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Guided Walking and Sightseeing

Worldwide Holidays

IMPERIAL JAPAN 

Our journey takes us from Tokyo along the historic Nakasendo path to the historic capital of Kyoto. With  a stay in the Hakone National Park for views of Mount Fuki we see ancient traditions and the ultramodern combined in this fascinating country.  

2017 Dates:  
                    April 11  (
11 nights)
                    May 9    
(11 nights)
                    Sept 26 
(11 nights)
                    Oct 17  
(11 nights)

Price:     3419 GBP    
Prices are per person for 12 nights based on double occupancy without airfare.                Single room supplement  570  (Single room only available in Tokyo, Kyoto & Hakone) 

Guided Walks: Walking over easy to moderate terrain, ranging from level countryside paths to trails of up to 10 miles and 2,000 ft of ascent.  Days on the path are unhurried with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.

Included:
11 nights accommodation in  twin-bedded en-suite rooms.
 Half board from dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure.  
Services of a local tour conductor and HF Holidays walking guide.  Walks, sightseeing, entrance fees and travel by minibus or coach.

Hotels:  In Tokyo and Kyoto modern western-style hotels are used.  In rural areas we stay in ryokan, traditional Japanese style inns.  Rooms are traditional with tatami (straw) matting and futons laid out in the evening.  Evening meals are exquisitely prepared multi-course meals.  They are unusual to westerners but are a unique and classic Japanese experience.
Itinerary:

Day 1: To Tokyo - Overnight flight to Tokyo Narita

Day 2: Tokyo - Afternoon arrival and transfer to our accommodation in central Tokyo (2 nights). There will be some free time to explore before a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Tokyo - Full day guided walking tour of Tokyo and its collection of different districts, each with their own individual character. From the ultra-modern to historic temples and gardens, a guided stroll around the city gives us an insight into Japanese life. 

Day 4: Yudanaka Onsen & the "snow monkeys" - Journey through rural Japan to the traditional hot spring village nestled in the mountains of Nagano. A short walk takes us to visit the "snow monkeys", bathing in the hot springs. The monkeys started coming to warm themselves in the outdoor springs here over 40 years ago, and a local lodge owner built them their own bath after feeling sorry for them during the cold winters. Our accommodation in nearby Yudanaka has its own natural hot spings (humans only!), where you can relax this evening.

Day 5: The Nakasendo Path - Over the next two days we walk in the remote Kiso valley, exploring rual Japan, an area of the country that few overseas visitors reach. We walk by day from village to village, staying by night in small, family‐run country inns (ryokan) and country guesthouses (minshuku). We carry our overnight items in a small daypack, while our luggage is taken ahead to Kyoto. We begin at Nagiso, one of the 11 'post-towns' along the Kiso valley section of the Nakasendo. Post-towns were resting places, where travellers could find accommodation as they walked between Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo). In days past this route was used by traders, feudal lords, and samurai as they made their way to and from the imperial capital. We walk to the charming Tsumago, one of the best preserved post-towns, and our accommodation in a traditional minshuku.

Day 6: Nakasendo Path - A lovely walk again today, from Tsumago to Magome. After some free time to explore Tsumago in the morning, we continue our journey over the Magome Pass, to the small village of Magome. Here we stay overnight in a minshuku, where our friendly host may introduce us to ‘minyo’, traditional rural dances and singing.

Day 7: To Kyoto - Transfer to Kyoto, the western end of the Nakasendo Way and Japan’s ancient capital, now a World Heritage Site, for a 3 night stay.  Evening walk in Gion, Kyoto’s geisha district where there is always the possibility of seeing a geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha) making their way through the narrow streets.

Day 8: Kyoto - Morning guided walking tour to Kinkaku‐ji, the Golden Pavilion, surrounded by a Japanese garden, and originally built by the Ashikaga Shogun at the end of the 14th century.  From there, walk to the nearby Ryoan‐ji to see its famous Zen rock garden. This afternoon walk along the ‘Philosopher’s Path’, a delightful walk beside a canal lined with cherry trees in eastern Kyoto, followed by some free time to explore the area further or shop for crafts.

Day 9: Kyoto - Today is free to explore Kyoto. Your guide will be happy to help with suggestions of places to visit, such as Nijo Castle, the former residence of the Shogun in Kyoto, or Kiyomizu Temple with its wonderful view of Kyoto.

Day 10: Hakone - to Hakone, a famous hot spring town with wonderful views of Mount Fuji (weather permitting). We stay at a lakeside hotel, with wonderful views of Mount Fuji. The hotel has its own hot spring baths. After checking in, we walk to the Hakone Check-Point Museum before enjoying some free time before dinner.

Day 11: To Hakone National Park - A full day in Hakone, beginning with a walk along the 'sugi-namiki', lined with Japanese cedar trees, to Lake Ashi-no-ko where we may be able to see demonstrations of Japanese parquetry in the workshops there. We then continue on the old Tokaido highway, once the alternative to the Nakasendo, stopping for lunch along the way.

Day 12: Hakone & Tokyo - A morning boat ride across Lake Ashi-no-ko, to travel on a series of funicular railways through the Hakone volcanic ranges. We walk to see the volcanic fumaroles bubble up, before enjoying lunch on the other side of the mountain. After lunch we take the bus back to Tokyo for the evening.

Day 13: Departure day - Morning transfer to Narita Airport.


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