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IJT Classic Hidden Japan

12 Nights: from US$4160 (excluding international flights)
Starting and finishing in historic Kyoto, our Hidden Japan tour explores Japan in-depth. We stay in temple lodgings on sacred Mt. Koya and in a luxury hot spring ryokan at the shrine town of Kotohira. See traditional puppetry in Tokushima and Naoshima art island from Takamatsu.

The Hidden Japan tour is an odyssey through lost Japan; a journey of discovery - Imperial Kyoto, Matsuyama Castle, the vine bridges and gorges of the stunning Iya valley, traditional theatre in Tokushima, temple lodgings on Mt. Koya and fantastic art-works on the tiny island of Naoshima. This 'IJT Classic' tour reveals a quieter Japan away from the big cities and bright lights.

Accompanied throughout by your expert IJT Tour Leader, the tour starts and finishes in Kyoto, Japan's Imperial capital and home to a wealth of temples, shrines and gardens, many of which are designated UNESCO World Heritage sights. On the first night we have included a group meal at a local restaurant and then we have the following day to explore this fascinating city.

From Kyoto we travel by private minibus to the mysterious Mt. Koya religious complex. Here we will stay at temple lodgings and have the chance to witness traditional ceremonies as well as try some fantastic Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. We will be exploring the area including the expansive Oku-no-in cemetary with a local Japanese guide.

A ferry crossing takes us on to Shikoku Island which is the main focus of the tour and is a much more rural area of Japan than the main island of Honshu. Stays in Matsuyama, Tokushima and Takamatsu see us exploring a samurai castle, the fantastic Ritsurin Japanese gardens and visiting Naoshima 'art island'. We will also have the chance to see Awa Odori traditional dancing and Bunraku, Japanese puppet theatre.

Matsuyama is famed for Dogo Onsen, the oldest hot spring baths in Japan and you will also have a great opportunity to try Japanese style baths at our luxury ryokan stay in Kotohira. This will be a truly unique experience and the dinners are superb. Kotohira is a small pilgrimage town full of character and from here we will also do a day trip to the stunning Iya Valley where we explore vine bridges and see some beautiful scenery.

A short ferry crossing sees us arrive in Hiroshima where we will visit the Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum to gain a more poignant reminder of Japan's more recent history. We spend two nights in this area allowing plenty of time to visit scenic Miyajima Island which has a truly magical atmosphere. We have a whole day strolling amongst the deer, taking in the shrines and walking through the primeval forests.

A shinkansen (bullet train) ride back to Kyoto sees us finish up with time to further explore this ancient city.

This is a unique tour and is for those who wish to see the main cities but also delve a little deeper into rural Japan. It is a great opportunity to see a Japan rarely seen by most visitors and features some excellent ryokan and hotel stays as well as numerous great meals.

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Price

Tour Price from US$4160
Full Price Details
The price shown here is for the land arrangements only and does not include international flights. If you would like a quote for your flights, please ask.

 
What’s Included:
  • Full time services of your expert IJT Tour Leader
  • Expert local Japanese guide in Mt. Koya
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • All transport between destinations in Japan including airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Meet and Greet on arrival at Osaka Kansai Airport
  • 5 evening meals and 2 lunches
  • Breakfast everyday
  • Local transport pass for Hiroshima and Miyajima
  • Selected entrance fees and local transport at all destinations
  • Full day touring by private minibus in the Iya Valley
  • Day trip to Naoshima 'art island'
  • Luggage forwarding on two occasions
  • InsideJapan Tours' complimentary Info-Pack
What’s NOT Included:
  • International Flights
  • Baggage handling - you will be expected to carry your own bags for the duration of the trip

Important Practical Information

Maximum Group Size: 14

Single Supplement: This tour has a single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour.

Transport & Luggage: Please note that most transfers are by public transport making use of Japan's first-rate transport network. All the hotels and ryokan have been chosen for their location close to the nearest station. The transfer to and from Mt. Koya is however by private minibus. We have included a luggage transfer from Kyoto to Tokushima and from Kotohira to Hiroshima so you will need an overnight bag for your stays in Mt. Koya and Matsuyama. For the other transfers you will have to carry your bags for short distances and some stations do not have escalators. We highly recommend that to make your stay more enjoyable you pack reasonably light. Large suitcases will be an inconvenience to you. A moderately sized suitcase with wheels is most appropriate for this tour.

Accommodation: All of the accommodation except for the stay in Mt. Koya has full en-suite facilities. In Mt. Koya we are staying at a temple lodging and the facilities are a little more basic although still very clean and comfortable. Baths are shared (single sex) and toilets are not attached to the rooms.

International Flights: The tour starts and finishes in Kyoto (for Osaka Kansai Airport).

Please note that the included meet-and-greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available for Osaka Kansai Airport.

Check-in: Please note that rooms at the Kyoto hotel are only available from 2pm. (You can however securely leave your luggage at the front desk at any time).

 

Day by Day Itinerary


Day 1 Kyoto

Meals: Dinner

The tour group convenes in Kyoto. If you arrive at Osaka Kansai Airport your Tour Leader will come to the airport to meet you and escort you into Kyoto and on to our hotel in the centre of town. Many of our customers choose to arrive a day early in order to get over jet-lag and get the most out of the tour, either way your tour leader will be at the airport waiting for you.

Kyoto is the cradle of Japanese culture and has a rich collection of ancient temples, shrines and gardens as well as interesting museums to explore. The first night’s dinner is on us at a local restaurant - a great chance to get to know your fellow travellers.

Day 2 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast

Your Tour Leader will lead a full day tour
of Kyoto today. Walking from Ginkakuji Silver Pavilion along the Philosopher’s Path is a relaxing way to spend the morning before taking in some Zen temples and the impressive Heian Shrine. Of course, if you’d rather go off and do your own thing your Tour Leader will be happy to offer you some suggestions.

Day 3 Mt Koya

Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

We will be travelling to Mt. Koya by private minibus taking scenic country roads which will give us our first glimpses of rural Japan. At Mt. Koya we stay in a fascinating temple lodgings complete with authentic Buddhist vegetarian meals – an unforgettable experience. This afternoon an expert local Japanese guide will show us around the temple complexes of this sacred mountain and the impressive Oku-no-in cemetary. This beautiful and isolated destination is a highlight of the trip!

Day 4 Tokushima

Meals: Breakfast

Before breakfast today we will have the opportunity to join in morning ceremonies at our temple lodgings. We will then enjoy breakfast before a private minibus will take us to Wakayama port from where it is a short crossing to Tokushima, on Shikoku Island. We’ll arrive by lunch time and have time to enjoy views of the city from nearby Mt. Bizan as well as visit the Awa Odori Kaikan for an experience of the traditional Awa Odori dance.

Day 5 Takamatsu

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast this morning we will take a half day trip to the Awa Jurobe Yashiki theatre just out of town. Here we have
a unique opportunity to see traditional Japanese bunraku (puppet theatre) in an authentic setting. It is a quite a treat! We return to Tokushima for lunch before a short train ride on to Takamatsu. Arriving mid-afternoon will give plenty of time to explore Ritsurin Gardens - widely recognised as some of the best in Japan.

Day 6 Naoshima

Meals: Breakfast

A full day trip to Naoshima ‘art island’ today. This fascinating island is home to an amazing collection of art galleries and outdoor installations. We will save plenty of time for the fabulous Bennese Gallery but also be sure to take time to enjoy the rural scenery here as well. Another unique Japanese destination.

Day 7 Kotohira

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

After breakfast we will be taking a scenic train journey to this rural town. We are staying at a top grade ryokan here with its own hot spring baths and gourmet meals included. This afternoon you’ll have the chance to climb the steps of Kompira-san, one of Japan’s most important shrines – at the top you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the whole area. Tonight a sumptuous dinner is included served to us in our own private dining room by waitresses in Kimono.

Day 8 Iya Valley

Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

We’ll be touring through the magnificent Iya valley today. Our private bus will take us to one of the famous Kazura Bashi (vine bridges) and we’ll also enjoy a boat ride through one of the gorges. Lunch is included in the tour and on our return we’ll enjoy hot spring baths and another feast at our ryokan.

Day 9 Matsuyama

Meals: Breakfast

A train ride west across Shikoku Island takes us to Matsuyama station today from where it is then a short bus journey to our hotel which is located right next to Dogo Hot spring baths. These baths are said to date back more than 3 thousand years making them the oldest in Japan. The current buildings were completed in 1894. Matsuyama is also a castle town with one of the best extant Samurai castles in Japan. We will be sure to explore the castle and its grounds before taking an afternoon or evening dip in the restorative hot spring waters!

Day 10 Hiroshima

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

From Matsuyama we will take the jet foil across the Seto Inland Sea to Hiroshima. You will have the opportunity to wander around the surrounding park and take your time exploring the museum this afternoon. Then in the evening we have an included dinner of Okonomiyaki - a Japanese pancake style speciality for which this area is famous.

Day 11 Hiroshima

Meals: Breakfast

An optional day trip to Miyajima today, home to the Itsukushima shrine which
is famous as one of the Nihon Sankei or
top three sights of Japan! The so-called ‘floating’ Torii gate is a truly magnificent sight whilst the views from Mt. Misen are also spectacular. There is some great hiking to be done on the island if you wish – and if the weather is good, beaches to enjoy.

Day 12 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast

Time to head back to Kyoto taking a ride on the super-fast Shinkansen (bullet train). We will have a full afternoon in Kyoto to further explore this fascinating city. This is also a great chance for souvenir shopping as Kyoto is famed for its arts and crafts. A ‘sayonnara’ dinner will be arranged by the tour leader this evening.

Day 13 Depart

Meals: Breakfast

Sadly the tour is over and we all have to say our farewells and go our separate ways. Your transfer ticket to Osaka Kansai airport is included and your Leader will provide you with reserved seat tickets.

Back to Top

Photos


Buddhist monks in Koya-san

The famous floating torii in Miyajima

Matsuyama Castle

Awa Odori dancer in Tokushima

Kazura Bashi vine bridge in the Iya Valley

Pricing Information

2014
Tour Price: US$4160
Single Supplement: US$560
Extra Nights  
Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$112     Single pp US$176 
Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$112    Single pp US$176
2015
Tour Price: US$4160
Single Supplement: US$560
Extra Nights  
Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$112     Single pp US$176 
Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$112    Single pp US$176
 

Accommodation


Hotel Sunroute Kyoto

Kyoto

Moderate Hotel

The Sunroute in Kyoto is a welcoming western style hotel in a great spot just a short walk from the Gion geisha district and the Minamiza theatre. Rooms are compact but have everything you need and the hotel has a particularly good buffet breakfast. There is a nice cafe downstairs and free internet is available throughout the hotel.

Fudoin Shukubo

Mt Koya

Minshuku (JP)

The Fudo-in is a quiet Shukubo (temple lodgings) located on a small hill side near Okunoin cemetery in Koya-san. The large garden contains the tomb of the Empress of Toba (1101 - 1145) and so the Imperial family always visit this Shukubo when they come to Koya-san. This is a friendly small shukubo with some English speaking staff. The morning ceremony has some English translation and the bathing facilities are all well kept.

Hotel Sunroute Tokushima

Tokushima

Moderate Hotel

The modern Sunroute Tokushima is a great hotel located just a few steps from Tokushima station and within an easy walk of the Awa Odori centre and the Mt. Bizen ropeway. The hotel has its own hot spring bath house as well as a restaurant and wireless internet is available in all rooms free of charge.

JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu

Takamatsu

Superior Hotel

The Clement is a superior hotel located near the waterfront in the attractive harbour town of Takamatsu. The hotel enjoys great views over the harbour and the town. Rooms are well sized and the hotel has a choice of restaurants including a well regarded bakery. Wired internet is available in the rooms and rental laptops are also available. Takamatsu's stunning Ritsurin gardens are just a short distance away and there are ferries on your doorstep for an easy day trip to Naoshima 'art island'.

Kotohira Sakura no Sho

Kotohira

Superior Hotel

The Sakura no Sho is a modern hotel with traditional Japanese rooms and quality of service. Located at the foot of the pilgrim’s steps to Konpira san shrine, this is the certainly best place to relax with its inviting indoor and outdoor hot spring baths. The food at the Sakura no Sho is first class with an array of Japanese and western style dishes available to suit all tastes.

Hotel Dogo Patio

Matsuyama

Business Hotel

A comfortable western-style hotel in a fantastic location, right opposite the famous Dogo Onsen bath-house. Rooms are modern and have full ensuite facilities. The hotel offers internet access in the lobby and a sushi restaurant on the ground floor, perfect for an evening meal.

Hiroshima Sunroute Hotel

Hiroshima

Business Hotel

Located just 5 mins by taxi from Hiroshima station and in one of the best locations in the city opposite the atomic war museum and peace park, this is a good standard business hotel. The service is excellent and the rooms are all en-suite with some boasting lovely views over the Peace Park. The hotel also has an excellent top floor Italian restaurant.

Tour Dates
Tour Starts Tour Disbands Price Status
2014
Currently there are no departures available for this year. Please contact us using the enquiry form or call us - UK (0)117 370 9740 / USA 303 952 0379 / AUS 028 011 3229
2015
26 Mar 2015 07 Apr 2015 US$4160 ASK US
20 Aug 2015 01 Sep 2015 US$4160 NOW BOOKING
15 Oct 2015 27 Oct 2015 US$4160 NOW BOOKING
19 Nov 2015 01 Dec 2015 US$4160 NOW BOOKING
2016
Currently there are no departures available for this year. Please contact us using the enquiry form or call us - UK (0)117 370 9740 / USA 303 952 0379 / AUS 028 011 3229

What’s Included:
  • Full time services of your expert IJT Tour Leader
  • Expert local Japanese guide in Mt. Koya
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • All transport between destinations in Japan including airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Meet and Greet on arrival at Osaka Kansai Airport
  • 5 evening meals and 2 lunches
  • Breakfast everyday
  • Local transport pass for Hiroshima and Miyajima
  • Selected entrance fees and local transport at all destinations
  • Full day touring by private minibus in the Iya Valley
  • Day trip to Naoshima 'art island'
  • Luggage forwarding on two occasions
  • InsideJapan Tours' complimentary Info-Pack
What’s NOT Included:
  • International Flights
  • Baggage handling - you will be expected to carry your own bags for the duration of the trip

Important Practical Information

Maximum Group Size: 14

Single Supplement: This tour has a single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour.

Transport & Luggage: Please note that most transfers are by public transport making use of Japan's first-rate transport network. All the hotels and ryokan have been chosen for their location close to the nearest station. The transfer to and from Mt. Koya is however by private minibus. We have included a luggage transfer from Kyoto to Tokushima and from Kotohira to Hiroshima so you will need an overnight bag for your stays in Mt. Koya and Matsuyama. For the other transfers you will have to carry your bags for short distances and some stations do not have escalators. We highly recommend that to make your stay more enjoyable you pack reasonably light. Large suitcases will be an inconvenience to you. A moderately sized suitcase with wheels is most appropriate for this tour.

Accommodation: All of the accommodation except for the stay in Mt. Koya has full en-suite facilities. In Mt. Koya we are staying at a temple lodging and the facilities are a little more basic although still very clean and comfortable. Baths are shared (single sex) and toilets are not attached to the rooms.

International Flights: The tour starts and finishes in Kyoto (for Osaka Kansai Airport).

Please note that the included meet-and-greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available for Osaka Kansai Airport.

Check-in: Please note that rooms at the Kyoto hotel are only available from 2pm. (You can however securely leave your luggage at the front desk at any time).

 
Inside Japan Tours - Independent British Travel Awards 2011 - Best Tour Operator To East and Central Asia
The Guardian, The Observer - Travel Awards 2010 Winner - Best tour operator (small)
Inside Japan Tours - Silver at the British Travel Awards 2009