Day 1 Depart USA
- Dinner for two at your Tokyo hotel high above the dazzling city lights
- A serene stroll along the banks of Kakusenkei gorge before enjoying a traditional meal at your Ryokan offering only ten suites for comfort and privacy
- Take a private tour of the Tsumugi Studios makers of the finest Kimonos
- Stroll through time in the Higashi Geisha District and the Samurai District in Kanazawa
You board your flight to Tokyo arriving in the afternoon of the following day.
Day 2 Welcome to Tokyo
Upon arrival at Narita you will be met by our representative and escorted to your waiting car for the trip to your hotel. Upon arrival at your hotel you are greeted by the staff and escorted to your room. If this seems familiar to you it could be because your hotel was the location for the movie "Lost in Translation". You have a chance to relax and enjoy the inspiring views of Tokyo laid out beneath you before having dinner at the New York Grill in the hotel.
Day 3 A Special Day in Tokyo
This morning we have arranged a special day starting with a private tour of the Imperial Palace. You will have privileged access to the palace, the residence of Japan's Imperial Family. Located on the former site of Edo Castle, the huge park area is surrounded by moats and massive stone walls. Your tour will cover the Imperial Residence, the East Gardens and the Tokagakudo Concert Hall. After your palace visit you will next have a privately arranged visit to the Houses of Parliament representing the modern Japanese government. After lunch you explore contemporary Tokyo in the areas of Akihabara and Kappabashi and the more traditional at the Asukasa Shrine. In the evening you are taken to a restaurant offering the finest in Tempura.
Day 4 Tsukiji and Kaga
While Tokyo still sleeps and dawn has yet to arrive you will meet your guide and be taken to the Tsukiji Fish Market known in English as the Tokyo Metropolitan Wholesale Market. You will have a chance to see the vast array of fresh seafood, much of it still alive, before watching the action at the Tuna Auction where buyers bid against each other for the prized sushi grade Tuna. After the auction you celebrate with s Sushi breakfast. You will then be taken to the airport for the brief flight to Komatsu. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide who will take you on an excursion to the Kutani Pottery Museum where you can view historical Japanese pottery and its cultural implications. After lunch at a local restaurant, you visit the studio of a lacquerware craftsman to learn how this ancient art is still practical for today's cuisine. A lacquerware piece going through about 100 steps in its production process can take six months to one year to produce. The process is not only beautiful but practical since even if you pour hot soup into a Wajima lacquerware bowl, you can easily hold the bowl since the wood and the lacquer coated on the surface help moderate the heat. You arrive at your charming Ryokan with just ten suites arranged in the traditional style of a tea ceremony pavilion. The Ryokan is set at the beginning a delightful one mile walking trail along the Kakusenkei Gorge which offers scenic river views highlighted by three bridges spanning the gorge. This walk provides an excellent prelude to dinner.
Day 5 An Excursion to Hakusan
Today your guide will meet you at your Ryokan and take you to the nearby town of Hakusan where you will visit the Yamashita Misu Tofu shop where you will learn the art of creating the wide variety of Tofu so crucial to the Japanese diet. After lunch and a visit to the Shiyarama Hime Shrine you will be taken on a private visit to the Ushikubi Tsumugi Kimona factory to learn how these garments are created and why they cost so much. After your exploration you return to your Ryokan for some relaxation.
Day 6 The Geisha and Samurai of Kanazawa
In the morning you check out of the Ryokan and your guide will take care of loading your luggage into the car. Then it is off to Kanazawa which is sometimes called "Little Kyoto" because its many older buildings are similar to those of Kyoto and, like Kyoto, they are authentic since Kanazawa was also spared any bombing during the war. Your first visit will be to Kenrokuen Garden regarded as one of Japan's finest. In ancient China it was considered impossible to combine six focal themes of beauty: extensiveness, quiet seclusion, artificial construction, antique elegance, abundant water and wide prospect. The name Kenrokuen, which literally means, " a garden combining six" stems from the fact the garden successfully exhibits a harmonious coexistence among the six attributes of beauty. Following a sushi lunch you have the chance to visit the old samurai town of Nagamachi which is the same as it was in the time of the Shoguns. You will also visit the quaint Geisha district of Higashi before arriving at your hotel. This evening you will enjoy Yakitori at Restaurant Jyubei.
Day 7 The Train to Kyoto
After breakfast, your guide will meet you and take you to the station where you board an express train for Kyoto. The journey takes a little over two hours and upon arrival you will be met by your guide and taken to lunch before being escorted to your hotel where the afternoon is at leisure. Dinner is at the hotel's Italian Restaurant this evening.
Day 8 A Private Tour of Traditional Kyoto
After breakfast, your guide will meet you and take you on a trip that covers some of Kyoto's most revered sites. The first stop will be Kinkakku-ji Temple commonly known as the Golden Pavilion and built in 1397 to serve as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Next to the temple is the Zen garden of Ryoanji. Prominent for its simplicity, it is comprised of nothing but clay walls, raked sand and fifteen rocks. Your next visit will be to the Imperial castle followed by Nijo-jo Castle built by Tokugawa Ieyasu founder of the Edo shogunate. After lunch at a yakitori restaurant you have the chance to stroll the Nishiki area, a narrow shopping area less than 1,200 feet in length but with just over 100 vendors. Here you will discover distinctive culinary delicacies and be intrigued by the sights, sounds and smells. Of particular note is the Aritsugu knife shop which since 1560 has been making fine Japanese swords but now focuses on unparalleled kitchen knives. This evening, dinner is at your Ryokan.
Day 9 An Excursion to Ancient Nara
Today your guide will take to the central part of the peninsula and a town now known as Nara. In 710 it was known as Heijo and was the first permanent capital of Japan and one in which Buddha played a significant role. In the centre of the city is Nara Park which is famous for the Nara Deer, held sacred in the Shinto religion and allowed to run free throughout the park. Within the park are several impressive and historic buildings. Kofujuki Temple was the temple of the Fujiwara one of the most powerful clans in those early days. At one time the temple had over 150 buildings today a lot fewer remain but the most significant is the five story pagoda one of Japan's tallest and the symbol of Nara. Close by is Todaiji Temple which houses the World's biggest bronze stature of Buddha housed in the world's largest wooden building. After lunch at Restaurant Noh, you are taken to Kasuga Shrine which is famous for its many lanterns within the shrine and the hundreds of stone lanterns lining the approach to the shrine. A visit to Naramichi, the former merchant district completes your visit and you return to Kyoto where a quiet and relaxing dinner at your hotel's Japanese restaurant overlooking a Japanese Garden,. You may want to try one of the specialty sakes offered at the restaurant bar.
Day 10 Embracing the Culture of Japan
This morning you will be introduced by a master to two of Japan's most honored cultural traditions, calligraphy and the tea ceremony. First, a master Calligrapher will spend time teaching you the art of Calligraphy widely practiced and revered in East Asian civilizations. Using an ink brush and shiny white paper you learn the art of writing Chinese characters in an artistic fashion. Although spoken differently, the Chinese and the Japanese share the same written characters. Following your lesson you will be led through the steps and the symbolism of the tea ceremony. Following lunch at a Soba restaurant you will have the opportunity to stroll and shop in the city center of Kyoto. Tonight reservations have been made at Matsumoto for Sushi at its finest.
Day 11 Return to USA
Depending on your flight time you will be taken to the airport in plenty of time for your return flight. One of our representatives will assist in your check in. Your flight will arrive back in the US the same day having experienced a true insider's exposure to the past and present capitals of Japan.
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Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Tour Location / Places Visiteds
Tokyo, Kaga, Kanazawa, Kyoto
Additional Pricing Information
- Superior Rooms at the properties indicated in the accommodations area (We reserve the right to substitute a property of equal quality in advance of departure should the designated hotel be unavailable)
- Private Transfers to and from the airport at destination
- All meals as indicated on the itinerary by B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
- Private guides for city explorations and private driver/guide while traveling.
- Entrance fees to all museums, attractions and other venues as indicated on the daily itinerary
- Baggage handling at all hotels
- All applicable taxes and service fees
Services Not Included
- International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
- Beverages with included meals (unless otherwise indicated on itinerary page)
- Any meals not indicated on the Itinerary page
- Items of a personal nature e.g. minibar, film, postcards etc.
- Gratuities to Guides and Driver/Guides (we provide suggested guidelines for your selected destination in your pre-departure material)
- Any passport or visa fees or government departure taxes (It is the traveler’s responsibility to secure the latest informationregarding passports and visa requirements)
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