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The Mystery of Japan

Combine an exploration of Tokyo's bright lights with a trip to Kyoto and a journey into the country's Zen heartlands for a heady blast of culture, temples and top walking on ancient pathways including the Nakasendo Way, which winds through Japan's forested alps.

  • Japan

  • 14 nights
  • All breakfasts, nine dinners & five lunches
  • Worldwide Journeys

    Culture

    Landscape

  • Mar

    May

    Oct

    Nov

Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 42600

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Walking grade

Grade 4

Usually, your walk will take up the whole day at a moderate pace, however many of these holidays will have an element of sightseeing in our ‘Discover Collection’ as well to ensure you enjoy the very best of the areas we visit. Terrain will often be hilly and paths generally good. Note that on holidays in mountainous areas, expect some rougher paths. An average walk length is 6 miles but expect this to vary from as little as 3 miles on a sightseeing day and up to 10 miles on a full day dependant on the amount of ascent and decent required.  

Usual daily walks - Distance: 6 miles; Ascent/Descent 500m; Terrain: sometimes hilly and undulating on good paths and tracks; Walking Time: Day walks. 

Please ensure to read the 'Proposed Itinerary' for a more accurate description of daily activities on each holiday, and if unsure please contact one of our friendly experts for advice. 

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Wander Kyoto's tranquil; temples and the famous geisha district of Gion.
  • Immerse yourself in the futuristic whirl of Tokyo.
  • Walk the most picturesque stretches of the ancient Nakasendo Way.
  • See Miyajima's famous Tori gates.
  • Take the incredible high-speed bullet train.
  • Sample saki, try soba noodles and enjoy a tea ceremony.
  • Relax in a traditional hot spring bath.
  • Experience cherry blossom season or beautiful autumn colours.

Welcome to a journey like no other! Japan, a country steeped in tradition yet bustling with modernity, beckons you to explore its vibrant cities and rich cultural heritage. Join us on an unforgettable holiday as we explore its captivating cities, countryside and coast.

Japan is a must-see destination. But why and what’s it really like? Is it the Geishas hurrying through the old streets of Kyoto or the 634m Tokyo Skytree tower? Is it the wooded misty walks along the Nakasendo Way and the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Path, or the Shinkansen Bullet Train which speeds you through the country? Is it cherry blossom in the spring or Japanese maples in the autumn? Hiroshima or Mount Fuji? It is of course all of these, and more. 

Japan’s most beautiful sights are often connected to temples, be they Shinto or Buddhist. Here the exquisite works of man and nature combine. It has been said that the Japanese have an almost sacred relationship to nature, be it in the temple gardens or in the countryside – it is noteworthy that 60% of the country is covered in trees and Kyoto especially has a wealth of tranquil green spaces.

Many will want to see Japan in the spring during the ‘hanami’ cherry blossom season, and our early departures aim to catch this classic experience. We have one departure in May, when fewer people travel, which includes the unique ‘shiba-zakura’ flowers near Mount Fuji. The Japanese autumn starts later than ours and goes well into November, and one of our departures is designed to catch the autumn colours at their very best. Words sometimes struggle to do justice to the natural wonders of Japan – we suggest you look at our photo gallery and also Google images.

We have a local guide throughout as well as a Ramble Worldwide leader. In Kyoto and Tokyo we use public transport so you will move around the cities as a local, not as a tourist… but outside rush hour.  Most dinners are included, but where they are not, follow our Ramble Worldwide leader to discover the great variety of Japanese cooking.

When you leave, we hope you will feel that Japan is a little less mysterious to you than it is now, but having had an even more wonderful experience than you ever could have imagined.


  • Return flights from London to Osaka via Tokyo returning from Tokyo.
  • Airport transfers and all local transport costs.
  • Comfortable en suite accommodation with breakfasts in the hotels.
  • Nine dinners and five lunches.
  • Services of a local English-speaking Japanese guide throughout
  • Entrance fees to all included highlights
  • Special cherry blossom and autumn colour departures
  • A 'Water to Go' filter bottle posted to you before departure
  • The services of a Discover Tour Leader
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Travel

We board our flight to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Day 2

Osaka

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

When we land in Osaka, before checking into our hotel, our local guide will take us on a brief tour of the city. What we see will depend on the time available. This evening we get our first taste of real Japanese cooking in the vibrant Dotonbori entertainment area of Osaka.

Day 3

Shirahama

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We leave Osaka and head south into the mountains of the Wakayama peninsula. (Note that your main bag will be taken directly to Kyoto so you will need an overnight bag for two nights.) We stop in the secluded Buddhist monastery of Mount Koya, visited by a million Shingon Buddhist pilgrims a year, and which gets 3 stars in the Michelin Green Guide.  We see the vermilion ‘Great Pagoda’, enjoy a Buddhist meal and walk along the Okunoin Approach, a 2km path deep in the forest, lined with cedars and stone shrines from through the ages. From here we continue south to the Pacific coast at Shirahama where we can enjoy a hot spring, the quintessential relaxing Japanese experience.

Day 4

Shirahama

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent

    350m

Today we walk from the sea along the ancient Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail. This includes the beautiful and atmospheric cobbled ‘Daimon-zaka’ section of the trail through cedar forest. Our ultimate destination is the Kumano Nachi Taisha, one of the most famous sights in Japan, a beautiful pagoda with Japan’s highest waterfall as a backdrop.

Day 5

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

We leave the coast and journey north. We stop in Nara, one of Japan’s ancient capitals. The city is famous for the sika deer which wander through Nara Park amidst the temples, pagodas and cherry trees. A short distance to the north is Kyoto, everyone’s favourite Japanese city and our base for the next 5 days.

Day 6

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we concentrate on the sights of northern Kyoto. We see the thousands of small stone Buddhas at the Adashino Nenbutsu Temple, the beautiful moss garden at the Giouji Temple and end the morning with a cup of tea at Japanese film director Okouchi Sanso’s house & gardens,  and a walk in the bamboo forests in the countryside at Arashiyama west of the city. Here is also the Moon Bridge close to a riverside park with many cherry trees, and with a backdrop of wooded hillsides which look splendid in the autumn. Before leaving Arashiyama we spend time in the exquisite gardens surrounding the pond at Tenryu-ji.

Day 7

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

This is a full day, and one you are unlikely ever to forget. We board the 08.27 bullet train to Hiroshima which whisks us south. We then take the ferry out to Miyajima Island where the red Torii gate in the sea is one of Japan’s most famous images. Back on the mainland we spend time in the Peace Memorial Park and museum, commemorating the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The bullet train then speeds us back to Kyoto. Dinner is not included this evening, but we strongly recommend buying a ‘bento box’ at Hiroshima station and eating dinner on the move, Japanese style.

Day 8

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation

A later start today finds us at one of Japan’s most spectacular sights, the magnificent Golden Temple (Kinkakuji). This Zen temple overlooks a large pond surrounded by trees and is an example of the extravagant buildings from the early 15th century – the top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. After lunch we visit Ryoanji, the site of Japan’s most famous Zen rock garden. From any vantage point at least one the 15 rocks which make up the garden is hidden from view. We should be back in the hotel mid-afternoon, allowing you some time to explore the city on your own.

Day 9

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

We spend the morning at the Fushumi Inari shrine complex. The most famous feature of this is the path leading through thousands of vermilion Tori gates. We follow the trails beyond the gates into the woods of sacred Mount Inari, ending some 200m above the city at the Yotsutsuji viewpoint. There are small shrines and restaurants along the way. By contrast the afternoon finds us in Gion district of the city. Here narrow passageways lead off busy thoroughfares, and you are likely to see Geishas (known in Kyoto as ‘Geikos’). It’s good to come back here in the evening on your own or with the group to sample one of the seemingly infinite varieties of saki at a saki bar, or join in the fun at an ‘izakaya’, a Japanese version of a pub.

Day 10

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation

Our first visit today is to the Kiyomizu-dera or ‘Pure Water Temple’. This Buddhist temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site sits high above the city. Its wooden terrace overlooks a valley which in the spring is bursting with cherry blossom. We then visit the Yasaka Shrine in Gion, famous for its rows of hanging lanterns, which is next to Maruyama Park, one of the most famous cherry blossom spots in Kyoto in season. We include lunch today, then this afternoon we walk the Philosopher’s Path, probably the best known place in Japan to experience the ‘hanami’ cherry blossom season, and end the day with a visit to the Silver Temple. Here there is a beautiful moss garden consisting of ponds, islands and bridges, and a unique dry sand garden, the Sea of Silver Sand.

Day 11

Kiso Valley

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    230/390m

We catch the Bullet Train to Nagoya, then continue by coach into the Kiso Valley between the Northern & Central Alps, arriving late morning. (Note that your main bag will be taken directly to Tokyo so you will need an overnight bag for two nights.) The Nakasendo Way is the ancient post trail which once connected Tokyo (then called Edo) and Kyoto. Today and tomorrow we walk two of the most picturesque stretches, where the simple wooden buildings in the villages through which we pass speak of a bygone age. Today’s walk starts in Magome and ends in Tsumago. Our hotel tonight is in the Kiso Valley, surrounded by lush, tree-clad hills.

Day 12

Yamanakoko

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2.5 hours

  • Distance

    3.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    150m

We continue on the Nakasendo Way from Tsumago to Nagiso, another small village which speaks of the days when Japan cut itself off from the outside world. On completing the walk a soba (buckwheat) noodle lunch is included in the town Iida. Enjoyed worldwide, this is the area of Japan where soba noodles originate. We then continue by coach to Kofu. There is no guarantee of this, but weather permitting we will be able to see clearly the majestic peak of Mount Fuji!

Day 13

Tokyo

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Today’s itinerary will depend on the season. All departures will visit Arakurayama Asama Park. A 20 minute walk up a flight of stairs here brings you to a viewing platform where you can capture Mt Fuji, a five storey pagoda and, according to the season, a sea of cherry blossom or rich autumn colours in the same view. In May we will also stop near Lake Motusu to experience the utterly spectacular ‘Shiba-zakura’, little-known outside Japan, when vast fields of pink phlox moss bloom against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. Our autumn departure will also stop near Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes, to experience the spectacular autumn colours. Mid to late afternoon will find us in Tokyo.

Day 14

Tokyo

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we visit the Tokyo National Museum which offers a fascinating Japanese culture and art. We also visit Asakusa for its park, the magnificent Senso-ji Buddhist temple, and pagodas. Lunchtime finds us in the nearby Nakamise Street where food and shopping go hand in hand. Join the locals for ‘Tabearuki’ or ‘walk and eat’. We then see the Imperial Palace, and have some free time before our final farewell dinner.

Day 15

Final day

Meals

Breakfast

We transfer by coach out to the airport for our return flight to the UK.

Departure dates for your selected tour

27th Mar 2024 - 10th Apr 2024 (14 Nights)

15th May 2024 - 29th May 2024 (14 Nights)

6th Nov 2024 - 20th Nov 2024 (14 Nights)

26th Mar 2025 - 9th Apr 2025 (14 Nights)

7th May 2025 - 21st May 2025 (14 Nights)

1st Oct 2025 - 15th Oct 2025 (14 Nights)

15th Oct 2025 - 29th Oct 2025 (14 Nights)

Travel Details

  • Return flights from London to Osaka International via Tokyo returning from Tokyo Haneda.
  • Airport transfers by road c.1hr.
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights, this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. 
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • No visa is required for Uk passport holders.



Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

Hotel Respire

Centrally located close to the main railway station, the Hotel Respire is a large tourist and business hotel with smart comfortable rooms and all 21st century mod cons. The streamlined rooms feature flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi access, plus tea and coffeemaking facilities, and minifridges. Amenities include an airy Italian restaurant, a cafe and a bar, plus a fitness room and coin-operated laundry facilities. It is just 2 metro stops from Dotonbori where we have dinner.

Nanki Shirahama Marriott Hotel

Housed in a modern building on a hillside overlooking Namariyama Bay, the Nanki Shirahama Marriott Hotel is a 6-minute walk from the white sands of Shirarahama Beach and 2 km from Heisogen Park. Modern rooms have flat-screen TVs and desks. The hotel offers a grill-style restaurant with bay views and fresh seafood dishes; a breakfast buffet is available. Other amenities include an outdoor pool with a sundeck, plus indoor and outdoor hot spring baths.

Rihga Gran Kyoto

The Rihga Gran Kyoto is a swish brand new hotel opening in July 2020 very conveniently located just a 3 minute walk south of Kyoto’s main station. It isn’t far from the Ko-ji area which contains the city’s oldest buildings, and is also within easy walking distance of the Nishiki-koji street food market. The photos on our website are computer generated – we’ll add real ones when they are available.

Enakyo Grand Hotel

Set on a wooded hillside, the Enakyo Grand Hotel offers views of the Kiso River and Ena Gorge. Laid-back rooms provide flat-screen TVs, minifridges and tea making facilities, as well as views of the gorge. Amenities consist of a casual restaurant with sweeping river views, along with a cosy bar, a tea lounge, and a communal, gender-segregated bathhouse offering open-air soaking pools with natural hot spring water.


Fuji Marriott Yamanakako

This Fuji Marriott Yamanakako is 2 miles from Lake Yamanaka, from the shores of which rises the mighty Mount Fuji. The unpretentious rooms come with flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, plus minifridges and sitting areas. There's a gender-segregated bathhouse with natural hot spring water offering outdoor areas and views of Mount Fuji. And if you ever wanted to play tennis with views of Mount Fuji, now’s your chance.

Hotel Remm Ginza

The Hotel Remm Ginza scores top marks for location in the heart of Tokyo’s Ginza district, with, according to Trip Advisor, over 3000 restaurants and 299 attractions within 0.3 miles of it.

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

We have graded this holiday Sightseeing / 4. Whilst much of the walking will be easier than grade 4, to fully enjoy the holiday you need to be happy with grade 4 walks. Countryside walking makes up most of our day on the Kumano Kodo, and two half days of the Nakasendo Way. Within the cities there will be plenty of walking in parks and gardens, but you should also bear in mind that the visits to Mount Koya and the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto will involve a certain amount of walking.

Usually, your walk will take up the whole day at a moderate pace, however many of these holidays will have an element of sightseeing in our ‘Discover Collection’ as well to ensure you enjoy the very best of the areas we visit. Terrain will often be hilly and paths generally good. Note that on holidays in mountainous areas, expect some rougher paths. An average walk length is 6 miles but expect this to vary from as little as 3 miles on a sightseeing day and up to 10 miles on a full day dependant on the amount of ascent and decent required.  

Usual daily walks - Distance: 6 miles; Ascent/Descent 500m; Terrain: sometimes hilly and undulating on good paths and tracks; Walking Time: Day walks. 

Please ensure to read the 'Proposed Itinerary' for a more accurate description of daily activities on each holiday, and if unsure please contact one of our friendly experts for advice. 

Walks & Excursions

This holiday is a mixture of sightseeing and walking, although as most of the sightseeing is done on foot it is a very active holiday. 

Please note: This itinerary has been planned to be busy and full-packed so that you make the most of your time and experience as much as possible. There will be some free time during the tour for you to explore on your own or relax, and details will be confirmed locally by your RWH leader and the local guide.

Local Transport Costs

In the holiday cost, we've included all local transport expenses related to the advertised activity program for your convenience. If there are additional visits or excursions to enrich your experience, you can choose to participate and cover the costs locally. Depending on the itinerary, local transport may involve a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses, and ferries.

Optional Excursions

At your destination, you may have the option to book various local excursions and activities through a local operator. It's important to note that we are not involved in these activities or excursions, and we do not operate, supervise, or control them in any way. Your contract will be directly with the local activity supplier, and we bear no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day. Allow about £30 per meal for dinners not included in Kyoto.

Currency in Japan

Japanese Yen. Japan is very much a cash based society. Credit and debit cards can however be used in most areas visited on our itinerary.

Holiday Currency

The currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY or ¥). Even in this day and age, cash is definitely better for Japan.  Where credit cards are accepted, they might limit acceptance to certain cards or certain times.  Most restaurants, especially in cities, now take credit cards. Department stores and major shops should take plastic, especially food departments.  Moreover, you can now use almost all credit or debit cards in ATMs in Japanese banks, so cash is easy to get. Crime rates in Japan are very low, so carrying cash around is safe, though normal precautions should be taken. The bottom line is therefore carry some Yen, have a credit card to use for shopping and a debit card for use in an ATM if necessary.

Tipping

Tipping is alien to Japanese culture so there is no need to tip in Japanese restaurants or if you take a taxi anywhere. However in common with many other areas of the world it is appropriate to tip your tour guide or driver if s/he has stayed with you for more than a day. We recommend the equivalent of £3 per person per day for the guide and £2 per person per day for the driver, though we must emphasise that this is entirely voluntary and should be seen as a thank you for a job well done.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader plays a crucial role in enhancing your holiday experience, and they share your passion for exploring the world on foot. In addition to being resourceful and organized they are also well-travelled and deeply enthusiastic about showing you new destinations.  Your tour leader takes care of all the local administration, ensuring you can fully enjoy your holiday without worrying about the logistics. While leading group holidays, they always keep in mind that each group is composed of individuals. Each tour leader brings their unique style, talents, and professional background to the table. Rest assured, they are all trained, qualified, experienced, and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting, and inspiring as possible. Remember, your leader, while on holiday, is your first port of call for any issues, ensuring a smooth and worry-free experience for you.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will meet with you to review the program for the next day. This is your chance to discuss details and ensure that the planned activities align with your walking ability. If you have any concerns about clothing or equipment, feel free to bring them up during this discussion. If, for any reason, you prefer not to participate in the organized group program, please inform your leader. Your preferences are important, and your leader is there to make sure your experience aligns with your expectations.

Your Travel Details

We fly from London to Osaka International via Tokyo and back from Tokyo Haneda. 

On arrival in Tokyo you will need to clear passport control, collect you luggage and transfer from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1. This transfer is by bus. On arrival at Terminal 3 you will then have to recheck your bags, clear security and passport control again. Unless you put any duty-free purchases from London in hold baggage on arrival these will be confiscated when you go through security again. There is little that can be done to speed up the process. 

Please note flights may arrive and depart from different terminals in London. Check with us for details.

Within Japan we travel by coach and by rail. Details of your baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately ten days before departure. As we travel between six hotels, and you will have to handle your own baggage; please try to travel reasonably light. You should be able to lift and carry your own luggage. At some hotels, the coach may have to stop some distance short of the hotel entrance. Also, within some of the hotels, there may be some long walks between the rooms and lobby area, which may include steps. Your luggage should be kept to a maximum of 20kg (44lbs).

Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements

If you prefer to arrange your own flights from a non-UK or regional airport or travel to your holiday destination by rail or car, you may qualify for 'land only' reductions, and we can provide details upon request. Feel free to reach out to us for more information.

Before finalizing any independent travel arrangements, especially if you're doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended travel date, please check with us first to ensure your holiday has been cleared to operate. If you plan to join your holiday locally, kindly inform us at least 14 weeks in advance.

If you're joining and leaving your holiday overseas, we assume, unless you specify otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.

Although airport transfers are not included for those making independent travel arrangements, you may have the option to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time. If interested, contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.

Please be aware that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be eligible for the group transfer. Additionally, we'll need your flight number, arrival time, and departure point to ensure the group leader can meet up with you. If you have a mobile, please ensure we have the number, and it is turned on while you are traveling for effective communication.

Hotel Transfers

When you book a Flight-Inclusive holiday, transfers between the airport and hotel and back are included. On some holidays, where we offer various flight options, the transfer vehicle may wait for all flights to land before transferring to the hotel.  

Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents

If you're booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, rest assured that details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be clearly outlined in your 'Final Travel Documents'. These will be sent to you approximately 10 days before your departure, ensuring you have all the necessary information for a smooth and well-prepared journey.

Personal Details Check

To ensure the accurate administration of your holiday arrangements, kindly verify that the personal details we have for you are current and correct. Confirm that you've given us all the necessary information for securing your travel and accommodation. Please review your passport details, date of birth, and any other pertinent information crucial for the management of your holiday.

Additionally, please make us aware of any dietary allergies or intolerances you may have. Your well-being is important to us, and this information will help us make appropriate arrangements for your meals during the trip.

You can access and update the provided information or add missing details through the "Manage My Booking" feature on our website at www.rambleworldwide.co.uk. Alternatively, reach out to our Sales and Reservations team at +44 (0)1707 331133. Upon receiving your booking confirmation, promptly check the details. Your cooperation ensures a seamless and enjoyable holiday experience.

Passports and Visas

Passport Information for Japan

For entry into Japan a passport is required which should be valid for the length of your stay. Your passport might be required when checking in to hotels and when changing money, so carry it with you on these occasions. It is also an excellent idea to memorise your passport number for the form filling. As of September 2022, the Japanese reinstated the Visa Waiver Scheme they had suspended during Covid. UK nationals may now stay 90 days without needing a visa.

Meals

We include all breakfasts whilst in Japan, nine dinners and five lunches. Dinners will be a mixture of Japanese table d’hote or buffet, often with a western option. Vegetarians (though not pescatarians) and especially vegans can sometimes struggle in Japan, but we will endeavour to make sure you get tasty food and do not go hungry. On four evenings in Kyoto dinner is not included. For one of these evenings we strongly recommend buying a bento box for the bullet train journey back from Hiroshima. On the other three nights you a free to choose your own restaurant or follow your tour leader. There is so much more to Japanese food than sushi and California rolls! There’s teppanyaki where the food is cooked in front of you on a huge iron griddle, yakitori where chicken is barbequed on skewers, okonomi stuffed pancakes, tempura, a great variety of noodles… to whet your appetite have a look at www.japancentre.com/en/pages/156-30-must-try-japanese-foods.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Several of the walks will be along stone or cobbled paths which can be slippery in wet weather. We therefore recommend taking a lightweight pair of walking boots which you might also find the most comfortable option for walking around the cities.

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Holiday Specific Kit

Twice on the trip you will need to pack a small overnight bag for 2 nights, so please bear this in mind.

On Day 3 of the holiday your luggage is taken on to Kyoto. You will be reunited on Day 5. So you need to take toothbrush and clean clothes etc for 2 nights. Some may be happy using a day sack to carry the extra things. We use the same bus Days 3, 4 and 5 so things may be left on the bus on Day 4 whilst we are walking on the Kumano Kodo trail.

Similarly on Day 11 our bags are taken to Tokyo. We are reunited on Day 13. We have the bus with us on Days 11, 12 and 13 so things may be left on the bus whilst out walking on Day 12.

Any bags left on the bus on either of these sections of the holiday will be secure.

Spa bathing In Japan.

The practice in Japanese spas ,'Onsen' is to bath is naked bathing. baths are segregated. Any tattoos will need to be covered up with a bandage or similar. Please bring something suitable to cover tattoos if this is an issue. If it is not possible to cover tattoos then it may not be possible to use the spa.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
  • Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
  • Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
  • Your travel insurance details
  • Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
  • Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
  • A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

Opting for filtered water from a reusable bottle with its built-in water filter, like the Water-to-go bottle available at www.watertogo.eu, is a sustainable alternative to single-use sealed water bottles. Simply refill it from any water source and contribute to saving the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

Exciting news: Water-to-go has introduced two new bottles to their collection. The Active bottle is designed to fit bike water bottle holders, and the Sugarcane bottle is an even more planet-friendly option. Crafted from fibrous cane, a by-product of liquid extraction, it undergoes a process to create plant-based plastic. Explore the details on the Water-to-Go website for this innovative new range.

As a token of appreciation for your commitment to the environment, we've secured an exclusive 15% discount with Water-to-Go for you. Visit www.watertogo.eu and use the code RWH17 during your order.                        

Note: If you're booked on a long-haul holiday departing after November 1, 2023, you'll receive a complimentary Water to Go bottle, sent to your home address 2 or 3 weeks before your holiday. Thank you for being a part of our sustainable journey!

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

The Rough Guide and Lonely Planet Guide to Japan are pretty good.  If you want a good glimpse of modern Japan city life, you could do worse than watch Lost in Translation!  

For historical and cultural background you can try Dogs and Demons: The Fall of Modern Japan by Alex Kerr and Kyoto: A Cultural and Literary History.

In terms of fiction, one of the best known modern Japanese novelists is Haruki Murakami. His magical realist novel Kafka on the Shore might not be to everyone’s taste, but has been critically acclaimed. Slightly less weird, and a lot shorter, is Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto which mixes cooking, love, death and florists. Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami has a good glimpse of life in modern Japan, including food and drink. For lighter reads there is a thriving genre of Japanese crime novels. Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama is a great police novel, which also has much about the Japanese media and their relationship with the police, and is fascinating with lots about life in Japan. The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino also has fascinating insights into Japanese thinking, speech, life… and death. Salvation of a Saint by the same author is an unusual crime novel, since you witness the murder at the start and know whodunnit, with more insights into modern Japan.

The Map Shop

If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:

The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
WR8 0HJ
England

Tel: 01684 593 146
Website: www.themapshop.co.uk
E-mail: themapshop@btinternet.com

If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements in destination can change, and it's crucial for you to take responsibility in staying informed. Ensure that you consult a professionally qualified source and comply with any health requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before your departure. Your GP can provide advice on vaccinations. Stay proactive about your health preparations to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

It’s a condition of booking that you obtain adequate travel insurance, from a reputable provider, to undertake the holiday, including UK trips chiefly due to the cancellation element of cover.

The policy must cover the period from the date of booking to the last day of your trip and should include, as a minimum, cover for: medical expenses (including the consequences of a Covid positive test result), mountain rescue including helicopter rescue, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and shall not have exclusion clauses limiting cover for the activities you will partake in on your trip, including altitudes reached in the holiday arrangement. It is your responsibility to check that your policy is adequate for the nature and destination of the holiday booked.

Once you have obtained your travel insurance, please provide us with the name of your travel insurer, the policy number and the insurer’s 24 hour emergency assistance number.

In the event that you fail to obtain suitable Travel Insurance we shall not be liable for any costs incurred or claims made against us due to your failure to comply with this term.

If travelling outside the UK you must carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if reasonably requested to do so by RWH Travel staff, tour leaders or suppliers. No refunds will be made should you be excluded from the walking programme through being uninsured or you being unable to demonstrate that you are insured.

Our house broker MPI should be considered for whom we are an affiliate and contact information is on our website and will be referred to in your booking confirmation.

If you are travelling to an EU country or Switzerland please also ensure that you have either an existing valid EU EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) or a valid UK GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). You can apply for a UK GHIC free of charge on the NHS website at https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/cra/start.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is your go-to for the latest info on security, local laws, and the nitty-gritty of passports and visas at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Make sure to take a quick peek at the current advice for your upcoming destination—it'll only take a few minutes.

When you're out and about, stay aware of your surroundings. Take smart precautions with your credit cards and passport, and maybe tone down the flashy accessories. Less is more, especially when it comes to carrying cash—just enough for the day will do. Consider using a money belt for that extra layer of security. Stay alert, stay safe, and make the most of your travels!

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We are dedicated to promoting responsible travel practices that prioritize the well-being of both the environment and local communities. We believe in the transformative power of travel and aim to minimize our ecological footprint by selecting eco-friendly accommodations, encouraging waste reduction, and supporting sustainable transportation options where possible. Our walking tours are designed to immerse participants in the local culture, fostering meaningful connections with the communities we visit. We strive to leave a positive impact by engaging in responsible tourism activities, respecting local customs, and contributing to the preservation of natural landscapes. Through our commitment to responsible travel, we aim to create enriching experiences for our guests while actively contributing to the conservation of the destinations we explore.

The Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust

Unlike many other tour operators, we take pride in our unique approach. Ramble Worldwide channels its surplus profits back into various outdoor, walking-related, or environmental conservation projects in the UK through our own trust. When you choose us, you contribute to this impactful initiative.

The primary focus of our Trust's financial support is directed towards Britain's premier walking charity, The Ramblers. They play a crucial role in advocating the benefits and significance of walking to the British public. Additionally, our Trust invites applications for small grants from local organizations in the UK that require support for walking-oriented activities. This encompasses initiatives such as establishing footpaths and bridleways, funding for the reconstruction of bridges and refurbishing huts, and bursary funding for organisations that support individuals to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors..

For more comprehensive details, please visit the 'About' section on our website and click on the Charitable Trust link. Your choice to travel with us goes beyond a memorable vacation; it contributes to meaningful projects that have a positive impact on our community and environment.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Kindly share a mobile phone contact number with us. We'll utilize this solely for crucial communication pertaining to your holiday arrangements.

Ensure your mobile phone remains switched on and easily accessible when en route to the airport or during transit delays. This way, we can promptly reach you with any last-minute updates concerning your travel plans.

In consideration of others, we request that you switch off your mobile phone during walks or make an effort to limit its usage. Additionally, during group meals, please minimize the use of mobile devices. Your cooperation ensures a seamless and enjoyable experience for everyone on the journey.

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