Circle Hokkaido & Japan Discovery

  • days: 26
  • from $13,395

Flights Included

Types of travel:

Countries Visited:

  • Japan
  • Princess Cruise

Description

Take a scenic cruise around the diverse islands of fascinating Japan, visiting cities in Hokkaido and easternmost Russia. Then explore the metropolis of Tokyo, see iconic Mt Fuji, soak up the peace and tranquility of historic Takayama and admire the culture of Kyoto.

SCENIC CRUISING

Relax on board an 8-night Princess Cruise of Northern Japan, circling the island of Hokkaido. Enjoy the beautiful forest scenery from the comfort of the ship or take one of the many shore excursions available to really admire the cities, culture and wildlife. 

METROPOLIS TO MOUNTAINS

Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. We’ll learn the age-old culinary art of making sushi, visit the famous Tsukiji Fish Market and Sumo Museum, Asakusa Kannon Temple and the shopping districts of Ginza, Shinjuku and Akihabara. Leave the city behind and travel to Hakone and Mt Fuji to experience a more traditional side of Japanese life. Here we stay in old-style ryokan accommodation, have a chance to enjoy a hot springs bath and sample a delicious Japanese dinner. We’ll tour iconic Mt Fuji and ride a sky gondola for breathtaking vistas over the volcanic Hakone Mountains.

THE HISTORY AND HEART OF JAPAN

Travel to historic Takayama and wander through heritage-listed Shirawakago. We’ll learn the traditional art of Japanese rice paper making and explore a local market. Catch the famous bullet train to moving Hiroshima. We discover Miyajima Island, the Itsukushima Torii Gate and visit the Peace Memorial and Atomic Bomb Dome. Board the bullet train to Kyoto, Japan’s cultural heart. We see the stunning Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion and the heritage-listed Kiyomizudera. We’ll get hands-on and enjoy sake tasting and fan making, and have the chance to wear a traditional Kimono! Kyoto is also the perfect base from which to venture to Nara and Mt Hiei, where we visit a traditional Buddhist sanctuary and enjoy a traditional Buddhist lunch.

URBAN OSAKA

Our adventure ends in bustling Osaka, Japan’s capital of commerce. We tour the city, visiting the Dotonbori District and the floating garden at Umeda Sky Building as well as majestic Himeji Castle, and bid farewell to Japan with a traditional-style group dinner.

Itinerary

Day 1. Depart Australia

Day 2. Arrive in Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo, Japan’s dazzling capital city. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or begin exploring. Meet your fellow travellers tonight for a group welcome drink and Japanese-style dinner. [D]

Days 3 - 11. Cruising with Princess Cruises

Today we transfer to the port of Yokohama to board the Diamond Princess for an 8-night cruise circling the top of Hokkaido. [B,D]  

Day 3. Embark Cruise: Yokohama. [B,D]
Day 4. Cruising at sea 
Day 5. Kushiro, Japan
Day 6. Cruising at sea
Day 7. Korsakov (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Russia
Day 8. Otaru, Japan
Day 9. Hakodate, Japan
Day 10. Cruising at sea
Day 11. Disembark Cruise: After breakfast, we disembark and return to Tokyo. [B]

Except for embarkation/disembarkation days, Breakfast, lunch & dinner are included daily while cruising. The cruise itinerary may change due to local conditions subject to the cruise line’s discretion.

Begin the day at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market, one of the world’s largest wholesale markets for fish, fruit and vegetables. We’ll then learn the age-old culinary art of making sushi (which we’ll get to enjoy once we’ve finished). This afternoon we’ll stroll through the shopping district of Ginza. [B,L]

Day 12. Tokyo

Today is free for you to explore at leisure. [B,D]

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Admire the city lights on a dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay in a typical Japanese-style houseboat from the Heian Era, known as a yakatabune.

Day 13. Tokyo

An exciting day exploring one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan cities. Our sightseeing includes the Edo Tokyo Museum, Asakusa Sensoji Temple and the Nakamise shopping arcade.

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Enjoy a sumo wrestling demonstration over a traditional chanko nabe (hot pot) lunch.

Early this evening we’ll experience the neon lights and hustle and bustle of the Shinjuku District. [B,L]

Day 14. Tokyo - Hakone

We begin our morning with a stroll through the beautiful Hamarikyu Garden. We’ll then travel to Lake Saiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes.

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Visit a former farming village, Iyashi no Sato Nenba, recently reconstructed as a museum after being destroyed by a typhoon in 1966.

For the next two nights we stay in an authentic ryokan guesthouse. We’ll have the chance to bathe in natural onsen (hot springs) and enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner. [B,D]

Day 15. Mt Fuji Excursion

A highlight of any trip to Japan is a visit to majestic and iconic Mt Fuji! We stop at the fifth station (weather permitting) to take in the stunning views of the surrounding area. Later we’ll ride the Komagatake Ropeway to enjoy magnificent vistas of the volcanic Hakone Mountains and Mt Fuji, as well as Sagami Bay. [B,D]

Day 16. Hakone - Takayama

We travel by rail to the historic town of Takayama and explore the narrow, traditional streets on foot. [B]

Day 17. Takayama

We wander through the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago with its famous gasshō-zukuri (‘like hands in prayer’) thatched roofs, designed to withstand the massive snowfalls of winter. This afternoon we discover the traditional art of Japanese rice paper-making. [B,L]

Day 18. Takayama - Hiroshima

Today we continue our bullet-train journey to Hiroshima, via Nagoya. [B]

Day 19. Hiroshima

This morning we cruise out to tranquil Miyajima Island and see the giant Itsukushima Torii Gate.

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: We’ll sample the art of shakushi (Miyajima rice scoop) making, dating back to the 1700s.

This afternoon we’ll visit the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome and the very moving Peace Memorial Museum. [B]

Day 20. Hiroshima - Kyoto

Travelling by bullet train, we make our way to historic Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital. Here we visit the stunning Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). The temple’s top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf and the pavilion is set amongst beautiful gardens. [B]

Day 21. Kyoto

We explore the incredible orange torii gates that make up Kyoto’s famous Fushimi Inari shrine, dedicated to the god of rice and sake in the 8th century. The magical path consists of more than 5,000 gates that wind through the hills at the base of Inari mountain. [B]

Day 22. Kyoto

Today we discover the art behind Japan’s unique crafts and culinary delights! [B]

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Enjoy a variety of local activities including sake brewing & tasting, and a chance to dress in a kimono. Then witness a traditional dance performance by Maiko (Geiko^ apprentices).
^Geiko is the term for Geisha in Kyoto

Day 23. Kyoto - Mt Hiei - Osaka

We experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony before visiting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Buddhist sanctuary of Enryaku-ji Temple. Located on the sacred mountain of Mt Hiei, it offers beautiful views over Kansai. Here we’ll enjoy a traditional Buddhist lunch. This afternoon we make our way to Osaka, stopping at the Umeda Sky Building (Floating Garden) for scenic views over the central city. [B,L]

Day 24. Osaka

This morning we visit Himeji Castle. Japan’s largest and most-visited castle, it is regarded as the finest surviving example of Japanese castle architecture. We’ll then venture into Osaka’s Dōtonbori District in the early evening to take in its famous lights. Tonight we’ll enjoy a Japanese-style group farewell dinner. [B,D]

Day 25. Depart Osaka

Today we begin our journey home. [B]

Day 26. Arrive Australia

Inclusions

Travel

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to Japan. Taxes included
  • 4 rail journeys in Japan
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour (if using group tour flights only)
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Port Taxes of $130pp (subject to change)

Accommodation & Meals

  • 8-nights on board the Princess Cruises - Diamond Princess 
  • 13 nights in good quality hotels (3 - 4 star)
  • 2 nights in a traditional Ryokan guesthouse including a typical Japanese onsen (hot springs) bath followed by a Japanese dinner party while dressed in traditional yukatas
  • 23 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 13 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

Tour Guide 

  • English-speaking locally based national guide throughout (excluding cruise)

Sightseeing

Circle the island of Hokkaido on an 8-night Princess Cruise

  • Visit Miraikan, the fascinating National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
  • Spend 8 nights on the Diamond Princess including the ports of Kushiro, Korsakov - a former Russian military post and penal colony, Otaru and Hakodate

Modern and traditional Tokyo

  • Take an early morning tour of Tsukiji Fish Market and sushi-making experience including lunch
  • Take a stroll through the famous Ginza shopping district
  • Admire the bright lights of Tokyo from a yakatabune dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay 
  • Witness a sumo demonstration and enjoy a typical sumo meal
  • City tour of Tokyo including Edo Tokyo Museum, Asakusa Kannon Temple, Nakamise shopping arcade, Sumo Museum and a stop at the Shibuya Intersection - Tokyo's busiest intersection
  • Stop at the famous Shibuya Crossing, the busiest intersection in Japan and the meeting point of 5 roads in the most populous city in the world 
  • Stroll through Hamarikyu Garden, a typical feudal lord garden from the Edo Period

Majestic mountains and historic towns

  • Visit a former farming village, reconstructed 40 years after being destroyed by a typhoon in 1966
  • Travel to Mt Fuji's fifth station (weather permitting) to take in the magnificent views of the surrounding area
  • Spend 2 nights in a traditional Ryokan
  • Enjoy a gondola ride with its amazing 360 degree view of the volcanic Hakone Mountains
  • Take in the sights of old historic Takayama on foot including the Takayama Jinya, a beautiful traditional Japanese building, and visit the morning markets
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago, famous for its old gassho-zukuri thatched roof farmhouses. Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer" as the farmhouses steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks in prayer. Enjoy a traditional Japanese fish lunch

Sobering and scenic Hiroshima

  • Visit scenic Miyajima Island, located 30 minutes from Hiroshima and classified as a sacred island, to see the Itsukushima Shinto Shrine which stands in the ocean during high tide
  • Experience the art of Shakushi (Miyajima Rice Scoop) making, dating back to the 1700s
  • Tour the Hiroshima Peace Park, built to commemorate the dropping of the atomic bomb. Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome, the city's only remaining bomb-damaged building, and the very moving Peace Memorial Museum (by audio tour)

Japan's Cultural heart

  • Tour the temples of Kyoto, Japan's former capital and very much the cultural heart of the country. Our tour includes the Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion) and Fushima Inari Shrine
  • Learn more about traditional Japanese crafts such as sake brewing and tasting, and watch a Maiko dance performance
  • Visit the Buddhist sanctuary at Mt Hiei, founded in 788 AD, one of Japan's most important cultural, religious and artistic centres. Enjoy a tea ceremony
  • Visit the Umeda Sky Building (floating garden) for a scenic view of central Osaka
  • Visit Himeji Castle, regarded as one of the finest examples of prototypical Japanese castle architecture

Please Note: On the cruise breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served in the main dining room. Princess Cruise Line does have specialty restaurants that can be enjoyed for a small surcharge. Meals are included when in port, but only available on the ship. If you decide to take a day tour or leave the ship you will need to purchase your own lunch/dinner.

Please Note: On the cruise, there is no sightseeing included as part of your Bunnik Tour. Should you like to book sightseeing (shore excursions) from the ship, this will need to be either pre-booked via the Princess Cruise Line website or on board.

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Starts Ends Save Total Cost* Status Book
01/07/18 26/07/18   $13,395 Available book now
25/08/18 19/09/18   $13,395 Available book now
23/09/18 18/10/18   $13,495 Guaranteed Departure book now
Valid From: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane & Perth
Other departure cities:
Tips: Tipping is not expected, however this is at your discretion. On board the cruise there is a tipping surcharge to pay of approximately $14pp US per day
Taxes: Total cost includes - air taxes of $215pp and port taxes of $130pp
Single supplement: From $4,575 (subject to cabin type)
  • Upgrade from an Oceanview Stateroom to a Balcony Stateroom from only $500pp (subject to availability)
  • Taxes & Fuel Costs: Total cost includes air taxes. Taxes and fuel surcharges change regularly so above levies shown as a guide only
  • T&C: All prices shown are per person based on twin share and include airfares, all taxes and tips. Prices and itineraries correct at current time but are subject to change. Please call for more details. View our full terms & conditions here.

Accommodation

Accommodation

Shinagawa Prince Hotel, Tokyo

The Shinagawa Prince Hotel is located at the southern gateway to the Tokyo metropolis with breathtaking views of the city and Tokyo Bay. Besides its convenient location, this impressive multi-functional hotel complex offers a wide array of dining and entertainment options. The hotel is home to a 10 screen multiplex theatre, a cabaret, bowling centre, indoor swimming pool, indoor tennis courts, indoor golf centre, and a great selection of restaurants!

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; safe deposit box; indoor swimming pool

Hotel Okuyumoto, Hakone

The Hotel Okuyumoto boasts a rustic open-air bath set beside a mountain stream. Surrounded by the peaceful natural scenery of Hakone, enjoy the hot springs and the beauty of Japan’s natural environment. The hotel is a 9-storey structure with mostly Japanese-style rooms and is located approximately 10 minutes from Hakone Yumoto station.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge

Hida Hotel Plaza, Takayama

Just a 5 minute walk from Takayama Station, Hida Hotel Plaza boasts a rooftop spa with mountain views, a heated swimming pool and 7 dining options including Japanese, French and Chinese cuisine. Hida Plaza’s rooms are elegantly furnished in either Western or traditional Japanese decor. The spa offers indoor and outdoor hot spring baths, massage, a hot tub and a mist sauna. The hotel is also only a 15 minute walk from the historical Old Private Houses, and a 20-minute walk from Higashiyama Temple.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; safe deposit box

Sheraton, Hiroshima

The Sheraton Hiroshima is conveniently located in the city next to JR Hiroshima Station with direct access to the bullet train and bus terminals. The property features two restaurants, a bar/lounge and a health club with spa, indoor poool and steam room.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; indoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

New Miyako Hotel, Kyoto

As the largest hotel in Kyoto with 986 rooms, the New Miyako Hotel combines comfort with functionality. Located in front of the Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Japan Railways and Kintetsu-Kyoto Station, the New Miyako Hotel is in a prime location. The hotel’s many restaurants provide various dining options including Japanese, Chinese and European buffet-style dining.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge

Sheraton Miyako Hotel Osaka

Centrally located and in close proximity to many restaurants and sightseeing attractions, the Sheraton Miyako offers 8 restaurants & lounges as well as fitness centre, indoor heated pool, massage, barber shop, florist, beauty salon, currency exchange and gift store.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; safe deposit box; indoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Accommodation listed is subject to change and the list should be used as a guide only. Every effort is made to avoid changes however if a change becomes necessary then accommodation of a similar standard will be used.

Weather

Weather

Tokyo

Most popular times to travel to Japan are spring (March - May) and autumn (September - November). The months of March and April are particularly pleasant as these are the cherry blossom months.

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Kyoto

Kyoto is located in the central part of the island of Honshu and enjoys a humid sub-tropical climate that features two major seasons a hot summer and a cold winter. Kyoto’s summer is May-September and has an average of 28.

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Currency

Currency

Japan, Yen

The official currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY; symbol ¥)

  • 1 Japanese Yen = 100 sen
  • Notes are in denominations of ¥10,000, 5000, 2000 and 1000
  • Coins are in denominations of ¥500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1

Levels of Fitness

Levels of Fitness

Levels-of-Fitness-sml

To get the most from your Bunnik tour you will need a good level of fitness and mobility and an open mind. Many of the best sights can only be accessed on foot. You should be able to walk at least 3.5km or for 2-3 hours with no walking aids on uneven ground, climb several flights of stairs and be prepared to board small boats.

You should also be able to carry your own bags - porterage is not included in our tipping costs and extra services may not always be available.

Passengers who are 70 and over will be required to obtain a doctor’s clearance before travelling. 

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Special Experiences!

  • Admire the city lights on a dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay in a typical Japanese-style houseboat from the Heian Era, known as a yakatabune.
  • Enjoy a sumo wrestling demonstration over a traditional chanko nabe (hot pot) lunch.
  • Visit a former farming village, Iyashi no Sato Nenba, recently reconstructed as a museum after being destroyed by a typhoon in 1966.
  • Try the art of shakushi (Miyajima rice scoop) making, dating back to the 1700s.
  • Enjoy a variety of local activities including sake brewing & tasting, and a chance to dress in a kimono. Then witness a traditional dance performance by Maiko

Trip Info

Group Size

Min: 9 | Max: 20

Transportation

Gondola, local trains, bullet trains, coach & cruise ship

Tips

Tipping is not expected, however this is at your discretion. On board the cruise there is a tipping surcharge to pay of approximately $14pp US per day

Tour Highlights

• 8-night cruise circling the island of Hokkaido • Discover Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market as it comes alive with the morning’s catch • Stop at Mt Fuji’s 5th station (weather permitting) to take in the spectacular views • Explore World Heritagelisted Shirakawago, a gasshō-house farming community • Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum • Visit Himeji, Japan’s largest castle

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