Japan delights in contrasts, revering the past while embracing the future. Begin your 12-day adventure in glittering, massive Tokyo, then head by rail into the countryside to visit traditional villages and tranquil shrines. On strolls through geisha districts and restorative visits to ancient temples and gardens, feel the power of the here and now.
Day 1 Tokyo
Arrive at any time.
Day 2 Tokyo (1B)
Spend the day exploring vibrant Tokyo by public transit. As a city of extreme contrasts, we experience the ancient and traditional with visits to Meiji Jingu Shrine and the old town of Asakusa. We then see Tokyo’s quirky and modern side with a walk through the pop culture-obsessed Harajuku district — a great place to sit back and people-watch.
Day 3 Tokyo (1B, 1L)
This morning, insiders of the Toyosu Fish Market (formerly known as the Tsukiji Fish Market) take us on a tour to learn about the fishing industry in Japan, ending with a class led by sushi masters. Learn how to identify the freshest fish, to prepare and fillet, and the fine art of sushi-making and presentation. After, try your hand at making your own sushi and enjoy a taste of your creation. This afternoon is free to explore Tokyo on your own.
Day 4 Tokyo/Tsumago (1B, 1D)
Depart Tokyo by train. Disembark at Nagiso and continue to our local ryokan€commodation. Enjoy a walk through the countryside, passing farms and hamlets into Tsumago, a traditional village. After, feast on a kaiseki meal, learn about Japanese customs, and sleep on a futon.
Day 5 Tsumago/Kanazawa-shi (1B)
Continue by train to the historic city of Kanazawa. Explore the ancient Samurai culture with a walk through the well-preserved Nagamachi Samurai district and visit to the Nomura Samurai family residence.
Day 6 Kanazawa-shi (1B)
Continue exploring Kanazawa, visiting the Myoryuji Ninja Temple and walking through the Higashi Geisha district. The city is also renowned as a centre of traditional arts and crafts. We delve into these traditions with a chopstick and gold leaf painting experience. Opt to visit the stunning gardens or original castles.
Day 7 Kanazawa-shi/Hiroshima-shi (1B)
Continue by bullet train train to Hiroshima and visit the park and Memorial Museum to learn more about the tragic history of this city.
Day 8 Hiroshima-shi (1B)
Catch a ferry over to the sacred island of Miyajima to see the famous floating Torii Gate, considered one of Japan’s most beautiful and sacred shrines. This afternoon is at your leisure. Opt to catch the ferry to other islands and explore on your own.
Day 9 Hiroshima-shi/Kyoto (1B)
This morning we visit Himeji Castle, considered the best preserved and most stunning castle in all of Japan. After, continue by train to Kyoto, the former Imperial Capital and home of the country’s most treasured remnants of Japanese imperial life. This afternoon, take a stroll around the Gion Geisha district.
Day 10 Kyoto (1B)
Visit the stunning Fushimi Inari, an ancient shrine at the base of the mountain of the same name. After, spend the day exploring sites around Nara, visiting the impressive Todaiji Buddhist Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine.
Day 11 Kyoto (1B)
This morning, visit a local temple to learn about the history and practice of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Here we meet with a local monk who will talk about Buddhism and instruct us in Zen meditation and calligraphy. Enjoy a traditional bowl of matcha tea before visiting the famous Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion. After, we learn about the etiquette of the samurai as well as the practice of basic kembu, and take a lesson on how to use the Japanese sword. Then, enjoy a performance by kembu masters which includes short poems, which were traditionally written by samurai about major events in their life. Later, take some time to explore on your own. Opt to visit museums, temples, or zen gardens.
Day 12 Kyoto (1B)
Depart at any time.
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