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Circle Hokkaido & Japan Discovery

2 countries
7 UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites
8-night Diamond Princess Cruise
Take a scenic cruise around the diverse islands of fascinating Japan, visiting cities in Hokkaido and easternmost Russia. Then explore the metropolis of Tokyo, see iconic Mt Fuji, soak up the peace and tranquility of historic Takayama and admire the culture of Kyoto.SCENIC CRUISINGRelax on board an 8-night Princess Cruise of Northern Japan, circling the island of Hokkaido. Enjoy the beautiful forest scenery from the comfort of the ship or take one of the many shore excursions available to really admire the cities, culture and wildlife. METROPOLIS TO MOUNTAINSFly to Japan and immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. We'll learn the age-old culinary art of making sushi, visit the famous Tsukiji Fish Market and Sumo Museum, Asakusa Kannon Temple and the shopping district of Ginza. Leave the city behind and travel to Hakone and Mt Fuji to experience a more traditional side of Japanese life. Here we stay in old-style ryokan accommodation, have a chance to enjoy a hot springs bath and sample a delicious Japanese dinner. We'll tour iconic Mt Fuji and ride the gondola for breathtaking vistas over the volcanic Hakone Mountains.THE HISTORY AND HEART OF JAPANTravel to historic Takayama and wander through heritage-listed Shirakawago. Catch the famous bullet train to moving Hiroshima. We discover Miyajima Island, the Itsukushima Torii Gate and visit the Peace Memorial and Atomic Bomb Dome. Board the bullet train to Kyoto, Japan's cultural heart. We see the stunning Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion. We'll get hands-on, enjoy sake tasting and have the chance to wear a traditional Kimono! URBAN OSAKAOur adventure ends in bustling Osaka, Japan's capital of commerce. We tour the city, visiting the beautiful Himeji Castle and the gloating garden at Umeda Sky Building, and bid farewell to Japan with a traditional-style group dinner.

Inclusions

Travel

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to Japan. Taxes included
  • 4 rail journeys in Japan
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour (If using group tour flights)
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Port Taxes of $145pp (subject to change)
  • Tipping is not part of the Japanese culture, so tips are not expected

Accommodation & Meals

  • 8 nights on board the Princess Cruises - Diamond Princess
  • 13 nights in good quality hotels (3-4 star)
  • 2 nights in a traditional Ryokan guesthouse including a typical Japanese onsen (hot springs) bath followed by a Japanese dinner while dressed in traditional yukatas
  • 23 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 13 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

Tour Guide

  • English-speaking locally based national guide throughout (Excluding cruise)

Sightseeing

Circle the island of Hokkaido on an 8 night Princess Cruise

  • Spend 8 nights on the Diamond Princess stopping at ports such as Kushiro; Korsakov, a former Russian military post and penal colony; Otaru and Hakodate.

Modern and traditional Tokyo

  • Take an early morning tour of the famous Tsukji Fish Market and enjoy a sushi-making experience including lunch.
  • Take a stroll through the famous Ginza shopping district.
  • Admire the bright lights of Tokyo from a yakatabune dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay.
  • Witness a sumo demonstration and enjoy a typical sumo meal.
  • City tour of Tokyo including Asakusa Kannon Temple, Nakamise shopping arcade and a stop at the Shibuya Intersection - Tokyo's busiest intersection.
  • Stop at the famous Shibuya Crossing, the busiest intersection in Japan and the meeting point of 5 roads in the most populous city in the world.
  • Stroll through Hamarikyu Garden, a typical feudal lord garden from the Edo Period.

Majestic mountains and historic towns

  • Visit a former farming village, reconstructed 40 years after being destroyed by a typhoon in 1966.
  • Travel to Mt Fuji and enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Ashi.
  • Spend 2 nights in a traditional Ryokan.
  • Enjoy a gondola ride with its amazing 360 degree view of the volcanic Hakone Mountains.
  • Take in the sights of old historic Takayama on foot including the Takayama Jinya, a beautiful traditional Japanese building, and visit the morning markets.
  • 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. Enjoy a traditional Japanese fish lunch.

Sobering and scenic Hiroshima

  • Visit scenic 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.
  • Experience the art of Shakushi (Miyajima Rice Scoop) making, dating back to the 1700s.
  • Tour the Hiroshima Peace Park, built to commemorate the dropping of the atomic bomb. Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome, the city's only remaining bomb-damaged building, and the very moving Peace Memorial Museum (by audio tour).

Japan's Cultural heart

  • Tour the temples of Kyoto, Japan's former capital and very much the cultural heart of the country. Our tour includes the Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion) and Fushima Inari Shrine.
  • Learn more about traditional Japanese crafts such as sake brewing and tasting, and watch a Maiko dance performance.
  • Enjoy a Buddhist lunch at Shigetsu (Tenryuiji Temple).
  • Stroll through the Bamboo forest and see the Togetsukyo Bridge.
  • Visit Himeji Castle, regarded as one of the finest examples of prototypical Japanese castle architecture.

Please Note: On the cruise breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served in the main dining room. Princess Cruise Line does have specialty restaurants that can be enjoyed for a small surcharge. Meals are included when in port, but only available on the ship. If you decide to take a day tour or leave the ship you will need to purchase your own lunch/dinner.

Please Note: On the cruise, there is no sightseeing included as part of your Bunnik Tour. Should you like to book sightseeing (shore excursions) from the ship, this will need to be either pre-booked via the Princess Cruise Line website or on board.

Tour Provider Bunnik Tours
Number of Days
26
Price From
AUD $14,195
Start Location
End Location
Age Range
Avg. 50+
Group Size
9 to 20
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Rail
Physical Rating
Moderate
Incudes Flights
Yes
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
30 Aug 201924 Sep 2019Guaranteed DepartureAUD $13,820
ItineraryExpand
Circle Hokkaido & Japan Discovery
Day 1. Depart Australia
Day 2. Arrive in Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo, Japan's dazzling capital city. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or begin exploring. Meet your fellow travellers tonight for a group welcome drink and Japanese-style dinner. [D]

Days 3 - 11. Cruising with Princess Cruises

Today we transfer to the port of Yokohama to board the Diamond Princess for an 8-night cruise circling the top of Hokkaido. [B,D]

Day 3. Embark Cruise: Yokohama. [B,D]
Day 4. Cruising at sea
Day 5. Kushiro, Japan
Day 6. Cruising at sea
Day 7. Korsakov (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Russia
Day 8. Otaru, Japan
Day 9. Hakodate, Japan
Day 10. Cruising at sea
Day 11. Disembark Cruise: After breakfast, we disembark and return to Tokyo. [B]

Except for embarkation/disembarkation days, Breakfast, lunch & dinner are included daily while cruising. The cruise itinerary may change due to local conditions subject to the cruise line's discretion.

Begin the day at Tokyo's famous Tsukiji Fish Market, one of the world's largest wholesale markets for fish, fruit and vegetables. We'll then learn the age-old culinary art of making sushi (which we'll get to enjoy once we've finished). This afternoon we'll stroll through the shopping district of Ginza. [B,L]

Day 12. Tokyo

Today is free for you to explore at leisure. [B,D]

Special Experience: Admire the city lights on a dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay in a typical Japanese-style houseboat from the Heian Era, known as a yakatabune.

Day 13. Tokyo

An exciting day exploring one of the world's largest and most cosmopolitan cities. Our sightseeing includes the Edo Tokyo Museum, Asakusa Sensoji Temple and the Nakamise shopping arcade.

Special Experience: Enjoy a sumo wrestling demonstration over a traditional chanko nabe (hot pot) lunch.

Early this evening we'll experience the neon lights and hustle and bustle of the Shinjuku District. [B,L]

Day 14. Tokyo - Hakone

We begin our morning with a stroll through the beautiful Hamarikyu Garden. We'll then travel to Lake Saiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes.

Special Experience: Visit a former farming village, Iyashi no Sato Nenba, recently reconstructed as a museum after being destroyed by a typhoon in 1966.

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. [B,D]

Day 15. Mt Fuji Excursion

This morning we'll cross Lake Ashi for great views of majestic and iconic Mt Fuji - a highlight of any trip to Japan! Later we'll ride the Hakone Ropeway to enjoy magnificent vistas of the volcanic Hakone Mountains and Mt Fuji. [B,D]

Day 16. Hakone - Takayama

We travel by rail to the historic town of Takayama and explore the narrow, traditional streets on foot. [B]

Day 17. 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. [B,L]

Day 18. Takayama - Hiroshima

Today we continue our bullet-train journey to Hiroshima, via Nagoya. [B]

Day 19. Hiroshima

This morning we cruise out to tranquil Miyajima Island and see the giant Itsukushima Torii Gate.

Special Experience: We'll sample the art of shakushi (Miyajima rice scoop) making, dating back to the 1700s.

This afternoon we'll visit the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome and the very moving Peace Memorial Museum. [B]

Day 20. Hiroshima - Kyoto

Travelling by bullet train, we make our way to historic Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital. Here we visit the 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. [B]

Day 21. Kyoto

We explore the incredible orange torii gates that make up Kyoto's famous Fushimi Inari shrine, dedicated to the god of rice and sake in the 8th century. The magical path consists of more than 5,000 gates that wind through the hills at the base of Inari mountain. [B]

Day 22. Kyoto

Today we discover the art behind Japan's unique crafts and culinary delights! [B]

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

Day 23. Kyoto - Mt Hiei - Osaka

We experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony before visiting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Buddhist sanctuary of Enryaku-ji 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. [B,L]

Day 24. Osaka

This morning we 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 Dotonbori District in the early evening to take in its famous lights. Tonight we'll enjoy a Japanese-style group farewell dinner. [B,D]

Day 25. Depart Osaka

Today we begin our journey home. [B]

Day 26. Arrive Australia

Level of fitness: This tour features 2+ hours of walking, often across uneven ground and in areas of high altitude or heat and humidity on 1 or more days.