Don’t speak the language? No problem. Collette’s tour guides do, and they have reliable local contacts who are there to ensure your every need is met. They take care of all the details from transfers to skip-the-line tickets so you can just sit back and take it all in. Every day brings new things to explore and every night you’ll turn in with wonderful experiences to dream of.
When you travel with Collette you can expect more. More included meals, quality accommodation of 4-star or above, more knowledgeable tour guides and more tour inclusions. They take care of all the details, so you don’t have to, because Collette has over 100 years’ experience in opening up the world to those with a desire to wander.
Keen to see what your Cultural Treasures of Japan itinerary looks like? Here’s a snapshot.
Tokyo, Japan - Tour Begins
Explore ancient and modern Japanese culture firsthand. Discover peaceful temples and technological marvels set against unimaginable natural beauty. Begin in Tokyo, where pop culture is turned all the way up and traditions are rich and long-kept. Tonight, experience a traditional Japanese-style meal alongside your fellow travellers at a festive welcome dinner. Tonight, dinner is included.
Begin the day exploring Asakusa, Tokyo’s oldest Geisha district. Visit the famous Buddhist temple, Senso-ji, then experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. During your free time, explore the Nakamise Shopping Arcade and feel the energy of the oldest shopping street in Japan. Then, head to Edo Tokyo Museum to learn about the fascinating history and culture of Tokyo. Tonight, dine as the locals do at an Izakaya, a preferred establishment among the Japanese “salary man” (businessman), featuring Japanese tapas-style food. Today, breakfast and dinner are included.
Take a morning stroll through the outside grounds of the Imperial Palace, the Kokyo Gaien National Gardens, and see the Niju Bridge and Sakurada Gate. Walk through Ginza, one of the most elegant and luxurious streets in the world, where modern landscape meets rich history. Enjoy shopping at some of the most renowned "department stores" in Japan. Later, amid a lush forest outside of Tokyo, visit the Meiji Shrine. Today, breakfast is included.
Tokyo - Hakone
Arrive at lakeside resort of Hakone, renowned for its hot springs. In the shadow of Mt. Fuji (UNESCO), this scenic town hugs the shorelines of Lake Ashi. Climb aboard the Komagatake Ropeway, an aerial lift ascending from Lake Ashi to Komagatake Peak on Mt. Hakone. Make a stop at the peak for a breathtaking view* of Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi. Next, take to the deep-blue waters of Lake Ashi on a cruise where you’ll see epic views of the local mountains before stopping in the charming town of Moto-Hakone. Breakfast and dinner are included today.
Hakone - Matsumoto - Takayama
This breathtaking day begins in Matsumoto at Matsumoto Castle, known as the “Crow Castle. Step back in time in the rural Edo-period town of Takayama, nestled in the Japanese Alps. Visit one of Japan’s 200-year-old sake breweries. Afterward, experience a true Japanese epicurean treat – traditional rice wine paired with a special Hida beef dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included today.
The ancient cultures of Takayama come alive in the town’s historic district. Stroll through the morning market along the Miyagawa River. Circuit the winding streets, where the town’s traditional charms are preserved in the inns and houses. This afternoon, relish some free time to continue your exploration of Takayama at your own pace. Today, breakfast is included.
Takayama - Shirakawa-go - Kanazawa
Embrace the unique charms of Shirakawa-go (UNESCO). Hidden away in the mountain, this harmonious village is famous for its gassho-zukuri-style houses – thatched-rooftops designed to resemble two hands joined in prayer. Journey to Kanazawa, the origin of gold-leaf making since the 16th century. Visit the Samurai district. Then, travel to the Geisha quarters of Kanazawa, the Higashi Tea district. Gather in town this evening for dinner. Breakfast and dinner are included today.
More than 25 acres of beauty awaits you today at Kenroku-En – Garden of Six Qualities. Discover the ancient craft of gold leaf making during a lesson in decorating your own lacquer box at Kanazawa Katani! In the centre of town, take in the action of the Omicho fish market before venturing out on your own to really immerse yourself in Kanazawa’s dynamic culture. Today, breakfast is included.
Kanazawa - Kyoto
Kyoto awaits! The former Imperial capital of Japan is now one of the nation’s top cosmopolitan cities, but you won’t need to look far to see one of its 2,000 temples and shrines. Visit Kinkakuji (UNESCO), the Golden Pavilion, a zen temple where the top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Stroll through the Gion district where you may spot women in traditional dress along the narrow lanes of teahouses. Tonight, dine in the heart of the city at a traditional yakitori (grilled chicken) restaurant. Breakfast and dinner are included today.
Kyoto - Bullet Train - Hiroshima - Kyoto
All aboard the Shinkansen bullet train to Hiroshima. Upon arrival, board a ferry for the short trip to Miyajima Island, or “Shrine Island” (UNESCO), where the iconic torii gate and the Itsukushima Shrine appear to float on water. After lunch, head into Hiroshima city to visit the Peace Memorial Park and pause to see the ruined Atomic Dome (UNESCO). Reflect at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Return to Kyoto by the Shinkansen bullet train. Breakfast is included today.
Explore Fushimi Inari Taisha for a tour of the most revered shrine of Inari. For lunch, participate in a sushi making class given by a professional sushi chef. Move on to the home of the first Shogun, Nijo Castle (UNESCO), and see intricate woodcarvings, wall paintings, and the Ninomaru Garden, designed by Kobori Enshu, a landscape architect and tea master. Next, visit Marumasu Nishumuraya for a lesson in the art of stenciling at a traditional Kyoto townhouse. Breakfast and lunch are included today.
Day 12 - 13
Today, spend some time relaxing or set out to explore Kyoto on your own. Fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture tonight during a special kaiseki farewell dinner and Geisha show. Today, breakfast and dinner are included. On day 13 your tour ends. Breakfast is included.
As you depart, reflect on Japan’s beauty, its gracious people and all you have learned about its rich history and culture. For a full itinerary and list of inclusions, visit the Collette website.