The Heart of Japan
- Guided day tour of Tokyo
- Tour of Takayama
- Guided tour of Shirakawago
- Full-day tour of Kanazawa
- Half-day Kanazawa 21st Century Museum Visit
- Ride the scenic Limited Express Thunderbird
- Home Visit With Cultural Experience
- Day 1:
On arrival at Narita Airport, you will be met in the arrival hall by your driver who will assist you with the included shared transfer to your hotel (60 – 90 minutes). The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
- Day 2:
Take a day tour of this fascinating city with a local guide, making use of Tokyo’s comprehensive and user friendly public transport system. The day begins with a visit to Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Take a walk down Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion brands. Then you will head across town to Asakusa where you can soak in the atmosphere of old-time Tokyo. Afterwards, you will visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. End the day at Hamarikyu Garden, an Edo Period Japanese garden surrounded by Shiodome district’s futuristic skyscrapers – a great example of how Japan is the land of contrasts. There, you can stop for a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets at a tea house on the island of the park’s lake.
- Day 3:
Your day is at leisure to explore Tokyo.
- Day 4:
From Tokyo, take the world-famous Shinkansen bullet train, reaching speeds of up to 300km per hour. You will then change onto the Limited Express Hida Wideview for one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan, winding your way through tall mountains and stunning gorges to Takayama. This afternoon is at leisure. We recommend visiting one of the town’s many sake breweries for a taste of the local drop, its high quality ingrained in the area’s clean water sources.
- Day 5:
Today you will take a tour with a local guide. Start the day with a visit to the local Miyagawa Market along the Miyagawa River in the old town. Most stands sell local crafts and farm products such as vegetables, pickles and flowers. Take a walk in the district called San-machi Suji, the traditional home of Takayama merchants and sake brewers, which has been preserved in almost exactly the same state as 200 or 300 years ago.
- Day 6:
Travel by coach (one hour) to Shirakawago with a local guide and spend the day exploring this quaint mountain village. After the visit, you will separate from your guide and continue on own to Kanazawa.
- Day 7:
A full day to explore Kanazawa with a local guide. The highlight of any visit to Kanazawa is Kenroku-en Garden. Ranked one of the top three in Japan, its breathtaking beauty shines through in any season. You will also be visiting the imposing Kanazawa castle, located next to the garden. Nearby, Kagayuzen Kaikan offers demonstrations of the centuries-old Yuzen silk painting technique.
- Day 8:
Enjoy a day at leisure in Kanazawa, visiting the many attractions of this historical city.
- Day 9:
Ride the scenic Limited Express Thunderbird as you travel to Kyoto (2.5hrs). Kyoto is the nation’s former capital and was the residence of the emperor from 794 until 1868. It is Japan’s seventh largest metropolis with a population of 1.4 million and a city of culture that offers a plethora of temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures that still survive today. The rest of your day will be at leisure.
- Day 10:
Today you explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide by taxi to visit some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites. You will start your day with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death, it became a Buddhist Temple at his request, and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples. Take a walk down Nishiki Market, a narrow five-block-long shopping street lined with more than one hundred shops and restaurants.
- Day 11:
Begin the day reaching Nara by train (45 minutes) with a local guide. For 74 years during the 8th century, Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time remain. Visit Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha. Next stop is Nara’s most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers. Take a wander through Nara Park, called Deer park by locals, home to more than 1,000 tame deer. Upon returning from Nara, you can visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, used in the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha”. The shrine is famous for housing over 10,000 red torii gates, which form a path up the mountain behind the temple.
- Day 12:
Your day is free until your shared transfer to Kansai Airport (60-90 minutes).
- Accommodation as per itinerary in twin share rooms with daily breakfast included
- Tours and transfers as specified including entry fees
- Airport meet and greet and return airport transfers
- Service of English-speaking local guides as specified
- Train tickets as mentioned in ordinary class, reserved seats
- Meals as specified in the itinerary (drinks are not included)
SERVICES NOT INCLUDED
- International and domestic airfares
- Meals other than specified as included
- Travel insurance or expenses of a personal nature (minibar, tips and gratuities, phone call, laundry, etc.),
- Drinks or personal expenses or entrance fees for any extra sightseeing or optional activities
- All that is not specifically described in the text is not included