Japan – Past & Present

Duration:
11 nights / 12 days
Transport:
Flights, Coach and Train
Tour Type:
Tour
Location:

Categories: , , Tag:

Say the word ‘Japan’ and what pictures come to mind? It is cherry blossoms, Sumo wrestlers, Sushi, snow monkeys, neon lights and Geisha? It is all that and so much more. It is the beautiful landscapes, the traditions and the quiet resilient people combined to create this extraordinarily organised, clean and safe country. It is a culture enriching experience with ‘wow’ moments every day.

Make this the year to visit Japan and meet a whole new world. Our tour departures regularly thoughout  the year.

ITINERARY

DAY 1, MONDAY

Depart for Japan Depart for Japan

DAY 2, TUESDAY

Arrive in Tokyo Arrive in dynamic Tokyo in the “Land of the Rising Sun”; transfer to your hotel. Time for rest and relaxation before an afternoon orientation meeting by your Tour Manager on the memorable journey that lies ahead. Tonight, dinner together with your fellow travelers welcomes you to Japan. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm, in order not to miss the orientation meeting and welcome dinner

DAY 3, WEDNESDAY

Imperial Palace & Asakusa Kannon Temple Start your day with the Imperial Palace, the former site of Edo Castle, where Samurai warriors lived from the 17th to 19th centuries, and primary residence of Japan’s Imperial Family. Visit the East Garden, a precious jewel of nature within the hectic city center and view the lovely Nijubashi Bridge that stretches over the moat in the outer gardens with its colorful displays of seasonal flowers. Later, travel to the imposing Asakusa Kannon Temple (Sensoji) enshrining a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy; its entrance is dominated by a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red and black tones. Walk along Nakamise, a major shopping area, centuries-old, where everything from souvenirs to genuine Edo-style crafts is sold. Finally, visit the serene Meiji Shrine nestled in a forested area, honoring the first Emperor of modern Japan and his Empress. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a Japanese style pub

Overnight: Tokyo Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4, THURSDAY

Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, Hakone National Park and Mt. Fuji Sighseeing A full day of breathtaking scenery as you drive south to Hakone, the most famous National Park in Japan. En route, stop to visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, situated in the wooded hills along the coast of Lake Kawaguchi. Here, view exhibits of the textile artist Kubota Itchiku’s kimono creations, depicting the themes of nature and the seasons. Continue along the scenic roads of rural Japan to Hakone where a gondola takes you on the Hakone Ropeway to the Owakudani Valley’s extraordinary volcanic zone. Here, the bubbling pools cook eggs in the hot waters blackened by sulfur, and are said to prolong one’s life by at least seven years. Enjoy a relaxing cruise around placid Lake Ashi. End your visit in Hakone with a drive along Cedar Avenue, a historic site of Hakone Old Tokaido Road that linked Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo Period. Tonight, be adventurous and explore Tokyo’s incredible variety of cuisine! Due to local conditions, the Mt. Fuji sightseeing might be altered. Details will be provided locally by your Tour Manager.

Overnight: Tokyo Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5, FRIDAY

Tsukiji Fish Market, Sushi Demonstration & Akihabara District On today’s tour of Tokyo, witness the stark contrasts of this dazzling city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology. To begin, walk the lanes of the hectic Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world! Afterward, enjoy a culinary demonstration led by a professional Sushi Chef. Learn the art of creating different varieties of sushi and sashimi and enjoy them for lunch afterward! Continue to the Ginza district, Tokyo’s most celebrated upscale shopping, dining and amusement area. Then, Akihabara shopping district, a wonderland of electrical equipment shops, computer shops and animation studios that are attracting world attention

Overnight: Tokyo Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 6, SATURDAY

Kenroku-en Gardens, Kagaonsen Ryokan Experience Board the famous Shinkansen, or “bullet train,” that takes you to Kanazawa south of the Noto Peninsula, with its winding cobblestone streets, Samurai residences, Geisha houses, lavish gardens and a flower filled open-air market. Stroll through Kenroku-en Garden, one of the country’s most elite gardens with its elaborate water fountains and designs. Continue to the Nomura Family House, where Samurai once dwelled. In Kagaonsen, an exceptional experience is awaiting you. Spend the night at a traditional Ryokan (inn), where you dress in yukata (bathrobe) that you wear to the onsen (hot spring spa.) You overnight in authentic Japanese rooms with tatami mats and sleep on a futon bed. Dinner together at the Ryokan is a full course Kaiseki Dinner highlighted by regional specialties

Overnight: Kaga Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, SUNDAY

Thatched Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go, Takayama’s Old Town You travel from Kagaonsen to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, known for its village of thatched gassho-zukuri (praying hands) farmhouses. Visit the historic village of Ogimachi and the ruins of its castle, dating back to medieval times. From atop the observation deck, see the amazing view of an entire settlement of thatched style houses. Lunch at local restaurant before driving to 16th century Takayama, with its meticulously preserved Old Town. Upon arrival, visit Takayama Jinya, a historic government house converted to a museum and the Yatai Kaikan Hall housing intricately designed wooden floats brought out only for major festivals. Later, you arrive at a scenic mountain resort for overnight

Overnight: Takayama Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8, MONDAY

Takayama’s Historic District, Morning Farmer’s Market, Bullet Train to Kyoto The delightful town of Takayama, with its wealth of museums, galleries, and impressive temples, is often called “Little Kyoto.” A walking tour includes the remarkably preserved Edo-period merchants’ shops and houses in the Sanno-machi Historic District. Visit the morning market along the Miya River with farmers and craftsmen selling everything from vegetables to clothing and hand carvings. Across the river lies the Sanmachi-Suji (district) of sake breweries, cafes and immaculately preserved old private houses. Lunch en route before boarding the express train to Nagoya. Upon arrival, you will change and board the bullet train to enchanting and historic Kyoto, founded in the 7th century, one of the early capitals of Japan

Overnight: Kyoto Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9, TUESDAY

Kyoto’s Cultural Heritage & Tea Ceremony, Zen Meditation Your first discovery in Kyoto is Kiyomizu Temple, known for its sacred waters believed to bestow health and longevity. As you stroll through the ancient streets of Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, you’re transported back in time to “old” Japan on these distinctive streets crowded with old wooden storefronts and tea houses. View the Zen Buddhist Temple of Kodai-ji’s richly decorated interior, and the surrounding zen gardens. Next, familiarize yourself with Zen meditation, a calming practice deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Enjoy a traditional Tea Ceremony, where you participate in the ritualized art of preparing and serving tea, savoring several different varieties. Lunch at a local restaurant, followed by leisure time in Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. Afterward, visit the impressive Heian Shrine, a Shinto shrine boasting the largest torii (gate) in Japan. It was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital from Nara to Kyoto

Overnight: Kyoto Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, WEDNESDAY

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Nijo Castle, Kimono Dressing Discover the beautiful cultural heritage of Kyoto that has spanned the centuries. Head outside the city to Arashiyama bamboo forest. Here, take a stroll through the stunning bamboo grove, followed by a ride on a traditional Japanese rickshaw, a unique experience! Visit the celebrated Kinkaku-ji Temple, “the Golden Pavilion,” and understand why this magnificent gold leaf covered temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to Ryoan-ji Temple with its mysterious Rock Garden before moving on to Nijo Castle, a residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun, with its ornate interior handcrafted with Japanese cypress. Afterward, dress in an authentic kimono during a visit to a Kyoto-style home. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure for individual pursuits

Overnight: Kyoto Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11, THURSDAY

Imperial Nara, Great Buddha Statue, Deer Park, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Maiko Dance Performance Make a stop at Fushimi Inari Shrine before traveling by private bus to the 8th century Imperial capital of Nara, repository of Japan’s cultural heritage, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a wealth of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples. Arrive at the exquisite wooden Todai-ji Temple, home of the impressive Daibutsu (Great Buddha) bronze statue, rising over 50 feet high. You then continue to Nara (Deer) Park to see the over 1,000 tame deer roaming freely in the peaceful park. Visit the famous and beautiful Kasuga Grand Shrine displaying over 3,000 antique hanging stone lanterns. Return to Kyoto and enjoy leisure time this afternoon before a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant, featuring a traditional Maiko (Geisha) dance performance that reflects the core of Japanese culture

Overnight: Kyoto Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, FRIDAY

Depart Japan Sayonara! Transfer to Osaka for your departure flight

Meals: Breakfast

Tour Inclusions:

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights Sydney/Brisbane -Tokyo, Osaka-Sydney / Brisbane (other departures points also available)
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 10 nights First Class accommodations
  • 4 nights Tokyo
  • 1 night Kaga
  • 1 night Takayama
  • 4 nights Kyoto
  • All transfers
  • 19 meals: 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Wine with all dinners
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring
Priced from $5,029.00 per person sharing 

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