Days of Enchantment in Japan
Delight in Japan's centuries-old shrines and the stunning nature around them. No matter the season, travel in a realm of ancient traditions and colourful modern life.
"Andrea did a wonderful job designing an itinerary to suit three generations of diverse interests, and was flexible and responsive to last minute changes and requests. He showed us many hidden treasures of this beautiful region that would have missed we're it not for him."
- Heather on her journey in Italy
A possible, beautiful itinerary for you
Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo, Japan
Upon your arrival in Tokyo, you will be escorted to your hotel in Ginza district, a luxurious district in Japan known for its gourmet and fashion.
Day 2: Tokyo | The Shrine of Meiji-Jingu
Your first morning in Japan will be spent at a sumo training centre to learn about the mysteries behind the ancient art of sumo wrestling. You will get close-up with sumo wrestlers as they fall into their daily routine of bone-crunching practice. Next you will visit the Imperial Palace Plaza and step into gardens decorated by ornamental trees and towering stonewalls. Then you will take a relaxing stroll along the pathways lined with deciduous trees in Meiji-Jingu, a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife. Your day won’t be complete without heading to Asakusa Kannon Temple, also known as Sensō-ji, to admire its pagoda-style architecture and learn about its rich history, which dates back to the 17th century. During the late afternoon, you will stop at Nakamise-dori Shopping Street to enjoy local street snacks while shopping for traditional footwear, lucky charms and Japanese masks. Optional: Watch the Robot show at Robot Restaurant for a mix of excitement and surprises as glittering robots dance under flashy laser lights. Read more
Day 3: Tokyo | Wonderful Nikko National Park
Today, travel overland to Nikko National Park in the mountains north of Tokyo and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of mother nature. The lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine is the perfect complement to the natural beauty in the backdrop. Soak yourself in the religious atmosphere at the shrine as you appreciate the philosophies and religious beliefs carefully crafted on the pillars of the world heritage site. Then, you will visit the spectacular Lake Chuzenji at an altitude of 1200m, a beautiful aftermath of the eruption of Mt. Nantai 20,000 years ago. The last stop of the day would be at Kegon Waterfalls, one of the top three biggest waterfalls in Japan and rated as the most beautiful. You will get close up with the falls as torrents of water pour down continuously to form a natural symphony with the smaller falls surrounding the area.
Day 4: Hakone | Traditional Ryokan - Gora Kadan
You wouldn’t want to miss a meditating morning in Hakone for a bubbling hot spring in the resort while enjoying the spectacular views of Hakone National Park right next to it. Take a cruise in Lake Ashi and a cable car on the Komagatake Ropeway for a picturesque view of Mount Fuji. Tonight, you will soak in local hospitality at Gôra Kadan, an exclusive ryokan (traditional inn).
Day 5: Osaka | Bullet Train Ride and Medieval Castle
After soaking up the lush countryside and the centurial shrines in the first few days, you will set up for Osaka, Japan’s second largest city on a bullet train this morning. This afternoon, stroll through the lovely grounds of Osaka Castle, which played a key role in the unification of Japan in the 16th century. Travel to the top of the 40-story Umeda Sky Building for breathtaking views of the city from an open-air observation deck.
Day 6: Nara | Bronze Buddha
Travel early this morning to visit ancient Nara, Japan’s first capital before the Buddhist monasteries seized too much power that the government had to relocate the capital. Later on, you will wander around Nara Park, home to over a thousand tame deers. During the afternoon, your journey will continue at Todai-ji, a temple complex that contains the world’s largest wooden structure and the largest bronze Buddha in Japan. Known as Daibutsu in Japanese, the giant Buddha is nearly 50 feet high. Later, you will take the rest of the night to explore the hustle and bustle in Osaka.
Day 7: Kyoto | Gardens, Pavilions & Temples
Start early this morning to contemplate the iconic Zen rock garden at Ryoan-ji and the glittering Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). Covered in a shield of gold leaves that casts a shimmering reflection in the pond before it, the temple exhibits three different styles of architecture — shinden, samurai and zen — one on each floor. Later, explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, a lush oasis formed from towering stalks of bamboo. During the evening, you will be escorted to your hotel for a leisurely night.
Day 8: Kyoto | Japanese Mingei Folk Art
Your final chapter in Kyoto will be an eventful day indulged in art and cultures. This morning, you will visit the Kiyomizu-dera Temple and stand on its massive veranda for stunning city views. You will also get to see the incredible ceramics and craftsmanship in Gojozaka Hills, an area known for its many pottery studios. Marked by his unique manufacturing method that combines traditional and modern techniques, Kawai Kanijro is known as Kyoto’s most famous potter. You will get to enjoy his mastery at his home and studio in the late afternoon. Kanjiro’s beautiful and unusual home — redesigned to resemble a country house — is filled with his own creations and his personal collections. Optional evening activities: Maiko / Geisha Dinner (Share basis): Enjoy a high-end dinner as you indulge in the splendour of geisha performances.
Day 9: Kyoto
On your last day, you will be transferred back to Kansai or Itami Airport, both located just outside of Osaka, for your international flight home.