China and Japan's Rail Odyssey
15 Days / 13 Nights
Wednesday 2 December 2020
Wednesday 24 March 2021 (£500 supplement)
Uncover the ancient city sights of China & the neon-lit districts of Japan, two countries bound by their Buddhist ties and imperial histories yet offering wildly different cultural, culinary and natural attractions.
Return Flights from Heathrow
All Transportation in both Japan and China
Meals as shown on the itinerary
English Speaking Guide Throughout
In Japan, breakfast is will be western style. Lunch and dinner, where included, will either be taken at your hotel or at a local restaurant. In China, breakfast is always western style and served in the hotel each morning. Lunch and dinner will be taken in local Chinese restaurants and served with either one beer or soft drink.
Single Supplement: £500
Supplement for March Departure: £500
1 UK to Kyoto
Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Osaka, via Beijing.
On arrival in Osaka, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the nearby city of Kyoto.
Experience traditional Japan at its finest as you tour Kyoto, a city of shrines, temples and geisha teahouses that boasts 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Enjoy double visions of gold as you witness the gold-leafed pavilion of Kinkaku-Ji and its shimmering reflection mirrored in the surrounding moat. Visit Fushimi Inari and stroll through a colourful arcade of vivid red 'torii', or shrine gates, inscribed with dedications to Inari, the god of rice. Browse the maze of food stalls in the 400-year-old Nishiki Market, bearing fresh produce, intriguing pickles and steaming bowls of udon noodles, then continue on to the geisha district of Gion. Spot geishas draped in lavish kimonos and explore the charming wooden buildings, teahouses and restaurants of the area before returning to your hotel.
A day trip to the nearby city Nara allows you to delve into the cultural legacy of Japan's ancient former capital. Visit the Buddhist complex at Todaiji Temple, home to the world's largest wooden structure and the colossal bronze Buddha statue nestled in its interior. Continue on to nearby Nara Park and watch over 1,200 deer roaming its greenery, perhaps purchasing some deer crackers to feed to these friendly park inhabitants. Travel back to Kyoto for your evening meal, followed by an evening's entertainment allowing you to experience an age-old tradition with a geisha performance.
5 Kyoto to Tokyo
After breakfast, board your train for Tokyo, you will need an overnight bag, you will experience Japan's high-tech rail network, renowned for its speed, cleanliness and punctuality. Journey past rural landscapes and through small, traditional towns as you follow the coastline, arriving in Tokyo later this afternoon for the rest of the day at leisure.
Tokyo's enchanting fusion of futuristic districts, centuries-old palaces, family-run ramen booths and streets dotted with cutesy anime depictions provides endless chances for exploration. A full day of sightseeing begins at Sensoji, Tokyo's oldest temple. Wander down Nakamise Shopping Street to reach the main hall and pagoda, where fragrant incense and Buddhist prayer chants fill the air. Follow in the footsteps of Japan's masterful sushi chefs as you learn more about this iconic dish at a sushi-making class then continue on to the area of Ginza, the country's biggest luxury shopping and entertainment district. Wander past luxe department stores, flashing neon signage and colourful buildings then end your tour in Akihabara Electric Town where a maze of elaborately decorated high rises houses gadgets and gizmos galore.
Following breakfast, visit Hakone National Park, home to one of Japan's most instantly recognisable sights - the iconic Mount Fuji, fringed by thick forests and a crescent-shaped ring of shimmering lakes. Take a Hakone Ropeway cable car ride to a mountaintop station with spectacular vistas of the sparkling, blue waters of Lake Ashi and Fuji's snow-capped peak. From here, a short walking trail leads to Owakudani Valley, an active volcanic crater, where hot springs, bubbling pools and steam vents serve as reminders of the area's volcanic might.
8 Tokyo to Shanghai
Bid farewell to Japan as you transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai, China. On arrival, experience your first taste of this fast-paced metropolis with a visit to the Bund, Shanghai's waterside walkway, followed by a stroll along Nanjing Road to observe the world's busiest shopping street. Check into your hotel in time for dinner.
Shanghai, China's biggest city, is also its most international. Enjoy the colonial-era and traditional Chinese elements of the city on today's tour. Explore the tranquil pavilions, rockeries and ponds of Yu Garden, the tree-lined avenues and chic eateries of the French Concession and the charming alleyways of the Old Town before taking in the ancient artefacts of the Shanghai Museum. Later, an optional evening river cruise down the Huangpu River that runs through Shanghai gives an excellent vantage point of the city's skyline.
10 Shanghai to Xi'an
After breakfast, board your bullet train to Xi'an, on your arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in time for dinner.
Taking nearly four decades to complete and over 700,000 workers, Xi'an's Terracotta Warriors were built to protect China's first emperor in his afterlife. Explore this impressive underground mausoleum, and the 8,000 extraordinarily sculpted warriors, bronze chariots and preserved weapons on display. Continue on to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the Muslim Quarter, home to historic mosques and a labyrinth of market stalls selling everything from souvenirs to edible delicacies. Later this evening, travel back in time as you watch a colourful Tang Dynasty dancing show.
12 Xian to Beijing
Today take a visit to Xi'an's City Wall, a long stretch of fortifications which is the oldest in China and provides dramatic views over the city. In the evening, board an overnight sleeper train as you travel to Beijing, taking in the night-time scenery that passes you by.
On arrival in Beijing, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, before today's excursion starting at the iconic Great Wall, constructed over 2,000 years ago to guard the Chinese Empire against Mongol invaders. Stroll along a section of this amazing structure which stretches over 5,500 miles, crossing deserts, grasslands and mountains. Travel back into the city and browse the old, traditional calligraphy and book shops of Liulichang Antique Culture Street and the historic stores of Qianmen Dashilan, where some of China's most notable silk stores are located.
China's dynamic capital is built on an impressive scale, with its imposing monuments serving as reminders of its imperial past. Today's full-day tour takes you around the highlights of the city, starting with Tiananmen Square, where you'll explore the world's largest public square under the watchful eye of Chairman Mao's large, central portrait. From here, enter the vast Forbidden Palace and wander its 9,999 rooms and chambers before travelling onward to the tranquil Temple of Heaven. Later tonight, experience one of China's top delicacies as you savour a crisp, fragrant Peking duck dinner.
15 Beijing to UK
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
The Landmark Hotel
Neighbouring the famous Sanlitun bar street and Yansha friendship shopping centre, the Landmark Hotel occupies a convenient location in the China's capital city. The hotel offers excellent facilities including seven different restaurants catering for all tastes, a coffee shop, bar and sports centre.
Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
The Royal Park Hotel is a 3* property located in the heart of Kyoto, Japan. The hotel has its own restauarant which provides western cuisine and rooms are furnished with a flat screen TV, fridge and hairdryer.
The overnight train from Xi'an to Beijing provides a 4-berth cabin with single bunk beds so you can get some rest during the journey. If you would like a compartment to yourself then you can pay a supplement starting from £119 per person (based on a minimum of two people).
The B Ikebukuro
The B Ikebukuro is a 3* hotel located in Tokyo, Japan. The hotel's restaurant serves Italian cuisine including wood oven pizza. Air-Conditioned guest rooms are elegantly designed and feature a flat screen TV, tea & coffee making facilities and a fridge.
Shanghai (2 nights)
The recently refurbished Ocean Hotel is conveniently located at the bustling North Bund shopping zone. Guests can enjoy a range of facilities including a fitness centre, indoor swimming pool and Spa at the Ocean Hotel.
Xi'an Jianguo Hotel
Shanghai (2 nights)
The Xi'an Jianguo hotel is located a short distance from the East Gate of the City. The hotel has its own Spa facilities which can be used by its guests as well as using the hotel's swimming pool and having a choice of two restaurants which serve Chinese and Western dishes. Guest rooms have a lake view and are equipped with a tea/coffee maker, a smart TV and a private balcony.
London Heathrow - Kansai (via Beijing)
Outward: 22h40 - 20h30
Beijing - London
Return: 14h10 - 17h45
We do not offer Door2Door Transfers for this tour
Japan: UK passport holders don't currently need to obtain a visa prior to departure. A tourist visa will be issued on arrival for a duration of 90 days when you show your passport (must be valid for at least six months from the date you are due to leave Japan). Visa, arrival and departure requirements are subject to change and obtaining a visa is the responsibility of the traveller and not Mercury Holidays. We recommend you check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy prior to departure for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding visas and passport validity.
China: A visa is required for entry into China. All applicants who wish to apply for a China Tourist Visa must do so in person at the Chinese Visa Application Centre in London, Manchester, Belfast or Edinburgh where fingerprint information will be collected. Fingerprints are not required for children under the age of 14 and adults over the age of 70. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are valid for unlimited trips to China for 2 years from the date of issue. We therefore recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time.
Health and Vaccinations
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves climbing steep stairs, getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.