Exclusive Escorted Japan
Thompson Travel Holidays
DAY 1 – 12 April 2025 - Depart Dublin to Tokyo – when flights are confirmed we anticipate this route will be via Abu Dhabi or Dubai but that is not guaranteed. When flights are confirmed there may be an opportunity to do an independent stopover stay before or after the tour. Please advise if you wish to consider this at the time of booking and we will contact you when the flights are released.
DAY 2 – 13 April 2025 - Your flight will be overnight to Japan. Your first transfer on arrival in Tokyo will be around 1.5 hours from the airport. Hotel check-in is around 3pm-4pm
DAY 3 – 14 April 2025 - Tokyo is the ultimate 24-hour city, but look behind its frantic, high-tech frontage and you’ll find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore; today we take a tour by coach of this fascinating city. Begin with a stroll through the Imperial Palace East Garden (you will not enter the palace itself) before exploring the Tokyo National Museum. After lunch, head to the Asakusa district, stopping at the atmospheric Sensoji Temple and wander through the district of Asakusa for an opportunity to pick up some souvenirs on Nakamise Shopping street and visit Sensoji Temple. Due to the limited coach parking, you may need to walk around 15 minutes on flat road. Also visit the observation deck of the Tokyo Skytree for panoramic views over the city. You will be on your feet for 4-5 hours during your touring in Tokyo. Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant within walking distance of your hotel.
DAY 4 – 15 April 2025 - Spend a relaxed morning wandering around the classical landscapes of the Hamirikyu Gardens and exploring the Shinto Meiji Shrine, located in a green forest within the city. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before retunnring to your hotel, driving by the Shibuya 'Scramble' Crossing on the way. Return to your hotel where your guide will let you know what time to meet for this evenings dinner cruise, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore or to enjoy the hotel. Transfer from the hotel to the boat for a 1-hour leisurely dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay for some excellent city vistas. You will need to get on and off the boat without any assistance.
DAY 5 – 16 April 2025 - Journey 2 hours through the foothills of the iconic Mount Fuji to the mountain’s base. The region is spectacular with the calm waters of the five lakes, formed by past volcanic eruptions, reflecting Fuji’s picture-perfect cone. Head up Fuji’s 5th Station for spectacular mountain vistas, please note it is only possible to reach the 5th station if weather permits. If the 5th Station is closed, the Fuji San World Heritage Centre (formerly Fuji Visitor Centre) will be visited instead. Continue . After lunch, visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum to view the elaborate dyed silk creations before exploring the Iyashi no Sato historical village, located on the western shores of Lake Saiko, famous for its thatched-roofed houses. Transfer around 1 hour to Mishima and check into your hotel and make use of the facilities.
DAY 6 – 17 April 2025 – Bullet Train to Kyoto - Transfer around 45 minutes to Oshino Hakkai, a scenic area of ponds full of crystal- clear spring water created by Fuji’s melting snow. Stroll around the area before trying your hand at making traditional Japanese soba noodles, which you will then tuck into for lunch. Drive around 2 hours to Mishima Station to board a 2-hour bullet train to Kyoto. An enchanting city, Kyoto was capital for a thousand years; today it is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens. Check in to your hotel and have dinner at a local restaurant. Please note that your luggage will be transferred separately to your hotel in Kyoto and arrive later the same day.
Day 7 – 18 April 2025 – Explore Kyoto - Enjoy a full day tour of Kyoto, starting with a visit to the spectacular Kiyomizu Temple. You will spend 1.5 hours on foot exploring the temple. Next, immerse yourself in the culture, learning the traditional Japanese handicraft of origami and enjoying the art of a tea ceremony. After lunch, visit a traditional teahouse where you will be joined by a Tea Master. Due to the nature of the cultural experience, you will be required to remove your shoes before entering the venue. Next, visit the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine with its thousands of vermillion torii gates. You will walk up part of the mountain and the incline allows a steady-paced walk around 15 minutes with flat road and steps to reach tori gates. Due to the limited space of Fushimi Inari Shrine coach parking, you may need to walk from coach parking for 15 minutes.
Day 8 - 19 April 2025 – Journey to Hiroshima - Begin the day with a visit to Ryoanji Temple, home to Japan’s most famous zen garden, and Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion due to its golden exterior. You will need to remove your shoes at both temples. You will be on your feet for approximately 2-3 hours today. Continue around 1 hour by coach to Osaka to have lunch in the vibrant Dotonbori district. Transfer to the train station and take the bullet train to Hiroshima, a journey of 1 hour 40 minutes. A modern and prosperous city, Hiroshima will be forever remembered as the world’s first atomic bomb target. You will need to pack a smaller overnight bag for tonight as your main luggage will be transferred separately to your Hiroshima hotel for the following day.
Day 9 – 20 April 2025 - Hiroshima & Miyajima - Hop on the ferry to Miyajima Island, where sightseeing will be at a leisurely pace on foot. Visit Itsukushima Shrine and explore the traditional market town at leisure. Return by ferry and then coach to Hiroshima and have lunch. Later, visit the famous Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Please be aware that the museum may be confronting and upsetting for some group members and it is at your discretion if you wish to visit or enjoy time at leisure exploring the Peace Memorial Park. Also visit the Orizuru Tower, Itsukushima shrine and enjoy free time on Miyajima Island to explore the local streets or make the walk up to Daisho-in Temple. You will be on your feet for approximately 4-5 hours today.
Day 10 – 21 April 2025 – Himeji Castle - Travel 3.5 hours by coach to Himeji, with a rest stop along the way. On arrival, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the beautiful Himeji Castle and Koko-en Garden. Himeji Castle is largely in its original condition, so please be mindful of your step when walking around. You will have to remove your shoes before walking along some of the wooden floors and there are some steep wooden steps to reach certain areas. You will be on your feet for 3-3.5 hours during the visit. After the reopening in March 2015, Himeji Castle has welcomed a large number of visitors. As such, they now issue numbered tickets to enter the Main Keep in order to limit the number of people who can enter, reducing congestion, waiting time and to protect the cultural properties. Please note this means that there may be cases where some visitors are not allowed to enter the Main Keep, however, there are many other parts of the castle to explore. Later, transfer approximately 2 hours to Osaka for your overnight.
Day 12 – 22 April 2025 – Free day to chill or explore. Breakfast included.
Day 13 – 23 April 2025 - This morning is free at leisure before you transfer to Osaka airport. We will decide on a departure time when the flight schedule is confirmed.
DAY 14 – 24 April 2025 - Arrival in Dublin airport
PLEASE INFORM OUR RESERVATIONS TEAM OF ANY ALLERGIES AND/OR SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS AT TIME OF BOOKING.
PRICE PER PERSON: £6995pp sharing Single supplement £1290pp
DEPOSIT: £700pp with booking form
Return international economy flights, taxes and current fuel surcharges from Dublin
All meals except free day and last morning. (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
All sightseeing and entrance fees, transport and transfers
English speaking Guide
Tour fully escorted by Sharon Thompson
Not included: Items of a personal nature, drinks, optional extras, insurance and items not specified on the itinerary.
This tour is rated as a physical level 1 tour. A reasonable level of fitness is required but it’s more about spending time on your feet rather than covering large distances. You’ll be getting on and off coaches and boats, walking around the sights and climbing some steps. On several days there will be sightseeing on foot for extended periods of time, often involving steps or uneven ground. You will be required to get on and off the boat on Tokyo Bay without assistance. We will always do our best to provide the highest level of service and assistance; however you must be able to complete the itinerary unaided.
Visas - A visa is not required for UK/Irish citizens visiting Japan.
Insurance - It is a condition of booking with us that you take out suitable travel insurance. You must provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number when you book with us or as soon as possible thereafter. These details will be available to your tour leader should they be required. We will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
Eating in Japan - Japanese cuisine is delicious, colourful and healthy. Meals are usually served with a bowl of rice and a bowl of miso soup and consist usually of fish, pickled vegetables and meat. Japan’s other main staple is noodles, most famous being Udon and Soba. All meals (excluding drinks) are included in our fully inclusive group tours from the groups’ arrival until the day of departure. Our schedule of meals is designed so that you can experience the local dishes, their individual flavours as well as the different ways they are prepared and cooked throughout Japan. Food is an important element of Japanese culture. It is a time for families and friends to come together and much of family life revolves around the dinner table. Most food is eaten with chopsticks so best get practicing as cutlery is not always available at restaurants.
Breakfast will mostly be buffet style but may be a set-menu. Lunches are mostly pre- set options as is custom in many local restaurants. Dinner is usually buffet-style, featuring a wide selection of high quality Japanese and Western dishes, but may occasionally be a set-menu. We usually find this style of dining suits the wide and varied tastes of our customers on tour. These are also pre-booked in advance prior to your arrival by your guides. This will provide greater flexibility and allow you to sample a broad range of local cuisines and dishes. All beverages will be at your own expense and are readily available. Please note: if you have any dietary requirements, you must inform us on your booking form, and please be aware that restaurants may not always be able to accommodate these. Gluten-free food may not be as readily available as in the UK/Ireland. On some days where lots of sights are covered, dinner times may be early and your tour group may head directly to the restaurant after sightseeing without stopping at your hotel to freshen up depending on the tour day.
Accommodation - Your accommodation is selected for convenience of location, comfort or character, and can range from a business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. In more remote areas, accommodation may be of a lower standard and may not have all western amenities. In the Fuji area, hotels tend to be more traditional in style and culture. In this area, you may be asked to take your shoes off at the door and store them in a secure locker – this is very traditional Japanese culture. Hotels are generally rated as local three to four-star standard, but please note that there is no international classification system for hotels and differences in facilities and quality do exist between the UK/Ireland and Japan, but we have focused on 3* plus to 4*. Please note that in Japan, hotel rooms and bathrooms are renowned for being small. Standard single rooms are usually smaller than a standard double or twin room, contain one small double bed (or one single bed), and are designed for one person to use. All group tour hotels have private western bathroom facilities, air conditioning, TV and telephone. Hotels in Japan often do not have porters and you will be required to carry your own luggage. All hotels are regularly inspected by our ground staff.
Coaches - Coaches with air conditioning are used on our group tours for city sightseeing, short excursions to the countryside and longer transfers where necessary. Roads in Japan are extremely well maintained and are comparatively smooth compared with the rest of Asia.
Bullet trains - Second class reserved seats are booked for our groups on bullet trains; there will be toilet facilities on board. Due to the limited space on bullet trains, a separate luggage transfer service will be arranged for all suitcases (1 case per person). You will need to pack a separate overnight bag to carry on the train as your suitcase will not arrive until the following day after a bullet train journey. Your guide will indicate when you will need to prepare for this throughout your tour.
Tipping - Although tipping in Japan is not customary, we will collect around £30pp with your balance payment as a token to guide, driver and hotels.
It is our intention to adhere to the day-to-day itinerary as printed; however, the order of events or sightseeing may change as we look to improve our tours or as local conditions dictate; in these circumstances we will make the best possible arrangements whilst maintaining the integrity of your trip. Your tour leader will advise departure and return times each day .
This tour is only bookable through Thompson Travel International. We are a fully bonded tour operator. You must complete a booking form and supply a copy of your passport and deposit to confirm your booking T: 028 38 394489
Direct Bank Payments: Please make your payment reference your SURNAME followed by Japan25
Bank of Ireland Sort Code: 90 23 54 Account 64837731