Highlights of Japan including Istanbul extension
- Uncover the top sights of Japan & visit Istanbul on this unforgettable guided holiday.
- Visit the most incredible historical sites in Kyoto, including Nijo Castle
- Discover the bright lights & street food scene of Osaka.
- Learn more Japanese culture with a traditional Geisha performance & authentic Japanese Tea ceremony
- Take a boat trip on Lake Ashi & on a clear day see the iconic Mount Fuji.
- Travel on the iconic high-speed bullet train on your way to visit Odawara.
- See the best of the capital with guided tours of Tokyo, including Harajuku district, Ueno Park & Imperial Palace Plaza.
Your Guided Group Holiday To Japan
Explore the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ on this remarkable holiday to Japan, where we’ll uncover ancient sights, inspiring landscapes and remarkable cities. Kyoto is steeped in tradition, where we’ll visit historic sites like Nijo Castle, the Golden Pavilion and enjoy a Geisha performance. On a full day trip to Nara, we’ll see some of the oldest temples in Japan and discover Nara park, which is home to over a thousand sika deer. In Tokyo, we’ll experience its diverse range of attractions, from the bustling Harajuku district to the more serene Meiji Shrine. This holiday also includes excursions in Osaka, Hakone, and Kamakura. A holiday in Japan is like nothing else in the world, as it’s a country where cutting edge technology seems to harmoniously coexist with ancient traditions creating a unique blend. Along with beautiful landscapes, enticing cuisine and fascinating culture. After saying ‘sayonara’ to Japan, our travels will continue to Istanbul to enjoy a 3 night stay and see the top sights of this city with our local guide.
Activity Level: Busy
Travel to Osaka Japan
Depart for Osaka - Japan
Let's set off for our holiday to Japan, arriving in Osaka.
Osaka Japan - We have Arrived!
Transfer to Kyoto
We have arrived in Osaka! We meet with our local guide, and transfer by coach to our hotel in Kyoto.
Join us for a welcome dinner at a nearby local restaurant.
Please note your welcome dinner may be on day two, if your flight arrives in late in the evening.
Breakfast at our hotel is included on each day of our ten night stay in Japan.
March itinerary varies with an extra night in Japan and an extra half day excursion including Ginkakuji temple, Fushimi Inari shrine
Uncover Kyoto on a Guided Tour
Guided Kyoto City Tour
We set off with our expert local guide, to discover some of the highlights of the beautiful and picturesque city of Kyoto!
Uncover the treasures of the Sanjusangendo Temple, founded in 1164 and famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, goddess of mercy. The temple hall, measuring 120 metres, is the longest wooden structure in Japan. Afterwards, we visit Nijo Castle, official Kyoto residence of the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu, and witness to many important events in Japanese history. Within this 400-year-old complex, experience one of the golden ages of Japanese architecture and design, the early Edo period.
Enjoy lunch (included) at a local restaurant and savour some typical dishes of the region.
Visit Ryoan-Ji on a guided excursion
After lunch, we continue to see more of Kyoto’s highlights. Firstly, let’s enjoy some “Zen time” at Ryoan-ji, originally a private villa, later converted to a temple and home to one of Japan’s most famous rock gardens.
We finish the day at the awe-inspiring Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, whose two top floors are completely covered in gold leaf. The garden and architecture around the Kinkaku are said to represent the world of paradise.
Relax More in Kyoto
This evening is at leisure, to relax and explore our surroundings. Our guide will be happy to advise on places to see and visit.
Discover Nara on a Full Day Tour & Geisha Show
Excursion to Nara
Today we’ll see more, on a full day excursion to Nara, former 8th century capital of Japan. The city is filled with historic treasures including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples. Our guided tour today includes a visit to Nara Park, one of the oldest parks in Japan, with over one thousand resident deer.
Another stop on the tour is Tōdai-ji Temple, one of the country’s most notable temples, housing one of the largest Buddhas in Japan, fifteen metres tall!
Also included is a visit to the ancient Kasuga-Taisha, Nara’s celebrated Shinto shrine, set amidst forest pathways and decorated with many bronze and stone lanterns donated by worshippers.
Lunch is included at a local restaurant today.
Explore Koufukuji Temple on a Guided Visit
After lunch we visit the Koufukuji Temple, once the sanctuary of the powerful aristocratic clan, the Fujiwara. This vast complex boasts an impressive five-storied pagoda, housing holy relics.
At the end of the tour, we return to the hotel to freshen up before this evening’s show.
See More -Geisha Show & Dinner
Join us for dinner this evening at a local restaurant, where we uncover more of Japan’s unique culture with a Geisha performance!
See More - Kyoto or Optional Excursion to Hiroshima
At Leisure - Explore Kyoto
Today is free to enjoy Kyoto at our own pace. Our expert guide will be happy to tell us of further sightseeing and activities to do in this area.
Optional Excursion to Hiroshima
There is the option to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima by ferry. This pre-bookable tour is a full day guided excursion, returning in the late evening.
After breakfast, we walk to Kyoto station (approx.15 mins), for our train journey to Hiroshima (1hr 45 mins each way). The tour includes a visit to Miyajima and Itsukushima Shrine, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum, and the Atomic Bomb Dome
‘minimum numbers apply for the operation of this tour’ It is advisable to pre book this tour as sometimes it may not be bookable locally due to demand.
The tour includes lunch at a local restaurant.
Please note: The Torri Gate at the Itsukushima shrine is currently under renovation.
Transfer by Coach to Osaka and Guided Tour
Guided City Tour of Osaka
After breakfast, check out of our hotel as we say farewell to Kyoto and transfer by coach to Japan’s second largest city, Osaka.
Today on our guided excursion we visit Umeda Skydeck Observatory, nineteenth tallest building in Osaka and one of the city's most recognisable structures. We also visit Osaka Castle, another of Japan’s famous landmarks. After, we take a stroll through Dotonbori. Known for its bright lights and extravagant signage, it is considered one of the most colourful districts in Osaka and is also a hub of the city’s vibrant food culture.
Relax in Osaka
Enjoy an evening at leisure and perhaps return to Dotonbori, to check out the buzzing nightlife and countless restaurants and bars.
All Aboard the Bullet Train and Tour of Hakone
Transfer to Odawara by Bullet Train
This morning, we set off to experience more of Japan’s highlights. It’s “All Aboard” for your journey on one of the famous “Bullet Trains”, to Odawara ! On arrival, we meet our new guide and commence a full day tour of Hakone.
City Tour of Hakone and boat cruise on Lake Ashi
Discover the city of Hakone on a guided tour, including the Hakone Open Air Museum with its unique sculptures and landscaped gardens.
Afterwards, we set sail on Lake Ashi, soaking up the tranquil atmosphere of the surrounding Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. We see even more as we take a ride on the Komagatake Ropeway Cable Car, which on a clear day offers an excellent photo opportunity of Mount Fuji.
Lunch is included at a local restaurant.
Transfer to hotel in Hakone & evening at leisure
After a delightful day of discovery, we transfer to our hotel in Hakone.
Relax, unwind and take time out to re-charge for tomorrow’s excursions.
Dinner is included tonight.
Guided Tour of Kamakura
Experience Kamakura & Travel to Tokyo
We check out of our hotel and travel to Kamakura to experience its most popular sights, including Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, the city’s most important Shinto Shrine, dedicated to Hachiman, patron god of the Minamoto family and of the samurai in general.
Also included is a visit to Kotokuin which has the second tallest bronze Buddha in Japan, and Hase Kannon Temple with its eleven-headed statue of Kannon, goddess of mercy. We also visit trendy Komachi Street, filled with fashion boutiques, souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, and bakeries.
Lunch is included today at a local restaurant.
Transfer to Tokyo
After our full day excursion of Kamakura, we transfer by coach to our hotel in Tokyo.
Discover Tokyo on a Guided Tour
We uncover more as we take in some of the sights and sounds of bustling Tokyo! Included today are visits to Imperial Palace Plaza, home to the Japanese Imperial family, and Koishikawa Korakuen, one of Tokyo’s oldest and best Japanese gardens, with its beautiful contrasts throughout the seasons.
We continue to the Hamarikyu Gardens, a traditionally styled garden landscape in central Tokyo. After the tour, in the late afternoon, return to your hotel
Evening at Leisure to Discover Tokyo
Enjoy an evening at leisure in Tokyo. Our guide will be pleased to offer recommendations for sightseeing and dining.
See More of Tokyo
Savour a Tea Ceremony and Ikebana
This morning, we see more of this vibrant city including a visit to Ueno Park, boasting over one thousand cherry trees! Afterwards, we uncover more of Japan’s ancient arts by witnessing a tea ceremony and learning the Japanese art of Ikebana (flower arranging).
Uncover more of Tokyo at Leisure
The rest of the afternoon is yours at leisure, to discover the city at your own pace. “Shop till you drop” in in the trendy Ginza district, a must for shopaholics. Now is also the perfect time to buy some souvenirs, as a reminder of your memorable trip. Sail on a cruise around Tokyo Bay or explore one of the many beautiful city parks, temples and museums. Or if you are a cat lover, you might like to experience one of Tokyo’s many “cat cafés”, where you can take time out and savour a matcha tea with a few furry café friends!
Our knowledgeable guide will be happy to tell us about other activities to enhance your time in Tokyo and experience even more in this thrilling metropolis.
Explore More of Tokyo
Guided Tour of Tokyo City
This morning we discover more of this fascinating city, with visits to Asakusa Kannon Temple, Nakamise Street with its traditional shopping arcade, and high-end shoppers’ paradise Ginza, before we enjoy a well-earned lunch at a local restaurant (included).
In the afternoon we stroll through the Harajuku district, known internationally as the centre of Japanese youth culture and fashion and renowned for its colourful street art. We will also view the Meiji Shrine. This Shinto grand shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) and Empress Shoken, modern Japan's first emperor and empress.
After another busy day of sightseeing, spend an evening at leisure to relax and unwind.
Depart Japan for Istanbul Turkey (Türkiye)
Transfer to Tokyo Airport
Today we say farewell to our guide and the unforgettable city of Tokyo.
Enjoy time at leisure and some last-minute shopping, before transferring by coach to Tokyo Airport for your overnight flight to Istanbul Turkey
Arrive Istanbul - Turkey
Istanbul at Leisure
On arrival in Istanbul Airport, we meet our transfer assistant and transfer to our hotel (early check in will be arranged for morning flight arrivals). Once we have checked into our hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure, to relax and recharge the batteries. We can take a stroll to Taksim square or wander the network of side streets filled with bars and restaurants.
Breakfast only, is included each day of your stay in Istanbul.
Please note that the extension in Istanbul is based on an individual rather than a group experience.
Discover Ancient Istanbul on a Guided Tour
Uncover the highlights of Istanbul
Let’s discover this vibrant and ancient city!
After breakfast we uncover some of the highlights of this historical city on a guided tour including a visit to the Hagia Sofia Mosque. We stroll past the Blue Mosque (viewed from the outside), the Roman Hippodrome and admire the ancient Egyptian Obelisks. After we finish our tour at one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world: the Grand Bazaar, a sprawling, lively market where you can haggle with vendors while drinking apple tea and enjoying the unique atmosphere.
This lively city is a perfect combination of modern and ancient, displaying a range of architecture from majestic skyscrapers to historic mosques, temples and churches. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure, to relax or uncover more of Istanbul's fascinating treasures. Ask the guide for advice on further places of interest, before the half day tour is finished.
Please note: St Sophia is no longer a museum. It has now been converted to a Mosque. During times of prayer, it may not be possible to visit the interior.
*In order to preserve the beauty and integrity of the iconic Blue Mosque, restoration work is ongoing at this site. Some phases of the restoration involve scaffolding; thus a clear view of the entire Mosque may not be possible.
Experience Istanbul At Leisure
Discover more of Istanbul at Leisure
Today is free to take in some sightseeing and shopping. Istanbul has so much to offer; no matter how many times you visit, there is always something new to uncover or rediscover.
Perhaps a visit to the Underground Cistern, a fascinating network of water channels and ornamental pillars, dating back to Roman times. Dare to look upon the face of Medusa! Explore Topkapi Palace with its museum of national treasures, discover the ancient harem of the Ottoman Sultans. See more on a cruise down the Bosphorus, or shop till you drop in the busy İstiklal Avenue.
Return home from Istanbul
Depart Istanbul Turkey
This morning we bid farewell to Istanbul and transfer to the airport for our flight home.
Know before you go
Will I be met at the airport?
You will be met on arrival at your destination airport and transferred to your accommodation. You will be accompanied on all included excursions by your Travel Department guide. Your expert local guide is also available to give you tips and advice on any aspect of your holiday.
Do I need a Visa?
Please visit our visa page for information on requirements for each country's entry requirements
What if there is an emergency?
We have local representatives in all of our destinations who are available 24/7 as well as an emergency contact number for our offices in Ireland should you ever need it.