TOKYO 68ºF - 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 68ºF - 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 68ºF - 73ºF - HIROSHIMA 75ºF - 75ºF
After breakfast, transfer to the station to take the BULLET TRAIN to HIROSHIMA. It takes four hours, more or less, to travel the 800 kilometers between both cities. Arrival at Hiroshima. This city is 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 75ºF - 75ºF - MATSUYAMA 72ºF - 73ºF
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 72ºF - 73ºF - KOTOHIRA 72ºF - 72ºF - TAKAMATSU 72ºF - 72ºF - NARUTO 68ºF - 73ºF - KOBE 66ºF - 73ºF
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 66ºF - 73ºF - OSAKA 66ºF - 73ºF - 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 66ºF - 72ºF
Japanese breakfast at the temple. Then we leave early for KYOTO, to 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. Note: If you already visited Kyoto on your circuit, our guide will offer you information and advice on visiting the other parts of the city unaccompanied.
KYOTO 66ºF - 72ºF - TSUMAGO - MATSUMOTO 61ºF - 61ºF - NAGANO 57ºF - 64ºF
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 57ºF - 64ºF - MONKEY PARK - KASATSU 64ºF - 72ºF - 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 59ºF - 59ºF - SENDAI 63ºF - 63ºF
We continue on our way to NIKKO. In this fantastic town, we will visit the impressive Toshogu shrine with its outstanding room where the clapper of a priest suggests the sound of a crying dragon. We will also visit Taiyuin-byo Mausoleum, a site surrounded by peaceful scenery. We will go for a stroll along the river in Kanmangafuchi, under the attentive watch of hundreds of Jizo statues! We will enjoy some free time in the city’s centre before departing for SENDAI, a modern, bustling city with more than 1 million inhabitants. You will have a chance to stroll around and have supper in its lively centre.
SENDAI 63ºF - 63ºF - MATSUSHIMA 63ºF - 63ºF - HIRAIZUMI 57ºF - 57ºF - MORIOKA 55ºF - 55ºF
We depart for the marvellous city of MATSHUSHIMA, on the “Thousand Islands” Bay in the Pacific Ocean and considered one of the most attractive cities in Japan. After arriving, we will visit a magnificent “tea house” overlooking the sea and enjoy a cup of traditional tea while our guide tells us about the city. Then we will go on a 50-minute cruise (included). Lunch included. We continue to HIRAIZUMI to visit its temples and the UNESCO World Heritage. In a first step we visit the magnificent Buddhist temples of Chusonji. We take time to relax in the gardens of Motsuiji temple, where passengers can take part in a Zen ceremony (admission included). Finally, we will know Site of Takkoku no Iwaya, carved in the rock in 801. We then carry on to MORIOKA, the pleasant capital of Iwate province, where we settle in at our hotel and have some free time to explore.
MORIOKA 55ºF - 55ºF - HIROSAKI 57ºF - 59ºF - AOMORI 57ºF - 61ºF - HAKODATE 61ºF - 61ºF
In a region of beautiful scenery, we travel to HIROSAKI, where we will visit its castle in a beautiful park where more than 2,500 cherry trees blossom in the spring. After this we go on to AOMORI, the provincial capital of the Bay of Mutsu. We will see the Nebuta Museum where we will learn about the Japanese traditional parties that remind us of carnival, with their painted and lit up floats. Lunch included in a local restaurant. Then we board the ferry to HOKKAIDO Island. The crossing takes just over three and a half hours. HAKODATE –Arrival-. Before going to our hotel, we will ascend Mount Hakodate, which has wonderful views. We make the descent by cable car. Time in the beautiful city pedestrian centre in which to admire the influence of other cultures in the city (Russian Orthodox and Christian churches).
HAKODATE 61ºF - 61ºF - ONUMA - NOBORIBETSU 61ºF - 61ºF - SAPPORO 54ºF - 57ºF
In the morning we visit the impressive and busy fish market. Then we climb the GORYOKAKU Tower with its impressive views, from where we can make out the star-shaped fortress of Hakodate. Then we will take a stroll through the castle area before continuing to ONUMA. Free time in this wonderful tourist site, with its countless small islands in which to explore the islands, go on a boat trip and have lunch included. In the afternoon our journey takes us towards the ocean and NOBORIBETSU, an impressive volcano site, where we can walk amidst geysers in Jigoku Dani (Hell’s Valley), admire the hot spring lake of Oyunuma and follow the path next to the hot spring to the site of the footbath.- Then we carry on to SAPPORO.- At the end of the day, we arrive at this beautiful city, the capital of North Japan.-
SAPPORO 54ºF - 57ºF
City tour (included) stopping at the clock tower and Odori Koen avenue-park, dominated by the telecommunications tower. We will see the beautiful Shinto shrine of Hokkaido Jingu. The visit includes a ceremonial Kito (prayer session) in which we give thanks for the journey. We will leave Sapporo, we know the HILL OF BUDDHA, new center of avant-garde architecture opened in 2015, the hill covered with lavenders keeps the giant statue of Buddha, in the complex we will also see the replica of the statues Moai (Easter Island). We then continue to OTARU, a small city with a European air and streets filled with shops, an old canal and tiny museums. Lunch included. We return to Sapporo at about 4.30 hrs. Free time in the afternoon.
SAPPORO 54ºF - 57ºF - TOYAKO ONSEN - MOUNT USU - FERRY TOMAKOMAI SENDAI
Amidst beautiful scenery in the interior of Hokkaido Island, we pass lakes and mountains and eventually come to the spa city of TOYAKO, at the foot of an impressive volcano, on the banks of a pretty lake that occupies a former crater. Free time to wander along the bank. We will visit the volcanology museum to learn about the eruptions suffered by this region. Then we will take the cable car to the summit of the USU Volcano with time to walk around the volcano and its awesome landscape. Lunch included. We continue to Shiraoi where we visit the POROTOKOTAN, the Ainu village museum; here we will see the culture of the Eskimo people who inhabited this island before the Japanese. We then carry on to TOMAKOMAI where we take a modern ferry for a night crossing. Accommodation in double cabins with private bathrooms. Dinner included. We spend the night on board crossing the Pacific Ocean.
FERRY TOMAKOMAI SENDAI - SENDAI 63ºF - 63ºF - YAMADERA 59ºF - 59ºF - AIZUWAKAMATSU
We arrive in Sendai port at around 10 in the morning and go on to YAMADERA, a very beautiful complex of temples founded more than 1,000 years ago in the mountain’s, amidst forests of immense trees. Time to see this magical place. Lunch included. We then go on to YONEZAWA. We are in one of the main producer regions of Shake, we will visit the Sake Museum with its small distillery before carrying on through pretty scenery to AIZUWAKAMATSU. Accommodation.
AIZUWAKAMATSU - OUCHIJUKU - TOKYO 68ºF - 73ºF
In AIZUWAKAMATSU we visit the SAMURAI MANSION, a historical mansion where we will learn about the Samurai Warriors. After this we stroll in the Castle Garden and maybe we will see children doing martial arts on the Dojo. We will go up to Iimoriyama, where we will see the sculptures donated by Mussolini and they will tell us about the child martyrs of this city. We continue our route to OUCHI-JUKU, a very picturesque village of traditional houses with thatched roofs, where there will be time for lunch. After lunch we travel to the impressive former stone quarries of the OYA-MUSEUM. Return to TOKYO – Arrival at the end of the day-.
TOKYO 68ºF - 73ºF - KAMAKURA 70ºF - 73ºF - ODAWARA 68ºF - 73ºF - GORA
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 - MONT FUJI - KAWAGUCHIKO - TOKYO 68ºF - 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. After breakfast, end of our services.
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