17 days
Essential China & Japan

Depart from Heathrow or your preferred airport on scheduled flights to Beijing. Meals on board.

Upon arrival in Beijing, you will be greeted at the airport by our English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel.

If your flight arrives in the morning, we can provide an optional afternoon tour to Lama Temple. Or, the rest of the day is at your leisure.

(Includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Today, we will visit the less touristy Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall. This section of the wall is also equipped with a cable car if you prefer ride, instead of walk (fee payable locally).

Take your time for breakfast, as we wait for the traffic to ease before setting off. We have allocated a full day to visit the Wall, so that we can have plenty time should you wish to enjoy a good walk.

In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner including Peking Duck.

(Includes Breakfast, Lunch)

Enjoy a full day city tour to soak up the atmosphere of Beijing. Our tour includes visiting the land marks such as Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

Also, to have a glimpse of traditional Beijing people's life, we will take a Hutong Rickshaw tour, visit a local family and have lunch with them.

In the evening, book an (optional) local variety show, or you may wish to just relax and explore Beijing by yourselves.

(Includes Breakfast)

Morning at your leisure. Your hotel is in good location should you wish to explore the surrounding area by yourselves.

We also provide an optional morning tour to the Summer Palace and 2008 Bird's Nest Olympics Stadium (exteriors only).

Later, transfer to the train station for fast speed train to Pingyao, where you will meet our local guide.

The ancient city of Pingyao is China’s best-preserved walled city and home to the oldest bank in China. The laid-back small city has maintained its traditional charm with red-lanterns hung along quaint cobbled lanes and traditional architecture dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is no surprise the entire town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a living museum providing a rare opportunity to see the vanishing culture of ancient China.

Train D2005 (leaving Beijing 15:29, arriving Pingyao 19:42)

(Includes Breakfast, Lunch)

After breakfast, we start our half-day tour of one of China's best preserved ancient walled Cities.

Pingyao was considered the financial centre of China during the Qing Empire and we visit the first and largest bank in China, which once controlled half of China's Silver trade.

Afterwards, we stroll around the ancient walled town, with fascinating streets lined with rows of 17th–19th century store fronts and residences. The majority of the buildings still retain their original appearance and we enjoy a view across the roof tops of the ancient buildings.

Later we drive for about an hour, to visit the Wang Family Courtyard residence. This was the luxurious home of a high ranking official's family and where generations of the family lived for over 300 years. The vast compound is one of the largest residential complexes built by opulent Merchants.

Lunch will be arranged in a local restaurant, where we enjoy some authentic local food.

Later, we transfer to the train station. You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel for a good night rest.

(Includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

After breakfast we take a guided tour to see the Terracotta Warriors Archaeological Museum, Xian ancient Bell Tower and Drum Tower. Later we take a leisurely stroll on the ancient city walls.

Then we go to discover a local craftsman's cave dwelling and learn how to make clay warriors.

Evening entertainment includes: Tang Dynasty Show with dinner of dumplings.

(Includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

After breakfast we take a guided tour to see the Terracotta Warriors Archaeological Museum, Xian ancient Bell Tower and Drum Tower. Later we take a leisurely stroll on the ancient city walls.

Then we go to discover a local craftsman's cave dwelling and learn how to make clay warriors.

Evening entertainment includes: Tang Dynasty Show with dinner of dumplings.

(Includes Breakfast)

Our fast train to Chengdu is around mid afternoon, so the morning is free for you to explore Xian at leisure.

Alternatively, you can take a guided morning tour, visiting the Muslim Quarter, Xian's Wooden Mosque and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

In the late afternoon we take a flight to Chengdu, the home of China's most famous residents, the Giant Panda.

Our Optional evening variety style show is in one of the best theatres in Chengdu and includes the amazing face-changing performance.

(Includes Breakfast)

Today we visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. We will visit in the morning, as this is the best time to watch the pandas enjoying their bamboo breakfast.

You will have plenty of time to watch the pandas and enjoy their playful antics. The Breeding Centre also usually sell a photo opportunity with a Panda (pay on the spot). Please be aware the fee is high and there is always a long queue, but it is a great souvenir.

* For guests who prefer to get an even closer to the lovely pandas, you can opt to take a full day volunteer programme at Dujiangyan Panda Base instead of the Breeding Centre. We can re-arrange the tour of Jin Li Street and Kuan Zhai Ally to day 8 in this case.*

Towards lunch time, our guide will drop you off at the popular Jin Li street and Kuan Zai Ally, where there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, tea houses and handicraft stalls to explore. You may choose to either lingering in this charming place for a leisurely enjoyable afternoon by yourselves, or take an optional tour to Leshan Giant Buddha Statue. The Leshan Buddha tour includes a pleasant boat ride, providing a great opportunity to photograph the huge statue carved into the hillside.

(Includes Breakfast, Lunch)

We leave Chengdu and take a flight to Shanghai. Meet our local guide upon arrival and check-in to our hotel.

After a short rest, we start our city tour of Shanghai. Our tour includes visiting Yu Garden, famous for its rock gardens, pavilions, halls and ponds. We then explore the famous promenade and marvel at the futuristic landscape of magnificent towers and building situated along the Huangpu River and the Bund. Finally our tour takes us to the historic districts of Shanghai and we visit the former colonial French quarters, known locally as 'Heaven on Earth'.

Optional evening entertainment  available to book: Martial art show, dance show etc.

(Includes Breakfast)

Today, you will be met at your hotel and transferred to the Maglev train station in Shanghai (during train service hours). 

Our local guide will assist you to board the futuristic and super fast Maglev train with a top speed of 267mph. The train will take you to the airport in time for your flight to Japan. Upon arriving at Narita Airport in Tokyo, you are met by our tour assistant and transferred to central Tokyo by Airport Limousine bus or train. 


Morning city tour of Tokyo visiting Tokyo Tower and Meiji Shrine. Next we drive by the Akasaka Guest House and the National Diet Building, home to the Japanese House of Parliament. Our tour continues to the Imperial Palace East Gardens and a drive and stroll along Ginza high street.

Afternoon is free at leisure, or take an optional afternoon Tokyo city tour. Ask for details at time of booking.

Free day to explore Tokyo at your leisure, or purchase an optional full day tour to either Nikko, or Kamakura and Yokohama.

(Includes Lunch)

You will be picked up from your hotel and driven by deluxe motorcoach to Mount Fuji. Lunch will be provided at a Hotel /Restaurant in Hakone. 

In the  afternoon we proceed to the Hakone National Park where we  will take a cable car ride with the opportunity to see the  magnificent volcanic Hakone mountain range below. We will then travel to the Owakudani Boiling Valley and afterwards take a boat cruise on Lake Ashi. 

After the tour take Bullet train to Kyoto.

For  your convenience and due to luggage restriction on the bullet train, we have arrange free luggage transfer to take your large luggage directly to Kyoto (1 bag per person).

Morning sight-seeing tour of Kyoto, including visiting Nijo Castle, former residence of the Tokugawa Shogun. Next we visit the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) and Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Optional Nara afternoon tour.

Check out of your hotel in the morning and you may leave your luggage with the bellboy. You are then free to further explore Kyoto before taking the train to Osaka (train tickets provide). The JR train from Kyoto to Osaka, is a regular local train service and does not require reserved seats. Therefore you can take the train whenever you like. Free time to explore Osaka, such as the Osaka Castle. Optional guided tour also available to book.

You will be transferred to the futuristic Kansai International Airport in Osaka for your departure flight homeward.

Dates & Prices

Interested in this tour? Download Itinerary
Departure from UK every Saturday
March - November 2018
Twin share per person
December - February 2019
Twin share per person
March - November 2019
Twin share per person
  • All International and internal Flights with full ATOL Protection
  • Airport/hotel transfers
  • Sightseeing tours by professional English-speaking tour guide.
  • All entrance fees whilst on guided tours.
  • Selections of quality accommodation in well furnished rooms with private  facilities.
  • Overland luggage transfer Tokyo - Kyoto.
  • Bullet Train tickets - reserved seat in Japan.
  • Selections of quality accommodation in well furnished hotel rooms with private facilities. 
  • Meals  as specified in the itinerary.
  • Guaranteed departure
  • Optional  tours
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips for guides and drivers in China - recommend £3 for guide and £2 for driver per day but not compulsory. No tipping is expected in Japan. 
  • Chinese visa - we can provide service, currently £180/person. No visa is required to Japan.


Beijing - Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing (Superior Room), Regent Hotel (Deluxe Room), Four Seasons Hotel (Superior Room), Pingyao - Yun Jin Cheng Hotel (Executive twin Suite), Xian - Grand Mercure Renmin Square (Superior Room), Chengdu - Sofitel Chengdu Taihe (Deluxe Room), Shanghai Pullman Shanghai Jing An(Superior Room), Fairmont Peace Hotel (Fairmont Room).

TOKYO - Keio Plaza Hotel, KYOTO - New Miyako Hotel (South Wing), OSAKA - Hotel Granvia Osaka

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How to book

0161 440 7332