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Essence of Japan

Samurai Castles and the Bullet Train

Drawing of a green map of Japan with plane pictures showing the locations covered in the tour; Kanazawa, Matsumoto, Tokyo, Mount Fuju, Hakone, Takayama, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima./

Day 1 London -
In flight You will be collected from your home by Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service and driven to London Heathrow Airport in time for your direct British Airways flight to Tokyo.

Day 2 Tokyo
Once you have arrived in Tokyo, a coach will transfer you to your hotel; either the 4* Hyatt Regency Tokyo or the 4* Keio Plaza Hotel, both located in Shinjuku, the heart of the Tokyo metropolis. Here you will spend your first two nights.

Day 3 Tokyo
Today enjoy a full tour of this wonderful city and take in its sights; the moated Imperial Palace, the Ginza (Silver Mint) district, the five-storey Asakusa Kannon Temple and the 333m Tokyo Tower. One of the star attractions is Meiji Shrine, the picturesque Shinto shrine set in a delightful tree-lined avenue.

Day 4 Tokyo - Mt Fuji - Matsumoto
The Five Lakes District is dominated by majestic Mt Fuji, an icon of world travel towering over this region of exceptional natural beauty - on a clear day, the snow-capped, conical volcano reflects on the calm waters of Lake Kawaguchi. Enjoy the spectacular views before continuing to Matsumoto where you will find your next accommodation, either the 3*+ Buena Vista Hotel or the 3*+ Matsumoto Tokyu REI Hotel.

Day 5 Matsumoto - Takayama
In the morning enjoy a visit to Matsumoto Castle, a striking timber and stone structure with a unique moon-viewing turret. Also take some time to sample sake at a traditional brewery. Your journey will then proceed through the breathtaking Japanese Alps to the hill town of Takayama. Here you will stop at the Hida Folk Village, a large open-air museum with a collection of antique houses from the region and a fabulous showcase of crafts and ancient traditions. Spend the next two nights at the 3* Best Western Hotel Takayama in the heart of the city.

Day 6 Takayama
Experience a walking tour of Takayama, commonly known as ‘little Kyoto’. This beautiful location is filled with fabulous attractions from the open-air flower and fruit market to the imposing government house.

Day 7 Takayama – Kanazawa
Take a coach ride today to Kanazawa and visit the World Heritage Shirakawago Village on the way. Kanazawa is an historic castle town, which boasts beautifully preserved samurai and geisha districts and our sightseeing tour includes Omicho market and Higashi Chayagai before heading to either the 4* Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel or 4* Nikko Hotel, to spend the night.

Day 8 Kanazawa - Hiroshima
Today you will pack your overnight bag whilst your main luggage is transferred to Kyoto for arrival on day 10. A sightseeing tour of Kanazawa this morning includes the gorgeous Kenroku-en Garden and Buke-Yashiki (Samurai's house). Then transfer to Kanazawa Station to depart for Hiroshima via Shin Osaka by JR Limited Express Train and JR Bullet Train. On arrival, head to either the 4* Rihga Royal Hotel, Hiroshima or 4* Hotel Granvia, Hiroshima to spend your next two nights.

Day 9 Hiroshima
Your journey begins at Miyajima Port to catch a ferry over to Miyajima Island, otherwise known as Itsu

kushima or Divine Island. On arrival w

e admire the elaborate gate, Itsukushima Shrine, rising majestically out of the sea, and spend time strolling through the park, which dazzles with beautiful maple in autumn. On your return to Hiroshima, take a walking tour around Peace Memorial Park to see the Flame of Peace, continually burning to symbolise the hope for worldwide peace. The tour concludes with a visit to the Atomic Bomb M

useum, just a short walk from the hotel.

Day 10 Hiroshima - Nara - Kyoto
Transfer to Hiroshima Station for your JR Bullet Train journey to Shin Osaka, to board your coach for Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan. Attractions here include the famous Todaiji temple, which was built in 794 and became the guardian temple for the city. The building is claimed to be the oldest wooden structure in the world and houses a huge bronze Buddha. You will also visit Nara Park, also known as Deer Park, to see hundreds of freely roaming deer. The adventure proceeds to culturally-rich Kyoto, known historically as ‘Hana No Miyako’, the flowering capital with its wealth of fine architecture in its shrines and temples, gardens with their profusion of colour and variety of art and craft shops. Spend a little time in the Gion area, the country’s most famous geisha district, before heading to either the 4* Kyoto Hotel Okura, 4* Kyoto Tokyu Hotel or 4* Nikko Princess Kyoto, to enjoy a two night stay.

Day 11 Kyoto
Highlights of this morning’s tour include the wonderful Ryoanji Temple, a Zen temple with a famous rock garden, and also the beautiful Kinkakuji Temple, or the ‘Golden Pavilion’, whose top two floors are completely bedecked in gold leaf. Here you will have the chance to enjoy a traditional tea ceremony.

Day 12 Kyoto - Hakone
After further exploration of Kyoto, with stops at the Kiyomizu Temple and Nijo, a fortified castle with ornate audience halls and unique ‘nightingale’ floors designed to replicate the sound of the nightingale song when stepped on. We later take the JR Bullet Train from Kyoto to Mishima and continue to Hakone, for a one-night stay at either the 3*+ Palace Hotel Hakone, 3*+ Prince Hakone Hotel or 3*+ Fujiya Hotel. You will require an overnight bag.

Day 13 Hakone - Tokyo
This morning, embark on a cruise on Lake Ashi, from where stunning views of the snow-capped mountains can be seen. Continue by cable car over the Owakudani Hot Springs, lying in the crater of Mt Kamiyama. Later enjoy marvellous views of Tokyo Bay before continuing to the 3* ANA Crowne Plaza.

Day 14 Tokyo - London
Today you will leave Tokyo for Narita Airport and a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for your journey home.

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