Circle Hokkaido & Japan Discovery

  • days: 26
  • from $14,195

Flights Included

Types of travel:

Countries Visited:

  • Japan
  • Princess Cruise

Description

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Destinations visited icon

2 countries

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7 UNESCO World 
Heritage-listed sites

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8-night Diamond Princess Cruise

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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

Fly to Japan and 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 district of Ginza. 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 the gondola for breathtaking vistas over the volcanic Hakone Mountains.

THE HISTORY AND HEART OF JAPAN

Travel to historic Takayama and wander through heritage-listed Shirakawago. 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. We’ll get hands-on, enjoy sake tasting and have the chance to wear a traditional Kimono! 

URBAN OSAKA

Our adventure ends in bustling Osaka, Japan’s capital of commerce. We tour the city, visiting the beautiful Himeji Castle and the gloating garden at Umeda Sky Building, 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 the outer section of 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]

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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.

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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.

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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

This morning we'll cross Lake Ashi for great views of majestic and iconic Mt Fuji - a highlight of any trip to Japan! Later we'll ride the Hakone Ropeway to enjoy magnificent vistas of the volcanic Hakone Mountains and Mt Fuji. [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.

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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]

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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

 

Walking Man

Level of fitness: This tour features 2+ hours of walking, often across uneven ground and in areas of high altitude or heat and humidity on 1 or more days.

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)
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Port Taxes of $145pp (subject to change)
  • Tipping is not part of the Japanese culture, so tips are not expected

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 while dressed in traditional yukatas
  • 23 breakfasts, 11 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

  • Spend 8 nights on the Diamond Princess stopping at ports such as Kushiro; Korsakov, a former Russian military post and penal colony; Otaru and Hakodate.

Modern and traditional Tokyo

  • Take an early morning tour of the famous Tsukji Fish Market and enjoy a 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 Asakusa Kannon Temple, Nakamise shopping arcade 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 and enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Ashi.
  • 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.
  • Enjoy a Buddhist lunch at Shigetsu (Tenryuiji Temple).
  • Stroll through the Bamboo forest and see the Togetsukyo Bridge.
  • 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
30/08/19 24/09/19   $14,195 Guaranteed Departure book now
Valid From: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane & Perth
Other departure cities: Please contact our office for applicable pricing
Tips: Tipping is not part of the Japanese culture, so tips are not expected. On board the cruise there is a tipping surcharge to pay of approximately $14pp US per day
Taxes: Total cost includes - air taxes, $230pp and port taxes from $145pp
Single supplement: from $4,575
  • Upgrade from an Oceanview Stateroom to a Balcony Stateroom from only $600pp (subject to availability)
  • Day/Date Variations: Due to airline flight schedules day of arrival and day of departure may vary depending on your city of departure
  • 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 and all taxes and tips (if applicable). Prices and itineraries correct at current time but are subject to change. Please call for more details. View our full terms & conditions here.

Fitness to Travel

Let's Talk Fitness

Levels-of-Fitness-sml

At Bunnik Tours we don’t put specific age limits on our tours, but we also recognise some travellers may find our itineraries challenging.
We have a duty of care to all tour participants and the tour guides, so we do impose a firm policy on the level of fitness required by all our clients to attempt to ensure your safety and the safety of other travellers on our tours.
At Bunnik Tours our goal is for all our travellers to enjoy their tour, not struggle through it! Which is why we want to work with you to ensure you are on the best possible trip for your fitness level. We do reserve the right to refuse bookings if we feel that the requirements of the tour are too demanding.
Bunnik Tours are for independently minded travellers with good levels of mobility.

Our tours include:
1. Generous amounts of free time
2. Lots of walking
3. Local and authentic experiences including various modes of transport and accommodation

In some regions travellers can also expect:
1. Long days of travelling, at times on dirt and gravel roads in Africa
2. Extended periods at high altitude (3,000-4,000 metres) in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia
3. Extended periods of walking/hiking through humid forest areas in Rwanda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica
4. Limited medical facilities in remote areas

Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces
2. Walk up multiple flights of stairs and short, steep hills
3. Stand for 20 minutes without needing to sit down, often in hot/humid climates
4. Carry their own luggage
5. Get on and off various modes of transport without assistance, including small boats

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

MS Diamond Princess - Princess Cruises

As one of only two Princess Cruises cruise ships built in Japan, it’s not surprising this exotic gem can often be found sailing to the most intriguing vacation destinations abroad. Great-tasting cuisine can be found throughout the cruise ship, including at our popular Italian restaurant, Sabatini’s®, where freshly prepared pasta creations reign supreme. In the elegant dining rooms, you’ll find sommeliers to help you enhance your meal with paired wines. Poolside, hand-tossed pizza is always served to you just out of the oven. And, as an added bonus, both Movies Under the Stars® and The Sanctuary®, a tranquil haven exclusively for adults, have recently been added to Diamond Princess!

Princess Cruises: Cruise Ships | Cabin-types | On-board services

Yumoto Onsen Tenseien, Hakone

Located in the heart of Hakone, this traditional ryokan property is just steps from Tamadare Falls and Gyokuren Shrine. The Shogenji Temple and Key Hiraga Museum are also nearby. Relax and enjoy the property's natural onsen (hot spring) and spa facilities.

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

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

Summer: June to August

Autumn: September to November

Winter: December to February

Spring: March to May

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Kyoto

Summer: June to August

Autumn: September to November

Winter: December to February

Spring: March to May

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Currency

Currency

Japanese Yen

The official currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY; ¥).

  • 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

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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 part of the Japanese culture, so tips are not expected. 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 • Enjoy a cruise on Lake Ashi • Explore World Heritage-listed Shirakawago, a gasshō-house farming community • Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum • Visit Himeji, Japan’s largest castle

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