Duration: 12 Days
This Japan tour is perfect for value-minded travel lovers who enjoy history, beautiful settings, and fascinating architecture. You’ll start in Tokyo, end in Kyoto, and overnight along the way in the Mount Fuji area, Osaka, and Hiroshima. Highlights of this tour through Japan are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites you’ll visit. Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain, has long been worshipped as a sacred mountain; you’ll enjoy views of majestic Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi during your cable-car ride (weather permitting). In Hiroshima, visit Itsukushima Shrine, built over water and known for its iconic floating Torii gate and Peace Memorial Park to see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the only remaining structure from the first atomic bomb in 1945. In Kyoto, visit the Temple of the Gold Pavilion, a Buddhist temple covered in beautiful gold leaf and the fascinating Samurai and Ninja Museum. In addition to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, famous shrines, and other historic sites, this tour includes visits to two of Japan’s premier gardens dating back to the 1600’s. Walk the tranquil Koraku-En to enjoy the ponds, bridges, waterfalls, and tea house and the Shinjuku Gyoen or “Imperial Garden,” formerly a feudal lord’s property and home to one thousand cherry blossom trees. You’ll enjoy a local lunch and taste the “Japanese pizza” of Osaka, the legendary okonomiyaki dish. Plus, you’ll ride on the famous bullet train or shinkansen. History, scenery, culture, cuisine, and fun experiences…this Japan holiday has it all!
Adventure is knocking with everything you need for perfectly affordable touring. Cosmos includes hand-selected accommodations, guided sightseeing, and seamless transportation between destinations—with value-minded travel lovers in mind. Explore with expert Cosmos Tour Directors and Local Guides, and private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach with free Wi-Fi. Enhance your free time to explore like a local with your CosmosGO mobile app!
Please note: Itinerary is a preview and is subject to change. Full details will be confirmed in 2024.
Welcome to Japan's capital city. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Meet your Tour Director and travel companions prior to morning sightseeing in Tokyo. Your tour starts with a visit to Meiji Shrine, a magnificent 20th-century Shinto monument set in a man-made forest. Next, visit Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. Originally dating from the early 1600s, the garden was destroyed in World War II and reopened in 1949 as a public park, home to one thousand cherry blossom trees. Today, it remains an immensely popular stop for locals and visitors alike. Last stop is the vibrant Asakusa Kannon Temple and the bustling Nakamise shopping arcade. The balance of the afternoon is at leisure. (B,L)
Enjoy the day at your leisure to explore this sprawling metropolis. (B)
This morning, leave Tokyo and head south along the coast to the beautiful Five Lakes region. Take a cable-car ride (weather permitting) for panoramic views of Lake Kawaguchi and spectacular Mount Fuji, or Fujisan as the locals call it, Japan's highest mountain. You'll also visit Chureito Pagoda for a chance to snap your own iconic image of the pagoda with Fujisan in the background! (B,L)
This morning, board Japan's famous bullet train for Osaka. Upon arrival, a traditional lunch is served. Experience the city's legendary dish, okonomiyaki, a delicious Japanese-style pancake. Then, join your Tour Director for a walking tour in Minami. Made up of Shinsaibashi, Namba, and Dotonbori this area is home to great dining and nightlife and some of the city's most fashionable shops and department stores. (B,L)
Your sightseeing tour starts at the Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farm Houses, where traditional thatched-roof farm houses dating from the Edo period have been restored. Be transported back in time as you explore the old architecture. Visit Osaka Castle then enjoy the afternoon and evening at leisure. Perhaps return to Dotonbori this evening to sample local cuisine and see the sparkling neon lights. (B)
This morning, drive south to Okayama and visit Koraku-en, one of the "Three Great Gardens of Japan." The 30-acre garden features ponds, plum groves, and tea fields. The wide lawns, believed to uplift the spirit and promote open mindedness, are unique to Koraku-en and not a traditional feature of Japanese gardens. In Kurashiki, enjoy free time in the Bikan Historical Quarter, once the political and commercial centre of the city. The canal-lined, white-washed, stone streets reflect the Edo period (1603-1867) and are quintessentially Japanese. Continue to Hiroshima. (B)
Today's full day sightseeing includes two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Peace Memorial Park and Itsukushima Shrine. Start at Peace Memorial Park where you'll visit the Peace Memorial, commonly referred to as the Atomic Bomb Dome, that is preserved and is just as it was on August 6, 1945, immediately after the bombing. You will also visit the Memorial Museum and Memorial Hall, which commemorate the lives lost that day. Then, travel to Miyajima Island to visit Itsukushima Shrine, known for its beautiful floating Torii Gate. (B)
Drive north to Bizen, where you'll visit a traditional pottery workshop to learn more about Bizen-yaki, one of Japan's six ancient pottery styles dating back over 1,000 years. Stop in Himeji to visit Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture that combines function with elegance. Continue to Kyoto. This evening, you may choose to stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan (additional fee and pre-booking required). (B)
Your day begins with a visit to stunning Kinkakuji, the Temple of the Gold Pavilion, covered in shimmering gold leaf. Walk through bustling Nishiki Market, a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Participate in a tea ceremony, time-honored tradition, and wonderfully choreographed ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea. After lunch, visit Sanjusajendo Temple, famous for its 1,001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and Fushimi Inari Shrine, renowned for the thousands of brightly hued Torii Gate. Then, take a walking tour through Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district, and sample a local Japanese treat. (B,L)
Full day at leisure to explore more of Kyoto's historic sites and shrines. (B)
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. (B)