Acetours.eu

 

49 Newtownards Road

Donaghadee

Northern Ireland

BT21 0PY

 

07808 366930

028 9015 1030

info@acetours.eu

 

ATOL No. 11029

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GEMS OF JAPAN

26 Sept 2019 - 13 Days

£3975p.p.

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There is simply no other country in the world like Japan. Huge cities are countered by small villages; snow-capped mountains overlook glistening lakes; bullet trains and scenic trains – from the super-fast to the super-slow, carry you in complete comfort; eastern and western food compete for your taste buds; politeness and passion; heritage and modernity. Japan is an enigma and we are inviting you to explore it with us.

 

Come and join us on a 13 day tour, where we cover some of Japan’s main cities, unique countryside and  fascinating history. Experience ancient Japanese culture as we visit shrines and parks; become part of centuries-old customs like the tea ceremony with real Geishas; explore bustling Tokyo and serene Nikko. Become part of everyday life as you travel on the famous Bullet Trains, eat at street markets where business-men in suits mingle with tourists and locals, visit sky-scrapers and shopping malls, breathe in the mountain air, enjoy the fresh, healthy food.

 

We promise you a holiday you will not forget!

 

DAY 1.

Fly from Dublin to Osaka on an overnight flight with Finnair.

Depart Dublin     Finnair     (26Sep)       AY1386      6.05pm

Arrive and depart Helsinki    11.05pm – 00.45am (27Sep)

Arrive Osaka Kansai(27Sep)     AY 067        4.15pm

 

DAY 2. OSAKA - KYOTO

On arrival in Osaka, we will transfer to our city-centre hotel in Kyoto by high-speed train and taxi from station. The journey time from the airport is around 90-100 minutes, so we expect to reach the hotel around 7.00pm.

 

Meet for evening meal at the hotel around 8.00pm

 

DAY 3. KYOTO

An enchanting city, Kyoto was capital for a thousand years; today it is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens.

We’ll take it easy today with a half-day tour of some of the highlights of the city and the afternoon for you to explore on your own, do a bit of shopping or just relax at the hotel.

Evening meal at local restaurant.

 

DAY 4. KYOTO - HIROSHIMA

This morning, transfer to Kyoto station and take the bullet train for a full-day excursion to Hiroshima, a journey of 1 hour 40 minutes. A modern and prosperous city, Hiroshima will be forever remembered as the world’s first atomic bomb target. Travel by taxi to the famous Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Please be aware that the museum may be confronting and upsetting for some group members and it is at your discretion if you wish to visit or enjoy time at leisure exploring the Peace Memorial Park. 

 

After a lunch break, we will visit Hiroshima Castle. Although completely destroyed by the atomic bomb, it was rebuilt exactly as it was and serves today as a museum telling what Hiroshima was like before the war.  We will take a late afternoon train back to Kyoto. The evening meal may be on the train or back in Kyoto. We will finalise this later.

 

DAY  5 - KYOTO - HIMEJI - OSAKA

Today, it is totally up to you what you do. Either have a day at rest or take a trip with us to Himeji and its beautiful castle and Koko-en Garden, followed by an afternoon in Osaka. Himeji Castle is largely in its original condition, so you can enjoy it the way it always has been. You will have to remove your shoes before walking along some of the wooden floors and there are some steep wooden steps to reach certain areas. At the castle, they now issue numbered tickets to enter the Main Keep in order to limit the number of people who can enter, reducing congestion, waiting time and to protect the cultural properties. Please note, we cannot pre-book these tickets, so this means that there may be cases where some visitors are not allowed to enter the Main Keep, however, there are many other parts of the castle to explore.

 

We will stop here for a lunch break before taking the short train journey back towards Osaka. We have the full afternoon to explore this lively city with a local guide.

 

Please note: There will be a substantial amount of walking today, including a large number of steps.

 

We will return to Kyoto and the evening meal will be at a local restaurant.

 

DAY 6. KYOTO - HAKONE -FULI

This morning, we set off for the Fuji Five Lakes area by train. We will travel to Hakone, via Mishma, where we will have two nights at a Ryokan. After checking in, we will have some time for a coffee before heading off on a wonderful trip by mountain train and aerial tramway (cable-car) to Lake Ashi. Depending on the weather, we will take a boat trip, which should offer us splendid views of Mt. Fuji and Mt. Hakone. There will be time to explore on your own, visit some of the local shops or take a stroll around part of the lake. We will eat at a restaurant at Lake Ashi before returning to our hotel and a good night’s sleep!

 

DAY 7. HAKONE - FUJI

A free day, at last! Today, you can have a lie in, breakfast at your leisure and then relax. This area is famous for its hot thermal baths and we recommend you try one of them out. If you want to do something a bit more exciting, we can arrange an excursion into the mountains, to the Five Lakes Area and for closer views of Mt. Fuji. This will include a visit to the Fuji San World Heritage Centre. The excursion lasts all day and will be by train and coach. (Extra cost approx. £100)

Dinner either at the hotel or a local restaurant.

 

DAY 8. FUJI - TOKYO

This morning, we depart by train to Tokyo, for 5 nights. We arrive middle of the day and there will be a couple of hours free time before we meet for our evening meal, at the hotel.

 

DAY 9. TOKYO

Tokyo is the ultimate 24-hour city. Like New York, it never sleeps but you’ll find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore; today take a tour of this fascinating city. Head to the 1st observatory of the Tokyo Skytree for panoramic views over the city. Take a wander through the district of Asakusa for an opportunity to pick up some souvenirs on Nakamise Shopping street and visit Sensoji Temple. Stop at the famous fish market, where you can sample some of the excellent street food. Explore the Edo Tokyo Museum and Tokyo’s Imperial Palace East Garden

(you will not enter the palace itself). You will be on your feet for 6-7 hours touring in Tokyo, although we will make regular stops. Please note that the order of the above visits will probably change but we should be able to take them all in. Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant within walking distance of your hotel.

 

DAY 10. TOKYO

Spend a relaxed morning wandering around the classical landscapes of the Hamarikyu Garden and exploring the huge evergreen forest that encompasses the Shinto Meiji Shrine. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant (not included in fare).

 

After lunch, we plan to stop at the world-famous Shibuya “Scramble” Crossing, which is reputedly the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing with up to 3000 people crossing at any one time! We will try to visit Mags Park rooftop terrace for a coffee stop and to see the famous crossing from above.

 

 

This is a full-day tour, which starts after an early breakfast. We depart the hotel and travel by train into the mountains towards the stunning Nikko National Park, where we will visit Nikko’s shrines and temples, the most revered and famous in all of Japan and we can enjoy the stunning scenery and the tranquillity, despite the tourists.

 

We will be met by our local guide, who will show us around the shrines and park. After the tour, the afternoon is free for lunch, exploring, shopping. We will probably have our evening meal in Nikko before returning to our hotel in Tokyo. (We may even eat on the train).

 

DAY 12. TOKYO – NIIGATA

Today, we set out on the Shinkansen High-Speed Bullet Train from Tokyo to the northern city of Niigata. The journey time is around two hours each way. On arrival, we will have a tour of some of the sights before making our way to Furumachi, where we will enjoy the tea ceremony with authentic Geishas. Geishas are Japanese women who entertain through performing the ancient traditions of art, dance and singing, and are distinctively characterized by traditional costumes and makeup. Lunch is also included today at the venue, as part of the visit.

 

The city of Niigata, located in the prefecture of the same name, has quite a rich historical and cultural background. Facing the Sea of Japan, Niigata has been a key transit point on the Kitamaebune sea route for more than 300 years. It is thanks to this strategic position that the city became as prosperous as Tokyo and Osaka during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and started opening high-end bars and restaurants to welcome all the rich merchants passing by. It is in that context that the Geishas of Niigata—or Geigi, as they are called in the local dialect—first appeared.

 

We plan to have our evening meal in Niigata at a local restaurant, before making our way back to Tokyo.

 

Please note; We may swap Day 11 and Day 12 Itinerary.

 

DAY 13. HOMEWARD BOUND

We will depart Tokyo very early this morning and transfer to Narita airport for our return flight home. We depart the hotel around 06.30am on 08th October. The journey time is approximately 100 minutes. Depending on our group size, we may use buses or mini-buses, although that might take slightly longer.

 

Check in immediately and proceed through security and passport control. You should have over an hour free before boarding, so time for a coffee or a light snack. There will be meals served on board the flight but it may be an hour or more after take-off.

Fly from Tokyo Narita Airport to Dublin via Helsinki.

Depart Tokyo        Japan Air Lines   AY5812    10.40am

Arrive and depart Helsinki     2.50pm and 4.015pm

Arrive Dublin Airport        Finnair      AY1385      5.20pm

 

 

 

FLIGHTS

Our flights are with Finnair and their code-share partner Japan Airlines. The times quoted above are correct at time of going to print. Finnair, however, are introducing more new flights to and from Japan in 2019 and we may change or need to change the flights we have advertised. We will, of course, keep you posted.

 

Flights are in Economy Class, with seating reserved at time of on-line check-in, which we will look after for you. A light snack is usually offered on the Dublin-Helsinki-Dublin sectors and a full meal service is offered on the flights between Helsinki and Japan.

 

We also offer the opportunity to upgrade to Business Class. At time of going to print, the supplement for the return journey is £1650 per person. This needs to be confirmed at time of booking, as it will cost much more to upgrade later.

 

BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE

In Economy Class, you are currently entitled to two pieces, each weighing up to 23kgs checked luggage plus 8kgs cabin luggage. In Business Class, this increases to up to three pieces, each weighing up to 23kgs. (Please don’t bring that amount of luggage with you! You simply will not need it and you’ll have to get it on and off trains, yourself.)

 

Please note that this allowance may change but, once booked, that’s what you’ll get!

 

ACCOMMODATION

There is no international classification of hotels in Japan, although most of them fall into recognised categories. We have tried to select hotels which suit our clientele, yet which offer a sense of authenticity. Japanese people tend to be smaller than westerners and land and property prices are so high, especially in major cities that hotel rooms could be described as “neat” or “bijou”. Even in grand, city-centre hotels, please do not expect your rooms to be large.

 

Most hotels offer restaurants but our experience shows that the service and the standard in city-centre hotels is rarely reflected in the price, especially in Japan. Therefore, we will usually be eating in local restaurants, which offer a much more authentic feel anyway and considerably better value for money. On some occasions, such as in Hakone, we probably will eat in the Ryokan.

 

Here we list the hotels that we plan to use (at this stage) but these may change. Our visit coincides with the Rugby World Cup and we cannot secure the hotel rooms until we have enough firm bookings.

 

HOTELS

Hotel Resol Trinity Kyoto Oikefuyacho

Our hotel provides accommodation with a spa & wellness centre and a garden. This property is situated a short distance from attractions such as Kyoto International Manga Museum and Samurai Kembu Kyoto. The restaurant serves Japanese cuisine. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bath and a desk, free WiFi. A continental breakfast is served daily at the property. When guests need guidance on where to visit, the reception will be happy to provide advice. Nakagyo Ward is a great choice for travellers interested in city walks, food and old town exploring.

 

If we have no more space at this hotel, we will offer the 4* Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanko, just 400 metres away. This is also a lovely hotel, featuring modern accommodations with free wired internet access. The hotel offers massages and concierge services, as well as a bar and a buffet restaurant with savoury dishes. The air-conditioned rooms boast smooth colours, stylish lamps and a flat-screen TV. Each private bathroom features a spacious shower area with a bathtub. A fridge and an electric kettle with green tea are provided. Late-night drinks are available at the stylish bar. There is also a wide selection of restaurants around the hotel.

 

 

Senkei Hotel – Ryokan – Hakone

 

This is a typical Japanese-style Ryokan. It would probably be a European three-star rating, if such a thing existed. For a real taste of Japan, one really must spend a few days in one of these world-famous Ryokans, where you will be looked after wonderfully, usually by the owners who wear traditional costume.

Located in the middle of Hakone-Yumoto hot spring area, Senkei is classic Japanese-style Ryokan boasting a massage and beauty salon. Guests can enjoy the spacious hot spring baths and an open-air hot spring bath with views of Hakone's mountains. A massage chair, free-use internet PCs and free WiFi are provided in the lobby area.

Featuring an en suite bath and toilet, each room is fitted with air conditioning, TV and refrigerator. Delicately prepared seasonal Japanese multi-course meals are served in the restaurant. Most rooms have beds, the remainder futons.

GeSpa salon is decorated in a Balinese design and offers rejuvenating treatments. Gift items can be purchased at the on-site shop. Amenities including yukata robes, towels and toothbrushes are provided for guests during their stay, while an adapter and mobile phone charger can be rented at the front desk.

 

Shinagawa Prince Hotel Tokyo

Boasting 15 food and beverage options, 2 swimming pools, and its own aquarium, Prince Hotel is right next to JR Shinagawa Train Station. This 39-storey hotel offers great Tokyo views and free WiFi throughout the entire property. The air-conditioned rooms have a fridge, safe, TV and an en suite bathroom with a bathtub and separate shower booth. Free toiletries and a hairdryer are provided.

Direct buses to and from Narita Airport stop at the hotel and the main attractions are just a short walk or metro ride away.

A city within a city, the hotel has its own movie theatre, bowling alley and tennis courts. Guests can enjoy a visit to the karaoke bar. The hotel also features a 24-hour front desk, indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna facility and massage services. Currency exchange service is available. Guests will find drink vending machines and a cash machine on site.

The 39th-floor Dining & Bar Table 9 Tokyo offers one of Tokyo’s best views. Restaurants serves unique Western cuisine, grill and steaks, while the bar lounge offers fusion tapas and drinks including whiskey, cocktails, sake and champagne. The locality is a great choice for travellers interested in clean streets, friendly locals and culture.

 

 

 

TRANSPORTATION BY TRAIN & TAXI

We will be travelling almost entirely by train, aboard the famous “Bullet Trains” or “Shinkansen”. Luggage space is limited, so we recommend you pack carefully and don’t bring too much luggage. If you wish to have more space, you can upgrade to first-class for the entire holiday for just £160 per person. (Free upgrade if flying in Business Class)

 

Japanese trains are notorious for departing and arriving on time – not just to the minute but often to the second. It is therefore imperative that we are at the stations and on the platforms in good time and that we are prepared for our arrival in stations on our journey.

 

Regardless of class of travel, we will have reserved seats throughout.

 

We will need to use taxis occasionally and these will be shared by our guests, usually four to a taxi (or three with luggage). We will pay for fares but in the event that you need to do so, we will refund you. Please keep the receipts!

 

EATING IN JAPAN

Japanese cuisine is delicious, colourful and healthy. Meals are usually served with a bowl of rice and a bowl of miso soup and consist usually of fish, pickled vegetables and meat. Japan’s other main staple is noodles, most famous being Udon and Soba. All meals as described in the itinerary are included, usually breakfast and evening meal, but sometimes also lunch. We want you to experience the local dishes, their individual flavours as well as the different ways they are prepared and cooked throughout Japan. Food is an important element of Japanese culture. Most food is eaten with chopsticks so best get practicing as cutlery is not always available at restaurants.

 

Breakfast will mostly be buffet style but may be a set-menu. Please be aware that restaurants may not always be able to accommodate certain diets. Gluten-free food may not be as readily available as in Ireland or UK. So, if you have any such dietary requirements, please let us know at time of booing, so we can endeavour to make some arrangements. We cannot, however, guarantee this and cannot be held liable if they are not complied with. We would, however, make every effort to arrange alternative meals, if required.

 

INSURANCE

It is a condition of booking with us that you take out suitable travel insurance, which must include airline failure and travel disruption (volcano, etc.) cover. You must provide us with the details of your insurance and their 24-hour emergency contact number when you book with us or as soon as possible thereafter. Acetours will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

 

VISAS & HEALTH

A visa is not required for Irish or British citizens visiting Japan. Please check with us for other passports. Other than tetanus, no further inoculations are currently required. If you are on medication, including inhalers, please call us. Many over-the-counter medicines are strictly prohibited.

 

DEPOSITS & PAYMENT

At time of booking, the deposit payable is £1000 per person. If you have booked Business Class, it is £2500 per person. The deposit covers the airfare, which must be booked so far ahead and will be non-refundable. An interim payment of £1000 will be due on 01st April 2019, with the balance due on 05th July 2019.

RUGBY WORLD CUP

By sheer coincidence and totally unplanned, our tour overlaps with the 2019 RWC in Japan. If you wish, and can get tickets, you can use your railway passes to get to the stadiums, almost for free. Japan play Ireland at the Epoca Stadium, two hours away, on Sat 28th Sept at 4.15pm. Australia play Wales on Sun, 29th Sept at 4.45pm in Tokyo. Ireland play Russia on Thur, 03rd Oct at 7.30pm in Kobe, just a very short distance from Kyoto. Please let us know if you plan to go. We might join you for one or other game!

FARES

£3875 p.p. sharing twin / double

Single Supplement £550

Upgrade to Business Class £1650 p.p.

Upgrade to 1st Class trains £160 p.p.

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