Konnichiwa travellers! And welcome to the land of the rising sun. Famed for it's good times in both summer and winter...this is one trip you won't be forgetting fast. City, snow - the name says it all. Let's do this. Get settled into your sweet Osakan digs (we're talking hotel overnights and the best place to settle into your time here) before joining forces with your Trip Manager & travel squad for an inaugural bout of exploring. Sake in Osaka, anyone?
Universal Studios, Osaka Castle, iconic Dōtonbori - today is yours to take on Osaka as your heart desires. Osaka is located on the island of Honshu, and this melthing pot of activities day and night will keep you on your toes. Ask your Trip Manager for some ideas on what to do today while you're here. History lovers could experience a slice of history at the 16th-century Osaka Castle, one of the city's best known landmarks. Those keen for a little slice of Shinto could experience Sumiyoshi-taisha, one of the country's oldest Shinto shrines. If you haven't worn yourself out by the evening we'll hit the streets for some traditional Japanese PATI (that's Japanese for partying, folks) in the form of karaoke. Because when in Japan, of course!
Osaka Tuck into a hefty breakfast this morning - you're going to need the fuel for a full day of sensory pleasures in Kyoto. Kyoto We jump on the coach and relax on our way to the blissful sights of Kyoto. Temples, gardens, shrines & world famous geisha girls will colour the day before you head off to the Shirakawa area to toy with local delights like seaweed, sushi and sashimi. Kyoto will be buzzing by night - there's no rest for the wicked!
Rise and shine revellers! No matter how many Asahis you enjoyed last night, you're going to want to get up and kick on with the Kyoto adventures. We start the day with a guided tour of Kyoto for an in-depth look at the city, or make tracks on your own and see where Kyoto's breeze takes you. Today we visit a Sake Making Museum to learn about the country's notoriously strong national drop. Yes, this amazing country is the gift that just keeps on giving. So what's up next? How's about checking out the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Approx 233 metres above sea level, the journey to the shrine begins at the base of the mountain.
Kyoto Good morning grasshoppers. Today we take on the wonderfully wacky city of Tokyo and we can't wait to take on the capital like the explorers we are. For those that have a need for speed, you'll take a ride on one of the world famous bullet trains for eye wateringly fast speeds. Tokyo With 3 nights here, you'll be whipping around the metro and debating the best tempura haunts in no time. After checking-in to our hotel it's time to get started on a city tour to see the famous sights, and the excitement will no doubt be pumping. Arigatōgozaimashita!
If you fell in love with Tokyo yesterday, chances are you only caught a glimpse of the full glitter of this city. So today will take things to a whole new love struck level. Those in need of a break could indulge in the traditional Japanese hot spring experience of Onsen. You could also slurp soba noodles on a street corner, uncover the world of Anime with a trip to Akihabara, or head to Ginza for incredible shopping: authentic kimonos - hello!!
You have one more full day to take in all that is Tokyo. The weekend is when this city really comes alive, with the Harajuku district of Shibuya always proving a pinnacle of the Japan experience. Those interested in the upbeat could venture to the future with an evening at the Robot Restaurant - as you do!
Heading out on a high note, this morning you'll take a guided tour of the world famous Tsukiji Fish Markets, considered a must-do in this part of the world, so have your camera ready! After a wander and plenty of gawking, there's your chance for a culinary crash course in the art of sushi, because there's nothing like picking up some new skills as you travel, right? Did you know it takes nearly 10 years to become a sushi master? So these guys and girls really know what they're doing. After lunch we say goodbye to Tokyo and head to Hakuba for some slope side fun on some of the best mountains in the world. Hakuba Back on the bullet train, it's hello Hakuba. Widely recognised as one of the world's best spots for skiing, this cute mountain village is stunning to say the least. 9 Resorts. 135 Lifts. Over 200 Runs. Yes! This is a snow lovers paradise. Nestled in the Northern Japan Alps, Hakuba is one of the country's premium resports, with some of the greatest conditions for those lovers of pow. Host to the 1998 Winter Olympic games, the conditions are second to none and soon to be yours.
Hakuba Rise early and get right into it, we're here and we're going to do it right. Let us paint a picture...Every season, 12-14 metres of dry powdery snow sprinkles itself across the mountain ranges of Japan's Hakuba. Whether you're an avid boarder or little more than an amateur snowman builder, this world famous snow resort area will see you smitten. With packages for lessons for those learning the ropes, to mountain guiding for those with a few skills keen to expand their horizons, everyone is well taken care of. By night, jump in the hot tub or a sauna and soak those weary bodies...finished up with some delicious Katsu curry, miso, donburi...whatever your heart desires. Tomorrow is another day and we bet you can't wait to get out there.
We have two more full days in snow town and a 3 day included ski pass in hand - now there's a reason to bounce out of bed in this chilly weather! Gliding down the side of a mountain not really your thing? Perhaps relax in an Onsen, grab a book and sit by an open fire in a local cafe while practicing your Japanese. Or maybe a karaoke slash saki session is more your kettle of koi carp.
The clock is officially ticking on our time together in these incredible lands of Japan. If you're all powdered out you could soak in the Kurashita no Yu hot springs or roam the Hakuba Art Museum - there are plenty of sights and culture if the mountains aren't begging your name.
There may be more tears than snowflakes this morning as we hug it out with our Contiki pals and say our final goodbyes. Or should we say, Sayōnara? After breakfast head back to Tokyo if you've booked our optional transfer or stay put on the slopes if you haven't quite had enough.
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Trip Name: Japan - City to Slopes
Duration: 12 Days
From Price: £2,850
Supplier Tour ID: JAPW/163514
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