2018 Japan’s “Splendours of Shikoku” Spring Tour 15 Nights

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13th – 28th May 2018

Where do we go – and Why?

The word “Shikoku” means 4 countries. The Island of Shikoku is divided into 4 Prefectures and is the fourth largest island in Japan. It is also the birthplace of the most revered monk and scholar Kukai (better known by his posthumous title KOBO DAISHI) who was the founder of the Shingon Sect of Esoteric Buddhism (774-835). Kobo Daishi also developed the Japanese Kana system of syllabic writing and started the first Japanese dictionary. It is said that Kobo Daishi had either visited, stayed, meditated or has had some link with the 88 Temples of Shikoku.

Shikoku is connected to the mainland of Honshu by the Seto Ohashi Bridge which is a collective term for the six bridges that span five islands crossing the Seto Inland Sea. The bridge took 40 years to construct and is more than 13 kilometres long.

 

 

 

Video courtesy of Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

Tokyo:

Tokyo the Capital of Japan and home to some 31,000,000 people is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in Asia. Age old traditions and modern technology meld together in this fast moving metropolis.

 

Okayama:

The Korakuen Garden is a beautiful landscape garden and is ranked as one of Japan’s three best landscape gardens. Constructed in 1687 as a place of entertainment for the ruling family and a location for receiving important guests. In 1884 Korakuen became the property of Okayama Prefecture and was opened to the public.

 

Kurashiki:

The Bikan Historical Quarter of Kurashiki is known as possibly the most picturesque merchant’s quarters in Japan and dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867). The city back then served as an important rice distribution centre. The name “Kurashiki” translates to “town of storehouses” and refers to the storehouses where the rice was kept.

 

Kotohira:

This small town is noted for the Konpirasan which is Shikoku’s most popular Shinto Shrine and is dedicated to seafaring. It also has one of the most difficult shrine approaches in Japan – 700+ steps but the view from the top is spectacular. Japan’s oldest Kabuki theatre is here in Kotohira and when no performances are held it is open to visitors. Explore the trap doors and revolving stage.

 

Takamatsu:

The beautiful Ritsurin Garden was built by the local feudal lords during the early Edo Period and it surely deserves a spot on the list of the “three most beautiful gardens of Japan”. It is a landscape garden, spacious, historic trees and beautiful pavilions divided into a western style garden in the north and a Japanese style garden in the south. Naoshima is known for its modern art museums and is an island located in the Seto Inland Sea. Benesse’s museums were designed by Ando Tadao a well-known Japanese Architect and include the Chichu Art Museum, Lee Ufan Museum and all the buildings of the Benesse House.

Tokushima:

Visit the street lined with rare udatsu house structures in Wakimachi. This street is designated as a National Important preservation district and is one of the top 100 streets in Japan. The Naruto Whirlpools are created by large volumes of water moving between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean between high/low tide combined with the unique underwater geography of the narrow strait. In ideal conditions whirlpools of up to 20 meters in diameter can be seen.

Otsuka Museum of Art is an Art Museum founded in 1998 and is the largest exhibition space in Japan. It houses over 1000 full size ceramic reproductions of major works of art including the Sistine Chapel, Scrovegni Chapel and the triclinium of the Villa of the Mysteries. The works are transferred from photographs before being fired and retouched. Onto the Iya Valley most of which remains remote, unspoiled and traditional. 13 suspension bridges made of mountain vines (Kazurabashi) once spanned the valley but only 3 survive today.

Matsuyama:

The largest city on Shikoku and is famed throughout Japan for Dogo Onsen which is one of Japan’s oldest and most famous hot springs. Here also is Matsuyama Castle one of Japan’s twelve “original castles”…..it is a castle which has survived intact since the post-feudal era 1868. It is also one of the most interesting and complex castles in Japan. The view from the Castle is over Matsuyama and the Seto Inland sea.

 

Hiroshima & Miyajima:

Miyajima Island is located less than 1 hour from Hiroshima. Here at high tide the giant torii gate seems to float on water and it is ranked as one of Japan’s three most scenic sights.s. After the war great efforts were taken to rebuild Hiroshima. Important monuments that were destroyed such as Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Gardens were rebuilt/reconstructed. The Peace Memorial Park reflects the aspirations of the city re-born.

Cultural activities will include Udon Noodle making, Indigo Dyeing experience, Washi paper making and Custom glazing a piece of pottery.

 

Kyoto:

In 794 Kyoto or as originally known as Heian-kyo “Tranquillity and Peace Capital” became the seat of Japan’s Imperial Court and remained the capital of Japan until 1868 when at the time of the Imperial Restoration the Government was transferred to Edo now known as Tokyo. Whether you are looking for history, art, craft, culture, gardens, Temples, Shrines, excellent restaurants and beautiful walks Kyoto has it all and more on offer.

 

From Tokyo to Kyoto, the Capital of Japan for over 1000 years an elegant and cultural delight, and encompassing the splendours of Tohoku this Tour opens a new and exciting door into Japan each and every day.

 

This is a small group tour of maximum 14 clients plus an Experienced Australian Tour Escort. .

 

Land Only Pricing

Twin Share: $6,545* per person

Single Occupancy: $8,160* per person

Prices are per person

 

This tour is being escorted by Jan Hutton. Jan has been specialising in travel to Japan for over 25 years. Her love of Japan started when she joined Jaltour/JAL in Brisbane in 1988. At the time of her early retirement in 2000, she had the most successful Office and turnover in Australia. Since then she has continued her close association and affection for Japan by escorting groups for the Cherry Blossom, Spring and Autumn seasons. Her firsthand invaluable knowledge of the UNESCO World Heritage Kumano Kodo has been gained by escorting groups though this area over the past 9 years. During a recent trip to Japan, Jan was invited to participate in a discussion with the Prime Minister

of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe and the Governor of Wakayama Prefecture. Mr. Abe was interested in her comments with regards to the growing interest and success of tourism in the Kumano Kodo, Hongu and the overall Wakayama Prefectural area. All destinations on our “Sacred Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Kumano Kodo Tour”, “ Autumn Leaves, Alps and Ancient Roads Tour”, “Enchanting Tohoku Cherry Blossom Tour” and “Splendours of Shikoku” are visited frequently by Jan. These visits are from a working point of view to inspect properties, research local points of interest, tourist sites and to gain in-depth information of all areas. Her passion, professionalism and wealth of knowledge of Japan is unsurpassed and she is held in very high regard within the Japanese Tourism Industry. She has a working history in Tourism/Travel/Hospitality spanning many years including flight crew, Qantas First Class Lounge Supervisor and DreamWorld Guest Relations Manager on the Gold Coast. Jan has visited Japan over 70 times both with groups and independently to update her knowledge, renew old acquaintances and plan out new tours.

Click here for Powerpoint presentation of this tour

Click here for tour flyer

 

Inclusions
  • 15 night’s accommodation including two nights traditional Japanese accommodation.
  • 12 breakfasts : 4 lunches : 2 dinners
  • All transportation as per itinerary including Shinkansen (bullet train)
  • Shared private shuttle transfer from arrival at Narita Airport to Tokyo Hotel or taxi from Haneda Airport to Tokyo Hotel
  • 2 Luggage transfers : Tokyo to Matsuyama and Matsuyama to Kyoto (1 piece of luggage per person)
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Private coach and Japanese/English speaking guide from arrival into Okayama until afternoon of 24th May in Hiroshima (e.g. 16th May to 24th May)
  • Cultural activities e.g. indigo dyeing, Udon noodle making, Washi paper making, and Custom glazing a piece of pottery.
  • Fully escorted within Japan by an “Experience Japan” Australian Escort.

 

Not Included
  • Return Airfares
  • Airport and airline taxes
  • Transportation, meals and/or entrance fees on Free/Leisure Days
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, meals not specified in itinerary/inclusions
  • Kyoto to either Itami or Kansai Airport for flight departure at the end of the optional Kyoto extension. This can be prebooked by Experience Japan when it is known what airport you will be departing from
  • Any items not specified in inclusions and itinerary

 

Terms and Conditions
  • All prices are in Australian dollars inclusive of taxes
  • A non-refundable deposit is required within 7 days of booking
  • Full payment is required 60 days prior to travel
  • Tour cost is based on 10 participants. Experience Japan reserves the right to re-cost or cancel the tour should this number not be attained
  • Airfares are not included in the tour price. For the best available quote, please enquire with Experience Japan team
  • Transportation, entrance fees and meals on free days are not included
  • Cultural activities are subject to change
  • Experience Japan does not in any way discriminate against persons with disabilities and/or very limited mobility. However some of the sites visited during our escorted tours may involve some walking and climbing stairs.  Travellers with disabilities and/or very limited mobility are recommended by Experience Japan to be accompanied by their own assistant who is capable of providing all or any assistance that is required.  No special assistance to participants with disabilities and/or very limited mobility is included on any Experience Japan Escorted Tours.  We at Experience Japan reserve the right to refuse participation in any of our Escorted Tours to any participant who we consider is, within reason , likely to impose unfair hardship on Experience Japan and/or its personnel.  As an alternative we at Experience Japan would be more than happy to arrange Independent tour arrangements for those travellers with special needs.
  • It is a requirement that all participants on this tour has a valid international travel insurance. It is recommended to have full comprehensive travel insurance at the time you pay your deposit for a tour. Claims may be made for cancellation due to unexpected medical and unforeseen circumstances as specified in your Insurance policy.
  • Credit card fees apply
  • Cancellation fees apply. 1. Deposit – non-refundable and non-transferable 2. Cancellations inside 60 days prior to departure or failure to commence the tour – 100% of the cost of the tour
  • Prices correct as of 28 August 17 and may change due to currency exchange rate

Itinerary

Day 1 : Sunday : 13th May :

: Arrival into Narita Airport and transfer by shared private shuttle to our Tokyo Hotel for our three (3) night stay. If arriving into Haneda Airport transfer by taxi to our Tokyo Hotel.

Accommodation: Shiba Park Hotel Tokyo : In 13th May Out 16th May

Day 2 : Monday : 14th May : At Leisure :

There are optional tours available e.g. Dynamic Tokyo Tour, Mt.Fuji-Hakone Day Tour, Nikko Day Tour etc which are highly recommended to pre-book prior to your departure from Australia. Alternatively your Tour Escort is readily available for suggestions and assistance and will take you sightseeing.

Day 3 : Tuesday : 15th May : At Leisure :

If you do not wish to join an optional tour your Tour Escort is readily available to take you sightseeing in and around Tokyo. Maybe a side trip to Kamakura, Enoshima Island with the famous Sea Candle (Enoshima’s Tower) and Yokohama if time permits.

Day 4: Wednesday : 16th May : Tokyo to Kotohira via Okayama :

Those wishing to transfer their large luggage to Matsuyama, please have your luggage available adjacent to the Reception Desk on the Ground Floor no later than 7:15am. (1 piece of luggage per person included in Tour).

A morning ride on Japan’s famed shinkansen will have us arriving into Okayama around noon. After an enjoyable lunch we will visit Korakuen, one of Japan’s 3 most famous gardens. Established by the 2nd feudal lord of Okayama, it has changed little since its construction 300 years ago.

Our next stop will be the historical District of Bikan in the merchant town of Kurashiki. Also dating back some 300 years it is considered one of the most picturesque and best preserved districts in all of Japan. From here we will drive over the Seto Ohashi Bridge, crossing the Seto Inland Sea and on to the city of Kotohira where our first night’s accommodation will be a ryokan with soothing natural hot springs and located at the base of Kotohira Shrine. (L/D)

Accommodation: KotosanKaku – Kotohira : In 16th May Out 17th May

Day 5 : Thursday : 17th May : Kotohira to Takamatsu :

The small town of Kotohira is home to one of Shikoku’s top attractions and main shrines of The small town of Kotohira is home to one of Shikoku’s top attractions and main shrines of the 88 Temple Pilgrimage Route – Konpira-san. Founded in the 14th century it lies at the top of 1368 stone steps and it is famous for the view from the top. Today we will visit an Udon School and make our own UDON noodles for lunch. After lunch we will leave for Takamatsu and spend time at the beautiful Ritsurin Garden which is considered to be one of the best landscape gardens in Japan. (B/L)

Accommodation: JR Clement Hotel Takamatsu (or similar) In 17th May Out 19th May

Day 6 : Friday : 18th May : Takamatsu – Naoshima – Takamatsu :

After breakfast we will board a ferry to Naoshima, one of the Seto Inland Sea’s famed Art Islands, home to some of the world’s most unique and amazing museums and art installations. From Monet’s fascinating water lilies room in the Chichu Art Museum and the classical works of Benesse House, to the thought provoking installations of the Art House Project and Ando Tadao’s museum, not to mention fascinating traditional shops and coffee houses, Naoshima is an art lovers paradise. Returning to Takamatsu for some free time in the evening, may we suggest a sunset stroll out to the beautiful lighthouse pier? (B)

Day 7 : Saturday : 19th May : Takamatsu – Tokushima :

: In the morning we will depart for the Isamu Noguchi Museum where we can tour the former studio and home of this famous sculpture and artist. We will then drive over to Tokushima prefecture where we will board the ferry at Naruto to view the famous Naruto Whirlpools, which occur when the opposing currents of the Pacific Ocean and Seto Inland Sea collide at high and low tides. From here we will travel to the city of Tokushima where we will watch a demonstration of the Awa Odori (dance of fools) in the evening. The Awa Odori festival, held annually in August is one of Japan’s most famous and beloved summer festivals. (B/L)

Accommodation: JR Clement Hotel : Tokushima (or similar)In 19th May Out 20th May

Day 8 : Sunday : 20th May : Tokushima to Iya Valley :

Departing in the morning after breakfast, we will drive to Aizumi Township where you can walk along the historical streets of Wakimachi, a remarkably well preserved town dating back to the Edo period (1600-1868). Wakimachi is home to numerous traditional artisan crafts including Aizome (traditional Japanese indigo dye). To further our knowledge of the indigo culture we will drive to Ai No Yakata where you can learn all about the indigo dying process. From here we will travel to Shikoku’s famed Iya Valley with its cliff hugging winding roads and breathtaking views. Enjoy a thrilling walk across one of the regions preserved Kazurabashi (vine bridges) which span the crystal blue river valley below. A further drive deeper into the valley will take us past the area’s famed ‘peeing boy’ statue and some of the regions remarkably well preserved thatch roofed farmhouses. (B/L/D)

Accommodation : Iya Onsen : Iya Valley In 20th May Out 21st May

Day 9 : Monday : 21st May : Iya Valley to Matsuyama :

Today we will make our way across the Island to Matsuyama. On the way we will try our hand at “washi” paper making and we will join an “Ohenro Experience” (short walking pilgrimage) and understand how to visit temples, proper etiquette and sutra readings. (B)

Accommodation: Dogo Yamanote Hotel : Matsuyama : In 21st May Out 23rd May

Day 10 : Tuesday : 22nd May : Matsuyama :

After breakfast this morning we will transfer by our chartered coach to Tobe Cho a township with a 200 year history of pottery making where you can experience custom glazing your own pieces before returning to Matsuyama. Free time to visit Matsuyama Castle and browse the wonderful streets surrounding Dogo Onsen, Japan’s oldest and most revered. (B)

Day 11 : Wednesday : 23rd May : Matsuyama to Hiroshima and Miyajima :

This morning please have your suitcase in the foyer no later than 7:15am for transfer through to our Hotel in Kyoto. We will transfer to the ferry in our chartered coach and travel across the Seto Inland sea to Hiroshima and then onto Miyajima for the afternoon. Miyajima is most famous for its giant torii gate which at high tide seems to float on the water. (B)

Accommodation : Granvia Hotel : Hiroshima : In 23rd May Out 25th May

Day 12 : Thursday : 24th May : Hiroshima :

After breakfast this morning we will board our chartered coach and visit the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park and the Peace Memorial Museum. Free afternoon and may we suggest a visit to Hiroshima Castle and the Shukkeien Gardens. These are best described as “shrunken scenery gardens”. (B)

Day 13 : Friday : 25th May : Hiroshima to Kyoto :

Breakfast this morning and then make our way to JR Hiroshima Station and take the shinkansen to Kyoto. On arrival at around midday we will transfer to our Hotel by taxis. Afternoon at leisure. Your Tour Escort can assist with sightseeing and/or shopping options.Alternatively join the “Tea with Maiko” afternoon tour. (B) Accommodation: Palaceside Hotel : Kyoto : In 25th May Out 28th May.

Day 14 : Saturday : 26th May : Kyoto : At Leisure :

Day tours such as Half Day Nara, Osaka sightseeing, Walking Arashiyama etc are available. It is recommended to prebook these tours prior to your departure from Australia. If you would like to join with your Tour Escort she is happy to take you sightseeing and/or shopping around Kyoto. Some sights to be included would be Kiyomizu-dera, Sannenzaka & Ninnenzaka, Maruyama Park, Ginkaku-ji and the Path of Philosophy. (B)

Day 15 : Sunday : 27th May : Kyoto at leisure :

At leisure. (B)

Day 16 : Monday : 28th May : Departure for Australia

Depending upon which Airport your departure flight leaves from we can arrange a shuttle transfer for you from the Hotel to the Airport. This can be done prior to your departure from Australia and this cost is not included in your Tour price. (B)

Day 17 : Tuesday : 29th May : Arrive Australia