Day 1: Arrive St. Petersburg
Our journey begins in Imperial St. Petersburg, amidst domes, pastel facades of 18th century architecture and a bewildering array of museums.
Day 2: St. Petersburg and to Moscow
Today we visit the Hermitage, rightly famous for its collection but perhaps there is also time to visit the Russia Museum, another treasure house of the city, before we board our first overnight train taking, bound for Moscow.
Day 3: Moscow
Moscow will dazzle where St. Petersburg charmed; the swirling cupolas of St. Basils of Red Square, the underground brilliance of the metro and the unrivaled collection of the Armoury Chamber within the Kremlin will leave you amazed.
Day 4 : Moscow and to Yekaterinburg
On to Yekaterinburg where we learn of the downfall of the Romanovs and the end of the Tsarist regime.
Days 5-6 : Yekaterinburg
Welcome to the picturesque and historic city of Yekaterinburg.
Situated near the Ural Mountains, Yekaterinburg is a vibrant modern city rich in minerals and history. Visit the enormous Byzantine-style church built on the site of the Romanovs' execution, stand on the boundary line of Europe and Asia, take in the urban panorama from the Vysotskiy Viewing Platform and stroll around an impressive collection of museums and historic monuments.
Days 7-9: Trans Siberian Railway
Our Trans Siberian journey continues across wide rivers and span bridges, time and distance slip away as we while away the hours in the dining car making new friends, gazing from the window or relaxing in our cabins.
Days 10-11: Irkutsk and Lake Baikal
This evening we arrive in Irkutsk, the 'Paris of Siberia', where we disembark to stretch our legs and enjoy a relaxing couple of nights on the shores of Lake Baikal. Once we have taken a dip in the deep waters it is time to return to the city.
Almost in the center of Asia, Irkutsk is home to beautiful 18th century churches, brightly painted shutters, log houses decorated with intricate wooden lacework as well as a captivating story of high society exile. On our walking tour you will discover the city's wonderful historic sights and a visit to the Local History Museum.
Day 12: Aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway
It is time to re-board our train south and across the frontier into Mongolia.
Day 26: To Kanazawa via Nara
After breakfast we continue our journey north where we will visit Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan, and Todaiji Temple, reputedly the largest wooden building in the world, housing the Great Buddha. Next stop uncover historical Kanazawa and be rewarded with age-old samurai and geisha districts, charming temples and vibrant markets. Here we will visit the city's best-known attraction, the beautiful Kenrokuen, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.
Days 23-25: Welcome to Japan!
Scratch beneath the surface of Japan and let your senses be surprised by the splendidly bizarre. From vibrant cities to rural hamlets, discover tranquil gardens and old-world traditions that will seduce your soul. This morning we arrive into the port of Sakai Minato and make our way to Kyoto.
Kyoto is adorned in tradition. Imagine a world of peaceful temples amidst perfumed gardens. You may catch a glimpse of a geisha shuffling to secret liaisons whilst you stroll down through bamboo groves and browse market stalls selling curious specialties. We see the dazzling Golden Temple and yet there are also simple wonders to enjoy in both the cuisine and some less-often visited temples which will restore an inner sense of serenity.
Days 21-22: Across the Sea of Japan
The adventure isn't over as we board our ferry on our voyage across the sea. Our time at sea leaves us ready to explore the wonders of Japan.
Days 13-15: Arrive Ulaanbaatar and to Terelj National Park
The Land of the Blue Sky always delights, from the hospitality of the nomads to the expansive landscapes, your experience will be no different. Wake up in the tranquillity of Terelj National Park, cosy in your nomadic ger, the traditional felt home of the locals. We explore the grasslands before enjoying time in Ulaanbaatar, exploring the city's monuments and museums we observe the strong years of Soviet alliance, and newer western influences.
Days 18-19: Trans Siberian Railway
We board our final Russian train to rumble across the remaining miles of the Trans Siberian to Vladivostok. As our train draws into the terminus we reflect on completing one of the world's longest and greatest train journeys.
Days 16-17: Ulan Ude
We continue to Buryatia and Ulan Ude this home of Buddhism in Siberia, an important stop, and we visit an open-air museum to explore the beliefs and ways of life further.
Day 27: Kanazawa to Takayama
Today we head to the mountains for a taste of rural life in the beautifully preserved old town of Takayama. Take the time to relax in this town of wooden houses, wander the streets where the lattice-bay windows entice us to sample some sake or view the traditional handicrafts of the region. We stay overnight in a ryokan a traditional Japanese Inn.
Day 20: Vladivostok
Once forbidden to foreigners the city is now welcoming and revitalised and waiting to share its historical secrets. We spend the morning discovering the fascinating history of the city and port with a visit to the Local History Museum and the Vladivostok Fortress Museum before entering the historic port to board the ferry.
Days 28-29: Takayama and to Tokyo
Finally we reach the bustling streets of Tokyo. A contrast awaits at the Asakusa Shrine dedicated to Shinto beliefs yet situated behind a Buddhist temple. One of the few structures to escape wartime destruction, this gives a final glimpse into old Japan. This embodies the theme of our journey, the contrast of cultures and rich histories. What stories you will have to tell on your return.