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Aussienet Holidays trading as Aussienet Travel

 ABN 43 609 963 644 ACN 609 963 644

Booking Terms

All prices quoted are in Australian Dollars and per person based on twin sharing basis inclusive of Taxes & Charges *Subject to change and availability

© 2019 by Aussienet Holidays.

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TOUR COST from AUD3,860.00** Per Person Twin Share

Day 1: Arrival in Kyoto

(-/-/-)

Upon your arrival at Kansai International Airport, one of our representatives will meet you and assist you to the shared shuttle van for your hotel in Kyoto.

 

The rest of the day is at leisure.

 

Overnight in Kyoto

 

Distance and journey time:

Kansai International Airport (KIX) to Central Kyoto (94 km): approx. 2 hr

Day 2: Kyoto, Cultural Experience

(B/-/-)

Today you will have a cultural activity that will take place in a machiya, a well-restored wooden house that is typical for Kyoto. Upon your arrival at the venue, your English-speaking assistant will first give you a short tour of the house, explaining its architecture and history, before you try on a kimono, the traditional Japanese garment. This will be followed by an introduction to chado or tea ceremony, which is a quintessential part of Japanese culture. The tea master will teach you every step, from preparing the tea to serving it to your guests.

 

The cultural experience will end with a walk through the old neighborhood, where you’ll have a chance to try sake, Japan’s local brew. (Note: In case the brewery is closed, the admission ticket to the brewery is offered so that clients can visit on other days during their stay in Kyoto).

 

The rest of the day is at leisure.

 

Time:

Start (cultural activity): 11:00 or 15:00

Duration: 2 hr

Day 3: Kyoto

(B/-/-)

Explore the former imperial capital with a guide, using Kyoto’s comprehensive bus and subway system to visit some of the city’s World Heritage Sites.

 

You will start your day with a visit to Nijo Castle. This ornamental castle, surrounded by stunning gardens, was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence. The main building was completed in 1603 and is well-known for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors, and ‘chirping nightingale’ floors.

 

Continue on to Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion, which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death, it became a Buddhist Temple at his request and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples.

 

You will also visit Ryoan-ji Temple, the site of Japan's most famous rock garden. Originally served as an aristocrat's villa during the Heian Period, the site was later on converted into a Zen Buddhist temple in the year 1450.

 

Next in the list is Kiyomizu-dera, the temple situated on Mt. Otowa. The most impressive part of the temple is probably the veranda, which stands at 13 meters tall and was built without any nails. The view from the veranda is breath-taking, especially when the sakura (cherry blossoms) are in full bloom or when the leaves change color in fall.

 

Afterwards, descend from the temple and stroll through the atmospheric Higashiyama district, small lanes filled with quaint shops that sell souvenirs including Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets, and pickles.

 

Note: Kiyomizu Temple is currently undergoing partial renovations.

 

Overnight in Kyoto

 

Time:

Start (guided tour): 09:00

Duration: 8 hr

*including pick-up/drop-off and transfer times

Day 4: Kyoto – Takamatsu (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/-)

Leaving behind Kyoto, you will begin your journey to Shikoku, one of the four main islands in Japan located between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Shikoku is a popular destination for pilgrimage tours and ecotourism for its numerous temples and shrines, as well as valleys, gorges, and mountains.

 

Your first stop is Takamatsu, the closest point in Shikoku to main Honshu island. It flourished as a castle town during the feudal era and now serves as a gateway for tourists wanting to visit the neighboring art islands such as Naoshima and Teshima.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary:

 

After leaving your luggage at the hotel, you can head to Ritsurin Park, one of the designated Special Places of Scenic Beauty in Japan. It is a 75-hectare property set against Mt. Shiun that features thirteen man-made hills, six ponds, oriental bridges, and a wide variety of trees and flowers such as the Crane and Turtle Pine Tree, the Evergreen Oak Tree, irises, and azaleas.

 

The park was originally built in the 1620s to serve as a private garden for the then leaders of Kagawa prefecture, the Ikoma Family, and after more than a century, the garden was completed and became the villa of the succeeding Matsudaira family. After the restoration of the Meiji era, it was opened to the public and has become one of the favorites of both locals and foreign tourists since then.

 

You can take a break and have your afternoon tea at Kikugetsu-tei, a teahouse set right in the middle of the park. Spend a pleasant time with a cup of green tea and a view of Nan-ko pond.

 

Overnight in Takamatsu

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Kyoto Station to JR Takamatsu Station: approx. 2 hr

Day 5: Takamatsu, Optional Tour (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/-)

You have the rest of the day to explore Takamatsu or have a day trip to one of the art islands:

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary (1):

 

Travel to Yashima, the so-called roof island of Shikoku. Here you will find the 5-hectare open-air museum of Shikoku Village that features the lifestyle of the locals between the Edo and the Meiji eras. It houses over twenty buildings, four of which are designated Important Cultural Properties, namely, the former Kono and Shimoki Residences and the processing facilities of sugar cane and soy sauce. There is also a kabuki theatre and a replica of one of the vine suspension bridges in Iya Valley.

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Takamatsu Station to JR Yashima Station: approx. 10 min *via limited express train

JR Yashima Station to Shikoku-mura (1 km): approx. 15 min walk

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary (2):

 

Alternatively, you can take the ferry to one of the following art islands that are always featured in the Setouchi Triennale festival:

 

Naoshima

Naoshima is a small art island where you can find contemporary museums and artworks such as the Chichu Art Museum, the Lee Ufan Museum, the Art House Project, the Ando Museum, and Yayoi Kusama’s red and yellow pumpkins.

 

Distance and journey time:

Takamatsu Port to Miyanoura Port: approx. 50 min

 

Teshima

Teshima, although a rural island filled with rice paddies, rice terraces, and coastlines, is a world-known destination not for agriculture but for contemporary art. In past years, both locals and foreigners have come to the island to visit the Les Archives du Cœur, the Teshima Yokoo House, and the Teshima Art Museum.

 

Distance and journey time:

Takamatsu Port to Ieura Port: 35-50 min

 

Shodoshima

Shodoshima, the second largest island in the region, is known as the birthplace of olive production in the country. Unlike its neighboring islands, it features not just its galleries but also its nature and pleasant climate, attracting both art enthusiasts and travelers who want to experience a Mediterranean-like atmosphere. Main attractions on the island include the Olive Park, the Kankakei Gorge, and the Angle Road. Access to the island can be via one of the 2 main ports, Tonosho or Kusakabe, and getting around by rental car is the most convenient option.

 

Distance and journey time:

Takamatsu Port to Tonosho Port or Kusakabe Port : approx. 60 min

 

Note: Ferry schedules may change without prior notice; fees are to be paid on spot.

 

Overnight in Takamatsu

Day 6: Takamatsu – Kotohira (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/D)

Before noon, get on the local train to Kotohira, the quiet town in Kagawa famous for its mountain temple.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary:

 

After leaving your luggage at your ryokan, you can start the hike up Kompira-san, a Shinto-and-Buddhist synagogue complex that holds the main shrine for the Shinto god of seafarers. Situated along the slopes of Mt. Zozu, the shrine can only be accessed via a long and steep staircase with 1,368 stone steps in total. Most visitors only make it up to the main hall (after 785 steps), but for those who would like to see the inner hall, a remaining 583 steps would be needed (approx. 45-minute hike).

 

Your accommodation will be in a ryokan, the traditional Japanese-style inn furnished with low tables and chairs, sliding shoji doors, and tatami flooring. The open-air hot spring baths in the ryokan have a view of Mt. Kompira.

 

Overnight in Kotohira

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Takamatsu Station to JR Kotohira Station: approx. 75 min

Day 7: Kotohira – Matsuyama (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/D)

From Kagawa, head to Ehime prefecture on the northwest of Shikoku. Ehime is known for its cycling tours, pilgrimage routes, and hot spring resort.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary:

 

Upon arriving at the station, you can choose to send your small luggage to your accommodation in Dogo Onsen. This service is available from 10:00 to 14:30, and your luggage is expected to arrive at your hotel/ryokan around 17:00 (fee to be paid on spot).

 

You can start your sightseeing with a visit to Matsuyama Castle, one of the only twelve remaining original castles in Japan. With around 200 cherry blossom trees, the castle grounds serve as a good spot for sakura-viewing in spring. It is located on top of Mt. Katsuyama, offering a panoramic view of the city and the nearby Seto Inland Sea, and can be accessed via ropeway or chairlift.

 

Later in the afternoon, you can stop by Dogo Onsen Honkan, a huge, wooden facility that is already more than a century old. It is said that one of the settings in the award-winning film “Spirited Away” by Hayao Miyazaki was based from this public onsen.

 

After a soothing bath, stroll around the resort, passing through the lively shopping arcade just across Dogo Onsen Honkan.

 

Overnight in Matsuyama

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Kotohira Station to JR Matsuyama Station: approx. 2.5 hr

Day 8: Matsuyama – Okayama (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/-)

It’s time to leave Shikoku behind and head to Okayama, a worthwhile detour for your journey to Kyushu.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary (1):

 

This morning you can choose to visit Ishite-ji, the 51st post temple along the Shikoku Pilgrimage route. Ishite-ji is claimed to be the most impressive temple among the 88 Buddhist temples in Shikoku, gathering a single star from Michelin.

 

Distance and journey time:

Dogo Onsen to Ishite-ji Temple (1.5 km): approx. 20 min

 

Shortly before noon, catch the train to Okayama, the prefecture in Honshu that is closest to Shikoku and is famous for its historical attractions and pleasant weather.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary (2):

 

After leaving your luggage at your hotel, you can choose to start your exploration in Kurashiki, the second most populated city in Okayama. During the Edo era, Kurashiki had served as the hub for storing rice and other local produce in the region, which justifies its name that literally means “warehouse village.” Nowadays, Kurashiki is frequented by local and foreign tourists for its well-preserved old houses, depots, and canals, which can all be found in the nostalgic Kurashiki Bikan and Canal Area.

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Okayama Station to JR Kurashiki: approx. 15 min

 

Overnight in Okayama

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Takamatsu Station to JR Okayama Station: approx. 50 min

Day 9: Okayama – Kumamoto (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/-)

It’s time for the scenic journey to Kyushu, the third largest island located in the south-westernmost part of Japan.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary (1):

 

Before you catch the bullet train around noon, you can spend your morning in Okayama Castle, which is also known as the “Crow Castle” for its black exterior. Inside the castle grounds you can also find Tsukimi-yagura Tower, which was used to defend the castle and now serves as a venue for cultural events such as moon watching during the annual Mid-Autumn Festival.

 

From the castle, you can proceed to Koraku-en Garden, hailed as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan and a designated Special Place of Scenic Beauty. The only way to get to the garden from Okayama Castle is via Tsukimibashi Bridge, a steel and concrete bridge that crosses over Asahi River. Inside the garden you will find a couple of teahouses and rest houses, well-maintained landscapes and ponds, and even a paddock and archery range that used to be the training area for the military.

 

In Kyushu, your first stop is Kumamoto, a plain surrounded by Ariake Sea on the west and the Kyushu Central Mountains on the left.

 

Overnight in Kumamoto

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Okayama Station to JR Kumamoto: approx. 2.5 hr

Day 10: Kumamoto, Optional Excursions (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/-)

Today, you can choose to have a more relaxed itinerary, exploring central Kumamoto on foot or with the use of its tram to see Kumamoto Castle and Shuizen-ji Joju-en Garden, or to have an excursion outside the city to one of its neighboring destinations.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary (1):

 

If the weather is nice and if you’re interested to do some trekking and hiking, you can get an early start and travel by train to Mt. Aso, a small rural town surrounded by five peaks, namely, Kishima-dake, Eboshi-dake, Naka-dake, Taka-dake, and Neko-dake.

 

Note: Due to volcanic activities, access to the caldera is currently prohibited. Alternative itinerary will be provided that can include the following (for other preferences, please let us know).

National Park Aso Daikanbou

This is the ideal starting point for a trekking on Mt. Daikanbo, the perfect spot from where the five peaks in Aso can be viewed. There are also shops and restaurants/cafes in the park, offering nice refreshments before or after the trek/hike.

 

Aso Shrine and surrounding shopping arcade

Aso Shrine is one of Japan’s many Shinto shrines and has around 2,500 years of history. Strolling around the shrine will take you to some traditional shops and will even give you a chance to have a taste of the “prized water” from one of the 20 fountains and water sources in the area.

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Kumamoto Station JR Aso Station: approx. 70 min

*use of local taxis or buses is needed to access the tourist spots

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary (2):

 

Alternatively, you can go to the onsen town of Beppu and visit the nine Jigoku (“hells”), unique hot springs that are only good for viewing and not for bathing due to their extreme temperatures. Here you will find a red, a blue, and a white jigoku, even a hot spring with crocodiles in it.

 

 

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Kumamoto Station JR Beppu Station: approx. 2.5 hr

*use of local buses is needed to access the tourist spots

 

Overnight in Kumamoto

Day 11: Kumamoto – Nagasaki (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/-)

Your next destination in Kyushu is one of the historical cities in Japan, Nagasaki. But aside from its tragic past, Nagasaki is also known for being the center of Portuguese, Dutch, and other European influences from the 16th to 19th century.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary:

 

After leaving your luggage at the hotel, you can head to Minami-Yamatemachi to visit the Oura Church or the Glover Garden or to just stroll in the cobblestone streets that are lined with souvenir shops. You can also walk all the way up the Dutch Slope, a place of hills rising from the deep, U-shaped harbor of houses perched on terraced slopes and of small streets and distinctive neighborhoods.

 

In the evening, you can choose to travel to the top of Mt. Inasa for one of the best night views in the world. Alternatively, you can go to the oldest Chinatown in the country to sample some of the regional dishes including champon, a type of noodle soup.

Overnight in Nagasaki

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Kumamoto Station JR Nagasaki Station: approx. 2.5 hr

Day 12: Nagasaki – Fukuoka (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/-)

Before you continue your journey to the vibrant port city of Fukuoka, you may want to visit a couple more places in Nagasaki.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary (1):

 

You can go to the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Park and Museum, where you will find a couple of monoliths and monuments that serve as gentle yet powerful reminders on the destructive effects of war.

 

Around noon, get on the train to Hakata Station, the main train station in Fukuoka that is surrounded by modern shops, commercial buildings, and hotels.

 

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary (2):

 

Later in the afternoon, you can have some relaxing time at the Canal City, a huge commercial complex with an artificial canal running through it. You can also go to Nakasu Island to try one of its yatai or open-air food stands, which can be found lined up along the river, selling some of the local delicacies such as Hakata ramen, gyoza, and motsunabe (hot pot dish).

 

 

 

Overnight in Fukuoka

 

Distance and journey time:

JR Nagasaki Station to JR Hakata Station: approx. 2 hr

Day 13: Fukuoka (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/-)

Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary:

 

You have the entire day to explore Fukuoka further. You can start with a morning visit to Kushida-jinja, the most important shrine in the city as the annual Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival is centered on it.

 

Next in the list can be the busy Yanagibashi Rengo Ichiba Fish Market, which has its origins in 1916. That year, a single merchant opened his stall and started selling fresh fish. As he began attracting more and more customers, other merchants started to settle-up next to him and it eventually became the bustling market you can see today.

 

Afterwards, you can head to Ohori Park, located at the heart of Fukuoka and appreciated for its beautiful pond and quiet environment. Here you can choose to have some refreshments while overlooking the pond.

 

In the evening, you might want to visit Fukuoka Tower, standing at 234 meters, offering great views of the city, the shores of Momochi Seaside Park, and the islands nearby. Alternatively, you can check out the stores in Tenjin for some last-minute shopping.

 

Overnight in Fukuoka

Day 14: Fukuoka – Osaka (Self Guided Day)

(B/-/-)

The rest of the morning can be spent at leisure in Fukuoka before you catch the bullet train to Osaka around noon. Upon your arrival in the city, you can check-in at your hotel and rest before your afternoon guided tour, featuring some of the local delicacies and street food stores in Osaka.

 

First, you will go to Doguyasuji shopping arcade, a unique market where you can find anything related to the food industry including the plastic food models you find outside Japanese restaurants.

 

After seeing so much plastic food, you’re probably feeling hungry and ready to have some snacks. So, your next stop will be in Dotonbori, a restaurant mecca which has long-been referred to as Osaka’s entertainment district and former “pleasure district.” Here you will see a wide array of food stalls and restaurants - you can choose to have either an order of takoyaki (octopus balls) or okonomiyaki (“Japanese pancake” with cabbage, pork, ginger, nori, and a special sauce).

 

While in Dotonbori, you may want to spare some time and pose in front of Kani Doraku, the huge crab with moving legs, or stand on Ebisubashi with the photo of the running Glico man as your backdrop. After taking some photos, you will continue on with your tour, passing by Hozenji Yokocho, an area with narrow alleys filled with more than 60 traditional restaurants and izakaya (traditional Japanese pubs). At the end of one of these alleys, you will find Hozenji Temple, where worshippers splash water on the statue of the deity instead of tossing coins.

 

Next, you will take the train to Shinsekai, a small, old town in Tennoji area that was designed after New York and Paris. Despite the post WWII economic impact, Shinsekai still remains to be one of the favourite places in Osaka for food lovers.

 

But before sampling some of the local delicacies, you will first go to Tsutenkaku, the tower modelled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris and one of Osaka’s top icons. The tower is famous for its seasonal lights, which even forecasts the weather on the following day through colour coding! Go to the fifth floor where you will find not just the observatory but also a replica of the statue of Billiken, the god of happiness.

 

Now it’s time to discover the delicious wonders of Shinsekai. For dinner, we recommend kushikatsu, a skewer of meat and vegetables dipped in batter, rolled on bread crumbs, and then deep fried. Your guide can also give other suggestions and will be happy to show you to the restaurant of your choice.

 

Overnight in Osaka

 

Time:

Start (guided tour): 16:00

Duration: 4 hr

Day 15: Departure from Osaka

(B/-/-)

The rest of the day is at leisure until your scheduled transfer by train or shared shuttle bus to Kansai International Airport.

 

Distance and journey time:

Namba Station to Kansai Airport (43km): 44mins *via express train

Namba OCAT bus stop to Kansai International Airport (52km): approx. 50mins (shuttle bus)

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TOUR PRICES :  FROM AUD3,860.00 per person
  • Japan experiences dramatic pricing fluctuations based on Festivals, Domestic holidays and in some instances on weekends. Please consult with your Travel Consultant for exact pricing over a specific date. Reservations during weekends, peak season, and Japanese public holidays will be subject to supplementary charges.

  • Prices are estimated for 2016, subject to change upon receipt of actual tariffs.

 

Notes:

  • Nijo Castle is closed on Tuesdays (or if Tuesday is a National holiday, closed the following day).

  • Most museums are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays (if that day is a national holiday, closed the following day), during year-end holidays (usually between December 29 and January 3), and on other days (i.e. maintenance, change in exhibition, etc.).

  • The cultural experience is a join-in activity, so there may be other participants present. In case the sake brewery is closed, the admission ticket to the brewery is offered so that clients can visit on other days during their stay in Kyoto. Alternatively, you can have the origami class instead of the sake brewery visit at no additional cost.

  • For safety reasons, some public transport may stop operating in case of unfavorable weather conditions.

  • Please inform your travel agent of any special dietary requirements that you may have.

Package includes
  • Hotel accommodation in twin room with daily breakfast (for ryokan, minshuku, and other traditional accommodation, rooms are Japanese-style with futon and meals are half board).

  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).

  • Meet and greet at the airport and return transfers to the airport.

  • 14-Day Japan Rail Pass in ordinary class (activated on Day 2).

  • 2-Day Kyoto Bus and Subway Pass from Day 2 to 3.

  • PASMO Transport Pass at a value of 1,500 JPY for Day 14.

  • English-speaking guides for tours in Kyoto (Day 3) and Osaka (Day 14) (for other languages, supplementary charges apply).

  • All entrance fees and public transportation fees as mentioned in the itinerary on Days 3 and 14.

  • Cultural experience in Kyoto on Day 2.

  • Information Pack.

NOT Included in the tour prices
  • International and domestic flights (quoted separately).

  • Some local transport (e.g. some local city buses, taxi transfers, etc.).

  • Meals other than mentioned above.

  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone, and other expenditures of a personal nature).

  • Travel insurance (we strongly recommend you purchase this, please ask your Aussienet Travel consultant for details of policies available).

  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.