- Discovering the culinary treasures of Kyoto’s Nishikikoji District
- Shopping in the Ginza District of Tokyo with your own car and driver at your disposal
- Trying out the Spa at our resort in Okinawa overlooking Naga Harbor
- Experiencing the pristine tranquility of the farms in the Yanbaru Area
- A helicopter flight over nighttime Tokyo followed by a Sushi meal at Kyubei
Day 1 Depart USA
You board your flight to Osaka, Japan's second city and the gateway to Kyoto
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 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 5 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 6 The Bullet Train and an Introduction to Tokyo
After breakfast you will be taken by your guide to the station where seats have been reserved for the Shinkansen, better known as the bullet train. In less than two and a half hours it will take you from the tranquility of Kyoto to the hustle and bustle of today's Tokyo and in perfect comfort. Upon arrival in Tokyo, your guide will be waiting on the platform to escort you to the car. Your first stop will be for lunch followed by an introductory tour of the city. After lunch your personal guide will take you on an introductory exploration of historic, trendy and cultural Tokyo. You will visit the Meijijingu Shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji who modernized Japan and brought it out of its feudal past, you will visit Harajuku located between Shinjuku and Shibuya which is often called Tokyo's Champs Elysees and a focal point of Tokyo's youth fashion culture. You will then visit and have a personal tour of the Mori Art Museum and the Suntory Museum of Art before checking into your hotel. Upon arrival, 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". After a chance to freshen up, you head out to a restaurant specializing in Robatayaki. Upon your arrival at the restaurant the maitre d' will shout "the guests have arrived" and this will be repeated by the other waiters. You will be seated at a u-shaped table inside of which are baskets and blocks of ice containing vegetables, seafood, Kobe beef and other delicacies. In the middle of the baskets kneels a chef. You point to what you want and the waiter shouts it out and the chef cooks it for you on a small grill. It is an unforgettable culinary experience.
Day 7 Imperial and Political 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 Teppanyaki.
Day 8 Okinawa and Naga Harbour
In the morning your guide will pick you up and take you to Haneda, Tokyo's domestic airport where you board your flight for Naha, the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture. The flight will take a little less than three hours getting you into Naha before noon. Okinawa is located southwest of mainland Japan and lies between the mainland and Taiwan. It is actually an archipelago with 161 islands of which 44 are inhabited. Upon arrival you are met by your guide and taken to lunch at a typical Okinawan restaurant before being taken to your delightful hotel which sits overlooking Naga Harbor with the deep forests of Yanbaru in the background. You have the afternoon to relax and perhaps enjoy the spa before enjoying dinner at one of the hotel's three restaurants, all superb.
Day 9 Highlights of Northern Okinawa
After breakfast your guide will take you into the Yanbaru Region, an area of Northern Okinawa defined by deep forests and pristine valleys where farmers earn a livelihood much as their ancestors have for centuries. Other parts of Okinawa, like Hawaii, are covered by high rise beach hotels but this is unspoiled Okinawa which you enjoy along with the solitude. You walk along a scenic trail among butterflies arriving at Hiji Falls which is an excellent location for a picnic lunch which your guide has thoughtfully brought along. Your next stop is the village of Kijyoka before returning to your hotel.
Day 10 Naha, the Capital City
After a leisurely breakfast, your guide will meet you at the hotel to escort you to the Capital city of Naha which is about a two hour drive. After arriving you have lunch and check into your hotels which offers attractive views from the terraces attached to each room. The afternoon is free followed by dinner at Restaurant Mahae.
Day 11 Discovering Historic and Modern Naha
Today your guide will take you on a full day exploration of Naha including Shurijo Castle which was the first sight Commodore Perry saw when he stopped at Naha on his way to Japan. You will also see Shiksinaen Gardens and the more modern areas of Naha. This evening a special farewell to Okinawa meal.
Day 12 Return to Tokyo and a Grand Finale
In the morning you will be transferred to Naha airport for your return flight to Haneda airport where your guide is waiting. After lunch you have a half day to explore the Ginza. Known for having the most expensive real estate on earth and lined with neon signs, the Ginza is home to some of Japan's most prestigious companies, department stores, boutiques and bars. You have some time to shop while your driver waits for you. In the evening you are picked up and taken to the heliport where you board a helicopter for a dazzling flight over the lights of Tokyo. After your flight you are taken to Kyubei, considered to be one of the best Sushi restaurants in Tokyo for your farewell dinner.
Day 13 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 brings you back to the US the same day having experienced a unique exposure to Kyoto, Tokyo and Okinawa.
Available Year Round
Private Guided Tour of Japan - Kyoto, Tokyo and Okinawa ULJA03 Location and other villas and tours nearby
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
Kyoto, Tokyo, Nago Bay, Okinawa, Naha
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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