Welcome to Japan! Transfer by coach (SHUTTLE BUS) to hotel.
18H30.- Meeting with guide. Late in the afternoon, we will pay a visit to this fascinating country by taking a trip on the metro (tickets included) to the Shinjuku district and see the crowds of people who use this modern and efficient collective transport system. Then we will take a walk around an hour to the restaurant. Shinjuku is one of the most important nightlife districts. Dinner included and return to hotel by metro with our guide.
08.00 hrs.- In the morning, we take part in a 5-hour trip with our guide to see this amazing city, with its hustle and bustle and extremely modern districts that coexist with quiet, peaceful areas. Brief stop at the Zojoji Temple to make a beautiful photograph of the Tokyo Tower. Pay attention to the hundred of Jizos, stone traditional protecting deities who guide us on our travels, give power to those who are weak (such children) and those in dangerous places, and who are dressed including hats, robes and windmills. Then we head to the junction of Shibuya, a junction that is said to be the most crowded in the world. The Meiji Temple is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, his wife, and their spirits. We continue on our bus along the elegant street of Omotesando. We will edge the most beautiful part of the Imperial Palace and the gardens. Stop to visit the famous Nijubashi Bridge. We will pass through the district of Akihabara, the “electric town” with icons from the popular Japanese Manga and Anime culture and then see Kokugikan, the Sumo stadium, home of this Japanese sport. We will also visit the Buddhist temple of Sensoji, the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo, with its 55-metre high pagoda. Then we will have some free time to visit the traditional commercial street of Nakamise in the district of Asakusa. Lunch included in a local restaurant. Return to hotel.
Free time in the afternoon.
After breakfast transfer to the station to take the BULLET TRAIN to KYOTO. Arrival to Kyoto after almost 500 km in just over two hours, more or less. We spend the whole day in the city, which was the capital of Japan between 794 and 1868 and home to the Imperial Court. During World War II the city was the only major Japanese to escape the bombardments, and so it still preserves its wealth of artistic heritage; the famous protocol restricting greenhouse gas emissions was signed in Kyoto in 1997. The visit includes a trip to one of the most important parts of the city. We will see the marvellous Shinto Shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji temple, “the golden pavilion” and its wonderful gardens. Free time before visiting GION, a busy traditional quarter famous for its Geisha. Free time.
Kyoto - Nara - Osaka.
Total distance: 125km
08.00hrs- Kyoto. Departure.
09.00hrs- NARA, we visit Todaiji, a magnificent Buddhist temple built in 752, which has a giant Buddha and where passengers can take photos and touch and feed the deer that wander through the park.
10.30hrs.- Todaiji Temple departure.
11.15hrs- HORYUJI Buddhist temple, a World Heritage Site. Time to discover its seminary, monasteries and temples. Its main pagoda temple is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world and is the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan and an important place of worship.
12.45hrs- Horyuji Departure. Lunch included in a local restaurant. We continue to OSAKA. 14.30hrs.- OSAKA, Arrival. Accommodation in this modern city (Japan’s second city) and free time. In the evening we will visit Dotonbori, a colourful district filled with nightlife.
Osaka - Engyo-ji - Himeji- Okayama.-
Distance travelled: 190 km
8.00 hrs.- Osaka –Departure-. We continue to Osaka Bay.
10.00 hrs.- MOUNT SHOSHA arrival. We include a cable car trip up Mount Shosa, where there is the ENGYO-JI temple complex with over a thousand years of history, where the film “the last Samurai” was shot.
12.00hrs.- Mount Shosha departure
12.20hrs.-HIMEJI –Arrival-. Admission to the huge castle is included, which is built in the traditional style of a Japanese castle. Lunch included.
Note: The queues to enter the castle are often very long. In certain cases, we recommend a visit to see only the gardens.
15.00hrs.- Himeji- Departure.
16.30 hrs- OKAYAMA. We will visit Korakuen, one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, with its lakes, waterfalls and traditional teahouses.
Okayama - Kurashiki - Hiroshima- Itsukushima - Hiroshima.
Distance travelled: 220 Km Scenery: Pleasant scenery. Boat trip to Miyajima.
8.00 hrs.- Okayama –Departure-.
8.30 hrs.- KURASHIKI, a city with a very well-preserved historic centre. Time to explore this city with its old-world charm.
10.00 hrs.- Kursahiki –Departure-.
12.30 hrs.- HIROSHIMA, arrival to the city that is sadly famous as the site where the atomic bomb fell in 1945, destroying the whole city. We will visit the peace memorial, the dome and the impressive Peace Memorial Museum. Time for lunch after the visits. Then, we continue to the outskirts of the city and take a small ferry on a 15-minute crossing to Miyajima, the island where “man lives alongside the Gods”. Visit to ITSUKUSHIMA shrine, dedicated to the guardian of the seas and partially built on the sea. Time to explore the temple and stroll through the pretty centre.
Note: The order of the visits in Hiroshima can change, being able to go first to Miyajima and later to Hiroshima.
19.00 hrs—Miyajima –Departure-. We take the boat and then continue to Hiroshima. Dinner included.
Hiroshima - Matsuyama.
Distance travelled: Journey by boat. Crossing of about 50 km.
Scenery: Interesting scenery on board, passing close to many different islands.
Note: We recommend staying on deck to enjoy the crossing, but bring warm clothing.
Today we will take a boat to the island of Shikoku. The crossing is extremely pleasant and takes two and a half hours, and discover that Japan is formed by many small islands. If there are no changes in the ferry times, it will leave at 09.20hrs (we leave the hotel at 08.00 hrs).
12.00hrs. – MATSUYAMA. Arrival. We will take the cable car and ascend to its impressive castle. Then we will visit ISHITE JI, a beautiful Buddhist temple and place of pilgrimage. Lunch included.
In the late afternoon we will visit DOGO ONSEN (admission included), a traditional Japanese bath built in the 19th century.
Note: we highly recommend you to live the Onsen experience in Japan. There are rules that will be explained to you; The baths are separated by sex and a thorough cleaning must be carried out before entering the hot water naked. In Japanese Onsen they can prohibit the entry of people with tattoos.
Matsuyama - Kotohira - Takamatsu - Naruto - Kobe.
Distance travelled: 345 km
Scenery: Pleasant mountain scenery in some places. We walk along huge suspension bridges over the sea. Wear comfortable walking shoes for the journey.
7.30 hrs- Matsuyama.- Departure-.
10.00 hrs.- KOTOHIRA, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the God of fishermen and a place of pilgrimage built on Mount Zozu. To access it, it is necessary to climb 785 steps. Those who do not want to climb the mountain can enjoy sightseeing and visit the small Sake Museum (the traditional Japanese liqueur).
12.00hrs.- Kotohira –Departure-.
13.00 hrs.- TAKAMATSU. Visit to RITSURIN, one of the prettiest gardens in Japan. Lunch included in a local restaurant.
15.00 hrs.- Takamatsu –Departure-.
16.15 hrs.- NARUTO, an impressive bridge that crosses the sea. We will stop to learn how it was built and walk along its glass floor with the impressive waves below us (depending on the times and tides) at a height of 45 metres.
17.15hrs.- Naruto –Departure-. Pretty scenery as we cross huge suspension bridges.
19.00hrs.- KOBE.- Arrival. Modern city by the sea, you can walk through its active center.
Kobe - Osaka - Mount Koya.
In Kobe we visited the Earthquake Memorial Museum, a place to remind the tragic seism that devastated the city in 1995 and its perfect reconstruction.
Note: Sometimes, the entrance to the Earthquake Museum may be modified by the Sake Museum or the climb to the Kobe Tower.
10.30hrs- We continue to Osaka.
11.15hrs- OSAKA, arrival to the second biggest city in Japan.
12.00hrs- We will depart Osaka to visit, MOUNT KOYA, one of Japan’s sacred mountains and Japan’s main centre of Shingon Buddhism. There are 120 shrines and monasteries on this mountain which is a magical place of pilgrimage. We will visit Okuno Mausoleum, a spiritual place and an immense cemetery in the wilderness that has more than 200,000 graves. We will visit Kongobuji temple, built in 1593.
Note: In winter, as it gets dark earlier, we will not have time to enter Kongobuji temple.
We will spend this night at a Buddhist monastery. The monks will offer us a Zen meditation session (Ajikan). Dinner included (vegetarian food). There is religious ceremony at the temple early in the morning if you wish to attend it.
Note: We consider the sojourn at the monastery as an experience of great existential value. The rooms at this place are modest, without bathrooms, in the traditional Japanese style with tatamis. Bathrooms are communal.
Mount Koya - Kyoto.-
Total distance: 120km
Japanese breakfast at the shrine.
07.30hrs- We will depart at first light.
10.00- KYOTO; we will enjoy a full free day. Our guide will inform you so you can make the best of your alone time and visit the most interesting places in this gorgeous city.
After breakfast, end of our services.
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