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Image by Nicki Eliza Schinow

JAPAN

Tokyo - Kyoto - Mt. Fuji - Hiroshima - Osaka

Activities

  • Meiji Jingu Shrine

  • Harajuku - shopping haven

  • Palace East Gardens

  • Ginza - upscale Tokyo shopping & dining district

  • Roppongi - Tokyo's art district

  • Senso-ji - Tokyo's oldest Buddhist Temple

  • Tokyo cruise to Hamarikyu Gardens

  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building's Observatory

  • Ride ropeway up to Mt. Owakudani and view Mt. Fuji

  • Ride pirate ship along Ashinoko

  • Hakone Open Air Museum

  • Ryokan Dinner (traditional Japanese dinner experience)

  • Bullet-train to Kyoto

  • Arashiymaa and Tenryu-ji (Kyoto)

  • Rickshaw Experience

  • Nijo Castle

  • Tea Ceremony

  • Gion District (see where geisha live and work)

  • Yasaka Shrine

  • Todai-Ji temple

  • Nara Park

  • Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine

  • Bullet-train to Hiroshima

  • Himeji Castle

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum

  • A-Bomb Dome/Children's Peace monument

  • Osaka Castle

  • Dotonbori - Osaka's entertainment district

Inclusions

  • Round-Trip Airfare from LAX (non-stop flight)

  • Airport Transfers

  • Accommodations (4 star hotel in Tokyo, 3 star+ hotels in other cities)

  • All breakfasts and lunches, 1 traditional dinner

  • Activities listed on itinerary

  • Transportation on chartered bus, and bullet trains

  • Tour Guides

  • Tour Host

Price

$3,999-
 
per person (double occupancy) 


+$599 for single traveler

 

Fine Print

  • $500 deposit per traveler required (make below) to secure airfare

  • Full payment due 100 days before and must be made by check

  • Trip deposit and final payments are non-refundable once paid

  • Passports are required and must be valid 6 months after final date of the trip

  • You must be able to walk with no problems; this trip is not wheelchair accessible

  • No COVID Restrictions

Japan Spring 2025 Waiting List

Day One & Two
Fly to Tokyo, Japan from LAX non-stop. Arrive in the late afternoon and rest in your hotel.

Day Three
Transfer by private coach to the Meiji Jingu. Your first stop will be at Meiji Jingu, Tokyo’s most famous Shinto shrine dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji. The park that surrounds the shrine has around 120,000 trees, making you forget that just outside the shrine grounds are two of the city’s popular shopping districts, Harajuku and Omotesando. This morning, apart from visiting the main shrine buildings, you will also witness a traditional Shinto purification dance and receive a blessing from the priest.

Outside of Meiji Shrine you will find Harajuku, the shopping haven for all fashionistas. The landmark of Harajuku in Takeshita Street, a 400-meter long alley filled with boutiques, shops, and cafes. 
Neighboring Harajuku is Omotesando, commonly referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysee. This broad, tree-lined avenue features a number of fashion flagship stores designed by internationally renowned architects like TOD’s Omotesando, designed by Toyo Ito.

From Omotesando, transfer to Ginza, one of Tokyo’s most famous upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment districts. It’s said that 1sqm of land in Ginza is worth over 10 million yen (€ 90,000)! From Ginza, you can go to the Imperial Palace near Otemachi Station. Whilst the Palace itself is not open to the public, the Palace East Gardens are readily accessible to all visitors. Here you will find the ruins of the former Edo Castle and a lovely Japanese garden.


 

You will then head to Roppongi, Tokyo’s self-proclaimed art district and home to some of Japan’s contemporary and innovative galleries and museums. Here you will find one of Tokyo’s modern skyscrapers, the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, a 238-metre multi-purpose building with signature brand shops, cafes, and museums. Together with your guide, you will go all the way to the observation deck on the 52nd floor to get a stunning view of the metropolis and the nearby Tokyo Tower. (B,L)

Day Four
Visit Asakusa Kannon (Senso-ji)

The Asakusa Kannon Temple in shitamachi (literally ‘downtown’) is surrounded by busy street stalls. Asakusa is the city’s oldest Geisha district and also the home to Senso-ji, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. The streets around Senso-ji feature many traditional shops that sell Japanese crafts and souvenirs and are a delight to wander through, and Nakamise Street connects the main gate of Senso-ji temple (Kaminarimon gate) and the main hall.

Then you will take a Tokyo Cruise to Hamarikyu Gardens and visit gardens.

Hamarikyu Gardens is a perfect example of a Japanese-style garden that has its origins back in the Edo period when it served as a private villa of a powerful feudal lord. Its wide collection of seasonal flowers makes it one of the most visited gardens in Tokyo but what makes it more attractive is the teahouse called Nakajima-no-Chaya, which serves freshly made green tea and offers lovely views of the surrounding pond and greenery.

End the tour at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building’s Observatory Visit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building’s Observatory. Located 202 meters above sea level, it offers great views of Mt.Fuji and other iconic sights of the Japanese capital. (B,L)

Day Five
Meet your English-speaking tour guide and transfer by private coach to Hakone, a popular hot spring destination from Tokyo frequented by most tourists who wish to get a sight of Mt. Fuji. Ride the Guinness World Record-holder ropeway all the way up to Mt. Owakudani, passing over sulfurous fumes and hot springs.


 

From the mountain, take the ropeway bound for Togendai and ride the replica pirate ship that cruises along Ashinoko, a body of water that was formed after a volcanic eruption that occurred more than 3,000 years ago. Hakone is also home to many museums and parks. One of these is the Hakone Open Air Museum. The museum is famous for its harmonic balance between nature and art, featuring a sizable Picasso Collection. Installation at the Ryokan (B,L,D))

Day Six
Take the bullet-train from Odawara station to Kyoto station without an assistant. Meet your English-speaking tour guide and transfer by private coach. Explore the more scenic spots in Kyoto, starting with Arashiyama, the district famous for the vast bamboo grove and the majestic Hozugawa River. Enjoy a morning stroll in the bamboo groves before heading to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tenryu-ji. The most captivating spot inside the temple grounds is the landscaped garden that features a pond surrounded by rocks and pine trees set against the great Arashiyama Mountains. Rickshaw Ride Experience.

Next in the list is the serene Ryoan-ji, which is famous for its well-maintained rock garden and known to be the Myoshinji School of the Rinzai Buddhist sect. Just a short distance from Ryoan-ji is the stunning golden pavilion collectively known as Kinkaku-ji. The temple grounds are relatively smaller than that of most temples and shrines in Kyoto but what is undoubtedly impressive is the pavilion that is completely covered in handmade gold leaves. End the tour with a visit to Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle that was originally built to serve as the private villa of a powerful feudal lord. The main building was completed in the early 1600s and has since then been known for its Momoyama-style architecture, decorated sliding doors, and “chirping nightingale” floors. (B,L)

Day Seven
Tea Ceremony in a private temple in Kyoto Experience a tea ceremony in a private temple Discover the connection between Zen Buddhism and tea. Learn the meaning behind each step of this ritual Although the sub-temples of Kodai-ji are usually closed to the public, special access has been granted for today’s tea ceremony. Enter the stunning 400-year-old temple and stroll around its beautiful Zen garden. Then meet with a tea master who will explain about Japanese tea and the relationship between the ceremony and Zen Buddhism. Then the ceremony will begin, with the master explaining each movement and its meaning in detail. During the ceremony, join the teacher in making tea, following the motions as he demonstrates.


 

Explore some places in Higashiyama district with a knowledgeable guide. Meet the guide at the hotel, and depart for Gion, the old “Geisha district” of Kyoto. Your guide will take you out for a stroll in Gion District, it is known as the “geisha district” because it is one of the city’s hanamachi where geisha live and work. The highlight will be the Hanami-koji, the most popular street in Gion district where lavish chaya (lit. teahouses) are lined up. The local restaurants are mostly found in well-preserved machiya (old houses) and serve the ever-inviting kaiseki ryori (traditional Japanese multi-course meal). The last part of your tour will be a visit to Yasaka Shrine, also called the “Gion Shrine”, located between Gion and Higashiyama districts. It is famous for its summer festival, the Gion Matsuri, which is considered one of Japan’s biggest and most popular festivals. (B,L)

Day Eight
Today, you will visit the Todai-ji Temple. Todai-ji Temple Todai-ji is the landmark of Nara that was built in the 8 th century to serve as the head Buddhist temple in Japan. The most notable part of the temple is the Daibutsu-den, the largest wooden building in the world where you can find a 15-metre tall bronze Buddha. You will also see a number of deer strolling outside the temple or in the nearby Nara Park.

Next, visit the Nara Park (walking distance). Nara Park is a large park in central Nara. Established in 1880, it is the location of many of Nara's main attractions including Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji and the Nara National Museum. It is also home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered the messengers of the gods, Nara's over 1000 deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure. Deer crackers are for sale around the park, and some deer have learned to bow to visitors to ask to be fed. Nara's deer are surprisingly tame, although they can be aggressive if they think you will feed them, so make sure not to tease them with food.

Kasuga Taisha is the most celebrated Shinto shrine in Nara, famous for its bronze and stone lanterns. Its worshippers have donated the bronze ones, which can be seen hanging from the buildings to the shrine. Both the stone and the bronze lanterns are only lit twice in a year during the Lantern Festival in February and in August. From Todai-ji, the best route to the shrine is via the backstreets, passing by some local shops and houses and walking through a small forest. (B,L)

Day Nine
Transfer by private coach to Kyoto station. Take the bullet-train from Kyoto station to Hiroshima station. While on board the bullet train, keep an eye out for Himeji Castle, also known as the ‘White Egret Castle’, and the Seto Ohashi Bridge, the longest two-tiered suspension bridge in the world that stretches 13 kilometers long and links Honshu to Shikoku. First visit will be at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum. The area where the park now lies used to be ground zero after the bombing in 1945. The Memorial Park was built as a commemoration for those who lost their lives in the attack. 

Following the guide, stroll through the park and pass by Genbaku Dome (A- Bomb Dome), the ruins of the former Industrial Promotion Hall of Hiroshima and one of the very few World Heritage Sites that remind us of the negative effects of war. Continue onwards and stop by the Children’s Peace Monument, where the guide will not just share the story behind it and the thousands of paper cranes there but will also teach how to make a paper crane.

Explore the many beauties of the island of Miyajima. A small sacred island located in the Inland Sea, Miyajima has been a holy place of Shintoism since the early times. Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan, ‘The Floating Torii Gate,’ designated as one of Japan's most beautiful views. The Itsukushima shrine itself dates back to the 6 th century, while the present structure dates back to the 12 th century. The harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skills and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mere "commoners"; were not allowed to set foot on this holy place, and even today, it is forbidden to give birth or die on the island! (B,L)

Day Ten
Arriving in Osaka, you will start your visit of the city by private coach. Start with the visit of Osaka Castle. It is Osaka's best known sight and the symbol of the city. The construction started in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s order, however the castle suffered several destructions throughout its history. It was not until 1931 that the present ferro- concrete construction of the castle tower was built. During the war it miraculously survived the city wide air raids. The castle tower is surrounded by secondary citadels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls and moats.

After lunch, stroll through Dotonbori, a restaurant mecca which has long-been referred to as Osaka’s entertainment district and former “pleasure district”. It can be found in downtown Osaka, accessible via subway lines going to Namba Station. If you want to see, hear, and taste the authentic Osaka lifestyle, Dotonbori is one of the recommended places to go to. It is famous for its bright neon lights, energetic shop owners, and food stalls that are filled with some of the Osaka delights. (B,L)

Day Eleven
Fly from Osaka to LAX with a connection in Tokyo. Thank you for traveling with us, welcome home! (B)

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