Explore Japan as it hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games over summer 2021

02 April 2020

Following the news that Japan’s Olympic and Paralympic Games have been rescheduled to take place between 23 July and 8th August 2021 and 24 August and 5th September 2021 respectively, here is an itinerary to inspire your future travel plans around the Land of the Rising Sun and to allow you to catch a glimpse of one of the greatest sporting spectacles on earth.

The host city of Tokyo is where much of the sporting action will be centred so it makes sense to base yourself within the vast urban metropolis. From here, you’ll be able to reach out and see a different side of Japan, in between all the excitement of the games and beyond the neon cityscape of Tokyo, as you venture out to the scenic mountain settlements of Nikko and Hakone.

Day 1: Tokyo arrival

Land at one of Tokyo’s airports – Narita or Haneda International Airport – to meet a representative who will help you board the right train or shuttle van bound for your hotel. Rest of day at leisure.

Day 2: Tokyo

After breakfast, meet your guide at the hotel and head for Hamarikyu – a Japanese garden that once served as a private villa of a powerful feudal lord during the Edo period (1603-1868). Its wide collection of seasonal flowers makes it one of the most visited gardens in Tokyo, while its Nakajima-no-Ochaya teahouse is also a big attraction. From the park, board the scenic river cruise to Asakusa – the city’s oldest Geisha district and home to Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. The tour climaxes with a visit to Meiji Jingu, Tokyo’s most famous shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and a popular venue for traditional Shinto weddings with the shrine being surrounded by around 120,000 trees.

Day 3: Tokyo – Nikko day trip

Today sees you journey into the mountains of Nikko. Your guide will be waiting upon your arrival at JR Nikko Station and escort you to some of the most famous places in Nikko: Toshogu Shrine Complex and Tamozawa Imperial Villa. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the lovely intricate interior or appreciate the beautiful gardens of the Tamozawa Imperial Villa, which once served as the summer house of the Imperial Family before WWII. Once the visit is over, your guide will provide an escort to the station for the train back to Tokyo.

Day 4: Tokyo

Tokyo is your oyster today. One option is to explore the city and its outlying areas by visiting the electronics district of Akihabara or discovering some of Tokyo’s world-class museums and art galleries. Alternatively, take a day trip out to Kamakura. One of Japan’s former capitals, Kamakura is a delightful seaside town home to many ancient shrines, temples, and other structures such as the Daibutsu, a giant bronze Buddha that stands at 13 metres tall.

Day 5: Tokyo – Hakone

Today is a self-guided day and sees you take a 1.5-hour train ride to Hakone – a popular hot spring destination, frequented by many tourists keen to see Mt. Fuji. Here, you can experience a stay in a ryokan – a classic Japanese-style inn furnished with futon beds, tatami flooring, paper sliding doors, and hot spring baths. Enjoy a traditional multi-course meal for dinner, which usually includes small servings of sushi, sashimi, and tempura.

Day 6: Hakone

After an overnight stay in Hakone, you’ll have another day to explore this mountainous town. Equipped with a transport pass, take the Hakone Tozan switchback train that zigzags through the mountains and offers views of the surrounding valleys. Afterwards, ride the ropeway all the way up to Mt. Owakudani, passing over sulfurous fumes and hot springs. From the mountain, ride the ropeway bound for Togendai and board its replica pirate ship for a cruise across Ashinoko, a body of water that was formed after a volcanic eruption that occurred more than 3,000 years ago.

Day 7: Hakone – Tokyo

Enjoy one last soak in the onsen before returning to Tokyo with the rest of the day free to explore Tokyo independently. Choose to engage in a cultural experience or do some last-minute shopping in Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku or in Ginza.

Day 8: Tokyo departure

 Day at leisure until the scheduled transfer via train or shared shuttle back to Tokyo Airport.


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