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Sample Itinerary for the:
Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Note regarding meals: This tour includes breakfast each morning, plus a few other meals as indicated in the itinerary (labeled “Included”).  If you wish to enjoy a thorough and excellent exposure to Japanese cuisine we suggest you budget about $350 - $500 US for non-included meals.  Anyone operating on a tight budget should be able to find adequate nutrition for less than half that amount.  Please ask if you have questions.




Day 0 - Departure from your originating point - travel day

You depart for Japan.  (Many flights to Japan, e.g. those from the Americas, “lose” a day due to crossing the International Date Line).

Day 1 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

You arrive Narita or Haneda Airport. Steve or one of his associates will meet you as you exit Customs. After converting Rail Pass vouchers, etc. we transfer to our Hotel(s). Overnight in Tokyo.

 

Day 2 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Tour day 2The Edo-Tokyo Museum is, I think, the best historical museum in Tokyo. (Note: the Museum is scheduled to be closed for remodeling from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018). We will gain an in-depth understanding of the evolution of what is now the world's largest metropolitan area. Back to our Hotel for a little "jet-lag break," then we will take a walk around our "home" neighborhood. We will catch a cute neighborhood bus which will bring us to a part of "old Tokyo" rarely visited by outsiders. I will treat you to an Included Welcome Dinner (Yakitori) in a tiny, very delightful eating place. This evening I guarantee you will see and hear about aspects of Tokyo very few tourists have ever encountered. Overnight in Tokyo.

 

Day 3 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 3Today we will visit: 1) Honganji Temple, noteworthy for its untypical architecture; 2) Tsukiji market - the world's busiest seafood and produce market (note: there is a plan to move Tsukiji Market, but so far it has been delayed); and 3) Hama Rikyu Garden, once the exclusive domain of samurai lords, now a peaceful haven in the heart of the city's bustle. Then we ride the Water Bus up the Sumida River to Asakusa, where we will join the throngs on Nakamise-dori shopping street which leads to Senso-ji Temple, the oldest and most famous temple in Tokyo. After an Included Lunch we head back to our Hotel for a break. Then we will visit the Ginza, including Tokyo International Forum. Overnight in Tokyo.

 

Day 4 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 4Right in the heart of Tokyo, on some of the most valuable real estate in the world, is the Imperial Palace. The Emperor's residence is off-limits to the public except for two days a year (the Emperor's birthday, and New Year's). We will talk through the public portion of the Imperial Palace grounds, including the East Garden. Along the way we will view the results of recent renovations to Tokyo Station. Then we are off to Ueno Park and Ameyoko Market, just a few stops away on the Yamanote (loop) Line. You will receive an "Included Lunch Stipend" to cover the cost of lunch at your choice of eating establishment - there are many options in and near Ueno Station. Overnight in Tokyo.

 

Day 5 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japn tour day 5In the morning we will visit: 1) Meiji Shrine in its wooded, peaceful setting (perhaps we will see a Shinto wedding in progress); and 2) Harajuku, one of Tokyo's most upscale neighborhoods. After a break for Included Lunch (Tonkatsu at a famous Tokyo establishment) we will continue exploring Omotesando-dori (likened to New York's Fifth Avenue), including the Oriental Bazaar, a great place for buying traditional Japanese craft and gift items. A short subway ride will bring us to Shibuya, starting our walking tour at the famous statue of Hachiko, the loyal dog. Overnight in Tokyo.

 

Day 6 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 6A train takes us to the historic seaside town of Kamakura where we visit: 1) Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine; 2) Hase-dera, with its unique nooks and crannies; and 3) the iconic Great Buddha. Kamakura has attracted many artists. A train ride brings us back into the city to legendary Shinjuku throbbing with its wide variety of modern Japanese energies. From the observation deck of the Metropolitan Government Building through the neon jungle and pricey department stores to the tiny back alleys of Kabuki-cho, we will observe the gamut. Along the way we will stop for Included Dinner. Overnight in Tokyo.

 

Day 7 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 7We start the day riding a Bullet Train (Shinkansen) north to beautiful and historic Nikko, nestled in the mountains. We will see the mausoleum where Ieyasu Tokugawa, the most famous Shogun, is interred. Also included are many other noteworthy sights – colorful temples and shrines untypical for Japan; the "sleeping cat;" and "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil." Included Dinner and overnight back in Tokyo.

 

Day 8 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 8Leaving Tokyo on a Bullet Train, we will head to Matsumoto, a lovely city on the eastern edge of the Japan Alps. After dropping our luggage at the Hotel and taking time for lunch, we will head over to the Ukiyo-e (wood block prints) Museum. In the evening, after Included Dinner, we will walk over to Matsumoto Castle, beautifully illuminated, creating reflections in the moat which surrounds it. Overnight in Matsumoto.

 

Day 9 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 9We will cross Shinshu (the Japan Alps) by bus to Takayama. Our lodging for two nights will be a lovely Ryokan (Japanese Inn). Before checking in we will take a walk around this quaint mountain town, and visit the Floats Museum. Dinner will be included both nights. Overnight in Takayama.

 

Day 10 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 10Breakfast in our Ryokan will prepare us for a morning of sightseeing in this beautiful mountain village. We will start by visiting the morning market. After lunch a short trip to Hida-no-Sato will enlighten us regarding the history and customs of this mountainous region. Overnight, Including Dinner, at our marvelous Ryokan in Takayama.

 

Day 11 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japn tour day 11Leaving Takayama on an early train, we will head down from the mountains to Nagoya. While there we may choose to purchase Bento Box lunches to eat on the Shinkansen as we travel to Osaka. After dropping our luggage we will head to Nara, the ancient home of the Emperor. A bus will bring us to Kasuga Shrine, a World Heritage site, where we will gain insight into the roots of Japanese culture, enhanced by the contributions of our knowledgable local guide. It's not to far to Todai-ji Temple, the world's largest wooden structure, housing the largest bronze Buddha in Japan. After time for Included Dinner we will head to our hotel in Osaka for the first of four nights.

 

Day 12 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 12Kyoto is fifteen minutes from Osaka by Shinkansen. Our day of sightseeing will start with a tour of the fascinating train station. Then, joined by our local guide, we will ride a bus to Ryoan-ji Temple, famous for its Zen rock garden, followed by the lovely Golden Pavilion, and finally Ginkaku-ji, known as the Silver Pavilion. Along the way we will take time for a unique Included Lunch - Sushi, served conveyor-belt style. Overnight in Osaka.

Day 13 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japn tour day 13The Bullet Train will bring us to Himeji to see the recently restored Castle, a World Heritage Site. After stopping for Included Lunch we will head to Kurashiki, allowing us a chance to explore rice storage buildings from the feudal era, now housing museums. The Ohara Museum of Art is known for its impressive collection including works of numerous Impressionists. Overnight in Osaka.

 

Day 14 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day14On our final day in Kyoto we will ride a taxi to lovely Kiyomizu Temple on the mountainside. Next we explore other significant sights on the east side before we pass through Gion (if we are lucky we will see Geiko - formerly known as Geisha), and the Pontocho restaurant district. Then we will celebrate our final day in Kyoto with an Included Kaiseki Dinner before we head back to our Osaka hotel.

 

Day 15 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan Tour Day 15Departing Osaka, trains carry us to Okayama, and then south across a channel bridge to Shikoku, the fourth island. Climbing up a striking river gorge, we will stay at an Onsen (hot spring inn) near Oboke for two nights. Dinner will be included both nights.

 

Day 16 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day16We will take taxis to Mt. Tsurugi (weather permitting). After ascending part way by chair lift, we will hike the rest of the way to the top for breath-taking views from one of the highest peaks in western Japan. Back at our Hotel there should be time to soak in the hot spring baths before our Included Dinner.

 

Day 17 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan Tour Day 17Leaving Oboke on an early train, we will head down from the mountains and across the Channel, back to the main Island, Honshu. In Okayama we may choose to purchase Bento Box lunches to eat on the Shinkansen as we head to Hiroshima. After dropping our luggage at the Hotel we will walk to Shukkeien Garden, followed by an informative self-guided tour of Hiroshima Castle. Dinner is Included. Overnight in Hiroshima.

 

Day 18 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 18We begin the day at the Peace Park and the Peace Museum. After a stop for an Included Lunch (Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki) we will catch a ferry to Miyajima, passing the famous Floating Torii Gate on the way. There is much to see on the Island; the literal high point of our visit will be atop Mt. Misen, reached by cable car. Overnight again in Hiroshima.

Day 19 of the Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour

Japan tour day 19Leaving Hiroshima by Bullet Train, we head back to Tokyo for our final night. After checking in to our Hotel we will go out for a lovely included Farewell Dinner (Shabu Shabu). Overnight in Tokyo.

 

Day 20

Depending on flight schedules, the morning may be free for final shopping or sightseeing; then we will catch a train to Narita (or Haneda) Airport so you can check in for your flights. Bon Voyage!

 

 

Register Now for The Perfect Introduction to Japan Tour :

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Download Registration Form Here (Acrobat PDF file). Please print out the registration form, fill out the information and mail it to Adventures In Japan.

*Please note: this is a Land-only tour; you are responsible for getting to and from Japan.  Steve (or one of his associates) will meet you as you emerge from Customs at Narita Airport in Tokyo on the Tour Commencement Date.  Flights from North America always depart a day earlier, since you "lose a day" crossing the International Date Line.

If you are considering arriving at Haneda Airport, or have other plans for arriving in Tokyo, please discuss this with Steve as early as possible.  Some flights into Haneda arrive at very inconvenient times (which is probably one reason they are usually cheaper)