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Tour Highlights


As soft petals dapple a perfect morning, it’s a stretch to imagine the bitter tugs of war that stained these blossom carpeted hillsides with blood. In a flash of samurai swords and kamikaze battle cries, springtimes past were never this serene. Ownership passed from clan to clan and sieges holed up the walls in rage and war. With not a cloud in the sky to blight the day, the dark history of the Satsuma Rebellion doesn’t even seem possible.

  • Witness the frenetic pace of Tokyo as technology, traditions and Teppanyaki are thrown into a seamless blend of ancient and modern
  • Hope to delight in a cascade of petals touring in Cherry Blossom season
  • Bask in the towering glory of Mount Fuji from Hakone National Park
  • Bathe in the traditional onsen hot springs at the ancient alpine town of Takayama
  • Marvel at the cutting edge efficiency of the Japanese Bullet trains as you are whisked in comfort between cities at super speed
  • Learn the principles of feng shui at Kyoto’s Zen gardens 
  • Learn how to tie a kimono, paint Japanese calligraphy and appreciate the intricacies of a tea ceremony
  • Take time to reflect in the Peace Parks of Hiroshima
  • Admire the simplicity of Japanese architecture at the iconic Torii Gate
  • Explore the active volcanoes of the Kagoshima region
Mt Fuji, Japan Touring

Mount Fuji

Great tour, timed to perfection thanks to Mother Nature...seeing blossom from bud stage to loss of petals was fantastic

Kaye Perkins, Heart of Ancient Japan

Accommodation highlights


You have come so far, so why settle for second best when you get there? Captain’s Choice carefully researches and selects the best hotels to ensure you’re staying at the most enviable locations in town. We partner with the finest hotels to deliver our gilt edged service, seeking out the region’s top rating five star – or best available – residences. All our accommodation has been assessed for quality – we believe that a superior standard of service is just as important as five star facilities. Location and accessibility are also key factors – we endeavour to seek hotels that are in close proximity to the sites, that boast stunning views or offer a special something that makes them sparkle. It’s important to us that the hotels we select deliver the complete package and aren’t just trading on their reputation.

Japan Map

Full Itinerary


Depart Australia

Day 1: Tuesday 28 March

If you’re strolling through any park in Japan at the right time in spring, the air will be heavy with the scent of cherry blossom buds. The delicate flowers are in full bloom for just one week, when the Japanese celebrate with ‘Hanami’ – or flower watching – parties. We hope that our itinerary will bring you to the heart of the Cherry Blossom Festival when the boughs are at their most abundant and the picnics and festivities are in full swing. However nature can be a fickle mistress – we can only hope that those coveted blossoms will be on show – fingers crossed!

An evening Qantas flight will bring you direct to Tokyo on the new dawn. 

Arrive Tokyo (Japan)

Day 2: Wednesday 29 March

Life in Tokyo hurtles along faster than a bullet train and it is here the contrast between old and new is most strangely juxtaposed. Yet for all of its technology, fierce competitiveness and fast moving pace, Japan remains a country stilled by ancient culture and revered traditions. With a morning arrival, your room at the elegant Palace Hotel Tokyo has been reserved for an early check in.

  • Step out and take a walk through the Imperial Palace Gardens before tonight’s Welcome Dinner. 

Tokyo

Day 3: Thursday 30 March

If you want to buy the day’s freshest catch you would need to be at the Tsukiji Fish Market as early as 4am! Fortunately we aren’t foraging for our food and can wait for a more civil hour of the morning to visit this incredible market. From boisterous market to peaceful gardens, we take a short boat cruise along the river from the Hamarikyu Garden, then visit Asakusa Kannon Temple. Lunch is served in a fine Japanese restaurant in the Ginza district – it might even feature the market’s catch of the day!

  • If you’re looking for inspiration beyond a free afternoon, why not brush up on your history at the Edo Museum?

Mt Fuji & Hakone National Park

Day 4: Friday 31 March

Watching dawn break over the snow capped pyramid of Mount Fuji is an experience bordering on the spiritual. The image of this active volcano is one of Japan’s most widely published photographs – and with good reason; it’s spectacular. Today we take a scenic drive to the highest point accessible by road on Mt Fuji – with luck the weather will be as clear as it is in the pictures! We also visit Hakone National Park and take a boat trip on Lake Ashi.

  • Back in Tokyo, choose from one of the hotel’s fine restaurants for our dine-around dinner.

Tokyo – Kanazawa – Takayama

Day 5: Saturday 1 April

We’re all aboard the famous Bullet Train to Kanazawa this morning, enjoying a bento box for lunch as towns and villages fly by. Off the train in the afternoon, we step amongst Zen quietude in the Kenroku-en Garden, traditional art crafts museum and Nagamachi Samurai Houses.

Then we’re up, up and away into the Alps to Takayama, a charming alpine town that retains the atmosphere of old Japan. Warm yourself in traditional Japanese onsen hot springs at the Takayama Resort this evening.

Takayama

Day 6: Sunday 2 April

Whether you are a traveller seeking traditional crafts or a local looking for pickles, Takayama’s morning markets are the place to be. Walk along narrow San-Machi Street, winding past the old houses, meeting craftsmen exhibiting their traditional skills. And the Japanese Alps have more in store for us. The UNESCO listed snowy mountain village of Shirakawago contains 150 traditional farmhouses known as gassho-zukuris – four storey buildings where large families live together beneath steep thatched roofs. 

Takayama – Kyoto

Day 7: Monday 3 April

If Tokyo is Japan’s wild child, then Kyoto is its wise cultured grandfather. It is home to some of the finest art, crafts, culture and architecture in Japan – perhaps even the world. A morning coach ride takes us into the old world for an afternoon touring the Kinkakuji Temple and Old Imperial Palace. Geishas glide the narrow alleys, passing 17th century teahouses and ancient buildings on the cobbled streets of Gion. We have four nights in the former capital of Imperial Japan at the centrally located Kyoto Hotel Okura.

  • Dine in our hotel or join your guide at their favourite Kyoto restaurant. 

Nara

Day 8: Tuesday 4 April

Before Tokyo and Kyoto there was Nara, the country’s first capital. We drive there this morning, paying our respects at Todaiji Temple, with its giant Buddha, then visiting the Deer Park and Kasuga Shrine, with its thousands of stone lanterns.

Back in Kyoto we are treated to an alluring Cherry Blossom dance performance that precedes a very special dinner – and for now that’s all we’re at liberty to disclose...

Kyoto

Day 9: Wednesday 5 April

This morning we visit the Nijo Castle, Philosopher’s Walk, Kiyomizu Temple and Zen Gardens.

  • After lunch, choose how you’d like to spend the afternoon – perhaps you’ll join us in a cooking class, or a guided tour of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage listed Nishiki markets.
  • It’s up to you this evening – do you feel like a Western style dinner or some more traditional Japanese cuisine? 

Kyoto

Day 10: Thursday 6 April

You’ll be spoiled for choice on a day of traditional treats in Kyoto. Or feel free to set your own agenda on a free day to do as you please.

  • Which traditional Japanese art have you always wanted to learn? Perhaps you would like to understand the art of the perfect blend in the intricacies of a Tea Ceremony; or how to wrap your modesty in silk and sashes with a Kimono tying lesson; or how to unleash your creative genius with a calligraphy class. The choice is yours this afternoon!

Hiroshima

Day 11: Friday 7 April

Faster than a speeding bullet, well nearly!
The Bullet Train whisks us to Hiroshima in a matter of hours. On arrival we visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, commemorating the atom bomb attack on Hiroshima before lunching at the Sheraton Hiroshima, our home for the next two nights.

This afternoon is free to explore independently.

  • We dine this evening like the locals, enjoying the rituals of the famous ‘Okonomiyaki’ cuisine with newfound friends. 

Miyajima

Day 12: Saturday 8 April

There’s quiet sanctuary on our full day tour to Miyajima, where we will stand in awe of the Itsukushima Grand Shrine and the iconic Torii Gate.

  • We’re back in Hiroshima tonight for a dine-around evening.

Hiroshima – Kumamoto

Day 13: Sunday 9 April

Reaching speeds of over 300 kilometres an hour, the Bullet Train ride from Hiroshima to Hakata makes the distance seem a mere blur. Stepping off the train we are in the ceramic district of Arita, where the Kyushu Ceramic Museum will give us an overview of the region’s famous pottery. Our home for the next three nights is the simple yet comfortable Nikko Kumamoto hotel.

Kagoshima

Day 14: Monday 10 April

Shadowed by the Sakurajima Volcano, the city of Kagoshima waits on the horizon. A trip by Bullet Train makes it a quick jaunt from Kumamoto.
We visit the bayside garden of Iso-Teien and Shoko Shuseikan – a museum that housed Japan’s first factory, built in the 1850s after 17 young men were smuggled out of the country to learn western technology in the United Kingdom. 

Kumamoto

Day 15: Tuesday 11 April

Our morning exploration of Kumamoto includes its Grand Castle and Suizenji Park.

  • Feel the raw power of nature on an excursion to Mt Aso, the country’s largest active volcano.

Today is the last day we spend together – tomorrow some guests will head home and others will continue on to South and North Korea (15 March departure only). This evening’s Farewell Dinner is a great excuse for a celebration with friends you have made over the last two weeks.

Kumamoto – Tokyo

Day 16: Wednesday 12 April

Perhaps you will revisit the castle on your final free morning in Kumamoto, before an afternoon flight to Tokyo where our flight home awaits.

Arrive Australia

Day 17: Thursday 13 April

Say konichiwa when we arrive into Australia this morning.

All Inclusive Tours

Imagine a trip where you won’t have to lift a finger, or worry about bringing your wallet.

Sightseeing

Sightseeing

Sightseeing in each destination is included. Select Options even allow you to tailor aspects of the touring to your individual tastes when there are multiple touring options.

Wine

Meals and Drinks

All meals are included with your tour price along with beer, wine and soft drinks. Dining experiences can range from Michelin-starred restaurants to intimate local eateries.

Flights Included

Flights

We have included different flight options for your convenience. Should you wish to fly with a different airline to the group we can help you with those arrangements if you wish.

Captain's Choice Documents

Those little details

Tipping, Taxes, Transfers and Travel Insurance (subject to terms & conditions) are included. We even look after your luggage for the entire trip so you don't have to.

Tour Host Team

Tour Host Team & Doctor

Wherever you are in the world, you will always have a friendly and knowledgeable Tour Host Team on hand. Not to mention a Doctor on every tour for your peace of mind.

Accommodation Hotel Bell

Accommodation

We believe a superior standard of service is just as important as five star facilities. We select our hotels with location and accessibility in mind as well as luxury.

Accommodation highlights


You have come so far, so why settle for second best when you get there? Captain’s Choice carefully researches and selects the best hotels to ensure you’re staying at the most enviable locations in town. We partner with the finest hotels to deliver our gilt edged service, seeking out the region’s top rating five star – or best available – residences. All our accommodation has been assessed for quality – we believe that a superior standard of service is just as important as five star facilities. Location and accessibility are also key factors – we endeavour to seek hotels that are in close proximity to the sites, that boast stunning views or offer a special something that makes them sparkle. It’s important to us that the hotels we select deliver the complete package and aren’t just trading on their reputation.

Palace Hotel Tokyo
Tokyo

The Palace Hotel

Experience the heart of Japan from the impeccable surroundings of the Palace Hotel Tokyo.

Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel
Hiroshima

Sheraton

Classic lines and and contemporary chic await you at the Sheraton Hiroshima

Westin Chosun Hotel, Seoul
Seoul

The Westin Chosun

A calm oasis within the bustle of the business district, The Westin Chosun Seoul is always our first choice in the Korean capital

Solo Traveller

Solo Travellers

Many Captain’s Choice guests travel solo, and almost all of them find that making friends on holiday is easy, thanks to the welcoming and like minded nature of our travellers. At the start of the tour, all solo travellers are invited to a Welcome Reception, enabling you to get to know other guests travelling on their own.

Members of our Tour Host Team are always available for a friendly chat and a meal, but if you prefer time for private reflection then that is always respected too – you can choose to be as involved as much or as little as you please. Either way, it’s a fun and rewarding way to see the world.

Heart of Ancient Japan

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Based on twin share per person from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, flying with Qantas.
Prices from other cities are available on request.

Passengers from Melbourne fly via Sydney to connect with direct flights to Tokyo. Premium Economy Class passengers fly Economy Class within Australia. All passengers fly Economy Class from Kumamoto to Tokyo.

Land Only guests join in Tokyo for lunch on Day 2 and depart Haneda airport, Tokyo on Day 16.

Request more information about this tour

Mail Me a Brochure Download Itinerary