The tour departs from South Africa on 24 November on Cathay Pacific Airlines and flies via Hong Kong to Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu where one night will be spent in this Gateway to Japan city.
From Fukuoka the tour proceeds to Nagasaki for one night via Arita Imari, famous for its ceramics and a visit to the Ceramics Museum is included.
Nagasaki is best known as the second city the US destroyed with atomic weapons in August 1945, however many people in Japan consider this city one of the country’s most beautiful.
The group will then travel from Nagasaki to Kumamoto, whose main attraction is the imposing Kumamoto castle, ranked one of Japan’s 3 premier castles.
The itinerary continues on to Beppu, visiting the Aso Volcano caldera en route. Beppu is one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts, producing more hot spring water than any other resort in the country.
Next stop on the itinerary is Matsuyama from where we will board a ferry to Yahatahama and continue on to Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s main islands and the least visited by tourists. Shikoku’s charms lie in its spectacular scenery and hidden treasures.
En route from Matsuyama to Takamatsu, the group will visit the impressive Shinto Konpira Shrine, the main shrine of Shikoku island, and the beautiful Ritsurin garden, one of Japan’s finest gardens.
We’ll have one night in Takamatsu before heading to Tokushima to experience the famous Awaodori dance of Tokushima.
Our route to Osaka travels via Awaji Island where we will see a Japanese puppet show and passing through Osaka we’ll visit the Umeda Sky Building Observatory Deck and the Namba Downtown area, before proceeding on to the former Imperial Capital of Kyoto.
It is here that the main tour ends, but for those lucky enough to have booked the 4 night/5 day post-tour extension, the tour continues.
In Kyoto scores of the country’s famous monuments are preserved within a lively modern city. We will spend three days exploring the cultural riches of this ancient city. Kyoto defines traditional Japan and possesses an ingrained aristocratic bloodline, punctuated by a history unrivaled by any other Japanese city. While in Kyoto we will also visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nara.
From Kyoto the tour proceeds to Mishima on the fabulous JR Shinkansen Bullet train. We’ll transfer by road from here to a traditional inn-style ryokan in the town of Hakone, set against the backdrop of Fuji-san. Here we will overnight and experience true Japanese hospitality and enjoy a hot spring spa.
The next day we’ll cruise across Lake Ashi with Mt Fuji dominating the skyline with its perfect conical summit; the quintessential image of Japan. The mountain has always been regarded as a sacred place and is a fabulous sight at any time of the day. We’ll continue on to Tokyo visiting the Owakudani Valley and its steaming fumeroles and Mt Fuji en route.
We’ll have two nights in Tokyo with time to explore this vibrant city. The group flies out of Tokyo via Hong Kong to return to South Africa on 08 December 2013
Japan, as it is today, is supremely embracing and fabulous, totally special and unique! Japan offers an experience you’ll find nowhere else in the world. Everybody should visit Japan at least once in their lifetime! Don’t miss this opportunity.
I will be accompanying the group from South Africa and professional local guides will be escorting the group from arrival in Fukuoka through to Tokyo. This will be a unique and unforgettable experience for every member of the group.