The itineraries in our tours are flexible, and do vary occasionally, sometimes due to weather or on-going events such as festivals which guests may want to see. In addition if there is something else you’d like to do or see on your trip please mention this to your tour leader and we’ll try our best to ensure you can do it.
Age / Requirements / Fitness
The Japan Heartland Tour is suitable for ages of around 12 and upwards, and is ideal for families, couples, and singles alike. All ages are welcome and the eldest guest we've had on one of our Small Group Tours, to date, is 87 — she was one of the fittest members in the group!
Our only requirements are English speaking ability (all tours are conducted in English) and a zest for life! While Olympic levels of fitness are not necessary, on average we walk around 3 to 5 kilometres per day, steps are involved at some of the tourist sites we visit as are slopes. Most stations do have escalators but not all and an extended time is spent on the feet each day. If you have any questions about this, please just let us know.
Having said all that, walking is done at an easy pace, with plenty of stops for ice cream and to absorb the sights. In the unlikely event that an excursion is going to be too taxing or if you have another preference, you are welcome to break away from the group at any time. No part of the itinerary is compulsory; we like to keep things as fun and flexible as possible!
As with all our Small Group Tours in Japan we use the extremely efficient, clean, safe and reliable public transportation network. - It's the most efficient way to get around, and by far it's the best way to experience the country and its people. This is not a tour bus holiday with fixed tourist trap set lunches and carpet sales in the afternoon! At times, particularly in Kyoto when using the city bus it might not always be possible to sit. For longer journeys we use the bullet train and seats are reserved in advance.
We do at times forward your main cases ahead from one hotel to another (one case per person) allowing you to travel light and easy keeping things as fun as possible. If you bring too much luggage with you, or buy too many souvenirs during the tour and require additional use of the service, this can easily be arranged. The service is cheap and reliable.
The minimum number of passengers on the Heartland Tour is two — we believe it’s unfair to cancel tours when the numbers are not larger.
Because we keep the group size to a maximum of 10, unfortunately we have to charge a single supplement of £ 380 if travelling alone. For this you'll be ensured to have a room to yourself for the entirety of the tour, except for when staying at the traditional accommodation, here we may ask you to share a room with another member of the group of the same sex. If you have any questions about this, please drop us a line.
- ALL accommodation. (12 nights)
- The support of your Tour Leader for the entirety of the tour
- ALL city to city transportation including the shinkansen bullet train
- Entrance fees to Museums, Temples, Shrines and Gardens while with the guide following the itinerary are included. Visiting alternative / additional sites at personal expense
- Meet & greet at the airport in Tokyo (either Narita or Haneda) on arrival and transfer (Guided) to the tour hotel in the city up to one week before the starting date of the tour
- Tickets for airport transfer at the end of the tour from the tour hotel (non-guided)
- On the 2018 tours - Most local transport (subways / trains / buses) is covered by the various travel passes we issue, but not all, coming to an overall total of around an additional GB£25
- On the 2019 tours onwards, ALL local transportation will be covered while following the set guided itinerary. (Any non-guided side-excursions at personal expense)
- Suica card - An electronic travel card with JPY1,500 credit on it for your convenience (saves fumbling around with tickets especially while in Tokyo!)
- Authentic Tea Ceremony at a tea house in Kyoto
- Sumida River Cruise in Tokyo
- Baggage forwarding for one bag / case, two times (from Kyoto to Okayama and from Okayama to Osaka). If you would like to use the service more than this it can easily be organised
- Breakfast every morning
- Group meal on Day 1 in Tokyo (Alcoholic drinks included!)
- Dinner on Days 7 and 8 (Kaiseki Ryori at Miyajima)
- Dinner on Day 11 (Shojin Ryori at Mount Koya)
- Tour Info-Pack
- 100% payment protection through the TTA (our membership number is U6165)
What's not included?
- Meals, except for the ones mentioned above
- In the 2018 tour, Local transportation (subways / city buses) not covered by the various travel passes we issue for the tour are not included - This comes to around GB£25 in total. (From 2019, ALL local transportation while with the guide and following the itinerary will be included)
- Travel Insurance. You must take out travel insurance before travelling to Japan, we suggest this is done soon after a booking has been made.
- Flights to and from Japan!