Best Japan Tour

15 Days
Japan
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Package Description

Best Japan Tour: Japan is truly a year-round destination, and Japanese culture is remarkable in its appreciation of the changing of the seasons. However, as you’ll see when you visit, each season and even sub-season is celebrated with seasonal foods, and often festivals. Even though, If you like to try and pick your ideal time to visit then, for your information:

  • In winter, you’ll find amazing skiing and snowboarding, seafood, and onsen (hot springs);
  • While, in summer, there are colorful festivals throughout the country. Hiking in the Alps and the lovely coastal areas where you can enjoy the sea.
  • In the fall, Japan is famous for its brilliant autumn foliage (koyo) and pleasant temperatures.
  • And in spring, if you’re lucky and don’t mind the crowds, you may experience hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) in all its glory.

 

Day 1: Arrive at Tokyo’s Narita Airport and transfer to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure in Tokyo.

Day 2: After breakfast, you will start the day with a Welcome/Orientation meeting. Then you will escorted to  the Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world. Afterwards, we walk to the famous Ginza district, the most expensive real estate in the world. After having a lunch of Kushiage (fried meat and vegetables on bamboo skewers), visit to the Tokyo Sky Tree, which is the city’s tallest structure. On afternoon, you will visit Sensoji Temple at Asakusa and beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden before heading for a photostop at Tokyo Imperial Palace. At night, if you want, youcan go to Odaiba to do all the usual touristy stuff: Ferris Wheel, Fuji Terebi (Fuji TV), Rainbow Bridge, Gundam @ DiverCity Tokyo Plaza.

Day 3: The day is free to explore Tokyo on your own or go for a shopping or  or wander through the trendy Shibuya or Harajuku districts where you will more than likely see interesting and far-out fashions. Breakfast is included. If you like then, you can also visit Snow Monkeys – $75 (Per Group) and Nikko – $100 (or 12,000 Yen in Japan) which is optional.

Day 4: Before leaving Tokyo, you will prepare your luggage to be transferred to Takayama, and will be traveling to Hakone and Takayama with an overnight bag only. We board a subway and an express train to the ancient city of Kamakura, the former capital of Japan in the 13th century. There we will visit Hase-dera Temple, Kotokuin, the home of the famous Kamakura Great Buddha, Hokokuin Temple, also known as the Bamboo Temple. Late in the afternoon, we will travel to Hakone Yumoto Onsen, where we will stay overnight. Here you can enjoy the thermally-heated mineral baths at the ryokan.

Day 5: After checking out of the ryokan, we will tour Hakone, famous for its natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji (weather permitting). After returning to Hakone Yumoto and picking up our overnight bags, we will continue on to Takayama. A Kaiseki-style dinner will be served at the ryokan in the evening.

Day 6: Today you will visit Miyagawa morning market, Jinyamae morning market, Takayama Jinya and San-machi-suji district.

Day 7: We will travel to Koya-san (the world headquarters of the Shingon school of Esoteric Buddhism) with overnight bags only. The rest of the luggage will be delivered to our ryokan in Osaka where we will be staying the following night. After checking into our shukubo (Buddhist temple lodging), you are free to roam and visit one of the 110 temples in the area or just rest in the garden at the shukubo. O/N at Buddhist Temple and dinner will also be a traditional Buddhist vegetarian cuisine.

Day 8: Very early in the morning, we attend o-inori (Buddhist prayer services). Afterwards, a shojin-ryori breakfast is served. After that we will wander through the huge cemetery leading up to the Okuno-in temple and the Garan Temple complex. After returning to Osaka, picking up our luggage and checking into our ryokan, the evening is free to visit the Dotombori-dori and the Namba Districts (South Osaka), the nearby nightlife and restaurant district.

Day 9: Before leaving in the morning you will need to prepare your main luggage for transfer to Kyoto. We will then travel by subway and Shinkansen to the city of Himeji.  Here we will visit Himeji Castle. After lunch, we will continue on to Hiroshima by Shinkansen, and then a local train to the harbor where we will board a ferry for Miyajima Island (one of the top three scenic sights in Japan).

Day 10: The entire day is free to enjoy and relax in the beauty and ambiance of Miyajima Island: ride the cable car to the top of the mountain on Miyajima Island, or visit the Itsukushima-jinja shrine which was built in its present form in 1168. Or just stroll around the island while enjoying grilled oysters and momiji manju (a popular Japanese confection), the island’s specialty.

Day 11: After taking the ferry and local train back to Hiroshima, we tour the Peace Memorial Museum and the Peace Memorial Park, which are both sobering testaments to the dropping of the A-bomb on August 6, 1945. Afterwards, we are off to Kyoto via the Shinkansen. Once in Kyoto, we pick up our luggage and check into our ryokan, where we stay for the remainder of the tour.

Day 12: We will start the morning at Ryoan-ji (synonymous). Next we will visit Kinkaku-ji. Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is one of Kyoto’s, as well as Japan’s, most recognizable attractions. After a noodle lunch we will learn about the tea ceremony.  After the tea ceremony, we will visit Nijo Castle. Built in 1603, it was the Kyoto home of Tokugawa Ieayasu, the first Tokugawa Shogun. One of the castle’s most intriguing features is the so-called “nightingale” floors.

Day 13: Today we are off by train to the nearby city of Fushimi, one of the largest sake producing regions of Japan. Here we will visit the Fushimi Inari shrine. Next, we will visit the Ginkakuji Temple, more commonly called the Silver Pavilion. After visiting Ginkakuji, we will take a short walk along the Philosopher’s Path. Approximately two kilometers long, the path begins around (Silver Pavilion) and ends in the neighborhood of Nanzenji. After a relaxing lunch, we will walk though the Higashiyama District of Kyoto. This area of narrow, cobblestone alleys with its temples, shrines, numerous shops and restaurants is truly enjoyable and relaxing. Next, we will walk to the famous Gion Geisha District. Before leaving for the day, you will need to prepare your main luggage to be sent forward to the airport. If you would prefer to keep your luggage, you can do so.

Day 14: The morning and afternoon is free. In the late afternoon, we will meet back at the ryokan and travel to the Gion Geisha district. Here, in a teahouse, we will attend a Meet a Maiko session. After this we will have a walking tour of the Gion Geisha district. After this we will enjoy our Sayonara Dinner. One complimentary glass of an alcoholic beverage (not bottle) will be included at the dinner. If you want then, you can visit the day traveling by train to the nearby city of Nara (optional), which will cost $115 (or 15,000 Yen in Japan).

Day 15: It’s time to say “sayonara” (goodbye). You will be escorted from the ryokan to the Kyoto train station. From there, you will take the express train on your own to the Kansai International Airport, just outside Osaka, or return to Narita Airport by Shinkansen and Narita express train on your own for your flight back home. (If you are flying out of Narita Airport, be sure to schedule a flight after 15:00 to allow yourself enough time to catch your flight.) If you sent your luggage ahead to the airport, you will retrieve your luggage in the Departure lobby before checking into your flight.

 

  • Visa fees and all govt. taxes
  • All air fare
  • Transportation costs during the trip
  • Local, licensed, English-speaking, Japanese guides
  • Travel Insurance Surcharge
  • Lodging for 14 nights in Japanese-style ryokans
  • Meals, Lunch and Breakfast on Japanese-style or Western-style
  • Admission fees to the destinations and sightseeing charge
  • Farewell dinner at the end of the tour
  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and desserts
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips to the guide
  • Expenses caused by factors beyond our control like rail and flight delays,

Umesh Ghimire