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Japan Island Hopping

12 Nights: US$2730 (excluding international flights)
This is the chance to get away from it all; discover beautiful white sand beaches, translucent warm blue sea, rare wildlife, jungle adventure and a rich culture all of its own.

The Island Hopping itinerary begins and ends in the Tokyo metropolis providing a striking introduction and finale to contrast with the rest of your Japanese island adventure. Flying more than 2000 km south of the capital, Ishigaki is the gateway to the Yaeyama subtropical island chain. With palm tree lined sandy beaches to relax on, a mountainous interior to discover and diverse coral and marine life including huge majestic Manta to snorkel and dive with, Ishigaki is a world away from the distant capital city.

20 minutes on a ferry transports you back in time as you visit the tiny island of Taketomi where the main transport across the island's five square
kilometres is water-buffalo drawn cart. Preserved traditional Ryukyu-style villas are dotted across the island with distinctive red tile roofs, garden walls made of coral and Shisa lion-like statues protecting from evil spirits, a common sight across the Okinawa region.

The largest but least developed island in the chain is Iriomote. Covered in wild jungle and mangrove forests, the island boasts a rich diversity of flora
and fauna including the Iriomote Lynx, an extremely rare (and rarely seen) mountain cat. Easy kayaking up the rivers cutting into the dense jungle and
trekking to the top of waterfalls for views across this stunning national park are great ways to appreciate this subtropical gem. Less strenuous options
include taking a water buffalo ride across a shallow sand bar to visit Yubu Island's botanical gardens, whereas Fanauki, one of the most remote villages in the country, offers the chance to soak in Japan's most westerly hot spring bath overlooking the jungle.

Your stop in Naha, the capital of Okinawa main island, brings you back to the modern world. Formally the centre of the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom, Naha is now a city of 700,000 people with bustling markets, restaurants and a lively night life. We recommend a visit to see the impressive Chinese influenced architecture of Shuri Castle and perhaps even a cooking class learning to prepare Okinawa's ubiquitous goya, a bitter green gourd.

Before you return to Tokyo you'll make a final island stop in the Kerama Islands.  The Kerama chain spreads over 22 islands, just 20 miles south-west of the mainland Okinawa. Only Tokashiki, Zamami, Aka and Geruma islands are inhabited, but all are home to white sandy beaches, lush green interior and surrounded by translucent subtropical waters with Okinawan culture flowing throughout. The Keramas offer some of the best snorkelling in the world with untouched coral, diverse marine life and stunning visibility often exceeding 30 metres. The waters also invite migrating Humpback Whale between January and April which offer yet more natural beauty to these beautiful subtropical islands.

With a cold glass of Okinawa's awamori in hand and a plate of fresh sashimi you couldn't ask for a better end to your island hopping trip.

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Destinations:
Tokyo | Ishigaki | Taketomi | Iriomote | Naha | Zamami | Tokyo

Prices:
2014
Standard:
Twin: US$2730  Single: US$3797

Upgrade:
Twin: US$4602  Single: US$6440


What's Included:
  • 12 night's accommodation
  • Breakfast every day
  • All transport between destinations in Japan
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Meet & greet upon arrival
  • Full day nature tour on Iriomote Island (kayak & trek)
  • Tokyo transport card with 2,500yen of credit
  • InsideJapan Tours' info-pack
What's NOT Included:
  • International Flights
  • Local transport (buses, subways, taxis) at any destination unless otherwise specified
  • Any entrance fees including those for shrines, temples and museums
  • Baggage handling - you will be expected to carry your own bags for the duration of the trip

Supplements
No seasonal supplement

Black Out Dates
There are no black out dates for this trip. However, please be aware that at the busiest times of the year the named accommodation may not be available and in this case the price can not be guaranteed. However, we will always do our best to match the prices you see here as closely as possible

 

Day by Day Itinerary


Day 1 Tokyo

Meals: Breakfast

Arriving into the Tokyo Metropolis, you will take a shuttle to your hotel in the old Asakusa district of the city where you will spend the first two nights. The area is known for the Sensoji temple and the Nakamise Dori which leads up to it with its various vendors and surrounding shops. Just a short train ride away lies the neon buzz that gives the city its reputation contrasting the traditional with the sleek and modern. This is a great first introduction to Japanese culture and a contrast of things to come in the islands.

Day 3 to Day 5 Ishigaki

Meals: Breakfast

You will head to Tokyo’s Haneda airport for the flight to the sub-tropics. Your flight will take you almost 1300 miles and 3 hours direct to Ishigaki island – your first stop island hopping in Japan. Ishigaki is the most populated of the Yaeyama chain, but the gateway to the other Yaeyama islands. You will jump in the taxi which will whisk you away to your beach cottage on the coast….although the pace of life here is considerably different to that of Tokyo. Your cottage sits just a short stroll from the beach. This is a great place to relax and soak up the island atmosphere or a great base from which to discover the island, its mountainous interior, coral rich warm sea and the majestic Manta that frequent the waters around the island.

Day 6 Taketomi

Meals: Breakfast

You will take a ferry from Ishigaki port to nearby Taketomi island today. The island is only 20 minutes away but is a journey back into traditional Ryukyu island life. This tiny island has an area of 5.4sqm and is best navigated by water buffalo drawn cart in true Taketomi style. Take a look around the preserved traditional red tiled villages or head to the beautiful beaches with its perfectly formed star-shaped sand particles that fill it. You will enjoy uninterrupted starlight as the evening falls along with some good food from your traditional Taketomi Villa. This is island life at its most laid back.

Day 7 to Day 8 Iriomote

Meals: Breakfast

Jumping on the ferry back to Ishigaki you will head on to the largest but least inhabited island of the Yaeyama’s. Iriomote is covered in jungle and is even home to a wild lynx that was thought to be extinct until 1967. Although you will most likely not see the Lynx, the jungle is covered in rare flora and fauna protected by its national park status. You will never be too far away from the warm sea reminding you of your beautiful island setting, great for snorkelling or plain relaxing. On your second day, you will be met by your guide who will take you on a gentle kayaking trip through mangrove lined rivers into Irionmote’s dense jungle interior. Your guide will also lead you on a pleasant trek from the river up to the waterfall discovering some of the ‘local inhabitants’ along the way. Your stay on Iriomote is a taste of the wild but beautiful natural beauty that the subtropics have to offer.

Day 9 Naha

Meals: Breakfast

Taking the ferry back over to Ishigaki, you will then make your way to the airport from where you will take a 1 hour flight to the main Okinawa island. The most populated of the Okinawa islands, the island’s capital of Naha is home to around 700,000 people. The impressive Shuri Castle is a reminder that the city was the centre of the Ryukyu Kingdom for hundreds of years. You will stay in the centre of the city close to the lively Kokusai Dori area of the city which will be in considerable contrast to Iriomote island life. A night in the comparatively lively capital of Naha will give you an alternative taste of Ryukyu Island life.

Day 10 to Day 11 Zamami

Meals: Breakfast

After a night in Naha, you will make the short trip to the port for the ferry to Zamami island. Zamami is about an hour away from Naha and is the quintessential subtropical island with its white sand beaches and slow pace of life. You will be staying in a small family run Japanese style Pension on the island located in Zamami village and a short walk from the port. You may choose to relax and perhaps snorkel amongst the translucent blue sea amongst the varied coral and marine life for your couple of days on the island. You may wish to jump in a water taxi to nearby Akajima and Geruma Islands which are just 15 minutes and 300yen away with quiet beaches and primeval forests best explored on foot or by bike. From January to April the waters also attract Humpback Whale which provide for a stunning natural spectacle adding to the natural charm of the Kerama Islands. If you choose the upgrade package then you will stay at a beachside hotel on nearby Toshiki Island instead of Zamami.

Day 12 Tokyo

Meals: Breakfast

Time to head back to mainland Okinawa and catch a flight back to the Tokyo Metropolis – a far cry from the Ryukyu culture of the islands. Your Japan finale will be spent in the exciting district of Shinjuku which is arguably the beating heart of Tokyo with its bright neon, restaurants, shops and people. This is a great place to be based for your final night in Japan.

Day 13 Depart

Meals: Breakfast

Alas time to depart. Your airport transfer is included.
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Pricing Information

2014
Standard Price: US$2730     (Single Price: US$3797)
Upgrade Price: US$4602     (Single Price: US$6440)
 

Extra Nights:

Standard Grade
Start: Twin Share pp US$0      Single pp US$0
End: Twin Share pp US$0      Single pp US$0  

Superior Grade
  Start: Twin Share pp US$0      Single pp US$0
End: Twin Share pp US$0      Single pp US$0  
 

Accommodation


Richmond Hotel Asakusa

Tokyo

Moderate Hotel

Opened in March 2012, this brand new superior business hotel is in a fantastic location in the centre of Asakusa, Tokyo's historic district. Kaminarimon gate and Sensoji temple are just a short walk away and numerous restaurants are on your doorstep. You are also ideally placed to visit Tokyo Sky Tree (Tokyo's newest tallest tower) and numerous subway lines are just a couple of minutes away on foot giving easy access to Shibuya, Akihabara, Shinjuku and the Ginza. Rooms here are modern, well designed and of course with full en-suite facilities. A handy coin laundry is available.

Nagura Village Cottages

Ishigaki

Self-Catering

On Ishigaki Island you will be staying at the modern Nagura Village Cottages. The 22 beach cottages are stylishly furnished with Western beds and equipped with a small kitchenette, TV and en-suite facilities. There are two washing machines available and a light self-service breakfast of bread rolls and coffee is included. Nagura Village sits just across the road from Nagura beach and is a short drive from Kabira bay and Yonehara beach. The airport and town of Ishigaki (for day trips to Iriomote Island and Taketomi Island by ferry) are a 20 minute drive away (about 2,000yen by taxi). Tours of Ishigaki including horse riding on the beach, snorkelling and others can be arranged by the accommodation owners.

Villa Taketomi

Taketomi

Moderate Hotel

Villa Taketomi is a collection of small traditional cottages with distinctive red-tiled roofs located in the centre of the beautiful island of Taketomi. There is no phone, not even a clock. Nothing to disturb life on a quiet isle, where time flows slowly. The home-style cooking, featuring plenty of fresh local produce, is tempting and satisfying. After dark there is a view of the starlit sky from the garden. A stay here is to taste a real slice of Okinawan island life. All the cottages are fully en-suite and the small village where they are located is no more than a twenty minute walk along quiet lanes of pure white coral sand from some stunning beaches.

Iriomote Eco Village

Iriomote

Resort

Eco Village sits on the edge of the jungle and on the beach. The Eco village is made up of a number of stand alone villas and a small block of rooms all with a sea view just sitting feet away from the oceans edge. If the clear warm sea is not enough for you, there is a pool for customers to enjoy and for the more adventurous there the establishment is sat on the edge of the Iriomote jungle. All of these modern rooms have ensuite and air conditioning and are equipped with twin beds. The suite room has a large double bed and day lounge. The Eco Village runs a BBQ between April and October and there is a restaurant at other times. It is the perfect location to enjoy the natural surroundings of this wild island.

Daiwa Roynet Hotel Naha-Kokusaidori

Naha

Moderate Hotel

The Daiwa Roynet Hotel Naha-Kokusaidori is part of a popular chain of business hotels located only 3 minutes walk from Makishi station and a 5 minute walk from Asato station. The hotel faces Kokusai-dori street known as "the Miracle 1 mile", which is pedestrianized between 12pm and 6pm - a popular hangout for many local young artists who like to perfom there. The rooms are modern, clean and comfortable and offer all the facilities you would expect such as TV and free LAN internet in all the rooms. Shuri-jo castle (registered as World Heritage Site) is approximately 15 minutes away by car. A Japanese and Western style buffet breakfast is served each morning between 7am and 10am.

Yado Natura

Zamami

Guest House (JP)

The Yado Natura is a family owned Japanese style hotel with just four rooms. It is located in the small main town on the island, a short distance from Zamami port. The hotel offers free pick-up from the port and will also shuttle you to Furu-Zamami beach - a beautiful sandy beach just a 10 minute drive away. The owners can help arrange snorkelling, scuba diving or sea kayaking if you wish. Rooms are en-suite and have air conditioning. If you inform the staff the night before then a "Bento" lunch boxes can be arranged for the next day.

Citadines Shinjuku

Tokyo

Moderate Hotel

The Citadines Shinjuku is a modern apartment-hotel located in Tokyo's vibrant Shinjuku district. Each room has its own small kitchenette giving the convenience of home and the comfort of a hotel. Rooms are well sized for Tokyo and the hotel has its own coin laundry and small gym. The hotel is a short walk from Shinjuku San-chome and Shinjuku Gyoen-mae subway stations and less than 5 minutes by taxi from JR Shinjuku Station - access to all of Tokyo is a breeze. There is a 24 hour supermarket just round the corner as well as a number of restaurants on your doorstep. The hotel also has free wi-fi available in the rooms.

 
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