Day 1: Tokyo, Japan
Your tour starts in Tokyo with an included welcome dinner.
Day 2: Tokyo
This morning immerse yourself in Japan’s bustling capital during a sightseeing tour. Explore the famous Ginza district, Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace and traverse the world’s busiest intersection, Shibuya Crossing. For a true taste of Japan, you will visit Tokyo’s famous fish market for a sushi lunch before joining a family in their home to experience a tea ceremony. The rest of your day is at leisure.
Day 3: Tokyo
Enjoy time at leisure this morning before visiting Tokyo’s oldest Geisha district, Asakusa. While you are there, see the famous Senso-ji and traditional Japanese architecture. Then, return to Tokyo by boat on a cruise down the Sumida River.
Day 4: Tokyo - Hakone
Today you will travel to the famous lakeside resort of Hakone. Renowned for its hot springs and spas, this scenic town hugs the shores of Lake Ashi. With magnificent Mt. Fuji (UNESCO) rising in the distance, sit back, relax and soak up the incredible setting. Take to the deep-blue waters of Lake Ashi on a cruise featuring epic views of the mountain and stops at some of the lakeside towns. Tonight, gather for a leisurely walk to the charming town of Moto-Hakone.
Day 5: Hakone - Matsumoto - Takayama
Begin your day in the Kawaguchi’s “Five Lakes” area. Climb aboard the Kachi Kachi Ropeway for a glorious panorama of Mt. Fuji and the surrounding lakes. Next, stop in Matsumoto for a traditional Japanese lunch. Then it’s on to see Matsumoto Castle. Later, step back in time in Takayama, a rural, Edo period town nestled in the Japanese Alps. Well known to the locals for its connection to sake, this is the perfect place to gather for a visit to a family-owned sake brewery and sample some traditional rice wine. A special Hida beef dinner is on tonight’s menu.
Day 6: Takayama
Embrace the ancient culture of Takayama as you explore its historic district and open-air markets. Explore the winding streets lined with charming traditional inns and houses. Then, see how lacquerware is made before joining the local residents at a traditional noodle shop. Your afternoon is free to explore however you like, including joining your local guide at a nearby nature park.
Day 7: Takayama - Shirakawa-go - Kanazawa
Cross the mountainous Shokawa Valley on your way to Shirakawa-go (UNESCO). Uncover the unique charm of this village with thatch-roofed houses before continuing to the scenic town of Kanazawa. Explore at your leisure and then gather in town for dinner this evening.
Day 8: Kanazawa
Explore Kanazawa by tram and make your way through the Omicho market, the Samurai district, Higashi tea district, and Kenroku-En (Garden of Six Qualities). Then it is time for your hands-on gold leaf class. Dive deep into this ancient craft as you create your own bento box to take home before a free afternoon.
Day 9: Kanazawa - Kyoto
After shopping for some Japanese treats, board an express train bound for Kyoto. This former imperial capital of Japan is now one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the nation. Next, head to the Gion (Geisha) district. Along its narrow lanes you will find teahouses and women in traditional kimono. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a traditional yakitori restaurant.
Day 10: Kyoto
Explore Nijo Castle (UNESCO), home of the first Shogun before attending a stencilling class at the Kodai Yuzen-en Gallery. Ascend the hillside to Kiyomizu temple and take in a wonderful view of the city. Then, travel to the Fushimi Inari Taisha for a tour of the most revered shrine of Inari and stroll along its rows of orange tori.
Day 11: Kyoto
Travel to Hiroshima aboard the Shinkansen bullet train. Reflect on the city’s past as you visit the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Dome (UNESCO) and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. After lunch, take a short trip to Miyajima Island, “Shrine Island.” See the iconic Torii Gate which appears to be floating on the water. As the day comes to a close, return to Kyoto by Shinkansen bullet train for a free evening.
Day 12: Kyoto
Relax or set out to explore Kyoto on your own. Tonight, experience Japanese culture during a special farewell dinner that features a Geisha show.
Day 13: Kyoto
Your tour ends in Kyoto.