Japan – A Land of Discovery

A-train - © Dan May
Shinkansen at Tokyo Central station
Mount Fuji - © shutterstock
Mount Fuji, Honshu
Golden Temple Kyoto - © Bob Cable
SL Hitoyoshi Steam Train - © Bob Cable
SL Hitoyoshi Steam Train - © Gordon Bannister
Kumamoto Castle
Two N700A Shinkansen Trains - © Alex Morley
Tokyo Tower, Tokyo
Toyohashi Tram - © Dan May

Holiday Highlights

  • 14-Day First Class Japan Pass for flexible unlimited travel
  • Sightseeing in Kyoto, Matsuyama, Beppu, Kumamoto, Nagasaki and Fukuoka
  • Maglev Exhibition Centre
  • Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji and To-ji Pagoda – both UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Kyoto Railway Museum
  • Journey on JR Kyushu’s A-Train
  • Option to opt out of organised sightseeing and explore independently with rail pass when possible
  • 18 days from £5,887pp
Tailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Tuesday 14 September to Friday 1 October 2021

This exciting tour takes in three of Japan's main islands whilst combining trams and trains with spectacular sightseeing, including a visit to the Kyoto Railway Museum.


Day 1 – London to Tokyo

Flight from London to Tokyo.

Day 2 – Arrive Tokyo

Morning arrival in Japan where we take the train into the city and transfer to our hotel in the west part of Tokyo. The afternoon is free to familiarise yourself with this busy metropolis or relax after the flight. We stay in the capital for 3 nights.

Day 3 – Hakone Tozan Railway

Today we take the Odakyu Electric Railway ‘Romance Car’ to the Hakone area to take a trip on the Hakone Tozan Railway, Japan's oldest mountain railway, as well riding the area’s cable car and funicular.

Day 4 – Maglev Exhibition Centre

We visit the Yamanashi Maglev Exhibition Centre to see the Chuo Linear Shinkansen train, the fastest train in the world! Return to Tokyo for an evening welcome party with local train enthusiasts.

Day 5 – To Toyohashi

By ‘Hikari’ bullet train to the riverside town of Toyohashi for an overnight stay and the chance to travel on its tram system. Alternatively you may wish to take a short train ride to the nearby renowned Toyokawa Inari, a major temple often considered a shrine.

Day 6 – To Kyoto

Continue to Kyoto by ‘Hikari’ bullet train for a 2-night stay in the former capital of Japan. There will be time in the afternoon and evening to see Kyoto’s cultural landmarks including the stunning Kinkaku-ji (Golden Temple) and To-ji Pagoda, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Day 7 – Kyoto Railway Museum

A visit to the Kyoto Railway Museum which incorporates the Umekoji Roundhouse and is the largest railway museum in Japan, followed by free time to see more of the city.

Day 8 – Matsuyama

Morning departure for Matsuyama in Shikoku. First by ‘Hikari’ bullet train to Okayama and, after lunch here, we continue by ‘Shiokaze’ limited express to Matsuyama for a 2-night stay.

Day 9 – Matsuyama Sightseeing

Time for the cultural sights of Matsuyama, including its castle which sits on a 132m hilltop in the centre of the city. Ride the local tram services operated by the Iyo Railway, where most cars date back to the 1950's and 1960's, or take a ride on the Botchan Train, diesel-powered replicas of the original Iyotetsu steam locomotives.

Day 10 – Ferry to Kyushu

After a leisurely morning we transfer to the port of Yawatehama where we board the ferry to the south western island of Kyushu, arriving at Beppu, a hot springs centre, for an overnight stay.

Day 11 – To Kumamoto

We have a morning sightseeing visit to the spectacular 'jigoku' (hells) hot springs before an afternoon departure by limited express service for the three hour journey from Beppu to Kumamoto, where we have a 3-night stay.

Day 12 – Kumamoto Sightseeing

Morning visit to Kumamoto's cultural sites including Kumamoto's castle, considered one of the three most important in Japan, and the attractive garden at Suizenji. Travelling between these will provide an opportunity to ride the city's trams. The tram system in Kumamoto has been in operation since 1924 and is one of the oldest, continuously running networks in Japan. In the afternoon, we will head south to travel on the Hisatsu Orange Railway with its sea views and then back to Kumamoto by shinkansen.

Day 13 – The A-Train

We travel by one of JR Kyushu special trains, the ‘A-Train’ to the coast at Misumi. Time there, including for a light lunch, before returning to Kumamoto. Time to travel on the local Kumamoto Electric Railway in the afternoon.

Day 14 – To Nagasaki

We have a morning departure for Nagasaki by Kyushu Shinkansen and ‘Kamome’ limited express trains for an overnight stay. Time in the afternoon to see the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.

Day 15 – Historic Nagasaki

Nagasaki is an attractive city with a long history and we experience more of it today by using trams to visit locations connected with its early international connections, Glover Garden and the recreated Dejima trading area. Finally, a mid-afternoon departure for Fukuoka, our final stop for 3-nights.

Day 16 – Fukuoka

Fukuoka is labelled as the 'Gateway to Asia' due to its proximity to the Asian mainland. We have time to travel on the privately owned Nishitetsu line to see Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine and to experience Fukuoka’s culinary variety, popular with tourists from other Asian countries. We will also visit the attractive Ohori Park.

Day 17 – Trip to Sasebo

A day’s round trip by JR and Matsuura Railway to the coastal city of Sasebo. Alternatively you may wish to enjoy leisure time in Fukuoka before your journey home tomorrow.

Day 18 – Flight to UK

Flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo, connecting with flight to the UK. Arrive London same day.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, Tokyo

Hotel Associa Toyohashi, Toyohashi

Hotel Vischio Kyoto, Kyoto

Hotel MyStays Matsuyama, Matsuyama

Beppu Kamenoi Hotel, Beppu

New Hotel Kumamoto, Kumamoto

JR Kyushu Hotel Nagasaki, Nagasaki

JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Hakata Chuo, Fukuoka

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airlines
  • 14-day first class Japan Rail Pass
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Welcome dinner
  • All rail journeys as stated
  • All excursions and admission charges as listed
  • All transfers as stated
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local guide in Japan

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £5,887
Single room supplement: £255
Deposit for this holiday: £200

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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