Japan A la Carte Private Vacation

Nowhere on earth does progress and heritage so perfectly blend as in Japan’s ancient imperial cities. With an emphasis on patience, kindness and respect for all, Japan allows visitors to step outside their comfort zones while feeling right at home.From sushi making in Tokyo, learning traditional arts in Kyoto, and visiting Todaiji in Nara, famous for its giant Buddha statue and sacred deer that roam freely within Nara Park, you’ll see the best of Japan.

9 day/8 night package featuring Tokyo, Hakone, Nara and Kyoto. This program includes accommodation in Deluxe and Superior First Class hotels, daily breakfast, a 7 day Japan Rail Pass (green pass, first class), a Hakone FreePass for free transportation within the city, a sushi-making lesson with lunch in Tokyo and a traditional Japanese art demonstration in Kyoto.

Includes

  • Meals per itinerary; (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner
  • Porterage; one luggage per person
  • ASTA TOP Tour operator travel funds protection program
  • Train tickets per itinerary
  • Private driver/guide
  • Private custom sightseeing per itinerary
  • Private transfers by luxury vehicle per itinerary
  • Taxes and Service Charges
  • Select luxury accommodation
  • Emergency assistance

Excludes

  • Personal expenses
  • Optional tours
  • Customary tips and gratuities
  • Local city taxes
  • Drinks during meals
  • Flights

Daily Itinerary

Day

1

Tokyo - Arrival

Upon arrival at Narita Airport, a local representative who will escort you to your hotel and assist with your check in will meet you. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore this bustling and vibrant city of contrasts.

Deluxe and Superior First Class: Mandarin Oriental or similar hotels

Day

2

Discover Tokyo

Meet your guide at your hotel for a day of private sightseeing. Begin with a visit to Meiji Shrine then take a walk down Omotesando Street, known for its high-end fashion shopping. Later, head across town to Asakusa, Tokyo’s oldest temple, and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street providing pilgrims and temple visitors with traditional snacks and souvenirs for centuries. Your tour will come to a close with a visit to the Hamarikyu Garden, an Edo Period Japanese Garden, surrounded by the district’s futuristic skyscrapers. Here you will visit a teahouse on a small island within the park’s lake for a cup of steaming macha and traditional Japanese treats. (B)

Deluxe and Superior First Class: Mandarin Oriental or similar hotels

Day

3

Tsukiji Market

The world’s largest fish market, Tsukiji Market, handles about 2,888 tons of marine products a day including 450 kinds of fish from sardines to golden brown dried sea slug caviar. Take time to wander through this enormous market with your private guide, exploring both the vegetable and fruit areas, not to mention the impressive seafood section. Later, you will climb aboard Tokyo’s renowned public transportation to head to a typical Japanese home, your guide answering questions and teaching you about daily life in Tokyo en route. Once at the home, you will take part in a sushi-making lesson, followed by a lunch of your homemade sushi. The remainder of the afternoon is yours at leisure to explore or join an optional walking tour. (B,L)

Deluxe and Superior First Class: Mandarin Oriental or similar hotels

Day

4

Tokyo - Hakone

This morning, meet your driver for a private transfer to the train station to board Japan’s world-famous Shinkansen bullet train to Hakone. Armed with your Hakone Free Pass, take advantage of the extensive local transport network to explore this stunning region; switchback trains to cable cars, ropeways to buses, even a pirate ship that will sweep you across the volcanic Lake Ashi for unbeatable views of Mt. Fuji. Tonight, you will stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan, sleeping on futons laid out on tatami mats. This genuine example of Japanese tradition includes delicious meals and piping hot Onsen (hot spring) baths. (B,D)

Deluxe and Superior First Class: Kowakien Tenyu or similar hotels

Day

5

Hakone - Kyoto

Meet your driver for a private transfer back to Hakone train station to continue your journey to the nation’s former capital, Kyoto. Kyoto represents the “Japan of old,” beyond the high-rise skyscrapers built as a monument to progress. Hidden within the narrow alleyways you will find the true monument to Japan’s historical and cultural past. In the afternoon, visit the home of an instructor of one of Japan’s traditional arts. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and escort you to the instructor’s home where you may choose from a Tea Ceremony, Flower Arrangement, Calligraphy or Origami demonstration. Enjoy learning these hands-on traditional arts with support from your professional instructor and interpretation from your guide. (B)

Deluxe and Superior First Class: Four Seasons Kyoto or similar hotels

Day

6

Discover Kyoto

Today you explore the former imperial capital with a private local guide, utilizing Kyoto’s comprehensive bus system to visit some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites. You will start your day with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple, which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. Nijo Castle is an ornamental castle built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning gardens. Take a walk down to Nishiki Market, a five block long narrow shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. To end the day, you can decide between a visit to Kiyomizu Temple or a visit to Sanjusangendo Temple, famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. (B)

Deluxe and Superior First Class: Four Seasons Kyoto or similar hotels

Day

7

Nara and Fushimi Day Trip

Begin the day with a private transfer from your hotel to Nara by train your guide to the city of Nara. Visit Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha. Your next stop is Nara’s most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers. Wander through Nara Park, called Deer Park by locals, home to more than 1,000 tame deer. Upon returning from Nara, you can visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, housing over 10,000 red torii gates that form a path up the mountain behind the temple. (B)

Deluxe and Superior First Class: Four Seasons Kyoto or similar hotels

Day

8

Kyoto - Tokyo

After breakfast in the morning, you will make the return trip to Tokyo by the Shinkansen bullet train. Upon arrival in Tokyo, you will meet your driver for a private transfer to your hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to consider an optional tour of Tokyo’s incredibly diverse and unique street food scene. (B)

Deluxe and Superior First Class: Mandarin Oriental or similar hotels

Day

9

Tokyo - Return

You will be picked up from your hotel for a private transfer to the airport to continue on to your next destination. (B)