Day 1 - Arrive Tokyo, Japan
Arrive in Tokyo, Japan’s exciting and modern capital.
Transfer to your hotel located near the Imperial Palace.
Day 2 - Tokyo
Today, explore the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which was
established to preserve the historic heritage of the city
of Tokyo and its precursor, Edo, over the past 400 years.
Continue to a family-owned workshop that specializes in
Japanese drum making, and try your hand at playing the
taiko, on an A&K-exclusive experience. Enjoy lunch at a
local restaurant, and then visit Asakusa Kannon Temple. This
colorful pagoda-style temple was completed in 645 and is
dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of mercy in several East
Asian spiritual traditions. Continue to Meiji Shrine, a Shinto
complex dedicated to an emperor that was rebuilt after World War II. Tonight, gather for a welcome dinner.
Day 3 - Tokyo
Start your day at a local fish market, a bustling hub of
Japanese daily life where a dizzying array of seafood can be
found. Then, receive a lesson in sushi making, followed by
lunch, during a Chef ’s Table experience. This afternoon,
enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities.
Explore the Mori Art Museum to take in local
Experience the Shunkaen Bonsai Museum, learning
about the customs of this ancient Japanese art form
Indulge in a Sake Tasting, sampling some of Japan’s finest
sake and learning about its cultural importance.
Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Day 4 - Hakone
Travel to Hakone, among Japan’s most popular hot-spring
destinations, and view the forested slopes of Hakone National Park, an area encompassing coastlines, mountains,
lakes and more than 1,000 volcanic islands. Board an aerial
tram rising above the wooded slopes for inspiring views of
Mount Fuji. Savor a lunch of Japan’s famed Kobe beef before
strolling the grassy hillsides of Hakone’s Open Air Museum.
Admire the impressive contemporary sculptures and artwork
on display, including masterpieces by Henry Moore and
Rodin. The museum also features one of the world’s finest
Picasso exhibits, presenting visitors with some 300 works by
the cubist master. Tonight, experience unparalleled service
and traditional Japanese cuisine at Gôra Kadan, a top-rated ryokan (traditional inn), which is also your authentic
accommodation for the night.
Day 5 - Osaka
After breakfast at your ryokan, visit the Okada Museum of
Art to view its stunning collection of paintings, ceramics,
lacquerware and bronzes from Japan, Korea and China.
Then, Ride Like a Local by bullet train to Osaka. Historically
known as a merchant city, it is today renowned as Japan’s
undisputed culinary capital, where diners indulge in
everything from octopus dumplings to okonomiyaki, a battered, grilled concoction of chopped cabbage, meat
or seafood, and seaweed, topped with mayonnaise. This
evening, take in city views, refreshing drink in hand, on a
Scenic Sundowner, before you set out on a foodie tour in
the popular Dotonbori District, sampling dishes from the
brilliantly lighted and gastronomically creative restaurants
that line the street.
Day 6 - Nara
Travel to Nara, Japan’s first capital, to visit Todai-ji, a temple
complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the
largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. Proceed to Nara Park,
home to hundreds of deer, venerated here as divine spirits,
which you have the opportunity to feed by hand. Complete
your Nara excursion with a visit to celebrated Kasuga Taisha
Shrine, and experience a Shinto ceremony firsthand. Pause for
lunch at a local restaurant before proceeding to the Kehaya-za
Sumo Pavilion, where you observe a demonstration of this
fabled Japanese sport by two sumo wrestlers. Return to your
hotel, where you enjoy dinner.
Day 7 - Kyoto
Travel into Kyoto early this morning to contemplate the
iconic Zen rock garden at Ryoan-ji, the perfect spot for a
meditative moment, and discover the glittering Kinkaku-ji
Temple (Golden Pavilion) — covered with gold leaf and
surrounded by green gardens — casting its delicate reflection
in the tranquil pond beside it. After lunch, explore the
Arashiyama neighborhood, including the garden of Tenryu-ji
Temple. Later, bask in the magical atmosphere
of Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, strolling along a winding
path as sunlight filters down through towering bamboo shoots, considered by many a healing experience.
Day 8 - Kyoto
Visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple for stunning views of Kyoto.
Proceed to a local temple, where you experience the art of
the tea ceremony, noting its refined sense of hospitality and
etiquette, which date to the time of the samurai. Tonight,
savor traditional Japanese cuisine, while an attending geiko
(as a geisha is known in Kyoto) and maiko (apprentice
geisha) dance, sing, pour sake and share stories about life in
Day 9 - Depart Kyoto
After breakfast, transfer to Kansai International Airport or Itami
Airport, both located just outside of Osaka, for your flight home,
or begin a post-tour extension to Hiroshima.