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Trip Overview

See the iconic sights of Tokyo, Nikko, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kyoto, Nara and Himeji. On this ten-day round-trip rail tour. Japan has one of the finest railway networks in the world. On this rail tour you will be able to experience the charming joys of local networks as well as the high-speed limited express network and, of course, the infamous bullet train, or Shinkansen, as it is known in Japan. Finally taking one of the few remaining Sleeper Express trains back to Tokyo at the end of the tour.

Highlights

  • Half day tour Tokyo outside Imperial Palace, Asakusa and Meiji Shrine
  • Full day escorted tour to Nikko National Park visit Toshogu Shrine and Tamozawa Imperial Villa
  • Escorted Tour Nara Deer Park including visits to Todaiji temple and Kasuaga Taisha
  • Full day Himeji including Himeji Castle and Kokoen garden

Package Also Includes

  • Tours as per itinerary including entry fees
  • Transfers as indicated
  • 3-night hotel accommodation with breakfast in Tokyo
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Hiroshima
  • 1 night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast Nagasaki
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast Kyoto
  • Sleeper cabin on overnight train Himeji to Tokyo
  • All included sightseeing and transfers include local English speaking guides
  • Meals as specified
  • 7-day Japan Rail Pass (ordinary class)
Trip Map

Disclaimer:

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Prices do not include rail from your hometown. Package prices are subject to change without notice, and all reservations are based upon availability at the time of booking. Single occupancy supplements will apply for solo travelers. Hotel and room facilities vary and may be subject to additional fees. Some hotels require payment of local city taxes on arrival. Please call for pricing. We accept all major credit and debit cards. Activities referenced in the itinerary during free time are for suggested purposes only and are not included. Seasonal activity (if applicable): During the off-season, some tours may not be available. In this case, a similar tour will be substituted. Passports are required when traveling outside the United States including crossing the Canadian border.

DAY 1 - TOKYO
Upon arrival at Tokyo airport you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is to be spent at your leisure. Wander out and explore some of Tokyo’s bustling streets, with plenty of shops and restaurants to discover. Or take a relaxing stroll around the Imperial Palace Park. (overnight Tokyo)

DAY 2 – TOKYO
Take a half day tour of this fascinating city with a local guide using Japan’s superb public transport network. The day begins with a visit to the outside Imperial Palace, home of Japan’s Imperial Family. Next is Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of the Tokyo of old. Visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Travel across town to Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Your guide will leave you at Meiji Shrine and you will be free to continue exploring Tokyo at your leisure this afternoon. (Overnight Tokyo) B

DAY 3 – NIKKO
An early start today as you travel to the Nikko National Park (2hr) with a local guide to visit the Toshogu Shrine complex. this lavishly decorated shrine complex consists of more than a dozen Shinto and Buddhist buildings in a beautiful forest setting and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Your guide will introduce you to the charms of Toshogu through interesting stories about the history and religions of Nikko.  You will also visit Tamozawa Imperial Villa, a National Cultural Treasure, featuring architecture that spans three different periods -- Edo, Meiji, and Taisho -- as well as a beautiful garden.  After you have enjoyed Nikko, you and your guide will return to Tokyo. (overnight Tokyo) B

DAY 4 – TOKYO TO HIROSHIMA
Today you will travel all the way west to Hiroshima using the fantastic Shinkansen bullet train. Please make your own way to Tokyo Station and use your Japan Rail Passes to board the train. Journey time to Hiroshima is around 5 hours and you will need to make one change from the Tokaido Shinkansen to the Sanyo Shinkansen at either Shin-Osaka or Shin-Kobe. You’ll be travelling in comfort and style on Japan’s reliable and safe high-speed railway network. We recommend getting seats on the right-hand side of the train for views of Mt. Fuji (but only on a clear day—she is a notoriously shy mountain!). Hiroshima is globally known for its tragic history as the target of the first atomic bomb during the end of World War II. Despite the wide-ranging effects of the bomb dropped over 70 years ago, Hiroshima has recovered as a thriving city and is viewed as a beacon of hope and peace throughout the world. Destroyed monuments of the city’s historical heritage, such as the Shukkeien Garden and the Hiroshima Castle, have been rebuilt. The city center boasts a large recreational area named Peace Memorial Park that reflects the peaceful aspirations of this reborn city. Upon arrival in Hiroshima, make your own way to your accommodation. (Overnight Hiroshima) B

About the Japan Rail Pass - The Japan Rail Pass is a handy all-you-can-ride ticket valid for the specified number of consecutive days from its start date. You will receive vouchers for the pass in your welcome pack which you will need to change for the pass itself at a main line station, as specified above. To make the exchange, you must bring a valid passport. Once you have exchanged the vouchers for the pass, you can make seat reservations on Japan Rail trains within the pass’s validity period. This is recommended for longer journeys on the bullet train or limited express trains, but for shorter journeys you can simply use the unreserved seating carriage. Do be aware that not all routes or trains have unreserved seating carriages. Similarly, most local trains tend not to have reserved seating available. The Japan Rail Pass is not valid on Nozomi or Mizuho Shinkansen trains (the fastest trains on the line) and it will not cover lines not owned by Japan Rail (e.g. city subway lines, local buses, privately owned railway lines etc). 

DAY 5 –HIROSHIMA
A Free day to explore Hiroshima we recommend a visit to the Peace Memorial Park. Stroll through the park and discover the many memorials, monuments and statues before heading into the Museum itself. If you fancy trying a local specialty, we recommend Okonomiyaki, a Japanese savoury pancake. Literally meaning “grilled as you like it”, many restaurants will offer a combination of ingredients on the menu so there is always something to suit everyone.  From Hiroshima, a short ferry ride will take you to Miyajima Island. A small sacred island located in the Island Sea; it has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times. Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan - The Floating Torii Gate. Designated as one of Japan's '3 Most Beautiful Views', the shrine dates back to the 6th century with the present structure dating back to the 12th century. The harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mere 'commoners' were not allowed to set foot on this holy place, and even now it is forbidden to give birth or die on the island! 

(Please note that the Torii Gate is undergoing renovations until at least August 2020 and is currently under scaffolding. However, Miyajima has a lot of history and it is still worth going to see.) (Overnight Horishima) B

DAY 6 –HIROSHIMA – NAGASAKI
Nagasaki on Japan’s largest southernmost island, Kyushu. Make your way to Hiroshima station and use the Japan Rail Pass to board the Kyushu Shinkansen to Shin-Tosu. At Shin-Tosu, you will change to the Kamome Limited Express which will whisk you to Nagasaki city. The Kamome Limited Express is an unusual train in that each car uses space a little differently. Car 2 also usually contains an art gallery.  Total journey time is around 3 hours.  Nagasaki is one of Japan’s most cosmopolitan cities with a unique blend of outside cultures interwoven into its history, architecture, food and festivals. This foreign influence dates to when Nagasaki opened its harbor to European ships in 1571 and became a regular port of call for Portuguese and Dutch missionaries and traders. Chinese merchants soon followed and set up their own community. Along with the traders, came St. Francis Xavier and other Christian missionaries who found many converts among the local Japanese population. During Japan’s 200-plus years of isolation, Nagasaki could conduct trade with outsiders and thus the city served as the nation’s window to the rest of the world. It is also infamous, along with Hiroshima, as being one of the two cities that were the targets of the atomic bombs dropped during World War II. Despite this tragic past, this capital of Nagasaki prefecture, located on the northwest coast of Kyushu, has become a destination of choice for both Japanese and foreign visitors seeking solace in one of the country’s most beautiful locations.  Upon arrival in Nagasaki, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure. (Overnight Nagasaki) B

DAY 7 – NAGASAKI - KYOTO
A long journey today as you travel back east to Kyoto. Make your own way to Nagasaki Station and use your Japan Rail Passes to board the Kamome Limited Express back to Shin-Tosu. There, you can pick up a Shinkansen train all the way to Shin-Osaka before switching to a different Shinkansen line to reach Kyoto station. Total journey time takes around 5 hours.  Kyoto is the nation’s former capital and was the residence of the emperor from 794 until 1868. With 2,000 religious’ buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and associated architecture, it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and has 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Kyoto represents the “Japan of old” and beyond the high-rise skyscrapers built as a monument to progress, the real monument to Japan’s historical and cultural past can be found in the city’s narrow alleyways where tea houses abound and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function.  Upon arrival in Kyoto, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure. (Overnight Kyoto) B

DAY 8 – NARA
Transfer from your hotel to Nara (45min) with a local guide. For 74 years during the 8th century Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time remain. Visit Todaiji temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha. Next stop is Nara’s most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers.   End the day with a wander through Nara Park, called Deer park by locals due to the large population of more than 1,000 tame deer living there.   At the end of the morning, you will be left in Nara to continue exploring and return to your hotel at your leisure. (Overnight Kyoto) B

DAY 9 – HIMEJI
Travel by Shinkansen bullet train (55 min) to Himeji with a local guide. The guide will pick you up at your hotel and travel with you from Kyoto. First visit Himeji Castle, the newly renovated iconic castle. Nicknamed “Shirasagi-jo” (meaning “Castle of the white heron”), is arguably Japan's most spectacular castle for its imposing size. A UNESCO world heritage site, the castle was never destroyed by war, earthquake or fire and survives to this day as one of the country's twelve original castles. You will then head to the nearby Kokoen garden, a beautifully manicured Japanese garden designed in the traditional style. Take the sleeper train… Make your own way to Himeji Station in good time for your departure at 23:35. You will arrive in Tokyo at 07:08 the following day. (Overnight onboard sleeper train) B

DAY 10 – TOKYO
Sadly, the time has come for you to leave Japan. After your arrival in Tokyo at 07:08, you can use the Japan Rail Pass to transfer on the Narita Limited Express bound for the airport. Note that this is only applicable to trains departing after 11am as it takes around 1hr 30mins to reach Narita Airport from Tokyo Station. You will also need to make a seat reservation for the Narita Express departure you want to take in advance as there is no unreserved seating on this train. We wish you a safe flight home

MEAL GUIDE

B – BREAKFAST, BR – BRUNCH, L – LUNCH, AT – AFTERNOON TEA, D - DINNER

Granvia Hotel Kyoto

Granvia Hotel Kyoto

Hotel Granvia Kyoto is an integral part of the JR Kyoto Station Building Complex,

the visually striking architectural masterpiece which also includes a department store, museum, musical theater, and a vast underground shopping mall. From this convenient location, hotel guests have direct and easy access to and from Kansai International Airport and major metropolitan destinations across Japan including Osaka, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagoya, and Fukuoka

Hotel Vista Hiroshima

Hotel Vista Hiroshima

The hotel is a 2-minute walk from Hiroshima Electric Railway "Hatchobori" stop. It is a good location within walking distance of all the World Heritage Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, business district etc.
The building is based on harmony and guest rooms are all non-smoking rooms designed with bathroom, toilet and washbasin separate. We introduced "micro bubble tornado" which is said to have beautiful skin and relaxing effect in the twin room bathroom.
Also, at 2F "Vista Lounge", we offer coffee of Hiroshima's long-established store "Kotobukiya Coffee" founded in 1950.

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel

"Sheraton Grand" which boasts the world's best design and service within the Sheraton brand of over 440 hotels in 72 countries worldwide. Spacious rooms with fully equipped facilities, an exciting restaurant concept and attentive service quality tailored to our customers. We will continue to improve the environment and quality of our excellent evaluation, and to provide you with a fulfilling stay, where you can experience more of the appeal of Japan and the local people in Hiroshima.

Hotel Vista Premio Kyoto

Hotel Vista Premio Kyoto

The hotel is a 5-minute walk from Municipal Subway "Kyoto City Hall" station, Hankyu Railway "Kawaramachi" Station, Keihan Train "Keihan Sanjo" Station. It is located in the west of Kawaramachi which is the center of bustling Kyoto.
Guest rooms are popular among customers of a wide range of nationality. Based on Western-style rooms, Kyoto's traditional culture such as Yukimi Shoji and Japanese style lighting has been incorporated.
The breakfast offers more than 25 kinds of buffet menu "Farm Restaurant Moku Moku".

Best Western Hotel Premier Collection Nagasaki

Best Western Hotel Premier Collection Nagasaki

Romantic and exotic, home of the Nagasaki Kunchi (Dragon dance) festival. Nagasaki is a major tourist destination on the island of Kyushu, offering a dramatic atmosphere all year round. The Hotel Nagasaki, BW Premier Collection is a very modern hotel and a very good site for transportation. It takes about an eight minute walk from the JR Nagasaki station.

ANA Crowne Plaza Nagasaki Glover Hill

ANA Crowne Plaza Nagasaki Glover Hill

Located on a mountainside in Nagasaki-Minamiyamate, the southern part of Nagasaki City, ANA Crowne Plaza Nagasaki Gloverhill adds to the areas cosmopolitan feel. Providing guests with unwavering first class hospitality and refined services, the hotel is a popular choice amongst travelers to the city.
Step into the guest room elegantly furnished and comfortably spacious, it is going to be a great space for the busy traveler to chase away fatigue and refresh them for the day ahead.

Tokyo Station Hotel

Tokyo Station Hotel

The hotel is located in the heart of Tokyo, Japan overlooking the Imperial Palace. The Tokyo Station Hotel is directly connected to the JR Tokyo Station Marunouchi, for convenient travel throughout Japan. The hotel is also located just 30 minutes from the Haneda Airport Station, and 60 minutes from the JR Narita Airport Station.

Select Your Departure Date

For more information or to make a reservation, call our rail holiday experts at:
1 (800) 268-7252
Disclaimer:

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Prices do not include rail from your hometown. Package prices are subject to change without notice, and all reservations are based upon availability at the time of booking. Single occupancy supplements will apply for solo travelers. Hotel and room facilities vary and may be subject to additional fees. Some hotels require payment of local city taxes on arrival. Please call for pricing. We accept all major credit and debit cards. Activities referenced in the itinerary during free time are for suggested purposes only and are not included. Seasonal activity (if applicable): During the off-season, some tours may not be available. In this case, a similar tour will be substituted. Passports are required when traveling outside the United States including crossing the Canadian border.

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