ARRIVE IN TOKYO!
Touch down in Tokyo! Arrive into your Tokyo hostel and relax until the evening. Tonight we'll take you out to feast on Japanese cuisine and meet the rest of your group. After dinner when the crowds have all dispersed, we explore the iconic Tokyo Senso-ji Temple by night!
Explore Tokyo, Harajuku, Yoyogi Park & Akihabara
We'll start the morning off with a a Japan Orientation Briefing. You'll learn simple Japanese customs and phrases to help you dictate your way across the country. We'll then head out to the birth place of Japanese teen pop culture, Harajuku. We'll then head into Yoyogi Park, host of the beautiful Meiji Shrine.
Afterwards, we'll head to Akihabara – Tokyo's electric town - and be blinded by the all the neon lights and crazy shops in store. You can challenge each other in the arcades, check out the famous Maid Cafes or just wander around the area.
Tokyo, Sushi Making Class & Shibuya Crossing
In the morning after breakfast we will head over to our own private sushi making class! You will learn how to make Miso soup, three types of sushi and the secrets behind Teriyaki! Vegetarian option is available but you must notify your guide/One Life a week before the tour starts. This evening we head to Shinjuku, we'll see an unparalleled skyline of Tokyo, check out the famous Omoide Yokocho alley & grab some dinner. before viewing the famous Shibuya Pedestrian Crossing.
TRAVEL TO HAKONE & MT FUJI VIEWING
Today we take the aptly named "Romance Car" to the stunning mountain town of Hakone. After checking into our guest house situated in the mountains, we will spend the day exploring the surrounding areas on a variety of different transports. Why is Hakone so special? Well, not only is the food incredible but you can get a spectacular view of Mt Fuji (weather dependent.) After a day of exploring and taking photos of Japan's most famous mountain we'll arrange a traditional Japanese Family Nabe dinner in our guesthouse and finish the day playing some games.
*If you have asthma/respiratory condition, the brief visit to Owakudani is not advisable, please speak to your guide for an alternate arrangement.
Today is the day we ride the world-famous shinkansen for the first time. Watch them fly by on the platform before boarding one of the world's fastest train.
Keep an eye out for Mt Fuji on the way. First stop is the UNESCO World Heritage town of Takayama. Here we will be staying at a stunning temple for the night. In the afternoon, We'll sample sake in a local brewery and you can even treat yourself to some famous Hida beef!
ARRIVE IN KYOTO & GION WALKING TOUR
Start the morning with a walk around the beautiful old town and village of Takayama as well as a visit to the morning market on the banks of the Miyagawa River. We will then head to Kyoto by bullet train. In the evening a local tour guide will guide us around Kyoto's Gion district, known for Geisha's (Japan's traditional art form of entertainment), if you are lucky enough, you might even spot one.
KYOTO TEMPLE & SHRINE TOUR
We'll rise before dawn and take the subway to the Fushimi-Inari Shrine. We arrive early to escape the throng of tourists and work our way through the mountain exploring corridors of never ending red gates. After, we will head to Kiyomizu-dera temple, one of Japan's most famous temples. A stunning bamboo and wooden complex that sits high in the mountain side. We finish up with a traditional Tea Ceremony, where you can even rent kimonos!
You will have the rest of the day free to explore.
GOLDEN PAVILION, ZEN GARDENS & KENDO CLASS
We head to the stunning Golden Pavilion, a beautiful gold laden building surrounded by a lake. After we'll head to Daitoku-ji, a quiet, leafy complex of old temples. In the afternoon we head to a traditional Kendo class housed in the dojo where it all began. Your authentic Bushido instructor, a descendant of a Japanese Samurai, will teach you the way of this respectful martial art.
ARRIVE IN OSAKA, BAMBOO FOREST, FOOD TOUR & KARAOKE
The day starts with a train ride to Arashiyama, a town surrounded by mountains and a river running through it. The itinerary includes a visit to the bamboo forest, climbing Monkey Mountain, a traditional Japanese boat ride through the valleys. We then head on to Osaka where in the evening, we explore the famous Dotonbori area. The food, people, lights, and colors of the "kitchen of Japan" will be experienced before ending the tour with karaoke in the evening.
OSAKA CASTLE & SHINSEKA
After nursing your head from last night's antics, we thought it best to give you the morning off to explore Osaka yourself. Visit the incredibly trendy AmericaTown, wander down the Shinsaibashi Shopping District, give your body a well-deserved rest in Spa World or browse the wonderful world of electronics in Den-Den Town. We'll meet in the evening and head over to Osaka Castle, a beautiful structure in the centre of the city surrounded by lush gardens. We'll watch the sunset from here, before heading over to Dotonbori's little brother, Shinsekai, for dinner in the evening.
NARA PARK & KOYASAN TEMPLE STAY
An early start today as we head out of the city, 45 minutes on the train to beautiful Nara. As we leave the train station and begin our walk towards the main park, keep your eyes out for the friendly locals along the way. Nara is famous for being a city that lives symbiotically with deer and is historically important as the former capital of ancient Japan.
We'll make our way around the serene park & stunning temples before heading back to Osaka to collect our bags and make our way to Koyasan. After a 90-minute ride, we'll take a mix of cable cars and finally a bus to our accommodation deep in the heart of the mountain. Koyasan is a beautiful little temple town summed up by the tourism boards slogan "If nature does indeed bring mankind closer to the cosmos, then Koyasan is its embodiment". This is your chance to live the temple way of life in a real, working temple. Learn more about the monks that dedicate their lives to this area and wander the countless temples and shrines that are dotted all around. Dinner is a very special vegetarian meal made from ingredients sourced by the monks in the local area.
MORNING IN KOYASAN & TRAVEL TO HIROSHIMA
Wake in the morning to the sound of nature and take part in the morning chanting prayers with the monks. Breakfast is a traditional "temple style" meal made by the monks. Make sure to make the most of your final morning in this truly unforgettable destination. Just before lunch we'll make our way back to Osaka and head to Hiroshima on the bullet train.
After a 90-minute ride, we'll take the streetcar to our accommodation in the centre of the city. After some down time, we'll walk to the humbling Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and be taken around this area by our local guide to truly educate you on the area's astonishing past. View the Atomic Dome, ring the peace bell and say a prayer at the eternal flame. This incredibly important city will live long in the memory.
We'll then finish with a walk around the museum to learn about Hiroshima's devastating past before grabbing some food and calling it a night.
Today we take the metro to the beautiful Miyajima Island, location 1hr away from Hiroshima. On arrival we'll take a short ferry ride to the island, known for its stunning collection of forests and ancient temples. After disembarking from the ferry we'll take an easy stroll around the island, visiting the incredible Great Torii gate which sits just offshore. This famous giant, orange Torii gate sits partially submerged at high tide. Next, you'll have the afternoon free to explore the serenity of the rest of this island paradise. In the evening, we'll head out one last time as a group for our final day in Japan.
And that's a wrap! Today we finish in the beautiful city of Hiroshima, take one final walk around the memorial park or go for a sunrise run along the river. Your guide will assist you in your onward travel whether you continue to travel around Japan, head back home or join us on another One Life tour in a different, but equally incredible place! We hope we've inspired you to #exploremore.