“I cannot thank you enough for organizing such a fabulous tour of China. It was outstanding in all aspects: luxury hotels and restaurants, interesting itinerary to see both the ancient monuments, and wonderful guides. I shall always remember this trip, and thank you for making it memorable.” ~ Past traveler, M. Parsons.
Photography | World Heritage | Nature | Family
13-Day Grand Tour of Japan offers you an experience of the modern Japan, the natural Japan and the tradition Japan. Feel the dynamic and energy of Tokyo, see the next generation of Japan. Enjoy a panoramic view of Mt. Fuji, an icon of Japan. Relax at two charming towns – Takayama and Kanazawa; view the world unique farm houses. Experience the traditional Japan in an ancient capital, Kyoto, a home to over 1000 ancient shrines and temples with numerous World Heritage Sites. Taste the delicious food at the food capital, Osaka. Explore the historic Hiroshima and Miyajima Island.
Arrive in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. Meet your friendly airport representative and transfer to the hotel by an airport shuttle. Check in at your hotel. Rest of the day free at leisure.
Enjoy a panoramic view of Tokyo from Tokyo Tower’s main observatory. Explore the unique Japanese culture and history by visiting the Imperial Palace Plaza, the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. Continue to the Tokyo oldest temple – Asakusa Kannon Temple with the famous “Nakamise” shopping arcade. Enjoy a pleasant drive through Ueno, where Tokyo’s first coffee shop once stood, to Akihabara which is home to the famous Electric Town. Afternoon, enjoy free time at own leisure.
Today, have free time to explore Tokyo at own leisure. Tokyo has one of the best public transportation systems in the world. Spend time at Odaiba, a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man made island in Tokyo Bay or wander through the colorful and busy district – Shibuya or Harajuku, where you will find Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles or admire the charming Shinjuku Gyoen, one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks to see the class Japanese garden.
Head up to the 5th Station of Mt. Fuji; enjoy the spectacular and breathtaking views at 7,546 ft above sea level. Taste a delicious Japanese-style lunch before cruising on Lake Ashi, this crater lake was formed by a powerful volcanic eruption nearly 3,000 years ago, and provides postcard views of Mt. Fuji. Take a ropeway ride to the peak of Mt. Komagatake to see the spiritual Hakone Shrine Mototsumiya (original shrine) that nestles at the mountaintop. Return to Tokyo.
This morning, take a Shinkansen (high speed bullet train) to Nagoya, the headquarter of Toyota Factory. It is a lifetime experience to travel on the world’s first bullet train. After lunch, board the JR Limited Express train to Takayama, beautifully preserved old town. Explore Yatai Kaikan (Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall); it displays some of the colorfully decorated festival floats used in the famous Takayama Festival. Enjoy seeing the many intricately made floats. Enjoy a visit to Kusakabe Heritage House, a historical Japanese-style townhouse and view a range of exquisite folk art and traditional handicrafts. Weave through Kami-Sannomachi with a line of Edo period buildings that provides you a glimpse into the past. This evening, feel free to enjoy a relaxing soak in the communal bath, a Japanese tradition.
Enjoy walking around the bustling Takayama Morning Market, where a wide array of local specialties and other products are available. Get your camera ready for Shirakawago Observatory, an elevated view of the World Heritage-registered thatch-roofed village of Shirakawago. Admire the Wada Residence (traditional thatch-roofed farmhouse). This is one of the thatch-roofed houses, also registered as a World Heritage Site. Look around and be fascinated by the culture and history of the village. Taste delicious regional cuisine dishes you can only enjoy in the countryside. Head to Kanazawa by bus. During the Edo Period, Kanazawa was a town of great cultural achievements, rivaling Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo). Today, Kanazawa remains an important city in its region and serves as the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture.
Explore Nagamachi Samurai District, home to Nomura Residence, former residence of a samurai family from the Kaga Domain. Admire the traditional architecture and gaze at Kenrokuen Garden, this beautiful garden is considered one of the top three Japanese gardens. Visit Higashi Chaya–gai, an Important Traditional Building Preservation District, where you will see wooden-latticed exteriors of teahouses line both sides of the stone-paved street here where something from the Edo period still lingers in the air. Wander through Hakuza Honten, shop for handicrafts, accessories, cosmetics and other items made with gold leaf. After lunch at your own leisure, take the JR limited express train to Kyoto, the ancient capital. It is a lifetime experience to travel on the world’s first bullet train. Check in at your hotel. Relax for the rest of the day.
Experience the historical Kyoto and see where the geisha live and work today. Explore Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was built to provide lodging for Tokugawa Shogun and as a palladium for Kyoto Imperial Palace. Admire the golden structure of Kinkaku-ji Temple, a world Heritage site that is covered in thin layers of pure gold and is surrounded by a beautiful pond. See the Kyoto Imperial Palace, which was used as the Emperor’s residence until about 150 years ago. Don’t miss the characteristic red architecture of the beautiful Heian Jingu Shrine built to celebrate the 1100 year anniversary of the founding of the city of Kyoto. Visit Sanjusangen-do Temple, the world’s longest wooden structure, which houses 1,001 life-size statues of Buddhist Kannon deities dating back to the 13th century. Wander through the historic shopping lane that leads to the World Heritage Site of Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Evening, experience the life of geisha at the Gion Area.
Full day free to explore Kyoto on your own leisure. You can join the Sushi making class or enjoy half day Arashiyama to see the beautiful Bamboo Grove and natural scenery of Kyoto.
Head to Nara, visit Toda-ji Temple, a world heritage site, it is a symbol of the Nara Period and one of the world’s largest wooden structures. Its huge main hall and bronze Great Buddha are impressive to behold. At Kasuga Taisha Shrine, you will find the deer of Nara Park, the shrine messengers. Stop by Nara Nagomikan, the largest souvenir shop in Nara. Enjoy yourself in this spacious shop and look for the perfect local handicrafts. End your day in Osaka, one of the largest cities in Japan.
Start your day with a visit to Nambayasaka Shrine, see the impressive Ema-den lion head statue standing 12 meters high. Drive by Osaka Central Public Hall, a magnificent hall in Nakanoshima; its symbolic architecture makes it one of Osaka’s most iconic structures along with Osaka Castle. At Osaka Castle, have a view of the Osaka city area can be seen from the 8th floor observatory. Enjoy Osaka’s local food, kushikatsu, at Shin-sekai. Experience a tramcar ride Ebisu-cho Station to Sumiyoshi Torii-mae Station. Explore the nostalgic atmosphere of the town on a tramcar. Visit Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, this shrine has over 1,800 years of history. Admire Daisen Park Japanese Garden, which features Japan’s outstanding skill in traditional garden landscaping, and offers visitors marvelous scenery all year round, be it seasonal flowers or vibrant autumn leaves. Sakai is a city renowned for cutlery forged by professional craftsmen using traditional skills. It is said that over 90% of knives used by chefs in the food industry are from Sakai. At Hamono Museum, enjoy shopping for knives as well as traditional craftwork.
Take a Shinkansen to Hiroshima. Discover the world heritage sites of Hiroshima and Miyajima. Go to Miyajima by ferry. Miyajima, is known as the Sacred Island, and one of Japan’s most beautiful landscapes. Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site; established in the 6th century, this shrine is one of Japan’s finest, and is famous for its beautiful Shinden-zukuri style structure (architecture representative of a nobles’ residence in the Heian period). Spend your afternoon at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum, this large-scale park was established in 1949 after the Pacific War ended, and is visited by countless visitors as a symbol of peace. See the Atomic Bomb Dome, a symbol of the disastrous atomic bombing during WWII, the first atomic bombs used in human history, and has been preserved as it was to promote peace and elimination of atomic weapons around the world.
Depart to airport by an airport shuttle for flight to home.