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Japan & China – Wonders of the Orient

From £4252.00
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Departing by Air
Duration 16 Days
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Explore two of the world’s most enthralling countries – Japan and China – on this astonishing Asia tour crammed with thrilling highlights.

On this wonderful – and wonderful value – tour, you’ll explore a host of must-see destinations, from historic Kyoto to electric Tokyo, from the glitz and steel of Shanghai to the iconic glories of Beijing, and from ancient Xi’an to friendly, forward-thinking Chengdu.

As each wonderful day unfolds you’ll taste delicious food, encounter both ancient traditions and cutting-edge modernity, and discover iconic sights from Mount Fuji to the Great Wall. Expect to return home enriched and enthralled by the extraordinary experience.

What You’ll Love

  • Visit Himeji-jō, Japan’s finest castle
  • Discover Osaka’s food quarter – Japan’s Kitchen
  • Explore Imperial Kyoto, still home to geishas
  • Visit Nijō Castle, the Golden Pavilion and bustling Nishiki market
  • Nara – Japan’s first capital, and home to the amazing Great Buddha
  • Feed the sacred deer in Nara-kuen park
  • Take a bullet train to Mishima in the shadow of Mount Fuji
  • Enjoy a cruise on Lake Ashi and a cable-car ride
  • Spend two nights in Tokyo
  • Discover Shanghai’s ancient and modern wonders
  • Visits to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace in Beijing
  • Take an excursion to the Great Wall
  • Sit down to enjoy a Peking Duck Dinner
  • Tour Xi’an, walk the city walls and see the Terracotta Army
  • See Chengdu’s Wenshu Temple and historic Jinli road
  • Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre
  • 14 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at hotels in Osaka (3 nights), Mishima (1), Tokyo (2), Shanghai, (2), Beijing (3), Xi’an (1) and Chengdu (2), plus two nights on the aircraft
  • Six lunches and eight dinners
  • Return flights to Osaka, via Beijing (returning from Chengdu)
  • A flight from Tokyo to Shanghai
  • A bullet-train journey from Kyoto to Mishima
  • High-speed rail journeys from Shanghai to Beijing, from Beijing to Xi’an and from Xi’an to Chengdu
  • Coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Single supplements apply. Subject to availability.


Day 1 – Fly to Japan

Your holiday begins with an overnight flight to Osaka, via Beijing.

Day 2 – Arrival in Japan

Arrive at Osaka’s island Kansai Airport, meet your tour manager and transfer to your hotel for the next three nights. Rest and relax after the journey.

Day 3 – Himeji Castle and Japan’s Kitchen

Your exploration of the Land of the Rising Sun begins with a visit to what is probably Japan’s most celebrated castle, the remarkable fortress at Himeji.

Entrance to the fortress and its adjoining Kokoen gardens are included, and after time here you’ll return to Osaka to enjoy an evening in the bustling Dotombori district, known as Japan’s Kitchen thanks to its countless restaurants and street-food vendors.

Day 4 – Included Kyoto guided tour

Join your guide to discover magical Kyoto, Japan’s former imperial capital. See UNESCO-listed Nijō Castle, a 17th-century shogunate stronghold and a masterpiece of ornamental design surrounded by stunning gardens.

Visit the famous Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, and the starkly beautiful dry-landscape Zen Buddhist garden at Ryoan-ji, and then perhaps enjoy lunch at the colourful Nishiki market, where hundreds of food-sellers hawk their wares in a noisy, friendly atmosphere.

You’ll also visit the spectacular Kiyomizu–dera temple, among Japan’s finest and offering breathtaking views of the whole city from its lofty perch, and have the opportunity to stroll the lovingly restored streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka.

Head to the ancient streets of the Gion district, and you might catch sight of geishas hurrying along.

Day 5 – Included tour of Nara and bullet train to Mishima

Make the short journey by coach to Nara, Japan’s original Sixth-century capital, where sights will include the 1560ft-high Great Buddha at the Todai-ji temple, the sacred deer of the Nara Park and the colourful traditional lanterns at Kasuga Taisha shrine, one of Japan’s most important Shinto sites.

Returning to Kyoto, you’ll visit the extraordinary red torii gates that line the snaking paths up the forested slopes to the outer shrine of the Fushimi Inari Taisha, and then transfer to the station to board a bullet train for the journey north to Mishimi, your gateway to iconic Mount Fuji and Hakone National Park.

This evening, enjoy dinner – and perhaps a hot-spring Onsen bath – at your overnight hotel.

Day 6 – Lake Cruise, Hakone National Park and travel to Tokyo

Today you’ll journey north to beautiful Hakone National Park, which is dominated on clear days by the snow-capped cone of Mount Fuji.

Search the horizon for views of the peak as you take a cruise on Lake Ashi and ride the cable car above the Komagatake Valley then continuing by coach to Owakudani, then travel through a volcanic landscape dotted with steaming fumaroles to Tokyo for a first evening in the Japanese capital.

Day 7 – Included Tokyo sightseeing tour

Join your guide for a fascinating day exploring Tokyo, which will include the stunning bird’s-eye view of the city from the observation floor of Shinjuku’s government buildings, the tree-lined avenues of Yoyogi park – the wooded haven in the heart of the city – the Meiji Shrine, and the gardens surrounding the Imperial Palace.

See the ancient Buddhist Senso-ji temple and world-famous Shibuya Crossing, where thousands wait for ‘the green man’ to unleash a chaotic four-way sea of humanity.

Later, why not visit one of Omote-sando’s Parisian-style cafés or discover the shops and stores of Ginza, Tokyo’s equivalent of Fifth Avenue, before returning to your hotel at the end of an exciting day?

Day 8 – Fly to Shanghai

You’ll have an early start, this morning, as you say goodbye to your Japanese guide and transfer to the airport for the three-and-a-half hour flight to Shanghai, and to start the second, Chinese, sector of your oriental adventure.

Once in Shanghai, you’ll meet your tour manager at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Catch a first glimpse of the grand colonial buildings lining the famous riverside Bund before dinner, this evening.

Day 9 – Included Shanghai guided tour

Today, you’ll have a guided introduction to this amazing city dominated by the gigantic skyscrapers of modern-day Shanghai, including the rocket-shaped Pearl TV Tower from which you’ll enjoy a bird’s-eye view.

You’ll also visit the fascinating Shanghai City History Museum, take a tour of Old Shanghai, at the heart of which is the 16th-century Yuyuan classical Chinese garden, and visit an ancient silk-making centre.

After a fascinating day, enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Day 10 – High Speed train to Beijing

Board a high-speed train for the journey north to the Chinese capital, where you’ll spend the next three nights.

Upon arrival, by way of introduction, you’ll head to beautiful Temple of Heaven in Tiantan Park, the great Ming Dynasty shrine that was at the heart of ceremonial life in the city for five centuries.

This evening, enjoy a traditional Peking Duck dinner.

Day 11 – The Great Wall and the Emperor’s Summer Palace

Another unforgettable day awaits, as you travel out of the city to Mutianyu.

Here amid steep, forested hills, part of the Great Wall has been carefully preserved and a cable car provides a spectacular view of the structure.

You’ll also visit the majestic and tranquil Summer Palace at Yiheyuan before returning to the capital for the evening.

Day 12 – The Forbidden City and the Beijing hutong

Enjoy a fascinating guided tour of the Chinese capital, visiting the famous attractions that lie in the heart of this teeming city.

Famous Tiananmen Square is the site of Chairman Mao’s tomb, the Great Hall of the People, the museums of Chinese History and of the Revolution, and is the gateway to the Forbidden City.

This vast palace complex was home to 24 Chinese emperors, who lived in unimaginable splendour behind its imposing walls.

You’ll also have the chance to wander the ancient hutongs, Old Peking’s fast-disappearing labyrinth of narrow alleyways and hidden courtyard houses, before enjoying a last night in the city.

Day 13 – High-speed train to Xi’an

Today you’ll travel by train to China’s ancient capital. On arrival in the city you’ll head to the city walls (China’s best preserved), and then take in the preserved Big Goose Buddhist pagoda.

Later, enjoy dinner and your first night in this fascinating treasure-trove of a city.

Day 14 – The Terracotta Army and travel to Chengdu

This morning, you’ll visit the legendary Terracotta Army of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

An estimated 8,000 lifelike foot-soldiers, horsemen and charioteers were discovered in their vaults in 1974, and are now one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions. Close by, the yet-to-be-excavated tomb of the emperor is said to contain a vast underground city.

After this extraordinary visit, you’ll board another high-speed train for the three-and-a-half-hour journey to Sichuan province and the relaxed, modern city of Chengdu, where you’ll stay for the last two nights of the tour.

Dinner this evening will give you an opportunity to sample traditional Sichuan cuisine.

Day 15 – Chengdu’s Pandas and traditions

One of the highlights of your whole tour will be today’s visit to Chengdu’s Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre, where you’ll learn about these wonderful creatures and the steps being taken to ensure their survival.

After your visit you’ll be able to enjoy the wonderfully relaxed atmosphere of the city. Modern developments contrast with the ancient Buddhist Wenshu Temple, the traditional teahouses of People’s Park and the colourful shops of old Jinli Road.

This evening, a last dinner brings the opportunity to reflect on the wonders of the past two weeks.

Day 16 – Fly back to the UK

After a leisurely morning and a final lunch, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your daytime flight back to the UK. You’ll arrive home this evening after a unforgettable holiday to two astonishing Asian nations.

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