Tokyo, Japan

Introduction to Tokyo

Tokyo metropolis spans not just the city itself, it also encompasses rugged mountains to the west and subtropical islands to the south. See the Imperial Palace, the hi-tech streets and quaint Buddhist temples, or take a journey into the Japanese countryside to see magnificent Mount Fuji.

Tokyo is vast: Tokyo Metropolis spans not just the city itself but encompasses rugged mountains to the west and subtropical islands to the south. there is so much to explore in Tokyo. The city centre - with its huge skyscrapers and dazzling neon lights - is exciting and vibrant, while the temples and gardens dotted around the capital offer a taste of traditional Japan.

Despite its size, 36% of the region is covered by forest, such as Japanese cypress. It is considered one of the main economic capitals of the world, alongside London and New York. Tokyo city has a reputation of being a jungle of concrete and wires and neon lights, but it includes a vast array of sights such as the temples of Asakusa and the gardens of the Imperial Palace.

You will be able to spot the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building (in effect, Tokyo's City Hall), the highest building in Tokyo. Its twin towers have viewing platforms that offer a great view over Tokyo and beyond.

Tokyo has a vast array of sports which include baseball as well as sumo wrestling. The city hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics and is currently bidding to host the 2020 Games.

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Rikugi-en Garden, Japan

EDO TOKYO MUSEUM & JAPANESE GARDENS (TOUR B)

  • Learn about Tokyo’s history with a visit to the Museum
  • Admire the Rikugi-en Garden
  • Explore Tokyo’s oldest extant temple
Price£75.00-£85.00
DurationApproximately 6.5 hours
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Snack includedSnack included
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Discover what the fascinating city of Tokyo has to offer visitors with a stop at a museum, temple and the Rikugi-en Garden.

Your first stop is at the Rikugi-en Garden. This strolling mountain and pond-style garden was created based on the theme of Waka poetry in the 15th year of the Genroku Period (1702) by the shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi’s trusted confidante Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu. The garden is a typical example of the famous gardens of the Edo Period. In the Meiji Period, this garden became the second residence of the founder of Mitsubishi, Iwasaki Yataro. Later, in the 13th year of Showa (1938), the Iwasaki family donated the garden to the City of Tokyo and in Showa 28 (1953) it was designated a special site of exceptional beauty and an important cultural asset.

Next, visit the Edo Tokyo Museum. The museum was founded on 28th March 1993 as the place where visitors come to learn more about Tokyo’s history and culture; it also serves as a projection onto the city and the living of the future. In the permanent exhibition area you can find original and replicated exhibits, as well as large-scale models, faithful representations of their originals which have been reproduced after painstaking investigations and research.

Following a Japanese style lunch served at a local restaurant, you drive to the Asakusa Sensoji Temple. Founded in the early 7th century, it is the oldest extant temple in Tokyo. Enter through the Nitenmon or Kaminarimon Gate, bedecked (weather permitting) with a huge red paper lantern to view the shrine. Your guided tour will also take a stroll down Nakamise-dori, the ‘Street of Inside Shops’, an alley lined with traditional vendors selling food, souvenirs and handmade crafts.

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves large amounts of walking with some over uneven and gravel paths. The museum is a six storey building and the Sensoji Temple has 18 uneven steps in order to reach the main hall (lifts are available), therefore this tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Japanese Yen is required for any purchases that you may wish to make at Nakamise-dori. The order of sites visited may vary from that described. One soft drink will be included with lunch.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2015 BALMORAL FAR EAST EXPLORER.


Tokyo, Japan

EVERYDAY TOKYO (TOUR F)

  • Gain a glimpse of life in Tokyo 
  • Experience a ride on the metro 
  • Discover the oldest extant temple in Japan 
Price£70.00-£80.00
DurationApproximately 7 hours
LimitationVery Limited Capacity
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Snack includedSnack included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

On this tour, experience Tokyo - an astounding city where the 21st century coexists with the spirit of ancient Japan - by public transportation.

Departing from the pier, you will take a public bus to the district of Ginza with your guide. Upon arrival, walk to Ginza Station, which opened 80 years ago and is one of the hub stations of Tokyo’s underground. Enjoy a ride on the metro for approximately 15 minutes to Asakusa Station. Your guide will lead you to the area’s main attraction – the Asakusa Sensoji Temple. Founded in the early 7th century, it is the oldest extant temple in Tokyo. Enter through the Nitenmon or Kaminarimon Gate, bedecked (weather permitting) with a huge red paper lantern to view the shrine. Your guided tour will also take a stroll down Nakamise-dori, the ‘Street of Inside Shops’, an alley lined with traditional vendors selling food, souvenirs and handmade crafts.

Following lunch at a local restaurant, you will head to a nearby bus stop, where you board a bus to Ueno, the old downtown of Eastern Tokyo, where the famous market, Ameya Yokocho (Ameyoko), is located. As you stroll along the streets here, you can savour the lively atmosphere and browse the various stalls selling seafood, dried food, snacks and sweets, shoes, clothes and much more.

Finally, walk to Ueno station, where you will take the metro back to Ginza station, before taking the bus back to Ginza, and walking back to the quayside.

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves a strenuous amount of walking, some of which will be over gravelled terrain, and many steps to negotiate at the metro stations, therefore it is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Guests are advised to wear flat, comfortable walking shoes. There will be some free time at Ameyoko Market, where walking is at the discretion of the individual. Please note there is no guarantee you will be seated on the public bus or metro. Places of interest may be visited in a different order to that described. At the end of the tour, guests wishing to remain in Ginza may do so, however it is the responsibility of the individual to return to the ship in time for sailing.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2015 BALMORAL FAR EAST EXPLORER.


Meiji Shrine

HIGHLIGHTS OF TOKYO WITH JAPANESE BBQ (TOUR C)

  • Admire the Imperial Palace Plaza 
  • Visit the Maiji Shrine dedicated to the Meiji Emperor, father of modern Japan 
  • Marvel at Tokyo’s oldest extant temple
Price£85.00-£95.00
DurationApproximately 7 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Snack includedSnack included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Experience Tokyo, an astounding city where the 21st century coexists with the spirit of ancient Japan. If you are an explorer looking for a good overview of this captivating city, then this is the tour for you.

Begin with a stop at the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, the father of modern Japan. This beautiful shrine stands in a dense forest glade at the very heart of Tokyo. The setting symbolises the separation of the spiritual form from the worldly. You will enter the shrine through twin 40 feet tall Torii gates, one of the largest in all of Japan.

Following a Japanese BBQ lunch, you continue to the Imperial Palace Plaza for an external visit. The palace occupies the original site of Edo Castle, the seat of power for the Tokugawa Shoguns during the Edo Period (1604-1866). Restoration to repair damage suffered by the palace during World War II was completed in 1968. Embark on a guided tour of the Palace Plaza surrounded by moats, and stop at Nijubashi Bridge, a picturesque two-tier bridge, for a superb photo opportunity.

Your final stop will be the Asakusa Senso-ji Temple. Founded in the early 7th century, it is the oldest extant temple in Tokyo. To view the shrine, enter through the Nitenmon or Kaminarimon Gate which, weather permitting, will be decorated with a huge red paper lantern. You can also stroll down Nakamise-dori, the ‘Street of Inside Shops’, an alley lined with traditional vendors selling food, souvenirs and handmade crafts.

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves large amounts of walking, some of which will be over gravel pathways. There are approximately ten steps to negotiate at the Meiji Shrine, where there are no ramps or lifts available, and a further 18 steps into the main hall of the Senso-ji Temple, therefore this tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Japanese Yen is required for any purchases that you may wish to make at Nakamise-dori. One soft drink will be included with lunch.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2015 BALMORAL FAR EAST EXPLORER.


Kotokuin Temple

KAMAKURA (TOUR G)

  • Uncover the city of Kamakura 
  • Marvel at the Great Buddha statue at Kotokuin Temple 
  • Visit one of the most important Shinto shrines in the area 
  • Savour free time to browse the local shops 
Price£40.00-£50.00
DurationApproximately 5.5 hours
LimitationLimited to 160
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Leave behind the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and discover the city of Kamakura, the ancient capital of Japan’s first Shogunate.

Departing from the quayside, a drive of approximately 90 minutes will take you to the ancient city of Kamakura, the political capital of Japan from 1185 to 1333. Upon arrival, you will visit the Kotokuin Temple, a Buddhist temple, to admire its 13 metre tall Buddha statue, the second largest in Japan. Construction of the bronze Buddha began in 1252, and it was originally kept in a large temple hall. Over the years, the hall was destroyed by strong winds and a tsunami in the 14th century, so now the statue sits out in the open.

Next, visit the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, one of Kamakura’s most important shrines. The main pavilion of the Shinto shrine was originally built in 1063, however it was moved to its current location in 1191 by Minamoto Yoritomo to celebrate the establishment of the Minamoto Shogunate. The shrine is reached by a wide approach, and you will pass Torii gates en route.

Following your guided visit of the shrine, you will have an opportunity to stroll along Komachi Street, where you can find cafés, souvenir shops and craft shops.

Your return to Tokyo will be via the expressway.

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: An uphill walk and approximately 62 steps will need to be negotiated to reach the main hall of the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Unfortunately this tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. There will be approximately 40 minutes of free time where the amount of walking is at the discretion of the individual. Guests are advised to wear flat, comfortable walking shoes.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2015 BALMORAL FAR EAST EXPLORER.


Hakone Park, Japan

MOUNT FUJI & HAKONE NATIONAL PARK (TOUR E)

  • Take a “stroll in the sky” on an aerial gondola 
  • Be awestruck by the breathtaking views of the Hakone Park and Owakudani Valleys 
  • Step aboard a Viking-style boat for a relaxing lake cruise 
Price£85.00-£95.00
DurationApproximately 10 hours
LimitationLimited to 160
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Snack includedSnack included

If relaxation and magnificent views are what you have been waiting for, wait no longer!

Leaving the quayside, you begin with an approximate three hour drive to Hakone National Park. Upon arrival at Sounzan Rope Way Gondola Station, board the 18-passenger aerial gondola and journey to Owakudani Valley Station. Make sure your cameras are at the ready to capture those all-important breathtaking views of the Hakone Park and Owakudani Valleys.

After arriving at Owakudani Valley Station, enjoy the views of Hakone Park and Owakundani Valley’s boiling and smoking thermal springs, before enjoying a western-style lunch at a local restaurant.

Feeling refreshed, transfer to Lake Ashi where you will board a unique, Viking-style boat for an approximate 30-minute cruise across the lake. Your guide will point out the main sights along the way, which will include the forest clad mountain slopes and Fuji’s majestic cone reflecting in the lake waters.

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: Please note that the journey time of two and a half hours to and from Hakone National Park is approximate and traffic dependent. Guests who do not wish to take the gondola ride can make the journey by coach, however for the full experience of this tour, this is not recommended. There are approximately 120 steps to negotiate to reach the hot springs at Owakundani Valley, with walking over hilly and gravel paths, therefore this tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Views of Mount Fuji are subject to favourable weather conditions. Places of interest may be visited in a different order to that described. One soft drink will be provided at lunch.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2015 BALMORAL FAR EAST EXPLORER.


Tokyo, Japan

PANORAMIC TOKYO (TOUR A)

  • Sit back and soak up the stunning city of Tokyo from the comfort of an air-conditioned coach
  • Brace yourself for magnificent views from the observation platform of Tokyo Tower!
Price£30.00-£40.00
DurationApproximately 3 hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

If a sightseeing trip of Tokyo is on your ‘must do’ list when stopping off in Japan, then this is the perfect tour! Sitting back and letting somebody else do the driving around this amazing city and admiring the spectacular views from the observatory of Tokyo Tower is what this tour is all about!

Leaving the quayside, you will drive through the Ginza area, Tokyo’s most famous upscale shopping, dining and entertainment district. Continue through the Imperial Palace Plaza, which occupies the original site of Edo Castle, the seat of power for the Tokugawa Shoguns during the Edo Period. A drive past the National Diet building and the National Guests House will be made before viewing the Roppongi area – all from the comfort of your coach.

After sightseeing from ground level, the only way is up! The Tokyo Tower is Japan’s second tallest, self-supporting steel tower and closely resembles the slightly smaller Eiffel Tower in Paris. Tokyo Tower was completed in 1958 as a symbol for Japan’s rebirth as a major economic power and serves as a radio broadcast antenna and tourist attraction. After travelling by lift, the Grand Observation platform, 492 feet up, will offer, weather permitting, breathtaking views of Tokyo, stretching as far as Mount Fuji in the distance!

Following your visit of the tower, you re-board your tour coach for the return drive to the quayside.

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves very little walking, with all sightseeing, apart from the Tokyo Tower, viewed from inside the coach; therefore it is considered suitable for guests with limited mobility providing they can board the coach unaided. Lifts and ramps are available at the Tokyo Tower for guests wishing to participate in this part of the tour, however guests can stay onboard the coach if they wish. Toilet facilities are available at the Tokyo Tower. This tour may operate in a different order to that described. 

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2015 BALMORAL FAR EAST EXPLORER.


Sankeien Garden, Japan

SANKEIEN GARDEN & LANDMARK TOWER (TOUR D)

  • Discover what the Landmark Tower, the icon of Yokohama, has to offer 
  • Wander the sun-splashed Sankeien Gardens 
Price£40.00-£50.00
DurationApproximately 5.5 hours
LimitationLimited to 120
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking

Experience the cosmopolitan pleasures of Yokohama, Japan’s first modern, international port. Take the opportunity to tour the beautifully landscaped grounds at Sankeien Gardens and view Yokohama from the city’s icon, the Landmark Tower.

Sankeien Gardens were once the private gardens of a wealthy silk merchant, and were opened to the public in 1906. The beautifully landscaped complex features sculpted trees, lily ponds, graceful bridges and historic bridges collected from around Japan. Enjoy a walk around this splendid estate, allowing for a journey of discovery.

Next, drive to Yokohama’s harbour area, where you will visit the famous observation floor of the Landmark Tower. The tower stands 296 metres (971 feet) tall with a total floor area of 392,885 square metres. Landmark Tower is a marvellous cityscape featuring offices, a hotel and shopping mall in the very central tower, as well as a variety of facilities such as an observatory and an outside area accentuated by a restored stone dock called the Dockyard Garden. Marvel at impressive views over Yokohama from the 69th floor – don’t forget your cameras!

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, some of which will be over gravelled terrain. There are approximately 15 steps to negotiate at Sankeien Gardens, however ramps are available to access some of the harder to reach areas of the garden. Landmark Tower is spread over several different levels, however lifts are available to reach them all.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2015 BALMORAL FAR EAST EXPLORER.


Geisha

TOKYO DINNER & GEISHA TOUR (TOUR H)

  • Indulge in a delicious meal at a traditional Japanese restaurant
  • Witness an elegant Geisha performance
Price£140.00-£150.00
DurationApproximately 3.5 hours
LimitationVery Limited Capacity
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Snack includedSnack included

On this tour, savour a traditional Japanese dinner before enjoying a Geisha performance.

Leaving the quayside, you will travel to a traditional Japanese restaurant in downtown Tokyo. Upon arrival, you will be seated Japanese style in a banquet room and served a Kaiseki meal comprising of local food. Kaiseki-style meals include seasonal vegetables and fish cooked in a way that seals their natural flavour. The arrangement and presentation of the dishes also plays an important part in the meal’s ambiance.

Your dinner will be followed by an elegant Geisha performance; a centuries-old form of Japanese entertainment in which women wearing beautiful kimonos perform authentic dances accompanied by traditional Japanese music. Your guide will be on hand to explain the proceedings, costumes, makeup, history, culture and traditions of the Geisha.

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves approximately five minutes of walking from the coach to the restaurant, and vice versa, and there are a few steps to negotiate. Unfortunately it is not considered suitable for wheelchair users. Please note that the seating at the restaurant will be Japanese style on the floor. Guests must remove shoes at the restaurant. 

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2015 BALMORAL FAR EAST EXPLORER.


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