Golden Route Japan

Golden Route Japan

Walking the streets of Japan you will be amazed by the contrast between ultra modern buildings next to traditional temples, by the kids walking around in their self created fashion and an elderly lady in a traditional kimono. Japan is such a mix of contradictions that it is almost impossible to get your head wrapped around it. Finally you'll learn to just enjoy it.

These contrasts can been seen in various destinations of Japan. Tokyo is a highly polished metropolis known for high fashion and technical gadgets. Hakone is where you will see a slower side as you enjoy a kaiseki dinner at your hot spring ryokan inn. In Hiroshima you find peace in a city devastated by war. In Miyajima you will see the world is reborn and filled with beauty. You will then travel to Kyoto that has survived for 1200 years and is the home of Japanese traditional culture like tea ceremony and flower arranging. Finally you will find yourself in Osaka known as the kitchen of Japan and its down to Earth locals.

Japan is a land of contradictions but it works and it works well.

Independent tour
Open Dates
12 Days
1-12 people
3 star accommodations from US$3,850 (price can be reduced by skipping private guides)

4 star accommodations from US$4,850

5 star accommodations from US$6,900 (5+ star accommodations, private transfers and the like can also be arranged)

Your trip will be custom designed and arranged just for you so the per person price will vary. Prices are per person based on double occupancy.
Breakfast each morning and Dinners at your ryokan in Hakone and Miyajima
You will be met at Narita or Haneda Airport by a member of our staff who will take you to your first destination and hotel. Detailed materials as well as support from our experts in Japan will be available for this independent tour. No tour leader will be supplied.
Day 1 - Tokyo - (Airport Pick Up)

Your airport pick up will meet you at Narita or Haneda Airport and will take you to your hotel in Tokyo by public transportation. They will validate your JR Rail Passes, make seat reservations, answer any of your questions and hand you your pocket WIFI device to use during your trip. In the evening you will be free to have dinner as you like though your airport pick up will make a few recommendations. The train from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station will take approximately 65 minutes.

Day 2 - Tokyo - (Private Local Guide)

Your private local guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and will show you Tokyo. They will take you to sights that interest you and will also make suggestions. We can work on the sightseeing itinerary before you go to Tokyo to better tailor your sightseeing. Some places you might enjoy are Shinjuku, Harajuku, Asakura or many other options. Your guide will also make suggestions for things to do in the evening and the following day.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 - Tokyo - (Free Time)

One of the best ways to experience a culture is just to wander around and allow things to happen. Your guide from day 2 will give you some suggestions about where to go and what to do. They may even suggest a few places to eat for lunch. For dinner we can arrange for you to have dinner at one of Tokyo's many wonderful restaurants and you may want to try one of their many Michelin starred one.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 - Hakone - (Ryokan Inn)

After breakfast you will be going to Hakone, which is one of the finest hot spring resorts in Japan. This area has been popular as a hot spring resort for hundreds of years. Its natural beauty and abundance of hot spring baths make it an ideal spot to relax after spending time in the capital, just as feudal lords did hundreds of years ago. While in Hakone you will have the chance to walk parts of the old Tokaido highway which connected Edo (Tokyo) with Kyoto in times past, ride the scenic Tozan Railway through the mountains, and visit the breathtaking Lake Ashinoko. The train from Tokyo Station to Hakone Yumoto Station will take approximately 1 hour.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 5 - Hiroshima - (Free Time)

Hiroshima was the first city to ever experience an atomic bomb which physically destroyed it. The people of Hiroshima, however, rebuilt the city, filling it with charm and history. Hiroshima is also famous for its food, specifically Okonomiyaki which is a must try inexpensive lunch or dinner. While in Hiroshima you can visit the Peace Museum and Park, Shukkeien Garden, or the Hondori Shopping Arcade. The bullet train from Hakone to Hiroshima will take approximately 4 hours and 20 minutes.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 - Miyajima - (Ryokan Inn)

You will take a train and ferry to Miyajima, which literally means "shrine island", located in the Seto Inland Sea. It is considered to be a sacred place and it provides a stunning example of the ability of the Japanese people to seamlessly blend architecture with natural beauty. Deer and monkeys wander freely around Miyajima, especially on Mt. Misen, the tallest mountain on the island, where there is a good view of the Seto Sea. Here you will stay in a ryokan inn and be served a seafood kaiseki meal featuring oysters from the local sea. The train from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Port will take approximately 30 minutes.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7 - Kyoto - (Bullet Train to Kyoto)

Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan, is where the traditional Japanese ‘high arts’ flourished like tea ceremony, calligraphy, poetry, philosophy and religion. Numerous temples and shrines are located throughout the city and walking along canals, next to traditional wooden houses and through the small streets really gives you an idea of the ancient imperial culture. Kyoto also famous for its crafts: textile, kimono and pottery.

In Kyoto you can stay in a Hotel or Machiya Townhouse

Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 - Kyoto - (Private Local Guide)

Your private local guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and will show you Kyoto. Your guide will take you to Japan's most beautiful and historic temples and shrines, and you will walk down ancient streets where Japanese nobles strolled. There is too much to see and do but you want want to focus on Higashiyama to see Kiyomizudera, Gion to see geisha walking to their next appointment or head north to Kinkakuji. Your guide will work with you so you see the sights you are most interested in visiting. We can work on the sightseeing itinerary before you go to Kyoto to better tailor your sightseeing.

In Kyoto you can stay in a Hotel or Machiya Townhouse

Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 - Nara - (Free Time)

Nara is located in the central west of Honshu, the Japanese main island. Formerly known as Heijo-kyo, this city occupies an important position in the history of Japan as the first capital from 710 until 784. During this period, a large number of shrines and temples were erected under the protection of the imperial family and aristocrats. However, when the monks in the surrounding hills started gaining too much influence and eventually tried to seize power, it was decided to move the capital to Heian-kyo, nowadays known as Kyoto. Many of the temples built at the height of Heijo-kyo, like the Todai-ji and Horyuji temples, are currently registered as World Heritage Sites. Both Japanese and foreign tourists visit the city to see these temples, to walk among the free-roaming deer of Nara park or to visit some of the beautiful scenic mountains surrounding the city. The train from Kyoto Station to Nara Station will take about 45 minutes.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 - Osaka - (Free Time)

Osaka is most famous for its inhabitants and local cuisine. The people of Osaka are widely known for their outgoing spirit and friendliness and the local dialect has been adapted as the standard for stand-up comedians and actors. Osaka’s regional cuisine is thought to be the best in Japan. Dishes include okonomiyaki (a pancake-based dish containing vegetables, meat, and/or seafood), takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and udon noodles. The train from Kyoto to Osaka will take about 40 minutes.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 11 - Osaka - (Free Time)

Your private local guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and will show you Osaka. This city is filled with hidden gems that most tourists have no idea they exist like Doguyasuji Street for restaurant owners, Kuromon Ichiba local market street and Amemura. We can work on the sightseeing itinerary before you go to Osaka to better tailor your sightseeing.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 - - (Free Time)

Today you will take a train to Kansai Airport and then home with memories you will have for a lifetime.

Meals: Breakfast