Description of Japan Luxury Private Tour - Legacy of the Shoguns ULJA07
- The timeless tranquility of the Ryoanji Rock Garden in ancient Kyoto
- Private lessons from a master Calligrapher and a detailed introduction to the traditions of the Tea Ceremony
- Being introduced to Shojin Ryori Cuisine in Takayama
- A traditional meal at your Ryokan in Takayama
- Turning the clock back in time as you stroll the village of Shirakawago providers of gunpowder to the Shogunate
- A personal Geisha performance accompanied by a Kaiseki Dinner
Day 1 Depart USA
You board your flight to Osaka, Japan's second city and the gateway to Kyoto and the ancient world of the Shoguns.
Day 2 Welcome to Kyoto
Upon arrival at Kansai airport in Osaka you will be met by our representative and escorted to your waiting car for the trip to your hotel in Kyoto. Upon arrival at your hotel you are greeted by the staff and escorted to your room. This evening, dinner is at your hotel.
Day 3 A Private Discovery of Historic 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. You have lunch at a restaurant specializing in Yuba which is derived from soy and hand-made by monks in Kyoto. After lunch 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, you will be taken to Yoshikawa, a restaurant renowned for its Tempura.
Day 4 Calligraphy and the Sacred Ritual of the Tea Ceremony
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 5 Kyoto, Nagoya and Takayama
After breakfast your guide will take you to the station where you board an express train to Nagoya connecting to Takayama. Once in Takayama you are met by your guide to Kakusho Restaurant where you are introduced to Shojin Ryori Cuisine vegetarian meals created on Zen Buddhist principles but offering superb taste, especially at the hands of the chefs at Kakusho. After lunch you will be taken on a private tour of the old town of Takayama which dates to the Edo Period between 1600 and 1868 when the city was inhabited by prosperous merchants. You will visit Takayama Jinya which was the government office during this period and under direct control of the Shogun. Parts of the old town especially Sannomachi street have survived the years well with many old homes, shops and sake breweries having been in business for centuries. You will then go to your quaint Ryokan which offers superb service in its eight rooms as well as authentic cuisine.
Day 6 The Historic Village of Shirakawago
You meet your guide in the lobby and your bags are put in the car. Then you are off to the village of Shirakawago. A renowned UNESCO world heritage site, Shirakawago, one of the heaviest snowfall areas in the world, traces its history back to 1138 when the Heike clans escaped from the capital and started living there after being defeated by the Genji clans. Later when matchlocks, an old version of guns, were introduced in Japan in the 16th century and transformed warfare, this village played a vital role in producing fuming nitric acid, an indispensable material for the guns. Today Shirakawago is famed for its steep thatched-roof houses with an angle of 60 degrees, which enables them to withstand heavy snow. You have the opportunity to stroll through the quaint town and have lunch in a restaurant covered with a thatched roof. You then proceed to Kanazawa where the rest of the afternoon is free. In the evening you are taken to Restaurant Jyubei for dinner.
Day 7 The Ancient Traditions of Kanazawa
After breakfast you will begin a private tour of 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 returning to your hotel. Dinner is at the hotel this evening
Day 8 A Farewell Dinner and a Private Geisha Performance
In the morning you are transferred to the station where you board an express train for Kyoto. Upon arrival you are transferred to your hotel where you have the afternoon free for shopping or relaxing. This evening we have arranged a special farewell experience for you. You will be taken to an exclusive teahouse in the Geisha district with personable " maiko" geisha entertainers who are finely schooled in the arts of song, dance and games. This is a rare honor even for Japanese. Although Geisha used to be everywhere in Japan nowadays in only a few cities like Kyoto are they still active.. An exquisitely presented kaiseki in the Kyoto style featuring seasonal dishes is followed by the formal Ozahiki Asobi Experience, an enchanting night of traditional entertainment featuring all the arts performed and assisted by the beautifully kimono-clad performers.
Day 9 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 life in the time of the Shoguns.
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)