Days 1 - 5
At over 13 million people in the official metropolitan area alone, Tokyo is the core of the most populated urban area in the world. This massive, wealthy and fascinating metropolis offers high-tech visions of the future alongside glimpses of traditional Japan. Huge and varied in its geography, Tokyo Metropolis spans not just the city but also spectacular, rugged mountains to the west and beautiful subtropical islands to the south. The various districts of this phenomenal city vary wildly in character, from the electronic blare of Akihabara to the magnificent Imperial gardens and shrines of Chiyoda, from the lively youth culture mecca of Shibuya to the splendid pottery shops and temple markets of Asakusa. If you don't like what you see, hop on the train and head to the next station, and you will find something entirely different. Tokyo truly has a little bit of everything for everyone.
Days 5 - 9
If you want to explore a city filled with shrines, temples and historical structures, Kyoto should be first on your list. This city has seventeen historic sites that has been proclaimed as World Heritage Sites. Visit Nijo Castle to see an example of Japanese architecture combined with beautiful interior decorating. While you’re there take a trip to the Gekkeikan Okura Show to experience the journey of sake-brewing history that include 6120 brewing tools through the ages and a space where you can listen to the recordings of brewing songs of the past. For a magnificent view of Koyoto city travellers stand on Kiyomizu Temple’s large wooden verandah that is built suspended over a deep valley.
Days 9 - 11
Located just off the coast of Hiroshima, the serenely beautiful island of Miyajima is considered one of the crown jewels of Japan. Known as ‘The Island of Gods’ due to its abundance of well-preserved shrines and temples, Miyajima is best known for its remarkable floating Itsukushima Shrine boasting a majestic vermilion gate which rises up out of the calm sea. Miyajima’s only village retains a classically Japanese Edo-era look featuring a particularly attractive seafront promenade. The nearby main shopping street, Omotesando, is lined with charming shops and restaurants serving an array of traditional Japanese culinary delights. Spend your days lazing on the idyllic beaches; hiking in the virgin forest of Mount Misen, whose summit provides panoramic views across the Inland Sea; or exploring the wide range of traditional cultural sites on offer.
Days 11 - 12
Osaka is a large port city and a busy commercial centre on the Japanese island of Honshu, known for its modern architecture, vibrant nightlife and delicious street food. This bustling city features a number of appealing attractions, most notably its restored 16th-century Shogunate Osaka Castle, surrounded by a moat and plum, peach and cherry blossom trees. The city also boasts an impressive array of museums including the National Museum of Ethnology, the Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farm Houses and the Japan Folk Crafts Museum. Other must-see attractions include the Universal Studios Japan and the Expo Commemoration Park, which features the iconic Tower of the Sun.