JAPAN’S Autumn Leaves, Alps & Ancient Roads Tour 2017 15 Nights
Where do we go – and Why?
We will follow the Nakasendo Trail, one of the ancient highways which linked Tokyo with Kyoto during the rule of the Tokugawa Shoguns (1603-1867). Then we will wend our way through the valleys and mountains to the “Roof of Japan”. Japan is justly famous for its scenery and this route take us through some of the loveliest areas of this mountainous country – and in autumn when the colours can be utterly spectacular. Hues of yellow, red, gold and green cover the hills and mountainsides. You can experience traditional Japanese Inns (Ryokans); you will delight in the food, arts and crafts, glimpses of history and you will have ample time to explore both the old and new in the modern cities of Tokyo and Kyoto.
The Capital of Japan with a population of 30,000,000 where ancient traditions and culture walk hand in hand with modern day technology.
The Nakasendo Trail:
Three former “Post Towns” have been beautifully preserved and we will visit all three. They are Magome, Tsumago and Narai. All towns have closed their roads off to vehicles and as much as possible no TV antennas or electricity wires are seen. Tsumago and Narai (Narai of a Thousand Houses) have since 1976 been designated as “Protected Area for the Preservation of Traditional Buildings”. Narai is now the heart of the Kiso Lacquer Industry.
Matsumoto, Kamikochi & Takayama:
Matsumoto boasts a castle completed in 1614 which is now a designated National Treasure. We will also visit the largest wasabi farm in Japan – Daio Wasabi farm. Kamikochi is part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park and is has some of the most beautiful and picturesque scenery to be found in the Japan Alps. In Takayama “Roof of Japan” there are homes built some 400 years ago lining the old streets. Takayama often called “Little Kyoto” is also home to one of the most famous Matsuri Festivals in Japan. We will visit the Takayama Kaikan which houses a display of these beautiful floats.
Shirakawa-go, Gokayama, Kanazawa & Kyoto:
Both the villages of Gokayama and Shirakawa-go are UNESCO World Heritage Listed. In Gokayama try your hand at washi paper making. In Shirakawa-go you will see why the roofs of the houses are called “Gassho-zukuri” or “hands in Prayer”. Kanazawa has been appointed by UNESCO as a “City of Crafts and Folk Art in the Creative Cities Network in Japan”. Home to the Kenrokuen Gardens (one of Japan’s 3 most famous) this old Samurai City also produces 98% of Japan’s gold leaf and is home to the only Geisha district outside Kyoto.
Kyoto “Hana no Miyako” or the Flowering Capital:
Arts, crafts, villas and gardens, sculpture, tea ceremonies, Temples and Shrines. Kyoto, steeped in history and culture and the Capital of Japan from 794 to 1868 has it all.
This is a small group tour with a maximum of 14 clients plus an Australian Escort.
Land Only Pricing
Twin Share: $5,880 per person
Single Occupancy: $6,800 per person
Prices are per person
- 15 nights accommodation including 2 nights traditional Japanese accommodation – One night Japanese Resort and one night Japanese ryokan.
- 12 breakfasts : 2 Lunches : 2 Dinners
- All transportation as per itinerary including Shinkansen (Bullet train)
- Private coach with Japanese/English speaking guide from 9th November through to 16th November
- Private coach with Japanese/English speaking guide for private Kyoto day tour on 18th November
- Lunch hosted by Experience Japan
- 2 Luggage transfers : Tokyo to Matsumoto : Matsumoto to Kyoto
- All sightseeing and entrance fees, washi paper making etc as per itinerary
- Washi paper making in UNESCO World Heritage Gokayama
- Full escorted within Japan by an experienced Australian Escort
- Return airfares
- Airline/Airport taxes
- Transportation, entrance fees and meals on Free Days
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 16 January 2017 and may change due to currency exchange rate
- New World Travel Pty Ltd. ABN 84 003 148 196 ATAS A10506
Day 1 :Monday : 6th November
Arrival into Narita Airport and transfer by shared private shuttle to the Shiba Park Hotel for our three (3) night stay. Alternatively if flying into Haneda transfer by Taxi to the Shiba Park Hotel.
Accommodation: Shiba Park Hotel : In 6th November Out 9th November
Day 2 : Tuesday : 7th November : Tokyo at Leisure :
There are many 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 available to take you sightseeing and/or shopping. Visit Asakusa with the beautiful Sensoji Temple and bustling NakamiseStreet, Ameyoko Markets, Meiji Shrine and Omotesando which is acclaimed as the most beautiful avenue in Tokyo – just to mention a few.
Day 3 : Wednesday : 8th November : Tokyo at leisure
If you do not wish to join an optional day tour your Tour Escort is readily available to take you sightseeing in and around Tokyo. Maybe a side trip to Kamakura and visit the Great Buddha and Hase-dera with its views over Kamakura and the Pacific Ocean.
Day 4 : Thursday : 9th November : Tokyo – Nagoya – Tsumago
For the following 2 days please travel with a small overnight case. Your large case will be forwarded to Matsumoto to collect on arrival. Your Tour Escort will arrange the forwarding.Transfer to Tokyo Station by taxi and depart on the Shinkansen for Nagoya. Here we will be met by our Japanese/English speaking guide and chartered coach and depart for Tsumago, our first Post Station. Lunch onboard the coach and it will be a choice of either Bento box (Japanese lunch box) or sandwiches with a fruit juice and water. On arrival into Tsumago free time until we meet for dinner this evening. (L/D)
Accommodation: Hanaya Ryokan – Tsumago : 9th November Out 10th November
Day 5 : Friday : 10th November : Tsumago to Magome
Breakfast and we will depart mid-morning for Magome. For those wishing to walk between Magome and Tsumago it takes approximately 3 hours. On your arrival into Tsumago you will be met by the remainder of the group and the Coach and transfer to our accommodation in Magome. Enjoy a relaxing Onsen before dinner. (B/D)
Accommodation: Kisoji Resort – Magome : In 10th November Out 11th November
Day 6 : Saturday : 11th November : Magome to Maatsumoto via Narai
Breakfast and depart by our coach for Narai. Free time to stroll the third of the Post Towns and early afternoon departure for Matsumoto for our 2 night stay. Prior to arrival at our Hotel we will visit the Daio Wasabi Farm which is the largest Wasabi farm in Japan. (B)
Accommodation: Matsumoto Tokyu REI Hotel (or similar) : In 11th November Out 13th November
Day 7 : Sunday : 12th November : Matsumoto
Enjoy a day at leisure in Matsumoto. Take the “Sneaker” Bus and visit Matsumoto Castle one of Japan’s oldest and finest. Nawate Street reflects the nostalgic atmosphere of old-time Japanese Shopping. The “Little Paper Shop” exhibits beautiful origami. For those interested your Tour Escort will take you by train to Jigokudani (Hell Valley) where you can view the Snow Monkeys. All train fares/entrance fees etc are at own expense. (B)
Day 8 : Monday : 13th November : Matsumoto to Takayama via Kamikochi
Breakfast and please meet your Escort in the Hotel foyer at 7:00am with luggage to be transferred to Kyoto. A cabin size bag will suffice for the following 4 days. Morning departure to Kamikochi. Enjoy a stroll around the beautiful Taisho-ike Pond ending up at the Kappabashi Bridge. This area is extremely popular with artists and photographers as beautiful scenery abounds. Early afternoon departure for Takayama and prior to our arrival at our Hotel we will visit Hida-no-Sato. This exhibits a grand display of old farm houses which have been preserved as living museums. (B)
Accommodation: Best Western Hotel (or similar) – Takayama : In 13th November Out 15th November
Day 9: Tuesday : 14th November : Takayama
After breakfast visit the Takayama early morning markets on the river bank, the Takayama Kaikan which houses some of the magnificent floats seen in the famous Takayama Matsuri Festival, Nikko-kan and remainder of the day at leisure. (B)
Day 10 : Wednesday : 15th November : Takayama – Shirakawago/Gokayama – Kanazawa
Depart by our coach for Gokayama and Shirakawa-go. Both these towns are UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1995. Here you will see why the houses are called “Gassho-Zukuri” or “Hands in Prayer”. The roofs have been architecturally designed over many years to withstand the large amounts of snow that fall in this area during the winter period. Enjoy washi (paper) making at Gokayama. Mid-afternoon arrival into Kanazawa. (B)
Accommodation: Kanazawa Hotel (or similar) : In 15th November Out 17th November
Day 11 : Thursday : 16th November : Kanazawa
Our sightseeing today will include the Kenrokuen Gardens, one of Japan’s three most famous and also the beautiful Seison-Kaku which is located in the grounds. The 13th Lord of the Maeda family built the Seison-Kaku as a retirement home for his mother.
We will also visit the Nagamachi Samurai District and then to the Higashi Chaya District (Geisha area). Afternoon at leisure…maybe visit the Gold & Silver shops adjacent to the Higashi Chaya district. (B)
Day 12 : Friday : 17th November : Kanazawa to Kyoto
This morning we will take the train from Kanazawa to Kyoto arriving into Kyoto around midday and then transfer to our Hotel for our 4 night stay. Afternoon at leisure. May we suggest a later afternoon tour “Tea with a Maiko (Apprentice Geisha). Alternatively your Tour Escort is available for suggestions and assistance. (B)
Accommodation : Palaceside Hotel Kyoto : In 17th November Out 21st November
Day 13 : Saturday : 18th November : Kyoto
Today enjoy sightseeing with our local Japanese/English speaking Kyoto guide and private coach. We will visit Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Nijo Castle built in 1603 with its “nightingale” floors (early alarm system) and Ryoanji Temple dating from the 15th century with its famous rock garden. All three of these are UNESCO World Heritage. After lunch (Hosted by Experience Japan) we will visit Fushimi-Inari renowned for its more than 7,000 torii gates and is also the headquarters of about 40,000 Inari Shrines all over Japan. (B/L)
Day 14 : Sunday : 19th November : Kyoto
At Leisure….There are day tours available e.g. Nara half day tour, Hiroshima/Miyajima full day tour. It is highly recommended to prebook these tours prior to your departure from Australia. Alternatively your Tour Escort will be available to take you sightseeing and/or shopping. Visit Kiyomizu-dera and Tea Pot Lane, the old streets of Sannenzaka and Ninnenzaka and stroll through Maruyama Park. Time permitting visit Ginkakuji and the Philosophers Path. All transport and entrance fees are at individual cost. (B)
Day 15 : Monday : 20th November : Kyoto
At Leisure…..maybe visit Arashiyama and the beautiful Bamboo groves. Your Tour Escort is available for suggestions, advice and is available to take you sightseeing and/or shopping. (B)
Day 16 : Tuesday : 21st November : Departure to Australia
Thank you for the photographs, looking at them brings back the memories. It was a super trip last November, enjoyed it all thoroughly and would go again, so please don’t retire. You had the right mix of temples, shrines, shops , markets and travel.
Jan, thank you again for looking after me and the Photographs” Regards, Clare
“Good Afternoon Mihoko, I must compliment you and your team on the superb handling of our tour, especially Jan who when we had the odd problem responded immediately and came up with alternate solutions, it made the tour memorable. We have already recommended you to a number of friends. best wishes” John & Monica
“I just wanted to give some feedback for the Ancient Roads tours in Japan I just completed. It was a wonderful leisurely tour through a country with bustling cities and beautiful countryside. I didn’t realise how easy we had it on tour until I talked to some over visitors on other tours. They seemed to be constantly on the go with little free time. I enjoyed the guided tours with Jan, Haru and Sacha (?). Very passionate, informative and always thinking of the people on the tour with options and alternatives.This was my first visit to Japan but certainly won’t be my last. A very good introduction to a wonderful country - the people and the culture. Jan was an excellent hostess – always considering the passengers and she had us well organised! My only criticism was for the optional day tour I took to Hiroshima. I found it quite expensive and on the day it was much too long yet, not enough time to explore the things I was interested in. The guide was again very passionate about your job – could not fault her at all. The personal choice was mine to do this tour but think it should be an optional overnight for the tourist to spend some more free time.” Linda
“Dear Jan san, my bestie. Thank you for making this holiday a dream come true. Without you and your hard work, organisation and laughter the tour would not have been as much fun. I have had fun. Love and best wishes.” Kathy
“Dear Jan, I hope to get time to load my photos onto computer this week and look at them more thoroughly. Certainly enjoyed a wonderful experience and thank you so much for ensuring that this happened. Your organisation was superb, especially when things don’t quite go to plan. I really appreciated all the effort that you made and also appreciated your company throughout the trip.” Margaret.
“Hi Jan, Thank you very much for all the preparation you gave us prior to our Japan experience. We did appreciate the work that went into our holiday. Lots of fond memories and photos to relate to family and friends are now waiting to be shared.” Alan and Lesley
“We want to offer some very positive feedback on the “Ancient Roads and Beyond – Autumn Leaves” tour with Jan Hutton we have just completed.
We enjoyed the whole experience immensely. The tour provided an excellent blend of large cities and small towns, beautiful scenery, amazing temples, shrines, gardens and other cultural sites – the stunning autumn leaves were the icing on the cake. The varied accommodation was very comfortable and the pace of activities manageable. The tour gave us a great insight into Japanese cult ure, old and new.
Jan Hutton did an outstanding job as our tour leader. She is superbly organised and a great communicator. She kept us well informed on every aspect of what to expect well before we left Australia and throughout the tour.
We appreciated the flexible nature of arrangements, which allowed us to opt into, and out of, activities depending on our mood at the time. Jan’s knowledge of unique an d interesting restaurants in many locations was an added bonus, as were her tips for efficient travel in Japan after we finished the tour.
We highly recommend this tour.” Peter and Carolyn “Dear Jan,
We have been to many countries but thanks to you this is one of the best adventures that we have experienced. Thank you in particular for the help in allowing Jan to negotiate her way around Japan and for the generous way that you have shared your time with Linda. Our impressions are that Japan is a wonderful country and its citizens are the nicest, most pleasant and helpful people that we have encountered. Your organisation and leadership are first class. You are a wonderful ambassador for Experience Japan.
Kind regards….David & Jan”
WOW what a ride! This has been an eye opening adventure to such a beautiful country. Thank you so much for including a wide range of things to see and do.I really appreciate the extra time you spent with me. There will never be a big enough way to thank you for all that you did to help Dad and Jan have the best possible trip. Your extra effort made an incredible difference to all of us. You have a wonderful, caring and very patient nature. I am very lucky to have shared this time with you.
Thank you and lots of love…..Linda”
Received your Email last Wed. Lovely to hear from you. Having trouble getting out of holiday mode. We had a wonderful time in Japan, thanks to our wonderful hostesse. I am talking about my next trip to Japan.[Autumn Leaves Tour].
Ron and Kay”
It was a pleasure to travel with you. Your knowledge of Japan was very informative and your organisation was great. Our lasting feeling from the tripwas how polite, accommodating and pleasant are the Japanese people and how clean everything is and what Australia could learn from them.The scenery and historic villages were wonderful and we were greatly helped by the pleasant weather. Jan and I have travelled a lot but this was the best trip of all our adventures thanks to you and Hitomi.
Cheers from Adelaide David and Jan”
Thank you for your “welcome home”, and thank you very much for a wonderful holiday experiencing Japan. We both enjoyed it immensely, both your input and company and the camaraderie of the group.
Anyway, must go and cook if I remember how. Thanks again,