Day 1: You leave on your international flight directly to Tokyo. They go out of their make to make the flights pleasant. The adventure begins!
Day 2: Tokyo. Coach Transfer. You will arrive into Narita airport, Tokyo. Upon arrival, you will use the provided coupons in your travel packet, and take the limousine coach to your hotel in Tokyo. The limo shuttle transfer service desks are in the main room after you have passed after you have cleared customs. This is quite easy to do and is the most economical way to enter Tokyo. You tell them the name of your hotel and they put you on the right bus. The evening is free for you to relax.
Day 3: Tokyo
Private Guide. Because your hotel is just west of Ginza in the Shiba District, in the center of Tokyo, we have altered your first day to take advantage of this fact. This is an excellent location in Tokyo and allows us to be able to take you to the various destinations relatively quickly. You will tour Shiba Park and the Tojoji Temple. You will have lunch in the area (at your own expense – approx. $7 – 10/person). Afterwards you will visit the Tosho-Gu Shrine. Then depending on how long you decide to tour in each area, we can take you to see the moat, some of the parks, a national Japanese cemetery and some selected areas within the Imperial Palace.
Day 4: Tokyo
Private Guide. This morning, enjoy breakfast in your hotel. Today, we will take you to the Ueno area of Tokyo. You will go to the Tokyo National Museum which has a wonderful array of exhibits including some marvelous Shogun costumes, swords, ceramics, artwork and historic exhibits. There is also an Asian exhibits building which has excellent exhibits representing all of Asia. The grounds also include lovely gardens and trees. The area is surrounded by parks and a Buddhist Cemetery. Then we will visit a garden/nursery which specializes in Bonsai plants. This is a wonderful site to see how the Japanese have perfected the art of producing miniature trees- which are amazing tiny replicas of full size trees.
Day 5: Tokyo-Kyoto. Independent Travel. Today you will travel on your own from Tokyo to Kyoto. The day will be free for you to view the sights and hear the sounds of the city on your own. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Kyoto
Private Guide. You will start the day with a visit to a Zen Buddhist Temple; Kiyomizu Temple. This lovely hillside Temple has many beautiful buildings and gardens as well as a lovely view of the city. Then you will visit the Shinto Temple, Fushimi Inari. This is the temple with the 10,000 orange Dori (gates) which was featured in the movie, Memoirs of a Geisha. You will also be able to drink from the pure mountain spring water and observe a Japanese cultural experience. You will be taken down a traditional street. Lastly, you are taken to the famous Tofukuji Temple. We have arranged for a Zen Buddhist monk to lead you through a visit to the temple buildings and grounds. He will also teach you many principles of Zen Buddhism as well as answer your questions. Evening Option: Tonight you will visit The Gion Corner: This show offers a sample of several of the distinct Japanese arts, from traditional dance, the tea ceremony, Koto playing, flower arranging and various Japanese forms of drama. Includes: (B)
Day 7: Kyoto
Private Guide. Today you will visit the Nijo Castle. This is a beautiful set of grounds and buildings with an incredible story that dates back to the days of the Shogun. Then we will take you to the Golden Pavilion. After lunch you will be taken to the Kyoto Handicraft Center. This large area has an excellent number of shops that display and many times demonstrate the various Japanese Handicraft Arts. If there is time, afterwards you will be taken to the Kyoto Museum of Modern Art. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Kyoto-Home. Today you will need to make your own way by taxi to either the Kyoto/Kansai Airport or the Tokyo/Narita Airport, dependent on your flight details. Today you will fly home with a lifetime of wonderful memories!
End of tour.
Optional 2 Day Tour from Tokyo:
Day 1: Tokyo-Hakone. Private Guide/Group Tour. Today you will be picked up at the hotel at 8:30 am. You will meet at the guest relation desk in your hotel, and transfer to the Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal, where you will ravel to Mt. Fuji. Visit the Fuji Visitor Center, enjoying spectacular views along the way. Enjoy Japanese-style lunch. In the afternoon you will visit Hakone for a cruise on Lake Ashi and Mt.Komagatake Aerial cableway. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 2: Hakone-Kyoto. Private Guide. In the morning, your Kyoto guide will meet you in the hotel lobby between 10:30 and 11:30am, to take you to Odawara station for a Shinkansen train to Kyoto. Upon your arrival in Kyoto, you will transfer to your hotel for check in. Once you are settled you can visit the Nishijin Textile Center. You will explore the many different techniques which they use to modify textiles (such as weaving, embroidery, free hand silk painting, stenciling, gold leafing on fabric, etc). If it is available, one of the highlights of this visit is the Kimono Fashion Show. You will also experience a genuine Tea Ceremony. Includes: (L).
Optional 1 Day Tours from Kyoto:
Kyoto- Nara, Private Guide. Today you will take a trip to Nara. Feed the deer. Then you will be taken to the beautiful temple named Tsdai-ji which is home to the Daibutsu, the largest Buddha statue in Japan and one of the largest in the world, appropriately, the Daibutsu-den, which houses it, is said to be the largest wooden building in the world. It's listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The giant front gate, Nandai-mon, is guarded by two fierce, awe-inspiring protectors. Through the gate is a stone path leading to the outer walls surrounding the Daibutsu-den. Follow the signs to the left to enter the inner courtyard; if you happen to have a stick of incense with you, join the crowd around the incense offerings before you head onward. To the right of the entrance to the Daibutsu-den is a statue of the Yakushi Nyorai. Though a bit scary-looking on first glance, it's actually a Buddha of medicine and healing. Touching a part of the Yakushi Nyorai and then the corresponding part of your own body is said to heal any ailments you have there. We can also take you to Horuji Temple. Then you will be taken you to back to Kyoto and transfer you to you hotel. Includes: (B).
Kyoto-Hiroshima, Private Guide. Today, visit Hiroshima for the Peace Memorial and Park. Then you can proceed to Himeji for a visit to this beautiful city – especially to their famous Himeji Castle. In 1993, Himeji Castle was registered on UNESCO's World Heritage list. You will visit the Peace Memorial Park. It is one of the most prominent features of the city. The park’s main facility is the Peace Memorial Museum. Consisting of two buildings, the museum surveys the history of Hiroshima and the advent of the nuclear bomb. Then you will return to the train station to retrieve your luggage and take the short local train to Miyajima. Then you will go with your private guide on a visit the Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine, which is partially constructed over water and features the famous floating Torin Gate, was first constructed in the 6th century. It is most lovely to see the Torin Gate as sunset is approaching. It is also especially beautiful at night.
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