The Best of Japan Multi City Vacation

14 day/13 night package feturing Tokyo, Hakone/Mt. Fuji, Takayama, Shirakawago, Hiroshima and Kyoto. This program includes accommodation in your choice of Superior Tourist Class or Superior First Class hotels, daily breakfast, 14-day Japan Rail Pass for all transport via train, Hakone Pass for transportation in Hakone, sushi-making in Tokyo, and a private cooking class in Kyoto.

Includes

  • Transfers per itinerary
  • Hotels per itinerary or similar
  • Meals per itinerary; (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner
  • Train tickets per itinerary
  • Private guide
  • Bus tickets per itinerary
  • Private custom sightseeing per itinerary

Excludes

  • Personal expenses
  • Optional tours
  • Customary tips and gratuities
  • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks during meals
  • Private arrival and departure transfers

Daily Itinerary

Day

1

Tokyo - Arrival

Upon arrival at Narita Airport, you will be met by our local representative for a shared transfer to your hotel for assistance with your check-in. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.

Superior Tourist Class: Shiba Park Hotel or similar hotels

Day

2

Discover Tokyo Highlights

The day begins with a city highlights tour of this incomparable city. Head across town to Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town, where you can soak in the atmosphere of the Tokyo of old. Visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple, and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and souvenirs for centuries. Next, board a cruise down the Sumidagawa River to Hamarikyu garden, an Edo Period Japanese garden surrounded by the Shiodome district’s futuristic skyscrapers. The garden is a great example of how Japan is the land of contrasts, which you may contemplate over a cup of steaming macha and Japanese sweets in a tea house on a small island in the park’s lake. Visit Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Take a walk down Omotesando fashion street, a broad tree-lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion brands.(B)

Superior Tourist Class: Shiba Park Hotel or similar hotels

Day

3

Discover Tokyo Markets

The world’s largest fish market, Tsukiji Market, handles about 2,888 tons of marine products a day. Some 450 kinds of fish are received – from penny-per-piece sardines to golden brown dried sea slug caviar, a bargain at $473 a pound. Take time to wander through this enormous market, exploring both the fresh produce areas plus the impressive seafood section. You may also have the opportunity to see a complete tuna being cut and filleted. After your visit to the seafood market, you will take public transportation to visit a typical Japanese home. En route, your guide will answer all your questions about Japanese culture and everyday life in Tokyo. Upon arrival, you will meet the family who will teach you how to prepare maki sushi (rolled sushi), gunkan maki (sushi rice wrapped with a strip of seaweed and topped with soft ingredients), and nigiri sushi (sushi rice topped with a slice of raw fish). At the end of your lesson, sit down and enjoy your home-made sushi for lunch. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the city. (B,L)

Superior Tourist Class: Shiba Park Hotel or similar hotels

Day

4

Tokyo - Hakone

After breakfast, make your own way from your hotel to the train station to take Japan’s world-famous Shinkansen bullet train to Hakone using your JR Pass. Armed with your Hakone Pass, take advantage of the extensive local transport network to explore this stunning region; from switchback trains to cable cars, ropeways to buses and even a replica pirate ship that will sweep you across the volcanic Lake Ashi, offering views of Mt. Fuji. Tonight, you will stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan, sleeping on futons laid out on tatami mats, with delicious meals and piping hot Onsen (hot spring) baths. (B,D)

Day

5

Hakone - Takayama

From Hakone, take the world-famous Shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya. Here you will switch trains to the Limited Express Hida Wideview for one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan, winding your way through tall mountains and stunning gorges to Takayama. This is a long journey of around 2.5 hours, but worth it for the scenery. Upon arrival, make your own way to your selected accommodation. This afternoon, we recommend visiting one of the town’s many sake breweries for a taste of the local drop, its high quality ingrained in the area’s clean water sources. (B)

Superior Tourist Class: Takayama Ouan or similar hotels

Day

6

Explore Takayama

Today is at your leisure to explore the area or relax in your hotel. We recommend considering a visit to the Miyagawa morning markets, which sell local crafts and produce. Alternatively, a short bus ride will take you to Hida No Sato Folk Village, an open-air museum exhibiting over 30 typical farmhouses and other traditional buildings from the Hida region. A workshop in the village illustrates how many of Japan’s famous handicrafts are made, including wood carving, tie-dying and lacquering. In the afternoon, you may wish to visit the Takayama Festival Floats Museum, displaying floats from the famous Takayama festival. (B)

Superior Tourist Class: Takayama Ouan or similar hotels

Day

7

Takayama - Kanazawa via Shirakawago

After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy your self-guided exploration by using your coach tickets (included) to board the bus from Takayama Bus terminal. Visit UNESCO World heritage listed Shirakawago Village, famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250-years-old. Gassho-zukuri translates as “Praying Hands,” as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer, and are designed to withstand the heavy snows which fall in the region. After your visit, you will head onwards to Kanazawa by coach (ticket included). Upon arrival, you will make your own way to your selected accommodation for the remainder of the evening at your leisure. (B)

Superior Tourist Class: Vista Kanazawa or similar hotels

Day

8

Explore Kanazawa

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and take a free day to explore Kanazawa; a visit to Kenrokuen Garden is highly-recommended as its breathtaking beauty shines through in any season. Located next to the garden, Kanazawa Castle is also a highlight to visit together with Nagamachi Samurai District, the Saihitsuan Yuzen Silk Center – demonstrating the centuries-old Yuzen silk painting technique – and the Nomura Samurai House – a traditional Japanese home with a tea-ceremony room, an interior courtyard garden and artifacts from the Edo period. (B)

Superior Tourist Class: Vista Hiroshima or similar hotels

Day

9

Kanazawa - Hiroshima

After breakfast at your hotel, make your own way to the train station to take the train to Hiroshima via Shin Osaka. Hiroshima is notorious for its destruction when the first atomic bomb was dropped over the city during the WWII in August 1945. The destructive power of the bomb obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometer radius. The city’s tragic past has become its biggest tourism attraction, and visitors from around the world now come to see the Peace Memorial Park and its haunting museum. Besides excellent museums, Hiroshima is also the most popular gateway for trips to nearby Miyajima, an island considered to be one of Japan’s most scenic spots. Check-in to your hotel and the remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B)

Superior Tourist Class: Vista Hiroshima or similar hotels

Day

10

Hiroshima - Miyajima Tour - Hiroshima

Meet your guide at your hotel to discover Hiroshima, starting from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The area where the park now lies was ground zero for the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. From Hiroshima, a short ferry ride will take you to Miyajima Island (around 30 mins by ferry). A small sacred island located in the Inland Sea, it has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times. Here you will find the most photographed site in Japan - the Floating Torii Gate. Designated as one of Japan's "Three Most Beautiful Views," the shrine the gate belongs to dates back to the 6th century, with the present structure dating back to the 12th century. You will have time to explore the island and its many shrines and temples, and to sample local cuisine, before heading back to your hotel to relax. (B)

Superior Tourist Class: Vista Hiroshima or similar hotels

Day

11

Hiroshima - Kyoto

This morning, make your own way to the station to take the Shinkansen train to Kyoto. Upon arrival, make your own way to your selected hotel for check-in and a short rest. In the afternoon, meet your guide to join your own private cooking class*. During your lesson, you will try your hand at making some of the dishes that make Japanese cuisine so popular around the world, and learn about Kyoto’s typical kappo cuisine. At a kappo-style restaurant, fine seasonal cuisine is served over a counter where you sit face to face with a chef. In this class you will be the chef! (B,D)
Note: Transfers to and from the cooking class are not included. Transfers can be scheduled for an additional cost.

Superior Tourist Class: Vista Premio Kyoto or similar hotels

Day

12

Discover Kyoto

Today you explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide, utilizing Kyoto’s comprehensive bus system to visit some of the city’s World Heritage Sites. You will start your day with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (the Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. Next, Nijo Castle is an ornamental castle built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence. Take a walk through Nishiki Market a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen," this lively retail market specializes in all thing’s food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties. To end the day, you can decide what to visit. You may want to go to Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. From the 13m high veranda, jutting out from the Main Hall, you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto, whilst pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners; however, it is a steep walk uphill, and the temple is now under repair work, although it is still an enjoyable Kyoto landmark. You may decide, instead, to visit Sanjusangendo, a temple which is Japan's longest wooden structure. It is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. In the center of the main hall sits a large, wooden statue of a 1000-armed Kannon that is flanked on each side by 500 statues of human sized 1000-armed Kannon standing in ten rows. Together they make for an awesome sight. (B)

Superior Tourist Class: Vista Premio Kyoto or similar hotels

Day

13

Kyoto- Nara- Kyoto

Meet your guide at your hotel and take the train to Nara. For 74 years, during the 8th century, Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time remain. 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, home to more than 1,000 tame deer. Upon returning from Nara, you can visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, used in the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha”.  The shrine is famous for housing over 10,000 red torii gates, which form a path up the mountain behind the temple. (B)

Superior Tourist Class: Vista Premio Kyoto or similar hotels

Day

14

Kyoto – Tokyo - Return

This morning, after breakfast, you will make your own way to the Kyoto train station trip to Tokyo Narita International Airport where you may connect with your return flight home. (B)