Sample Itinerary – 9 Nights/10 Days
Arrive Tokyo – Day 1 and 2
Arrive in Tokyo, transfer to your selected hotel and get ready for the exciting days ahead discovering the “Land of the Rising Sun.” After breakfast, set out with your expert guide to explore the bustling capital of Tokyo. Explore the traditional gardens of the Imperial Palace Plaza, former site of the Medieval Edo Castle, and visit Asakusa Temple. Shop and sightsee at Nakamise arcade and the famed Ginza and Akihabara districts and snap the best view of Tokyo from atop Tokyo Tower
Nikko – Day 3
Take 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
Travel to iconic 12,388’ high Mt. Fuji and Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park on the shores of Lake Ashi. Enjoy a scenic cruise of the lake and take the cable ride up neighboring Mt. Komagatake for more spectacular views of “Fuji-san” and the surrounding 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.
Takayama – Day 5
Transfer to the train station this morning for your rail journey to tranquil Takayama via Nagoya. Lose yourself in Old Japan in this beautifully preserved town in the Hida Mountains. Stroll among the 30 transplanted traditional farmhouses and enjoy the re-enactors demonstrating the old-fashioned culture and traditions at the Hida Folk Village Open Air museum. Visit the Kusakabe Heritage House.
Kanazawa – Day 6 and 7
Peruse the colorful marketplace before winding up your Takayama exploration in Shirakawa-go. With its 25 authentic village houses, the restored “learning village” and UNESCO World Heritage Site provides a window into the rural lives of farmers. On to Kanazawa where you’ll be amazed by the “garden perfection” achieved at Kenrokuen Gardens. You’ll be fascinated by the artisans at Kutani-yaki Pottery Kiln and get a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Maeda Clan in the Nagamachi Samurai District.
Kyoto/Nara – Day 8 and 9
Leave for Kyoto by train. Explore the former imperial capital city of Kyoto, the center of Japanese culture for over 1,000 years. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it rivals Kanazawa as one of the best preserved cities in Japan with more than 200 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Visit Klyomizu-Dera Temple, the striking goldenKinkaku-Ji Temple and Helan Jingu Shrine. At lunch, you’ll be mesmerized with a dance performance and tea ceremony by lovely Maiko and Geisha. Then, meet the local artisans and shop at the Kyoto Handcraft Center. Spend the next day on an excursion to ancient Nara, 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 Hary-Ji Temple. You’ll be smitten with the free-roaming deer that make Nara Park their home.
Depart for Home – Day 10
Depart Kyoto for Kansai International Airport and your return flight home.
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