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The land of the rising sun boasts one of the world's most enthralling and unique cultures and civilisations. Perhaps nowhere else on earth is there such a stark juxtaposition between the future and the past.
Depart London on your scheduled direct flight to Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
On arrival in Tokyo you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your centrally located hotel to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to relax and settle in.
Originally a small fishing village, Tokyo has survived a turbulent past to prosper as one of the world's major metropolises. Neon skyscrapers rise up to dizzying heights amongst ancient shrines and temples, all home to the city's population surpassing 13 million. From juicy yakitori to fresh sushi and ramen noodle, it is a foodie's heaven with a plethora of exciting dishes to try. A full day of sightseeing will take you to Sensoji, Tokyo's oldest temple and to the traditional Asakusa area for a special sushi making experience. Stroll through the popular area of Ginza and visit the iconic Akihabara Electric Town to experience the city's passion for all things electronic. After the day's sightseeing, spend the night at your hotel in the city.
Your excursion today is to Hakone National Park, home to one of Japan's most instantly recognisable sights, the iconic Mount Fuji. Fringed by thick forests and a crescent-shaped ring of shimmering lakes, a stop at fifth station is the best place to appreciate the spectacular views on a clear day. Heading south your guide will take you to explore the charming mountain resort of Hakone town itself before passing the velvety dark blue waters of Lake Ashi on the return to your hotel in Tokyo.
After breakfast you will travel to Matsumoto, a small city embraced by the great peaks of the Japanese Alps and home to the exquisite Matsumoto castle. Dating back to the 8th century, the city's protected position saw the Ogasawara clan prosper through the defining Edo period to the present day. The castle itself, known locally as 'Crow Castle' due to its striking black and white design contains narrow wooden windows once used by archers and gunmen and now affording picturesque vistas of the regal mountains, city and koi fish circling the moat below. Continuing your journey, pass through spectacular alpine scenery to the secluded mountain town of Takayama.
Nestled between the snowcapped peaks of the northern Alps, the mountain town of Takayama has retained a traditional atmosphere like few others in Japan. Established as a merchant town, the high altitude and remote location has allowed a unique culture to develop. Boasting intricate and ornate oriental facades, the Edo period buildings found scattered throughout the town are some of the finest in the country. This morning, a guided tour takes you back to a bygone Japan, along Sannomachi Street in the heart of the quaint Old Town. Here canals flow under the eaves of merchant houses with their latticed bay windows, and sake brewing houses display bundles of cedar leaves indicating that the new season's rice wine is available.
Today takes you to the fairy tale World Heritage Site of Shirakawago. Located in a quiet highland region, unique farm-style houses date back to the 11th century and can be seen dotted throughout the rolling green countryside and rice fields. This afternoon, continue your journey to the UNESCO city of Kanazawa. On arrival, a visit to the Nagamachi Samurai district provides a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of a samurai during the feudal era when Japan was almost totally secluded from the outside world. Taken over in 1583 by Maeda Toshiie, companion of the Great War Lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Kanazawa remained at the centre of the feudal domain until its collapse in the 1860s. Wander around the well-preserved samurai region where grandiose residences still line the streets that once belonged to the Kaga Clan; with ochre clay walls covered with shingled roofs, many remain exactly as they stood over 400 years ago.
Most definitely a highlight of the tour, today includes a visit to the famed Kenroku-en, an exquisite 17th-century garden next to Kanazawa Castle. Initially an intimate private terrace after the first lord of the Kaga Clan made his triumphant entry into the castle, the site now covers an area of 28 acres and is one of the top three gardens in Japan. The beauty of the expertly landscaped grounds twist and turn, boasting meandering streams framed by pastel irises and avenues of cherry blossom trees. Departing Kanazawa, a train journey will take you south, arriving into the ancient capital of Kyoto late afternoon. After some time to rest at your hotel, this evening is host to a spellbinding traditional geisha dance performance and dinner. Famous the world over, geishas generally only perform at small private gatherings in certain districts so it is considered a great honour to observe the unique art form that has been developed over many generations, particularly as now the number of geishas in Japan are in decline.
Once the imperial capital of Japan, the ancient city of Kyoto boasts a history of over 1200 years and as many as 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was lucky enough to be relatively unscathed from the devastation of World War II and pockets of the old world still linger where traditional geishas can be seen shuffling along narrow streets in their wonderfully colourful kimonos. A full day tour delves into the city's rich history exploring the Zen Buddhist temple of Kinkakuji, the impressive Fushimi Inari shrine and the 400-year-old Nishiki Market. Enjoy a stroll around the Gion area, a collection of streets defined by old wooden buildings, teahouses and exclusive restaurants before returning to your hotel.
After a morning of leisure you will board the gleaming bullet train to travel back to Japan's capital. With comfortable, spacious seating and reaching speeds of over 180 miles per hour, gliding across the country on the effortless 'Shinkansen' is an experience in itself. On arrival in Tokyo enjoy the evening at leisure.
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
UK passports holders will be granted a tourist visa on arrival into Japan free of charge for stays of up to 30 days. Visa, arrival and departure requirements are subject to change and obtaining a visa is the responsibility of the traveler and not Mercury Holidays. We recommend you check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy prior to departure for the most up to date guidelines regarding these.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Holidays is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 17 days cover||£42||£79||£135|
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your flight is to Tokyo's Haneda Airport with British Airways (BA), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 5. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage. There is also an allowance of one cabin bag not exceeding 25cm x 45cm x 56cm in size and one personal bag not exceeding 45cm x 36cm x 20cm that you can take on the aircraft as hand luggage. Weight restrictions will be finalized on your e-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay an additional fee for this at check-in. Heathrow Airport advises that you should arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to your flight time for international departures.
Please note that all flight times and numbers given at the time of booking are provided for guidance only and are subject to change. Final flight details will be confirmed on your e-ticket and final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot and includes some hiking, trekking, climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches. Please note that this tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travelers in your group will be 16 and the maximum will be 40. In the unlikely event that there are less than 16 people booked on your tour date, you may be asked to change to a different date. The choice to switch to any of our other tours, or cancel with a full refund will also be available to you should an alternative date not be suitable.
This is an escorted tour, meaning you will be met on arrival at Tokyo airport and will have a guide with you for the duration of your tour, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge and assistance at all times.
The currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY). You can purchase the currency before you travel but you will probably get a better exchange rate if money is exchanged when in Japan. You can buy Yen at foreign exchange banks and at the airport. Credit, debit and prepaid cards from international brands are accepted at a wide variety of places in the major cities within Japan. Outside of these, cards may not be widely accepted, although you will be able to withdraw cash in the local currency across the country at ATMs.
You will need to take money with you to cover any personal purchases such as souvenirs, laundry, any meals not included in the itinerary as well as drinks and any additional snacks. We recommend you bring along a minimum of GBP £500 per person to change in to local currency. It is a good idea to try and maintain a supply of small notes and change in the local currency for tipping or small purchases.
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price||Book Now|
|16 Apr 2018||26 Apr 2018||£3499pp||Book Now|
|28 May 2018||07 Jun 2018||£3149pp||Book Now|
|25 Jun 2018||07 May 2018||£3639pp||Book Now|
|03 Sep 2018||13 Sep 2018||£3299pp||Book Now|
|08 Oct 2018||18 Oct 2018||£3149pp||Book Now|
|05 Nov 2018||15 Nov 2018||£3249pp||Book Now|
Unfortunately, we do not have any places with no single supplements on this tour. However, if you are happy to share with another passenger of the same gender, then let us know at the time of booking and we will endeavour to find you a travelling partner. Alternatively, please ask about our single supplement prices in order to book your own room.
Group travel is certainly the most economical way to travel in Japan. However, if the group departure dates are not suitable for you and you would prefer a more personal and flexible experience then you can choose to book a private guide for your tour. Please contact us for further details.
Weather can vary quite considerably throughout the year, so please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.
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