Please note that the dates of this tour depend on the opening of Japan’s borders to tourism by fall. Please don’t purchase airline tickets till we notify you that it is OK to do so unless they are completely refundable or can be changed. You will need to have proof of vaccination and testing.
|On Oct 31st - Leave home and board your flight to Haneda Airport in Tokyo on or before October 31, 2022. You will lose one day crossing the International dateline and arrive in Japan on November 1st. Pack light! There are a few times when you will need to transport your luggage on your own up and down steps. |
Nov 1st - Arrive at Haneda Airport near Tokyo where you will be met by one of our guides and escorted to the Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Ginza where we will stay for three nights. Breakfast is included in all of our hotels during our tour. Dinner or lunch is included only when specified in this itinerary.
Nov 2nd - Tokyo is stylish, immaculate, and refined as well as kitschy and chaotic. Today and tomorrow we
will explore the life of the city beginning each day after breakfast at around 9:00am. This morning we’ll travel by train to
Harajuku Station and spend the day leisurely walking along Omotesando-dori through a ‘museum’ of contemporary architecture designed by world superstars. There will be detours along the way to Cat Street, popping into an art gallery
or special shop, and pausing to relax in a cafe. After lunch which is included today we’ll visit a couple of my favorite shops and finally, the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts where you can unwind in its beautiful tea garden. Subway back to our hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight. There are hundreds of restaurants in the area or you can choose a takeout meal from Matsuya Department store’s food floor.
|Nov 3rd - Have your large piece of luggage available in the hotel lobby this morning. It will be transferred to our Kyoto hotel. Retain a small backpack or small piece of luggage with your essentials. Please meet in the lobby of our hotel at 8:45 am. We begin the day at one of Tokyo’s most beautiful gardens, Rikugien, built in 1700 for the 5th Tokugawa Shogun. Next, to the National Museum of Modern Art. We will walk through the Imperial East Gardens to find ourselves in the Ginza. Here, you are on your own to explore Nihonbashi with craft shops that have existed for hundreds of years (just north of Ginza) and Ginza where there are hundreds of restaurants, numerous antenna shops created by prefectural governments from all over Japan that sell regional food, limited-edition sake and local crafts.( Most prefectures in Japan have their own style of craft and pottery). Several Art Galleries, major department stores with their amazing basement food floors, the International Forum, a glass and steel structure shaped like a ship, the largest Uniqlo, an eleven floor art supply store, Kabuki theatre and much more are all within walking distance. Our hotel is located in this area too so you should be able to find your way back on your own. Please meet in the lobby of our hotel at 6:45 pm. Dinner tonight at 7:00 pm is included.
Nov 4th - Travel 2 hours by Japan’s fastest train, the Nozomi to travel to Kyoto this morning arriving around noon. The Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto Grande where we will stay for 4 nights is a 5 minute walk from the station. After leaving our small bags at the hotel, we’ll have lunch then take a short subway ride to visit the Imperial Palace and its beautiful grounds. Afterwards, we will check into our rooms. Dinner is on your own tonight. There are dozens of restaurants available within easy walking distance of our hotel, especially inside Kyoto station
Nov 5th - We will travel by train to Takao in the mountains northwest of Kyoto, a scenic, nature filled escape from the city known for its fall colors. Visit two of the oldest temples of Kyoto, Saimyo-ji and Jingo-ji. Lots of steps lead up to Jingo-ji so take your time. Here, we can all rid ourselves of bad karma by the peculiar but fun tradition of kawarake-nage. Leaving the hamlet of Takao we practice Shinrin-yoku following an atmospheric forested trail along the Kiyotaki River for about an hour till we reach the Kiyotaki bus stop. A short bus ride will bring us to the Arashiyama area for lunch (included). After lunch we will stroll through Arashiyama to visit the lovely moss garden at Gioji temple, the quaint, Rinzai Zen subtemple Hogon-in, and the Fukuda Art Museum. The train takes us back to Kyoto station. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Nov 6th - Have your luggage ready this morning in our hotel lobby if you would like it to be transferred to our Kashihara hotel. This is your free day to explore places of personal interest. Walking maps will be available with recommended places and travel suggestions.
Nov 7th - We will spend the day in Higashiyama (eastern Kyoto) beginning at National Treasure, Sanjusangen-do, a Tendai Buddhist temple founded in 1164 known for its 1001 sculptures of Kannon. We willwalk to Shingon Buddhist temple, Chishakuin to admire its beautiful fusuma paintings and gardens. Next, to the Kyoto Ceramic Center where some of the best of Kyoyaki can be seen and purchased. Lunch at Sodoh Italian Restaurant is included.
Afterwards, we will stroll through Maruyama Park to visit the Hojo garden at Chion-in, headquarters the of Jodo Shu Buddhism Sect. The last stop of our walking tour is ShorenIn, one of 5 Tendai Buddhist temples where members of the imperial family served as head priests. Dinner will be included tonight
Nov 8th - This morning there will be a short train ride to Nara, Japan’s 7 CE capital. We’ll drop off our bags at our hotel, then begin our walking tour of this beautiful, ancient city at Kofuku-ji, established in 669 CE. We will visit the Treasure Hall to see its great sculpture collection. Next, to one of my favorite Japan gardens, Isui-en. Then to 6th CE Todaiji to view awe inspiring, 53 ft. Dainichi Buddha. Lunch is followed by a walk through the deer park with paths lined by thousands of lanterns to visit Kasuga Shrine, established in 768 CE. Dinner is included tonight.
Nov 9th - Our destination this morning is Horyu-ji, founded in 607 by Empress Suiko and Prince Shotoku, statesman and patron of Buddhism in Japan. The Pagoda and Golden Hall here are the world’s oldest extant wooden buildings. 2300 important cultural structures and articles and 190 National Treasures dating from the 7th CE are in the temple’s collection. In 1993, Horyu-ji became Japan’s first Unesco World Heritage Site. It serves as both a monastery and seminary. We will spend the morning here, then taxi back to Nara for lunch (included) Afterwards, you are free to explore atmospheric Naramachi, the Edo period merchant quarter with its old wooden houses (machiya), boutiques, small restaurants, shrines and temples. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Nov 10th - Pick up a picnic lunch this morning. A private bus will pick us up at our hotel this morning to bring us to Unesco World Heritage Site, Koyasan, a small, remote mountaintop community of Shingon Buddhist monks and one of Japan’s most magical places. It was founded in 805 by one of Japan’s most revered religious figures,Kobo Daichi (Kukai). We will spend most of the day in this sacred place wandering through the ancient forest to visit Banryutei, Japan’s largest rock garden, Danjo-Garan and Okunoin, an otherworldly cemetery. Lunch is included today.
Following our visit to Koyasan our bus will deliver us to Candero Hotel in Kashihara where we will stay for two nights. This hotel has a beautiful spa. Dinner is included tonight.
Nov 11th - A private bus will pick us up at our hotel this morning and take us to the AKAME 48 Waterfalls area. Here we will hike a gorgeous 2.5 mile relatively easy forested trail, with some mild ups and downs, past five major waterfalls and innumerable small ones. This area is home to giant salamanders and we will have a chance to observe them. Following our hike we’ll visit Kaide no Sato, a renovated old school building with an art gallery and restaurant where we will have lunch (included). It is also home to the World Maple Park having 1,200 species of maple. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Nov 12th - Our tour ends when you checkout of our hotel this morning however, we will help guide you back to Tokyo. From Kashihara, it takes one hour to arrive in Kyoto then two hours from Kyoto to Tokyo where you will arrive at about 1:15 PM. There is also an optional 2.5 day tour to Okayama, Naoshima and Bizen Pottery town from Kashihara. Itinerary and prices at your request.
Cost of Tour
(There may be an adjustment to the price of the tour if the dollar falls below 100 yen per dollar)
$4050 per person for a queen bed or twin room (double occupancy)
$4350 per person for a single room
Included in Tour:
Lodging for 11 nights in western style hotels
All breakfasts with western and Japanese foods plus 5 lunches and 4 dinners.
All transportation within the country including taxis, trains, private coaches.
All entry fees per itinerary
Two knowledgeable guides throughout the tour, at least one who is fluent in Japanese
A detailed daily itinerary and other information to prepare you for your travel to Japan
Not Included in Tour:
International airfare and trip insurance
Personal expenses such as telephone calls and laundry
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