From vibrant cities illuminated by neon lights to ancient temples, explore the contrasting landscapes of Japan. Navigate old and new Japan, discover how the country’s layered history defines its fascinating culture. Get a glimpse into the beguiling world of geishas in old Tokyo, stay at a ryokan in Hakone, and dig into the bold food scene of Osaka. This 10-day private expedition with National Geographic will take you from modern Tokyo to historic Kyoto, alongside a private guide who will enrich your Japan experience.
Pick out fresh tuna and wasabi and learn to roll sushi like a master chef at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market; then eat your way through Osaka on a gastronomy tour.
Bike around old Kyoto and learn about Zen Buddhism while taking part in an exclusive Japanese tea ceremony.
Take in the soaring summit of Mt. Fuji on a private tour of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.
Itinerary - 10-Days Days
1-3 Tokyo, Japan/Nikko
Arrive in Tokyo. The following day, join your guide for a private tour of the old city. Enjoy an afternoon to explore at leisure; or for an additional cost, wield a samurai sword during a private lesson with a Japanese fight performer.
Spend a full day on a private excursion to Nikko National Park in the sacred hills north of Tokyo. Visit Buddhist and Shinto shrines nestled in old-growth forest, and stop to see Yutaki Falls.
Park Hotel (B)
4-5 Tokyo/Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
Visit Tsukiji, the world’s largest and busiest fish market, and head to its on-site cooking classroom to learn how to roll and prepare sushi. Then transfer to your Japanese inn, or ryokan, in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park—a vast natural wonderland of hot springs, lakes, volcanic islands, and soaring peaks. On a private tour of Hakone, ride a cable car up Mount Komagatake, cruise Lake Ashinoko on a replica pirate ship, and visit the Hakone Open-Air Museum and its sculpture garden.
Aura Tachibana (Day 4: B/L/D; Day 5: B/D)
Hop on a bullet train for the ride to Kyoto, which served as Japan’s imperial capital for more than a thousand years. Join a private guide at Heian Jingu, a Shinto shrine, and participate in an exclusive Japanese tea ceremony at Korin-in temple. The next day, discover Kyoto by bicycle, visiting highlights such as the Nishi Honganji Temple; Nijo Castle; Kinkaku-ji, famously called the “golden pavilion;” and the otherworldly bamboo groves of Arashiyama. Spend a day with a private guide exploring nearby Nara, which reigned as Japan’s capital in the eighth century.
Hotel Granvia (Days 6 and 8: B Daily; Day 7: B/L)
Transfer to Osaka, one of Japan’s culinary capitals. Visit the tiered Osaka castle, then eat your way down Dontonbori Street on a guided gastronomy tour. Stroll stone-paved Hozenji Alley, lined with traditional shops and restaurants, before returning to your hotel in the evening. Fly home the following day.
Swissotel Nankai (B)
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