Review: Jewels of Japan
Our adventure begins in Tokyo, Japan’s capital city, where we started at the Skytree where on the observation deck at 634 metres is the world’s tallest tower. Following the modern we head for the traditional and tranquil Buddhist Sensoji Temple, the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the Imperial Palace. Japan is famous for their gardens and in the centre of Tokyo we visited the Hamarikyu Garden before exploring the evergreen forest that surrounds the Shinto Meiji Shrine.
Leaving Tokyo by coach we headed towards Mt Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes. We tried our hand at Japanese soba noodle making and then ate our efforts! The next stop was Oshina Hakkai where a collection of scenic pools surrounded by landscape gardens which were a welcome break. Back on board the coach we caught our first glimpse of the picture perfect cone of Mt Fuji.
En route to the Mt Fuji 5th station we took a break at a local village that had been destroyed in the 1966 earthquake and is now a museum and craft village. Arriving at the station we then had a short stroll to the base of Mt Fuji and finally saw the most photographed site in Japan. Now it was time to have our first experience of the Shinkansen, bullet train, relaxing in comfort as we speed towards Kyoto. My favourite Japanese city and former capital, a legacy of ancient Japan. The city is full of tranquil temples, sublime gardens and silk clad Geisha who explain and demonstrate the importance of the tea ceremony.
A second chance to experience the bullet train as we make our way to Hiroshima. Now a modern and vibrant city but the troubled past is not far away with a visit to the Peace Park Memorial and Museum. A short ferry ride took us to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the holy island of Miyajimo and the Itsukushima Shrine.
On our final day we drove towards the feudal era fort of Himeji, one of the most impressive forts in Japan. The castle towers over the city and has featured in many major films including the James Bond movie ‘You Only Live Twice’. Our farewell meal was full of laughter as a group of sixteen people enjoyed each others company for the last time knowing that they have shared 11 nights of unforgettable experiences