Ancient & Modern Japan Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Japan
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
AOP
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

16 Days Flight Inclusive
14 Days Land only
16 Min age

Trip Overview

Ancient wooden temples, raked-pebble Zen gardens and chanting Buddhist monks juxtapose with space-age towers, neon and bullet trains; Japan’s fascinating blend of old and new is legendary. As we explore the southern and western stretches of Honshu, Japan's largest island, we discover the country's unique culture amongst the serene shrines and gardens of Nara and Kyoto and the rarely visited mountainous heartland of castles and spas. Our last stop is the vast and futuristic capital city of Tokyo: sprawling, inimitably busy, welcoming and extraordinary.

At a Glance

  • 10 nights hotels and 3 nights ryokans (traditional Japanese guesthouses) 
  • 14 days land only / 16 days flight inclusive
  • Sightseeing on foot and 2 short daywalks 
  • Group normally 4 to 18, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • Travel by train, bus, metro, ferry and private minibus
  • Special cherry blossom and autumn colours departures

Trip Highlights

  • Spot mysterious geishas in Kyoto's Gion district
  • Experience cherry blossom season or beautiful autumn colours
  • Watch the famous snow monkeys bathing in hot springs
  • Take the incredible high speed 'bullet train'
  • Explore temples in Kyoto and discover futuristic Tokyo

Is This Trip for You?

This is very much a cultural trip which attempts to encompass the varying aspects of Japan, from the serenity and history of Kyoto to the extraordinary and modern Tokyo. You will walk mostly in cities and towns and although not strenuous, the amount of walking each day can be considerable and fast-paced (good comfortable walking shoes are recommended). A lot of temples and shrines will be visited during the trip, most of which are built on hillsides. This will mean ascending and descending lots of steps. All transport will be by public transport and mainly trains which are extremely efficient, and therefore it is essential that all group members are punctual to ensure we do not miss any of the scheduled services. Some of the distances covered are long but trains are very comfortable making the journey pleasant. As Japanese trains usually have little room for storing bags, we will be carrying only our daypack/overnight bag for the two nights in Takayama and one night in Yudanaka. One piece of baggage per person, will be transferred by courier service from Kyoto to Matsumoto and then on to Tokyo.

Group

We use a mixture of local and International leaders who are all experienced in leading International groups and have an in-depth knowledge of the country.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
5
Max group size:
18

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Kyoto
End City:
Tokyo

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Kyoto.

    The trip starts in Kyoto, an atmospheric city set amidst beautiful hills. 

  • Day 2

    Morning visit to Ninjo castle and Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillon); afternoon guided walk through beautiful shrines and temples.

    With over 2000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a treasure house of Japan's cultural heritage and remains undoubtedly one of the most fascinating cities in Asia. Unlike many other Japanese towns it escaped the ravages of both the Second World War and modern urban development thereby keeping intact much of the spirit and architecture of traditional Japan. Today we have an introductory tour of the city, starting with a visit to the impressive Nijo castle, built in 1603 as a residence for the Tokugawa shoguns, and the famous Golden Temple of Kinkakuji, built in 1397 as a summer villa for the shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga and immortalised in Mishima Yukio's novel, 'The Golden Pavilion'. At lunch we will head back to central Kyoto for a stroll at the famous Nishiki Market, known 'Kyoto's Kitchen', which specializes in all things food related and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. Those who wish may opt to take a leisurely lunch at one of the local restaurants in the area or rest at the hotel. Later in the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to visit the stunning Kiyomiduzera temple and walk to historic Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district. Packed with bars, restaurants and traditional teahouses, Gion is at its most atmospheric in the early evening, when the lanterns are lit and apprentice geisha will flit about the back streets on their way to their appointments.

  • Day 3

    Day trip to Nara, ancient capital of Japan. Visit impressive UNESCO temples including Toda-ji, housing the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha.

    Today we make a day trip to Japan's ancient capital, Nara (approx. 1hr each way). With eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it's second only to Kyoto as a repository of Japan's cultural legacy. Our walking tour includes a visit to the most iconic temples and shrines, including Todaiji Great Buddha temple. Built in 752 by the Emperor Shomu this enormous 15 meters tall bronze Buddha is housed in what is reputed to be the largest wooden building in the world. We also spend time in the Nara Koen park, famous for its large numbers of overfed and slightly unruly deer, and visit the attractive Kasuga Shinto shrine, before returning to Kyoto in the late afternoon.

  • Day 4

    Free in Kyoto; relax in one of the many zen gardens, walk the popular Philospher Path or experience a traditional tea ceremony.

    Today is free for individual sightseeing. With so much to see and do in Kyoto it can be difficult to know where to begin. Our advice is to start with a very early visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto's most important Shinto shrine and famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. Getting there before the crowds at sunrise is the secret for a magical experience. The rest of the day could be spent exploring one of the several well established and easy-to-follow walking tours that take in many of the more interesting sights. The eastern part of Kyoto is particularly rich in temples and gardens, and one can spend the day in this area, perhaps strolling along the tree-lined canal known as the Philosophers' Path and taking time out for contemplation in one of the many intriguing Zen gardens that dot the hillsides. Another day-trip to consider would be to Arashiyama, a pleasant tourist district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons. If you are interested in Japanese arts and cultural activities, there is also the option of visiting a cultural show to see some of Japan's ancient traditions such as the tea ceremony, flower arranging and Japanese theatre (these can be arranged locally by your tour leader).

  • Day 5

    Day trip to Hiroshima; visit Peace Memorial Park and the pretty island of Miyajima.

    Today is our first experience of Japan's 'bullet train' as we speed our way to Hiroshima for the day (approx. 2hrs and 40mins each way). Once in Hiroshima, we make a short excursion by local tram and ferry to the beautiful island of Miyajima famous for the 'floating' tori (Shinto gate) of the Itsukushima-jinja Shrine. At high tide, when set against the backdrop of Mt Misen, this tori makes for one of the most beautiful and photogenic sights in Japan. In the afternoon we spend time at the A-Bomb museum and the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, both monuments to the fateful day in August 1945 when the city was selected as the target for the world's first wartime use of the atomic bomb. In the park burns a symbolic flame that will only be extinguished when the last nuclear weapon on earth has been destroyed. We depart Hiroshima late afternoon arriving back at our hotel in the evening.

  • Day 6

    Travel from Kyoto to Takayama, a traditional old town set amid the 'Japanese Alps'; visit the Hida Folk Village; overnight in ryokan.

    Travelling by train through forested valleys we make our way this morning to the peaceful and attractive old town of Takayama (approx. 4 hrs) nestling sleepily in the centre of the majestic Hida Mountains. We spend two nights here and have plenty of time to appreciate the charm and ambience of this delightful place. In the afternoon we visit to the Hida Folk Village, an interesting outdoor museum of traditional rural architecture set in pleasant landscaped gardens a short walk from our accommodation. We stay in a traditional ryokan (Japanese guesthouse) where we have the opportunity to experience the traditional Japanese lifestyle and hospitality (please refer to the accommodation section for more information).

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Orientation tour in Takayama and free day to explore its peaceful shrines and temples; second night in ryokan.

    With over a dozen museums and galleries to suit all interests and several well-kept temples and parks, there are plenty of ways to spend a relaxing day in Takayama. We start with a short orientation tour around the morning market held daily along the banks of the Miyagawa River in the centre of town. Here amidst the friendly farmers with their familiar, and not so familiar, agricultural produce it is also possible to find some interesting souvenirs. Not so far away and of particular interest is the well-preserved collection of streets known as Sannomachi, where the many wooden built shops, restaurants and sake breweries give the area a mediaeval feel. For an insight into the life of medieval Japanese officials and the way they dealt (often not so compassionately) with those in their charge, a visit to the old Government House of Takayama-jinya is recommended. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town at your own pace: we recommend taking a stroll along the temple-line path called the Higashiyama Walkway and visit the several temples and attractions created by the mediaeval warlord, Kanamori Nagachika (1524-1600), who longed for Kyoto.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    On to the mediaeval village of Tsumago; short leisurely walk in the Nakasendo trail; train to Matsumoto

    Today we travel by express and local trains to the historic castle town of Matsumoto (approx. 4hrs). Enroute, we visit the mediaeval village of Tsumago that has changed little from its heyday as a post town in the Edo period. This is the best preserved of the many staging posts along the old Nakasendo Way, which fulfils the same role it did in centuries past - offering food and refuge to travellers. Those who wish can join the leader for an optional 1hr walk through peaceful forest trails, starting by the Odaki and Medaki waterfalls and finishing in Tsumago. We reach Matsumoto late afternoon where we have time to relax and perhaps take a leisurely stroll after dinner to see the impressive castle by night.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Visit the famous Matsumoto Castle and travel by train to spa town of Yudanaka; soak in a hot spring.

    This morning we visit the impressive Matsumoto castle. Founded in 1504, this castle, otherwise known as Crow Castle due to its black colour, is one of the two best preserved in Japan, most others having been destroyed following the Meiji Restoration. Its imposing six story donjon has been designated a national treasure. Please note that the castle preserves its original interior and structure, with very tall steps and steep staircases which some might find difficult to ascend and descend. We return to Matsumoto train station for our afternoon journey (approx. 3hrs) to the relaxing spa town of Yudanaka, where we spend a night in another Japanese-style hotel boasting some fantastic natural hot springs, including 2 open-air baths.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 10

    See the famous Snow Monkeys before travelling by train to Tokyo; evening orientation tour.

    As well as being home to some of Japan's best hot springs, the small spa-town of Yudanaka is mainly famous for being the gateaway to the famous Jigokudani Onsen or 'Snow Monkey Park'. Here, the indigenous macaque monkeys have discovered the benefits of descending from the hills to soak and play in hot baths - observing their behaviour up close is fascinating! This is the only tribe of monkeys anywhere in the world to bath in hot springs for warmth. The sight is most spectacular in winter, when snow covers the grounds and the hot steam creates some amazing visual effects but despite the name, the so called 'snow monkeys' actually inhabit the area year-round. To reach the park we walk for approx. 20-25 mins on an easy forest trail and we will have approx. 1hr free to admire and photograph these entertaining creatures. No visit to Japan would be complete without a trip to Tokyo. This afternoon, we travel from Yudanaka to the capital by bullet train (approx. 4hrs), arriving in the early evening. On arrival in Tokyo we'll transfer to our hotel and start exploring the bright lights of the big city at night.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Optional trip to Hakone or to the lovely seaside town of Kamakura.

    For those wishing to see still more of this wonderful country today is the last day of your Japan Rail Pass, entitling you to free train journeys to many destinations. One popular day-trip amongst tourists and Japanese alike looking for a break from Tokyo is Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 1hr and 30 mins by train. Famous for hot springs, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji, Hakone area also encompasses Lake Ashi, which can be toured by boat. An alternative blissful escape from the city is the coastal town of Kamakura, offering numerous temples, shrines, historical monuments as well as panoramic hiking trails. For those not wishing to leave Tokyo, this day is free to soak up the atmosphere of this truly astounding city. Whilst being perhaps the most exciting, energetic and futuristic city in the world, for a capital, Tokyo still remains a remarkably friendly, safe, manageable and fascinating place to visit.

  • Day 12

    A full day city tour of Tokyo including the Senso-ji Temple.

    Today we have a guided tour of Tokyo. Making use of the city's highly efficient tube system we can visit some of Tokyo's main attractions including Ueno (depending on season) and the lively Senso-ji Temple in the old entertainment district of Asakusa. We will also visit one of the city's parks or gardens which become especially spectacular during cherry blossom and autumn season. There will be also some free time to discover other attractions at our own pace. For those with a head for heights we recommend an optional visit to the iconic Skytree Tower for breathtaking views of the city. With a height of 634 meters, it is the tallest building in Japan and the second tallest structure in the world at the time of its completion. In the evening, the possibilities for entertainment are almost limitless with Tokyo's nightlife as exciting as anywhere in Asia.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 13

    Free day for further exploration; optional karaoke farewell night.

    Today has been left free for further individual exploration of Tokyo. We recommend starting the day with an early visit to the famous Tsukiji Market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. It handles more than 400 different types of seafood from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar, and from tiny sardines to 300 kg tuna and controversial whale species. Worth visiting is also Meiji Shrine; sourrounded by tranquil forest, this Shinto shrine is one of the most popular in Japan and combines traditional Japanese architecture with love for the nature. For an alternative and unconventional experience, head to the Cat Café in Ikebukuro. Finally, those interested in shopping have limiteless opportunities with districts like Ginza, Harajuku and Shinjuku catering for all tastes and needs!

  • Day 14

    End Tokyo.

    The tour ends this morning. Those on the group flights to London will be transferred to Tokyo Narita Airport in the evening. If you are not travelling on the group flight, you can take advantage of a free airport transfer by limousine bus to Narita or Haneda airport (only if staying at Hotel Metropolitan Ikebukuro). Please contact our Operations team for more information or to request this.

Accommodation

Hotels & Ryokans

In Kyoto, Matsumoto and Tokyo, our hotels are centrally located and of very high standard (usually 4-star in Tokyo and Kyoto and 3-star in Matsumoto) with excellent modern facilities and English speaking staff. 

For three nights during the trip we stay in ryokans, comfortable traditional inns where we are able to get a close feel for the timeless rhythms and customs of the Japanese countryside. Ryokans, while comfortable and full of local character, do not run along the same lines as western hotels. Rooms do not generally have private facilities and bedding is generally in the Japanese style with thick futon mattresses placed on tatami mats on the floor. Rooms are always doubles or twinshare but bathrooms and showers are generally communal. 

A double for sole use supplement can be booked for the 9 nights' hotel accommodation in Kyoto and Tokyo. The supplement starts from £895, payable at the time of booking and subject to availability. Elsewhere a single room may be available locally on payment of a supplement but, as some of the ryokans and other hotels used are quite small, this cannot be guaranteed.

Please note that free wi-fi is availble at every hotel.

List of hotels normally used:

Kyoto:  Noku Roxy

Takayama:  Murayama Ryokan or Muhyokan Ryokan

Matsumoto: Kagetsu Hotel

Nagano/Yudanaka: Yorozuya Yurakuan Annex

Tokyo: Metropolitan Hotel Ikebukuro

Onsen (Japanese public bath)
For many visitors to Japan the onsen is a somewhat unfamiliar territory. An onsen is a Japanese hot spring and the bathing facilities and inns frequently situated around them. The combination of a strict bathing etiquette, the fact that nudity is involved and compulsory and that the water temperature is often hotter than most Jacuzzis can cause some reluctance for first timers. Once the courage is mustered however, you may discover that a dip in an onsen is likely to become one of the highlights of your visit to Japan. On this trip we will have the opportunity to try an indoor onsen at our ryokan in Takayama, and some fantastic indoor and outdoor hot springs at our hotel in Yudanaka. Please note that it is very possible that you may be refused entry if you have large and visible tattoos. Both accommodations will have private baths available for reservation.

Single supplement from £895.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

3 breakfasts and 3 dinners included.

Japanese cuisine is usually one of the main highlights of any trip to Japan. It is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes which are usually prepared with seasonal ingredients. Seafood is very is common, and it usually comes grilled or deep fried. Sushi and sashimi aside, other staple dishes include Soba or Udon noodles, Sukiyaki (meat, fish and vegetables cooked in broth) and Yakiniku (grilled meat).

The included dinners are usually taken at ryokans (traditional guesthouses) which will serve a kaiseki style dinner, a multi-course meal including a dozen of tiny dishes prepared with locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. When food is not included, your leader will be always to hand to recommend the best local eateries and arrange some group meals for a full immersion in Japan's varied and excellent cuisine. 

Please note that in Japan the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free, strict vegetarian (no fish/seafood) or vegan is minimal or non-existent. The group meals arranged by the tour leader will be in traditional eateries where the choices of vegan dishes may be limited to simple salads or boiled rice, however in In Kyoto and Tokyo a number of vegan restaurants are available.  It may also be a good idea to bring with you some foodstuffs that you normally consume, or to supplement meals with snacks purchased in the local convenience stores.

Transportation

Transport will be by train, metro, bus, tram and occasionally private minibus. It is worth mentioning that the trains in Japan are both highly efficient and very comfortable.

Japan Rail Pass

The tour makes use of a 7-days Japanese Rail Pass, the cost of which is included in the price and is purchased by Exodus before departure. If you are planning to extend your trip and wish to extend or purchase an additional pass, please contact our Customer Operations team for info and costs.

In the unlikely event that you are a holder of a Japan Business or Residence visa please note that you will not be eligible to use the Japan Rail Pass. Please contact the Exodus Office if this applies to you.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Japan has four very distinct seasons. Our aim has been to avoid the extremely cold winters and humid summers and settle for the more pleasant climes of spring and autumn. In Tokyo, September and October are warm, maximum temperatures are 26°C and minimum 12°C. September is likely to be the warmer of the two and there is a likelihood of rain. April is cooler with temperatures possibly going as low as 7°C with a high of 17°C. Kyoto is very similar climatically to Tokyo but the higher up into the mountains we venture, the colder it will become with nights being especially cold, particularly in March and November.

Weather Information

Japan has four very distinct seasons. Our aim has been to avoid the extremely cold winters and humid summers and settle for the more pleasant climes of spring and autumn. In Tokyo, September and October are warm, maximum temperatures are 26ºC and minimum 12ºC. September is likely to be the warmer of the two and there is a likelihood of rain. April is cooler with temperatures possibly going as low as 7ºC with a high of 17ºC. Kyoto is very similar climatically to Tokyo but the higher up into the mountains we venture, the colder it will become with nights being especially cold, particularly in March and November.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 Days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Emirates or KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
(depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call
one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings
may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.


Travelling land only: 14 days starting in Kyoto and ending in Tokyo

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Kyoto in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure. The usual, standard check-in baggage weight allowance is 20kg.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights who will be taking a private transfer from Kansai airport to Kyoto on arrival.

If you are travelling on a different flight, arriving before or at the same time as the group and you would like to join the group transfer, please request it at least 6 weeks prior departure. The cost of this transport is included in the trip price if you are able to meet the group and your leader on time. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense. 

Kansai International Airport is situated on a man‐made island in Osaka Bay about 40 km from central Osaka. The easiest and fastest option when traveling between Kansai International Airport and Kyoto indepenently is the train. The Limited Express Haruka operated by JR West is the only rail service between Kyoto Station and Kansai International Airport. It covers the distance in about 75 minutes and it runs regularly every 30 mins approx. The normal fare is around 2850 yen. For up‐to‐date info on prices and timetables and to book tickets, please ask the Travel Desk of Kansai Tourist Information Center. This is located on the first floor of the Terminal 1 building. From Kyoto Station, a 10 to 15‐minute taxi ride brings you right up to Noku.

Private transfers are not available on this trip.

Further information will be provided in the final joining instructions which will be sent to you 2 to 3 weeks before departure.

 

Location start:
Kyoto
Location end:
Tokyo

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Casual clothing is all that is required. Outside of business situations Japanese are very relaxed about dress so formal attire is unnecessary. On both spring and autumn departures it is possible that some of the nights outside the main cities may be surprisingly cold, sometimes below zero, so it would be wise to bring a jumper, gloves and/or warm jacket and warm trousers. 
As there is a certain amount of walking involved in this trip, a comfortable pair of walking shoes is also advisable. Ideally these should be easy to put on and take off for the fairly regular occasions when shoes must be removed before entering homes or temples. In the minshuku and ryokan slippers, towels and yukata, a Japanese style dressing gown, are provided.

We suggest a strong holdall or suitcase (ideally with wheels) for your main luggage plus a reasonably sized, easy-to-carry daypack or overnight bag. As Japanese trains usually have little room for storing bags, we will be carrying only our daypack/overnight bag for the two nights in Takayama and one night in Yudanaka. One piece of baggage per person, will be transferred by courier service from Kyoto to Matsumoto and then on to Tokyo. As well as providing for ease of travel on the train system, this will make us more flexible and mobile for our time in Takayama and Yudanaka. This should not prove a problem as effectively your daypack/ overnight bag need only be big enough to cope with you being two nights away from your main bag, i.e. a change of clothes, washing gear, camera etc.

Bringing Medication into Japan for Personal Use It is illegal to bring into Japan some over-the-counter medicines commonly used in the UK, including inhalers and some allergy and sinus medications. Specifically, products that contain stimulants (medicines that contain Pseudoephedrine, such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers), or Codeine are prohibited. For more information please contacy the Japan Embassy on  020 7465 6500.

At time of writing the standard weight limit for hold baggage on the recommended international carrier for this trip is 23kg. We recommend packing only one piece of checked baggage.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure.

Reading List

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

The Inland Sea by Donald Richie

Shogun by James Clavell

The Roads to Sata: A 2000‐mile Walk Through Japan by Alan
Booth

Autumn arrives in the temple gardens, Japan

Practical Information

Passport

Japan

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Japan

Most nationalities do not require a visa to visit Japan. Australian and South African passport holders do require a visa; these will usually be issued on arrival but it is worth verifying this at your embassy before travel.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Japan

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Japan's Timezone:
Asia/Tokyo JST (GMT +09:00)

Electricity

Japan's Electricity:

100 Volts. Plug types A & B; establishments often take two flat parallel pin plugs (US style). Most battery chargers function at this voltage, but do check their documentation.

Japan uses the US-style twin pin sockets running at 100V. Sockets are ubiquitous in hotels. Most battery chargers function fine at this voltage, but do check their documentation.

Money

Japan's Currency

The national currency of Japan is the Yen (JPY), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (June 2017) of approximately 142 to the GBP,  112 to the USD, 84 to the CAD, 125 to the EUR, 85 to the AUD and 81 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

We recommend obtaining some Yen before travelling to Japan, although you should check the exchange rate carefully. The safest way to carry your money is in cash. Japan is a very safe country and locals often carry around large amounts without problems. Alternatively, if you decided to travel with US dollars or Pound sterling exchange facilities are fairly widely available, including at the airport on arrival, and it is possible to change money in Kyoto, Hiroshima, Takayama, Matsumoto and Tokyo.

Major credit cards are not widely accepted (although chain electronic shops generally accept Visa) and only a few ATM's are UK debit card compatible. To withdraw directly from a UK account using a debit card, the post office or 7‐Eleven ETM machines is the best option. Do NOT, however, rely exclusively on use of your cards to access funds.

 

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Apart from three breakfasts and three dinners included in Takayama and Yudanaka, food is not included in the price. You should allow around £40-45 (US$50-65) a day to cover the cost of food and drink. It is possible to eat more cheaply than this, or to spend considerably more, depending on the standard of restaurant chosen.

A certain amount should be allowed for optional entrance fees and bus/ taxi fares not included in
the itinerary. The cost of these will of course vary according to individual preferences but a figure of around £80 is reasonable.

Optional Excursions

Different optional cultural experiences can be arranged by your leader locally including a traditional tea ceremony as well as theatre shows of traditional performing arts such as Kabuki.
Please note that sumo can be watched only during the official tournaments which are held every
year. In Tokyo these take place in January, May and September. For info on prices and dates please
visit http://sumo.pia.jp/en/ or contact us.
Obuse museum ‐ approx. £5
Gion Corner ‐ theatre show (Kyoto) approx. £23
Zen gardens ‐ (Kyoto) approx. £2‐5 each
Tea ceremony ‐ (Kyoto) approx. £35‐40
Kabuki show ‐ £7‐15

Tipping

Tipping locals for services is not expected or required in Japan. However, if you feel that your Exodus leader has performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide we recommend to budget approx. £30-40 per person for the trip.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

 

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.