JAPAN Inspiration Gallery 11 Japan
Back to Listing

The Length of the Bullet Train Line in Japan

19 days from £8,950 per person

With two recent extensions of the line to Aomori in the north and Kagoshima in the south, the bullet train now runs the full length of Japan's two most populous islands Honshu and Kyushu. What better way to explore the stunning scenery and cultural heritage of Japan than by 'shinkansen' (high-speed bullet train), with some detours off the beaten track en-route?

For cherry blossom in late spring, a cooler start in summer or leaf-peeping in early autumn, start at the northern port of Aomori. With the ingenious Japan Rail Pass, one can visit 'haunted' Hakkoda mountain and its primeval vistas, or grand Hirosaki castle at no extra cost. It's a set of smooth, fast bullet trains ride south from here, but at each stop there are opportunities to go further than most westerners by using local transport.

Nyuto Onsen, tucked away in the mountains of northern Honshu, is one of Japan's oldest hot spring bathing spots. A night here takes one back in time to the days when Japan used thatched roofs and oil lamps. Further south, have the creature comforts of an upgrade city hotel in Sendai and use it as a base to explore the striking temples of Hiraizumi or those at Yamadera clinging to the mountain face. It's also easy to reach Matsushima Bay, a charming coastal spot in season and one of Japan's official top three views.

Next, spend time exploring the temple sights and natural beauty of Nikko national park. Mid-trip, take a draught of the Tokyo megalopolis before a breather in Mt Fuji national park. The traditional inns here are the last word in Japanese-style R&R, and the 'kaiseki' multi-course meals are delectable.

The cultural mecca of Kyoto is Japan's second city, but actually far smaller than Tokyo so one can have a decent stab at seeing the sights in a couple of days. Reach Hiroshima mid-morning thanks to the bullet train, leaving ample time to explore the Peace Park and iconic shrine with 'floating' gate on nearby Miyajima island.

The bullet train then whizzes on to Kumamoto, home of an impressive castle and a train ride from Mount Aso, the world's largest live volcanic caldera. Save the most bizarre for last, as the 1,000-year-old cedar trees and sprawling vegetation on Yakushima island envelop explorers in a lost world. For an enduring image of urban Japan's constant battle against the encroaching natural elements, visit Sakurajima volcano near Kagoshima which belches ash daily.

Japan Airlines connects via Tokyo and lands back at Heathrow the same day. We would expect nothing less from the most efficient nation on earth, yet nothing feels hurried on this epic exploration of Japan.

This luxury holiday is purely a suggested itinerary; it can be booked as it is or used as a starting point for creating your perfect tailor-made tour. If you would like to see similar trips, take a look at our collection of Japan itineraries.


Itinerary details

19 days from £8,950 per person

  • Day 1 - Hakkoda Hotel - Aomori
    Arrive in Tokyo for your onward flight to Aomori, at the northern tip of Honshu.
  • Day 2 - Hakkoda Hotel - Aomori
    Excursion to Hakkoda Mountain and Tashirotai marshlands, or Hirosaki Castle, using the included Japan Rail Pass.
  • Day 3 - Tsurunoyu - Nyuto Onsen
    Take the bullet train to Tazawako then local transport to Nyuto Onsen mountain hot springs.
  • Day 4 - Westin Sendai - Sendai
    Take the bullet train south to Sendai and optional afternoon excursion to Yamadera Temple Complex, Naruko Gorge, Hiraizumi Temples or Matsushima Bay today.
  • Day 5 - Westin Sendai - Sendai
    Optional day trips from Sendai using the included Japan Rail Pass.
  • Day 6 - Nikko Hotel Station Classic - Nikko
    Explore the temples and mausoleum of the Tokugawa Shoguns at Nikko.
  • Day 7 - Nikko Hotel Station Classic - Nikko
    Excursion to Chuzenji Lake plateau including Kegon, Ryuzu and Akechidaira waterfalls.
  • Day 8 - Mitsui Garden Ginza Premier - Tokyo
    Take the bullet train to Tokyo and a half day guided tour of Meiji Shrine, Harajuku teen fasion and Omotesando boutique stores.
  • Day 9 - Mitsui Garden Ginza Premier - Tokyo
    At leisure in Tokyo.
  • Day 10 - Yoshimatsu - Hakone
    Travel west to Mt Fuji National Park and stay in a quality traditional inn, half board', with luxury 'kaiseki' multi-course Japanese cuisine.
  • Day 11 - Royal Park Hotel - Kyoto
    Catch a morning bullet train two hours on to Kyoto, and have a privately guided orientation including some of the great city's treasures.
  • Day 12 - Royal Park Hotel - Kyoto
    At leisure in Kyoto.
  • Day 13 - Sheraton - Hiroshima and Miyajima
    Take a morning bullet train two hours to Hiroshima, then spend the day exploring the Peace Park and the shrine on nearby Miyajima island.
  • Day 14 - Hotel Nikko Kumamoto - Kumamoto
    Whizz on south onto Kyushu island and stop at Kumamoto. There is ample time to visit its famous castle and Honmaru Goten Palace.
  • Day 15 - Hotel Nikko Kumamoto - Kumamoto
    Excursion to Mt Aso, the world's largest live volcanic caldera with 10,000 people living within the rim.
  • Day 16 - Sankara - Yakushima
    Take the bullet train to Kagoshima and the ferry straight on to mysterious Yakushima island with its 1,000 year old cedar trees.
  • Day 17 - Sankara - Yakushima
    Explore the island or relax at your accommodation or on the beach today.
  • Day 18 - Dormy Inn Kagoshima - Kagoshima
    Take the ferry back to Kagoshima, relax in town or take an excursion to Sakurajima volcano.
  • Day 19 - In transit.
    Transfer to Kagoshima airport for a breakfast-time flight to Tokyo, and connect to the homeward flight.
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 16 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 16
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 4 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 4
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 5 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 5
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 2 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 2
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 7 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 7
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 6 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 6
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 9 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 9
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 8 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 8
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 11 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 11
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 10 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 10
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 1 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 1
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 14 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 14
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 13 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 13
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 12 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 12
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 17 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 17
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 15 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 15
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 18 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 18
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 21 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 21
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 20 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 20
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 22 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 22
Length Of The Bullet Train Line 19 Length Of The Bullet Train Line 19
Travel is the only thing that you buy that makes you richer.
Proverb

We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka

Let us keep you up to date

Sign up to our newsletter and never miss out on unmissable exclusive luxury experiences