Sample Itinerary – 10 Nights/11 Days
Arrive Tokyo – Day 1 and 2
Upon arrival at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your selected hotel. Feel the pulse of Japan as you set out with your expert guide to explore the bustling capital of Tokyo. You’ll be struck by the two faces of Japan – towering modern office buildings emblazoned with multi-media and the more traditional, including the Imperial Palace Plaza gardens, former site of the Medieval Edo Castle, and Asakusa Temple. Shop and people watch at Nakamise Arcade, as well as the famed Ginza and Akihabara districts. Snap a panorama shot from Tokyo Tower.
Nikko – Day 3
Depart for a full-day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of ancient Nikko, a sacred center of Shintoism known for its architectural masterpieces. Visit the ornately decorated 17th-century Toshogu Shrine and learn about its connection to the Tokugawa Shoguns. Revel in nature’s handiwork as you explore Nikko National Park, pristine Lake Chuzenji and the Kegon Waterfall. Return to Tokyo.
Mt. Fuji & Hakone – Day 4
Stop in Kamakura to see the Great Buddha on the way to iconic 12,388′ high Mt. Fuji and Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park on the shores of Lake Ashi. Visit Mt. Fuji Visitor Center and enjoy a scenic cruise of the lake. take the cable ride up neighboring Mt. Komagatake for more spectacular views of “Fuji-san” and the srrounding volcanic landscapes. Enjoy dinner and spend the night at the exclusive Gora Kadan Ryokan, a former Imperial Family’s summer home with natural open-air baths and exquisite antiques.
Okayama/Kurashiki – Day 5 and 6
Depart via bullet train to Okayama, arriving early afternoon. Experience the tranquility of Korakuen Gardens, one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens dating from 1686. Visit the Bizen Osafune Token Village and view the fascinating Japanese Sword Museum. Travel on to Kurashiki to visit the Museum of Folkcraft and the Ohara Museum, Japan’s first Western art museum. Walk along the quaint black-tiled warehouses on the historical canal-side Bikan Chiku area before returning to Okayama.
Hiroshima – 7
Take the bullet train to Hiroshima. Learn about the horrific destruction caused by the World War II atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Visit the museum at Peace Memorial Park and see the twisted remains of the Atomic Bomb Dome. Take the ferry to the picturesque Shinto shrine of Itsukushima on Miyajima.
Himeji Castle/Kyoto – Day 8 and 9
Take the train north to Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered Japan’s most spectacular castle. Continue on to the former imperial capital city of Kyoto, the center of Japanese culture for over 1,000 years and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, the golden Kinkaku-ji Temple and Heian Jingu Shrine. Attend a private dance performance and tea ceremony by lovely Geisha. Enjoy some shopping at the Kyoto Handicraft Center.
Nara – Day 10
Take an excursion to ancient Nara, now celebrating its 1,300th anniversary as the first permanent capital of Japan. Visit the enormous bronze Buddha at Todai-ji Temple, the Kasuga Shrine with its red-painted corridors and Torii gates, and Horyu-ji Temple. You’ll be smitten with the free-roaming deer that make Nara Park their home. Return to Kyoto for the night.
Depart for home – Day 11
Depart Kyoto for Kansai International Airport and your return flight home.
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