Fly into Tokyo and spend a couple of days exploring the city’s skyscraper-filled neighbourhoods, noodle bars and fashion scenes. Take a bullet train to Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, where you can take a dip in thermal pools with Mount Fuji in the background, go hiking or stargaze. Consider staying in a local ryokan (inn) to experience traditional Japanese hospitality. Continue the historic theme with a few days in Kyoto. Home to more than 2,000 temples and shrines, this is the place to learn more about Buddhism, see geishas and get spiritual. Next, travel to Hiroshima to see the sobering Atomic Bomb Dome and the eternal flame at the Peace Memorial Park, before heading back into the countryside for a spa retreat at one of Kinosaki’s seven public onsen (hot spring). End your trip in Japan’s second city of Osaka, tasting street food and drinking in local izakaya (pubs)

Key information

Destinations Destinations Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, Kinosaki, Osaka, Hiroshima
Activity Activity Luxury, Nature & Wildlife, Culture
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Explore Tokyo’s food scene

Explore Tokyo’s food scene

Day 1–3 in Tokyo

Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world, but it’s not just about famous restaurants and high prices. Tokyo is filled with excellent places to eat, from neighbourhood noodle joints to high-end sushi. Get out and explore.

Don't miss

Waterfalls and wildlife near Tokyo

Waterfalls and wildlife near Tokyo

Explore Nikko’s temples, shrines and waterfalls just a two-hour train ride from Tokyo – a perfect day trip for those will some extra time to spare after seeing Tokyo.

Go onsen dipping in volcanic Hakone

Go onsen dipping in volcanic Hakone

Day 4–5 in Hakone

Hakone is best known for its natural onsen (hot spa pools) and views of Mount Fuji. Dip in one of the pools and soak up the view, before exploring Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park’s mountains, Pacific Islands and volcanoes.

Visit Kyoto’s 2,000 temples

Visit Kyoto’s 2,000 temples

Day 6–8 in Kyoto

Kyoto is home to more than 2,000 atmospheric temples and shrines. Look for robed monks, hear prayer chants and meditate in zen gardens – Kyoto is the place to immerse yourself in Japan’s culture, traditions and religion.

Don't miss

Feed the deer in Nara

Feed the deer in Nara

Once the capital of Japan, Nara is known for its many temples and beautiful gardens that make it a perfect day trip from Kyoto or Osaka. However, it is the town’s resident 1,400 odd deer – seen as messengers from god after the myth of Kasuga Shrine, who came to Nara on the back of a deer – which are Nara’s quirky attraction.

See the eternal flame at Hiroshima’s Peace Park

See the eternal flame at Hiroshima’s Peace Park

Day 9–10 in Hiroshima

While modern Hiroshima is a thriving, cosmopolitan city, it will always be known as the city destroyed by the world’s first atomic bomb. The city’s Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Dome are moving reminders of its tragic past.

Don't miss

See the famous torii gate on Miyajima Island

See the famous torii gate on Miyajima Island

Less than an hour from Hiroshima, Miyajima Island is best-known for its torii gate – a structure that marks the entrance to a shrine. Come at high tide when the gate seems to float on the water, before waiting for water to recede to get up close.

Get the complete onsen experience in Kinosaki

Get the complete onsen experience in Kinosaki

Day 11 in Kinosaki

Kinosaki is the archetypal onsen town — as well as being tourist-friendly. Come and stay in a traditional ryokan (inn), feast on the local speciality of crab and relax in your cotton kimono, before sampling one of the seven public onsen in town.

Explore Osaka’s live music scene

Explore Osaka’s live music scene

Day 12–14 in Osaka

Japan’s third-largest city might not be its prettiest, but it is one of its most welcoming. Osakan’s are known for their humour and the city has an extensive live music and comedy scene. A must-try local dish is takoyaki (grilled octopus dumplings), which is sold on most street corners.

Don't miss

Explore a mountaintop Buddhist community

Explore a mountaintop Buddhist community

Mount Koya is the centre of Shingon Buddhism, first established in 819. The town at the top is home to many temples and pagodas where you can say prayers, but for a peaceful — if slightly eerie experience — take a walk through the town’s silent cemetery surrounded by thick Japanese cedars in the snow.

Where to stay

Classic

Iwaso Ryokan

Located on the small island of Miyajima in the tranquil Seto Inland Sea, Iwaso is a luxury ryokan offering Japanese-style rooms, hot-spring baths and traditional kaiseki-style meals.

Superior

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon (also called The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic) is located in the heart of Tokyo, directly opposite the dramatic Kaminarimon Gate (Thunder Gate) at the entrance of Sensoji Temple - the city’s oldest temple and one of Asakusa’s most famous landmarks.

This modern and sleek hotel, set in a 14-storey former office block, has 136 rooms all of which offer incredible views of either Sensoji Temple or Tokyo Skytree.

Deluxe

Hyatt Regency

The Hyatt Regency Kyoto is a luxury hotel tucked away in the east of Kyoto, in the quiet and green district of Higashiyama Shichijo. This area was once home to the ancient capital’s imperial court, but today it’s a great base for sightseeing.

Décor is contemporary and chic with traditional details, such as antique kimono wall hangings and headboards, as well as the gentle glow from paper lamps.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators would cost from £4,800pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

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