This afternoon depart Australia on your Singapore Airlines flight to Tokyo to start your 13 day Japan Cherry Blossom tour.
Welcome to Tokyo! Upon arrival at Narita Airport this morning you will be welcomed by your local guide. You will begin the day with a sightseeing tour of the bustling city, taking in a photo stop at the Imperial Palace, the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family. Take a glimpse of the German- influenced three story National Diet Building, Japan’s parliament and centre of government. This evening enjoy a group Welcome Dinner.
After breakfast, depart the hotel for another full day sightseeing tour. Learn more about Tokyo’s urban history, life and culture from the 1600s to today with a trip to Edo Tokyo Museum. Later continue to the oldest temple in Tokyo, Asakusa Kannon Temple (also called Sensoji). Your local guide will take you on a guided walk through the Nakamise Shopping Street which has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and souvenirs for centuries. This afternoon you will drive through the famous Ginza and Shinjuku areas and then on to Odabiba Palette Town which overlooks Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge, where you will have dinner.
You will have an early morning start today, visiting the oldest botanical gardens in Japan, Koishikawa Botanical Gardens; here you will have a chance to view different types of cherry blossoms. Say Sayonara to Tokyo as we travel by private coach to Owakudani Hell Valley, taking in panoramic views of the famous Mt Fuji and making a stop at the Peace Park. Tonight dinner is at your hotel, where you will have a chance to wear a traditional Yutaka to dinner.
After breakfast you will set off for a traditional Wasabi Farm. Enjoy the trails between the fields and for those who like a bit of kick the farm offers a wide variety of wasabi related products to purchase such as wasabi soft serve ice cream. We will also travel to the astonishing Matsumoto Castle, its black exterior gave way to the name Crow Castle and the brooding somber colour was designed to sow fear in the hearts of any approaching attacker. This evening get your chef’s hat on and enjoy a Soba noodle making class.
Early this morning begin your full day sightseeing tour of Takayama. Visit a Takayama morning market and enjoy the Japanese atmosphere of Sanmachi district. Then proceed to Shirakawago Village, which is a World Heritage Site, famous for its traditional “Gassho Zukuri” farmhouses. Some of these houses are more than 250 years old. After lunch we will tour the Gujo food sample factory and see how food sample displays are made. Then you will travel to Gifu where dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant.
Following breakfast, you will travel to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital. You will visit the Heian Jingu Shrine, the world's most exquisite Japanese Gardens, where you can view many different types of Cherry Blossoms and garden designs, as well as the celebrated Zen Temple, Golden Pavilion. After lunch, visit Nijo Castle and enjoy the Kimono Show at the Nishinjin Showroom. This evening we will visit Gion Corner, where you can take in seven kinds of performing arts, most notably Kyo-mai dance performed by geisha dancers in beautifully ornate dress. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.
Today you will visit one of the World's cultural heritage sites, Kiyomizu Temple. The main hall is designated as a national treasure. You will also visit a promenade called Path of Philosophers where you will see many cherry blossoms in bloom and experience a traditional tea ceremony before we board the Bullet Train bound for Hiroshima. *Luggage will be transferred separately. You will need to pack a small cabin bag for the Bullet Train.
After breakfast you will visit Miyajima Island an hour outside of Hiromshima, famous for its giant Torii Gate, which at high tide seems to float on water. The mountains, sea and red shrine blend in harmony, and the entire island is designed as a historic site. After lunch, we will visit Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park and the Genbaku Dome (The Atomic Bomb Dome). The A-Bomb Dome was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded. Later you will learn more about the events with a visit to Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Museum.
Following breakfast, you will catch the bullet train from Hiroshima to Himeji Station. Upon arrival you will visit a national treasure and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle. You will continue on to Nankin- Machi, one of the three largest Chinatowns in Japan and Motomachi Street in the centre of Kobe, where the cherry blossoms should be in full bloom. This afternoon we will visit the major downtown areas of Shinsaibashi and spend the next 2 nights.
This morning after breakfast we will visit Nara Todoiji Temple, which is one of the world’s largest wooden buildings and one of the most recognised temples in Japan. This afternoon we will also visit the Kasuga Shrine, famous for its various types of lanterns before returning to Osaka. There will be a photo stop at Osaka Castle on the journey back. This evening enjoy your group Farewell Dinner.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Kansai Airport and begin our journey home.
This morning upon arrival back in Australia your wonderful journey to Japan will come to an end.
CANCELLATIONS, REFUNDS & AMENDMENTS
Cancellation must be made in writing for your reservation to be cancelled.
Any cancellations of the Tour will result in the following cancellation fees:
91 days or more prior to departure, loss of deposit plus the cost of the airline ticket if issued.
Less than 91 days prior to departure, 100% of the tour package price.
all My Discoveries Holidays are subject to availability at time of booking. The MyDiscoveries 30 Day Booking Guarantee means that if you can't get the travel dates you want within 30 days of buying the voucher, we'll give you your money back, no questions asked
If you need to cancel your trip after travel has been confirmed, the travel operator may impose cancellation fees. In addition, MyDiscoveries will charge a $100 per person cancellation fee. We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you have booked your travel dates so you have protection against emergency cancellations that might be needed.
HEALTH & FITNESS/ACTIVITY LEVEL
You must ensure that you are aware of any health requirements for your travel and that you are able to participate in the activities included in your itinerary.
This tour requires a moderate fitness level to participate.
All passengers must be able to:
Walk 10 mins without having to stop, sit down or rest
Walk over uneven ground with no paving
Walk an incline equal to a flight of stairs, without stopping
Get in and out of transportation unassisted
Stand for 30 mins, without needing to sit down
Manage own luggage.
Please Note: Triple-share is not available for this tour
Schedules and availability, fare conditions and prices can change at any time.
Price changes may occur for reason or matters outside our control which increase the cost of the products or service.
Such factors include adverse currency fluctuations.
This tour is available for 2 set departures.
Departures are : 24 & 29 Mar 2018
Please note all our holidays are subject to availability at time of booking. Should your dates not be available please note the My Discoveries Booking Guarantee applies. The MyDiscoveries 30 Day Booking Guarantee means that if you can't get the travel dates you want within 30 days of buying the voucher, we'll give you your money back, no questions asked.
Once your MyDiscoveries holiday has been purchased you will receive a voucher with full redemption details for you to book your travel.
Should you have any questions on this holiday simply call the customer service team on 1300 404 606 who are on-hand to answer your queries.
If for any reason you are unable to book your preferred dates please refer to the MyDiscoveries 30 Day Booking Guarantee to understand our refund policy.
When booking in your travel dates, make sure you have your travel voucher number, traveller names (as they appear on their passport), age of travellers and details of any special requirements you wish to highlight to the resort (e.g. vegetarian etc).
We recommend you purchase travel insurance as soon as your travel dates are confirmed.
Why is the tour Fitness Level rated as ‘Moderate’
The tour involves a reasonable amount of walking, especially climbing steps and stairs. Due to the infrastructure the coaches are not able to park directly in front of the attractions you will be visiting, therefore at times you will be required to walk from where the bus is parked to the entrance of the site, which can at times be up to 15 to 20 minutes walking one way. People with knee or hip injuries, or are otherwise unable to complete these activities independently should consider the suitability of this itinerary carefully. This itinerary also involve very long days of travel and this combined with the local infrastructure may prove challenging at times. In order to get the most from this tour it is important to have a good level of fitness. Please ensure you are aware of the specifics required to participate in this tour as outlined on the second page of this brochure.
Will I be climbing a lot of steps in Japan?
Sightseeing at nearly all of the palaces, fortresses and some temples involves climbing quite a number of steps. These palaces were built to provide defence against potential invaders so nearly all of them stand on top of a hill, while the interiors have layers of narrow hallways and steps to slow down the advance of enemies once they were inside. The steps tend to be quite large, not level and sometimes without handrails. Hindu and Buddhist temples or pagodas also tend to be built at an elevation, as this is the most auspicious position according to ancient beliefs.
What is the standard of the hotels?
Your accommodation is selected for convenience of location, comfort or character. Hotels are generally rated as local four-star standard, but please note that there is no international classification system for hotels and differences in facilities and quality do exist between Australia and Japan. Please note that in Japan hotel rooms are renowned for being small and rooms booked for single use 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.
Are touring days long?
Main and inner city roads in Japan have a reputation for being very congested in Cherry Blossom season. For this reason, it is not always possible to return to your hotel after sightseeing before going to the restaurant for dinner. What will happen with my bags when we travel on the Bullet train? Japan’s transport system is well known for being efficient, clean and convenient. We like to make sure that you get the opportunity to travel with the locals, making use of the city’s world-renowned bullet trains that will whizz you from city to city in no time. When taking the bullet train to Hiroshima your main luggage will be transported separately due to limited space on the train. You will be required to pack a small cabin bag to take with you on the bullet train, which includes a change of clothes and other necessary items including any medication that is required as you won’t have access to your luggage for 2 nights until you arrive in Osaka.
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. 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. Most food is eaten with chopsticks so best get practicing as cutlery is not always
available at restaurants. Breakfast will be buffet style. Lunches are mostly pre- set options as is the custom in many local restaurants. Dinner is usually buffet-style, featuring a wide selection of high quality Japanese and Western dishes. 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. 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.
Do I need a Visa?
Passports must be valid for six months beyond the length of stay. Visas are not required for Australian passport holders for entry into Japan for stays of up to 90 days.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is highly recommended and should be taken out to cover unforeseen circumstances such as cancellation of your trip due to a medical situation, loss of luggage while travelling and any medical or hospital emergencies. If you require medical or hospital treatment while travelling in a foreign country many hospitals and medical facilities will require you to pay for this treatment upfront. This means you could have to pay out a substantial amount of money before you are able to put in a claim to your insurance company. Therefore, please ensure that you travel with a credit card and that it has a sufficient limit to cover any upfront costs should this be required as medical and hospital charges can be very expensive. Please do not hesitate to call our office for a quote or to send you a travel insurance brochure and the costing.
Do I need vaccinations for this journey?
There are no specific heath requirements for travel to Japan, however certain vaccinations are recommended. Seniors Holiday Travel recommends that you consult your physician or travel doctor prior to departure to discuss your personal health requirements.
When will I receive my final travel documents?
A detailed itinerary and final documents will be sent to you approximately two weeks prior to the tour’s departure. What is the climate like at the various times of the year? Towards the end of March the weather becomes noticeably milder and April is often considered the best time to visit Japan as the weather is pleasantly mild. However it is best to be prepared for some cold wet days during this time of the year. Temperatures can get as low as 5 degrees during the evenings with highs of 18 degrees during the days.
If I travel alone, do I have to pay the single supplement?
If you do not want to share a hotel room with another person in the group, you will have to pay the single supplement. However, if you are willing to share we can assist in finding a fellow travel companion of the same gender to save on the single supplement. However, this cannot be guaranteed and if we are unable to find a suitable travelling companion and you still wish to travel, then you will be required to pay the additional single supplement with your final payment. Seniors Holiday Travel Team accepts no responsibility for the suitability or unsuitability of the twin share companion. To avoid discrimination, we are unable to disclose details of twin share passengers until deposit is received. A lot of companies have many expensive optional extras on their tours. Do you? We don't believe in a lot of expensive ‘optional tours'. Our itineraries are designed to make the best possible use of time and to include all the must-see sights, plus additional surprises. Therefore practically everything is included in the tour cost.
Are there internet and WiFi facilities en-route?
Most of the hotels we use have internet and WiFi facilities, though not all.
Do I need to tip?
For a hassle free journey all tips and gratuities are included in the tour cost for drivers, local guides and porters.