On arrival you will need to make your own way to the group hotel. We will have an important tour briefing at approximately 6.00pm, so please check with reception for the exact time and location. The meeting will be followed by a visit to a delicious local restaurant for our first true Japanese meal. First impressions of the industrial outer suburbs of Tokyo - a seemingly endless display of concrete and elevated highways - give little clue about the natural pleasures of coming days. Tokyo is a hive of activity, with a mind-boggling range of shops, restaurants and businesses that make it one of the world's most energetic cities. The train is quite an experience, particularly during peak hours where the standard practice is to squeeze as many people possible into each carriage! And Japan ds not need to be expensive. The following is a small suggestion for places that you can enjoy for free - the Imperial Palace East Garden; Ryogoku Fireworks Museum; Sumo Museum and the Beer Museum Ebisu. Overnight hotel.
A dynamic, modern hub, as well as the thriving capital of an ancient land, Tokyo's hi-tech gadgetry and neon lights are a dazzling contrast to a country that is steeped in tradition. Ueno Park's many galleries and museums are a great place to start the day, perhaps followed by a serene afternoon at the Sensoji Temple. We will take a bike ride in downtown Tokyo after breakfast, observing and mingling with local people as they go about their work. We will take in many famous sights as well as the real Tokyo. Overnight hotel.
Today, after breakfast, we will take the local express line to the Izu peninsula and go for a fantastic half day cycle along the coastline of Izu. A popular resort region for tourists from the Kanto region, the Izu peninsula is primarily known for its onsen hot spring resorts in Atami, Shuzenji and Ito. It is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National park. Overnight traditional inn with shared bathroom facilities. Cycling distance approx: 30kms
This peninsula has everything to keep the adrenaline pumping. Today we will explore the coast by sea kayaking in the emerald water. We will then finish our day by going to the onsen (hot spring) for a well deserved and relaxing soak. This evening we will have a BBQ dinner. Overnight traditional inn with shared bathroom facilities.
Transfer to Kyoto by train after breakfast (4 hours). After we check into our ryokan, we will go for a walk through the renowned Gion district where traditional Geisha houses can still be seen (and we might see one or two geishas!). Overnight traditional inn with shared bathroom facilities.
Today we cycle around Kyoto visiting the many seasonal gardens and temples. The Heian Shrine was built to commemorate the founding of Kyoto, and the Ginkakuji (Golden Pavilion) is also very beautiful. Overnight traditional inn with shared bathroom facilities. Cycling distance approx: 20kms
Transfer to Koyasan in the morning by train via Osaka (3 hours). Today, we will spend the night at a temple, where we can experience some comforts of a monk's life. After checking in, we will go for a walk into town, and will visit a mix of temples and important landmarks that are central to this Buddhist mountain monastery, home to more than 100 temples. We will end the evening with dinner served at the temple, Shojin Ryori, a vegetarian cuisine that is the culinary highlight of any visit to Koyasan.
Today we will go for a short 3-4 hour hike after breakfast. The hike will include a few Buddhist sites via trails that wind through the forests in the area.
After lunch back in town, we will pick our luggage and head to Osaka. After checking in, we will visit downtown on a food crawl, where you will literally get a taste of the local food culture.
Trip concludes after breakfast.