RIDING THE BULLET

Japan by Train

Hakone & Mount Fuji, Kyoto, Southern Honshu & Kyushu, Tokyo & Around

Duration: 13 nights

Price: From £5,950 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, some meals, private transfers, train and boat transportation and taxes

This luxury tour takes in the breathtaking variety of Japan, from the neon-blanketed skyscrapers of Tokyo to the quaint villages in Okayama. Traversing the country, you’ll stop off to reconnect with nature in the beautiful Hakone National Park, explore ancient temples in Kyoto and reflect on the tragic history and inspiring rebirth of Hiroshima. A journey wondrously linked by the pulse-quickening bullet train, this 13-night holiday will end on the romantic island of Miyajima, where you can bask in the hot springs of a traditional ryokan overlooking one of Japan’s most incredible views.
Perfect forLocomotive-inclined travellers who want to pack in everything that Japan has to offer in one very smooth rail ride.
In the knowFor a once in a lifetime trip, consider travelling around Kyushu on the Seven Stars, one of the world’s most luxurious train journeys.

Best for

  • Train Journey
  • Couples
  • First-timers
  • Food & Wine

All Exsus holidays are tailor-made

This itinerary is just a starting point. Tell us your budget/wishlist/preferred length of stay and we'll help you select the best hotels and experiences, so your holiday is totally personalised.

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Itinerary details

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2 nightsTOKYO

Your journey begins in Japan’s iconic capital, Tokyo. This frenetic urban sprawl, dotted with serene parks and ancient temples, encapsulates everything characteristic about the Land of the Rising Sun. At once ancient and futuristic, chaotic and calm, Tokyo continues to enrapture and baffle visitors in equal measure. Shop until you drop amongst the designer labels in the upmarket Ginza district and then take refuge in the Imperial Palace gardens, walking around the moat and well-kept trails. Meiji Shrine and Ueno Park provide leisurely afternoons where you embrace Tokyo’s mash of old and new and sit peacefully on a bench taking in the views of the city or watching the fascinating people walk by. If you want to see a true Tokyo superstar, consider going to a morning sumo practice in a stable or attending an evening performance of the dramatic kabuki, a traditional theatrical performance. Your home for the two nights in Tokyo is the elegant and contemporary Andaz hotel, located in the top floors of the city’s second tallest tower.
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1 nightHAKONE

A popular holiday spot for Tokyoites, Hakone is a place of supreme natural beauty just a short train ride outside Tokyo’s buzzing metropolis. Home to Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes, this beautiful region is full of impossibly photogenic hot springs, soaring mountains, plunging valleys and winding rivers. You can take in the view from above with a mountain cable car ride; from the water with a pirate ship ride across Lake Ashinoko; or from the rails, with the winding mountainside train track offering incredible views. Taking the high-speed Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hakone National Park, you’ll stay at the Hakone Ginyu Ryokan, which has been built into the side of a mountain and offers superb views of the area. As well as wallowing in your private onsen hot spring bath on the balcony, you can set foot on the many trails that wind through the national park, stumbling upon the great torii and orange shrines that line the misty walkways.
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3 nightsKYOTO

Taking the Shinkansen from Hakone, you’ll really be able to experience just how smooth and efficient Japan’s bullet trains are, as you speed through the countryside to the former Imperial capital, Kyoto. Use the brilliantly located Hotel Granvia as your base to visit the city’s incredible highlights. Start by clearing your head with a morning walk to the top of the Fushimi-Inari shrine for views across the region, before descending into the beautiful streets of the famous Gion district to catch a fleeting glimpse of Geisha going to a party. From here, cross the river into the avenues of Nishiki Market to see bright red octopus, plum wine and live crabs all lining the exotic stalls and settle down like a local on a nearby bar stool and wash down the fresh and tasty street food with a glass of Japanese beer. For a really spectacular evening, consider having dinner in a traditional ryokan, complete with conversation and dancing courtesy of a Geisha and her apprentice.
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2 nightsOKAYAMA

Catching the train to Sayo, you’ll then be taken to the traditional inn, Ryokan Kifu No Sato for a few nights of hot spring soaking. With a commitment to local crafts and produce, you can dine on delicious local ingredients at the restaurant and settle into the rooms, which have been furnished with pieces made by regional artists. You can experience a range of cultural activities, whether you’d like to try your hand at sushi-making, be instructed by a master in the martial art of Iaido or take a skill home with you and learn how to make beautiful flower arrangements. The surrounding area is rich with samurai history, so if you’d like to explore the traditions of the ancient swordsman, consider visiting the town of Osafune, which used to be the home of many skilful sword-smiths, and the 16th century town Mimasaka, the birthplace of the fabled samurai Miyamoto Musashi. If you’d prefer to rest after roaming Kyoto’s streets, then consider a long session in the steaming onsen before heading to the spa for an Ayurvedic massage targeted towards helping you unwind.
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2 nightsKURASHIKI

Boarding the train, you’ll head to Kurashiki, where you’ll stay in the beautiful Bikan Historical Quarter for two nights at the traditional inn, Ryokan Kurashiki. With the picturesque old town right on your doorstep, walk along the willow-lined canals and streets to come across the Archaeological Museum, which showcases prehistoric tools and ancient bronze bells, the well-preserved merchant house Ohashi and the Japan Toy Museum, which is home to a remarkable collection of toys dating back to 1603. Return to your hotel in the evenings to relax on the terrace, have a warming sake in the garden and then dive into the traditional kaiseki cuisine.
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1 nightHIROSHIMA

Emerging phoenix-like from the ashes of nuclear war, Hiroshima is today a beacon of hope and a symbol of Japan’s commitment to world peace. Boarding the Shinkansen again, you’ll travel east to the vibrant city, where you can spend your day exploring its highlights, including the Hiroshima Museum of Art and Shukkeien gardens. The Peace Memorial Park is a moving tribute to those lost in the nuclear tragedy and definitely worth a visit. Having worked up an appetite, tuck into the city’s famous dish, okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake containing an explosion of ingredients including squid, cabbage, pork, egg, noodles and many sauces. A great way to see the city, let the electric Hiroden, or streetcar, take you the few stops to your centrally located hotel, the Sheraton Hiroshima, where you’ll stay one night before heading to island of Itsukushima.
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2 nightsMIYAJIMA

For your last two nights in Japan, you’ll make the short trip to the romantic island of Miyajima (officially called Itsukushima), which is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine and its floating torii (temple gate), the classical Japanese style of its old town and the deer that roam its parks and often sleep along the walking paths. Here, you’ll stay in the stylish ryokan Kurayado Iroha, conveniently set between the UNESCO World Heritage shrine and ferry terminal. A haven for water babies, you can take in the iconic views of the sea and O-Torii Shrine Gate from either the top floor indoor or outdoor bath, or head to the Miyajima Aquarium to see the various displays of sea life, as well as explore the oyster farm exhibition.
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Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
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  • May
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  • Nov
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Best time to go

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