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Japan's Winter Wonderland

Beginning in the historic city of Kyoto, where the modern and the ancient aspects of Japanese culture and tradition combine so well. You will visit the heart of what Kyoto has to offer such as Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji golden temple and the mouth watering Nishiki Food Market before taking a short hike out of town to see the Kurama temple and Kibune Shrine. On our fourth day we bid farewell to Kyoto for Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture. Here, the must see locations are the beautifully tended Kenroku Garden and the Nomura family samurai house from the Edo period. We will make our way by bus to Shirakawago village in Gifu Prefecture. Shirakawago is renowned for its historic building style known as "gassho-zukuri" with thatched roofs. You will have enough time to explore and wander the small, picturesque streets of this village before you spend the night in a traditional village guesthouse. A truly authentic experience will be assured. Takayama is famous amongst the Japanese for its many sake breweries thanks to its pristine river water where you will have the chance to step into a multi generational, family owned brewery to sample and learn about this revered national drink in all of its many varieties. In Matsumoto we will take a trip to a wasabi farm and also partake in Japans favourite past time, a soak in an onsen filled with hot, natural mineral water. We may even have the option to snow sh hike here depending on the level of snow cover. Leaving history and tradition behind, we take a bullet train at up to 320kms/hr to the nations buzzing capital city, Tokyo. After a familiarisation walking tour of the city we will enjoy a farewell dinner together to reflect on what is sure to be one of the most scenic and fascinating ways to spend a winter in Japan.

Inclusions

10 breakfasts and 4 dinners
A mix of comfortable hotels, ryokans and traditional inn
Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
Expert bilingual guide
Medical kit
Transportation as listed in itinerary
Hightlights
Staying in Japanese ryokans
Kyoto sightseeing
Shirakawago traditional village stay
Sake distillery visit
Matsumoto onsen baths
Tokyo touring
Wasabi farm visit
Kenroku garden
Optional snow shoe hike
Visit historic temples and shrines
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
11
Price From
AUD $5,690
Start Location
Kyoto, Japan
End Location
Japan
Age Range
Avg. 100+
Group Size
4 to 12
Tour Style
Standard
Tour Themes
Physical Rating
Easy
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
11 Jan 201821 Jan 2018AvailableAUD $5,690
09 Feb 201819 Feb 2018AvailableAUD $5,690
01 Mar 201811 Mar 2018AvailableAUD $5,690
09 Dec 201819 Dec 2018AvailableAUD $5,690
10 Jan 201920 Jan 2019AvailableAUD $5,690
08 Feb 201918 Feb 2019AvailableAUD $5,690
28 Feb 201910 Mar 2019AvailableAUD $5,690
08 Dec 201918 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $5,690
ItineraryExpand
Day 1
Welcome to Kyoto! Japans ancient capitol city where the traditional and modern collide so well together. On arrival you will need to make your own way to the group hotel. We will have a tour briefing at approximately 6.00pm, so please check with reception for the exact time and location in the hotel lobby. Following the briefing your guide will take you to a local restaurant so you can get to know your travelling companions (meal is at own cost). Overnight: Western Style Hotel
Day 2
Meet in hotel lobby at 9 am after breakfast to commence days activities. Its a full day exploring the highlights of the city which will include - Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple, Nishiki Food Market and Kiyomizu temple. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shs today. You will return to hotel at 7pm for a free evening to get out there yourself. Accommodation : Western Style Hotel
Day 3
Today we head out to Kibune and Kurama (1 hour by train from Kyoto station) where we will take a short hike between Kurama buddhist temple and Kibune Shrine set amongst tranquil rural villages in the beautiful wooded northern hills of Kyoto. (3 kms hike / 1 hour approx) There are a few steep sections along this trail and it will offer you a visual separation from Kyoto's urban setting. We will return to Kyoto station around 6pm to head back to the hotel or jump into Kyoto's night life. Overnight: Western Style Hotel
Day 4
After breakfast, we bid farewell to Kyoto and board a train to Kanazawa (2.5 hour ride). Its the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture and was previously known as the "peasants kingdom" . Upon our arrival in the early afternoon, we will take a walking tour to include the Kanazawa highlights of Kenroku garden established in the 17th century and a traditional Samurai house heralding back to the Edo period of japan (1603-1868). Accommodation : Ryokan (Japanese inn) please note: Bring a separate smaller bag (preferably backpack) to carry 1 night /1 days worth of clothes. Our main luggage will be transferred to our hotel in Takayama.
Day 5
A leisurely start to the day with a free morning in Kanazawa before we take a 1.5 hour bus ride to the Unesco world heritage site of Shirakawago village. Geographically cut off from the rest of Japan for hundreds of years, it subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms in the thatched roofs. We sill spend the rest of the day exploring this unique and traditional village site set on the riverbank. Tonight, our accommodation will be in one of the Gassho Zukuri houses to experience an authentic village stay. Ovenright: Traditional Japanese house
Day 6
In the morning we take a bus to Takayama (1.5 hours). The beautiful town of Takayama is famous for its many sake breweries and many small galleries and museums. Today we will get the chance to visit, learn and sample this nationaly cherished beverage. The narrow streets of its Sanmachi Suji historic district are lined with wooden merchants' houses dating to the 16th century. Accommodation: Ryokan (Japanese inn)
Day 7
An early rise today to wander through Takayama's local morning market that lines the river filled with koi that cuts through the town center. A great place to snack on local food for brunch. The afternoon is free for you to check out more sake breweries, do some shopping, visit some galleries or interesting musuems that this town offers its visitors. Accommodation: Ryokan (Japanese inn)
Day 8
We will take a bus ride from Takayama to Matsumoto. If there is good snow availability, we have the option to try our hands at snow sh hiking. We stop in at Hirayu Onsen - public baths, to enjoy a soak with the locals. There are several baths filled with hot mineral water famed for its curative properties. There are outdoor rock baths, Hinoki wood baths in the Gasho-style building and private baths to enjoy. At the end of the day, we arrive at our Matsumoto hotel . Accommodation: Western Style Hotel please note: Bring a separate smaller bag (preferably backpack) to carry 2 nights/2 days worth of clothes. Our main luggage will be transferred to our hotel in Tokyo.
Day 9
After breakfast, 45 mins by train and taxi gets us out of Matsumoto town to a wasabi farm that has multiple fields with a meticulously maintained network of small streams that constantly provides each wasabi plant with clear, flowing water. Only under such unique conditions is wasabi cultivation, an indigenous herb, possible. This is indeed an interesting growing process that requires constant care and attention. After we return to the city in the afternoon, you will have free time to venture out by yourself and perhaps visit Matsumoto Castle. Your guide can assist you with options. Accommodation: Western style Hotel
Day 10
Back to the big city we go today as we take a biullet train from Matsumoto for a 3 hour ride to Tokyo. The nations buzzing capitol city. Upon arrival, we will do a city orientation walking tour and include a visit to Sensoji Temple. Tonight we celebrate an incredible journey that was had with a group farewell dinner. Accommodation : Western Style Hotel
Day 11
After breakfast, our trip has reached its conclusion after hotel check out.