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ESCORTED TOUR

Japan

Inside Japan

12 NIGHTS FROM £9,800 per person

A captivating country of contrasts and quirks, get set to experience the many sides of Japan on this escorted tour. Accompanied by a National Geographic expert, on hand to share behind-the-scenes perspectives and insider knowledge, discover the temples of Kyoto, the timeless Iya Valley and the contemporary art of Noashima, as well as countless more Japanese gems.

2020 Dates: 11-22 Mar | 8-19 Apr | 16-27 Sep | 30 Sep-11 Oct

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS expand_more

In Kyoto, dine with a former geisha, learning more about the unique lifestyle

Stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan in the enchanting Iya Valley

Visit Japan’s “island of art” Naoshima and stay at the contemporary Bennesse House

After viewing the peace memorials and Zen gardens of Hiroshima, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Itsukishima shrine on Miyajima Island

Your Expert Guide

Travel writer and editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveller magazine Don George will join the 12 March 2020 departure. He has visited more than 90 countries on 5 continents and his article “Japan’s Past Perfect” inspired this very expedition. Please note that other experts will accompany the other departure dates.

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Inside Japan

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TOUR DETAILS

    DAY DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    TRANSFERS

    • Type:
    • Summary:
    • Feature:
    • Rooms:
    • Location:
    • Star rating:
    MEAL BASIS

    DAY 2-5 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    A city filled with artisans, temples and gardens; you’ll soon see why Kyoto has one of the world’s largest collections of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stroll through the famous Zen gardens of Ryoan-ji temple and visit the renowned Kinkaku-ji temple, widely known as the Golden Pavilion. The enchanting Hosen-In Temple and Sanzen-In Temple are next to explore, while the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Nijo Castle are also included in your itinerary. Spend your first evening in Kyoto with a former geisha, while your final afternoon in the city is spent at an artisanal ceramics workshop.

    TRANSFERS

    Transfer to Eko-In Monastery, Mount Koya.

    Kyoto Hotel Okura
    • Summary: An historic hotel in the heart of the city
    • Feature: An enviable location in downtown Kyoto
    • Rooms: 322 rooms
    MEAL BASIS

    Breakfast

    DAY 5-6 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    The headquarters of the Shingon Buddhist sect, is your next destination. A temple priest will greet you and guide you through the Okuni-in cemetery – housing the tombs of more than 200,000 samurai warriors – before a visit to the Kongobuji temple and its ornate paintings. A traditional Buddhist vegetarian meal is served for dinner, before settling into your simple lodgings within the Eko-In Monastery. The next morning begins with a Buddhist prayer ceremony, before departing for your next destination.

    TRANSFERS

    Take a ferry to the island of Shikoku. Here, you can explore the bustling city of Tokushima, visiting the Awa Odori Kaikan museum and its wealth of exhibits relating to the city’s 400-year-old dance festival. From here, transfer to Hotel Hikyonoyu in the Iya Valley.

    Eko-In Monastery
    • Summary: Traditional guest rooms amid a 1000-year-old Buddhist temple
    • Feature: An immersive stay invites you to join Buddhist meditation and meals
    DAY 6-8 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    The enchanting Iya Valley is characterised by steep mountain slopes and rocky gorges. Wake up in your traditional Ryokan, home to traditional hot spring baths, before heading along the Iya ravine to a 300-year-old farmhouse, in which the Chiiori Trust project aims to preserve the area’s centuries-old traditions. Made from intertwined vines, the Okuiya Niju Kazurabashi twin suspension bridges are next to explore, before a visit to the traditional Ochiachi community, where you can experience rural life amid the valley.

    TRANSFERS

    Transfer to the Zentsuji temple, one of the most important stops along Shikoku’s 750- mile pilgrimage route. Onwards to the city of Takamatsu, stroll through the gardens of 17th century Ritsurin Park. From here, take a ferry to the island of Naoshima and transfer to Benesse House, Naoshima.

    Hotel Hikyonoyu
    • Summary: A traditional Japanese ryokan amid the enchanting Iya Valley
    • Feature: Hot spring onsen and authentic Japanese cuisine
    • Rooms: 53 rooms
    MEAL BASIS

    Breakfast

    DAY 8-10 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    Though small in size, Naoshima offers plenty to discover, the island emerging as a mecca of contemporary art and architecture. Adjacent to your quirky hotel, visit the Bennesse House Museum for a different perspective of nature through innovative art installations. Your time here also includes a trip to the Chichu Art Museum, where artwork includes that of Claude Monet and James Turrell, before exploring sites of the Art House Project which aims to transform the island’s older homes into modern art.

    TRANSFERS

    Take a ferry to Honshu, before boarding the iconic high-speed bullet train to Hiroshima. From here, transfer to the Sheraton Grand Hotel, Hiroshima.

    Benesse House
    • Summary: A museum hotel with a minimal design, natural light and contemporary artwork
    • Feature: Each room features a single, original artwork
    • Rooms: 65 rooms across four buildings
    MEAL BASIS

    Breakfast

    DAY 10-12 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    Perhaps best known for the horrific atomic explosion of 1945, today Hiroshima is a peaceful and picturesque city of leafy boulevards and traditional gardens. Of course, no visit would be complete without visiting the Peace Memorial Park and the Peace Memorial Museum, while there is also the option for a guided tour to Shukkei-en garden. On your second day, set off for a full day excursion to Isukishima (or Miyajima) Island, viewing the UNESCO-listed Shinto shrine and participating in a traditional tea ceremony. Back in Hiroshima, gather for a farewell dinner.

    TRANSFERS

    Transfer to Osaka International Airport for your flight to the UK.

    Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotelkeyboard_arrow_right
    • Type: Luxury Hotel
    • Summary: A contemporary property close to Hiroshima's highlights
    • Feature: The Sheraton Shine Spa offers a menu of luxurious therapies
    • Rooms: 238 rooms
    • Location: Hiroshima, Japan
    MEAL BASIS

    Breakfast

    DAY DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    TRANSFERS

    • Type:
    • Summary:
    • Feature:
    • Rooms:
    • Location:
    • Star rating:
    MEAL BASIS

DAY ACCOMMODATION

TRANSFERS

  • Type:
  • Summary:
  • Feature:
  • Rooms:
  • Location:
  • Star rating:
MEAL BASIS

DAY 2-5ACCOMMODATION
Kyoto, Japan

A city filled with artisans, temples and gardens; you’ll soon see why Kyoto has one of the world’s largest collections of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stroll through the famous Zen gardens of Ryoan-ji temple and visit the renowned Kinkaku-ji temple, widely known as the Golden Pavilion. The enchanting Hosen-In Temple and Sanzen-In Temple are next to explore, while the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Nijo Castle are also included in your itinerary. Spend your first evening in Kyoto with a former geisha, while your final afternoon in the city is spent at an artisanal ceramics workshop.

TRANSFERS

Transfer to Eko-In Monastery, Mount Koya.

Kyoto Hotel Okura
  • Summary: An historic hotel in the heart of the city
  • Feature: An enviable location in downtown Kyoto
  • Rooms: 322 rooms
MEAL BASIS

Breakfast

DAY 5-6ACCOMMODATION
Mount Koya, Japan

The headquarters of the Shingon Buddhist sect, is your next destination. A temple priest will greet you and guide you through the Okuni-in cemetery – housing the tombs of more than 200,000 samurai warriors – before a visit to the Kongobuji temple and its ornate paintings. A traditional Buddhist vegetarian meal is served for dinner, before settling into your simple lodgings within the Eko-In Monastery. The next morning begins with a Buddhist prayer ceremony, before departing for your next destination.

TRANSFERS

Take a ferry to the island of Shikoku. Here, you can explore the bustling city of Tokushima, visiting the Awa Odori Kaikan museum and its wealth of exhibits relating to the city’s 400-year-old dance festival. From here, transfer to Hotel Hikyonoyu in the Iya Valley.

Eko-In Monastery
  • Summary: Traditional guest rooms amid a 1000-year-old Buddhist temple
  • Feature: An immersive stay invites you to join Buddhist meditation and meals
DAY 6-8ACCOMMODATION
Iya Valley, Japan

The enchanting Iya Valley is characterised by steep mountain slopes and rocky gorges. Wake up in your traditional Ryokan, home to traditional hot spring baths, before heading along the Iya ravine to a 300-year-old farmhouse, in which the Chiiori Trust project aims to preserve the area’s centuries-old traditions. Made from intertwined vines, the Okuiya Niju Kazurabashi twin suspension bridges are next to explore, before a visit to the traditional Ochiachi community, where you can experience rural life amid the valley.

TRANSFERS

Transfer to the Zentsuji temple, one of the most important stops along Shikoku’s 750- mile pilgrimage route. Onwards to the city of Takamatsu, stroll through the gardens of 17th century Ritsurin Park. From here, take a ferry to the island of Naoshima and transfer to Benesse House, Naoshima.

Hotel Hikyonoyu
  • Summary: A traditional Japanese ryokan amid the enchanting Iya Valley
  • Feature: Hot spring onsen and authentic Japanese cuisine
  • Rooms: 53 rooms
MEAL BASIS

Breakfast

DAY 8-10ACCOMMODATION
Naoshima, Japan

Though small in size, Naoshima offers plenty to discover, the island emerging as a mecca of contemporary art and architecture. Adjacent to your quirky hotel, visit the Bennesse House Museum for a different perspective of nature through innovative art installations. Your time here also includes a trip to the Chichu Art Museum, where artwork includes that of Claude Monet and James Turrell, before exploring sites of the Art House Project which aims to transform the island’s older homes into modern art.

TRANSFERS

Take a ferry to Honshu, before boarding the iconic high-speed bullet train to Hiroshima. From here, transfer to the Sheraton Grand Hotel, Hiroshima.

Benesse House
  • Summary: A museum hotel with a minimal design, natural light and contemporary artwork
  • Feature: Each room features a single, original artwork
  • Rooms: 65 rooms across four buildings
MEAL BASIS

Breakfast

DAY 10-12ACCOMMODATION
Hiroshima, Japan

Perhaps best known for the horrific atomic explosion of 1945, today Hiroshima is a peaceful and picturesque city of leafy boulevards and traditional gardens. Of course, no visit would be complete without visiting the Peace Memorial Park and the Peace Memorial Museum, while there is also the option for a guided tour to Shukkei-en garden. On your second day, set off for a full day excursion to Isukishima (or Miyajima) Island, viewing the UNESCO-listed Shinto shrine and participating in a traditional tea ceremony. Back in Hiroshima, gather for a farewell dinner.

TRANSFERS

Transfer to Osaka International Airport for your flight to the UK.

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotelkeyboard_arrow_right
  • Type: Luxury Hotel
  • Summary: A contemporary property close to Hiroshima's highlights
  • Feature: The Sheraton Shine Spa offers a menu of luxurious therapies
  • Rooms: 238 rooms
  • Location: Hiroshima, Japan
MEAL BASIS

Breakfast

DAY ACCOMMODATION

TRANSFERS

  • Type:
  • Summary:
  • Feature:
  • Rooms:
  • Location:
  • Star rating:
MEAL BASIS

TOUR MAP

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL

March to May is spring, often the best time to visit thanks to warm temperatures, little rain and the bloom of the iconic cherry blossoms. Autumn is also a great time to visit, with beautiful orange colours and many music, sports and cultural events.

  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Best

12 NIGHTS FROM £9,800 per person

Price based upon economy flights from London, transfers, UK airport lounge passes and meals and excursions as specified.

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