England: A Rose Between Two Thorns (Second Two Pool Matches)

Small Group Tour

Classic

Combine two of England’s most exciting rugby matches with a guided journey around Japan.

Your trip will kick off amidst the skyscrapers of Tokyo for the lively England v Argentina match, before travelling across the main island of Honshu to some of the country’s most serene areas. Japan’s trains, including the famous shinkansen (bullet train), make getting to the laidback seaside city of Kamakura, Kanazawa’s famous gardens and the rolling mountains in Karuizawa a breeze.

You’ll experience the Japan of days gone by in Kanazawa’s samurai district, Shirakawago’s picture perfect thatched village, and Takayama’s autumn festival processions. It’s not all sightseeing though; with hands on wagashi confectionary and soba making classes, you’ll have Japanese dinner parties long after you return home.

After the excitement of the England v France game in Yokohama (just outside Tokyo) you’ll relax with a stroll around Hamarikyu gardens, a visit to Senso-Ji, the city’s oldest temple and a ferry trip on the Sumida river.

With a tour leader throughout your trip, and expert local guides along the way, you won’t miss a thing between the matches.

At the end of this tour, you might like to extend your trip to watch the semi-finals and finals too. Click here to see more!

 

Important Practical Information

  • This tour does not include international flights
  • The tour does not include any rugby match tickets
  • This tour starts and finishes in Tokyo for arrivals and departures at Narita or Haneda Airport.
  • The tour is priced per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Please note there is a £400 single supplement for solo travellers.

For more details, please contact us.

Tour Highlights

  • Follow England's last two pool matches (match tickets not included)
  • Join our exclusive InsideJapan Tours rugby event
  • Visit Takayama in time for the annual festival
  • Ride on the famous bullet train
  • Take a wagashi confectionery masterclass
  • In depth, guided tours in Tokyo, Karuizawa, Kanazawa, and Takayama
  • Breakfast every day, two lunches & five dinners

Trip fits with:

England vs Argentina

Tokyo

Saturday 5 October

KO 17:00 (local time)

England vs France

Yokohama

Saturday 12 October

KO 17:15 (local time)

Trip essentials

Starts 2nd October 2019

Ends 14th October 2019

12 nights: from £3,600 (excl. intl. flights) per person

Trip code: EGTP2C

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For more information:

Call us: 01179 927068

Matches & Times

Matches & Times

This itinerary is designed to get you to the right place at the right time for the following rugby matches.

Please note that match tickets are not included in any of our packages.

Match

Host City

Stadium

Ticket Info

England

vs

Argentina

Pool C Round 1

Tokyo

Sat 5th October 2019

KO 17:00 (local time)

Tokyo Stadium

Stadium info

England

vs

France

Pool C Round 1

Yokohama

Sat 12th October 2019

KO 17:15 (local time)

Yokohama Stadium

Stadium info

Day by Day

Day by Day

Ancient and modern Japan feature in this tour with a variety of destinations from hyper Tokyo to serene hillside villages. This tour coincides with the Takayama festival; a miniature mardi gras with floats, performances and processions through this quaint town. Channel your inner Delia with lessons in soba noodle and bite-size colourful confectionery making. All flanked by the matches against Argentina & France!

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Day 1-2 Tokyo

Land in the electric capital!

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Day 1-2 Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo! A shuttle bus will pick you up from the airport to take you to your hotel. The tour leader will be waiting in the lobby to help get you settled and give you a few ideas for how to spend your first afternoon in the capital.

If you’ve got a few hours you might like to take a wander in the area around your hotel. In the evening you’ll meet the rest of the group over a welcome dinner.

After sleeping soundly, it’s time to head out and discover Tokyo! There’s nothing like getting to know the ins and outs of a city with a local resident, so on day 2 you will be guided around this sprawling metropolis. With the use of your IC card you’ll get from A to B quickly whilst travelling like the locals do.

Today’s sights will include Harajuku, hub of all things kawaii (cute) and youth culture – don’t be surprised to see the odd teenager wearing a cosplay get-up, before visiting the nearby (and very different) Meiji Shrine.

Tokyo’s associated with all things neon and cutting edge, but this shrine is tucked within a picturesque forest in the city. Take in the fresh air beyond the hubbub of the city and learn about Shinto, one of Japan’s major religions. If you’re lucky you may even spot a traditional wedding.

Accommodation: Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku

Day 3 Kamakura

Day trip to Kamakura

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Day 3 Kamakura

With sandy beaches and hiking trails, Kamakura makes a lovely day trip from Tokyo on day 3. Your guided tour of sightseeing will include a visit to the town’s most famous resident, an 800-year-old giant seated Buddha, as well as Kenchoji, Japan’s oldest Zen training monastery.

Accommodation: Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku

 

Day 4-5 Tokyo

The first match against Argentina!

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Day 4-5 Tokyo

As the day of your first rugby match, you’ll have a leisurely morning on day 4 before taking a private coach to Tokyo Ajinomoto Stadium for England v Argentina. The penultimate pool for England is set to be a challenge as Eddie Jones’ men take on the beef of Argentina’s Los Pumas. These two teams first played against each other on 30th May 1981 where they drew 19-19. Will history repeat itself in Tokyo? Kick-off is at 5pm.

Day 5 will be a free day in Tokyo – perhaps starting with a look at the finer details of yesterday’s match with your group over breakfast!

Your tour leader will have plenty of suggestions for how to spend the day; perhaps a visit to Shibuya’s famous crossing, the gaming district of Akihabara, and the Tokyo Skytree at sunset; as the tallest tower in the world, it has unparalleled panoramic views of the city, and on a clear day you can even spot Mount Fuji!

When night falls, the buzzing entertainment district of Shinjuku is a fun place to see the city’s neon lights.

Accommodation: Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku

Day 6 Karuizawa

Waterfalls and Flying Squirrels

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Day 6 Karuizawa

On day 6 you’ll take your first journey on the shinkansen (bullet train) – one of the most anticipated experiences for first-time visitors to Japan. With speeds of up to 320km/h, these futuristic trains make travelling to the upmarket area of Karuizawa easy.

With rows of impressively modern houses, mountainous scenery, and a temperate climate, Karuizawa is a favourite haunt for the Tokyo elite. While it does attract outdoorsy types, its mega malls also make it a favourite amongst keen shoppers.

An extra guide and a coach will take you to the 70m wide Shiraito waterfall, and the quaint Shaw Memorial Church – a vestige of Westerners that lived here in the 19th century. The changing autumn leaves make the area particularly striking at this time of year.

Having worked up an appetite, you’ll be tucking into one of the nation’s favourite foods for lunch with a soba noodle making class, taking you all the way from dough to dish.

In the evening you’ll have a presentation about Karuizawa’s local wildlife – look to the skies for flying squirrels! Dinner is included tonight back at your hotel.

Accommodation: Karuizawa Marriott Hotel

Day 7-8 Kanazawa

Samurai's and modern art; the place for culture vultures

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Day 7-8 Kanazawa

The group will depart Karuizawa on day 7 to take the train to the charming city of Kanazawa. Spared bombing during the war, it has a wealth of impressively preserved religious and cultural sites. In fact, walking around the Nagamachi samurai district, you may well feel as though you’ve stepped back in time!

From your hotel you will be taken on a guided tour, including a visit to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art to see some of the country’s finest works.

Those with a sweet tooth will be delighted about meeting a pâtissier to learn the art of wagashi. This traditional Japanese confectionary is pretty as a picture and taste as good as its looks! Dinner is included tonight.

On day 8, with an extra local guide, you’ll explore the most special place of all in Kanazawa – the Kenrokuen Gardens. With 25 acres of rolling lawns, mature trees, colourful flower beds and ponds filled with koi carp, it’s been named one of Japan’s three best loved gardens. After walking around the grounds, you’ll stop for at the Omicho fresh food market; feel free to take your pick of 200 stalls for lunch.

No trip to Kanazawa would be complete without visiting the samurai district. Nomura House, hiding beyond the classic low walls, still has traditional sliding doors, tatami mat floors, and well-tended gardens, as well as important artifacts that tell the story of the area.

Accommodation: Hotel Route Inn Kanazawa Ekimae

Day 9 Takayama

Miniature Mardi Gras in rural Takayama - get in the spirit ahead of the next match

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Day 9 Takayama

If Kanazawa seems quaint, wait until you reach your next stop. On day 9 a private coach will take you to the market town of Takayama in the Japanese Alps. The alpine landscape, blanketed with the red and gold leaves of autumn, will chop and change until a small, impossibly picturesque village emerges: the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawago.

You’ll stop off to see some of the sights and an included lunch here, namely the collection of fairy-tale thatched farmhouses, known as gassho-zukuri “praying hands”, before taking the onward journey to Takayama.

Takayama’s narrow streets, lined with low-slung timber houses and craft workshops, seem unchanged from the Edo period. Your trip coincides with the Takayama festival, one of the best times of the year to visit; expect to see a spectacular procession of ornate floats parade through the old town and a spirited atmosphere. Dinner is included tonight.

Accommodation: Hotel Associa Takayama Resort

Day 10-13 Tokyo

Gear up for the game at InsideJapan's fan event - it's 'Le Crunch' time!

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Day 10-13 Tokyo

Visiting Takayama’s riverside market is a lovely way to start the day before taking the train back to Tokyo.

In anticipation of the England v Tonga game, we’ve arranged an evening event in the capital for all of our InsideJapan Tours customers (and fellow rugby enthusiasts). Amongst the entertainment, there may be one or two good-natured bets on tomorrow’s score!

After last night’s revelry you’ll have a few hours on the morning of day 11 to gear up for the game in Yokohama. Although less than hour outside Tokyo, this metropolis on the water is Japan’s second largest city.

With the final nail-biting pool match, it’s ‘Le Crunch’ time! This is the sixth occasion England have played against France in the history of the tournament. Kick-off is at 5.15pm.

Whether its celebrations or commiserations all round on day 12, your tour leader will ensure that your last day in Tokyo is a good one.

The myriad of shops and stalls in the traditional quarter of Asakusa is a hive of activity and a good place to pick up a last minute souvenir, but the star of the show is Senso-Ji, Tokyo’s oldest temple.

After this, a ferry bus on the Sumida River, and a stroll around Hamarikyu Gardens is the perfect contrast to yesterday’s lively match. As night falls you’ll head out for a farewell meal with your group.

Sadly it’s time to say “sayonara!” to Japan. A shared shuttle bus will pick you up from your hotel to take you to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodation: Ryogoku View Hotel

Map & Destinations

Map & Destinations

This trip starts and finishes in Tokyo, so you will need to fly in and out of either Tokyo Narita or Tokyo Haneda Airport. The tour kicks off exploring the region around Tokyo before the first match against Argentina. Then take off towards the mountains to see the rural side of Japan in old villages, samurai districts and the Takayama Festival! Finish the tour back in Tokyo with the match against France and some temple time before saying "sayonara" Japan!

Tokyo

Japan's megalopolis capital city. It's so much more than you could ever imagine!

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Tokyo

It is impossible to sum up Tokyo in a line, a paragraph, a page or even a book. The city has a force and power all of its own. It creates its own gravity; a centre of everything: politics, industry, finance, shopping, the arts, architecture, scientific study, nightlife and food.

This is a truly overwhelming city: a vibrant hub of modern civilisation, constantly buzzing with activity. Suited businessmen rush from one meeting to the next; immaculately turned-out girls totter precariously on impossibly high heels; kimono-clad housewives fill the up-market department stores; and at every turn a barrage of different sights, sounds and aromas.

Japan’s largest city and its capital since the Meiji restoration of 1868, Tokyo is a sensory bombardment and the wonderful abundance of street-level detail means there is always something to keep the attention.

A tide of energy sweeps Tokyoites along, carrying them through the daily grind; from their apartments, onto the unbelievably crowded subway system, into the office and then back again. A visit to Tokyo is the chance to witness the Japanese success story up close.

Kamakura

Kamakura is a haven of peace and quiet on the Pacific coast, famous for its giant seated Buddha.

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Kamakura

Japan’s de facto cultural and political capital from 1192 until its bloody and violent razing of 1333, Kamakura is a treasure trove of eccentric temples and interesting shrines.

Located on the Pacific coast, Kamakura is a haven of peace and quiet. This is the perfect place to escape the stresses of Tokyo – where the only sea is one of people!

The most famous and revered sight at Kamakura is the giant seated Buddha who has meditated calmly here for over eight hundred years, framed by trees and (nowadays, at least) groups of camera-clicking tourists. He has survived fire, floods, tidal waves, typhoons and even the great earthquake of 1923, so it is no surprise that he is looking a little weatherbeaten these days.

Famous the world over, the Buddha often overshadows some of Kamakura’s more unusual temples and sights of interest, many of which are well worth your time. With lots of hidden secrets, Kamakura is a charming town and makes for a fabulous day trip from Tokyo – or better still, an overnight stay.

Karuizawa

Get away from the busy city and head to one of Tokyo's favourite retreats

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Karuizawa

image © David Lovejoy / InsideJapan Tours

Little more than an hour away from Tokyo by shinkansen, Karuizawa offers a cool mountain retreat in summer and easy day trip skiing in winter. A favourite amongst the wealthy of elites of the capital, Karuizawa is the perfect antidote to the constant hustle and bustle of Tokyo

Whilst low-lying cities such as Kyoto are sweltering away during the heat and humidity of the Japanese summer, Karuizawa is positively smug in its refreshing highland location.

Located at 1,000 metres above sea level, the average summer temperature reaches about 22 degrees Celcius in summer meaning the area is perfect for a quick getaway from the city. In 1998, a new shinkansen line from Tokyo was added, bringing the area little more than an hour away from the centre of the capital and solidifying its reputation as an upmarket mountain resort and convenient escape for Tokyoites. Interestingly, in the 1970’s John Lennon and Yoko Ono also had a home here although fortunately the town seems to have escaped an influx of Beatles fanatics.

During the summer months, the fashionable Kyu Karuizawa Ginza road, with its restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques, is bursting with visitors, creating a sight similar to the crowded Takeshita Dori in Harajuku. But one step off the strip and the sudden change of scenery is striking. Rows of stores are replaced by an endless spread of larch and white birch trees and the noise of the crowd is absorbed by the deep woods. You may even spot little churches and western-style houses peaking through the woods.

The area is not only known for its refreshing forest air during the warmer months, but is also a popular spot for skiing and snowboarding in the highlands in winter. Plus being situated at the foot of the active volcano Mount Asama, the area also includes the Shiotsubo-onsen and Hoshino-onsen hot springs – the perfect relaxing end after a hard day on the slopes

Finally, thanks to InsideJapan tour leader David Lovejoy for the beautiful photograph of Shiraito falls

Kanazawa

A well-preserved historical city on the Japan Sea Coast, known for its famous Kenrokuen Garden.

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Kanazawa

Kanazawa is one of Japan’s best-preserved historical cities, with a wonderful samurai quarter, fascinating geisha district, all kinds of traditional crafts and one of the top three (if not the top one) landscape gardens in Japan.

Until 150 years ago, Kanazawa was the fourth-largest city in Japan, its wealth built on high rice production and long periods of peace. Once the seat of the Maeda Clan who ruled the city and prefecture of Ishikawa for nearly three centuries, today Kanazawa is a small city that prides itself on its refinement and heritage.

A wander into Higashiyama, the city’s geisha district, will transport you into another world where you can slip into a teahouse and enjoy a few moments’ rest and relaxation. In Nagamachi, you can visit earthen-walled residences in one of the best-preserved samurai quarters in Japan. At Kenrokuen, meanwhile, you can spend a couple of hours strolling in what is perhaps Japan’s most beautiful landscape garden.

This is not to mention the numerous craft workshops, excellent museums, superb markets (with some of the best seafood in Japan), the nearby “Ninja” Temple and the recently rebuilt Kanazawa Castle – all of which combine to make Kanazawa an exciting yet compact and manageable city to complete your itinerary. What’s more, the opening of the new Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train line also means that it is easier to get to than ever!

 

Takayama

Fairytale houses and Takayama Festival

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Takayama

More than 600 m (2,000 ft) above sea lea level and surrounded by the brooding peaks of the Japan Alps, Takayama is a bustling market town known for its sake, traditional crafts, and biannual festival.

Takayama was once the home of Japan’s most skilled carpenters and artisans, and the well-preserved streets and wooden houses on the banks of the Miyagawa River pay vivid testament to this fact. The buildings now house a multitude of craft shops and specialist food stores, in amongst which you’ll find numerous sake breweries (open for tastings!) and museums covering all manner of things from mechanical dolls to the history of the Lion dance. Add in the two morning markets and it is no wonder that people fall in love with this place.

This generally quiet rural town is famous throughout Japan for its elaborate festival, which shatters the peace twice a year when tens of thousands of Japanese descend on the town to join the celebrations. One of Takayama’s most popular attractions is the Hida Folk Village, a remarkable collection of old gassho-zukuri (“praying hands”) farm houses, complete with thatched roofs and irori fireplaces. Add to this a bicycle ride through the Hida countryside, and you have a perfect day in Takayama!

Accommodation

Accommodation

This itinerary includes the following mid-range Western-style hotels (approximately three star). Breakfast is included every day, plus a selection of other meals.

Tokyo: Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku

Karuizawa: Karuizawa Marriott

Kanazawa: Route Inn Kanazawa

Takayama: Associa Takayama Resort

Tokyo: Ryogoku View

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