JP1 Japan By Rail Tour
Tokyo • Hakone • Takayama • Kyoto • Hiroshima
National Museum; Kamakura: Great Buddha; Bullet Train to Hakone; Hakone Outdoor Museum; Historic Takayama; Kyoto: Temples & shrines; Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Park
- DATES & PRICES
- FULL ITINERARY
- MAP & HOTELS
- TRIP INFORMATION
Dates & Prices
Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.
|Start Date||End Date||Price||More Info|
|Wed 16 Oct 2019||Mon 28 Oct 2019||$5270 USD|
|Mon 30 Mar 2020||Sat 11 Apr 2020||$5270 USD|
|Sat 17 Oct 2020||Thu 29 Oct 2020||$5270 USD|
|Sat 24 Oct 2020||Thu 05 Nov 2020||$5270 USD|
Optional Single Supplement: $877 USD (number of singles limited).
From its humble beginnings as a small, 16th century castle town, Tokyo - or Edo as it was then known - soon became one of the planet's most populous cities and has since been holding high prominence in the league of the world's most significant, influential and alluring metropolitan areas.
Our Japan by Rail tour visits the central wholesale market, which is the largest in the world, and the beautiful Imperial Palace, complete with its mazes of moats, bridges, cul-de-sacs, parks and gardens.
In Kamakura, slightly south of the capital, we find grand monuments, shrines and temples nestled snugly amid wooded hillsides and it is here that we can gaze upon the bewitching spectacle of the statue of the Great Buddha, the second-largest bronze image in the country.
Come morning, we take to the tracks on the 'bullet train', bound for the forested mountains, deep glens and picturesque ravines of the Hakone region, where we can opt to enjoy stunning vistas from a cable car up Mount Fuji.
Our rail experience continues on to Takayama, a region whose geographic features have resulted the unique cultural evolution of its inhabitants, and on through the scenic Hida River Valley.
In Kyoto, we see the 1,001 life-size statues of the Buddhist teacher Kannon; in Nara, we get a taste of the pervading air of spirituality and mysticism that envelops the area; and in Hiroshima, we visit the Peace Memorial Park and enjoy the sights and sounds of a bustling city that overcame the devastation of five decades ago to become the most vital city of San-Yo.
Bernard P. (Toronto, ON, CA)
The entire itinerary was very enjoyable. All our local guides were knowledgeable and personable. The transportation was organized, interesting and effective. One of the attraction for us was the fact that most of the transportation between locales was by train. The food surpassed our expectations. Full credit must be given to our tour leader for putting so much effort into selecting a wide variety of restaurant types and all of high quality. Our tour leader was He was fun to be with, easy going, knowledgeable, respectful, and resourceful. He was excellent.
Doris B. (Arlington, MA, US)
I most enjoyed the ancient religious sites, especially Kyoto and Nara. Loved the open air sculpture museum in Hakone. Both of the local guides were wonderful, especially Miae, whose fluency in English, liveliness and sense of humor were a pure delight. Narumi added some personal touches that gave a picture of family life in Japan. I'm thinking especially of the photo album she shared with us in which we see her children in school. Transportation was all fine. Love Japanese trains! The food was good and interesting. Our tour leader was incredibly energetic, articulate, knowledgeable, organized, and resourceful. He handled things so competently that none of us spent a moment worrying. The hotels were excellent. Tour was outstanding. Lived up to my expectations based on a previous trip with AA.
Fred H. (Huntington Beach, US)
Nothing less than EXCELLENT! I can't say enough about the sites, guides and their personalities, local knowledge, care of all their charges. We all agreed an OUTSTANDING trip!!!!!!!!Japanese cuisine..Hadn't eaten much of it in the past..ate and enjoyed it...All of it. Thank You. Many dishes, many different settings, ALL prepared in Japanese eating situations.How can I describe Stephen...Excellent is not high enough. He managed all our trips, all our personalities, from transportation to meal sites and did this with good cheer and specially with reverence to Japanese requirements. If anyone had a problem with food, question, early debarkation, transportation, missing member, train location and our abilities to navigate them.. they were immediately dealt with humor and positive support. He always double checked to make certain all was clear and acceptable with us.A VERY special Leader. Better than any we have ever had in the past.
Jan Z. (Oakland, CA, US)
Enjoyed all the excursions. Local guides were all good. Meals more than met expectations. Our tour leader Stephen did an excellent job of choosing different types of meals each night and made sure our group was separated from smoking and could sit comfortably. Stephen did an excellent job of guiding us everyplace. He's very knowledgeable, caring, and helpful. He really was excellent in every way.
Joy I. (Victoria. BC, CA)
The itinerary was excellent and I enjoyed Stephen Scroggings the primary guide very much-articulate, knowledgeable, thoughtful about our comfort and very good at managing the group dynamics. I was satisfied with the pace of the daily excursions and given that we were seeing some of the top attractions, I was amazed that we managed to be ahead of the crowds on many days. The combinations of transport were excellent.
Linda C. (Calgary, AB, CA)
Spring in Japan is absolutely magical; cherry blossom time is breathtakingly beautiful. The timing of this trip was perfect for cherry blossoms.
*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.
The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.
Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu
Right in the city heart, this hotel with its distinctive exterior is perfectly located for business and pleasure, served by ... subway lines and convenient to business, government, fashion and entertainment districts. A shopping arcade runs the length of the block-long building, with a variety of designer labels represented. Features: Satellite TV, telephone, refrigerator, hair dryer.
Click here to visit hotel website
Hotel Kajikaso - Ryokan
Hotel Kajikaso is proud to offer a wide range of Onsen Hot Springs facilities including, an open-air bathing area, a ... bathing area, and a large bathing spa with wooden bathtubs made of Hinoki (Japanese cypress). Exceptional Japanese cuisine is also another outstanding feature of Hotel Kajikaso, where you can enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine which fresh seafood from Sagami Bay.
Click here to visit hotel website
Hotel Associa Takayama Resort
Overlooking the Northern Japanese Alps, this upscale resort is 2 km from Takayama train station and 3 km from Shiroyama ... />
Click here to visit hotel website
Mitsui Garden Kyoto Sanjo
A 3-minute walk from a metro station, this unfussy hotel along a busy street is 17 minutes' walk from 17th-century ... Castle and 2 km from Yasaka Shrine.
Click here to visit hotel website
Breakfast and dinner (mostly at local restaurants) are included daily. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.
International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) air taxes, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals.
Seasonality and Weather
Our April tours can expect cool-warm temperatures with moderate humidity. April dates can expect daytime high temperatures of about 18-23 C (66-72 F), with chilly mornings and evenings. May will be a bit warmer, with highs to 26-28C (77-82 F) depending on daily conditions and location.
Our April date is also set to coincide with cherry blossom season (exact timing and location is reliant on weather conditions and can vary year to year). By May, the cherry blossoms give way to riotous azaleas that colourfully explode in hillsides, parks, gardens, and pretty much everywhere. Again, the timing of this can vary year to year, but the plant has a long blooming season so we should be able to enjoy in several places during this time.
Our fall dates coincide with the beginning of the cooler and drier time of year and should coincide with autumn leaf colour in some locations, as well as chrysanthemum season, which can be quite festive in some locales.
Rain showers can occur at any time, though their likelihood decreases the later we get into the fall which is a cooler/drier time of year.
Transport and Travel Conditions
Our primary means of transportation throughout Japan is via the very efficient rail system, including the famous Shinkansen, or Bullet Train. Distances are not great and most journeys are only a few hours duration. A combination of buses and taxis will be used elsewhere as part of our local sightseeing program.
The tour is physical in that it is busy and that YOU MUST BE ABLE TO MANAGE YOUR OWN BAGS ONTO/OFF TRAINS AND IN TRAIN STATIONS. Japanese stations can be large and crowded and may not have escalators or elevators. You must pack VERY lightly, preferably in "wheelie" type, soft-sided baggage or backpacks that you can fit into the overhead luggage compartments in the trains.
You must also be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and long days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces.
There is also a very strong culinary element to this trip. Breakfasts feature Asian as well as Western items, but our dinners out at local restaurants will feature a wide range of local specialties. Eating is very much a cultural experience in this part of the world, and this aspect of our program is an integral part of the overall experience. Though individual tastes and requirements will be taken into account by your leader who will be organizing our evening meals on-the-go, if you are strictly a meat-and-potatoes person, or a strict vegan/gluten-free etc, you may find your preferences significantly challenged on this tour.
Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.
All hotels are centrally-located, air-conditioned, 3-4 star standard with private bath facilities. We spend one night at a traditional Ryokan (in Hakone), which features tatami rooms and futon bedding. Laundry service is available at most hotels (except Hakone) for a rather high price. All hotel rooms are well equipped and usually include coffee/tea making facilities. Most hotels have hairdryers and irons. Some hotels have indoor/outdoor swimming pools.
NOTE: Specially designated non-smoking rooms are generally not available in Japan (they are unfamiliar with the concept). We automatically request non-smoking rooms wherever they are available, though we cannot promise this. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins.
Porters are generally available (see 'Inclusions').
Staff and Support
Tour Leader throughout, local guides at various locations.
10-18 (plus Tour Leader)
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