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50th Anniversary of the Shinkansen


Explore Japan in Autumn and mark the 50th Anniverary of Shinkansen

October 2014 marks 50 years of operation of the Japanese Shinkansen - the high speed 'bullet' train has come to symbolise the skill and technological advance of modern Japan. We travel the lengh and breadth of Japan by various trains, mark the 50th Anniversay of the Shinkansen that linked Tokyo with Osaka, as well as the newly opened lines on the southern island of Kyushu and northern Honshu. We also include steam train journeys and experiences through scenically beautiful parts of Japan.


Date : Sat 27 September - Thu 23 October 2014

Day 1

Australia to Japan

A daylight flight from Sydney to Tokyo’s Narita Airport with Japan Airlines (see further details for flight options at the end of the itinerary for an overnight flight with Qantas on the Friday evening). You can also join us in Tokyo. (L)

Day 2

 Tokyo and the Usuitouge Railway Museum

Established in a space adjacent to Yokogawa Station on JR East’s Shinetsu line, is Usuitoge Testsudo Bunkamura, which features a display of carriages from trains from various areas. On the grounds is an example of a trolley car, which used to run on the Usuitoge Line, and while the ride takes passengers only a short 2.6km of the more than 10km section, it is possible to get a feel for the train that travelled along the mountain pass back in the original day’s of the railway. If you prefer, you can enjoy a day of sightseeing in Tokyo, and join the group for dinner. Overnight Tokyo.(B/D)

Day 3

East Japan Railway Museum, Omiya

Amongst the finest rail museums in the world, the East Japan Railway Museum was built in Onari, Saitama City as the centrepiece of the JR East 20th Anniversary Memorial Project. The museum displays the history of the development of the railway system in Japan while introducing the historical background of each period with displays of actual models. We return to Tokyo. Overnight Tokyo. (B)

Day 4

Tokyo highlights

JR lines, private subways, monorail and the Yurikamome people mover. We explore the Meiji Shrine in Shinjuku, ascend the tall skyscrapers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, inspect the busiest railway station in the world with nearly 2 million visitors a day, visit Odaiba Harbour and more. Overnight Tokyo. (B)

Day 5

The 50th Anniversary of the Shinkansen and the JR Central SC Maglev Railway Park

The Tōkaidō Shinkansen opened in 1964 between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka. We will participate in whatever events are possible, and then in the early afternoon join a Shinkansen to travel to Nagoya. We visit the JR Central SC Maglev Railway Park. This park offers a place to learn about how the railway has impacted on Japanese society, economy, culture and lifestyle. Dinner and overnight Nagoya. (B/D)

Day 6

Kintetsu Shimakaze private railway and the Ise Jingu Shrine and Mikimoto Pearl Island

After breakfast we join the Kintentsu railway’s luxury Shimakaze limited express service. We’ll visit the Ise Jingu Shrine then head to Mikimoto island where Kokichi Mikimoto successfully cultivated pearls for the first time in the world in 1893. Overnight Nagoya. (B)

Day 7

Hiroshima, Matsujima Island and the Hiroden Light Rai

We’ll take you to Miyajima Island, and then return via the Hiroshima Peace Park. Miyajima Island is the popular name of Itsuku-shima Island, a scenic site in which the mountains, sea, and red shrine buildings blend together in harmony, and the entire island is designated as a historic site. The Peace Museum and many memorials, including the children’s crane display, are a powerful experience for any visitor. Overnight Hiroshima. (B/D)

Day 8

Steam train SL Yamaguchi to Tsuwano

We join the SL Yamaguchi steam train for the 2hr run along the valley to the castle town of Tsuwano. We then join one of the new Kyushu Shinkansen services for the journey to Kagoshima, on the southern tip of Kyushu. The city is often compared with its Italian sister city Naples due to a similar mild climate, palm tree lined streets, relatively hot tempered inhabitants and Sakurajima, Kagoshima's Vesuvius. Overnight Kagoshima. (B)

Day 9

The Kirishima N.P., 'SL Hitoyoshi', tourist trains ‘Shinpei’, 'Hayatonakaze’ and great railway scenery

A day exploring the mountains and rivers around Kagoshima and Hitoyoshi – enjoying Kirishima’s rich greenery. Overnight Kagoshima. (B)

Day 10

Kagoshima, Ibusuki and Satsuma Peninsula to Hakata

Visit the Satsuma Kiriko cut glass museum; ride the Limited Express Ibusuki no Tamatebako on a one-hour coastal journey with grand views of Sakurajima Island and Kinko Bay, before returning to Kagoshima. In the mid afternoon we join the Kyushu Shinkansen and travel north to Hakata, the major city on the island of Kyushu. Overnight Hakata. (B)

Day 11

 ‘Yufuin-no-mori’, Mojiko Railway Museum or the famous Japanese porcelain centre of Arita and Dazaifu

Rail enthusiasts ride the art deco Yufui-no-mori train to visit the Kyushu Railway Museum. The cultural group head to Arita to inspect ceramics, and then to Dazaifu. Dazaifu Tenman-gu is in the city of Dazaifu, and the shrines sanctuary is said to have been built in 919. Both groups return to Hakata for dinner at leisure and overnight. (B)

Day 12

 To Okayama and Takamatsu

The Grand Seto-ohashi Bridge is a collective term for the six bridges that connect Kojima in Okayama Prefecture on Honshu and Sakaide of Kagawa Prefecture on Shikoku, spanning five islands in the Seto Inland Sea. At Takamatsu we join a boat for an afternoon cruise on the inland sea, returning to port in the evening light. Overnight Takamatsu. (B)

Day 13

Shikoku Railway Museum, Ritsurin Gardens and Tokushima

We visit the Shikoku Railway Museum then return to Takamatsu via Tokushima. For those who wish a more cultural exploration, we’ll head to the Ritsurin Koen Park with its fine garden and small house known as Kikugetsu-tei used for tea ceremonies. Overnight Takamtsu. (B)

Day 14

To Okayama and then Kyoto

We explore some of Kyoto’s famed temples and shrines, we’ll take you to Kiyomizudera, literally "Pure Water Temple," - one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. The Higashiyama District along the lower slopes of Kyoto's eastern mountains is one of the city's best preserved historic districts. It is a great place to experience traditional old Kyoto, especially between Kiyomizudera and Yasaka Shrine, where the narrow lanes, wooden buildings and traditional merchant shops invoke a feeling of the old capital city. We’ll take you to the famed Golden Pavilion, and in the late afternoon you may like to join an inspection of the Nishijin Textile Centre, and see a display of kimono’s in a special presentation. Overnight Kyoto. (B/D)

Day 15

 Eizan Railway, ropeway and cable car, Hieizan Enryakuji , and the Sakamoto Cable Car

Enryaku-ji is a temple built at the end of the 8th century established on the mountain Hiei-zan. Located at the summit of Mt. Hiei, it offers an incredible view of both Lake Biwa and the city of Kyoto. After exploring the precinct, we join the Sakamoto Cable Car, the longest in Japan, and descend back to Kyoto, returning to our hotel. Overnight Kyoto. (B)

Day 16

Arashiyama, the Sagano Romantic Train, the Hozugawa River rapids and Tenryuji

Join the Sagano Romantic Train for a ride along the original line of the Hozu Valley. We’ll enjoy a ninety-minute ride from Kameoka to Arashiyama on the river. Three boatmen steer a boat that can hold more than ten people. When we return to Arashiyama we’ll enjoy exploring this local area, the fine Tenryuji Temple, and then return on the private tramway line back towards our hotel. Dinner tonight and overnight Kyoto. (Those who have chosen the two week tour option leave us in Kyoto this morning.) (B)

Day 17

Toyama and Unazuki Onsen

We travel to Unazuki-onsen, set deep in the mountains of the Tateyama Mountain Range. Our stay here is in one of the fine Japanese style ryokan hotels. Dinner is included, and overnight Unazuki-onsen. (B/D)

Day 18

The Kurobe Kyokoku narrow gauge railway

The Kurobe Valley is the deepest V-shaped valley in the entire country, and today we take a narrow gauge railway for some 20 kilometres along the valley. There are many hot springs along the route where you may like to get off the trolley to enjoy a secluded hot spring experience. Overnight Unazuki Onsen. (B/D)

Day 19

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route

We cross the Japanese Alps using a variety of modes of transport, including cable car, highland bus, trolley bus, and ropeway. Electric trolley buses, a walk across the Kurobe Dam wall, and spectacular sightseeing make today a highlight for all. Overnight Nagano. (B)


Day 20


After a late breakfast we join the Hybrid Train ‘Koumi’ and travel to Nobeyama, the highest station on the JR network. We also visit Matsumoto and its famous castle, returning to Nagano to visit the Zenkoji Temple. Overnight Nagano. (B)

Day 21

Nagano to Niigata and Akita

Travel on the ‘Kirakira Uetsu’ Resort train that runs along the west Japan Sea north towards Sakata. Here we enjoy lunch, and then join the Inaho Limited Express north to Akita. Overnight Akita. (B)

Day 22

Akita to Aomori and Hakodate

We join the Shirakami Resort train along the Gono Line to Hirosaki, which is 147.2 kilometres of coastline track. We cross the Tsuguru Straits by the Seikan Tunnel, 53.85km Seikan tunnel – one of the world’s longest undersea tunnels. We join the Hakodate tram system and travel to the base of Mt Hakodate, where we join a cable car for a ride to the top – with spectacular views across the sea and lights of the peninsula. A seafood dinner and overnight Hakodate. (B)

Day 23

Hakodate to Sapporo

We explore the modern city of Sapporo with its distinctive American influence. Overnight Sapporo. (B)

Day 24


Otaru was "the sea entrance of Hokkaido" over the last 100 years and it has gained the nickname "Wall Street of the North." The glassworks shops, coffee shops, restaurants and shopping malls along the canal have been converted from stone-built or brick-built warehouses, which were used for storage in the days when commerce flourished and the canal was crowded with jostling barges. We return to Sapporo for dinner at leisure and overnight. (B)

Day 25

Furano and Biei

You’ll experience rural Hokkaido, with splendid countryside and rolling hills, and the backdrop of the Daisetzusan Mountain Range. Overnight Sapporo. (B/D)

Day 26


Relax this morning on our last day in Japan. In the early afternoon we’ll transfer to Chitose Airport for the flight back to Narita, and then connect with flights to Sydney. In Narita Airport we’ll have an opportunity for last minute shopping, before our overnight flight to Sydney. (B/D)

Day 27


A morning arrival back in Australia and the conclusion of our wonderful tour of Japan by rail. (B)

*On some days additional activities will be possible, some at no extra cost, others at additional own cost. Optional additions to the tour (at extra cost) when shown below are followed by (O). Meals included are shown as Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D), Supper (S).


 $9,880 (person (twin share), plus airfares from Australia)

 $1,765 single supplement for hotels


*Bookings are confirmed on receipt of the booking form and your deposit. The booking form is attached to each tour brochure or can be downloaded above. After receipt of the booking form and deposit, we will send a confirmation letter to you.

For booking, any further details or information,

use the "BOOKING AND ENQUIRY" buttoms above  or  call us on

(02) 9326 9660

0418 585 838

or  email at

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