Classic Japan - A Luxury Small Group Journey (2020)

Immerse yourself in Japan’s diverse culture, as you explore Tokyo, stay at a ryokan in Hakone, savor a foodie tour in Osaka, witness sumo wrestling, and enjoy entertainment by a geiko (geisha) in Kyoto.

Journey Overview

A country of astonishing contrasts, Japan is a wonderful and varied destination. On this journey, marvel at some of the country’s most impressive gardens and glimpse magnificent mountain landscapes as you travel by bullet train. Be introduced to the ancient Samurai traditions and visit sacred Shinto shrines. Take the opportunity to appreciate Japan’s myriad arts and crafts, and meet a local artist and collector, and savour its extraordinary cuisine in local eateries, fine restaurants and street food stalls. Be amazed at a sumo wrestling bout, find respite in a classic onsen and rest up in a traditional ryokan – just a handful of Japan’s cultural highlights.

Journey Highlights

  • Experience the distinctive culture and history of Japan, from fast-paced, neon-lit Tokyo to serene, traditional Kyoto
  • View the exalted flowering cherry trees, or sakura, which bloom every spring; or opt for the red leaves of autumn
  • Ride Like a Local on a bullet train along the classic stretch past majestic Mount Fuji
  • Be among the few to stay at Gôra Kadan, one of the country’s most exclusive ryokans (traditional inns), with access made possible by A&K’s hallmark small group size.
  • Capture the spirit of Japan with the art of the tea ceremony and a sushi-making lesson
  • Savour Kyoto’s unique cuisine and traditions during an exclusive shabu-shabu dinner, with entertainment by a geiko (as a geisha is called in Kyoto) and a maiko (apprentice geisha)

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Tokyo, Japan.

Arrive in Tokyo, Japan’s exciting and modern capital. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the expansive views over Tokyo’s Skyline.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

Day 2: Tokyo | Spirits of Edo, an Emperor & Tsukiji.

Start your day at Tsukiji Fish Market, a bustling hub of Japanese daily life where a dizzying array of seafood can be found. Continue to an exclusive local workshop that specialises in Japanese drum making, and try your hand at playing the taiko. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and then visit Asakusa Kannon Temple, pausing in the tiny shops of Nakamise-dori. The colourful pagoda-style temple was completed in 645 and is dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of mercy in several East Asian spiritual traditions. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo | Meals: BLD

Day 3: Tokyo | Design Your Day.

Start your day at the Samurai Museum, where you learn about the customs of this elite warrior class and get an up-close look at an authentic collection of their exotic armour and weaponry. Then, receive a lesson in sushi making followed by lunch. This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities.

  • Explore the MORI Art Museum to take in contemporary art.
  • Learn About Tokyo’s History at the Edo-Tokyo Museum, built to preserve the heritage of the city’s last 400 years.
  • Indulge in a Sake Tasting, sampling some of Japan’s finest sake and learning about its cultural importance.

Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo | Meals: BL 

Day 4: Hakone | Traditional Ryokan.

Travel to Hakone, among Japan’s most popular hot-spring destinations, and view the forested slopes of Hakone National Park, an area encompassing coastlines, mountains, lakes and more than 1,000 volcanic islands. Board an aerial tram for inspiring views of Mount Fuji. Enjoy a lunch of Japan’s famed Kobe beef, before strolling the grassy hillsides of Hakone’s Open Air Museum. Admire the impressive contemporary sculptures and artwork on display, including masterpieces by Henry Moore and Rodin. The museum also features one of the world’s finest Picasso exhibits, presenting visitors with some 300 works by the cubist master. Tonight, enjoy unparalleled service and traditional Japanese cuisine at Gôra Kadan, a top-rated ryokan (traditional inn), which is also your authentic accommodation for the night.
Gôra Kadan | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Osaka | Dotonbori District Delicacies.

After breakfast at your ryokan, visit the Okada Museum of Art to view its stunning collection of paintings, ceramics, lacquerware and bronzes from Japan, Korea and China. Then, Ride Like a Local by bullet train to Osaka. Historically known as a merchant city, it is today renowned as Japan’s undisputed culinary capital, where diners indulge in everything from octopus dumplings to Okonomi-yaki — a battered, grilled concoction of chopped cabbage, meat or seafood, and seaweed, topped with mayonnaise. This evening, set out on a foodie tour in the popular Dotonbori district, sampling dishes from the brilliantly lighted and gastronomically creative restaurants that line the street.
The St. Regis Osaka | Meals: BL

Day 6: Nara | Insights into a Profoundly Spiritual Heritage.

Travel to Nara, Japan’s first capital, to visit Todai-ji, a temple complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. Proceed to Nara Park, home to hundreds of deer, venerated here as divine spirits, which you have the opportunity feed by hand. Complete your Nara excursion with a visit to celebrated Kasuga Taisha Shrine and experience a Shinto ceremony firsthand. Pause for lunch at a local restaurant before proceeding to the Kehaya-za Sumo Pavilion, where you observe a demonstration of this fabled Japanese sport by two sumo wrestlers. Return to your hotel, where you enjoy dinner.
The St. Regis Osaka | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Kyoto | The Golden Pavilion & Bamboo Grove.

Travel into Kyoto early this morning to contemplate the iconic Zen rock garden at Ryoan-ji, the perfect spot for a meditative moment, and discover the glittering Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion) — covered with gold leaf, surrounded by green gardens and casting its delicate reflection in the tranquil pond beside it. After lunch, explore the Arashiyama neighbourhood, including the garden of Tenryu-ji Temple. Later, bask in the magical atmosphere of Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, strolling along a winding path as sunlight filters down through towering bamboo shoots — considered by many a healing experience.
Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto | Meals: BL

Day 8: Kyoto | In the Traditional Home of a Beloved Artist.

Visit Shogunzaka Temple for stunning views of Kyoto and continue to the home and studio of the late Kawai Kanjiro, one of Kyoto’s most famous potters. In Kanjiro’s beautiful home, view his own creations as well as his personal collection of ceramics, sculptures and wood carvings. Proceed to a local temple, where you experience the art of the tea ceremony, noting its refined sense of hospitality and etiquette, which date to the time of the samurai. Tonight, savour traditional Japanese cuisine, while an attending geiko (as a geisha is known in Kyoto) and maiko (apprentice geisha) dance, sing, pour sake and share stories about life in modern Kyoto.
Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto | Meals: BD

Day 9: Depart Kyoto.

After breakfast, transfer to Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport, both located just outside of Osaka, for your flight home, or begin a post-tour extension to Hiroshima.
Meals: B

Journey Details

This Journey includes long walks.
Minimum age is 10 years.
First group event: welcome briefing at 8:00 a.m. on Day 2.
Last group event: farewell dinner at 7:00 p.m. on Day 8.
Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Show Full Itinerary


Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

Classic Japan - A Luxury Small Group Journey (2020)

Just 15 minutes’ drive from the famous Gion Geisha District, the Four Seasons is perfectly positioned for exploring the historical and cu ... Read more

St. Regis Osaka

Classic Japan - A Luxury Small Group Journey (2020)

Located along the famed street of Midosuji, heralded as the Champs Elysées of Osaka, the St. Regis Osaka is an eloquent expression of com ... Read more

Gôra Kadan, Hakone and Mount Fuji

Classic Japan - A Luxury Small Group Journey (2020)

The sublime Gora Kadan is situated in the striking Hakone National Park. The former retreat of the Kanin-no-miya imperial family, the Gor ... Read more

Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Oct 9, 2020 - Oct 17, 2020
Price AU$18,110pp Single Supplement AU$8,690 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Oct 12, 2020 - Oct 20, 2020
Price AU$18,835pp Single Supplement AU$8,980 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Oct 16, 2020 - Oct 24, 2020
Price AU$18,835pp Single Supplement AU$8,980 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Oct 19, 2020 - Oct 27, 2020
Price AU$18,835pp Single Supplement AU$8,980 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Oct 23, 2020 - Oct 31, 2020
Price AU$18,835pp Single Supplement AU$8,980 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Nov 2, 2020 - Nov 10, 2020
Price AU$18,835pp Single Supplement AU$8,980 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Nov 9, 2020 - Nov 17, 2020
Price AU$18,835pp Single Supplement AU$8,980 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire

Availability shown here is updated weekly and indicative only. Availability on any product or journey shown here is not specific to a category of travel and may not denote availability at the cheapest ‘From’ price. For real time availability, talk to your travel agent or call Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800.

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