Day 1 - Arrive Tokyo, Japan
Arrive in Tokyo, Japan’s exciting and modern capital.
Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the expansive views over
Day 2 - Tokyo
Start your day at Tsukiji Fish Market, a bustling hub of
Japanese daily life where a dizzying array of seafood can
be found. Continue to an exclusive local workshop that
specializes in Japanese drum making, and try your hand at
playing the taiko. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and then
visit Asakusa Kannon Temple, pausing in the tiny shops
of Nakamise-dori. The colorful pagoda-style temple was
completed in 645 and is dedicated to Kannon, the goddess
of mercy in several East Asian spiritual traditions. Tonight,
enjoy a welcome dinner.
Day 3 - Tokyo
Start your day at the Samurai Museum, where you learn
about the customs of this elite warrior class and get an
up-close look at an authentic collection of their exotic
armor and weaponry. Then, receive a lesson in sushi making
followed by lunch. This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design
Your Day activities.Explore the Mori Art Museum to take in local
contemporary art.Learn About Tokyo’s History at the Edo-Tokyo Museum,
built to preserve the heritage of the city’s last 400 years.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. Enjoy 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, enjoy 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 Okonomi-yaki —a battered, grilled concoction of chopped cabbage, meat
or seafood, and seaweed, topped with mayonnaise. This
evening, 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, surrounded
by green gardens and 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
Day 8 - Kyoto
Visit Shogunzaka Temple for stunning views of Kyoto and
continue to the home and studio of the late Kawai Kanjiro,
one of Kyoto’s most famous potters. In Kanjiro’s beautiful
home, view his own creations as well as his personal
collection of ceramics, sculptures and wood carvings.
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.