen temples of Kyoto" and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by a walk through its mystic bamboo forest.
Then we leave for NARA and visit Todaiji, a magnificent Buddhist temple built in 752, which has a giant Buddha and where passengers can take photos and touch and feed the deer that wander through the park. Lunch included.
After the visit we will see HORYUJI Buddhist temple, a World Heritage Site that includes a seminary, monasteries and temples. Its main pagoda temple is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world and is the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan and an important place of worship.
We continue to OSAKA where we arrive in the evening. Accommodation in this modern city (Japan’s second largest city). We will visit Dotonbori a colourful district filled with nightlife.
Osaka - Himeji - Inbe - Okayama (FRI), 190km
Day 7: Osaka - Himeji - Inbe - Okayama (FRI), 190km
We set out for HIMEJI including admission to its huge castle, built in the traditional architectural style of Japanese castles. Lunch included.
We then continue to INBE a small town famous for its pottery. Passengers can wander through its quiet streets with their traditional houses, visit its shops and see its pottery kilns. After the visit we carry on to OKAYAMA, where we will visit Korakuen, one of the prettiest gardens in Japan, with its lakes, waterfalls and traditional tea houses.
Okayama - Kurashiki - Itsukushima - Hiroshima (SAT), 220km
Day 8: Okayama - Kurashiki - Itsukushima - Hiroshima (SAT), 220km
We leave for KURASHIKI a city with a very well conserved historical centre. Time to wander through this charming olde-worlde charming town with its quaint atmosphere. Then we carry on to Miyajimaguchi, where we take a ferry to Miyajima, the island “inhabited by Gods and men” and its Itsukushima shrine dedicated to the guardian of the seas, built partially over the sea. Time to visit the temple, stroll through the pretty centre and have lunch.
Then we set out for HIROSHIMA sadly famous for the atomic bomb that fell in on it 1945 and completely destroyed the city; we will visit the peace memorial park, the atomic bomb dome and the impressive Peace memorial Museum. Dinner included.
Hiroshima - Matsuyama (SUN)
Day 9: Hiroshima - Matsuyama (SUN)
Today we will take a ferry to Shikoku Island on a pleasant crossing that lasts two hours and a half and see the many islands that make up Japan.
In MATSUYAMA we will take the cable car up to its impressive castle. Afterwards, we will visit ISHITEJI, a beautiful Buddhist temple and a place of pilgrimage. Lunch included.
In the late afternoon, we will visit DOGO ONSEN (admission included), a traditional Japanese bath facility built in the 19th century.
Matsuyama - Kotohira - Takamatsu - Naruto - Tokushima (MON), 285km
Day 10: Matsuyama - Kotohira - Takamatsu - Naruto - Tokushima (MON), 285km
We depart for KOTOHIRA a Shinto shrine dedicated to the God of sailors and a place of pilgrimage. The shrine stands on Mount Zosu and is reached by climbing 785 steps.
Afterwards in TAKAMATSU we will visit RITSURIN, one of the prettiest gardens in Japan. Lunch included.
Then in NARUTO we cross an impressive bridge over the sea, stopping on the way to admire the construction and walk on its glass floor with the sea 450 metres below us.
We then continue to TOKUSHIMA, famous as the home of the most important festival in Japan, with its Awa Odori dances. There we watch a colourful Japanese dance performance (admission included).
Tokushima - Kobe - Osaka - Mt Koya (TUE), 250km
Day 11: Tokushima - Kobe - Osaka - Mt Koya (TUE), 250km
We set out early along a pretty motorway crossing huge bridges over the sea. In KOBE we will visit KAWASAKI WORLD, an amazing museum that tells us of the technological prowess of this company which builds motorbikes, planes, high-speed trains and construction technology.
After stopping by in Osaka for lunch. We will depart from this city at 1pm to visit MOUNT KOYA, one of Japan’s sacred mountains and Japan’s main centre of Shingon Buddhism. There are 120 shrines and monasteries on this mountain which is a magical place of pilgrimage.
We will visit Okuno Mausoleum a spiritual place and an immense cemetery in the wilderness that has more than 200,000 graves. We will visit Kongobuji temple built in 1593.
Note: In winter as it gets dark earlier, we will not have time to enter Kongobuji temple. We will spend this night at a Buddhist monastery. The monks will offer us a Zen meditation session (Ajikan). Dinner included (vegetarian food). There is religious ceremony at the temple early in the morning if you wish to attend it.
Note: We consider the sojourn at the monastery as an experience of great existential value. The rooms at this place are modest, without bathrooms, in the traditional Japanese style with tatamis. Bathrooms are communal.
Overnight: Mt Koya
Mt Koya - Kyoto (WED), 120km
Day 12: Mt Koya - Kyoto (WED), 120km
Japanese breakfast at the shrine.
We will depart for KYOTO at first light where we will enjoy a full free day.
Our guide will inform you so you can make the best of your alone time and visit the most interesting places in this gorgeous city.
Kyoto - Tsumago - Matsumoto (THU), 320km
Day 13: Kyoto - Tsumago - Matsumoto (THU), 320km
We set out for TSUMAGO passing attractive country scenery on our way. This small village with its wooden houses is one of the prettiest places in Japan. Free time to explore and lunch included.
Then we continue to MATSUMOTO, a tourist city where we will visit the impressive 16th century castle, known as the “Crow Castle”. Free time to explore this bustling tourist city.
Note: In some tours we will not sojourn in Matsumoto but in Nagano.
Matsumoto - Nagano - Kasatsu - Takasaki (FRI), 228km
Day 14: Matsumoto - Nagano - Kasatsu - Takasaki (FRI), 228km
Today our journey takes us through the beautiful Japanese Alps. In NAGANO we will visit Zenkoji temple, a pilgrimage site where the first Buddhist image of Japan is located. Passengers will have the opportunity to take part in the Gomakuyo ceremony that brings good luck.
Then we continue through the mountains to Monkey Park with lunch included and wander through its forests with their rivers and thermal fountains where colonies of Japanese monkeys live and bathe. Then our journey takes us through beautiful mountain scenery (reaching an altitude of 2,172 metres) with semi-active volcanoes.
KUSATSU is an attractive spa city with a lively main square. Our visit includes admission to the Yumomi performance with actresses who sing songs about the traditional method for cooling spa waters. Then we can stroll through the city park with its outdoor Onsen. Our journey continues to TAKASAKI where we settle into our hotel.
NOTE: In autumn monkey migration is unpredictable as it depends on the abundance of fruit in the mountains. If the monkeys do not go down to the park, it may be closed. In winter the route may be changed due to weather problems (snow). In such cases we will use other roads and eliminate the visit to the Monkey Park. The visit to Kusatsu and the Yumoni performance are cancelled from November to April due to weather conditions.
Takasaki - Nikko - Sendai (SAT), 380km
Day 15: Takasaki - Nikko - Sendai (SAT), 380km
In Takasaki we will climb to the top of the hill where Byakuen Daikannon is found, a gigantic statue honouring the Goddess of Mercy.
Afterwards, we will resume our journey to NIKKO. In this fantastic town, we will visit the impressive Toshogu shrine with its outstanding room where the clapper of a priest suggests the sound of a crying dragon. We will also visit Taiyuin-byo Mausoleum a site surrounded by peaceful scenery. We will go for a stroll along the river in Kanmangafuchi, under the attentive watch of hundreds of Jizo statues! We will enjoy some free time in the city’s centre before departing for SENDAI, a modern, bustling city with more than 1 million inhabitants. You will have a chance to stroll around and have supper in its lively centre.
Sendai - Matsushima - Hiraizumi - Morioka (SUN), 217km
Day 16: Sendai - Matsushima - Hiraizumi - Morioka (SUN), 217km
We depart for the marvellous city of MATSHUSHIMA on the “Thousand Islands” Bay in the Pacific Ocean and considered one of the most attractive cities in Japan. After arriving we will visit a magnificent “tea house” overlooking the sea and enjoy a cup of traditional tea while our guide tells us about the city.
Then we will go on a 50-minute cruise (included). Free time to visit the historical museum, temples or take a walk to the islands which are connected by pretty pedestrian bridges. Lunch included.
We continue to HIRAIZUMI to visit its temples and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Takkoku no Iwaya, carved in the rock in 1801, followed by a visit to the magnificent Buddhist temples of Chusonji. We take time to relax in the gardens of Motsuiji temple where passengers can take part in a Zen ceremony (admission included).
We then carry on to MORIOKA the pleasant capital of Iwate province, where we settle in at our hotel and have some free time to explore.
Morioka - Towada - Aomori - Hakodate (MON), 197km
Day 17: Morioka - Towada - Aomori - Hakodate (MON), 197km
Note: Due to the closure of the Towada Art Center Museum, the stop at Towada will be changed to visit to HIROSAKI.
Our journey takes us through beautiful scenery to HIROSAKI. Ancient capital cultural during the Edo period with its castle of the seventeenth century. We will visit the Neputa Museum, a museum where you can see large paper figures as lamps as well as musical instruments and old toys. We include a music show with traditional instruments.
We continue to AOMORI the provincial capital, located on Mutsu Bay. Time for visit to Nebuta Museum where we will learn about the Japanese festival tradition which reminds us of the Carnival, with its vivid, painted floats. Lunch included.
Then we board the ferry to HOKKAIDO Island. The crossing takes just over three and a half hours.
Arrive in HAKODATE. Before going to our hotel we will ascend Mount Hakodate which has wonderful views. We make the descent by cable car. Time in this beautiful city pedestrian centre in which to admire the influence of other cultures in the city (Russian Orthodox and Christian churches).
Hakodate - Onuma - Noboribetsu - Sapporo (TUE), 338km
Day 18: Hakodate - Onuma - Noboribetsu - Sapporo (TUE), 338km
In the morning we visit the impressive and busy fish market. Then we climb the GORYOKAKU Tower with its impressive views from where we can make out the star-shaped fortress of Hakodate. Then we will take a stroll through the castle area before continuing to ONUMA. Free time in this wonderful tourist site, with its countless small islands in which to explore the islands, go on a boat trip and have lunch included.
In the afternoon our journey takes us towards the ocean and NOBORIBETSU an impressive volcano site, where we can walk amidst geysers in Jigoku Dani (Hell’s Valley), admire the hot spring lake of Oyunuma and follow the path next to the hot spring to the site of the footbath.
We then carry on to SAPPORO and at the end of the day we arrive at this beautiful city, the capital of North Japan.
Sapporo - Otaru - Sapporo (WED), 76km
Day 19: Sapporo - Otaru - Sapporo (WED), 76km
City tour (included) stopping at the clock tower and Odori Koen avenue-park, dominated by the telecommunications tower. We will see the beautiful Shinto shrine of Hokkaido Jingu. The visit includes a ceremonial Kito (prayer session) in which we give thanks for the journey.
Afterwards we enter Shiroi Koibito (admission included), an attractive theme park and chocolate factory.
We then continue to OTARU a small city with European air and streets filled with shops, an old canal and tiny museums. Lunch included.
We return to Sapporo at about 4pm and will have free time in the afternoon.
Day 20: Sapporo (THU)
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.
- Location Accommodation Local rating
Shinagawa Prince Hotel or equivalent
Oike Hotel Honkan or equivalent
Mercure Nagoya Cypress or equivalent
Courtyard by Marriott Shin-Osaka or equivalent
Crowne Plaza ANA or equivalent
Grand Prince Hotel or equivalent
Candeo Hotel or equivalent
Fukuchi-In Monastery or equivalent
Hotel New Miyako or equivalent
Hotel Buena Vista or equivalent
Hotel Metropolitan or equivalent
Hotel Westin or equivalent
Hotel Metropolitan New Wing or equivalent
Hotel La Vista Hakodate Bay or equivalent
Ana Hotel or equivalent
Ferry from Tomakomai to Sendai
Ferry Tomakomai Sendai
Hotel Washington or equivalent
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