The romance of the Ryokan
Congratulations – you’re married! Now it’s time to head to Japan for a honeymoon you’ll never forget. You’ll be met on arrival in Tokyo and taken to the Hilton Hotel in the city's buzzing Shinjuku area to settle in. Crack open a bottle of sparkling wine and kickstart your celebrations.
The next day, get to know the city better on a day tour with a local guide. Start off at Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Next, take a stroll down Omotesando Street, this smart tree-lined avenue is home to many of the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion labels. From here, head across town to Tokyo’s old town, Asakusa, where you’ll visit Tokyo’s oldest temple, Sensoji, and walk down Nakamise, a quaint shopping street. This is an opportunity to try some traditional snacks and shop for trinkets. Your daytime city adventure will wrap up in Hamarikyu Garden, a flower-filled public garden. Surrounded by gleaming skyscrapers, this is a wonderful example of how Japan successfully entwines the present with the past so beautifully. Finish up with a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a teahouse on a small island in the park’s lake.
The next day is yours to spend together as you please. You might like to wander the colorful streets of Harajuku, swing by Tsukiji Fish Market or head up the Tokyo Skytree for a phenomenal view. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji. Come evening you’ll get to take in Tokyo’s bright lights and buzzing streets from above with a helicopter ride. You’ll soar over some of the city’s most famous landmarks including Tokyo Tower, the Sky Tree and the Ginza area as you fly through the night sky.
Leave the glittering lights of Tokyo behind as you head to Kawaguchiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes known for having one of the best views of Mount Fuji. Once you arrive, you’ll take a shuttle bus direct to your ryokan, a type of traditional Japanese hotel. Konanso Kawaguchiko boasts traditional Japanese rooms where you’ll be able to try out sleeping on the floor as is customary in Japan. You’ll find a romantic private open-air spring bath on your balcony, complete with a fantastic view of Mount Fuji. Your time here is yours to spend as you wish. Why not take a lakeside walk, before tucking into a delicious Japanese dinner?
Hop aboard the ultra-fast Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital. Formerly the capital, it's one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and home to seventeen UNESCO World Heritage sites. Once you arrive in Kyoto, you’ll make your way to the Granvia Hotel which is conveniently located next to the station. Spend the rest of the day as you please. Taking the underground to Gion and exploring alleyways and Kyoto-style restaurants is time well spent in this extraordinary city.
The next day you’ll immerse yourself in the city’s history on a fascinating temple tour. Start at Ryoanji Zen Temple, home to Japan's most famous rock garden. From here, head on to the Imperial Palace, the residence of Japan's Imperial Family until 1868. Spend the afternoon walking along the Philosopher's Path, through Kyoto's Higashiyama District. This two-kilometer walk follows a canal which is lined by hundreds of cherry blossom trees.
On your final day in Kyoto, head out to Arashiyama, a pleasant district to the city’s west that has been popular since the Heian Period, when aristocrats enjoyed its natural setting. Here you’ll explore the Okochi Mountain Villa, the former villa of the renowned samurai film star Okochi Denji. Discover the living quarters, gardens, teahouses and Zen meditation hall and take a moment to enjoy a snack with some matcha green tea. There’s time to see Arashiyama's famous bamboo groves, Nonomiya Shrine and lastly, Tenryuji Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch, you’ll visit Arashiyama Monkey Park, where you’ll hike to see more than a hundred monkeys and a sweeping view of the city. Finish your day with a ride on the Sagano Scenic Railway, also known as the Romantic Train, where you’ll travel from rural Kameoka through the forested ravine and into Arashiyama.
Today it’s off to Matsue by train. During the four-hour journey, you’ll pass through some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. Matsue is a rural castle town situated on the banks of Lake Shinji and the Sea of Japan and despite its obvious appeal, it’s little known by foreign travelers. Check into the retro-style Minamikan Ryokan and choose from Western-style or Japanese-style sleeping quarters. The rest of the day can be spent enjoying the well-kept Japanese gardens, hot spring baths and the garden restaurant with a view of the lake. Authentic Japanese food will be served at your ryokan during your stay, so make sure you're not late for dinner!
The next day is yours to spend together as a couple. Head to the Adachi Museum of Art and stare in wonder at its impressive collection of artwork and mesmerizing Japanese gardens. Or, to bless your new marriage Japanese-style, head to Izumo Taisha Shrine dedicated to the god Okunushi-no-Okami, the deity of good relationships and happy marriages.
Your romantic honeymoon will wrap up in Osaka. After checking into your hotel, head out in the evening for a private tour of the epicentre of street food in Japan: Dotonburi. This pedestrianized street is famed for its dazzling array of culinary options. You’ll find everything from takoyaki stands and street-side ramen stalls to upscale restaurants serving up the finest wagyu beef. You’ll have a chance to sample a range of local dishes including ubiquitous ‘takoyaki’ – otherwise known as octopus balls – and ‘kushikatsu’, a type of skewered meats and vegetables.
On Day 12 time today is at leisure before you check out and head to the airport to catch your flight home.