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THE OTHER SIDE OF JAPAN

From
2 473 $

THE OTHER SIDE OF JAPAN Tour

20 days

Designed as a tour for those already familiar with Japan, this trip offers an in-depth exploration of Japan, less touristy and more genuine: the other side of Japan. A 20-day tour taking you to exceptional natural and rural areas packed with history.
Departing from Tokyo, you will first discover Nikko and Sado island, then travel through the Japanese Alps and the picturesque valleys of Kiso and of Shokawa, visiting traditional villages and historical cities, Japanese cultural heritage treasures throughout each area.

More than a trip, it's an invitation for adventure, an experience that combines poetry and spirituality.


Trip price shown is per person incl. VAT (estimate only, depending on dates and availability).
Price calculated based on a twin room for 2 people. Single room supplement: ask us. 

Included :

Accommodation for 18 nights; the meals stated (10 breakfasts, 8 dinners).
1 Japan Rail Pass for 14 days.

Not included :

International flights; any transfers by taxi; any meals not mentioned; entry to sites; local travel within each area; journeys by hydrofoil; journey by trains not included by the Japan Rail Pass and private bus; insurance

Departures

  • April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Detailed Itinerary

Day
1

Arrive in Tokyo by your own arrangements.

Day
2

TOKYO

Discover this fascinating metropolis at your own pace, where traditions from centuries past and the urban culture of contemporary Japan co-exist...

 

TOKYO

Night at your hotel. Accommodation: Sunshine City Prince Hotel, 3*

Day
3

Explore Tokyo. Discover the center of the city: the Imperial Palace and park, Yasukuni Shrine, the business district of Marunouchi, the fashionable district of Ginza, Akihabara electronics district... In the evening, stroll in the trendy Harajuku, Shibuya and Aoyama.


 

Night at your hotel. Accommodation: Sunshine City Prince Hotel 3*

Day
4

In the morning, you can start your day with a visit to Tsukiji fish market. A unique experience in the heart of the largest seafood auction in Japan. You can continue with a cruise on the Sumida River and get off at Asakusa, the historic merchants-district in the popular Shitamachi (low city). It's located near Ueno Park, which houses numerous temples and museums, as well as the oldest zoo in Japan. And don't miss the remarkable National Museum of Tokyo.

 

Night at your hotel. Accommodation: Sunshine City Prince Hotel 3 *

Day
5

NIKKO

In the morning, activate your JR Pass that will allow you unlimited travel on JR trains nationwide for 14 days. Depart for Nikko (about 2 hours by train from Tokyo), a complex of exceptional temples and shrines, and part of Unesco World Heritage, located in the heart of a natural park. You will discover the shrine-mausoleum dedicated to famous Toshogu Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in the 17th century.

NIKKO

In the evening you'll stay in a charming guest house near Taiyuin-byo shrine.

Night at your hotel. Accommodation: Annex Turtle Hotori-An / Japanese room.

Day
6

SADO

Breakfast at your hotel.
In the morning, depart for Niigata (3 hours and 30 minutes by train from Nikko), transfer by taxi to Niigata harbour (15min) and then hydrofoil to the island of Sado (1 hour). A former land of exile with little industry, Sado Island offers wild landscapes of rare beauty and many interesting sites. Arriving at the port of Ryotsu, you'll first go to your ryokan. Located on Lake Kamoko, this typically Japanese ryokan has its own onsen (hot spring). Explore Ryotsu at your leisure.

 

SADO

Dinner and a night at your charming ryokan. Accommodation: Yoshidaya ryokan / Japanese room

Day
7

Breakfast at your ryokan. Depart in the morning for Aikawa, located north-west of the island (1 hour by bus from Ryotsu). Take a city tour, then go to the gold mines of Aikawa. Sado Island once had the most productive mines in Japan and thus remained a strategic position for the shogunate during the Edo era. In the afternoon, depart for Senkaku Bay (15min by bus from Aikawa) from which you'll have superb views of the rugged coastline of the island of Sado with its rocky islets. A cruise aboard a boat and a ride along the coast will allow you to better appreciate the splendor of the landscape. Back to Ryotsu.


 

Dinner and night at your ryokan. Accommodation: Yoshidaya ryokan / Japanese room

Day
8

Breakfast at your ryokan. In the morning, depart for Ogi, in the south of the island (1 hour and 40 minutes by bus from Ryotsu). Ogi is a small harbour town that now enjoys an international reputation thanks to the taiko (Japanese drum) band Kodo, who perform worldwide and in Ogi during the "Earth Celebration", a three-day folk festival held every year in August . In Ogi, you can try boarding a taraibune, a sort of wooden barrel used by fishermen in the old days to collect edible seaweed. Renting a bike for a day will allow you to visit the surroundings: the enchanting small islands of Kyojima and Yajima, Sobama beach and the picturesque village of Shukunegi, a charming fishing village where time seems to stand still. Back to Ryotsu.

 

Dinner and night at your ryokan. Accommodation: Yoshidaya ryokan / Japanese room

Day
9

MATSUMOTO

Breakfast at your ryokan. In the morning, depart by hydrofoil for Niigata, then take a taxi to Niigata station. Train from Niigata to Nagano (about 2 hours and 30 minutes). In Nagano, visit Zenko-ji temple, one of the main centers of the Buddhist faith in Japan. Its main building is classified as a national treasure. Later, depart for Matsumoto.

 

MATSUMOTO

Night at your hotel in Matsumoto. Accommodation: Tokyu REI Hotel 3*

Day
10

TSUMAGO - MAGOME

In the morning, visit Matsumoto. Situated near the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto is famous for the black walls of its castle. Wonderfully preserved, it is among the most beautiful castles in Japan. Matsumoto is also home to several renowned museums.
In the afternoon, depart for Nagiso (about 1 hour by train) then take the bus (7 minutes) to Tsumago, a village located on the Nakasendo, an old route from the Edo Period. Tsumago has retained the atmosphere of old Japan. The place does not have any signs of modernity: the cables are buried, cars are banned, the streets are still bordered by wooden houses. After visiting Tsumago, you will go on a pleasant three hour ride along the Nakasendo, in the heart of the picturesque Kiso valley, to Magome, another preserved place but with a lot more tourism. This is where you will stop for the night after a visit to Magome. Appreciate the beauty of the town as the sun sets...


 

MAGOME

Dinner and night at your minshuku, a traditional family inn. Accommodation: Tajimaya Minshuku / Japanese room

Day
11

TAKAYAMA

Breakfast at your minshuku. Transfer in the morning to Nakatsugawa Station (30 minutes by bus from Magome), then depart for Takayama via Nagoya (3 hours and 30 minutes by train). Arrive in the early afternoon in Takayama. Takayama is a charming town that retains its traditional appearance complete with old inns, shops and sake breweries. The place is ideal for walking or cycling. You'll discover the traditional district of Sannomachi, the houses of Yoshijima and Kusakabe, and the Hall dedicated to the Takayama Matsuri, a festival held twice a year in spring in autumn.
 

TAKAYAMA

In the evening, enjoy the nightlife of the city and sample Hida beef, the local speciality.

Night at your ryokan. Accommodation: Sumiyoshi Ryokan / Japanese room

Day
12

SHIRAKAWAGO

Breakfast at your ryokan. In the morning, exploreTakayama. By late morning, you'll depart for the village of Shirakawago (50 minutes by bus from Takayama). Shirakawago village consists of three hamlets listed as Unesco world heritage sites. Ogimachi, the largest of these villages, is a living museum with its 59 gassho-zukuri, or traditional houses, with the distinct shape and thatched roofs of the Hida region. Explore Shirakawago.
 

SHIRAKAWAGO

Dinner and night in a typical Gassho-zukuri house. Accommodation: Shimizu Inn / Japanese Room

Day
13

KANAZAWA

Breakfast at your inn. In the morning, depart for Kanazawa (about 1 hour and 15 minutes by coach). Spend the afternoon in the district of Nakamachi and its Samurai homes, as well as in the district Geisha and pleasure district of Higashi and, discover the exquisite Seisonkaku villa, witnesses to much of Kanazawa's history over the years. Take your time to wander around one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan: Kenroku-en.

 

KANAZAWA

Night at your hotel in Kanazawa. Accommodation:  Kanazawa Miyako Hotel 3*

Day
14

KYOTO

In the morning, depart for Eihei-ji Temple, near Fukui (15 minutes by train, then 30 minutes by bus). Eihei-jin temple is one of Japan's leading Zen monasteries that still teaches meditation today. The silence is soothing, perfect for meditation... Later, depart for Kyoto (1 hour and 30 minutes by train from Fukui). The former imperial capital, Kyoto's cultural, culinary, artistic and architectural heritage is outstanding. You will discover a refined and traditional Japan in this city filled with temples and shrines. Upon arrival in Kyoto, you will transfer to your hotel in the center of the city and enjoy the evening in this charming city. At dusk, stroll around Pontocho and the streets of Gion, the geisha district.
 

KYOTO

Night at your hotel in Kyoto. Accommodation: Karasuma Kyoto Hotel 3 *

Day
15

Explore Kyoto. You could start your visit with Ginkaku-ji (the Silver Pavilion) and its garden, considered an unparalleled masterpiece. Follow the Philosopher's Path to Nanzen-ji Temple, and stop on your way to visit the numerous temples and shrines. Cross Maruyama Park, famous for its cherry trees that bloom in spring, then stop to visit Yasaka Shrine. Walk along the charming Ishibe-Koji-Do and Ne-Ne Michi alleys, Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka traditional streets, and arrive at Kiyomizu-dera temple. On your way, don't miss Kodai-ji temple, the imposing Kannon Ryozen statue and Yasaka Pagoda. Finish with a visit to Kiyomizu-dera itself, a temple dating back over ten centuries that dominates the city. From its panoramic terrace, watching the Kyoto sunset is a lasting memory.
 

Night at your hotel. Accommodation: Karasuma Kyoto Hotel 3 *

Day
16

Explore Kyoto. Kyoto is full of amazing places: Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), Ryoan-ji Zen temple and its garden stones, Nijo Castle, Sanjusangen-do castle, Katsura Villa... See the former imperial capital at your own pace and how you want.

 

Night at your hotel. Accommodation: Karasuma Kyoto Hotel 3 *

Day
17

NARA

In the morning, depart for Nara (50 minutes by train). Founded in 710, Nara was the first capital of Japan. As such, it has outstanding historical sites: Kofuku-ji and its five-story pagoda is listed as national treasure; Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden structure in the world, houses a 16 meters tall bronze statue of Buddha; Kasuga Shrine and its thousands of lanterns... Stroll in Nara Park, inhabited by hundreds of tame deer. Considered messengers of the gods, they move freely around the city.

NARA

In the evening, stroll in the streets of Naramachi old district.

Night at your hotel. Accommodation: Hotel Nikko Nara 3*

Day
18

KOYA-SAN

In the morning, depart for Mount Koya (about 3 hours away by train). Mount Koya is a place of pilgrimage in Japanese Buddhism. It's a huge complex of temples, that houses the mausoleum of monk Kobo Daishi in the cemetery, the founder of the Shingon Buddhist school. After a journey by train and cable car through the mountains and forests, wander around the many temples of the site and go for a walk into the cemetery to find the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, Okuno-in.

KOYA-SAN

In the evening, you'll stay at a temple on Mount Koya and taste the Buddhist monks' traditional vegetarian food.

Dinner and night at a temple inn. Accommodation: Eko-In / Japanese room, temple-inn

Day
19

OSAKA

Breakfast at the temple. In the morning, depart for Osaka (about 2 hours and 30 minutes by train). You will arrive in Namba, the popular area of Osaka where your hotel is located. Have lunch: you can go to Dotombori and try some specialities of the city (after all, it's known as the "kitchen of Japan". Why don't you try okonomiyaki (a kind of savoury pancake) or takoyaki (octopus balls)? In the afternoon, you can visit Osaka Castle. For your last night in Japan, relax at Spa World and, if you wish, have dinner in Shinsekai district (at Dzuboraya restaurant the speciality is fugu). After night falls, go up the Umeda Sky Building: the view over the night lights of the city is really stunning.

 

OSAKA

Night at your hotel. Accommodation: Namba Oriental Hotel 3 *.

Day
20

Travel home

Day 1
Day 2 Tokyo, Asakusa TOKYO
Day 3 Tokyo, Asakusa
Day 4 Tokyo, Asakusa
Day 5 Le Toshogu à Nikko NIKKO
Day 6 Danseuses de l'île de Sado SADO
Day 7 Danseuses de l'île de Sado
Day 8 Danseuses de l'île de Sado
Day 9 Matsumoto MATSUMOTO
Day 10 Tsumago TSUMAGO , MAGOME
Day 11 Takayama TAKAYAMA
Day 12 Shirakawago SHIRAKAWAGO
Day 13 Kanazawa KANAZAWA
Day 14 Kyoto KYOTO
Day 15 Kyoto
Day 16 Kyoto
Day 17 NARA
Day 18 Le Mont Koya sous la neige KOYA-SAN
Day 19 OSAKA
Day 20
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