Japan – Trains & Cherry Blossom

Holiday Highlights

  • A 14-day first class Japan Rail Pass for flexible unlimited travel
  • Sightseeing in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Kanazawa
  • Journey on the Hakone, Oigawa, Sangi, Wakayama, Sagano Keihan and Eizan Railways
  • Visits to many of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Visits to Rail Museums including SCMAGLEV and Railway Park, Kyoto Railway Museum and Usui Pass Railway Heritage Park
  • Overnight in a traditional Onsen (hot springs) hotel
  • Option to opt out of sightseeing and explore independently using your Japan Rail Pass
  • Local Japanese speaking guide to accompany the group throughout
  • 19 days from £7,575pp
Tailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Tuesday 28 March to Saturday 15 April 2023

A revised version of this comprehensive tour taking in new lines and visiting new sites which Ffestiniog has not visited before. Old favourites are also included as we travel by steam train, tram and bullet train during Japan’s famous cherry blossom season.


Day 1 – Our Journey Begins

We fly from London to Tokyo.

Day 2 – Arrive Tokyo

Morning arrival into Haneda Airport and a transfer to central Tokyo. Time to familiarise yourself with this busy metropolis or relax after the flight, before heading out to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner this evening.

Day 3 – Sightseeing in Tokyo

A full day’s sightseeing by public transport including visits to the Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck, Meiji Shrine and a ride over the Rainbow Bridge on the Yurikamome train.

Day 4 – Hakone

We take the Odakyu Romance Car to the mountain resort of Hakone where we ride the Hakone Tozan Train, Cable Car, Ropeway and cruise Lake Ashi onboard a Pirate Ship. Enjoy a 1-night stay here at a traditional Japanese Ryokan with Onsen and dinner is included this evening.

Day 5 – Oigawa Railway & Nagoya

This morning we board our first Shinkansen of the trip to Kakegawa where we change to a local train to Kanaya. From here we travel on the Oigawa Railway to Senzu, where we spend a little free time before returning to Kanaya. A local train takes us back to Hamamatsu and we continue by ‘Hikari’ bullet train to Nagoya and check in to our hotel for a 2-night stay.

Day 6 – Nagoya Sightseeing

A full day’s sightseeing by public transport including visits to the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park and Nagoya Castle. We also enjoy some free time in central Nagoya before we return to our hotel on foot.

Day 7 – To the Kii Peninsular

Morning journey on the 2’6” gauge Sangi Railway, operating from Kuwana to Ageki in Mie, south of Nagoya, before joining the ‘Nanki’ limited express train in the afternoon to head south on a scenic journey to Nachikatsuura on the Kii Peninsula where we stay for 2 nights with dinner included.

Day 8 – Kumano Kodo

Travel by private coach inland to the World Heritage Sites associated with the ‘Kumano Kodo’ pilgrimage routes, including the Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine and the beautiful Nachi Falls.

Day 9 – On to Osaka

We continue around the Kii Peninsula to Wakayama, and pay a visit to the Wakayama Electric Railway, famous for its station master cat, Yontama, that has helped boost passenger numbers and revenue. Another limited express train takes us on to Osaka where we visit the Namba Yasaka Shrine and Dotombori district before heading to our hotel on the Metro for a 2-night stay.

Day 10 – Nara

By ‘Aoniyoshi’ limited express train this morning to Nara to visit the Todaiji Temple, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and featuring the ‘Daibutsuden’ (The Great Buddha Hall), once the largest wooden building in the world. We take a ride up the mountain on the Kintetsu Ikoma Cable Car to Hozanji and then Ikoma Sanjo before returning to Osaka on a local train.

Day 11 – Miyajima & Hiroshima

By ‘Hikari’ bullet train to Hiroshima and local train to Miyajimaguchi before taking a ferry over to Miyajima to see the Itsukushima Shrine, with its iconic ‘Torii Gate’ situated in the water just off the Island. We continue the day with a visit by tram to the Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima Peace Park and Memorial Museum before transferring to our hotel for a 2-night stay.

Day 12 – Yamaguchi Steam

We take a ‘Kodama’ bullet train to Shin Yamaguchi where we switch to a slower paced steam train. C57-1 hauls our steam train inland on the Yamaguchi line to Tsuwano where there is free time to visit the old town before returning to Shin Yamaguchi to switch back to a ‘Kodama’ bullet train and return to Hiroshima.

Day 13 – On to Kyoto

This morning we board a ‘Sakura’ bullet train and head to Himeji where we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle, widely regarded as Japan’s most spectacular example of a 17th Century Castle. We also visit Kokoen Garden, which is located next to the castle, before taking a ‘Hikari’ bullet train to Kyoto for a 3- night stay.

Day 14 – Kyoto Sightseeing

A full day’s sightseeing including Kyoto Railway Museum, Sagano Scenic Railway, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and a ride on the Randen Tram Line. A private coach takes us to ‘Kinkakuji’ (Temple of the Golden Pavillion) and the historic Gion district.

Day 15 – Kyoto Continued

Another day full of sightseeing today including Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizura-dera Temple and a walk down the old, cobbled streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka. We also ride the Eizan and Keihan Electric Railways.

Day 16 – Kanazawa

We take the ‘Thunderbird’ limited express along the west side of Lake Biwa to the coastal city of Kanazawa for a 2-night stay. In the afternoon, a private coach will take us to Shirakawa-go another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 17 – Kanazawa Sights

Time to see this popular tourist city. Attractions include the Kenroku-en Garden ranked as one of the top three best gardens in Japan. We also visit Kanazawa Castle grounds and the Nagamachi Samurai district. End the day with a visit to the Higashi Chaya area and Shima Tea House where we sample Japanese tea and sweets.

Day 18 – Usui Pass Railway Heritage Park

We travel by Shinkansen and local trains to Annaka where we have plenty of time to explore this outdoor railway museum and its many exhibits. We continue on to Tokyo for our final night in Japan.

Day 19 – Flight Home

Transfer to the Airport for our flight back to London, arriving same day.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Prince Hotel Shinagawa, Tokyo

Kagetsuen, Hakone

The Royal Park Canvas Nagoya, Nagoya

Urashima Nisshokan, Nachikatsuura

Osaka Excel Hotel Tokyu, Osaka

The Royal Park Hiroshima Riverside, Hiroshima

Mitsui Garden Kyoto Station, Kyoto

Forza Kanazawa, Kanazawa

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • First class 14-day Japan Rail Pass
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • All excursions as per itinerary
  • Private coach where required
  • Luggage transfers where necessary
  • Welcome dinner and dinner included on days 4, 7 and 8
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local English speaking guides.

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £7,575
Single room supplement: £1,100
Deposit for this holiday: £200

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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