Grand Tour of Japan 18 Days

$7,299.00

Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Mount Fuji, Hakone, Shizuoka, Kamakura, Tokyo, Nikko, Nagano, Kurobe Alpine Route, Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Takayama, Nagoya

Nexus Holidays provides travellers an immersive experience in Japanese culture and lifestyle to go with the sights on your unforgettable trip to Japan.

We would love for our customers to experience Japanese culture & history. We will spend a few nights of the tour in a traditional Japanese hotels, sleeping on rice straw mattresses called tatami. You will also visit restaurants on this tour where it is customary to remove shoes and be seated at low tables called kotatsu. All part of the Japanese experience!

End of Oct through early Nov is the best time to see crimson leaves in autumn.
NOTE: Crimson autumn leaves are highly seasonal and subject to climatic conditions from year to year. These are historically the best times to view the autumn leaves, but we can’t guarantee that you see them on these dates.

Highlights:

  • Pray for your fortune at the World Heritage listed Kiyomizu-dera Temple
  • Feed the gentle sika deer at Nara Park
  • Race to Mount Fuji on a high speed Shinkansen bullet train
  • Drink from clear springs at the foothills of Mount Fuji
  • Loosen your muscles overnight at a traditional hot spring hotel
  • Explore the bustling capital Tokyo, boisterous night life & hearty street food
  • Uncover the majestic seasonal colours along the Kurobe Alpine Route
  • Spot wild snow monkeys bathing in hot springs in Jigoku Valley
  • Explore ancient architecture in UNESCO World Heritage sites Nikko and Shirakawa-Go
  • Walk through thousands of red torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Learn the about Japan's world-leading technology at the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
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Guaranteed Departure Dates

2017 Departures Package Price Single Supplement
20 Jun
24 Oct* From $7,299 $2,000
01 Aug*
07 Nov
2018 Departures
08 May 31 Jul*
19 Jun 23 Oct*

Package Inclusions:

  • Economy class international airfares, taxes and fuel surcharges departing Sydney or Melbourne, flying with China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines or Air China
  • 15 nights 4 star hotel accommodation
  • Meals as indicated
  • Bullet train from Kyoto to Mount Fuji with coach luggage transfer from hotel to hotel
  • Coach transportation and transfers
  • Admission to scenic attractions
  • English speaking tour guide(s)

Package Exclusions:

  • Tipping and gratuities prepaid in Australia: $280
  • Optional recommended programs
  • Optional tour extensions
  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Personal expenditure and anything not stated

Optional Pre-Tour Extension

Enchanting South Korea 6 Nights

From $1,499 pp. twin share

Seoul, Mount Seorak, Andong, Gyeongju

Immerse yourself on an incredible journey covering two fascinating countries, Japan and South Korea. Discover South Korea’s capital city, Seoul. Seoul is Korea’s financial, political, commercial and cultural centre with over 600 years of history. Travellers can explore the many archaeological sites and temples before enjoying the beautiful natural landscapes this country has to offer.

Tour Highlights:

  • Stroll through the Changdeokgung Palace grounds
  • Gaze into North Korean territory at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ)
  • Immerse yourself in the bustling crowds of Myeongdong
  • Explore the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom, Gyeongju
  • Experience the serenity of Seokguram Grotto

For details, please click here.

Optional Self-Guided Pre-Tour Extension

Hiroshima 2 Nights

From $720 pp. twin share

Hiroshima is a popular destination in Japan, famous for the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Sites – Itsukushima Shrine and the Atomic Bomb Dome.

Tour Highlights:

  • Take a cruise to Itsukushima Shrine, best known for its “floating torii” on the sea, the gate to Itsukushima. The beautiful torii gate stands in the water when it is high tide. When it is low tide, you may walk though it.
  • Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome and Museum to learn the history of Hiroshima.

For details, please click here.

Tokyo Optional Programs

Tokyo Disneyland Day Ticket

Tokyo Disneyland
$120

Tokyo Disneyland is a 115-acre (47 ha) theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, near Tokyo. Its main gate is directly adjacent to both Maihama Station and Tokyo Disneyland Station. It was the first Disney park to be built outside the United States, and it opened on 15 April 1983. The park has seven themed areas: the World Bazaar; the four classic Disneylands: Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland; and two mini-lands: Critter Country and Mickey’s Toontown. Many of the games and rides in these areas mirror those in the original Disneyland as they are based on American Disney films and fantasies. Fantasyland includes Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and more based on classic Disney films and characters.
Tokyo DisneySea Day Ticket

Tokyo DisneySea
$120

Tokyo DisneySea is a 176-acre (71.22 ha) theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, just outside Tokyo. It opened on September 4, 2001. Tokyo DisneySea attracted an estimated 14 million visitors in 2013, making it the fourth-most-visited theme park in the world. In 2002 Tokyo DisneySea won a Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association for the concept, design, and construction of the theme park. The award was presented at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA. Tokyo DisneySea was the winner of the 2012-2015 Theme Park Insider Awards “Best theme park”. There are seven uniquely themed areas or “ports of call”. The entrance to the park is Mediterranean Harbour, which opens up to six more nautically themed ports: American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island.
Robot Restaurant

Robot Restaurant Japan
$100

Not just any restaurant and bar, Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant is most famous for its late night robot-themed dancing and battle shows. Behold an outrageous and electrifying live spectacle featuring Japanese taiko drum performances as well as mock battles between bikini-clad dancing girls, giant robotic dinosaurs, cyborgs, ninjas and a host of other bizarre characters, staged in a theatrical LED-fitted room bursting with kaleidoscopic neon-lit laser beams, virtual fieworks, explosions and energetic techno music. This sensory overload is Japanese pop culture at its wackiest and is exclusive to Japan. Please choose from the times below: 17:55, 19:50 or 21:45~ $100/person for show tickets. Please enquire if you wish to add a meal package. (* Please be there at least 30 minutes before the show)
Tea Ceremony (30 minutes)

Tea Ceremony
$55

The Japanese tea ceremony is a traditional ritual influenced by the principles of Zen Buddhism in which powdered green tea, or matcha, is prepared and served to a small group in a quiet setting. Traditional Japanese confectionary is often served to balance out the bitter taste of the green tea.
Highlights:

  • Learn the process of the Japanese tea ceremony from a qualified tea instructor
  • Learn which utensils to use to prepare green tea in a traditional Japanese room (tatami)
  • Discover the customs, culture and hospitality of the Japanese people

Physical considerations: Tea ceremony is performed in a kneeling position (seiza) on the floor. This puts pressure on your knees and ankles. Please be cautious of joining this optional program if you have a condition that prevents you from kneeling on the floor for a short period of time.

Optional: $130 – Wear traditional Japanese garment (kimono) and experience a tea ceremony
Pottery Making Experience (60 minutes)

Pottery Making
$99

Pottery is one of the oldest art forms, and earthenware tradition in Japan are believed to have started around 12,000 years ago. Today, there are thousands of potters who make a living out of producing pottery-wares across the country. The pottery produced in each region varies in design because of the type of clay found there.

Highlights:

  • Try your hand at making your own cup or bowl by using a spinning wheel and clay.
  • Receive a pre-made sake cup made by the instructors as a souvenir.
Golden Joinery (60 minutes)

Golden Joinery
$109

Learn the art of golden joinery (kintsugi or kintsukuroi), a technique of repairing broken cups, bowls, or plate using lacquer resin laced with gold powder. As a philosophy the mended flaws become part of the object’s design. The result is that the object looks more beautiful than the original after being broken and repaired.

Highlights:

  • Mend broken cups, bowls or plates using powdered gold.
  • Take home the object you repaired as a unique souvenir.
Kimono Photo Shoot (60 minutes)

Kimono Photo Shoot
Male $100, Female $120

The kimono is the traditional dress of Japan and is representative of its culture and heritage. The dress consists of a long robe with wide sleeves that is usually made of various materials and patterns. Today the kimono is only worn sparingly, on formal occasions such as weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies or other special events. Take part in a memorable photo shoot at a studio where you can dress up in a kimono of your choice. You can take photos with your own camera or you may choose to purchase a photo package plan from the photographers.

Highlights:

  • Dress up in a kimono of your choice for the photo shoot.
  • Have your photos taken for free with your own camera or purchase the photos from the professional photographers.
Cooking Class (120-180 minutes)

Cooking Class
$129 Popular!

Japanese cuisine (washoku) is well known for its refined taste and elegant presentation. Take part in a Japanese cooking experience and learn from one of Tokyo’s most popular cooking instructors whose book has been published in English. Bring home with you a set of new cooking skills and culinary techniques that will leave your friends and family impressed.

Highlights:

  • Learn to cook different types of Japanese foods, such as sushi, soup and various side dishes.
  • Learn the ingredients, culinary techniques and methods used in creating home made Japanese dishes.
  • Enjoy your own cooked dish for lunch.

Note:

  • Transportation is not included. However, optional program venues are located in the easily accessible Tokyo CBD.
  • You may join up to 2 programs per day.
  • Optional programs are subject to availability and must be booked more than 1 month before departure.

Hotel Accommodation

Osaka Kansai Airport Washington Hotel local rating or similar
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Kyoto Kyoto Shin Hankyu Hotel (off peak only) local rating or similar
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O-machi Onsen Hotel Karamatsu-so (tatami bedding) local rating or similar
Tonami Tonami Royal Hotel (tatami bedding) local rating or similar
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Take an international flight from Australia to Osaka via a connecting city.
(Note: Some flights may depart one day later.)
Arrive in Osaka. Your friendly tour guide will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to the airport hotel.

Visit Todaiji Temple, with its Great Buddha Hall housing the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. Wander through Nara Park, where over 1,200 wild sika deer roam free, before travelling to Osaka. Visit Osaka Castle, which played a major role in the unification of Japan during the the Azuchi-Momoyama period in the sixteenth century, before being dropped off at Dōtonbori, which exemplifies Osaka’s vibrant food culture.

Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate and Kinkakuji: Golden Pavilion, a Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold and detailed architecture incorporating three distinct architectural styles of Shinden, Samurai, and Zen. Cap off your day at the UNESCO World Heritage Kiyomizu-dera Temple and drink to your fortune from the streams of the Otowa Waterfall.
Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion
Today, visit Togetsu Bridge, the landmark of Western Kyoto’s Arashiyama District for over four hundred years. Explore Sagano Bamboo Forest on the outskirts of Kyoto, where towering green stalks of the famously versatile plant sway in the wind, creaking eerily as they collide and twist, leaves rustling. After lunch, travel onwards to Mount Fuji by bullet train (Max. speed 320km/h).
Sagano Bamboo Forest
Today, visit Oshino Hakkai. Known as the Springs of Mount Fuji, the eight ponds are fed by melting snow filtering down from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji through porous layers of lava, resulting in very clear spring water that is revered by the locals. Later visit Mount Fuji‘s 5th Station, which is above the clouds, to view its enormous summit if weather permits. (Alternatively visit Gotemba Peace Park to capture a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji, and Hakone Checkpoint, which used to be an important checkpoint on the highway connecting Kyoto to Tokyo in the Edo period. Take a cruise on Lake Ashi, and savour the numerous delights of nature. Today’s last stop is Owakudani Valley, an active volcanic zone with hot springs and hot spring rivers.
Today, visit a Japanese Beer Factory to taste one of most popular Japanese beers, then visit Odawara Castle. Also travel to Kamakura and visit Daibutsu, the ‘great Buddha’ which is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, surpassed only by the statue in Nara’s Todaiji Temple. After, explore Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine which was established by fist Shogun (general) in the Kamakura period which stands alone due to its vivid colouration.
Spend today free at your own leisure. You may spend a day in Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea (admission $120). Or alternatively, you can join our wide range of optional programs (tea ceremony, pottery-making experience, golden joinery, kimono photo shoot, cooking class). All activities are not guided and transportation is self-arranged.
Tokyo
Visit Meiji Shrine in the morning, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Later, stroll through the Asakusa Kannon Temple, one of Tokyo’s most colourful and popular temples, and browse for souvenirs at Nakamise Shopping Street. Relax on Sumida River Cruise. Your last stop today is Tokyo Tower, before heading to a hotel near Narita Airport.
Meiji Shrine
Today’s drive this morning takes you to Nikko, an ancient town surrounded by deciduous cedar trees and majestic waterfalls. Visit the fascinating Nikko Toshogu, a UNESCO World Heritage site well known for its distinctive architecture with elaborate wood carvings and gold leaf decorations. Continue on to Kegon Waterfall (about 100 metres high) set against the stunning backdrop of the greater Nikko National Park. Make a stop at Lake Chuzenji and be astounded by its natural scenery before returning to the hotel this evening to relax and unwind in a hot spring at Kinugawa Onsen.
Kegon Waterfall
This morning, the drive towards Karuizawa will take you through the majestic highlands of Nagano prefecture. On arrival, visit the main shopping street in Kyu-Karuizawa lined with stores selling a variety of local speciality products. Karuizawa was once the summer resort for a Canadian missionary who frequented the area in the late 1800s. Many of the town’s buildings thereafter, such as the chapels and cottages, are distinctly European in style. After lunch, travel to the famous Jigoku Valley Monkey Park, where you can see wild snow monkeys bathe in hot springs all year round.
Monkey in springs
After breakfast, visit Hokusai Museum to discover the great Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), one of Japan’s leading painters. Hokusai was most famous for his ‘Thirty six views of Mt Fuji’ paintings, and has gone on to influence many talented artists like Vincent van Gogh. Today’s special highlight is a soba noodle making experience. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour. Learn how to create and roll dough, and then slice it into thin soba noodles using a special knife. Enjoy your own noodles for lunch. Continue on to Zenkou Temple, one of the largest Buddhist temples in Japan with an astounding history that spans over 1,400 years. Afterwards, partake in a sake tasting experience. Sake (rice wine) is a speciality in this region due to the abundant rice fields and clear waters nearby.
Soba Noodles
The drive along Kurobe Alpine Route is picturesque and the scenery varies depending on the season. In winter, you can witness massive snow walls that reach up to 20m in height. A visit in spring and summer will see the mountainside enveloped in lush, verdant alpine plants and flowers. In autumn, trees are ablaze with a stunning blend of orange, yellow and red leaves. On arrival, travel through the mountains using ropeways, cable cars, and buses. A must-visit in this region is Kurobe Dam, one of the world’s largest man-made structures seamlessly blended in with the natural beauty of the Northern Alps. Afterwards, stop by Mikuriga Ponds and be fascinated by the mysterious pristine blue waters of the volcanic lake.
Kurobe Dam
Travel onwards to Kanazawa, which was once a castle town, established around 300 years ago. Visit Buke Yashiki (samurai house) and discover how higher-ranked samurai lived in feudal society during the Edo period (1603-1867). Later, wander through the streets of Higashi Chaya, a district lined with quaint old buildings that were once teahouses frequented by geisha (traditional Japanese female entertainers) and their guests. Next, visit Kenroku Garden, regarded as one of the country’s most elegant Japanese gardens that combines the six qualities of a perfect garden: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, water features, and panoramas. The last stop for today is Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage site where 114 Gassho-style houses (steeply-pitched roofs in the shape of a triangle) built many hundreds of years ago stand together in a natural setting.
Shirakawago
Takayama is an atmospheric and historic town and many of its streets still retain a traditional feel dating back to the late 17th century. Enjoy breakfast before you set out on a light morning stroll through Takayama’s local food market lined with stands that sell local crafts, assorted snacks and fresh seasonal products direct from the farms. Afterwards, visit Takayama Jinya (historical government house) that was under control by the powerful Tokugawa Shogunate. Beside the main building you will find a large rice storehouse. Have lunch at Sanmachi, before you bid farewell to Takayama. Drive to Nagoya and visit the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Here you will learn about the history of Toyota as a textile machinery manufacturer, and how it became a successful mass exporter and manufacturer of automobile and automotive technology, including robots.
Takayama Jinya
Today’s morning visit is to Nagoya Castle, which was constructed by order of the Tokugawa Shogun in 1612. This castle is famous for shachihoko, a pair of golden fish ornaments nested on top of the castle roof. Bid farewell to Nagoya and travel to Kyoto to see the visually arresting Fushimi Inari Shrine. This shrine is most famous for its thousands of bright vermilion torii gates surrounded by a dense wooded forest. The shrine is dedicated to the Shinto god of rice and sake and features dozens of statues of foxes; foxes were once believed to be special messengers. Your last stop for today is Umeda Skygarden where you can relax and catch a beautiful evening/night view of Osaka city.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Travel to Kansai International Airport for your flight(s) to Australia.
Arrive home this morning.

Optional Pre-Tour Extension

Enchanting South Korea 6 Nights

From $1,499 pp. twin share

Seoul, Mount Seorak, Andong, Gyeongju

Immerse yourself in an incredible journey covering two fascinating countries, Japan and South Korea. Discover South Korea’s capital city, Seoul. Seoul is Korea’s financial, political, commercial and cultural centre with over 600 years of history. Travellers can explore the many archaeological sites and temples before enjoying the beautiful natural landscapes this country has to offer.

Tour Highlights:

  • Stroll through the Changdeokgung Palace grounds
  • Gaze into North Korean territory at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ)
  • Immerse yourself in the bustling crowds of Myeongdong
  • Explore the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom, Gyeongju
  • Experience the serenity of Seokguram Grotto

For details, please click here.

Optional Pre-Tour Extension

Hiroshima 2 Nights

From $720 pp. twin share

Hiroshima is a popular city in Japan famous for the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Sites – Itsukushima Shrine and Atomic Bomb Dome.

Tour Highlights:

  • Take a cruise to Itsukushima Shrine best known for its “floating torii” on the sea, the gate to Itsukushima. The beautiful torii gate stands in the water when it is high tide. When it is low tide, you may walk though torii gate.
  • Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome and Museum to learn the history of Hiroshima.

For details, please click here.