Japan – A Land of Discovery

Shinkansen at Tokyo Central station
Golden Temple Kyoto - © Bob Cable
Kumamoto Castle
Mount Fuji, Honshu, Japan
Two N700A Shinkansen Trains - © Alex Morley
SL Hitoyoshi Steam Train - © Bob Cable
SL Hitoyoshi Steam Train - © Gordon Bannister
Tokyo Tower, Tokyo

Holiday Highlights

  • 14-day first class Japan Pass for flexible unlimited travel
  • Sightseeing in Kyoto, Matsuyama, Beppu, Kumamoto, Nagasaki and Fukuoka
  • Maglev Exhibition Centre
  • Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji and To-ji Pagoda - UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Kyoto Railway Museum
  • Journey on the SL Hitoyoshi Steam Train
  • Option to explore independently with rail pass when possible
  • 18 days from £4,990pp
BOOK NOW Tailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Tuesday 19 September to Friday 6 October 2017

This exciting new tour takes in three of Japan's main islands whilst combining trams and trains with spectacular sightseeing, including a visit to the newly opened Kyoto Railway Museum.


Day 1 – London to Tokyo

Flight from London to Tokyo.

Day 2 – Arrive Tokyo

Afternoon arrival at Narita where we take the train into the city and transfer to our hotel in the west part of Tokyo. The rest of the day is free to familiarise yourself with this busy metropolis or relax after the flight. We stay for 3 nights.

Day 3 – Hakone Tozan Railway

By Odakyu Electric Railway to the Hakone area for travel on the Hakone Tozan Railway, Japan's oldest mountain railway, as well as the area’s cable car and funicular.

Day 4 – Maglev Exhibition Centre

Visit the Yamanashi Maglev Exhibition Centre for the Chuo Linear Shinkansen train, the fastest train in the world! Return to Tokyo for an evening welcome party with local enthusiasts.

Day 5 – To Toyohashi

By ‘Hikari’ bullet train to the riverside town of Toyohashi for travel on its tram system and overnight stay. Alternatively you may wish to take a short train ride to the nearby famed Toyokawa Inari, often considered a shrine but actually a major temple.

Day 6 – To Kyoto

Continue to Kyoto by ‘Hikari’ bullet train for a 2-night stay in this former capital of Japan. Time in the afternoon and evening to see Kyoto’s cultural landmarks including the stunning Kinkaku-ji (Golden Temple) and To-ji Pagoda, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Day 7 – Kyoto Railway Museum

A visit to the large new Kyoto Railway Museum which incorporates the Umekoji Roundhouse.

Day 8 – Matsuyama

Morning departure for Matsuyama in Shikoku, firstly by ‘Hikari’ bullet train to Okayama. After lunch here we continue by ‘Shiokaze’ limited express to Matsuyama for a 2-night stay.

Day 9 – Matsuyama Sightseeing

Time for the cultural sights of Matsuyama, including its castle which sits on a 132m hilltop in the centre of the city. Ride the local tram services operated by the Iyo Railway, where most cars date back to the 1950's and 1960's, or take a ride on the Botchan Train, diesel-powered replicas of the original Iyotetsu steam locomotives.

Day 10 – Ferry to Kyushu

After a leisurely morning we transfer to the port of Yawatehama where we board the ferry to the south western island of Kyushu, arriving at Beppu, a hot springs centre, for an overnight stay.

Day 11 – To Kumamoto

We have a morning sightseeing visit to the spectacular 'jigoku' (hells) hot springs before an afternoon departure by limited express service for the three hour journey from Beppu to Kumamoto, where we have a 3-night stay.

Day 12 – Kumamoto Sightseeing

Visit Kumamoto's cultural sites including Kumamoto's early 15th-Century castle, considered one of the three most important in Japan. There will also be time to ride the city's trams and the local Kumamoto Electric Railway. The tram system in Kumamoto has been in operation since 1924 and is one of the oldest, continuously running networks in Japan.

Day 13 – SL Hitoyoshi Steam Train

We take a return journey by steam with the ‘SL Hitoyoshi’, travelling along the scenic Kuma River to Hitoyoshi. There will be time for lunch at Hitoyoshi before returning to Kumamoto.

Day 14 – To Nagasaki

Travel by local JR railway southwards to join the Orange Hisatsu Railway, whose name is derived from the many orange groves that line the railway on this scenic route. Continue with an afternoon departure for Nagasaki by Kyushu Shinkansen and ‘Kamome’ limited express trains for an overnight stay.

Day 15 – Historic Nagasaki

Nagasaki is an attractive city with a long history and we experience a little of it today. Visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum along with other historic sites before a mid-afternoon departure for Fukuoka, our final stop for 3-nights.

Day 16 – Fukuoka

Fukuoka is labelled as the 'Gateway to Asia' due to its proximity to the Asian mainland. We have time to travel on the privately owned Nishitetsu line and to experience its culinary variety, popular with tourists from other Asian countries. Other options include the Kushida Shrine, founded in 757, the Fukuoka Tower and Ohori Park.

Day 17 – Trip to Sasebo

A round day trip by JR and Matsuura Railway to the coastal city of Sasebo. Alternatively you may wish to enjoy leisure time in Fukuoka before your journey home tomorrow.

Day 18 – Flight to UK

Flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo, connecting with flight to the UK. Arrive London same day.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Hotel Sunroute Plaza, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Hotel Associa, Toyohashi

Hotel Brighton City, Kyoto

Hotel Jal City, Matsuyama

Hotel Kamenoi, Beppu

Hotel New Otani, Kumamoto

JR Kyushu Hotel, Nagasaki

Hotel Centraza, Fukuoka

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airlines
  • 14-day first class Japan Rail Pass
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Welcome dinner
  • All rail journeys as stated
  • All excursions and admission charges as listed
  • All transfers as stated
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local guide in Japan

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £4,990
Single room supplement: £300
Deposit for this holiday: £200
Rates of exchange used are as at 1st August 2016

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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