A very well thought out trip - Sep 26 - Oct 14, 2019
A very well thought out trip working around 2 Rugby world cup matches which inevitably constrained the itinerary to a degree. The information provided before and during the trip was excellent and where we had guides they were very good, it was nice to be met at the airport and talked through using the train system and to set up our japan rail pass. We became confident in using the transport systems much more quickly than we would have left to our own devices.
Hotel choices were well judged with great locations and were a better standard than I expected for the cost of the tour. We took up a couple of suggestions that we wouldn't normally have gone for and were glad that we did - the evening guided food and drink tour in Osaka was particularly memorable.
We started with a few days in Tokyo then travelled down to Hiroshima and over to Miyajima Island - that was a highlight despite the iconic Tori gate being covered in scaffolding. We then got the train back up to Kyoto where we were based for 4 nights, as well as visiting numerous sites here we also did day trips to Nara - must visit, loved the deer and Himeji castle where we were shown round by a volunteer guide - these were available at numerous sites and very knowledgeable.
The station hotel in Kyoto was probably our favourite in Japan - great rooms, facilities and location and good restaurant recommendations by the concierge.
Next we went back to Tokyo for 3 days and met up with some friends for a couple of days watching England beat Argentina, visiting the robot restaurant and going on a bar/restaurant crawl, we also really enjoyed the team labs borderless digital art gallery.
From Tokyo we did a loop through the mountains first to Kanazawa, we then stopped at the world heritage site village of Shirakiwa-go in the mountains on the way to Takayama. We stayed for 2 nights in a ryokan in Takayama to coincide with the autumn festival - a lovely town and great experience. From here we got the bus to Matsumoto where we visited the castle and art museum.
Our last stop on the trip was Yokohama - very near Tokyo but quite a different feel with a very interesting waterfront. Unfortunately the England v France match was cancelled as Typhoon hagibis passed through on the saturday - it was eerie spending a day in the hotel with everything shut down.
The weather was beautiful the next morning and we managed to get tickets to watch Japan beat Scotland - a memorable last night in Japan before our flight home next morning.