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The Mystery of Japan

Discover Japan, ancient & modern

From£4,799

  • Japan

  • 14 nights
  • Sightseeing

  • Mar

    May

    Nov

Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 42600

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Our holiday walking grades

Moderate

Grade 4 Sightseeing

Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain. Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Cherry blossom in the spring and spectacular autumn colours.
  • Hike close to Mount Fuji from the Five Lakes.
  • Spend quality time in Kyoto & end with a bang in Tokyo.
  • Visit Nara & Osaka and take the Bullet Train to Hiroshima & Miyajima.
  • Walk the most picturesque stretches of the ancient Nakasendo Way.

The Rugby World Cup, Olympic Games & Joanna Lumley have all done their bit to make Japan a must-see destination. But what’s it really like? Is it the Geishas hurrying through the old streets of Kyoto or the 634m Tokyo Skytree tower? Is it the wooded misty walks along the Nakasendo Way and the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Path, or the Shinkansen Bullet Train which speeds you through the country? Is it cherry blossom in the spring or Japanese maples in the autumn? Hiroshima or Mount Fuji? It is of course all of these, and more. This holiday has been designed by people who either live or have lived in Japan for many years, love the country, and know it intimately. And you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that they have a particular affection for Kyoto! 

Japan’s most beautiful sights are often connected to temples, be they Shinto or Buddhist. Here the exquisite works of man and nature combine. It has been said that the Japanese have an almost sacred relationship to nature, be it in the temple gardens or in the countryside – it is noteworthy that 60% of the country is covered in trees and Kyoto especially has a wealth of tranquil green spaces.

Many will want to see Japan in the spring during the ‘hanami’ cherry blossom season, and our two holidays in April aim to catch this time of year. We have one departure in May, when fewer people travel, which includes the unique ‘shiba-zakura’ flowers near Mount Fuji. The Japanese autumn starts later than ours and goes well into November, and one of our departures is designed to catch the autumn colours at their very best. Words sometimes struggle to do justice to the natural wonders of Japan – we suggest you look at our photo gallery and also Google images.

We have a local guide throughout as well as a Ramblers leader. In Kyoto and Tokyo we use public transport so you will move around the cities as a local, not as a tourist… but outside rush hour.  Most dinners are included, but where they are not, follow our Ramblers leader to discover the great variety of Japanese cooking.

When you leave, we hope you will feel that Japan is a little less mysterious to you than it is now, but having had an even more wonderful experience than you ever could have imagined.


  • Return flights from Heathrow to Kansai, Osaka returning from Narita, Tokyo (British Airways)
  • Airport transfers and all local transport costs
  • En suite accommodation with breakfasts in the hotels
  • Nine dinners and five lunches
  • A Ramblers Walking Holidays leader and a local English speaking Japanese guide throughout
  • Entrance fees to all included highlights
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Travel

We board our flight to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Day 2

Osaka

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

We land mid-morning in Osaka. Before checking into our hotel mid-afternoon, our local guide will take us to the splendid gardens of Osaka Castle. Whether you choose to visit during the cherry blossom season, for the lush foliage of May or for the rich colours of autumn, this is the perfect introduction to a country, where the castle’s sweeping roofs and nature exist in perfect harmony. This evening we get our first taste of real Japanese cooking in the vibrant Dotonbori entertainment area of Osaka.

Day 3

Katsuura

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We leave Osaka and head south into the mountains of the Wakayama peninsula. (Note that your main bag will be taken directly to Kyoto so you will need an overnight bag for two nights.) We stop in the secluded Buddhist monastery of Mount Koya, visited by a million Shingon Buddhist pilgrims a year, and which gets 3 stars in the Michelin Green Guide.  We see the vermilion ‘Great Pagoda’, enjoy a Buddhist meal and walk along the Okunoin Approach, a 2km path deep in the forest, lined with cedars and stone shrines from through the ages. From here we continue south to the Pacific coast at Katsuura where we can enjoy a hot spring, the quintessential relaxing Japanese experience.

Day 4

Katsuura

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent

    350m

Today we walk from the sea along the ancient Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail. This includes the beautiful and atmospheric cobbled ‘Daimon-zaka’ section of the trail through cedar forest. Our ultimate destination is the Kumano Nachi Taisha, one of the most famous sights in Japan, a beautiful pagoda with Japan’s highest waterfall as a backdrop.

Day 5

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

We leave the coast and journey north. We stop in Nara, one of Japan’s ancient capitals. The city is famous for the sika deer which wander through Nara Park amidst the temples, pagodas and cherry trees. A short distance to the north is Kyoto, everyone’s favourite Japanese city and our base for the next 5 days.

Day 6

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we concentrate on the sights of northern Kyoto. We see the thousands of small stone Buddhas at the Adashino Nenbutsu Temple, the beautiful moss garden at the Giouji Temple and end the morning with a cup of tea at Japanese film director Okouchi Sanso’s house & gardens,  and a walk in the bamboo forests in the countryside at Arashiyama west of the city. Here is also the Moon Bridge close to a riverside park with many cherry trees, and with a backdrop of wooded hillsides which look splendid in the autumn. Before leaving Arashiyama we spend time in the exquisite gardens surrounding the pond at Tenryu-ji.

Day 7

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

This is a full day, and one you are unlikely ever to forget. We board the 08.27 bullet train to Hiroshima which whisks us south. We then take the ferry out to Miyajima Island where the red Torii gate in the sea is one of Japan’s most famous images. Back on the mainland we spend time in the Peace Memorial Park and museum, commemorating the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The bullet train then speeds us back to Kyoto. Dinner is not included this evening, but we strongly recommend buying a ‘bento box’ at Hiroshima station and eating dinner on the move, Japanese style.

Day 8

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation

A later start today finds us at one of Japan’s most spectacular sights, the magnificent Golden Temple (Kinkakuji). This Zen temple overlooks a large pond surrounded by trees and is an example of the extravagant buildings from the early 15th century – the top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. After lunch we visit Ryoanji, the site of Japan’s most famous Zen rock garden. From any vantage point at least one the 15 rocks which make up the garden is hidden from view. We should be back in the hotel mid-afternoon, allowing you some time to explore the city on your own.

Day 9

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

We spend the morning at the Fushumi Inari shrine complex. The most famous feature of this is the path leading through thousands of vermilion Tori gates. We follow the trails beyond the gates into the woods of sacred Mount Inari, ending some 200m above the city at the Yotsutsuji viewpoint. There are small shrines and restaurants along the way. By contrast the afternoon finds us in Gion district of the city. Here narrow passageways lead off busy thoroughfares, and you are likely to see Geishas (known in Kyoto as ‘Geikos’). It’s good to come back here in the evening on your own or with the group to sample one of the seemingly infinite varieties of saki at a saki bar, or join in the fun at an ‘izakaya’, a Japanese version of a pub.

Day 10

Kyoto

Meals

Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation

Our first visit today is to the Kiyomizu-dera or ‘Pure Water Temple’. This Buddhist temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site sits high above the city. Its wooden terrace overlooks a valley which in the spring is bursting with cherry blossom. We then visit the Yasaka Shrine in Gion, famous for its rows of hanging lanterns, which is next to Maruyama Park, one of the most famous cherry blossom spots in Kyoto in season. We include lunch today, then this afternoon we walk the Philosopher’s Path, probably the best known place in Japan to experience the ‘hanami’ cherry blossom season, and end the day with a visit to the Silver Temple. Here there is a beautiful moss garden consisting of ponds, islands and bridges, and a unique dry sand garden, the Sea of Silver Sand.

Day 11

Kiso Valley

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5.5 miles

We catch the Bullet Train to Nagoya, then continue by coach into the Kiso Valley between the Northern & Central Alps, arriving late morning. (Note that your main bag will be taken directly to Tokyo so you will need an overnight bag for two nights.) The Nakasendo Way is the ancient post trail which once connected Tokyo (then called Edo) and Kyoto. Today and tomorrow we walk two of the most picturesque stretches, where the simple wooden buildings in the villages through which we pass speak of a bygone age. Today’s walk starts in Magome and ends in Tsumago. 9km, 3 hours. Our hotel tonight is in the Kiso Valley, surrounded by lush, tree-clad hills.

Day 12

Yamanakoko

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We continue on the Nakasendo Way from Tsumago to Nagiso, another small village which speaks of the days when Japan cut itself off from the outside world. On completing the walk a soba (buckwheat) noodle lunch is included in the town Iida. Enjoyed worldwide, this is the area of Japan where soba noodles originate. We then continue by coach to Kofu. There is no guarantee of this, but weather permitting we will be able to see clearly the majestic peak of Mount Fuji!

Day 13

Tokyo

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Today’s itinerary will depend on the season. All departures will visit Arakurayama Asama Park. A 20 minute walk up a flight of stairs here brings you to a viewing platform where you can capture Mt Fuji, a five storey pagoda and, according to the season, a sea of cherry blossom or rich autumn colours in the same view. In May we will also stop near Lake Motusu to experience the utterly spectacular ‘Shiba-zakura’, little-known outside Japan, when vast fields of pink phlox moss bloom against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. Our autumn departure will also stop near Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes, to experience the spectacular autumn colours. Mid to late afternoon will find us in Tokyo.

Day 14

Tokyo

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we visit the Edo Tokyo Museum, a multi-experience museum telling the fascinating history of Japan’s capital. We also visit Asakusa for its park, the magnificent Senso-ji Buddhist temple, and pagodas. Lunchtime finds us in the nearby Nakamise Street where food and shopping go hand in hand. Join the locals for ‘Tabearuki’ or ‘walk and eat’. We then see the Imperial Palace, and have some free time before our final farewell dinner.

Day 15

Final day

Meals

Breakfast

We transfer by coach out to the airport for our return flight to the UK.

From (GBP)£4,799

Departure dates for your selected tour

24th Mar 2021 - 7th Apr 2021 (14 Nights)

31st Mar 2021 - 14th Apr 2021 (14 Nights)

12th May 2021 - 26th May 2021 (14 Nights)

10th Nov 2021 - 24th Nov 2021 (14 Nights)

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Kansai, Osaka returning from Narita, Tokyo (British Airlines)
  • Airport transfers by road c.1hr
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights, this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Most low-cost carriers also have extra legroom seats.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visa is required



Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

Hotel Respire

Centrally located close to the main railway station, the Hotel Respire is a large tourist and business hotel with smart comfortable rooms and all 21st century mod cons. The streamlined rooms feature flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi access, plus tea and coffeemaking facilities, and minifridges. Amenities include an airy Italian restaurant, a cafe and a bar, plus a fitness room and coin-operated laundry facilities. It is just 2 metro stops from Dotonbori where we have dinner.

Hotel Urashima Resort & Spa

The hotel’s website says it all: ‘Hotel Urashima Resort & Spa proudly features a cavernous hot spring bath with a wondrous view of the Pacific Ocean from its cavern, buffets centered on locally caught tuna, ceremonial Kaiseki cuisine made with local produce and catch, and an ideal location as a base camp for walking the World Heritage Kumano-kodo Pilgrimage Route’. Relaxed rooms offer flat-screen TVs and minifridges; some provide ocean views. It also has a couple of karaoke bars if you fancy giving your vocal chords an outing.

Rihga Gran Kyoto

The Rihga Gran Kyoto is a swish brand new hotel opening in July 2020 very conveniently located just a 3 minute walk south of Kyoto’s main station. It isn’t far from the Ko-ji area which contains the city’s oldest buildings, and is also within easy walking distance of the Nishiki-koji street food market. The photos on our website are computer generated – we’ll add real ones when they are available.

Hotel Kisoji

The Hotel Kisoji in the Kiso Valley is a spa hotel surrounded by beautiful forests, just south of Mt Nagiso. The ‘onsen’ (hot spring outdoor spa) here consists of a delightful series of pools surrounded by rocks and trees with a waterfall at one end. Rooms have tea and coffee-making facilities and their bar serves locally brewed beer.

Fuji Marriott Yamanakako

This Fuji Marriott Yamanakako is 2 miles from Lake Yamanaka, from the shores of which rises the mighty Mount Fuji. The unpretentious rooms come with flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, plus minifridges and sitting areas. There's a gender-segregated bathhouse with natural hot spring water offering outdoor areas and views of Mount Fuji. And if you ever wanted to play tennis with views of Mount Fuji, now’s your chance.

Hotel Remm Ginza

The Hotel Remm Ginza scores top marks for location in the heart of Tokyo’s Ginza district, with, according to Trip Advisor, over 3000 restaurants and 299 attractions within 0.3 miles of it.

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

We have graded this holiday Sightseeing / 4. Whilst much of the walking will be easier than grade 4, to fully enjoy the holiday you need to be happy with grade 4 walks. Countryside walking makes up most of our day on the Kumano Kodo, and two half days of the Nakasendo Way. Within the cities there will be plenty of walking in parks and gardens, but you should also bear in mind that the visits to Mount Koya and the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto will involve a certain amount of walking.

This Grade 4 moderate holiday includes full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain and is likely to include an element of sightseeing as well. Half day walking will probably include about 3 hours of walking, with full days having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to about 600m. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.

Walks & Excursions

This holiday is a mixture of sightseeing and walking, although as most of the sightseeing is done on foot it is a very active holiday. 

Please note: This itinerary has been planned to be busy and full-packed so that you make the most of your time and experience as much as possible. There will be some free time during the tour for you to explore on your own or relax, and details will be confirmed locally by your RWH leader and the local guide.

Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day. Allow about £30 per meal for dinners not included in Kyoto.

Currency in Japan

Japanese Yen. Japan is very much a cash based society. Credit and debit cards can however be used in most areas visited on our itinerary.

Holiday Currency

The currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY or ¥). Even in this day and age, cash is definitely better for Japan.  Where credit cards are accepted, they might limit acceptance to certain cards or certain times.  Most restaurants, especially in cities, now take credit cards. Department stores and major shops should take plastic, especially food departments.  Moreover, you can now use almost all credit or debit cards in ATMs in Japanese banks, so cash is easy to get. Crime rates in Japan are very low, so carrying cash around is safe, though normal precautions should be taken. The bottom line is therefore carry some Yen, have a credit card to use for shopping and a debit card for use in an ATM if necessary.

Tipping

Tipping is alien to Japanese culture so there is no need to tip in Japanese restaurants or if you take a taxi anywhere. However in common with many other areas of the world it is appropriate to tip your tour guide or driver if s/he has stayed with you for more than a day. We recommend the equivalent of £3 per person per day for the guide and £2 per person per day for the driver, though we must emphasise that this is entirely voluntary and should be seen as a thank you for a job well done.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Your Travel Details

We fly with British Airways from London Gatwick to Osaka and back from Tokyo. Within Japan we travel by coach and by rail. Details of your baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately ten days before departure. As we travel between six hotels, and you will have to handle your own baggage; please try to travel reasonably light. You should be able to lift and carry your own luggage. At some hotels, the coach may have to stop some distance short of the hotel entrance. Also, within some of the hotels, there may be some long walks between the rooms and lobby area, which may include steps. Your luggage should be kept to a maximum of 20kg (44lbs).

Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?

If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.

Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.

If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.

Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details. 

Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.

Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents

For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

General Passport Advice

It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.

Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.

General travel and destination advice for UK nationals is available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at www.fco.gov.uk/travel and at www.gov.uk/travelaware.

Passport Information for Japan

For entry into Japan a passport is required which should be valid for the length of your stay. Your passport might be required when checking in to hotels and when changing money, so carry it with you on these occasions. It is also an excellent idea to memorise your passport number for the form filling. No visas are required for UK nationals.

Meals

We include all breakfasts whilst in Japan, nine dinners and five lunches. Dinners will be a mixture of Japanese table d’hote or buffet, often with a western option. Vegetarians (though not pescatarians) and especially vegans can sometimes struggle in Japan, but we will endeavour to make sure you get tasty food and do not go hungry. On four evenings in Kyoto dinner is not included. For one of these evenings we strongly recommend buying a bento box for the bullet train journey back from Hiroshima. On the other three nights you a free to choose your own restaurant or follow your tour leader. There is so much more to Japanese food than sushi and California rolls! There’s teppanyaki where the food is cooked in front of you on a huge iron griddle, yakitori where chicken is barbequed on skewers, okonomi stuffed pancakes, tempura, a great variety of noodles… to whet your appetite have a look at www.japancentre.com/en/pages/156-30-must-try-japanese-foods.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Several of the walks will be along stone or cobbled paths which can be slippery in wet weather. We therefore recommend taking a lightweight pair of walking boots which you might also find the most comfortable option for walking around the cities.

Footwear As Hand Luggage

We recommend that you either wear your walking boots or shoes or pack them and some waterproofs in your hand luggage as in the unlikely event that your hold luggage is delayed, you will still be able to participate in the holiday programme.

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Holiday Specific Kit

Twice on the trip you will need to pack a small overnight bag for 2 nights, so please bear this in mind.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
  • Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
  • Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
  • Your travel insurance details
  • Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
  • Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
  • A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

The Rough Guide and Lonely Planet Guide to Japan are pretty good.  If you want a good glimpse of modern Japan city life, you could do worse than watch Lost in Translation!  

For historical and cultural background you can try Dogs and Demons: The Fall of Modern Japan by Alex Kerr and Kyoto: A Cultural and Literary History.

In terms of fiction, one of the best known modern Japanese novelists is Haruki Murakami. His magical realist novel Kafka on the Shore might not be to everyone’s taste, but has been critically acclaimed. Slightly less weird, and a lot shorter, is Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto which mixes cooking, love, death and florists. Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami has a good glimpse of life in modern Japan, including food and drink. For lighter reads there is a thriving genre of Japanese crime novels. Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama is a great police novel, which also has much about the Japanese media and their relationship with the police, and is fascinating with lots about life in Japan. The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino also has fascinating insights into Japanese thinking, speech, life… and death. Salvation of a Saint by the same author is an unusual crime novel, since you witness the murder at the start and know whodunnit, with more insights into modern Japan.

The Map Shop

Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.

See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.

Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.

Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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