Japan delights in contrasts, revering the past while embracing the future. Begin your 12-day adventure in glittering, massive Tokyo, then head by rail into the countryside to visit traditional villages and tranquil shrines. On strolls through geisha districts and restorative visits to ancient temples and gardens, feel the power of the here and now.

Itinerary - 12 Days

Day 1 Tokyo

Arrive in Tokyo at any time today. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city.

Additional Notes:
On our tours in Japan we use public transport, making use of Japan's world famous transportation system. From the super fast Shinkansen Bullet Train to Kyoto's extensive local bus network, we ride with the locals.

As well, there is a lot of walking on this trip, every day - please ensure you have an average level of fitness and can walk unaided for long periods of time. A good pair of walking shoes are highly recommended.

We will use a baggage transfer service, so you will not have to worry about carrying your bags on and off trains as we travel. As such, you will not have access to your bags during transfer from each city - we recommend using a day pack for anything you may need during the transfer day, as well as to carry any valuables.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2 Tokyo (1B)

In Harajuka we catch a glimpse of the pop culture phenomenon of Kawaii. Directly translated as "cute", this Japanese popular culture movement is reflected, through various avenues of entertainment, toys, personal style, attitude and cuisine.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by metro and on foot.

Additional Notes:
On some departures of this tour the activities on Days 2 and 3 will be swapped.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk
Harajuku Visit
Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingū) Visit
Asakusa Orientation Walk

Transport:
Metro

Day 3 Tokyo (1B, 1L)

This afternoon, enjoy some free time exploring Tokyo. Opt to visit Ueno park and the museums, Akihabara for cutting edge electronics, Harajuku for funky fashions, Ginza for the highest of the high end, walk the grounds of the Imperial Palace East Garden, or just stroll the streets, looking for the traditional life that still lies just under the modern surface.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by metro and on foot.

Additional Notes:
Please note the visit to the tuna auction is unavailable until mid-January 2019.

Please be advised the April 29, 2019 departure of this trip will not visit the inner Toyosu Fish Market as it is closed during this period. Alternatively, the group will visit the outer market of the Tsukiji fish market.

Included Activities:
Toyosu Fish Market
Tsukiji Sushi Experience

Transport:
Metro

Day 4 Tokyo/Tsumago (1B, 1D)

Ryokan are traditional Inns found across Japan. Featuring tatami floors (soft mats of woven straw), futon beds, Japanese-style baths, cotton kimono (casual robe worn to lounge around), and kaiseki meals (often served in the comfort of your own room); a ryokan is the perfect place to experience traditional customs and local immersion. The Ryokan is a simple, traditional Inn with few amenities and shared facilities, have fun and enjoy this relaxing opportunity to learn more about Japan’s unique customs.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by train, bus and on foot.

Included Activities:
Tsumago countryside and Village walk

Transport:
Metro
Train

Day 5 Tsumago/Kanazawa-shi (1B)

Continue by train to the historic city of Kanazawa. Explore the ancient Samurai culture with a walk through the well-preserved Nagamachi Samurai district and visit to the Nomura Samurai family residence.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public transportation and on foot.

Included Activities:
Nagamachi Samurai District Walk
Visit Nomura Family Samurai Residence

Transport:
Train
Taxicab
Local bus

Day 6 Kanazawa-shi (1B)

Continue exploring Kanazawa, visiting the Myoryuji Ninja Temple and walking through the Higashi Geisha district. The city is also renowned as a centre of traditional arts and crafts. We delve into these traditions with a chopstick and gold leaf painting experience. Opt to visit the stunning gardens or original castles.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus and on foot.

Included Activities:
Ninja Temple Visit
Chopstick and Gold Leaf Painting Experience
Higashi Geisha District Visit

Transport:
Local bus

Day 7 Kanazawa-shi/Hiroshima-shi (1B)

The large Peace Park in the centre of the city is an extremely moving place dotted with memorials of those known to have been killed in the explosion and those that died as a result. A burning flame waits in the park to be extinguished when all nuclear weapons in the world have been destroyed. A tram ride through the city takes you to the Peace Park.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by train, public transportation and on foot.

Included Activities:
Hiroshima Park and Peace Memorial

Transport:
Taxicab
Train
Tram

Day 8 Hiroshima-shi (1B)

Enjoy Miyajima Island, a famous wooded island located in the Inland Sea, not far from the coast near Hiroshima. Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan - The Floating Torii Gate. Designated as one of Japan's '3 Most Beautiful Views', the shrine itself dates back to the 6th century and is designed in a pier like structure. Mere 'commoners' were not allowed to set foot on this holy place.


Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public transportation, ferry and on foot.

Please note the floating Torii Gate will be under construction from June 2019 to August 2020.

Included Activities:
Miyajima Island Visit

Transport:
Ferry

Day 9 Hiroshima-shi/Kyoto (1B)

As the Imperial capital, Kyoto is an essential part of any visit to Japan. Kyoto has some of the most magnificent temples in Japan which date back centuries. There are said to be 2,000 temples, shrines, palaces, museums and traditional gardens in Kyoto. Use your time to wander past huge wooden structures and multi-storied pagodas, all linked with famous walkways.



Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by train, public bus and on foot.

Included Activities:
Himeji Castle
Gion Walk

Transport:
Train
Train

Day 10 Kyoto (1B)

Visit the stunning Fushimi Inari, an ancient shrine at the base of the mountain of the same name. After, spend the day exploring sites around Nara, visiting the impressive Todaiji Buddhist Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro and on foot.

Included Activities:
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine Visit
Day Trip to Nara
Tōdai-ji Buddhist Temple Complex
Visit Kasuga Grand Shrine

Day 11 Kyoto (1B)

This morning, visit a local temple to learn about the history and practice of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Here we meet with a local monk who will talk about Buddhism and instruct us in Zen meditation and calligraphy. Enjoy a traditional bowl of matcha tea before visiting the famous Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion. After, we learn about the etiquette of the samurai as well as the practice of basic kembu, and take a lesson on how to use the Japanese sword. Then, enjoy a performance by kembu masters which includes short poems, which were traditionally written by samurai about major events in their life. Later, take some time to explore on your own. Opt to visit museums, temples, or zen gardens.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro and on foot.

Included Activities:
Zen Buddhist Meditation and Calligraphy
Zen Tea Experience
Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion Visit
Kembu Masters

Day 12 Kyoto (1B)

There are no planned activities today and you are free to depart at any time.

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