JAPAN Inspiration Gallery 11 Japan
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Seeking Ancient Japan: Follow in the footsteps of Stanley Stewart

11 days from £9,240 for 2024 per person

This itinerary follows in the footsteps of Stanley Stewart’s How To Spend It article “Taking it Izu

Japan: renowned for its pioneering technology, buzzing metropolises and quirky fashion trends. But equally as intriguing is her ancient history and rich culture. This itinerary will take you off the beaten path to the Izu Peninsula – a land of hot-springs, cloud-shredding peaks, empty coastal headlands and hospitality traditions unchanged for 400 years.

Begin in the heart of modern Japan, Tokyo, and explore the neon flashing streets and narrow passage ways of this often bewildering city. The following day experience pinpoint precision unlike anywhere else in the world, the bullet train, and start your journey in search of ancient Japan. The 39 minute journey will take you to Atami, the gateway to the Izu Peninsula. It is said that the peninsula is home to 2,300 hot-springs which have long provided respite for city dwellers in Japan, but are still rarely frequented by foreign visitors. At Asaba, one of Japan’s finest ryokans, enjoy long soaks in mineral-rich steaming waters, surrounded by a lush jungle of fern and bamboo, overlooked by towering moss-covered cliffs. The picture perfect peninsula also has its own microclimate so is one of the first places in Japan to see the cherry blossoms.

From Izu you will travel to Japan’s beating cultural heart of Kyoto. Home to 17 world heritage sites and leading in luxury textile design, as well as many other fine arts, Kyoto is also the best place to catch a glimpse of Geisha fluttering past in side streets. From Kyoto the bullet train will speed you to Kurashiki, and in no time you will be soaking up the surrounds of this historical, mercifully neon-free, canal town, with a laid back pace of life. With a stay at Ryokan Kurashiki, the hostess Nakamura-san will explain to you the traditions of 'omotenashi', Japanese hospitality with astonishing attention to detail and an impulse to anticipate and enhance the guest’s desires. The final part of your journey will take you to Kanazawa, home to a wealth of quintessentially Japanese crafts and customs. From sake breweries to textile studios, Kanazawa can easily be described as ‘little Kyoto’, and has some of the finest examples of original Edo-period architecture. Loop back to Tokyo for one final night before flying home.

This luxury tour is purely a suggested itinerary; it can be booked as it is or used as a starting point to create your own perfect tailor-made holiday to JapanIf you'd like to see similar trips, take a look at our collection of Active and Family-Friendly holidays; as well as our favourite Culinary Tours and Train itineraries.

Itinerary details

11 days from £9,240 for 2024 per person

  • Day 1 - Palace Hotel - Tokyo
    Arrive in Tokyo and private transfer from airport and half-day introductory tour. Afternoon at leisure.
  • Day 2 - Asaba - Izu Peninsula
    Morning bullet train to Atami and self-drive around Izu Peninsula. Arrive at Asaba for kaiseki dinner.
  • Day 3 - Asaba - Izu Peninsula
    Spend the day at leisure in the Asaba ryokan.
  • Day 4 - Suiran - Kyoto
    Morning drive to Atami and catch the bullet train to Kyoto. Half day privately guided tour of Arashiyama bamboo grove, temple and villa.
  • Day 5 - Suiran - Kyoto
    Full day privately guided tour of Kyoto.
  • Day 6 - Suiran - Kyoto
    Day at leisure in Kyoto.
  • Day 7 - Ryokan Kurashiki - Kurashiki
    Take the bullet train to Kurashiki, explore independently, dinner at ryokan.
  • Day 8 - Hotel Nikko Kanazawa - Kanazawa
    Take the train to Kanazawa and half-day guide tour on arrival; Kenrokuen gardens and 21st century art museum.
  • Day 9 - Hotel Nikko Kanazawa - Kanazawa
    Full day guided tour of Omicho market, Samurai area, Higashiyama old teahouse area and Seisonkaku villa.
  • Day 10 - Park Hyatt Tokyo - Tokyo
    Catch the bullet train back to Tokyo and spend the rest of day at leisure.
  • Day 11 - In transit.
    Transfer to the airport for your onward flight home.
Izu Japan 3 Izu Japan 3
Izu Japan 4 Izu Japan 4
Asaba Izu Peninsula Japan 9 Asaba Izu Peninsula Japan 9
Asaba Izu Peninsula Japan 5 Asaba Izu Peninsula Japan 5
Kyoto Japan 4 Kyoto Japan 4
Suiran Kyoto Japan 5  (1) Suiran Kyoto Japan 5  (1)
Kyoto Japan 18 Kyoto Japan 18
Ryokan Kurashiki Kurashiki Japan 5 Ryokan Kurashiki Kurashiki Japan 5
Ryokan Kurashiki Kurashiki Japan 4 Ryokan Kurashiki Kurashiki Japan 4
Ryokan Kurashiki Kurashiki Japan 6 Ryokan Kurashiki Kurashiki Japan 6
Kanazawa Japan 11 Kanazawa Japan 11
Kanazawa Japan 10 Kanazawa Japan 10
Kanazawa Japan 4 Kanazawa Japan 4
Kanazawa Japan 25 Kanazawa Japan 25
Kanazawa Japan 28 Kanazawa Japan 28
Kanazawa Japan 2 Kanazawa Japan 2
I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
Bill Bryson

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