Discover Japan

Japan is a country of captivating contrasts, where ancient gods rub shoulders with modern technology, skyscrapers give way to lush paddy fields and bustling crowds disperse into the tranquillity of a classical garden. This tour is the perfect introduction to this fascinating archipelago.

Places Visited

SA (1N) - Tokyo (2N) - Yatsugatake (1N) - Takayama (2N) - Kanazawa (1N) - Kyoto (3N) - Wakayama (1N) - Osaka (1N) - SA (1N)

tour duration 14 Days from
tour price 80,255
tour grade Moderate
tour type Group Tour
tour style Classic
Fully inclusive
Days 1-2 Fly to Tokyo
Fly overnight to the dazzling metropolis of Tokyo, Japan's capital city. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Day 3 Tokyo City Tour
Tokyo is the ultimate 24-hour city, but look behind its frantic, high-tech frontage and you'll find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore. Today's city tour starts on the observation deck of the 634-metre Skytree, the world's tallest tower, before seeking out the tranquillity of the ancient Buddhist Sensoji Temple, Tokyo's oldest. Discover Tokyo's historical heritage at the Imperial Palace Plaza. Later, stroll through the classical landscapes of Hamarikyu Garden. This evening, take a relaxed dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay for some excellent city vistas.
Day 4 Mt Fuji
Take the super-fast bullet train to Odawara. Enjoy a boat trip on Lake Ashi for spectacular panoramas of this beautiful area before venturing up the Komagatake Ropeway for amazing views back over the lake and Mt Fuji. Travel to Fuji Visitor Centre. Heading up to the 5th Station (weather permitting), take in the breathtaking views over the Fuji Five Lakes below.
Day 5 Matsumoto Castle
This morning, drive 2 hours to Nagano to explore the formidable 16th century Matsumoto Castle. After lunch, visit a sake brewery to learn about the process of making Japan's most revered liquor, before travelling a further 2 and half hours to Takayama, nestled high in the mountainous Hida region.
Day 6 Explore Takayama
Takayama has an air of old world Japan, particularly around its wonderfully preserved old town. Browse the local handicrafts and fresh produce at the Miyagawa morning market, wander past some of the lovely traditional houses and visit several of the excellent local museums – Takayama Festival Floats Museum, Kusakabe Folk Museum and Takayama Jinya.
Day 7 Shirakawago and Kanazawa
Get a glimpse of rural Japan at UNESCO-listed Shirakawago which is famous for its farmhouses built in the unique gassho-zukuri architectural style. Continue to Gokayama to experience washi paper making, then travel to Kanazawa and visit the Nomura Samurai House.
Day 8 Kenroku-en Garden
Meander through the beautiful Kenroku-en Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, before viewing the excellent art collection of the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, which only exhibits works produced since 1980. Transfer to Kyoto, capital city of Japan until 1879.
Day 9 Explore Kyoto
Kyoto was capital for a thousand years; today it is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens. This morning visit the Ryoanji Temple complex which means 'temple of the peaceful dragon'. Next visit the famous Kinkakuji, a Zen temple known as the 'Golden Pavilion', the top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Head to a restored Japanese wooden townhouse for a traditional handicraft experience (such as origami) and to enjoy the rituals of a tea ceremony.
Day 10 Discover Nara
Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, remarkable for its 10,000 torii (shrine gates). Later travel to Nara, a relaxed and charming town virtually untouched by the ravages of modernity. Home to many archetypal pieces of early art and architecture, you will stroll through Nara Park to Todaiji Temple, meeting the resident Sika deer en route, before exploring Isui-en Garden.
Day 11 Koya-San
This morning, drive 2.5 hours to Koya-San, the centre of Shingon Buddhism. See Okunoin, Japan's largest cemetery and home to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, founder of Shingon Buddhism. Next, visit the Kongobuji Temple and Garan temple complex. This evening, transfer to Osaka for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 12 Explore Osaka
In the morning, visit Osaka Castle before enjoying a 1-hour cruise along the Yodogawa River. Take a stroll around the Dotonbori district, a restaurant mecca, where you can sample delicious local delicacies. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure before a farewell dinner this evening.
Days 13-14 Fly Osaka to SA
Fly overnight to South Africa, arriving home the following day.

Also Available

Private Departures for this tour

If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Departure would be more ideal. Based on exactly the same itinerary as the group tour, our Private Departures give you the freedom to choose your own departure date and simply enjoy your holiday with your family, your partner, or your friends. On most Private Departures your tour will be led by an English speaking driver and you will be met by local guides at each site.

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 9884 888 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Additional Price Information:

Fully Inclusive and based on Johannesburg departures
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only price on request (Tokyo - Osaka)
Single room supplement from R11,292

Wendy Wu Tours, inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. If the hotels details below for your tour are not available, hotels of a similar standard will be used.

Shiba Park Hotel
Shiba Park Hotel - Tokyo, Japan (3 Nights)
star rating

Located in the vicinity of the famous Tokyo Tower and Zojoji Temple, guests can experience Japanese tradition at The Shiba Park Hotel. The hotel offers spacious en-suite rooms, with modern amenities including, free Wi-Fi, TV and a telephone. A laundry service, bar and massage parlour are just a few of the fantastic facilities on offer at The Shiba Park Hotel.

Takayama Green Hotel
Takayama Green Hotel - Takayama, Japan (2 Nights)
star rating

Situated a 15 minute walk away from The Old Town Takayama and Morning Markets, The Takayama Green Hotel offers guests a relaxing stay in one of their comfortable en-suite rooms, fitted with Wi-Fi, LCD TV and a mini bar. Guests can enjoy karaoke, browse in the on-site shops or work out at the fitness centre. The hotel’s restaurant offers tasty Japanese favourites and European-inspired cuisine.

Garden Hotel
Garden Hotel - Kanazawa, Japan (1 Nights)
star rating

Royal Park Hotel
Royal Park Hotel - Kyoto, Japan (3 Nights)
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Royal Park Hotel is a conveniently located hotel in Kyoto, with the excitement of the city centre only 0.1 km away. The hotel boasts 172 comfortable en-suite rooms, providing a warm and pleasant stay away from home, including modern comforts such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning and TV. Other features include a bar, laundry service and massage parlour.

Fukuchi-in - Koya, Japan (1 Nights)
star rating

Located at the heart of Mount Koya, Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin Shukubo offers Japanese-style accommodations in a historical Buddhist temple. The en-suite rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. Each comes with a safety deposit box and TV. Hotel facilities include a traditional garden, open air bath and gift shop.

Hotel Nikko
Hotel Nikko - Osaka, Japan (1 Nights)
star rating

Hotel Nikko Osaka is a deluxe hotel located in a prime area of central Osaka. The hotel faces the famous tree-lined Mido-suji Avenue, the city's main boulevard and home to the headquarters of major corporations and the city’s main shopping and leisure district. The hotel offers 635 modern en-suite rooms, all fitted with free Wi-Fi, TV and a seating area. Hotel Nikko Osaka also boasts an array of delicious international cuisine.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. To call the UK the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 44, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. To call Wendy Wu Tours it is 00 44 207 403 7860. Emergency 24 hour telephone (out of office hours) is 00 44 7984 041 625.
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are growing in popularity and you will find high quality coverage. There are active roaming agreements with all phone carriers; however SMS and call rates can be expensive. We recommend that you contact your mobile supplier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated costs before you leave the UK.
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and Japan is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure. In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is a combination of local and western food, usually served buffet style at the hotel you are staying in. Lunches and dinners consist of traditional cuisine and are served at reputable local restaurants. As is traditional in this region, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on the table for everyone to share so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
Drinks will be at each tour members’ own expense and paid for at the end of each meal. Beer is widely available and cheap. Western style wine is very expensive to import and is not widely available except at upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice or fruit juices from a trusted restaurant, where they will use boiled or bottled water.

Why Book This Tour?

This adventure is ideal for travellers with a reasonable amount of time to spend and who want to see the very best bits of Japan. We have designed the tour to make the most of the time available to showcase the key highlights of Japan and have incorporated travel by road to give the opportunity to see the beautiful Japanese countryside.



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