Splendours of Japan
Splendours of Japan
Splendours of Japan
Splendours of Japan
Splendours of Japan
Splendours of Japan
Splendours of Japan
Splendours of Japan
Splendours of Japan

Splendours of Japan

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Sale price

Small Group Journey by Rail (min 4 / max 16 passengers)
English speaking local guides
13 Days ex Tokyo
Departs Sundays
2024 Departure Dates (Sundays)

Feb 18; Mar 24; Apr 14; May 19; Jun 02; Jul 01; Sep 15; Oct 06; Nov 03

2025 Departure Dates (Departs Sundays)
Feb 16; Mar 23; Apr 06, 27


Experience a captivating 13-day journey through the heart of Japan, seamlessly exploring the country's cultural treasures via its efficient and scenic rail network. Your adventure begins in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, where futuristic skyscrapers stand alongside historic shrines. Traverse the historic streets of Kanazawa, known for its beautifully preserved samurai districts and enchanting gardens. In Kyoto, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of ancient temples and traditional tea houses, while Okayama's serene landscapes and the iconic Korakuen Garden offer a tranquil interlude. Conclude your exploration in Osaka, a vibrant city renowned for its culinary delights and contemporary wonders.


  • Visit one of Tokyo's liveliest districts, Asakusa and discover colourful Sensoji Temple
  • Stroll through Hamarikyu Garden and sample matcha (green tea) and a Japanese sweet
  • Wander through Omiya Bonsai Village, and see the art of bonsai at the multiple nurseries and private gardens
  • See Tersahima Kurando House, home of a middle-rank samurai during the Edo period
  • Discover Kyoto's oldest Zen temple - Kenninji Temple, and Yasaka Shrine, one of the most famous in Kyoto
  • Attend a traditional tea ceremony to learn about the philosophy and art of serving tea
  • Visit Daitokuji Temple complex to experience the Zen culture and architecture
  • Explore Kurashiki, a preserved canal town, to see the storehouses which once stored rice and have now been converted into museums and cafes
  • Visit Osaka Castle to learn about its turbulent history
  • Take the Aqualiner and cruise along Okawa River for a unique perspective of the city

Day 1: Tokyo 

Upon arrival at Narita or Haneda Airport, you will be met by an English-speaking assistant at the arrival lobby. A shared shuttle bus will transfer you to your hotel where accommodation has been reserved for three nights. The remainder of the day is free at leisure to explore Tokyo independently. Overnight in Tokyo.

Day 2: Tokyo (B) 

Utilising Tokyo’s efficient public transportation, spend the day discovering the city’s highlights. Visit one of Tokyo’s liveliest districts, Asakusa and colourful Sensoji Temple. Board a boat to cruise on Tokyo’s Sumida River past the headquarters of some famous Japanese companies. Stroll through Hamarikyu Garden and sample matcha (green tea) accompanied by a Japanese sweet in the Floating Garden Pavilion.

Day 3: Tokyo – Omiya Bonsai Village (B) 

Take a short train ride to Omiya Bonsai Village, home to multiple bonsai nurseries and gardens. Learn the art of bonsai and view 1,000-year-old bonsai trees at the Bonsai Art Museum. Dedicated to the Shinto god of the sea and storms, visit Hikawa Shrine rumoured to be over 2,000 years old. Return to visit Tokyo’s most famous Shinto shrine, Meiji Jingu before wandering the tree-lined avenue of Omotesando.

Day 4: Tokyo – Kanazawa (BL) 

Travel by train to Kanazawa with a bento box lunch en-route. See Tersahima Kurando House, home of a middle-rank samurai during the Edo period. Stroll through Kenrokuen Garden, the most famous landscaped garden in the city. Visit DT Suzuki Museum with its buildings and gardens based on Zen philosophy. Return for an evening at leisure. Stay the next two nights in Kanazawa.

Day 5: Kanazawa (B) 

Today you will have the day at leisure to further explore Kanazawa. Or, choose to join an optional day tour to Shirakawago with its unique ‘gassho’ style buildings, and Takayama’s quiet streets and old-world ambience.

Day 6:  Kanazawa - Kyoto (B)

Board the train to Kyoto. In the afternoon, visit the mountain complex of Fushimi Inari Shrine. Walk through the thousands of vermilion coloured torii which line kilometres of mountain paths. Stay the next three nights in Kyoto.

Day 7: Kyoto (B)  

Discover Kyoto’s highlights on a walking tour. Begin at Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple, Kenninji Temple then continue to Yasaka Shrine, one of the most famous in Kyoto. Experience a traditional tea ceremony and learn about the philosophy and art of serving tea. Wander the shophouses Ninenzaka before visiting Kodaiji Temple with its lavish buildings and beautiful gardens.

Day 8: Kyoto (B)

In the morning visit Kyoto’s lesser-known temples and Zen gardens at Daitokuji Temple complex. Visit atmospheric Koto-in known for its maple trees, Ryogen-in with the world’s smallest Zen Garden and Zuiho-in’s dry landscapes. Afternoon at leisure to explore the city.

Day 9: Kyoto – Okayama (B) 

Take the train to Okayama. Visit Korakuen, one of Japan’s best landscaped gardens, featuring streams, paths and spacious lawns which are a unique feature. Located across the river from the gardens, continue to the six storey Okayama Castle or ‘Crow Castle’ for its black exterior. Remainder of the day at leisure. Stay the next two nights in Okayama.

Day 10: Okayama (B) 

Visit Kurashiki, a preserved canal town. Stroll along the historic tree-lined streets or spend some time in the many art museums. You may choose to take an optional boat ride along the canals before returning to Okayama for an evening at leisure.

Day 11: Okayama - Osaka (B) 

From Okayama, travel by train to Osaka where there will be some free time on arrival. In the afternoon visit Osaka Castle to learn about its turbulent history. Board the Aqualiner and cruise along Okawa River to see the city from a unique perspective. The evening is at leisure. Spend the next two nights in Osaka.

Day 12: Osaka (BD) 

Today is a free day to discover Osaka. Visit the fascinating Osaka Museum of Housing & Living or perhaps see the city from above at the 173- metre Umeda Sky Building. This evening there will be a farewell group dinner in the Dotonbori Area.

Day 13: Osaka (B) 

After breakfast, it is time to say goodbye.   Make your own way to the train station where your Japan Rail Pass can still be used for travel on the JR Rail Network.


  • 12 nights hotel accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 1 dinner)
  • Meet and greet at Tokyo Narita or Haneda Airport
  • Transfer from Narita or Haneda Airport on Day 1 by regular departure shuttle
  • Transfer to Osaka Airport on Day 13 (included in 14-Day JR Rail Pass)
  • 14-Day Japan Rail Pass
  • High-speed trains
  • Public transport on day tours
  • Sightseeing as specified including entrance fees
  • English-speaking local guides for included sightseeing tours
  • Luggage transport
  • Japan Travel Notes – issued by Innovative Travel


  • International airfares
  • Optional tours and excursions
  • Porterage
  • Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Departure taxes
  • Hotel charges for minibar or any extra charges
  • Visas (unless specified)
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
Accommodation based on the following or similar.
The hotel selection may change – please use this as a guideline only.


Shinjuku Washington Hotel


Kanazawa Manten Hotel


Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo


Mitsui Garden Hotel Okayama


Sheraton Miyako Hotel

The hotels specified offer the facilities you need to feel at home, even when you're away from it. In some provincial areas, facilities may be more limited. Where possible, hotels are chosen for local history, style and charm, and always for location.
Double rooms can be requested however on occasions this may not be possible and a twin room will be provided.
Hotel room sizes in Japan (especially single rooms) are relatively small by international standards.
Some tours include a stay at a traditional 'ryokan' inn. In this style of accommodation, you will sleep on a futon mattress on a tatami mat floor, however you will still have basic private bathroom facilities.

Dress Code
There is no strict dress code for visiting Japanese temples and shrines however modest/conservative clothing (to show respect at a place of worship) is recommended. Men: long pants. Women: skirt of long pants and shoulders covered.
Hats are to be removed and you may be required to take off your shoes when entering temple buildings.

You will be required to carry your own luggage at times as porters are not available - you should also be capable of carrying your own bags on and off transport, and up and down stairs. It is strongly recommended that you travel with luggage with wheels and a handle for your comfort.

Luggage courier services are used because most Japanese trains (with the exceptions of the Narita Airport Express servicing Tokyo's Narita Airport, and the Haruka Express servicing Kansai Airport) do not have luggage compartments. Your day-by-day itinerary will note when your main piece of luggage is couriered to an advance destination. Please make sure to bring a smaller luggage bag for over-nighting on nights when you will be separate from your main piece of luggage.

Rail travel is a significant feature of the Japan Small Group Journeys. Japan has one of the most efficient and comfortable rail systems in the world. Trains run on time, almost all the time, and attendant service standards are immaculate. Japan is home of course to the famous shinkansen ‘bullet trains’ which can travel over 300 kilometres per hour (186 miles per hour) and you may travel on some of these. For all these reasons trains are used to cover longer distances in Japan. Your Small Group Journey includes a Japan Rail Pass, which will be provided to you at tour commencement and which you will use to board inter-city trains. As tourist numbers are increasing rapidly, the Central Japan Railway Company has implemented the advanced oversized baggage reservation to ensure the security, safety and convenience of all passengers.

All sightseeing tours require a moderate amount of walking around historical / cultural sites. A good level of fitness will ensure you get a maximum enjoyment from your visit.

Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. All featured tour itineraries and offers may be subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are available in some destinations for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.

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