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 (3N) - Takayama (2N) - Kanazawa (1N) - Kyoto (3N) - Koya-San (1N) - Osaka (1N) - SA (1N)

tour duration 14 Days from
tour price 75,812
tour grade Moderate
tour type Group Tour
tour style Classic
Fully inclusive
Days 1-2 Fly to Tokyo
Fly overnight to the neon-lit metropolis of Tokyo, Japans capital city.
Day 3 Sensoji Temple
Take a city tour of Tokyo, starting with the Tokyo Sky Tree, the talelst structure in Japan. Afterwards visit the Sensoki Temple and the Hamarikyu Gardens. This evening, enjoy a cruise on the Sumida River for city vistas.
Day 4 Mt Fuji
Travel to Hakone, the gateway to Mt Fuji and head up to the 5th Station to enjoy the amazing views. Cruise on Lake Ashi and take the worlds second longest cable car up to Mt Owakudani where we can sample a hardboiled egg from the sulphuric hot springs for which Hakone is famous.
Day 5 Matsumoto Castle
Visit the magnificent Matsumoto Castle and then travel to Takayama, which is nestled high in the mountainous Hida region of Japan.
Day 6 Explore Takayama
Head to the Miyagawa morning market where we can purchase local crafts and sample the regions delicious fruit and vegetables. We then visit some of Takayama’s traditional houses and local museums including the Takayama Festival Floats Museum, Kusakabe Folk Museum and Takayama Jinya..
Day 7 Travel to Kanazawa
Journey to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Shirakawago, famous for its gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are over 250 years old. Continue to Kanazawa and visit the Nomura Samurai House, followed by a stroll through the Old District.
Day 8 Kenroku-en Garden
Stroll through Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japans top three gardens followed by a visit to the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. Later travel by coach to Kyoto, the former capital of Japan.
Day 9 Explore Kyoto
Visit Nijo Castle and one of Kyotos Zen temples, where we have the opportunity to take part in a meditation class with a Buddhist priest. Next, visit the famous Kinkakuji Temple, known as the Golden Pavilion. Head to a restored Japanese wooden townhouse where we learn about origami and calligraphy, witness the Japanese art of Ikebana and enjoy a tea ceremony. End the day with a visit to Kiyomizu Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stroll through Higashiyama District.
Day 10 Discover Nara
Travel to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan. Visit Todaiji Temple, the worlds largest wooden structure which is home to Japan’s largest Buddha. Later, visit the Isuein Gardens and stroll through Nara Park. Return to Kyoto stopping en-route at Fushimi Inari Shine, also known as 10,000 Torii Gates, which features in the film Memoirs of a Geisha.
Day 11 Koya-San
Journey to Koya-San, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, visit Kongobunji Temple and the Garan Temple complex. Okunoin is Japan’s largest cemetery and holds the mausoleum of the founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kobo Daishi. Walk to the mausoleum, passing 200,000 tombstones belonging to feudal lords and prominent monks on the way. Tonight we stay in a Buddhist Shukubo Temple Lodge and enjoy a traditional Shojin Ryori vegetarian dinner.
Day 12 Travel to Osaka
Rise early to witness the monks chant their morning prayers, followed by a traditional breakfast. Travel to Osaka, Japan’s third largest city, where we visit Osaka Castle and cruise along the Yodogawa River. This evening stroll down the restaurant mecca, Dotonbori, before our farewell dinner.
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

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)
star rating

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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