TOKYO 64ºF - 73ºF
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. Shinjuku is one of the most important nightlife districts. Dinner included and return to hotel by metro with our guide.
TOKYO 64ºF - 73ºF
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. NOTE: During the Japanese Olympics, accommodation may be given near Narita airport.
TOKYO 64ºF - 73ºF - KYOTO 70ºF - 75ºF
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 70ºF - 75ºF - NARA 68ºF - 73ºF - OSAKA 68ºF - 75ºF
We leave for NARA and 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. Lunch included. After the visit, we will see HORYUJI Buddhist temple, a World Heritage Site that includes a 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. We continue to OSAKA, where we arrive in the evening. Accommodation in this modern city (Japan’s second city). We will visit Dotonbori, a colourful district filled with nightlife.
OSAKA 68ºF - 75ºF - ENGYO-JI - HIMEJI 79ºF - 79ºF - OKAYAMA 72ºF - 79ºF
We leave for HIMEJI, where we will include entry to its immense complex that shows us the architecture of Japanese castles. Lunch included in a local restaurant. We go on to OKAYAMA, where we will visit Korakuen, one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, with its lakes, waterfalls and traditional teahouses. Next, we head towards the Shinto shrine of Kibitsu-Jinja where the God Kibitsuhiko-no-Mikoto is venerated, which is the origin of the legend of Momotaro, symbol of Okayama Prefecture. We find a unique architecture with a corridor of 360 meters long. After the visit, free time in the city, active provincial capital of just over 700,000 inhabitants.
OKAYAMA 72ºF - 79ºF - KURASHIKI 72ºF - 73ºF - ITSUKUSHIMA - HIROSHIMA 77ºF - 77ºF
We leave for KURASHIKI, a city with a very well preserved historical centre. Time for a stroll in this charming place with its atmosphere from the past. We continue on our way to HIROSHIMA, a city sadly known for the atomic bomb that fell on it in 1945 and which levelled the city. We will stroll around the Peace Memorial, the Dome of the bomb and we will visit the impressive Museum of Peace. After the war we will seek peace by embarking on a ferry to the island “where men and gods live together”, with the sanctuary of ITSUKUSHIMA dedicated to the guardian of the seas, built partially over the sea. Time to visit the temple, to stroll around its pretty centre and have lunch. Return to our hotel in Hiroshima. Dinner included.Note: The order of the visits in Hiroshima may vary without affecting their content.
HIROSHIMA 77ºF - 77ºF - MATSUYAMA 73ºF - 79ºF
Today we will take a ferry to Shikoku Island, on a pleasant crossing that lasts two hours and a half and see the many islands that make up Japan. In MATSUYAMA we will take the cable car up to its impressive castle. Afterwards, we will visit ISHITEJI, a beautiful Buddhist temple and a place of pilgrimage. Lunch included. In the late afternoon, we will visit DOGO ONSEN (admission included), a traditional Japanese bath facility built in the 19th century.
MATSUYAMA 73ºF - 79ºF - KOTOHIRA 70ºF - 72ºF - TAKAMATSU 72ºF - 75ºF - NARUTO 72ºF - 72ºF - KOBE 70ºF - 77ºF
We depart for KOTOHIRA, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the God of sailors and a place of pilgrimage. The shrine stands on Mount Zosu and is reached by climbing 785 steps. Afterwards in TAKAMATSU we will visit RITSURIN, one of the prettiest gardens in Japan. Lunch included. Then, in NARUTO, we cross an impressive bridge over the sea, stopping on the way to admire the construction and walk on its glass floor with the sea 45 metres below us. Our road is surrounded by beautiful scenery and then crosses long bridges between islands over the sea. Arrival in KOBE, accommodation.
KOBE 70ºF - 77ºF - OSAKA 68ºF - 75ºF - 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: On some dates, the Earthquake Museum may be changed for the Sake Museum or a climb up Kobe Tower. We go on to Osaka. We will depart from this city 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. 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 70ºF - 75ºF
Japanese breakfast at the shrine. We will depart for KYOTO at first light where 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.
KYOTO 70ºF - 75ºF - TSUMAGO - MATSUMOTO 64ºF - 64ºF - NAGANO 68ºF - 72ºF
We set out for TSUMAGO, passing attractive country scenery on our way. This small village with its wooden houses is one of the prettiest places in Japan. Free time to explore and lunch included. Then we continue to MATSUMOTO, a tourist city, where we will visit the impressive 16th century castle, known as the “Crow Castle”. Free time to explore this bustling tourist city. We continue to NAGANO, accommodation.
NAGANO 68ºF - 72ºF - MONKEY PARK - KASATSU 70ºF - 75ºF - IKAHO
In NAGANO we will see the Zenko-ji, a place of pilgrimage with the first Buddhist image in Japan. Our travellers will be included the Gomakuyo ceremony to bring luck. After this, we will travel to the beautiful Japanese Alps and in the mountains we will go to the JIGOKUDANI Monkey Park, where we will include lunch and stroll amidst its forests with its rivers and spa waters where colonies of Japanese macaques live and bathe. After this, very beautiful high mountain scenery (we go up to 2,172 metres), passing semi-active volcanoes. KUSATSU, an attractive spa town, its main square full of life. We will include attendance at a Yumomi show, with its actresses and singing telling us about the traditional method used to cool the spa waters. We follow this with a walk in the city park which has the open air Onsen. Then on to IKAHO, a picturesque spa town where we will stroll in its ancient centre with its staircase streets. We will stay at a RYOKAN, a Japanese style hotel where we will continue to enjoy its baths. Traditional Japanese dinner included. NB: In the autumn, depending on the amount of fruit in the mountains, the movement of the monkeys is unpredictable. If the macaques do not come down to the park, it may be closed. The visit to Kusatsu and the Yumoni show are cancelled due to the weather from November to April.
IKAHO - NIKKO 64ºF - 64ºF - TOKYO 64ºF - 73ºF
We continue on our way to NIKKO, and in this fantastic town we will visit the impressive Nikko-Toshogu Temple with its room with the sound of a dragon. We will also see the Taiyuinbyo mausoleum, an impressive place full of peace. After this a stroll by the river in Kanmangafuchi, Hundreds of Jizos watch us! We will have free time in the centre before leaving for TOKYO once more.- Arrival in Tokyo at around 18.30 in the evening.-
TOKYO 64ºF - 73ºF - KAMAKURA 64ºF - 73ºF - ODAWARA 64ºF - 70ºF - GORA 59ºF - 61ºF
We will leave Tokyo for KAMAKURA. This “oasis of peace” for two centuries was the capital of Japan, and treasures numerous sanctuaries, temples and gardens. In the Zen temple of Hokoku-ji we will stroll through its bamboo forest (admission included) and we can have a green tea. We also see Sugimoto-dera, the oldest temple in the city, founded in 734. Time in the pleasant city centre before seeing the Great Buddha (Daibutsu - admission included). Our route is subsequently one of scenic beauty following the Pacific Ocean. Free time for lunch and a stroll in ENOSHIMA, a small island in the ocean connected by a bridge. We continue to ODAWARA; here we include admission to the castle, an imposing medieval fortress (restored in the twentieth century) from the Edo era, one of Japan´s main castles. Continuation to the beautiful area of Hakone, a region of lakes and mountains near Mount Fuji. Accommodation in the pleasant town of GORA (or a nearby place).
GORA 59ºF - 61ºF - MONT FUJI - KAWAGUCHIKO - TOKYO 64ºF - 73ºF
Today´s stage is spectacular. We start the day going up OWAKUDANI, the “hell valley”, steam boiler, bubbling mud and sulphurous gases (Note: Access is sometimes closed due to high volcanic activity or toxic gases, in which case we would include the arakurayama sengen park). After that we go on to OSHINO HAKKAI, a small, picturesque village with 8 ponds and views of Mount Fuji. We continue to KAWAGUCHIKO, an idyllic city of small houses, flowers and mountains next to its beautiful lake, where we include a beautiful boat trip. Later we start to climb Mount Fuji where, on the road that takes us to the “fifth station” amidst spectacular forests and views, we reach a height of 2305 metres. Return to Tokyo at the end of the day.Note: In winter, the climb to Mount Fuji is often closed by snow or other weather conditions; if this is so, we will go as far as we are authorised. End of our services. Please, check the time of your flight in case you might need an additional night.
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