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Japan Discovery

Solo Travellers 40 years & over
Sunday 10 March - Monday 26 March 2018 ex Australia

Itinerary

HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Edo Tokyo Museum
  • Asakusa Kannon Temple
  • Stroll through the Nakamise shopping arcade
  • Visit the Sumo Museum and learn about Japan’s national sport
  • Wander through the famous Ginza District
  • Night walk in Shinjuku
  • Visit Mt Fuji's fifth station (weather permitting) to take in the magnificent views of the surrounding area
  • Stay 2 nights in a traditional Ryokan
  • Enjoy a gondola ride with its amazing 360 degree view of the volcanic Hakone Mountains
  • A walking tour of Takayama's old historic town including the Takayama Jinya, a beautiful traditional Japanese building
  • Visit Takayama's morning markets which sell local crafts and farm products such as vegetables, pickles and flowers
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago, famous for its old gassho-zukuri thatched roof farmhouses. Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer" as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks in prayer
  • Tour the Peace Park, built to commemorate the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome, the city’s only remaining bomb-damaged building, and the very moving Peace Memorial Museum (by audio tour)
  • Visit Miyajima Island, located 30 minutes from Hiroshima and classified as a sacred island, to see the Itsukushima Shinto Shrine which stands in the ocean during high tide
  • Tour the temples of Kyoto, Japan’s former capital and very much the cultural heart of the country. Our tour includes the Heian Shrine, the Kinkaku-ji Zen Temple (Golden Pavilion) and the Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Pure Water Temple)
  • Enjoy a traditional Tea Ceremony enroute to Mt Hiei
  • Learn more on traditional and cultural Japan as we actively participate in sake brewing & tasting, Japanese fan making and Kimono wearing
  • Visit the Buddhist sanctuary at Mt Hiei, founded in 788 AD, and one of Japan’s most important cultural, religious and artistic centres. Enjoy a tea ceremony
  • Visit Osaka Castle, built in the late 16th century
  • Explore the Doutombori district
  • Enjoy magnificent views over central Osaka from the Umeda Sky Building – Floating Garden

 

 

DAY 1 – SATURDAY 10 MARCH 2018
Depart Australia

DAY 2 – SUNDAY 11 MARCH 2018
Arrive in Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo! On arrival we will be met and transferred to our hotel. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

DAY 3 – MONDAY 12 MARCH 2018
Tokyo

This afternoon we visit the Akihabara electric town and take a stroll through the shopping district of Ginza, before sharing a Japanese-style group welcome dinner.

Special Experience: Begin the day at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market, one of the world’s largest wholesale markets for fish, fruit and vegetables. We learn the age-old culinary art of making sushi (which we’ll get to enjoy once we’ve finished).

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Dinner

DAY 4 - TUESDAY 13 MARCH 2018
Tokyo & Nikko

An exciting day exploring one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan cities. Our sightseeing includes the Edo Tokyo Museum, Asakusa Kannon Temple where the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy is enshrined.  We continue to Nakamise, and the famous Sumo Museum, dedicated to Japan’s national sport.

Special Experience: Enjoy a sumo wrestling demonstration by retired athletes over a traditional Chanko-nabe (hot pot) lunch.

This evening we’ll experience the neon lights and hustle and bustle of the Shinjuku District.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5 – WEDNESDAY 14 MARCH 2018
Tokyo - Hakone

We begin our morning with a stroll through the beautiful Hamarikyu Garden. This landscaped garden is surrounded by a seawater moat and has been remodeled based on the 17th century villa of the Shogun Tokugawa family. Then we visit the famous shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. We continue to the Great Buddha (Koutokuin) before travelling in the early afternoon to Hakone. 

Special Experience: For the next two nights we stay in an authentic ryokan guesthouse. We’ll have the chance to bathe in natural onsen (hot springs) and enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6 – THURSDAY 15 MARCH 2018
Mt. Fuji

A highlight of any trip to Japan is a visit to majestic and iconic Mt Fuji! At approximately 3,776 metres it is Japan’s highest mountain. Now a dormant volcano, Mt Fuji, or Fujiyama as it is known locally, can be seen on a clear day from Tokyo. We stop at the fifth station (weather permitting) to take in the stunning views of the surrounding area. Later we’ll ride a gondola and enjoy magnificent vistas of the volcanic Hakone Mountains and Mt Fuji, as well as the Sagami Bay.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7 – FRIDAY 16 MARCH 2018
Hakone – Takayama 

We travel by rail to the historic town of Takayama, and explore the narrow, traditional streets on foot. We visit the Takayama Jinya, a former government outpost established to bring the Hida Province under the direct control of the Shogunate.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 8 – SATURDAY 17  MARCH 2018
Takayama 

We wander through the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago with its famous gassho-zukuri (‘like hands in prayer’) thatched roofs, designed to withstand the massive snowfalls of winter. This afternoon we discover the traditional art of Japanese rice paper-making in Gokayama.  Rice paper, or Washi is commonly used in the traditional paper folding art of Origami, practiced in Japan since the early 1600’s.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 9 – SUNDAY 18 MARCH 2018
Takayama - Hiroshima

We rise early today and visit a local market before continuing our rail journey to Hiroshima, via Nagoya. Hiroshima is a city with great historical significance, forever remembered as the site of impact from the world’s first atomic-bomb, where so much devastation occurred. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure in this naturally beautiful city.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10 – MONDAY 19 MARCH 2018
Hiroshima

This morning we cruise out to tranquil Miyajima Island and see the giant Itsukushima Torii Gate which seems to float on top of the water at high tide. Renowned for being a World Cultural Heritage site today, Miyajima is an island where it is believed that people and gods dwell together. Since ancient times, the island itself has been worshipped as a god and this belief has been passed down from generation to generation. We return to Hiroshima for lunch. This afternoon we’ll visit the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome and the very moving Peace Memorial Museum, commemorating the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11 – TUESDAY 20 MARCH 2018
Hiroshima - Kyoto

Travelling by bullet train, we make our way to historic Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital. On arrival, we visit stunning Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). The temple’s top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf and the pavilion is set amongst beautiful gardens.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 12 – WEDNESDAY 21 MARCH 2018
Nara

We travel to Nara and visit the beautiful Todai-ji (Great Eastern) Temple. We’ll then stop at famous Deer Park, where more than 1,000 deer roam freely. This afternoon we’ll see one of Japan’s most celebrated temples, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kiyomizu-dera. Founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, it derives its name from the fall's pure waters.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 13 – THURSDAY 22 MARCH 2018
Kyoto

Today we discover the art of creating Japan’s unique crafts and culinary delights!

Special Experience: Enjoy a variety of local activities including fan making, sake brewing & tasting, and a chance to dress in a traditional kimono.  Then witness a traditional dance performance by Maiko (Geiko apprentices).  Geiko is the term for Geisha in Kyoto.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 14 – FRIDAY 23 MARCH 2018
Kyoto – Mt. Hiei - Osaka

We experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony before visiting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Buddhist sanctuary of Enryakuji Temple. Located on the sacred mountain of Mt Hiei, it offers beautiful views over Kansai. Here we’ll enjoy a traditional Buddhist lunch. This afternoon we make our way to Osaka, stopping at the Umeda Sky Building (Floating Garden) for scenic views over the central city.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 15 – SATURDAY 24 MARCH 2018
Osaka

We travel by bullet train to visit Himeji Castle. Japan’s largest and most-visited castle, it is regarded as the finest surviving example of Japanese castle architecture. We’ll then venture into Osaka’s Dōtonbori District in the early evening to take in its famous lights and thriving food scene. Tonight we’ll enjoy a Japanese-style group farewell dinner. 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16 – SUNDAY 25 MARCH 2018
Depart Osaka

We transfer to the Airport to begin our journey home.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 17 – MONDAY 26 MARCH 2018
Arrive in Australia

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Encounter Travel
ATAS Accreditation No: A10439

Encounter Travel provides holidays for solo travellers. Since 2006 we've been creating tour, cruise and resort packages for solo travellers that like to share their travel experiences. Visiting destinations across Australia and around the globe our holidays include short tropical escapes, leisurely touring, cruises and active walking trips.   


ABN: 23 119 642 992