Gardens & Sights of Japan
- Discover the 'Land of the Rising Sun' & its serene gardens on this 12-night guided holiday to Japan.
- Experience the wonderful spectacle of 'Sakura' - the Cherry Blossom Season.
- Visit the fascinating cities of Kyoto, Nara & Toyko.
- Learn about Ikebana (flower-arranging) & enjoy a traditional tea ceremony.
- Explore Hakone National Park and see Japan's famous landmark, Mount Fuji.
- Be accompanied by Frances MacDonald, a qualified and experienced gardener and guide throughout the tour.
- Includes 9 nights on a bed and breakfast basis, 1 night on a half board basis.
Book Your Trip From £6338pp
Book Your Trip From £4929pp
Your Guided Group Holiday To Japan
Experience the Cherry Blossom season and discover the awe inspiring country of Japan. The display of the Sakura, or Cherry Blossom, signals the start of Spring and it’s a very special event as the flowers are only in bloom for a couple of weeks. Japan is a must see on any traveller’s list; with its unique blend of high tech modernity and ancient traditions which encompass wonderful gardens and temples, Ikebana and tea ceremonies. On this 12-night holiday, we will see all aspects of Japan including the ancient city of Kyoto with its superb gardens and temples. We'll travel through wonderful mountain scenery for an overnight stay near Mount Fuji, before moving on to the seaside town of Kamakura to view gardens and the Great Buddha. Our last stop will be a visit to the bustling high rise metropolis of Tokyo where, even there, there are oases in which are situated gardens, parks and temples.
Activity Level: Moderate
Travel to Japan
Depart for Osaka
Depart on your overnight flight to Osaka.
Arrive in Osaka
Upon arrival in Osaka you will be met by our local guide before being transferred to your hotel in Kyoto. A welcome dinner with your group is included at a local restaurant.
Guided Tour of Kyoto
We start today with a visit to one of the most famous gardens in Japan at the Ryoanji Temple, enjoy the peace of its renowned rock and gravel garden before a walk around the grounds of the temple with our local guide. Then a visit to the magnificent Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and the surrounding ‘strolling’ garden. Cherry trees in full blossom dominate the landscape at this time of year. Free time for lunch in downtown Kyoto in Teramachi, the first opportunity to see the wonderful small shops and restaurants in this historical street.
Heian Shrine & At Leisure
Join us this afternoon for a visit to the Heian Shrine, our first Shinto shrine which is a scaled down version of the Imperial Palace, again with a wonderful garden. Following our visit we will have the option of returning to our hotel or joining Frances on a visit to the Kyoto Craft Centre.
The evening will be free to spend at your leisure but Frances will be on hand to advise or escort you to one of the many fantastic restaurants in Kyoto, and will do this on all free evenings throughout the trip.
Day Trip to Nara
Guided Excursion to Nara
Today we will enjoy an excursion to Nara, the former 8th century capital of Japan.
Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including one of Japan's oldest and largest Buddhist temple with its magnificent wooden Buddha. We will walk through the Deer Park to the Shinto, Kasuga Shrine, famous for its wonderful display of old and new Japanese lanterns.
This afternoon we will enjoy some free time in Nara for lunch at our leisure before returning to Kyoto in the early afternoon, leaving time to visit the local parks and gardens or go shopping in Kyoto. This evening is at leisure but Frances will advise/escort you to restaurants.
Free Time in Kyoto
Today is free to enjoy at your own pace or alternatively Frances will be delighted if you would join her on alternative excursions. One would be to the Philospher’s Walk, a pedestrian path that follows a cherry-tree lined canal in Kyoto. It was named after the influential 20th-century Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro who used it for daily meditation. It passes a number of temples and shrines, small shops and cafes. She will also be visiting other temples and gardens as well as interesting shops in this historic old town.
Kyoto or Visit Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Explore Kyoto at Your Own Pace
Another day to enjoy the wonders of Kyoto. Perhaps take the opportunity to visit the Imperial Palace Garden close to our hotel or one of the other many gardens or visit a museum or gallery. Alternatively Frances will be delighted if you would join her on an excursion to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
In the early evening, take a walk through the old traditional streets in the Gion district to see the Geishas and Maikos being transported to their parties and concerts.
Hakone National Park & Mount Fuji
Visit the Hakone National Park & Mount Fuji
Today will begin with a journey on the bullet train through the countryside from Kyoto to the city of Odawara. Upon arrival, we will embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Hakone by coach including a visit to Hakone Open Air Museum, which is fully designed and landscaped with gardens and sculptures. Afterwards, enjoy a boat trip on Lake Ashi, where you can soak up the picturesque surroundings. Our hotel is nestled in the mountains with wonderful scenery and terrific photo opportunities of Mt Fuji. In the evening you will enjoy a relaxing traditional banquet dinner with the group and also there is an option to experience the outdoor hot baths.
Kamakura & Tokyo
Join us this morning as we travel through mountains and along the coast to visit the seaside town of Kamakura, the political centre of medieval Japan. We'll visit the beautiful gardens around the Hasedera Temple, the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. This is Kamakura's most important Shinto shrine and is surrounded by gardens and parkland.
This afternoon we will have time free time to enjoy lunch in one of the delightful cafes and to explore the small lanes with their traditional shops. Our final visit is to the Great Buddha of Kamakura before we continue onwards to Tokyo where we dine together as a group on arrival.
Gardens of Tokyo
Imperial Palace Plaza and Rikugi-en Garden
We start our day with a visit to the the Imperial Palace Plaza, followed by a visit to one of Japan’s most famous ‘strolling’ gardens, Rikugi-en Garden - Rikugien literally means "six poems garden" and reproduces in miniature 88 scenes from famous poems. We will have some free time then in Ginza, Tokyo’s main shopping street, for lunch at leisure.
Koishikawa Koraku-en Garden and Hamarokyu Garden
This afternoon we will discover Koishikawa Koraku-en Garden, one of the oldest gardens in Tokyo, landscaped during the Edo period reproduces famous Japanese and Chinese scenery throughout the garden, represented by the miniature hills, ponds, stones and trees. Finally we visit Hamarokyu Garden, one of the largest gardens in centre of the city, an oasis of calm and peace with its traditional teahouses, providing a contrast to the towering architecture of the surrounding city.
The evening will be free to spend at your leisure but Frances will be on hand to advise or escort you to a local restaurant.
Guided Tour of Tokyo including Tea Ceremony & Ikebana
Today will be spent experiencing the traditional cultures of Japan. You will visit one of the most famous Bonsai Gardens in Japan to experience Ikebana (flower-arranging) followed by a traditional tea ceremony.
Asakusa, Ueno Park and Farewell Dinner
This afternoon we will visit Asakusa where we will explore the ancient Senso-ji Temple followed by free time to explore this area with retains the feeling of older Japan, with traditional craft shops and street food stalls.
We next visit Ueno Park famous for its many museums and home to Japan's first zoological garden.
This evening you will dine as a group in a Tokyo restaurant.
Free Time in Tokyo
Today will be free to spend at your leisure in Tokyo. Frances will be happy to advise on ways to spend your day in this wonderful city. There is an opportunity to take a cruise around Tokyo Bay, visit Tokyo Tower or visit some of the wonderful Art Galleries in the city.
At Leisure & Return Home
Free Time in Tokyo
There will be free time to explore Tokyo further and indulge in some last-minute shopping before a late check out from your hotel for our transfer to Narita airport in the evening.
Arrive home in Dublin.
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 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.