Tours of Japan Visiting Japan, a land of dazzling contradictions, is an unforgettable experience. High-tech cities harbour relics of a fascinating past. Futuristic fashion and gadgets share the streets with evidence of deeply held traditions.…
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Small group tours Japan for seniors
At once hyper-modern and deeply traditional, Japan is a nation where the past history such as the edo period, shoguns, the last samurai and future are reconciled though anime and astro boy . This collection of Japan tours small group sized enables you to discover the country and Japanese culture. From ancient temples to the tea ceremony these Japan small group tours from Australia to Japan seek to take you off the beaten track to discover the country and the cultural experience that define it. The scenery from Tokyo to Mt Fuji and beyond is beautiful, this is a country that provide a fascinating experience on any small group tours Japan. Odyssey’s small group tours Japan are typically a great way to explore and learn about this country either by coach or on a walking tour. Travelers immerse themselves in the cherry blossom season, explore ancient temples a traditional inn or shrine as they explore with a tour guide all including UNESCO World heritage sites that are part of this Japan tour package with a tour leader .
The Meiji shrine in Tokyo is as popular as a visit to Miyajima – a small island in Hiroshima with beautiful scenery and a floating torii gate – on a group tour travel experience part of Odyssey Traveller’s collection of Japan small group tours from Australia or Japan .
During this program we encounter history from ancient periods; religions such as Buddhism and Shintoism; the philosophy of the people through visits to world renowned temples and shrines; and old towns full of ancient legends. Together we will share some traditions which the Japanese have inherited. A variety of sites including UNESCO World Heritage sites, has been chosen for this tour, all filled with clues to understand the essence of Japan.
This small group tour organised by Odyssey Traveller, Contemporary Japan, will take you through modern life in this East Asian jewel. This contemporary tour is an expedition through Japan’s major urban areas, beginning and ending in Japan’s tantalising capital, Tokyo. For the first 12 days we get our fill of Tokyo fashion, technology, culture, and sights.
Japan might have brought us anime, karaoke, and countless gadgets, but this is also a country where people;.
- practice the art of the ancient tea ceremony ,
- forest bathing
- onsen (bath) rituals,
- and visit Shinto shrines on a daily basis.
Tokyo, with its futuristic soaring skyscrapers, cutting-edge fashion in the Ginza district, and famously efficient public transport, embodies modern Japan , but Japan ‘s other cities – historic Kyoto with the UNESCO World heritage Kiyomizu temple to visit, or down-to-earth Osaka , and resilient Hiroshima – provide a different pace to stroll around. Wherever you wander during your trips to Japan , its certain that you’ll be well-fed. Ranging from delicate sushi and sashimi to hearty ramen, the diversity of Japan ‘s food culture is unparalleled. Inquire with us for Japan tours small group sized for mature aged and senior world travellers.
Japan's cultural contribution to the world is not to be underestimated. On a Small group Japan tour for mature and senior travellers for couples and singles you learn and explore much about the history, the last samurai, and the Shogun as well as about Astro boy! Enjoy exploring Tokyo in cherry blossom season, or Kyoto and Hiroshima, plus so much more to see and experience on a small group tour of upto 12 people.
Japanese hanami: celebrating the cherry blossom The cherry blossoms of Japan are known to admirers the world over. But their brief, beautiful season is not just a draw for international travellers. Japanese people celebrate this…
Saigo Takomori, story, the last Samurai is part of the history discovered on a small group package tour to Japan for mature and senior travellers. For couples and singles a study in Japanese culture, from Shoguns to Cherry blossom to the antics of Astro boy or the tea ceremony.
The Shoguns of Japan: An Introduction to Six Centuries of Japanese Cultural Evolution From 1192 to 1867, Japan was ruled by military dictators called the shogun. The civil government continued under the imperial court in Kyoto,…
Article for mature and senior travellers seeking to Join a small group package tour of Japan with an interest in the history and culture of these islands. From tea ceremony to understanding Hanami, the cherry blossom or walking Japan's coast. These small group tours are for couples and single travellers.
For the active mature and senior traveller be they a couple or solo traveller this article outlines preparation for walking tours even for the over 80's. It may on the Wainwright, the lake district or a pilgrims walk across Europe or St James Way, the Camino. This artices give advice on getting fit, shoes and socks including for particular advice for women on this topic.
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in the tour itinerary for a Japan tour package . Japan has a centralised and impressively extensive rail network including the Shinkansen bullet train which links towns to the major cities as well as an impressive efficient metro system in the major the larger cities. Some of Odyssey’s Japan tours do use the bullet train to travel between cities particularly when heading to Southern Japan or to the key cities.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses.
An Odyssey escorted tour will have a tour director (tour guide) and accomplished local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience. Your Japan tour is no different, with a tour director supported by local guides who are Japan specialists to ensure your guided tour runs smoothly providing the perfect Japan vacation, during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, environment & weather
Japan is a long, narrow chain of islands stretching approximately 3,600 kilometres north to south. It is comprised of four major islands – Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu – and over 6,800 adjacent smaller islands. The total land area is 377,907 square kilometres, which is slightly more than that of Germany. Japan’s terrain is mountainous and evocative. Volcanoes are abundant. Mount Fuji is the country’s highest peak at 3,776 metres. It is categorised as an active volcano although it has not shown activity for the last three centuries. Forests claim 66.4% of the land in Japan with farmland accounting for just 13%. Administratively, the country is divided into 47 prefectures.
From north to south, the climate ranges from cool temperate to sub-tropical. The general climate is temperate, with four well-defined seasons and a rainy period before summer. Rainfall is frequent ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 millimetres annually. So, it’s wise to prepare for wet weather if you are travelling to Japan.
World heritage sites
Japan boasts 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can view the official list of the sites here.
It is well worth visiting every site, if your itinerary permits. But here ‘s a few highlights from the bunch:
- The UNESCO world heritage site of the 7th and 8th entury Buddhist monuments in the Horyu-ji Area
- The sacred island of Okinoshima is a UNESCO World heritage site , with exquisite votive objects providing evidence of rituals performed from the 4th to 9th centuries
- The unusual temperate rainforest of Yakushima, which abounds in epiphytes and geophytes, Japanese cedar, and a primeval forest of trees called ‘Yakusugi’, aged over 1000 years is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Festivals & events
Japan’s calendar is rich in festivals and events (matsuri) that celebrate religious, cultural and natural phenomena. A few highlights include:
Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, or Snow Festival, is a week long showcase of incredible snow sculptures and ice carvings, accompanied by shows and concerts. Chichibu Yomatsuri, or Night Festival, honours the Chichibu shrine with floats decorated by colouful lamps, some of which stage plays and performances. A fireworks display concludes the festival, and the floats are all lined up at the City Hall. An especially quirky event is Saidaji Eyou Matsuri in Okayama, in which 10,000 men don traditional loincloths, bathe in cold water, then battle to catch a pair of sacred sticks that are hurtled from the top of a temple. The man who manages to catch them will enjoy a year of good luck and happiness. Of course, the most famous of Japan‘s events might be the arrival of the cherry blossom season or sakura, which is celebrated with the practice of hanami or flower viewing, often with a picnic beneath the trees covered in cherry blossom for a few weeks of the year. Historically, it was believed the trees harboured spirits; now the short-lived cherry blossom are said to symbolise the fleetingness of life.
- The Tale of Genji by Murusaki Shikibu
- Lost Japan by Alex Kerr
- An Introduction to Japanese Society by Yoshio Sugimoto
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Eating & drinking
Japanese cuisine is a major drawcard for travellers, who soon learn the significance of food for locals as part of japaneseculture. Traditional cuisine is based around rice and miso, with plenty of fish and vegetable side dishes, including pickles and sashimi.Odyssey’s small group tours are not a food tour, however your tour guide will be able to guide away from some of the more colourful dishes of Japanese cuisine. But what some people don’t realise is that Japan‘s food is richy varied by region and season.
On a escorted tour, your tour director will be able to assit you in understanding and appreciating Japanese cuisine beyond the traditional tea ceremony, enriching your experience on your Japan trip. And that food is one of the primary motivators for domestic travel by Japanese people. Okonomiyaki is arguably Japan‘s widest known regional dish. This savoury, cabbage-rich pancake is found in Hiroshima and Osaka. Fish is a major component in the Japanese diet, but in Kobe, for example, the locally produced beef is prized. Kobe is also a major destination for those with a sweet tooth. But Japanese cuisine is not only about the food, it is about the experiences that accompany it.
Dining out is common, with a variety of styles including kaiten-zushi (sushi train), teppanyaki (iron griddled-food), and restaurants that specialise in skewers, ramen, tempura, sukiyaki and more. Restaurants in Japan are generally friendly, tasty and good value, and mostly very clean.
Health & safety
While Japan is one of the world’s safest countries, it’s important to stay alert to anything unusual. Also, you will often see signs warning of pickpockets in areas popular with tourists, so keep a close eye on your belongings at all times.
There is currently a warning not to travel near the site of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, due to radiation.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Japan accepts plugs of types A and B, and electricity runs at 100V/50-60Hz.
Japan has a single time zone, called Japan Standard Time (JMT), which is UTC/GMT+9 hours. The nation does not observe Daylight Savings Time.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in Japan in general, while it is important to show respect to your servers, tipping is not expected.
Internet is easily accessible, and most hotels and many cafes will be able to offer it.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Japan. Many providers will offer a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Articles about Japan published by Odyssey Traveller.
- A History of Japan
- A history of Tokyo
- Shoguns of Japan
- Around the world in six coffees
- Forest bathing in Japan
- Celebrating the Cherry Blossom; Hanami
- Travel tips for travellers to Japan
- Ten of the best books on Japan.
You can see and read all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior traveller.
External articles to assist you on your visit to Japan.
Responsible travel tips for Japan
- On any Japan trip, please learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- The overall Japanese culture is typically law abiding and honest people. Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of yen in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.