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Cultural Tour in Japan, Experience Otaku from Tokyo to Nara

offered by supplier M16432 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 10 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 99 people
Destination(s): Japan  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey  
Season: March - November
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 7069 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 7069 US Dollar (USD)

Otaku is word used to describe those who are devoted to their specific hobby such as Manga (Japanese Comic Books), or Anime, a popular style of animation favored by children and adults alike. Become immersed in modern-day Japan and its eccentric interests from Harajuku Fashion and animated characters to historic traditions such as tea ceremonies and the intricate dress of Japan’s notorious geishas. Before exploring the famous Pokemon Center and being whisked away on a cat bus by Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli museum, learn about laido, a form of Japanese swordsmanship, and practice actual cutting techniques. After exploring J-World and its popular Dragon Ball and One Piece Series, visit old temples and shrines stopping to peruse traditional shops selling Japanese paper crafts and sweets. Japan is a country Where new and old converge, adapting to include one another. Experience the past and future of Japan .

Itinerary:
Day 1: Flight to Tokyo. Overnight International Flight to Tokyo.

Day 2: Day of Leisure in Tokyo. On arrival at Narita Airport, be met in the arrival hall by a guide who will assist with the shared transfer to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Included is a 7-Day Japan Rail pass.

Enjoy an afternoon free to explore one of the world's most cutting-edge capitals. Behind the shopping, entertainment and commercial emporia can be found quaint wooden houses, private gardens with meticulously clipped bonsai trees and the Zen-like calm of the Hamarikyu Gardens. The city's reputation as a mega-expensive metropolis is ill-conceived and visitors can take advantage of inexpensive izakaya bars and neighborhood cafes that serve delicious noodles and rice dishes.

Day 3: Full Day Tokyo Art and Culture.
A comprehensive immersion into Japan's rich art and cultural heritage. Today will start with a lesson in Iaido, a form of Japanese swordsmanship. Iaido's emphasis is on precise, controlled, fluid motion and is sometimes referred to as 'moving Zen'. You will be allowed to practice actual cutting techniques on bamboo or straw block forms using real Iaido swords. Time to put down the sword and take up the pen for a lesson in shodo, Japanese calligraphy. Learn how, when writing kanji (Japanese pictographs), each stroke has a proper way to begin and end and there is a correct order and path to follow. The slightest lapse in concentration will show in one's work. Last, head to Shinjuku's Samurai Museum. The Museum, located in a traditional Japanese building nicely contrasting with the neon jungle of Shinjuku, hosts an incredible collection of armor, swords and objects that belonged to samurai warriors throughout the ages.

Day 4: Full Day Tokyo Ghibli Museum Tour.
The Ghibli Museum is the animation and art museum of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, one of Japan's most famous animation studios. They have produced many feature length films with worldwide distribution such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Located in Mitaka, just outside of central Tokyo, the museum is a must-see for fans of the films. Journey to the Eastern part of Tokyo, to Fukagawa district - a quieter, but no less charming area. Enjoy a stroll in the beautiful Kiyosumi Teien gardens. A walk in this charming residential district will take you to the Fukagawa Fudo-do Temple.

Day 5: On this day tour a local guide will take travelers around to discover all about manga and anime. First stop is J-World, an amusement park dedicated to the heroes of the Shonen Jump stories, the best-selling magazine in Japan where popular comics such as One Piece and Naruto are serialized. Continue on to the Pokemon Center to find all sorts of items related to the famous pocket monsters including the iconic character, Pikachu! This tour disbands in the Ikebukuro area. This afternoon explore Tokyo's shitamachi (downtown). Our image of Tokyo is usually that of a super-modern metropolis but suburbs like Yanaka, which was miraculously spared the carnage of the Allied bombings in World War II, still preserve a nostalgic atmosphere. Visit old temples and shrines, one of Tokyo's oldest Buddhist cemeteries as well as traditional shops selling Japanese paper and sweets, and soak in the atmosphere of pre-war Tokyo. Take a look at what life in this area used to be like in the Shitamachi Museum, located in Ueno Park. One of the most popular parks for hanami (cherry blossom parties) in Tokyo, Ueno Park was originally part of Kaneiji Temple, which used to be one of the city's largest and wealthiest temples and a family temple of the ruling Tokugawa clan during the Edo Period. The guide will take travelers on a stroll to show the many attractions that enrich this large park.
Last stop for the day is Ueno's Ameyoko-cho, a busy market street underneath the train lines. Originally the site of a black market after World War II, this bustling market is the last of its kind in Tokyo and is filled with shops and stalls selling various products such as fresh fish, dried foods and spices. At one of the many open air restaurants under the train tracks, stop for a cold drink and yakitori.

Day 6: Onward to Kyoto.
Today, travel onward to Kyoto. Travelers will make their own way to Tokyo Station to take the bullet train (covered by Japan Rail Pass) to Kyoto. Upon arrival, make way to the hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Kyoto has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status and represents the "Japan of old." Beyond the high rise skyscrapers built as a monument to progress, the real monument to Japan's historical and cultural past can be found in the city's narrow alleyways where tea houses abound and kimono-clad geishas hurry from elegant function to function. This is a place to go back in time to Japan's mysterious past where echoes of the court nobility resonate at the Imperial Palace and the search for contemplation can be found in Ryoanji's Zen rock gardens.

Day 7: Kyoto Highlights, Manga, and Railway Museum.
Visit two of Kyoto's 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites and a local market in the morning. Start the day with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death, the villa became a Buddhist temple at his request, and is now one of Kyoto's most famous temples. Next is Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle that was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning surrounding gardens. Proceed to visit two of the most exciting non-art museums in Kyoto. The Kyoto International Manga Museum was opened in November of 2006. Visitors can also walk underneath and observe the inner workings of a retired freight locomotive. The museum's restaurant is on the second floor directly below an observation deck. Both offer nice views of the passing trains along the JR Kyoto Line and Tokaido Shinkansen. At the museum's exit stands the Nijo Station Building, a picturesque, old-fashioned building relocated from nearby Nijo Station in 1997. The building was originally erected in 1904, making it the oldest of its kind in Japan.

Day 8: Nara and Fushimi Tour.
Transfer from your hotel to Nara by train (45min) with a local guide.Visit Todaiji temple, the world's largest wooden building and home to Japan's largest Buddha. Next stop is Nara's most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers. Take a wander through Nara Park, called Deer park by locals due to the large population of more than 1,000 tame deer living there. Quench your thirst at a sake brewery. During a tour of the brewery, you will learn about the traditional brewing process, and then sample the different types of their sake.

Day 9: Uji Tea Experience and Tea Ceremony.
Enjoy a half day tour to Uji, a traditional town near Kyoto that is famous for its superior quality green tea. While Kozanji Temple in Kyoto is believed to be the original site of tea cultivation in Japan, Uji's tea became better known for its superior quality in the 1100s. After a brief 20 minute train taking you directly from Kyoto into Uji, head to the tea making experience. In a group of no more than 5 people, the guide shall translate travelers can learn from local Uji residents about the kneading and drying of the tea leaves in this 1.5 hour experience. Afterwards, stroll through the picturesque town sampling tea from local store sellers. One need not feel under any pressure to purchase, but if one does like Green Tea, this is a great place to purchase while in Japan. Tonight experience one of Japan's most traditional cultural practices, the tea ceremony. This ceremony synthesizes the preparation and drinking of tea together with spirituality, architecture and history.

Day 10: Sayonara. After check-out this morning, make way to Kyoto Station to take the bullet train to Shinagawa to transfer to the Narita Express to Narita Airport (covered by Japan Rail Pass). International Flight Home

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
-domestic and regional flights within the itinerary
-all hotel accommodations including daily continental or buffet breakfast and daily city tax
-all transfers between airports and hotels with assistance and baggage handling
-guided tours in English including entrance fees.

Price Excludes:
-international airfare (unless specifically included)
-airport departure taxes that must be paid on-site
-gratuities
-meals not mentioned
-soft drinks and alcoholic beverages with meals

About This Supplier
Location: USA
Joined InfoHub: May 2007

There are many travel companies out there eager to plan a trip for you. So why pick us? The most important reason is that our company is run by real people with a scrapbook full of past travels. Our travel consultants have been to, and fallen in love with, the places where you will travel. An entire operations team...

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