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Ancient Empires—Beijing to Tokyo
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Until Dec 17 From Jan 18

Explore two ancient nations in 16 well-packed days on this unique journey that takes you from the epic lengths of the Great Wall of China to the poetic views of Mt Fuji. Hop aboard trains and ferries and face an army of Terracotta Warriors for a historical encounter you won't soon forget. Spend nights in a traditional ryokan and a shukubo temple lodging for an authentic Japanese experience. Our CEOs will take you off the beaten track to reveal the cultural treasures of the regions ancient sites.

  • Duration: 18 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Local Culture & Cuisine, Sightseeing, Walking Tour
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 100%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: ACCJ.A/201378
  • Starts: Beijing, China
  • Finishes: Tokyo, Japan
You will Visit
  • Beijing
  • Xi’an
  • Suzhou
  • Shanghai
  • Osaka
  • Kōyasan
  • Hiroshima-shi
  • Kyoto
  • Hakone
  • Tokyo

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Beijing

Arrive at any time.
Is Beijing top of your must-see list? Booking pre-trip accommodations will let you do Beijing your way before meeting up with the group.

02

Day 2: Beijing

Take the Beijing metro to visit the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

03

Day 3: Beijing/Xi’an

Enjoy an included visit to the Great Wall. Later, board a fast train to Xi'an.
Head out of town to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. After time spent wandering around, taking photos, and picking up souvenirs, hop on a fast train to Xi'an.

04

Day 4: Xi’an/Suzhou

Visit one of China's greatest archaeological treasures—the Terracotta Warriors—and enjoy a local lunch at a farmhouse. Opt to cycle the ancient city walls before an overnight train to Suzhou.

05

Day 5: Suzhou

Visit Suzhou, the "Venice of the East." Explore the Master of the Nets Garden, one of China's most exquisite gardens.

06

Day 6: Suzhou/Shanghai

Travel to Shanghai and take an orientation walk along the Bund.
Arrive in the afternoon to Shanghai. After an orientation walk along Shanghai's famous Bund, you are free to explore the delights this modern Chinese city has to offer.

07

Day 7: Shanghai

Enjoy free time in this bustling city before watching a spectacular Chinese acrobat show in the evening.

08

Day 8: Shanghai/Osaka

Cross the East China Sea to Japan aboard a modern passenger ferry.
The 48 hr crossing is a good time to relax and refresh for the next section of your journey. Facilities on board are clean and comfortable.

09

Day 9: Shanghai/Osaka

Cross the East China Sea to Japan aboard a modern passenger ferry.
The 48 hr crossing is a good time to relax and refresh for the next section of your journey. Facilities on board are clean and comfortable.

10

Day 10: Osaka

Enjoy free time to explore this vibrant and exotic city.

11

Day 11: Osaka/Kōyasan

Depart early and travel to the centre of Buddhism in Japan and sleep in a temple atop the 800m Mt Koya. Savour a traditional dinner of shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine). Watch the monks pray in the morning.
Journey to Mt Koya, a religious centre founded in 816 by the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. The train ride up the mountain is possibly one of the finest rail journeys in Japan. For the final steep ascent, switch to funicular and then hop on a bus to reach the monastery.

In the evening, dine on shojin-ryori, typical vegetarian cuisine, and relax in a yukata, or kimono.

12

Day 12: Kōyasan/Hiroshima

Watch the monks pray in the morning and enjoy a traditional breakfast before travelling to Hiroshima.
Early morning offers the chance to observe the monks praying. Breathe in some fresh mountain air before a vegetarian breakfast, then start the journey back down the mountain via bus, train and funicular.

Later, board a train to Hiroshima, a historically significant city, marked by the explosion of the first atomic bomb in 1945.

13

Day 13: Hiroshima

Visit the Peace Park and Memorial Museum and take a ferry ride over to the sacred island of Miyajima to see the famous floating torii gate.

14

Day 14: Hiroshima/Kyoto

Travel to Kyoto and start exploring. Enjoy a visit to the beautiful Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine.
In the evening, stroll along the river or around Gion, get a fantastic meal, and see locals dressed in traditional kimono.

15

Day 15: Kyoto

Visit the impressive Nijo Castle and gardens along with the famous Kinaku-ji Golden Pavilion, and practice meditation in Daisen-in's Zen rock garden.

16

Day 16: Kyoto/Hakone

Take a boat ride on Lake Ashino-ko and a walk along the Old Tokaido Highway, and hopefully catch a glimpse of majestic Mt Fuji. Enjoy a stay in traditional ryokan accommodation, feast on a Japanese multi-course kaiseki meal, soak in the natural hot springs, and sleep on a futon.
Travel to Hakone, a town in the hills famous for its onsens, or natural hot springs. Stay in a traditional ryokan, with its own private onsen.

In the evening, enjoy the ryokan, savouring a complex meal of traditional Japanese foods, followed by a recommended soak in the onsen.

17

Day 17: Hakone/Tokyo

Head to Tokyo with time to do some last-minute shopping.
Arrive before noon to Tokyo, with time to explore this energetic metropolis.

Opt to visit Ueno park and the museums, Akihabara for cutting edge electronics, Harajuku for funky fashions, Ginza for the highest of the high end, walk the grounds of the Imperial Palace East Garden, or just stroll the streets, looking for the traditional life that still lies just under the modern surface.

18

Day 18: Tokyo

Depart at any time.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Local Living: Overnight in Mount Koya Temple, Kōyasan
    • Great Wall excursion and entrance (Beijing)
    • Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City guided tour
    • Terracotta Warriors excursion (Xi'an)
    • Master of the Nets Garden visit (Suzhou)
    • Shanghai orientation walk
    • Chinese acrobat performance (Shanghai)
    • Sea ferry journey
    • Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum visit
    • Miyajima excursion with floating torii gate visit
    • Nijo Castle and gardens visit (Kyoto)
    • Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion visit
    • Daisen-in Temple and Zen garden visit
    • Lake Ashino-ko boat ride
    • Traditional ryokan stay with kaiseki meal
    • Japan Rail (JR) pass (7 days)
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels (12 nts), sleeper train (1 nt), ferry (2 nts, multi-share), mountain monastery (1 nt, shared facilities), traditional inn (1 nt, shared facilities)
    • 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
    Transport
    • Train, local bus, air-con bus, sea ferry, boat, walking, bullet train
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout except on ferry from China to Japan, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Meet the ancient Terracotta Warriors
  • Cross the East China Sea by ferry
  • Get a bird's-eye view of Mt Fuji from a cable car
  • Stay in a traditional ryokan.


Reviews (10)
Josee B Posted on: 

Millicent, our tour guide made the trip a great experience. She always made sure we had all the information ahead of where we were going and did a briefing once we got to the destination. She never missed a bit. Her energy level was high and her upbeat personality kept us enthusiastic.

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Yih-Jy L Posted on: 

It certainly covered a lot of areas in a very short time. It was exciting to see so many different things and experience 2 different cultures in a short time

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Emma C Posted on: 

Billiant tour. loved the places. loved the people. May was amazing!!

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Parisha P Posted on: 

The tour itself was excellent. We see all the key cities of Japan and had a feel of the culture. The accommodations for Japan were really good.

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Natalia O Posted on: 

Both parts of the tour were amazing although so much different. I couldn't believe that countries that are situated so close to each other are so different. It was great to experience them both through this trip.

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Gregory F Posted on: 

It was a great trip, with lots to see and do. We definitely got to experience two very different cultures.

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Christine P Posted on: 

I did not want to come home at the end of the tour. I have wanted to go to Japan all my life and I was not disappointed. China was an experience I yearn to have again also. The sights, the friendly locals and the history is just overwhelming in ways I never imagined.

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Anton M Posted on: 

The Tour part in china was well chosen the timing was good the Transport excellent Similar in Japan it was excellent, Transport, Hotels etc were very good.

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Parisha P Posted on: 

The tour itself was fantastic! I saw so much in such a short amount of time! There was so much to do in some places that the entire day would pass and you wouldn't even realize it! It was a real experience to use the local transport and to communicate with the local people. I have learned and seen a great deal from this tour.

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Hannah-Jane T Posted on: 

Overall the Ancient Empires trip was a fantastic experience and a great trip. It caught my eye while I was looking for trips in China; Japan was not somewhere I would automatically have thought of visiting but when I saw this trip combining the 2 countries, I was immediately curious and wanted to book straight away! It is a great opportunity for anyone short on time (i.e.just taking a regular holiday) to get to see a lot of both countries in a short period of time. The pace is fast but somehow that also fits and works well, constantly on the go and seeing and experiencing new things. Overall, I loved the combination of these 2 Ancient Empires in this aptly named trip and would highly recommend it in its entirety or even just the 2 separate parts that fit together to create it, China Express and Japan Express! Great trips!

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