Taiwan and Japan in Focus

26 Days
Taipei to Osaka
From (CAD)
$ 25,195
Dates & Pricing

2022/2023 Taipei > Osaka

Discover two enchanting lands

Experience the essence of Japan and Taiwan on a journey revealing stunning scenery, sublime cuisine, and memorable local encounters.
On this 26-day journey, discover Japan and Taiwan’s fascinating past and vibrant present first-hand. From witnessing the skills of sumo wrestlers in the birthplace of Sumo in Kehayaza to the art of Japanese hospitality with a hosted dinner with a Geiko and Maiko in Kyoto. Venture to the stunning scenery of the Fuji Five Lakes district and experience the must see and well-known sights of Japan. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Taiwan with a cruise on sparkling Sun Moon Lake and view Taroko Gorge and its dramatic scenery. Visit Buddhist monasteries and pagodas in Kaohsiung and taste your way through a multitude of exotic regional flavours including sampling renowned Kavallan single malt whiskey. View cityscapes with a trip up to Taipei 101 Observatory for unparalleled views of Taipei. You will find a journey through Taiwan and Japan is unmissable.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
TWJP
Duration:
26 days
Departure City:
Taipei
Return City:
Osaka

26 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Taipei

    Welcome to Taiwan. Tonight, meet your tour director and fellow travellers before relaxing for the next three nights at your hotel in Taipei, walking distance of the Zhongshan Metro station.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Taipei

    Taipei

    To begin your exploration of Taiwan, we start with an education of its' modern history since the end of World War 2 and the eventual hand over of the island from its former colonial master Japan.  Firstly, stop at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in memory of the founding father of Taiwan. Continuing this history lesson, move to the National Martyr’s Shrine built in remembrance to the 390,000 soldiers killed in the service of their country during the War of Resistance against Japan and the civil war between the Chinese Republican and communist forces. Here witness the hourly changing of the Honour Guard Ceremony at the main gate. After lunch, move to the National Palace Museum which preserves more than 650,000 art objects and documents of the Chinese Imperial collection, formerly held in Beijing. This evening is time for some bargain hunting as we wander through the Shilin Night Market, often considered the most famous and largest night market in Taiwan.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Taipei

    This morning is a lesson and hands on experience in cooking Xiaolongbao (Steamed Pork Dumpling).  Begin with a visit to the market to source your ingredients before moving to your ‘classroom’ to create your own lunch, enjoyed with Taiwanese bubble tea.

    Freechoice

    This afternoon choose between three options of travelling to the regional areas of New Taipei City. Travel to Pingxi and undertake a Sky Lantern Experience which the area is known for, see the 40 meter tall Shifen waterfall and walk through the old lanes and alleys of Shifen’s old town, built around the Japanese train station.  Another option is travelling to the northern cost to Tamsui.  Here visit the Spanish built Fort San Domingo dating from 1629 and then became the British Consulate in 1867 and Tamsui Old street lined with shops, restaurants and vendors selling local specialties. Continue onto Yehliu Geo Park, home to some of the most famous eroded rock formations in the world. Alternatively travel to the Yangmingshan National Park and enjoy a hot spring foot bath in Beitou.

    Enjoy your evening at leisure.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  4. Day 4 - Taipei > Sun Moon Lake

    Transfer to the train station to board your scenic ride to Taichung.  Upon arrival drive to Rainbow Village. Originally a temporary makeshift village to house Nationalist Party soldiers and their families, it was slated for destruction before an ex-soldier and one of its last inhabitants, Huang Yung-fu affectionately known as ‘Rainbow Grandpa’, started painting the village. In 2010 his artwork gained notoriety through social media and the village was saved. Afterwards continue our drive to Sun Moon Lake. Here enjoy a boat ride around the lake before visiting the Tze-En Pagoda and the aboriginal village of Tehua, settled by the Taiwan’s original inhabitants of the area, the Thao people. Settle in for the next two nights at your hotel.

    Sundowners

    Close to sunset gather at the Sky lounge with your fellow travellers to toast the beautiful views of the sun setting over the lake before dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Sun Moon Lake

    The growing of tea is a specialty of the area so this morning we visit the Sun Moon Lake Black Tea Farm to understand the process of growing and harvesting tea. This will include a hands-on experience of rolling the harvested leaves and include interaction with the farmers.  After a local specialty lunch, choose from one of three choices to visit around Sun Moon lake this afternoon.

    Freechoice

    Visit the Ita Thao Village for a cultural show from the area’s original inhabitants, the Thao people.  For the more active, enjoy a 3 km bike ride along the picturesque Xiangshan Bikeway around and over the lake between Shuishe and the Xiangshan Visitor Center.  Alternatively ride the local narrow-gauge train from Jiji to Checheng, a former logging village, where we visit the logging industry museum. The Jiji line was originally built in 1922 by the Japanese in support of Taiwan’s first hydroelectric power station.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Sun Moon Lake > Tainan

    After checkout we commence our drive south to the coastal city of Tainan, Taiwan’s oldest. After a local lunch we commence our tour of city, once the former capital between 1683-1887 during the Koxinga Dynasty and Chinese Qing Dynasty’s rule. First visit the Chihkan Tower, the oldest building in Tainan's West Central District and along with Anping District's Anping Fort, are two of Tainan's most famous landmarks. Originally built as Fort Provintia in 1652 by the Dutch, it has undergone many transformations over the pasts 300 years. On the lawn outside stands a statue of Koxinga accepting the surrender of the Dutch. We then move onto Anping Old Street, the first street in Taiwan to be given a name.  The area retains many of its old-style buildings along the narrow lane which was originally built only for pedestrians more than 300 years ago, again by the Dutch. The street features all kinds of old stalls and shops and the surrounding old-style buildings have the Wind Lion Gods on the roofs and the Sword Lions on the lintels of doors. Later check-in to your hotel in Tainan for the night.

    Freechoice

    Tonight, enjoy a choice of cuisine from a steak at ‘Robin's Grill & Teppan’, local Taiwanese Style Hot Pod Dinner at ‘Silks House’ or Shanghainese and Taiwanese Cuisine at 38F of Shangri-La Hotel Tainan ‘Shanghai Pavilion’.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Tainan > Kaohsiung

    Leaving Tainan behind we drive further south along the coastline to Kaohsiung. Before arriving at the city itself, stop at the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. It is also home to a 40m tall standing Buddha statue and the world’s tallest bronze sitting Buddha statue rising 108 meters tall from the base.

    Enrich

    After viewing the Buddha museum, undertake a relaxing and traditional Buddhist Sutra transcription activity under the instruction of one of the local monks.

    Enjoy a vegetarian meal at the monastery before continuing onto the city of Kaohsiung. On the southern foreshore of Lotus Lake visit the Spring and Autumn Pavilions, two massive pavilions dedicated to Kuan Kung, the God of War. Located 700 metres away are the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas where we enter the Dragon Pagoda. By entering the dragon's throat and coming out the tiger's mouth, this symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune.  Moving from the lake to the port area we visit the Kaohsiung Pier 2 Art Center District, a unique open air art space which provides artists and students an environment in which to express themselves. Close by is the Hamasen Railway Cultural Park and Kaohsiung's first railway station. Check-in for a night at your hotel in Kaohsiung with dinner at a local seafood restaurant.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Kaohsiung > Hualien > Tarako National Park

    This morning commence our four hour Puyuma Express train journey to Hualien, located on the east coast of Taiwan. Upon arrival, visit the picturesque Chishingtan Scenic Area, an area which rests at the tip of a crescent bay dotted with calming parks, tropical palm trees and pristine beaches. Afterwards drive up into Tarako National Park, named after the Tarako Gorge which has been carved by the Liwu River as it flows from the Central Mountains of Taiwan to the Philippine Sea. Settle into your hotel in  Taroko for two nights.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Tarako National Park

    Begin your full day of exploration around the area’s dramatic scenery with a stop at the Visitor’s Centre to gain your bearings.  Then admire the coastal views at Qingshui Cliffs - one of the Eight Wonders of Taiwan, walk along the Shakadang Trail (Mysterious Valley Trail) with its crystal-clear turquoise water strewn with imposing marble boulders and view the Eternal Spring Shrine – perhaps the most recognizable sight in Taroko Gorge with its picturesque waterfall streaming out through the mouth of the Tang Dynasty style shrine, built to honour the many who died building the highway in the 1910s. After a traditional lunch particular to the area, move to Swallow’s Grotto (or Yanzikou), a stretch of road with multiple tunnels where you can walk along and peer over into the sheer drop of marble cliff faces to the river far below.  Later continue your scenic walk along the 700 meter long Tunnel of Nine Turns (or Jiuqudong), another dramatic stretch of walking-only tunnels which used to be a part of the original highway through Taroko Gorge. From here you will see some of Taroko Gorge’s most epic views, a worthy addition to the many spectacular photos you will be taking today.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  10. Day 10 - Tarako National Park > Jiufen > Taipei

    Commence our journey back to Taipei by driving first to Yilan County. Following lunch here visit the Kavalan Single Malt Whisky Distillery to see the distilling process and try a sample of their renown product. Continue onto the small village of Jiufen, located in the mountains overlooking Taipei. Jiufen’s Old Street is a narrow alleyway lined up with small food stalls, tea houses, souvenir shops and pottery stores. Enjoy an afternoon tea in the famous A-Mei Teahouse, a multi-story teahouse strategically located just a little off the main street and perched on top of a hill with commanding views. Continue our journey down into Taipei and check back into your hotel for your last two nights in Taiwan.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  11. Day 11 - Taipei

    Begin our last full day in Taiwan with a trip up Taipei 101 Observatory. Being one of the top 10 highest observatories in the world, you will be able to see some of the locations visited during the past week from your 360 degree view. After a lunch of steam pork dumplings, move to the memorial hall built in memory of Chiang Kai-shek.  From here visit Longshan Temple, founded in 1738 by Han immigrants from Fujian and nearby Herb alley, an area which dates back to the Qing times. As it is a great place to sample some of the incredible range of Chinese herbal drinks, you will be able to sample some such as the soothing wax-gourd tea (donggua chá), the refreshing roselle (luòshén hua), or the incredibly bitter, bitter tea (ku chá). Tonight, as a final highlight you will dress up in traditional Chinese clothing as part of your farewell dinner with free flow drinks.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  12. Day 12 - Taipei > Tokyo

    Transfer to the airport and say farewell to Taiwan, treasuring the many wonderful memories from your journey. Fly to Tokyo, Japan's capital and the world's most populous metropolis. Check-into your hotel, your home for the next four nights. With direct access to four subway lines, the hotel was recently rated in the Forbes Travel Guide as Tokyo’s exclusive Japanese decor 5 star luxury hotel. Rooms overlook the most picturesque sites in Tokyo, such as the Imperial Palace, the 500-year old Hie Jinja Shrine and beautiful landscaped Japanese gardens.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  13. Day 13 - Tokyo

    Today is at your leisure. This evening meet your Japanese Tour Director and fellow travellers at your welcome reception and dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  14. Day 14 - Tokyo

    Begin the day in the beautiful Imperial Palace’s East Gardens, part of the inner palace area and the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defence when the Tokugawa shogun ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Then in Ginza, dress up in your chefs clothes to make your own sushi lunch with the help of a local chef. Afterwards visit the epicentre of Tokyo’s teenage youth as you wander along Takeshita Street Harajuku, known for its colourful street art, youth fashion, quirky vintage clothing and cosplay stores and dessert shops and carts that specialise in sweet crêpes, donuts, and bubble tea.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose from dining at a ninja themed restaurant or culturally immerse yourself in the traditional Japanese evening Izakaya bar scene serving Yaki-tori and Kushiyaki with your Tour Director as they show you their favourite places to go.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  15. Day 15 - Tokyo

    Visit the Asakusa district, known as the centre of Tokyo’s shitamachi or ‘low city’ capsulizing the atmosphere of Tokyo’s past, paying your respects at Sensoji temple, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple.

    Freechoice

    Visit the Imperial Shinto Meiji Shrine, before walking across the often-referred to as ‘the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing’ and seeing the famous Hachiko dog statue in Shibuya. Alternatively, wander through picturesque Shinjuku-Gyoen Gardens before witnessing the Shinjuku entertainment district come alive at dusk where you can choose to stay into the night.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  16. Day 16 - Tokyo > Five Lakes > Hakone

    Venture deep into the stunning scenery of Kawaguchiko Area. Discover the craftsmanship involved in creating kimonos during the Muromachi Period (1333-1573) at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. Near Hakone, cruise on Lake Ashinoko on the First class deck of your pirate ship with Mt Fuji as a backdrop, then admire the stunning scenery during your cable car ride up the hot springs of the Owakudani geothermal area. Enjoy a Special Stay overlooking Lake Ashinoko.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  17. Day 17 - Hakone > Kyoto

    Relax in your Green (Business) Class seats on the Shinkansen train to the culturally rich city of Kyoto, home to many World Heritage-listed sites. Walk through the impressive Nijo Castle, built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). Settle into your hotel for the next four nights. Tonight, enjoy Teppanyaki at the hotel’s Himorogi Restaurant.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  18. Day 18 - Kyoto

    Begin the day at the famous Kinkaku-ji or Golden Pavilion.  Afterwards, glide through the surreal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove by traditional rickshaw before exploring and enjoying a vegetarian meal at the World Heritage listed Tenryu-ji Temple. This evening stroll through the Gion area before dinner.

    Freechoice Dining

    Enjoy the option of dining at Fortune Garden or traditional Kaiseki at Gion Sekiya located in the famous Gion District.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  19. Day 19 - Kyoto

    Freechoice

    Revel in the atmosphere of the ancient preservation districts or visit the Silver Pavilion before strolling along part of the famous Philosopher’s Walk, an approximately two kilometre long, beautiful stone path walk along a canal through the northern part of Kyoto's Higashiyama district.

    Enrich

    Partake in a Japanese tea ceremony while dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono, a great photo opportunity.

    This afternoon enjoy some free time in Nishiki Market for shopping or relaxation.

    Enrich

    Tonight’s dinner will allow you to interact with a Geiko and Maiko who’ll host your meal presentation. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about what is involved in becoming a Geisha and the art of Japanese hospitality.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  20. Day 20 - Kyoto > Nara

    Begin your day with an early visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates and its appearance in the film ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. Then continue to Nara, where you’ll visit Todaiji Temple, one of the most historically influential temples in Japan and see deer in Nara Park. Later, stop for a sake tasting at a sake museum.

    Ryokan Upgrade - For a unique insight into Japanese culture, choose to stay tonight in a Ryokan (at additional cost, must be pre-booked before departure). This traditional Japanese Inn has tatami mat flooring with futon beds, sliding shoji paper doors, onsen hot spring baths and private facilities, and includes dinner and breakfast.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  21. Day 21 - Kyoto > Hiroshima

    Relax on the Shinkansen to Hiroshima and check into your hotel for two nights. The hotel is within walking distance of the World Heritage Atomic Bomb Dome and downtown Hiroshima.

    Enrich

    Experience an emotional visit to the Peace Park and Museum, dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack. Move to Orizuru Tower to learn how to create your own special origami crane offering for the Orizuru Wall.

    Tonight, sample Okonomiyaki, a delicious Japanese-style pancake, a specialty of the region.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  22. Day 22 - Hiroshima > Miyajima Island

    Sail by ferry to Miyajima Island to visit Daisho-in Temple and its famous floating Torii Gate at the Itsukushima Shrine, also built over the water.

    CONSTRUCTION NOTICE
    Renovation works on Miyajima's famous floating torii gate started in June 2019. During the renovation works, the torii gate is covered up by scaffolding. A date for the completion of the renovation works has not been set yet. In addition, renovation works are currently conducted on the western side of the complex (around the entrance) from September 2020 to December 2022.

    On return to the mainland, on your guided visit at the Mazda car factory, see the industrial robots at work on the cars on the production line.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  23. Day 23 - Hiroshima > Osaka

    Travel by Shinkansen to marvel at Himeji Castle, an original and Japan’s most spectacular castle and one of the few remaining original feudal castles, before continuing to Osaka. This evening, admire the 360 degree view of Osaka at night from the Floating Garden Observatory, 170m off the ground. Then settle in for a two night Special Stay at your hotel.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  24. Day 24 - Osaka > Asuka

    Drive to the birthplace of the Japanese state and cradle of Japanese culture in Asuka, in Nara Prefecture. Wander through the Inabuchi terraced rice paddy fields, the ancient Tobiishi stone bridge, famous in Japanese folklore and visit Ishibutai tumulus, the largest known megalithic structure in Japan.

    Enrich

    Learn about the history, life and training routine of a sumo wrestler during a private visit to a Sumo Museum in Kehayaza, where Sumo originated. After the welcome ceremony, see a demonstration of Jinku and the wrestlers in action in the dohyo.

    Later stop at the timeless village of Tondabayashi. Visit a traditional Edo period house and wander around this splendid historical time capsule. This evening catch the Osaka Metro to wander around the lively entertainment area of Dotonbori and Hozenji Yokocho food alley, where you can have the opportunity to choose your own meal this evening from one of the many traditional food stalls.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  25. Day 25 - Osaka

    Freechoice

    Wander through Shinsaibashi-suji shopping avenue, followed by Kuromon Ichiba Market, known as Osaka’s kitchen or visit the Museum of History and the rebuilt Osaka Castle.

    This afternoon is free for some final shopping before tonight’s farewell dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  26. Day 26 - Osaka

    Depart today with treasured memories of your wonderful time in Japan.

    The itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons. As such Scenic cannot guarantee the journey will operate unaltered from the itinerary stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

The Scenic Difference
  • Hands on Steamed Pork Dumpling lunch cooking experience
  • Undertake a traditional Buddhist Sutra transcription activity under the instruction of local monks
  • Sample Kavalan Single Malt Whisky at the distillery
  • Have an authentic Chinese Tea house experience and try herbal teas
  • Visit a working Tea plantation for a hands on experience
  • Private sumo wrestler demonstration
  • Private group dinner hosted by a Geisha / Maiko
  • Partake in a Japanese Tea ceremony whilst dressed in a kimono

5 Star Luxury inclusions
  • The intimacy of small group touring with a maximum of 24 guests
  • 5 exclusive Scenic Enrich experience
  • Your choice of 19 Scenic Freechoice activities and dining
  • 1 Scenic Sundowners event
  • 2 memorable special stays
  • 63 meals – 25 breakfasts (B), 20 lunches (L) and 18 dinners (D)
  • Scenic Tour Director with expert local guides
  • All tipping and gratuities
  • Return Airport Transfers

Pricing & Availability