Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Tokyo, Japan
You ready for 12 jam-packed days of stuffing your face, exploring the ultra-modern and uncovering ancient traditions – not to mention all the weird, whacky and totally wonderful in between? We thought so. Meet the group early before we kick things off with a city tour. See the anime culture, tick off Senso-ji Temple and hit up Nakamise shopping street. Later, it’s the Harajuku district, Shibuya crossing and dinner with the gang in the Asakusa district. We’ve thrown an optional sushi making experience in the mix too – and that’s just day one!
Day 2 - Tokyo
Down your cup of matcha – we’re off to check out the Meiji Shrine this morning. Tokyo’s grandest Shinto shrine – take in all the spiritual vibes, make an offering and wander the blooming (or not) gardens. Then: check out the ins and outs of East Tokyo with an optional cycling tour. Later, the evening is yours to wander the futuristic neon-lit streets of Shibuya or spend your night in the Shinjuku district. With heaps of restaurants, bars, clubs and blaring karaoke joints – this place is where boredom goes to die.
Day 3 - Tokyo
It's your last day in Tokyo - so, you do you. Been waiting for an opportunity to shamelessly wear Mickey Mouse headwear and fan-girl/boy over Cinderella? An optional trip to Tokyo Disneyland is calling. Or if the snow-topped peaks and gleaming lakes of Mt Fuji sound more like you - there's a day trip to the Fuji Five Lakes region on the cards too. Whatever you pick, there'll be plenty to talk about at tonight's optional show at the Robot Restaurant. You're in Japan after all.
Day 4 - Tokyo to Takayama
Rise and shine – it’s an early start to get the Shinkansen (bullet train FYI) to Takayama. Glue your face to the window as we zoom through the incredible Japanese Alps. Pay a visit a traditional Hida folk village for an insight into what mountain life was like back in the day. Then, an optional Hida beef dinner with the gang is on the menu – vegetarians look away. Later, we’ll rest our heads at our authentic AF accommodation: a traditional ryokan – complete with tatami-matted floors and sliding doors straight out of The Last Samurai.
Day 5 - Takayama to Hiroshima
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – so we’ll kick things off traditional-style in the ryokan before visiting the bustling morning riverside markets. Then, strap on your Nikes to explore Takayama Jin'ya – the last remaining government outpost from the time of the Samurai and Shoguns. While we’re here you can indulge in a session of relaxation and recovery at a traditional onsen. Disclaimer: the onsen is 100% optional, nudity here is not. Round it all up with a sampling of the good stuff at a local sake brewery before jumping on the train to Hiroshima. On the menu tonight? Okonomiyaki – a local specialty.
Day 6 - Hiroshima
You’ve seen the photos. Read the book. Now it’s time to experience the history for yourself. Take a tour of Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park and Musuem – home of the A Bomb Dome. Then, it’s all aboard the ferry to the island of Miyajima. With an afternoon free to explore you just gotta visit the Itsukushima Shrine before settling in for sunset. The floating torii gate may be under construction until 2022 but the view is still pretty spectacular. Back in Hiroshima, put those fat pants to the test with a steaming bowl of Onomichi ramen – chased with a glass of the local sake. When in Japan, right?
Day 7 - Hiroshima to Osaka
And just when you thought your jeans couldn’t get any tighter – today we’re headed for Osaka: the foodie capital of Japan. Here, they even have a word for “scoff till you drop” – kuidaore. Dump your bags at tonight’s traditional Buddhist lodge and go get it! The afternoon is totally up to you. Regroup tonight for an included dinner, then head to the buzzing Uranamba district for micro bars, plenty of sake and a spot of K-A-R-A-O-K-E (the Drunken Clam is the best FY).
Day 8 - Osaka
Tuck into a traditional Buddhist breakfast before heading out to do your own thing. It’s your chance to uncover the real Osaka – so, make every second count. Thrill-seeker? Jump aboard an optional day trip to Universal Studios. Foodie? Head to the Dotonbori district (aka Eat Street). History buff?There are plenty of temples and an awesome castle to explore. Tonight, the local experts will show us the ins and outs of Osaka’s nightlife on an optional tour.
Day 9 - Osaka to Kyoto
Ever wondered what life as a Buddhist monk was really like? Rise early and find out with a morning Buddhist ritual – complete with Goma Kito Fire Ceremony and walk around the temple with a local monk. Then we’re hitting the tracks to Japan’s traditional capital, Kyoto. Home to over 2,000 temples and shrines this place ticks all the spiritual boxes. We’ll visit the incredible Fushimi Inari Shrine – with plenty of time to hike to the top and explore the torii gates. Then, dinner is up to you. Our suggestion? Head to Nishiki Warai for seriously good yakisoba and okonomiyaki. *wipes drool from chin*
Day 10 - Kyoto
Time to explore this place with the local experts. We’ll tick off the Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion before moving on to the sprawling Arashiyama bamboo forest and the Togetsu-kyo bridge to find your zen. All the walking making you hangry? DW, we’re stopping by the Nishiki food market next. Food baby in tow – head to the Gion district to say g’day to the geishas. Then: the rest of the day is 100% up to you. If you love Katsu curry, try find a CoCo Ichibanya for dinner tonight. It’s cheap AND delicious.
Day 11 - Kyoto
PSA: this is your last day in Kyoto. Get moving! Check out alllll the food options along Pontocho Street. Or for something to impress those Tinder dates with, there’s an optional ramen cooking class on offer. You can even dress up as a geisha or samurai (we told you it would get weird). Later, get the gang together and head to a local bar for a sendoff to remember. This has been one hell of a trip.
Day 12 - Kyoto
After breakfast it’s sayonara to the Land of the Rising Sun and our newfound family. Swap Snapchats and start planning that next adventure. We hear the ski season here is pretty sick.
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