ENCHANTING JAPAN: A CHERRY BLOSSOM ODYSSEY

A$12,995
GUARANTEED DEPARTURE - LIMITED PLACES LEFT
A$12,995
GUARANTEED DEPARTURE - LIMITED PLACES LEFT

Experience the magic of Japan during the most enchanting time of year – cherry blossom season. This 13-day adventure immerses you in Japan’s perfect harmony of ancient tradition and modern innovation. Begin your journey amid Tokyo’s soaring skyscrapers, then venture to Hakone’s mountainous hot springs, where you’ll discover true relaxation in fragrant steam clouds. In Takayama, delight in the preserved beauty of the Edo era, before moving on to explore the cultural diversity of Kyoto.

Witness the profound peace of Hiroshima, master the art of sushi-making with an expert, and soak away your worries in a traditional onsen. Throughout your travels, a local leader will reveal the rich tapestry of Japanese culture as you visit temples, castles, shrines, and holy mountains. There is no better time to see Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms in full bloom, making this journey truly unforgettable.

While this is the prime time of the year to see cherry blossoms, we are of course dependent on mother nature so we cannot guarantee you’ll see cherry blossoms.

Will you join us?

DAY 1 Saturday 22nd Mar

TOKYO ARRIVAL DAY (D)

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Your adventure begins in the country’s lively capital, Tokyo. Upon arrival, there will be a group transfer to the city. Otherwise, if you get to the city early, there are many sides of Tokyo to explore, from fascinating museums and world-class shopping, to neighbourhood backstreets lined with hole in the wall eateries and bars. After your meeting, have a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Tokyo’s food scene is undoubtedly one of the world’s best, and the city truly celebrates the art of eating well. Sample a range of regional and seasonal delights including handmade soba noodles, crispy tempura and yakitori.

Your own room at Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi or similar


DAY 2 Sunday 23rd Mar

TOKYO (B)

Bursting with contemporary urban culture and historic temples and shrines, Tokyo has so much to uncover. Exploring the world’s largest city alone can be a daunting task, but today your leader will introduce you to the old and new Tokyo on a half-day tour. Begin in the Asakusa area, one of the older and more traditional parts of Tokyo, often called the temple district. Here you’ll stop by Senso-ji, the city’s oldest temple—founded almost 1400 years ago when Tokyo was nothing more than a fishing village. Browse the many interesting stalls filled with tasty treats, crafts and souvenirs that line the shopping street of Nakamise dori. Then jump on the metro to explore the buzzing Shibuya area. Afterwards, enjoy some peaceful bliss at Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine before diving into Harajuku district, the home of quirky youth pop culture. Then get a birds-eye view of Tokyo from Roppongi Mori Tower.

Your own room at Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi or similar


DAY 3 Monday 24th Mar

TOKYO (B/L)

This morning, get ready for a delicious experience at the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, where fresh seafood from Tokyo’s largest wholesale fish market (recently relocated to a new site at Toyosu) is delivered and ready to sample daily. Your leader will provide insight into the underwater treasures that go into the local cuisine, then you will attend a wonderful sushi making class from a 4th generation sushi family to learn about the art and history of this Japanese cuisine that’s so loved across the world. Learn how to make nigiri sushi and hand-rolled sushi, then enjoy your fresh creations for lunch. After learning some valuable skills to take home with you, you can join your leader for a short walking tour in the Ginza area and then head to the Tokyo National Museum. Afterwards, enjoy some free time in the city. Perhaps check out the Yayoi Kusama Museum for its amazing exhibits by the avant-garde artist (advance reservation required), browse high-end shops in Ginza, experience the theatre of a kabuki play, or create your own entertainment with some karaoke.

Your own room at Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi or similar


DAY 4 Tuesday 25th Mar

TOKYO – HAKONE (B/D)

Say sayonara to Tokyo this morning and board a train bound for the mountainous onsen (hot spring) town of Hakone. Away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Hakone offers tranquillity among stunning natural scenery. On arrival, take a cable car up the mountains to the sulphur vents of Owakudani, followed by a boat trip across the serene Ashinoko Lake. Enjoy spectacular views, and on a clear day, you will catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji in the distance. Check in to the hotel for the evening. Here you’ll experience the design and ambience of a traditional Japanese ryokan without sacrificing modern comforts. Each room comes with a private onsen, and there are also larger public indoor and outdoor onsens that overlook the surrounding greenery to make use of. Tonight, you’ll enjoy dinner at the on-site restaurants which serves up a feast of classic Japanese dishes, then after getting your fill, spend a blissful evening relaxing in your onsen.

Note: People with tattoos may not be allowed to enter the public bath. In that case, ask the tourism office for some places that may have a private bath. — We will send your suitcases on to Takayama today, since you will travel frequently by trains and public transportation during the next days. Please prepare a light overnight backpack for Hakone. Your guide will help you this morning. One suitcase per person is included; if you wish to send additional luggage, the cost is around JPY1800-2500 per bag, paid locally.

Your own room at Hakone Tensein or similar


DAY 5 Wednesday 26th Mar

HAKONE – TAKAYAMA (B)

Today, travel to Takayama via shinkansen (bullet train), with a few changes along the way. Takayama is a charming Edo-period town located in the Japanese alps. Renowned for its traditional inns, sake breweries and tranquil atmosphere, this riverside jewel of central Honshu may well be one of the most enjoyable stops on your trip. On arrival, head out on a walking tour with your leader who will point out examples of beautiful traditional architecture as you explore the old part of town. Learn how the town’s isolated location caused it to develop a unique culinary scene. The area is particularly famous for Hida beef, which comes from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed that has been raised in Gifu Prefecture for at least 14 months. Stop off on your tour to sample delicious Hida beef sushi or skewers. Enjoy a free evening and your leader will be able to point out some great restaurants to try more signature local food.

Note: We will send your suitcases on to Hiroshima today, since you will travel frequently by trains and public transportation during the next days. Please prepare a light overnight backpack for Takayama. Your guide will help you this morning. One suitcase per person is included; if you wish to send additional luggage, the cost is around JPY1800–2500 per bag, paid locally.

Your own room at Chisun Grand Takayama or similar


DAY 6 Thursday 27th Mar

TAKAYAMA (B)

Start the day with a visit to the Takayama morning market. The Gifu region is known for its production of high-altitude vegetables, and local women have been travelling in from the countryside to sell their produce for more than 600 years. Your leader will guide you through the market stalls selling colourful pickles, bags of miso wrapped in leaves, genkotsu ame (soy bean candy), preserved fish, spices, and the delicious marshmallow treat of owara tamaten. After some time to peruse the local treats, hop on a public bus and head to the village of Shirakawa-go, home to charming thatched-roof cottages built in the gassho-zukuri style. Learn about ancient countryside life with your leader and explore the fairy-tale village against the magnificent backdrop of the Japanese Alps. Enjoy some free time in Takayama after you return in the afternoon. Perhaps check out Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall which has an excellent array of festival floats on display.

Your own room at Chisun Grand Takayama or similar


DAY 7 Friday 28th Mar

TAKAYAMA – HIROSHIMA (B/D)

Today you will travel by train to Hiroshima, a friendly and cosmopolitan city with a tragic past. Today Hiroshima is thriving—the city is full of distinctive cuisine, tight-knit communities and a focus on promoting world peace. On arrival, head out with your leader for an orientation walk to familiarise yourself with the city. After working up an appetite, head to a local restaurant for dinner and try some of Hiroshima’s signature dishes. The city is renowned for its fantastic oysters and okonomiyaki—a delicious savoury pancake made with egg, cabbage, soba noodles and meat or seafood.

Note: We will send your suitcases on to Kyoto today, since you will travel frequently by train on the next day. To be safe, please prepare a light backpack with the most necessary belongings. Your guide will help you this morning. One suitcase per person is included; if you wish to send additional luggage, the cost is around JPY1800–2500 per bag paid locally.

Your own room at ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima or similar


DAY 8 Saturday 29th Mar

HIROSHIMA (B)

This morning you’ll visit the Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Your leader will share the devastating story of the fateful day in August 1945 when Hiroshima was attacked by atomic warfare. The dome was just metres from the atomic site and was able to retain its shape—serving as a reminder of the attack and now-symbol of peace. The memorial park serves a similar purpose, and has museums, memorials and monuments dedicated to the memory of victims, education on what led to the bomb’s use, as well as advocating world peace. After your visit, take a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima. The island is home to the Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, known for its huge bright orange gate (torii) that rises majestically out of the sea. Miyajima is an ideal place for walking. There is the lovely Momiji Park from where it is possible to walk or take a cable car up to the top of Mt Misen. Return to Hiroshima for an evening at leisure.

Your own room at ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima or similar


DAY 9 Sunday 30th Mar

HIROSHIMA – KYOTO (B)

As you speed north to Kyoto on shinkansen, you’ll stop en route at Japan’s most impressive samurai castle at Himeji. The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families, learn about their lives and look out over the castle grounds and the city below. Arrive at Kyoto mid-afternoon. Originally founded as Heian-kyo (literally ‘tranquillity and peace capital’) by Emperor Kammu in 794, Kyoto had its golden age during the imperial court’s heyday from 794 to 1185. Join your leader and walk around Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, and learn about the history of geisha culture as you explore old wooden teahouses and exclusive restaurants. It’s a great idea to return here in the evening when it really springs to life. You might spot geikos (geishas) or maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dress and make up on their way out to events.

Your own room at Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande or similar


DAY 10 Monday 31st Mar

HIROSHIMA – KYOTO (B)

Begin your day with a city tour around some of Kyoto’s main sights. Visit the extravagantly decorated Kinkakuji Temple, immortalised in Yukio Mishima’s novel ‘The Golden Pavilion’. Then, head to Kyoto’s famed Fushimi Inari Shrine—known throughout the world as the ‘Path of the Red Gates.’ Take time to appreciate the quieter corners of the shrine, and if you’re feeling fit, a walk to the halfway point provides stunning city views. Then, visit Nijo Castle, one of the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture from Japan’s feudal era, exploring the ornate buildings, famous “nightingale floors”, and beautiful gardens. Continue with a short train ride and walk to a renowned sake brewery. Your visit to the brewery covers every aspect of sake creation—with full-scale historical artefacts in abundance, and a chance to taste different types of sake at the end of your visit.

Your own room at Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande or similar


DAY 11 Tuesday 1st Apr

NARA DAY TRIP (B)

Get back on the train to Nara. On arrival, take a bus to Nara Park, home to over 1,200 free-roaming deer that have become a symbol of the city—you can purchase special crackers to feed these friendly creatures who have been known to bow in return for treats. Next, visit Todaiji Temple, one of Nara’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, which houses the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue (Daibutsu) within the immense Daibutsuden Hall, the largest wooden building in the world. After Todaiji, head to Kofukuji Temple, Nara’s second-most important temple after Todaiji, known for its beautiful five-story pagoda, the second tallest wooden pagoda in Japan. The temple grounds also feature the Tokondo Hall with its impressive wooden statues and the Hokuendo Hall with its serene rock garden. In the evening, take a train back to Kyoto.

Note: We will send your suitcases on to Tokyo today, since you will travel frequently by train on the next day. To be safe, please prepare a light backpack with the most necessary belongings. Your guide will help you this morning. One suitcase per person is included; if you wish to send additional luggage, the cost is around JPY1800–2500 per bag, paid locally.

Your own room at Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande or similar


DAY 12 Wednesday 2nd Apr

KYOTO – TOKYO (B/D)

Back on the train this morning and head to Tokyo. Enjoy your final day in Tokyo and in the evening, your leader will take you for farewell dinner.

Your own room at Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi or similar


DAY 13 Thursday 3rd Apr

Your adventure comes to an end today. There are no further activities planned and check out is by 10 am. There will be a group transfer to the airport. Sayonara, Japan!

 

NOT READY TO GO HOME YET?

You don’t have to! The Two’s a Crowd team can organise pre- or post-tour accommodation in Tokyo so you can explore further at leisure. Alternatively, why not join Two’s a Crowd on our follow-on solos tour of South Korea, starting in Seoul on the evening of the 3rd of April and concluding in Seoul on the 11th of April. And guess what? It’s also Cherry Blossom season in South Korea! We call it the Blossom Double-Header. See our website or ask our friendly Two’s a Crowd team for more information.

TOUR PRICING: A$12,995

TOUR DATES: 22ND MARCH – 3RD APRIL 2025

Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi

Hotel Villa Fontaine Tamachi is an excellent choice for travellers visiting Minato, offering a family-friendly environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Tamachi offers guests an array of room amenities including a flat screen TV, air conditioning, and a refrigerator, and getting online is possible, as free wifi is available.

The hotel offers 24 hour front desk and baggage storage, to make your visit even more pleasant. The property also features free breakfast. Guests arriving by vehicle have access to parking.

Nearby landmarks such as Shinagawa Season Terrace (0.7 mi) and Observatory, Seaside Top (1.1 mi) make Hotel Villa Fontaine Tamachi a great place to stay when visiting Minato.

Travellers looking to enjoy some dumplings can head to Gonpachi Nishiazabu, Ippudo Roppongi, or Tiger Gyoza Kaikan Tamachi. Otherwise, you may want to check out a Spanish restaurant such as La Oliva, Burri Burrito & Tacos, or Charcoal cuisine Spanish bar Mon.

Looking to explore? Then look no further than Tokyo Tower (1.1 mi), Sengaku-ji Temple (0.6 mi), and Zojoji Temple (1.0 mi), which are some popular Minato attractions – all conveniently located within walking distance of the hotel.

Hakone Tensein

 Conveniently accessible from the city center, Tenseien is home to natural hot springs and a wide selection of delicious foods. It’s a great place to don a yukata and stroll through the lush natural surroundings of the garden, then stop by the shrine. You can spend an entire day here enjoying our feature-packed facilities!

The 17-meter-long Rooftop Open-Air Communal Sky Baths are incredibly spacious! Sit back, relax, and soak in the hot springs while taking in the beautiful seasonal scenery of Hakone. A visit here is sure to wash away your daily cares, soothing your body and soul. Private Baths We also offer hot springs for private enjoyment. Room rate per hour: Starting at ¥2,200 (tax included) An additional entry fee is required.

Chisun Grand Takayama

Situated in the centre of Takayama, Chisun Grand Takayama is set 200 metres from Takayama Station and 2.3 km from Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village. Featuring free bikes, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. Private parking is available on site.

All guest rooms in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. The rooms in Chisun Grand Takayama are fitted with a flat-screen TV and free toiletries.

At the accommodation guests will find facilities including a sauna and a spa and wellness centre.

Languages spoken at the 24-hour front desk include English and Japanese.

Popular points of interest near Chisun Grand Takayama include Fuji Folk Museum, Yoshijima Heritage House and Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine. The nearest airport is Toyama Airport, 83 km from the hotel.

ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima

Stay at the elegant ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima for a wide choice of cuisine and English language service in the heart of Hiroshima.

ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima is in Hiroshima’s commercial district, just five minutes’ walk from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Ask the bilingual Front Desk staff in the marble floored lobby about our restaurant and bar options, with a delicious a la carte menu and stunning views across the city. You can energize with our 24-hour available fitness center (No charge).

Facing the Fukuromachi street car stop on Peace Boulevard, ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima is a 10 minute taxi ride or 20 minute tram journey from JR Hiroshima station, with shuttle buses to Hiroshima Airport taking 60 minutes. We’re a short walk from the banks of the Motoyasugawa River and A-Bomb Dome.

Locals have long been heading to the hotel’s five restaurants on special occasions for outstanding Japanese, Chinese and Teppanyaki. Our 1st-floor Fruitier restaurant serves up an expansive breakfast buffet with something to suit all palates.

Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande

Just 2 minutes walk away from Kyoto Station, calm and comfortable rooms are available for your travel. From Kyoto station, you’ll arrive at Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande just about 1 minute on foot!
You can also get the limousine bus from Kansai Airport to our hotel.

Our hotel is located great place to explore famous heritage and attractions in Kyoto.
“Kiyomizu-dera Temple”, ”Sanjusangendo temple”, ”Kinkakuji temple”, ”Arashiyama”……
We can keep your baggage before you check in or after you check out.
Please enjoy to sightseeing freely without many baggage!

The hotel have just renovated all rooms in 2016.
“ZEN”room is highly recommend which have Karesansui garden in room.
Another room features many standard amenities as refrigerator,safes,humidified air cleaner.

Weather

Spring is one of the best times of year to be in Japan. The temperatures are warm but not hot, there’s not too much rain, and March–April brings the justly famous cherry blossoms (sakura) and is a time of revelry and festivals.

Currency

The Japanese currency is the Japanese yen, abbreviated ¥ (or JPY in foreign exchange contexts). The symbol 円 (pronounced en) is used in the Japanese language itself.

Prices in Japan are almost always listed using Western numerals, with Japanese numerals only occasionally spotted in places like high-end restaurants. The main exception is that large sums are sometimes abbreviated with 万 (man, 10,000), so 5万円 is 50,000 yen.

While cashless payments are becoming more common in Japan, there are still many places where cash is required. Particularly in smaller towns and more isolated areas, you should carry enough cash or check in advance that cashless payment is accepted.

Electricity

Japan uses the same Type A two-pin and Type B three-pin electrical sockets as the United States. Electricity is delivered at 100 V (somewhat lower than the 120V that is common in North America), and at 50 (eastern half of Japan) or 60 Hz (western half), depending on location. These only make a difference for large items like household appliances, the vast majority of overseas electronic devices like phone chargers and laptops will work fine in Japan.

Visas

Australian and NZ passport holders are visa exempt for a stay of up to 90 days. Please reconfirm your visa validity closer to departure date as requirements can change at any time.

Tour Inclusions:

  • English speaking tour guides
  • Two’s a Crowd Tour Host accompanies group throughout
  • Accommodation at listed hotels (or similar) in your own room
  • All transport as mentioned by comfortable, air conditioned vehicles or on the highly efficient Japanese rail system
  • Group airport transfers at the start/end of the tour
  • All meals as per itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • All entrance fees as per detailed itinerary
  • Solo room – always!

Tour Exclusions:

  • Travel Insurance (we can assist)
  • International flights to the start/end of the tour
  • Airport transfers, if arriving separate from the designated “group” flights
  • Expenditure of a personal nature, such as laundry, telephone calls, taxis and souvenirs
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Any services, meals and drinks if not detailed as “included” in the itinerary
  • Porterage
  • Tipping

Transport on Tour:

Travelling into major cities by coach can be problematic due to heavy traffic and local restrictions on where coaches can actually travel. Because of this we have chosen to use the Japanese train system frequently during the tour. Japan’s highly efficient train system is renowned for its punctuality, comfort, and speed, ensuring seamless travel across the country. The Shinkansen (bullet train) can reach speeds of up to 320 km/h, making long-distance travel quick and easy. On days where a train is being used, your luggage will be transported separately so you don’t need to worry about that yourself. You will need to be comfortable with walking to and from train stations to either hotels or local attractions on the days we are using trains. If you have any mobility issues, please speak with the team who will help you decide if this tour is right for you.

Experience the magic of Japan during the most enchanting time of year – cherry blossom season. This 13-day adventure immerses you in Japan’s perfect harmony of ancient tradition and modern innovation. Begin your journey amid Tokyo’s soaring skyscrapers, then venture to Hakone’s mountainous hot springs, where you’ll discover true relaxation in fragrant steam clouds. In Takayama, delight in the preserved beauty of the Edo era, before moving on to explore the cultural diversity of Kyoto.

Witness the profound peace of Hiroshima, master the art of sushi-making with an expert, and soak away your worries in a traditional onsen. Throughout your travels, a local leader will reveal the rich tapestry of Japanese culture as you visit temples, castles, shrines, and holy mountains. There is no better time to see Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms in full bloom, making this journey truly unforgettable.

While this is the prime time of the year to see cherry blossoms, we are of course dependent on mother nature so we cannot guarantee you’ll see cherry blossoms.

Will you join us?

DAY 1 Saturday 22nd Mar

TOKYO ARRIVAL DAY (D)

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Your adventure begins in the country’s lively capital, Tokyo. Upon arrival, there will be a group transfer to the city. Otherwise, if you get to the city early, there are many sides of Tokyo to explore, from fascinating museums and world-class shopping, to neighbourhood backstreets lined with hole in the wall eateries and bars. After your meeting, have a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Tokyo’s food scene is undoubtedly one of the world’s best, and the city truly celebrates the art of eating well. Sample a range of regional and seasonal delights including handmade soba noodles, crispy tempura and yakitori.

Your own room at Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi or similar


DAY 2 Sunday 23rd Mar

TOKYO (B)

Bursting with contemporary urban culture and historic temples and shrines, Tokyo has so much to uncover. Exploring the world’s largest city alone can be a daunting task, but today your leader will introduce you to the old and new Tokyo on a half-day tour. Begin in the Asakusa area, one of the older and more traditional parts of Tokyo, often called the temple district. Here you’ll stop by Senso-ji, the city’s oldest temple—founded almost 1400 years ago when Tokyo was nothing more than a fishing village. Browse the many interesting stalls filled with tasty treats, crafts and souvenirs that line the shopping street of Nakamise dori. Then jump on the metro to explore the buzzing Shibuya area. Afterwards, enjoy some peaceful bliss at Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine before diving into Harajuku district, the home of quirky youth pop culture. Then get a birds-eye view of Tokyo from Roppongi Mori Tower.

Your own room at Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi or similar


DAY 3 Monday 24th Mar

TOKYO (B/L)

This morning, get ready for a delicious experience at the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, where fresh seafood from Tokyo’s largest wholesale fish market (recently relocated to a new site at Toyosu) is delivered and ready to sample daily. Your leader will provide insight into the underwater treasures that go into the local cuisine, then you will attend a wonderful sushi making class from a 4th generation sushi family to learn about the art and history of this Japanese cuisine that’s so loved across the world. Learn how to make nigiri sushi and hand-rolled sushi, then enjoy your fresh creations for lunch. After learning some valuable skills to take home with you, you can join your leader for a short walking tour in the Ginza area and then head to the Tokyo National Museum. Afterwards, enjoy some free time in the city. Perhaps check out the Yayoi Kusama Museum for its amazing exhibits by the avant-garde artist (advance reservation required), browse high-end shops in Ginza, experience the theatre of a kabuki play, or create your own entertainment with some karaoke.

Your own room at Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi or similar


DAY 4 Tuesday 25th Mar

TOKYO – HAKONE (B/D)

Say sayonara to Tokyo this morning and board a train bound for the mountainous onsen (hot spring) town of Hakone. Away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Hakone offers tranquillity among stunning natural scenery. On arrival, take a cable car up the mountains to the sulphur vents of Owakudani, followed by a boat trip across the serene Ashinoko Lake. Enjoy spectacular views, and on a clear day, you will catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji in the distance. Check in to the hotel for the evening. Here you’ll experience the design and ambience of a traditional Japanese ryokan without sacrificing modern comforts. Each room comes with a private onsen, and there are also larger public indoor and outdoor onsens that overlook the surrounding greenery to make use of. Tonight, you’ll enjoy dinner at the on-site restaurants which serves up a feast of classic Japanese dishes, then after getting your fill, spend a blissful evening relaxing in your onsen.

Note: People with tattoos may not be allowed to enter the public bath. In that case, ask the tourism office for some places that may have a private bath. — We will send your suitcases on to Takayama today, since you will travel frequently by trains and public transportation during the next days. Please prepare a light overnight backpack for Hakone. Your guide will help you this morning. One suitcase per person is included; if you wish to send additional luggage, the cost is around JPY1800-2500 per bag, paid locally.

Your own room at Hakone Tensein or similar


DAY 5 Wednesday 26th Mar

HAKONE – TAKAYAMA (B)

Today, travel to Takayama via shinkansen (bullet train), with a few changes along the way. Takayama is a charming Edo-period town located in the Japanese alps. Renowned for its traditional inns, sake breweries and tranquil atmosphere, this riverside jewel of central Honshu may well be one of the most enjoyable stops on your trip. On arrival, head out on a walking tour with your leader who will point out examples of beautiful traditional architecture as you explore the old part of town. Learn how the town’s isolated location caused it to develop a unique culinary scene. The area is particularly famous for Hida beef, which comes from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed that has been raised in Gifu Prefecture for at least 14 months. Stop off on your tour to sample delicious Hida beef sushi or skewers. Enjoy a free evening and your leader will be able to point out some great restaurants to try more signature local food.

Note: We will send your suitcases on to Hiroshima today, since you will travel frequently by trains and public transportation during the next days. Please prepare a light overnight backpack for Takayama. Your guide will help you this morning. One suitcase per person is included; if you wish to send additional luggage, the cost is around JPY1800–2500 per bag, paid locally.

Your own room at Chisun Grand Takayama or similar


DAY 6 Thursday 27th Mar

TAKAYAMA (B)

Start the day with a visit to the Takayama morning market. The Gifu region is known for its production of high-altitude vegetables, and local women have been travelling in from the countryside to sell their produce for more than 600 years. Your leader will guide you through the market stalls selling colourful pickles, bags of miso wrapped in leaves, genkotsu ame (soy bean candy), preserved fish, spices, and the delicious marshmallow treat of owara tamaten. After some time to peruse the local treats, hop on a public bus and head to the village of Shirakawa-go, home to charming thatched-roof cottages built in the gassho-zukuri style. Learn about ancient countryside life with your leader and explore the fairy-tale village against the magnificent backdrop of the Japanese Alps. Enjoy some free time in Takayama after you return in the afternoon. Perhaps check out Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall which has an excellent array of festival floats on display.

Your own room at Chisun Grand Takayama or similar


DAY 7 Friday 28th Mar

TAKAYAMA – HIROSHIMA (B/D)

Today you will travel by train to Hiroshima, a friendly and cosmopolitan city with a tragic past. Today Hiroshima is thriving—the city is full of distinctive cuisine, tight-knit communities and a focus on promoting world peace. On arrival, head out with your leader for an orientation walk to familiarise yourself with the city. After working up an appetite, head to a local restaurant for dinner and try some of Hiroshima’s signature dishes. The city is renowned for its fantastic oysters and okonomiyaki—a delicious savoury pancake made with egg, cabbage, soba noodles and meat or seafood.

Note: We will send your suitcases on to Kyoto today, since you will travel frequently by train on the next day. To be safe, please prepare a light backpack with the most necessary belongings. Your guide will help you this morning. One suitcase per person is included; if you wish to send additional luggage, the cost is around JPY1800–2500 per bag paid locally.

Your own room at ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima or similar


DAY 8 Saturday 29th Mar

HIROSHIMA (B)

This morning you’ll visit the Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Your leader will share the devastating story of the fateful day in August 1945 when Hiroshima was attacked by atomic warfare. The dome was just metres from the atomic site and was able to retain its shape—serving as a reminder of the attack and now-symbol of peace. The memorial park serves a similar purpose, and has museums, memorials and monuments dedicated to the memory of victims, education on what led to the bomb’s use, as well as advocating world peace. After your visit, take a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima. The island is home to the Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, known for its huge bright orange gate (torii) that rises majestically out of the sea. Miyajima is an ideal place for walking. There is the lovely Momiji Park from where it is possible to walk or take a cable car up to the top of Mt Misen. Return to Hiroshima for an evening at leisure.

Your own room at ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima or similar


DAY 9 Sunday 30th Mar

HIROSHIMA – KYOTO (B)

As you speed north to Kyoto on shinkansen, you’ll stop en route at Japan’s most impressive samurai castle at Himeji. The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families, learn about their lives and look out over the castle grounds and the city below. Arrive at Kyoto mid-afternoon. Originally founded as Heian-kyo (literally ‘tranquillity and peace capital’) by Emperor Kammu in 794, Kyoto had its golden age during the imperial court’s heyday from 794 to 1185. Join your leader and walk around Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, and learn about the history of geisha culture as you explore old wooden teahouses and exclusive restaurants. It’s a great idea to return here in the evening when it really springs to life. You might spot geikos (geishas) or maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dress and make up on their way out to events.

Your own room at Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande or similar


DAY 10 Monday 31st Mar

HIROSHIMA – KYOTO (B)

Begin your day with a city tour around some of Kyoto’s main sights. Visit the extravagantly decorated Kinkakuji Temple, immortalised in Yukio Mishima’s novel ‘The Golden Pavilion’. Then, head to Kyoto’s famed Fushimi Inari Shrine—known throughout the world as the ‘Path of the Red Gates.’ Take time to appreciate the quieter corners of the shrine, and if you’re feeling fit, a walk to the halfway point provides stunning city views. Then, visit Nijo Castle, one of the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture from Japan’s feudal era, exploring the ornate buildings, famous “nightingale floors”, and beautiful gardens. Continue with a short train ride and walk to a renowned sake brewery. Your visit to the brewery covers every aspect of sake creation—with full-scale historical artefacts in abundance, and a chance to taste different types of sake at the end of your visit.

Your own room at Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande or similar


DAY 11 Tuesday 1st Apr

NARA DAY TRIP (B)

Get back on the train to Nara. On arrival, take a bus to Nara Park, home to over 1,200 free-roaming deer that have become a symbol of the city—you can purchase special crackers to feed these friendly creatures who have been known to bow in return for treats. Next, visit Todaiji Temple, one of Nara’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, which houses the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue (Daibutsu) within the immense Daibutsuden Hall, the largest wooden building in the world. After Todaiji, head to Kofukuji Temple, Nara’s second-most important temple after Todaiji, known for its beautiful five-story pagoda, the second tallest wooden pagoda in Japan. The temple grounds also feature the Tokondo Hall with its impressive wooden statues and the Hokuendo Hall with its serene rock garden. In the evening, take a train back to Kyoto.

Note: We will send your suitcases on to Tokyo today, since you will travel frequently by train on the next day. To be safe, please prepare a light backpack with the most necessary belongings. Your guide will help you this morning. One suitcase per person is included; if you wish to send additional luggage, the cost is around JPY1800–2500 per bag, paid locally.

Your own room at Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande or similar


DAY 12 Wednesday 2nd Apr

KYOTO – TOKYO (B/D)

Back on the train this morning and head to Tokyo. Enjoy your final day in Tokyo and in the evening, your leader will take you for farewell dinner.

Your own room at Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi or similar


DAY 13 Thursday 3rd Apr

Your adventure comes to an end today. There are no further activities planned and check out is by 10 am. There will be a group transfer to the airport. Sayonara, Japan!

 

NOT READY TO GO HOME YET?

You don’t have to! The Two’s a Crowd team can organise pre- or post-tour accommodation in Tokyo so you can explore further at leisure. Alternatively, why not join Two’s a Crowd on our follow-on solos tour of South Korea, starting in Seoul on the evening of the 3rd of April and concluding in Seoul on the 11th of April. And guess what? It’s also Cherry Blossom season in South Korea! We call it the Blossom Double-Header. See our website or ask our friendly Two’s a Crowd team for more information.

TOUR PRICING: A$12,995

TOUR DATES: 22ND MARCH – 3RD APRIL 2025

Villa Fontaine Grand Tamachi

Hotel Villa Fontaine Tamachi is an excellent choice for travellers visiting Minato, offering a family-friendly environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Tamachi offers guests an array of room amenities including a flat screen TV, air conditioning, and a refrigerator, and getting online is possible, as free wifi is available.

The hotel offers 24 hour front desk and baggage storage, to make your visit even more pleasant. The property also features free breakfast. Guests arriving by vehicle have access to parking.

Nearby landmarks such as Shinagawa Season Terrace (0.7 mi) and Observatory, Seaside Top (1.1 mi) make Hotel Villa Fontaine Tamachi a great place to stay when visiting Minato.

Travellers looking to enjoy some dumplings can head to Gonpachi Nishiazabu, Ippudo Roppongi, or Tiger Gyoza Kaikan Tamachi. Otherwise, you may want to check out a Spanish restaurant such as La Oliva, Burri Burrito & Tacos, or Charcoal cuisine Spanish bar Mon.

Looking to explore? Then look no further than Tokyo Tower (1.1 mi), Sengaku-ji Temple (0.6 mi), and Zojoji Temple (1.0 mi), which are some popular Minato attractions – all conveniently located within walking distance of the hotel.

Hakone Tensein

 Conveniently accessible from the city center, Tenseien is home to natural hot springs and a wide selection of delicious foods. It’s a great place to don a yukata and stroll through the lush natural surroundings of the garden, then stop by the shrine. You can spend an entire day here enjoying our feature-packed facilities!

The 17-meter-long Rooftop Open-Air Communal Sky Baths are incredibly spacious! Sit back, relax, and soak in the hot springs while taking in the beautiful seasonal scenery of Hakone. A visit here is sure to wash away your daily cares, soothing your body and soul. Private Baths We also offer hot springs for private enjoyment. Room rate per hour: Starting at ¥2,200 (tax included) An additional entry fee is required.

Chisun Grand Takayama

Situated in the centre of Takayama, Chisun Grand Takayama is set 200 metres from Takayama Station and 2.3 km from Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village. Featuring free bikes, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. Private parking is available on site.

All guest rooms in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. The rooms in Chisun Grand Takayama are fitted with a flat-screen TV and free toiletries.

At the accommodation guests will find facilities including a sauna and a spa and wellness centre.

Languages spoken at the 24-hour front desk include English and Japanese.

Popular points of interest near Chisun Grand Takayama include Fuji Folk Museum, Yoshijima Heritage House and Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine. The nearest airport is Toyama Airport, 83 km from the hotel.

ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima

Stay at the elegant ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima for a wide choice of cuisine and English language service in the heart of Hiroshima.

ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima is in Hiroshima’s commercial district, just five minutes’ walk from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Ask the bilingual Front Desk staff in the marble floored lobby about our restaurant and bar options, with a delicious a la carte menu and stunning views across the city. You can energize with our 24-hour available fitness center (No charge).

Facing the Fukuromachi street car stop on Peace Boulevard, ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima is a 10 minute taxi ride or 20 minute tram journey from JR Hiroshima station, with shuttle buses to Hiroshima Airport taking 60 minutes. We’re a short walk from the banks of the Motoyasugawa River and A-Bomb Dome.

Locals have long been heading to the hotel’s five restaurants on special occasions for outstanding Japanese, Chinese and Teppanyaki. Our 1st-floor Fruitier restaurant serves up an expansive breakfast buffet with something to suit all palates.

Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande

Just 2 minutes walk away from Kyoto Station, calm and comfortable rooms are available for your travel. From Kyoto station, you’ll arrive at Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande just about 1 minute on foot!
You can also get the limousine bus from Kansai Airport to our hotel.

Our hotel is located great place to explore famous heritage and attractions in Kyoto.
“Kiyomizu-dera Temple”, ”Sanjusangendo temple”, ”Kinkakuji temple”, ”Arashiyama”……
We can keep your baggage before you check in or after you check out.
Please enjoy to sightseeing freely without many baggage!

The hotel have just renovated all rooms in 2016.
“ZEN”room is highly recommend which have Karesansui garden in room.
Another room features many standard amenities as refrigerator,safes,humidified air cleaner.

Weather

Spring is one of the best times of year to be in Japan. The temperatures are warm but not hot, there’s not too much rain, and March–April brings the justly famous cherry blossoms (sakura) and is a time of revelry and festivals.

Currency

The Japanese currency is the Japanese yen, abbreviated ¥ (or JPY in foreign exchange contexts). The symbol 円 (pronounced en) is used in the Japanese language itself.

Prices in Japan are almost always listed using Western numerals, with Japanese numerals only occasionally spotted in places like high-end restaurants. The main exception is that large sums are sometimes abbreviated with 万 (man, 10,000), so 5万円 is 50,000 yen.

While cashless payments are becoming more common in Japan, there are still many places where cash is required. Particularly in smaller towns and more isolated areas, you should carry enough cash or check in advance that cashless payment is accepted.

Electricity

Japan uses the same Type A two-pin and Type B three-pin electrical sockets as the United States. Electricity is delivered at 100 V (somewhat lower than the 120V that is common in North America), and at 50 (eastern half of Japan) or 60 Hz (western half), depending on location. These only make a difference for large items like household appliances, the vast majority of overseas electronic devices like phone chargers and laptops will work fine in Japan.

Visas

Australian and NZ passport holders are visa exempt for a stay of up to 90 days. Please reconfirm your visa validity closer to departure date as requirements can change at any time.

Tour Inclusions:

  • English speaking tour guides
  • Two’s a Crowd Tour Host accompanies group throughout
  • Accommodation at listed hotels (or similar) in your own room
  • All transport as mentioned by comfortable, air conditioned vehicles or on the highly efficient Japanese rail system
  • Group airport transfers at the start/end of the tour
  • All meals as per itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • All entrance fees as per detailed itinerary
  • Solo room – always!

Tour Exclusions:

  • Travel Insurance (we can assist)
  • International flights to the start/end of the tour
  • Airport transfers, if arriving separate from the designated “group” flights
  • Expenditure of a personal nature, such as laundry, telephone calls, taxis and souvenirs
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Any services, meals and drinks if not detailed as “included” in the itinerary
  • Porterage
  • Tipping

Transport on Tour:

Travelling into major cities by coach can be problematic due to heavy traffic and local restrictions on where coaches can actually travel. Because of this we have chosen to use the Japanese train system frequently during the tour. Japan’s highly efficient train system is renowned for its punctuality, comfort, and speed, ensuring seamless travel across the country. The Shinkansen (bullet train) can reach speeds of up to 320 km/h, making long-distance travel quick and easy. On days where a train is being used, your luggage will be transported separately so you don’t need to worry about that yourself. You will need to be comfortable with walking to and from train stations to either hotels or local attractions on the days we are using trains. If you have any mobility issues, please speak with the team who will help you decide if this tour is right for you.

What Our Clients Say

20 out of 10!

The trip was just great - I can't really think of any negatives. Diane will back me up when I say I usually give 10/10s - I gave her 20/10. Trish, Canada/Alaska

Excellent trip

I found the overall trip excellent. I believe Diane's professionalism, inclusive personality and ability to relate to all contributed to this. She worked to ensure the group was cohesive without individuals impinging on the personal space of others etc. a good skill to have and one she applied effectively. Kate, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic value for money

Fantastic value for money paid. Russell our guide is an asset to your company... he was fantastic! Overall the trip was magical from start to finish. Well done Two's a Crowd ... the best trip ever. Barbara, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic first solo trip

I had a fantastic trip. Absolutely loved Canada and Alaska. It's the first time I have travelled solo and was pleasantly surprised to find a bunch of people that all got on so well. Diane our host was great. She did a good job of getting us altogether for meals, excursions, shopping trips etc. I liked that she quietly got things done without being loud or "in-your-face". She was good at being one of us as well as our leader. Wendy, Canada/Alaska

Good balance of activities and spare time

Had a great time. Good mixture of organised activities and spare time. Diane was an excellent tour host. Russell the tour guide was great, very knowledgeable and personable with his insights into growing up and living in Canada. Sharon, Canada/Alaska

Well organised trip with an excellent host

The trip was well organised, with a good mix of activity and free time. The scenery was spectacular and fellow travellers were a great bunch. Diane is a excellent host - helpful, courteous and above all a pleasure to know. I found her bubbly personality a bonus and can only speak highly of her. Gary, Canada/Alaska

I had a fabulous time

I had a fabulous time. Lake Louise and the hotel were magnificent. The cruise was excellent. Diane made sure that she was available for group meals and sightseeing, and was alway in good humour and great fun. I would recommend your company to everyone and am very interested in the Scandinavia  tour at the end of 2017.

Cathy, Adelaide - Canada/Alaska May 2016

Great holiday

What a great trip! I experienced so much and participated in all that was offered. I had read and reviewed as much as time allowed me but was not prepared for what the trip gave me and that is a better understanding of the beautiful people of both countries. - Lesley on Vietnam/Cambodia

In good company

I thought the suggestions for optional things to do, in the "free" time were very good. So good, we really ended up with very little free time. So much to do! - Mary on Vietnam

Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together. - Anonymous on Vietnam/Cambodia

Fantastic first experience!

Extremely well organised with fabulous guides throughout - especially in Vietnam! First holiday with your company and certainly not the last. - Glenys on Vietnam

Great group to travel with

Having a small group meant that the days were more relaxed and flexible and I really felt spoilt and looked after. Melinda on Borneo

Thoroughly enjoyed Uganda

Thoroughly enjoyed my trip especially Uganda. There was so much variety of things to do on this trip. Jaros & Julius were great. Thought in Kenya the Maasai Mara were beautiful people, so easy to get along with. Judy

Can’t stop talking about my experience

I just feel so privileged to have shared with the Maasai the most awe-inspiring majestic sights and sounds of Africa. The fantastic memories will be with me forever. Maureen

Absolutely enjoyable

Gillian was a fantastic host. She was there for us from the moment we reached Hotel Troy. Heather on Africa

Best holiday I’ve been on!

One of the best holidays that I have been on - really well organised. I would never have travelled to Vietnam or Cambodia on my own. Bronwyn

Well organised

Fun, well organised and a really great group. Barbara on Vietnam/Cambodia

Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together.

Great value

Well done. No complaints. Very pleased with this trip. Great value for my hard earned dollars! Really enjoyed the [Vietnam/Cambodia] tour. 

Fabulous rapport filled with much humour!

A great bunch of people & I can't believe how we all had such a fabulous rapport filled with much humour!!!

I couldn’t fault anything.

The (Uniworld River) cruise was great, I met up with some wonderful people who treated me like part of the family !
The ship & crew were fantastic & the excursions were very good, I couldn't fault anything. I'd recommend this cruise to anyone.  Peter

Informative and educational

The entire trip was one of the most enjoyable and exciting. Also so informative and educational. I was so pleased to make the trip. Wish I was over there in that magical place.  Marjorie

Delighted

I’ve just returned from the wonderful Kimberley trip.  It was my first experience with Two’s a Crowd and I was delighted.  Kay

Opportunity to experience

I have had the opportunity to experience things I would never had done by myself.  Solo travellers is a fantastic concept and use of social media has been a great way to share and keep in touch with friends and family. Judi

I need not have worried

Being my first tour and a senior member, I admit I was apprehensive but I need not have worried. It was great and I was very well looked after.  Can’t wait to go to Kenya with Two’s a Crowd.  Maureen

Smooth and seamless

A memorable trip of a lifetime, a wish fulfilled.  A fascinating cultural country steeped in history which I found totally enthralling.  Two’s a Crowd service was smooth and seamless.  Pam

A wonderful experience

It was a wonderful experience visiting Cambodia and Vietnam and gave me a better understanding of these countries. I had a great time with new friends, we had a good bunch and Leonie was the perfect host. Eric

Value for money

Value for money and outstanding co-operation from your staff and tour operators. Joan

Safe and secure and totally looked after

An awesome adventure for my first time overseas alone.  Leonie was excellent and both guides were also fantastic.  At all times I felt safe and secure and totally looked after.  Melinda

Well done Two’s a Crowd.

Leonie was an excellent host, the ideal person. I never felt any pressure to  be involved in every activity so I could explore alone during free time. Having 2 or 3 nights in most places was great – you could rest up or party. Well done Two’s a Crowd. Jenny

A completely different experience

It was a nice surprise holiday, a completely different experience from all my other holidays. Thanks. Piroska

I’ve had at least 10 travel agents.

In my travelling life, I’ve had at least 10 travel agents.  Two’s a Crowd is the first one where I haven’t had to correct anything in my travel documents.   Piroska

I’m so excited to have found you Two’s a Crowd.

“Finally. A travel company is recognising the needs of people like me”

This is perfect for me.

“I’ve been to Burma but can you please send me some information about other destinations. This is perfect for me.”

I really wanted to meet the people behind it

“I saw your ad in the local paper and could have phoned but I wanted to come in and congratulate you on starting this great business. I really wanted to meet the people behind it.”

Two’s a Crowd on the internet was definitely meant to be!

I’m really enthusiastic about the niche you are determined to cover in the market, and have the feeling stumbling on Two’s a Crowd on the internet was definitely meant to be.

I find them inspirational

Thanks for sending these emails as I find them inspirational and will sit dreaming for the next hour or so.

Thank you for providing a service for people like me

“I am very excited to read about your area of speciality, and look forward to devouring all information that might come my way. Thank you for providing a service for people like me.”

Excellent throughout.

The entire 14 days ran so smoothly from Two's a Crowd booking my flights to  airport transfers and then the 12 days camping in the Kimberley. Excellent throughout. Congratulations. Marjorie

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