Starting at $6,999 per person (double occupancy)
One of the World’s most cutting-edge capitals, Tokyo is a city of contrasts. Famous for its modernity, neon-lit landscape and towering skyscrapers, it is also home to sprawling parkland, peaceful shrines and temples and lovingly tended gardens. Despite its love affair with manga pop culture, fashion, high-tech trends and conspicuous consumption, below the surface is a city that has its roots in an ancient heritage. Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples stand close to skyscrapers as a reminder of a more contemplative time and at the heart of the hyperactive center lies the serene Imperial Palace, the home of the ruling emperor that provides a tangible link to the city’s historical past.
11 Days / 10 Nights
From $6,999 per person
Tokyo | Hakone | Kyoto | Arashiyama | Nara
Full day tour of Japan’s fascinating capital – Tokyo starting with Asakusa, visiting Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple and Hamarikyu Garden, an Edo Period Japanese garden surrounded by the Shiodome district’s futuristic skyscrapers.
Visit the impressive Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken, a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings.
Explore Tsukiji Outer Market; Tokyo’s famous fish market that handles about 2,888 tons of marine products a day worth about 2.8 billion yen (US$20 million.)
Test your culinary skills with a visit to Sushi School to try your hands at preparing this traditional cuisine now popular the world over. Enjoy your homemade sushi for lunch!
Enjoy some shopping therapy with a visit to Ginza Tokyo’s famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district, featuring numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, nightclubs and cafes.
Take a relaxing gondola ride on the Mt. Komagatake Ropeway (cable car) for sweeping views of Lake Ashi and the Owakudani Valley.
Visit some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites – Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) and Nishiki Market.
Half-day tour of Arashiyama visiting Tenryuji, ranked among Kyoto’s five great Zen temples followed by a visit to Okochi Sanso, the former villa of the popular actor Okochi Denjiro (1896-1962).
Excursion to the ancient city of Nara visiting Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha.
Visit to Nara Nagomikan, called Deer Park by locals due to the large population of more than 1,000 tame deer living there and roaming freely.
DAY BY DAY JOURNEY
Day 1: Arrive Tokyo
Upon arrival at Tokyo Narita (or Haneda) Airport you’ll be met in the arrivals hall by your greeting representative and assisted with your private car transfer to the elegant 5* Andaz Tokyo Hotel where you will check in for a four night stay.
Day 2: Tokyo
Meet your guide at your hotel for a full-day tour of Japan’s fascinating capital city. Begin at Asakusa, where you can soak in the atmosphere of Tokyo of old. Visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Visit Hamarikyu Garden, an Edo Period Japanese garden surrounded by the Shiodome district’s futuristic skyscrapers, a great example of how Japan is a land of contrasts, where you will stop for a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea house on a small island in the park’s lake. For lunch enjoy a delicious bowl of ramen, a noodle soup dish that was originally imported from China and has become one of the most popular dishes in Japan in recent decades.
This afternoon visit the impressive Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken, a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. After their demise, people wished to commemorate their virtues and to venerate them forever, so they donated 100,000 trees from all over Japan and from overseas and worked voluntarily to create this forest. Afterward stroll over to nearby Harajuku and the famous Takeshita dori (Cat Street). Whether you are a goth, punk or anything in between, there is a shop in Harajuku that caters to you. Parallel to Takeshita Street is the Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion brands, as well as the popular Kiddy Land toy store, a magnet for children of all ages. Time permitting stop in Shibuya, Tokyo’s main center for youth fashion and culture, whose streets are the birthplace to many of Japan’s fashion and entertainment trends. It is also home to the famous 5-way “scramble crossing” and statue of the beloved dog Hachiko, known for his remarkable loyalty to his owner. (B,L)
Day 3: Tokyo
The morning begins with visit to Tsukiji Outer Market; Tokyo’s famous fish market that handles about 2,888 tons of marine products a day worth about 2.8 billion yen (US$20 million.) Some of the giant tuna go for well over JPY 1,000,000 each (US$10,000). Wander through this enormous market, exploring both the vegetable and fruit areas plus the impressive seafood section. There may also be an opportunity to see a complete tuna being cut and filleted.
Then visit a Sushi School to try your hands at preparing this traditional cuisine now popular the world over. In class you typically will learn to prepare maki sushi (rolled sushi), gunkan maki (sushi rice wrapped with a strip of seaweed and topped with soft ingredients), and nigiri sushi (sushi rice topped with a slice of raw fish). Enjoy your homemade sushi for lunch!
Afterwards head to the MORI Building Digital Art Museum. Located in Odaiba it is home to the fascinating TeamLab Borderless Exhibition. Wander, explore, discover in one borderless world: TeamLab Borderless is a group of artworks that form one borderless world. Artworks move out of rooms, communicate with other works, influence, and sometimes intermingle with each other with no boundaries. Immerse your body in borderless art in this vast, complex, three-dimensional 10,000 square meter world.
The final stop is the Ginza, Tokyo’s famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district, featuring numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, nightclubs and cafes. One square meter of land in the district’s center is worth over ten million yen, making it one of the most expensive real estate locations in Japan. It is where you can find the infamous $10 cups of coffee and where virtually every leading brand name in fashion and cosmetics has a presence. During the visit to the Ginza you will visit one of the department store’s enormous basement food halls (depachika). (B,L)
Day 4: Explore Tokyo Independently Today
Enjoy an eclectic evening with a Japanese cabaret show at the Robot Restaurant! Each entertaining 90-minute show features fun, and sometimes campy, performances full of flashing lights, taiko drums and techno music. See girls dance with a giant panda, dinosaurs, ninjas and (of course) robots on stage! Drinks & snacks are available for purchase during the show. Please make your own way to/from the restaurant.(B)
Day 5: Tokyo to Hakone
Today leave Tokyo behind as you travel with your guide by Odakyu Railway’s Romance Car to Hakone. Take a relaxing gondola ride on the Mt. Komagatake Ropeway (cable car) for sweeping views of Lake Ashi and the Owakudani Valley. On your ascent pass over sulfurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers in this volcanic area, where you can eat an egg hard boiled in the sulfuric hot springs which make Hakone famous. If you do, it will add seven years to your life! Next take a ride on the Hakone Tozan Railway. Japan’s oldest mountain railway is a treat for more than just railway fans. The small trains wind themselves through a narrow, densely wooded valley over many bridges and tunnels, stopping at small stations along the way and changing directions at three switchbacks.
Finish with a visit to the Hakone Open Air Museum. The museum creates a harmonic balance of nature and art by exhibiting various sculptures on its spacious grounds in combination with beautiful views of the surrounding valley and mountains. Besides the sculptures, the Hakone Open Air Museum features various indoor galleries, including a sizable Picasso Collection. Time permitting visit Amazake Chaya, the last remaining thatched house on the Tokaido road providing rest and refreshments for the weary traveler making their way up the Hakone Mountains. The earthen floors and weathered walls give you a window to the lives of the Japanese traveler hundreds of years ago.
Throughout the day you will have the chance to get a glimpse of Mt Fuji, however, please keep in mind that she is a notoriously shy mountain and it needs to be a clear day. Finish at your ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) around 5:00pm for an overnight stay with dinner. (B,D)
Day 6: Hakone to Kyoto
Your transfer assistant will pick you up at your ryokan and take you by private vehicle to Hakone Odawara Station to board the lightning-fast bullet train to Kyoto. Upon arrival at Kyoto Station you are greeted, then proceed with your assistant and private vehicle to the Hyatt Regency Kyoto for a four night stay. After check-in the balance of the day is free. (B)
Day 7: Kyoto
Visit some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites with your guide today. Start with a visit to Nijo Castle, completed in 1603, built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence, it is surrounded by stunning gardens.
Next visit Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death it became a Buddhist Temple at his request and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples.
Afterward head over to Nishiki Market; a narrow, five-block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties.
For lunch today enjoy trying okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like”, and yaki meaning “grill.” This afternoon visit the Kimono Shop to select and be assisted in wearing your kimono. The traditional garment of Japan, these days it is most often worn at weddings, tea ceremonies, festivals, and other special occasions. Later, visit Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. From the 13m-high veranda jutting out from the Main Hall you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto, while pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners. (B,L)
Day 8: Half-Day Visit to Arashiyama
The tour begins at Tenryuji, ranked among Kyoto’s five great Zen temples and the largest and most impressive temple in Arashiyama. Founded in 1339 at the beginning of the Muromachi Period (1338-1573), the temple is one of Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition to its temple buildings, there are attractive gardens with walking paths. Proceed to Arashiyama’s famous Sagano Bamboo Groves, which are particularly attractive when there is a light wind and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth.
Afterward head to Okochi Sanso, the former villa of the popular actor Okochi Denjiro (1896-1962). Located in the back of Arashiyama’s bamboo groves, the buildings can only be viewed from the outside and consist of several different gardens and buildings, including living quarters, teahouses and gates. Included with your admission is matcha green tea with a Japanese sweet. The final stops are Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama’s well-known central landmark, and the Iwatayama Monkey Park. (B)
Day 9: Half-Day Excursion to Nara
Depart Kyoto this morning with your guide to the ancient city of Nara. For 74 years during the 8th century Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain. Visit Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha. Next stop at Nara’s most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers. Finish with a visit to Nara Nagomikan, called Deer Park by locals due to the large population of more than 1,000 tame deer living there and roaming freely. (B)
Day 10: Kyoto to Tokyo
Your assistant will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Kyoto Station for your Nozomi Bullet Train to Tokyo. Upon arrival at Tokyo Station you are greeted by your assistant and escorted to your hotel (the hotel is located at Tokyo Station). (B)
Day 11: Depart Tokyo
Your assistant will meet you at your hotel this morning and take you by private vehicle to Tokyo Narita (or Haneda) Airport for your departure flight. (B)
|LOCATION||NUMBER OF NIGHTS||ACCOMMODATION|
|Tokyo||4||Andaz Tokyo Hotel|
|Hakone||1||Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn)|
|Kyoto||4||Hyatt Regency Kyoto|
PRICES PER PERSON
Starting at $6,999 per person based on double occupancy