9D8N Japan Himeji Okayama Hiroshima
Day 01 – OSAKA KANSAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – HIMEJI
On arrival at Osaka Kansai Airport, head to Himeji
. Enjoy a half day guided tour in Himeji. The Himeji Castle
is Himeji’s most iconic attraction. With its imposing size and well-preserved and complex castle grounds, the Himeji Castle – affectionately known to locals as the “White Heron Castle” (Shirasagi-jō) due to its elegant white facade – is widely considered to be Japan’s most beautiful surviving feudal castle. Having escaped destruction – war, earthquake or fire – the castle survives to this day as one of the country’s 12 original castles. The castle, both a national treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
, had an extensive renovation in recent times and was re-opened to the public in March 2015. Located next to the Himeji Castle is the beautiful Kokoen Garden
with 9 separate walled gardens featuring among others a pond with a waterfall, a bamboo garden, a pine tree garden, a flower garden and a tea garden. It is often used for filming historical movies and TV series because it looks like you have travelled back in time to the Edo period with the Himeji Castle in the background.
Day 02 – HIMEJI [B]
today at your own leisure. Check out the many shops and restaurants in and around JR Himeji Station. Take a stroll along the main street from the Himeji JR Station towards Himeji Castle and along the way, you will find the Miyuki Dori Shopping Street (a covered arcade)
where there are numerous shops selling local products, food and souvenirs.
Day 03 – HIMEJI – TOTTORI [B]
Depart Himeji and travel to Tottori
located along the coast of the Sea of Japan in the north-eastern part of Chugoku (Chugoku itself being in the western-most part of Honshu) and is part of the Sanin Kaigan National Park. Enjoy a short guided tour in Tottori including the Jinpukaku (French Renaissance style structure), sand dunes and White Rabbit Shrine. Tottori is well known for its sand dunes, some of which reaching as high as 50m and span roughly 16km from east to west along the coast and up to 2km from north to south, you will witness the picturesque “wind ripples” – patterns formed by the winds – with sand sliding down the surface of the hills like an avalanche when the winds are blowing. You will certainly be awed by this breathtaking natural phenomenon. Whilst there, you can opt to ride a camel or a horse-drawn cart or ascend to the top of an adjacent hill by way of a cable car, where the Dune Observatory Centre is located, for a spectacular view of the sand dunes and the sea.
Day 04 – TOTTORI – OKAYAMA [B]
Depart Tottori and travel to Okayama
, the capital of Okayama Prefecture. Enjoy a half day guided tour of the Okayama Castle and Korakuen Garden. Okayama’s most famous attraction is the Korakuen Garden
, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan (the others being Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen and Mito’s Kairakuen). Construction of Korakuen Garden began during the Edo period in 1687 and was completed in 1700. It is approximately 133,000sqm in area and features a 640m meandering stream running through the garden. A central pond called “Sawa no ike” (Marsh Pond) with 3 islands is said to replicate the scenery around Lake Biwa near Kyoto. Located just across the river from Korakuen Garden is the Okayama Castle
(Okayamajō), also known as “crow castle” due to its black exterior. The original castle was built in 1597 but as it was destroyed during WWII a reconstruction was done in 1966. Only one of Okayama Castle’s original buildings escaped destruction during WWII, the Tsukimi Yagura (“moon viewing turret”), which dates back to 1620.
Day 05 – OKAYAMA: KURASHIKI [B]
Guided day trip to Kurashiki
today to visit one of Japan’s great old merchant towns. Kurashiki, often known as the “Venice of Japan” has a well-preserved canal area called “Bikan Historical Quarter”
that dates back to the Edo period (1603-1867), when the city served as an important rice distribution centre. The name “Kurashiki” can be roughly translated as “town of storehouses” which refers to the storehouses in which the rice was kept. These storehouses with lattice windows share space with weeping willows along the banks of the old canal, which is illuminated at night giving the place a warm and nice ambience. Many of these storehouses have been converted into museums, boutiques and cafes.
Day 06 – OKAYAMA – HIROSHIMA [B]
Depart Okayama and head to Hiroshima
– the largest city in the Chugoku region of Japan. In Hiroshima, enjoy a guided walking tour of the Atomic Bomb Dome and its surroundings. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15am on 6 August 1945, Hiroshima became the first city in the world to be devastated by a nuclear bomb. Save for what remains of the Atomic Bomb Dome
, the atomic bomb that was used levelled the entire city and killed around 140,000 people. The Atomic Bomb Dome
, also known as the “Hiroshima Peace Memorial”
, is what remains of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall and it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site
. Adjacent to the Atomic Bomb Dome is a large park called the “Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park”
and one of the city’s prominent attractions. Within the memorial park are several buildings and structures memorialising people who lost their lives at that time and also the people’s prayers for peace. With over 300 cherry trees along the bank of Motoyasu River which flows along the side of the park, this is also where many people, locals and visitors alike, visit to see cherry blossoms every spring.
Day 07 – HIROSHIMA: MIYAJIMA [B]
Take a guided day trip to Miyajima
today to visit Miyajima’s famous giant “floating” torii gate
and Itsukushima Shrine
, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
. This spectacular sight has been rated as one of Japan’s Three Best Views (the other two being Matsushima Bay near Sendai with dozens of pine clad islets and Amanohashidate, a pine tree covered sand bar spanning across a bay in northern Kyoto Prefecture). Itsukushima Shrine and its giant torii gate are unique for being built over water, seemingly floating in the sea during high tide. The multiple buildings of the shrine are also connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the sea. The shrine and the torii gate are illuminated daily from dusk until 11pm creating a romantic ambience for nearby ryokan guests to enjoy an evening walk in their yukata and geta sandals (do note that the shrine and the surrounding complex is closed after sunset).
Day 08 – HIROSHIMA [B]
city today at your own leisure. Hiroshima is now a modern cosmopolitan city with excellent cuisine and a bustling nightlife. Top attractions in Hiroshima include Shukkeien Garden
(modelled after “Xi Hu” West Lake in Hangzhou China), Hiroshima Castle
(also known as “Carp Castle”), Gokoku Shrine
(located on the castle ground) and Mazda Museum
. Hiroshima is also famous for its own style of okonomiyaki
– characterized by only a thin layer of batter and a generous amount of cabbage on top of yakisoba noodles with popular toppings such as oysters, squid and cheese. The dish is completed with bonito flakes, green laver and okonomiyaki sauce. There are plenty of okonomiyaki restaurants in Okonomimura (Okonomiyaki Village) and around Hiroshima Station. Hiroshima is also known for its yaki-gaki (grilled oyster)
. Oysters have been cultivated in Hiroshima Bay for over 400 years and account for 60-70% of all oyster production in the whole of Japan. Hiroshima’s downtown area is the bustling Hondori Street
– a pedestrianised arcade lined with endless shops and restaurants.
Day 09 – HIROSHIMA – HIROSHIMA AIRPORT [B]
Free time until your transfer to Hiroshima Airport for your departure flight.
Whether you prefer the above itinerary “as-is” or have it customised, if you will indicate the start/end dates of your intended travel and provide your contact details, we will get in touch with you to discuss the itinerary on a no-obligations basis on your part.