12 days
Asia & The Orient
Level 3 - Moderate

Escorted Seniors Small Group cultural Tour of Japan

This Escorted Seniors Small Group cultural Tour of Japan explores the small but relevant glimmering jewel of Japan. A nation of over 6,800 islands located approximately 8,000 kilometres north of Australia. This Escorted Seniors Small Group cultural Tour of Japan with a collection of English speaking professional guides offers an introduction to the mystic and time-honoured culture of the nation. You learn about the ancient Japanese religions of Buddhism and Shintoism.  Including visits to world renowned temples and shrines steeped in legend. A variety of significant locations, including UNESCO World Heritage sites, have been chosen for this small group tour of Japan.  Consequently, each location you visit on this package holiday is filled with clues to understand the essence of Japan.  

The Tour


Our educational tour begins in Kyoto. Here, we learn about Japanese culture and religion by visiting several prominent temples and shrines. While in Kyoto you also enjoy a walking tour of the city. You view  its architecture and in addition learn about the  aristocratic heritage of the city. You also explore the traditional alleyways also  viewing the many poetic scenes on offer. And, if time allows, we will have the opportunity to experience Japanese culture hands-on through a tea ceremony and learning about the tradition of the Kimono. The ancient city of Kyoto was the home of the Emperor for 11 centuries over 1,200 years ago. Numerous temples and shrines of poignant historical beauty in Kyoto display Japan's refined architecture. Kyoto's legacy of aristocratic art and culture makes it unique among cities of Japan. Kyoto is considered most of all the  "heartland" for many Japanese people. Kyoto for many on this tour consequently consider their encounter with this city as being  the essence of traditional Japan.


After spending four days exploring Kyoto, we head west  by train to Hiroshima.  A highlight of the 3 day  stay in Hiroshima is the visit to the sacred island of Miyajima. This island especially relevant to the Japanese with its floating "Tori gate".  This sacred island is  a  major shrine for the Japanese.


Your next destination is  the important coastal city of Matsue.   Matsue is the capital city of Shimane Prefecture, in Southwest Japan. Known as the “City of Water”, Matsue stands by the Sea of Japan where Lake Shinji and Nakaumi meet, in the middle of Shimane Peninsula. Matsue is a  castle town crossed with many canals and has one of the twelve remaining original castles in Japan. This town is a former feudal stronghold, the buildings and layout of the town consequently reflects its history. Whilst in Matuse you also visit the Adachi art museum and gardens. This visit is especially relevant in gaining an understanding of the art of Japan. This museum is a place that  is a lesson in the art of Japan. It is about beauty. For the creator businessman, Adachi Zenko, it was finding and appreciating beauty through art. For Adachi this was seen  in the zen of the garden or the painted world of the Japanese artist.


After Matsue  you take a short flight to Haneda and travel onto the mountain resort of Hakone. Finally you are close to the iconic Mt Fuji. With the tour you spend the day in the Hakone national park. Towards the end of the day  you have the opportunity to enjoy a  traditional spa package in the hot springs.  Now this small group tour of Japan heads to Tokyo for 3 days.


For this Escorted Seniors Small Group cultural Tour of Japan Odyssey has arranged a full day of sightseeing followed by 2 days at your leisure exploring the city of Tokyo. The metro is accomodating to people of all ages, signs are in english and Japanese. It is a efficient way of  exploring this city. The diversity of places to visit  and experience readily fill the last two days of the program. Your tour leader and local guides will assist you if needed with planning these last two days.   The tour concludes with a farewell dinner. Other highlights include riding the “Shinkansen” (Bullet Train), the world’s first high speed train, and discovering the many icons of Kyoto, including the Golden Pavilion and the efficient-Jingu Shrine. In Hiroshima, we enjoy a walking tour of the city, and see the moving monuments of the Peace Memorial Park. (This tour was previously known as "Japan Odyssey.") For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.Tour Notes
  • Itineraries may change if flight schedules, site availability, and other inclusions have to be amended prior to departure.
  • Group size limited to 18.
  • Day 7 - luggage is transported to Tokyo hotel, you will need an overnight bag for the 2 nights spent in Matsue and Hakone

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Ride the "Shinkansen" (Bullet Train), the world’s first high speed train.
Discover the icons of Kyoto including the Golden Pavilion and the Heian-Jingu Shrine.
Tour Hiroshima and the monuments of the Peace Memorial Park.
A trip to Nara, where we will see the deer of Nara park, the Todaiji Temple, and Kasuga Taishi Shrine
A tour of Tokyo, which includes visits to the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower

Overview: The first day of our tour will begin in Kyoto with a welcome dinner. For those flying into Osaka, we recommend a coach transfer from Osaka to Kyoto. Odyssey welcomes the opportunity to provide recommendations for transfer arrangements to Kyoto upon request. The ancient city of Kyoto was the home of the Emperor for 11 centuries over 1,200 years ago. Numerous temples and shrines of poignant historical beauty in Kyoto display the refined architecture of Japan. Kyoto's legacy of aristocratic art and culture makes Kyoto unique among other cities of Japan. A "heartland" for many Japanese people, Kyoto is a place to encounter the finest essence of traditional Japan. On our second day in Japan, we will enjoy a sightseeing tour by private car. This includes visits to some beautiful traditional temples, among them the Ryoanji temple, home of a picturesque and famous rock garden, and Kinkakuji Temple, the top two floors of which are covered in gold leaf. Day three includes a sightseeing tour of Nara, where we will visit the stunning Todaiji Temple and the beautiful Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Along with these exquisite buildings, we will spend some time at Nara park, a favourite spot in the prefecture that is populated by hundreds of free-roaming deer. If time allows, while in Kyoto, the group will have the opportunity to participate in an authentic tea ceremony.

Accommodation: 3 nights at New Miyako Hotel or similar

Overview: On the fourth day, after breakfast in Kyoto, we catch a Nozomi train to Hiroshima. During our stay in Hiroshima, the group will visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome), which memorializes the devastation and lives lost in the atomic attack the city suffered in World War II. Peace Memorial Park, which is laid out near the hypocenter of the attack, is dedicated to peace. We will learn about Hiroshima's recovery and growth to become a city with a population of 1.2 million citizens. We will travel by local train and ferry to visit the sacred island of Miyajima, where roaming deer will welcome us. Miyajima, which means "Shrine Island," has been worshiped since ancient times. The main entrance to the floating shrine building takes the form of a huge "Torii" gate floating on the sea. This forested island is well-known to the Japanese as one of the Scenic Trio of Japan. Our visit to Hiroshima also includes a guided sightseeing tour, by private car, that takes us to Shukkei-en Garden (a garden which has been cultivated to replicate grand scenery in miniature) and the magnificent Hiroshima Castle.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Hiroshima Oriental Hotel or similar

Overview: On the seventh day we travel from Hiroshima to Matsue. Matsue, which prospered under the feudal lords in the Edo period (1603-1868), is spotted with traditional Samurai houses. Matsue Castle sits like a tower in the center of a network of waterways including the lake. During the afternoon, we will experience the beautifully landscaped garden and carefully curated art collection at the Adachi Museum. We will also visit nearby Izumo, a town steeped in legend and myth about the founding of Japan. We will learn about the ancient Izumo Taisha shrine, which enshrines the Kami, the deity of Izumo. Note: Our luggage will be transported directly to our Tokyo hotel, please arrange for an overnight bag to cater for our 2 nights (Matsue and Hakone) before we arrive in Tokyo.

Accommodation: 1 night at Matsue Excel Hotel Tokyu or similar

Overview: We fly from Izumo Airport to Haneda, and from there we will take a transfer to the foot of Mt Fuji. From Mt Fuji, we will get the opportunity to see the hot springs of Owakudani, the "valley of great boiling." Hakone is a mountainous resort within the Fuji volcanic chain, and was designated as a National Park in 1938. Soaking in hot springs is a well-loved activity in Japan, and visitors can experience the hot springs in Hakone while enjoying the view of Mt. Fuji, which is considered to be the most beautiful and sacred mountain in Japan. From the hot springs, we will also enjoy the view of Lake Ashi, which is a typical caldera lake formed between the outer crater ridge and inner volcanoes. We will return to the our hotel in Hakone to enjoy dinner.

Accommodation: 1 night at Yumoto Fujiya Hotel or similar

Overview: On the ninth day, we travel to Tokyo to for a full sightseeing day. The capital of Tokyo is the centre of population, politics, finance, and culture in Japan. Approximately 12 million people reside within Tokyo, and almost one-fourth of Japan's total population lives within commuting distance of the city. Historically, Tokyo was the centre of the feudal government of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Popular Japanese traditions such as Kabuki, Sumo wrestling, and Ukiyoe woodblock prints became popular and flourished in ancient Tokyo. On a guided tour of  Tokyo, we will see the iconic Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace, the Emperor's residence, as well as having the opportunity to visit the buzzing Nakamise shopping street. You will have days 10 and 11 of the tour to explore Tokyo at your leisure and with your Odyssey leader who will show you some of the sights of this amazing city. On the final evening, the group will enjoy a farewell dinner.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Hotel Unizo Tokyo or similar

Overview: Our tour will end in Tokyo after breakfast.

What's included in our Tour
  • 1 internal flight and taxes.
  • Transport, lectures, and field trips as indicated.
  • Shinkansen (Bullet Train) from Kyoto to Okayama, Okayama to Hiroshima.
  • Daily Japanese and/or Western buffet style breakfasts.
  • Three dinners.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Touring by comfortable and modern coach (short distance transfers may include taxi).
  • 10 nights of accommodation.
  • Gratuities and service charges.
  • Detailed preparatory material.
  • Services of a tour leader and translator/guide.
What's not included in our Tour
  • Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry.
  • Optional activities that are suggested during free time, such as Kabuki theatre.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • International airfares and taxes.
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