Japan: Past & Present
From neon-lit streets filled with people to quiet shines filled only with silence, come face-to-face with a culture thousands of years in the making. Take part in preparing your own cup of green tea using a traditional method. Explore the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, travelling between them on the famous shinkansen bullet train. Meet the incredible ama pearl divers and dine with them whilst hearing tales of their lives and traditions. Meet the bowing deer of Nara Park. Explore the historic geisha district of Kyoto, Gion. See the beauty of the Arashiyama bamboo forest and the Golden Pavilion. Dive deep into the culture of Japan with the Women’s Association of Kyoto. Stay among Buddhist monks at a monastery on Mount Koya and wander the moss-covered paths of Okunoin Cemetery. Visit the Peace Park and Memorial Museum of Hiroshima and hear first-hand accounts of the atomic bomb’s devastation. See the famous O-torii Gate of Miyajima Island. Explore the neon-soaked streets of Osaka’s Dotonbori district. Discover the thousand facets of culture, art, and life that make up the incredible spirit of Japan.
Your Fly & Tour Package Includes:
- $1200 flight credit per person
- 12-night Japan: Past & Present A Cultural Journey guided tour with Collette, Tokyo to Osaka
- 6 Handpicked Accommodations
- 20 Meals
- See the gleaming beauty of the Golden Pavilion.
- Wander among the swaying trees of the Arashiyama bamboo forest.
- Explore the neon-soaked streets of Osaka’s Dotonbori district.
- Stay among Buddhist monks at a monastery on Mount Koya.
- Meet Japan’s ama pearl divers and learn more about their elite profession.
- Visit Hiroshima’s Peace Park and Memorial Museum and hear accounts of the atomic bomb’s devastation.
- Dive deep into the culture and social norms of Japan over dinner with the Women’s Association of Kyoto.
- Enjoy a traditional, multi-course kaiseki meal.
- Make delicious okonomiyaki, savoury pancakes that are a Japanese favourite.
Pricing is per person twin share and based on travel 09-21 June 2024 other dates available may attract surcharge
Solo traveller pricing available. Please speak to one of our travel consultants for more details
Day 1: Tokyo, Japan - Tour Begins
Say “Konnichiwa!” to the incredible, eclectic city of Tokyo. Japan is a land of contrasts, and you’re about to discover the thousand facets of culture, art, and life that make up its incredible spirit. From neon-lit streets filled with people to quiet shrines filled only with silence, you’ll come face-to-face with a culture thousands of years in the making. Storied history, artistic traditions, cutting-edge technology – it’s all part of Japan’s everyday life. You’ll soon discover that you could explore Japan for a thousand years and only experience a part of what this country has to offer.
Day 2: Tokyo
Feel the excitement start to build as you head to Asakusa, passing by the grounds of the Imperial Palace and see the Nijubashi Bridge. Next, witness the subtle art of preparing green tea. Prepare your own cup of this local staple and learn the gentle practice of making tea using a traditional method. Enjoy free time exploring Nakamise shopping street, where you can stroll between the stalls leading to the Sensoji temple to buy local souvenirs and sweets. Then, head to Tokyo National Museum to learn about the fascinating history and culture of the city. The museum displays artwork and antiques from Japan and the surrounding area. Tonight, sit down and get to know your fellow travellers at a welcome dinner.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 3: Tokyo
This morning, start your day in Tokyo like a true local – by hopping on the subway. Clean, efficient, fast, and easy to use, the Tokyo subway system is one of the best in the world. Follow your Tour Manager on a walk-through Ginza, one of the most elegant and luxurious streets in the world. Enjoy shopping at some of the most renowned "department stores" in Japan. This afternoon, visit Zojoji Temple, standing in the shadow of Tokyo Tower and painting a powerful picture of Tokyo’s ancient roots and modern culture. Zojoji is the centre of Japanese Buddhism in the region, and the resting place of the royal Tokugawa family. Head back to the hotel through the lush and beautiful Shiba park, a green oasis in the urban landscape.
Day 4: Tokyo – Toba
Climb aboard the high-speed shinkansen, or bullet train. Sleek, modern, and comfortable, the bullet train will flash through the idyllic Japanese countryside at 200 miles per hour, but you’ll barely feel or hear a thing. Keep an eye peeled for Mt. Fuji in the distance. Arrive at one of the most important shrines in Japan – Ise Shrine. This grand shrine is built to honour the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu. Wander among the thatched roofs and raw wood of buildings, taking in the serenity of this spiritual wonder. Tonight, your meal will be a traditional and delicious Japanese kaiseki dinner, an artfully prepared and presented, multi-course meal using ingredients at the absolute peak of freshness.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 5: Toba
This morning, you’ll head to the Mikimoto Pearl Museum. Explore the island and the legacy of the skilled ama pearl divers, women who defied conventional gender roles to dive in the sea to harvest oysters and their pearls. Watch divers take the plunge and learn about the history and science of pearl diving. This afternoon, visit an ama hut for an incredible dining experience. Whilst local seafood is grilled in a charcoal fire right before your eyes, hear tales from the ama women about their lives and the sacred rights of their profession.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Toba – Kyoto
Kyoto awaits! Before arriving in Japan’s former capital city stop at Nara Park and Todaiji Temple. Venture inside the massive building to take some time in this sacred place, and find the huge bronze Buddha statue. Wander the grounds outside and discover the famous “bowing” deer of Nara. Next, it’s off to Kyoto, one of the nation’s top cosmopolitan cities.
Day 7: Kyoto
Head to Gion, Kyoto’s famous geisha district. Here, your Tour Manager leads you through the narrow cobblestone streets and if you’re lucky, you may see a woman in full traditional geisha regalia headed to one of the hidden, exclusive tea houses. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure to explore how you want. Perhaps you’ll stay in the Gion district to wander among its temples, shrines, traditional shops and charming cafes. Or, you could make your way to the Nishiki Market, where colourful stalls are filled with fresh foods and local specialities, like pickles, dried seafood, and sushi.
Day 8: Kyoto
Begin your day at Arashiyama bamboo forest. Set out among the towering bamboo stalks that shade the forest paths and gently sway in the breeze. Depart for Kinkakuji (UNESCO), the Golden Pavilion, a Zen temple whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Once the lavish retirement home of a shogun, it was converted to a Zen temple in the 1400’s. It has survived wars, been rebuilt after fires, and still stands as an impressive piece of historic architecture. Later, visit the Women’s Association of Kyoto in a traditional Kyoto town house. Here, delve into a wide array of enlightening Japanese activities, guided by your knowledgeable hostess. Sip different sakes, try your hand at making sushi, fold intricate origami shapes, and speak to your hostess about Japan, its culture, and women’s roles in this complex society.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 9: Kyoto - Mt. Koya
This morning, explore Fushimi Inari Taisha for a glimpse into the most revered shrine of Inari. Follow the rows of orange torii that weave through the forest, leading you to the inner shrine. Then, head for the mountain village atop Mount Koya. A special and sacred site, Mount Koya is filled with shrines, temples, and monasteries. Settle into your accommodation for the night – a traditional Japanese monastery, complete with sliding paper doors and tatami mats. Meet with one of the monks of the temple and learn about life there before sitting down for dinner, where you’ll eat a vegetarian meal, featuring tempura-fried favorites. This evening, join a monk as they walk you into the heart of the awe-inspiring Okunoin Cemetery, and make your way to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. Kobo Daishi hasn’t passed on – Buddhist belief says he waits in eternal meditation, answering the calls of those who would pray to him.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 10: Mt. Koya – Hiroshima
If you so choose, you can rise in the early morning to join the Buddhist monks in prayer. Sit in the serenity of the temple shrine as the monks ring their gongs, chant, burn incense, and centre themselves for the activities of the grand day ahead. Then, you’ll once again board the shinkansen bullet train and be whisked away to Hiroshima. Enjoy lunch at a local cooking studio, where you’ll learn how to make the famous Japanese okonomiyaki, or savoury pancake, a favourite of Hiroshima residents. After, visit the Peace Memorial Park, and pause to see the ruined Atomic Dome (UNESCO), a sobering reminder of the devastation caused by the dropping of the atomic bomb during World War II. Reflect at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Day 11: Hiroshima
Head back to the Peace Park and Memorial Museum this morning for a powerful impact moment, a meeting with someone who experienced the devastating effects of the Atomic bomb firsthand. They’ll talk about what it was like to live in Japan during that time, the aftermath of that terrible day, and how they keep the memories of those who were lost alive. After, board a ferry for the short trip to Miyajima Island, or “Shrine Island” (UNESCO). Famous for the Itsukushima Shrine and its mythic O-torii Gate standing proudly in the water.
Day 12: Hiroshima – Osaka
Today, journey to your final destination, the energetic city of Osaka. Set out on a walking tour through the famous Dotonbori district. From shopping, to dining, to nightlife, Dotonbori has it all – bathed in the neon glow of huge electric signs. Learn why Osaka is known as the “Kitchen of Japan” as you sample its famous and delicious street food. Tonight, sit down and say your fond farewells to your travel companions at a farewell dinner. Raise a cup of sake and toast to the colourful spirit of Japan, and the adventures you’ve had.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 13: Osaka - Tour Ends
Take a quiet moment to reflect on all the new memories you have created before heading home.
Want to stay longer or arrive early speak to one of our travel consultants today.
Terms & Conditions
Prices listed are per person in Australian/New Zealand Dollars, based on twin occupancy, including all discounts unless otherwise stated. Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice. Prices/Offers are correct as at 31 August 2023 and can be withdrawn without notice. Hotels may charge resort fees not included in this package, payable direct upon check in. Visas are not included. Flight credit is applicable on airline of choice, subject to availability and subject to the carriers’ flight schedules and conditions. Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge.