Gion Festival Tour is a once in a lifetime experience you will never forget. Come and join the festival in Kyoto, where streets are .lled with traditional gion-bayashi music and decorated .oats. They are lit up on the evening of July 16th, turning the city into a magical scene.Starting from Tokyo, we travel south to Hakone, Mt. Fuji, Nara and a prolonged stay in Kyoto. We will visit famous landmarks like Asakusa, Todaiji Temple, and the Golden Pavilion. With this exciting tour package, you will experience tea ceremony, sake tasting, a Kimono Fashion Show, and a cruise in Lake Ashi with a breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji.
You will also get familiar with Japan's hot springs in a luxurious ryokan, Japanese hotel, with a multi-course cuisine. It is a great cultural experience especially being part of a Japanese festival where you get to listening to folk music, witness the different arrays of kimono's patterns, and sample the variety of food that can only be found in Japanese festivals.
Day 01: Arrive in Tokyo
Meet and Greet on your arrival in Tokyo. Our representative will guide you to your Hotel. Rest of the day is free for you to recover from your jet lag.
Day 02: Tokyo
Today will be devoted to exploring the multi-cultural spots of Tokyo. We will first stop by the Imperial Palace Plaza to get a glimpse of the current Emperor's home. Next the tour will head out to Edo Tokyo Museum where you can get acquainted with the history of Tokyo.
After lunch, we will delve in the old town district of Asakusa - shop around the Nakamise Shopping area and pray at the Sensoji Temple. We will also stop by the famous Meiji Shrine located in Shibuya. In the evening, we will probe the stores at Harajuku, the unofficial fashion capital of Japan that offers the latest pop culture and fashion. Returning to our hotel, we will be passing by the famous Shibuya Crosswalk.
Day 03: Tokyo - Mt. Fuji/Hakone
We will start our day heading to Lake Kawaguchi to visit the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum. Here we will witness "tsujigahana", the technique used to dye kimonos over five centuries ago. The beautiful works of tsugigahana are displayed in this museum which stands in a great location with a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji.
We will then continue our journey to Hakone, where we will take a cruise in Lake Ashi. We will also take a ropeway to Owakudani, an active volcanic crater still steaming from its last eruption some 3,000 years ago. There you will get a taste of the local cuisine, the black egg, cooked in one of the craters.
Tonight we will be staying in a ryokan. The ryokan, Japanese hotel, contains variety of onsen, hot springs, which you can dip in and relax. Dinner is provided in traditional style of kaiseki, a Japananese multi-course cuisine.
Day 04: Hakone - Kyoto
We will begin our morning on the bullet train for a quick ride to Kyoto and check into our Hotel. We will start the city tour by visiting the Todaiji Temple. Todaiji Temple holds the World Guiness Record as the largest wooden building. Inside the temple, you will behold the largest Buddha statue in Japan. Just outside the temple is the Nara Deer Park, where you will be greeted by numerous deer that roam around freely. The deer here at the park are known to be friendly and may even bow at you for a little treat.
After our friendly encounter with the deer, we will head to experience some peaceful green tea ceremony at Kodaiji Temple, built in 1606 in memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi by his beloved wife, Nene. This beautifully constructed shrine is well balance with nature maintaining a Japanese and Zen Garden with a Bamboo Forest. It is this location overlooking the scenery that you will be taking lessons in Japanese Tea Ceremony. Our final stop of the day is the Gion Geisha District.
Day 05: Kyoto
Our first stop of the day will be a trip to the Kiyomizu Temple. The most iconic temple of Japan, Kiyomizu Temple is a wooden structure that overlooks the city of Kyoto. On the base, three canals sprout water representing love, wisdom, and longevity. We will then walk to Ninenzaka, an area of town with streets filled with Kyotoesque shops, perhaps an ideal place for souvenir shopping. We will then head to Sanjusangen-do, a temple in eastern Kyoto famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Our next stop is the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of red torii gates that lead to the sacred Mt. Inari.
We will then head to Nijo Castle, where the first shogun of the Edo Period, Tokugawa Ieyasu, resided. Its walls and door panels are heavily decorated with gold and beautiful pictures of nature. The castle was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994 as one of the best examples of castle palace architecture of Japan's feudal era.
We will end our day with a visit to the Golden Pavilion, or Kinkakuji, a must see attraction where the two upper floors are covered in gold leaf. This gorgeous temple is sure to leave you speechless.
Day 06: Kyoto Gion Festival
Today is the day of the Kyoto Gion Festival, the most famous festival in Japan. There are hundreds of food vendors, carnival games, activities, parades, art displays, and more. The highight of the event is definitely the procession of its magnificent floats which weigh up to 12 tons. Be sure to check out the food booths for some a wide selection of delicious Japanese festival foods.
Day 07: Kyoto - Osaka
Checking out of our Hotel we will finally proceed to Osaka and check into our Hotel for one night.
Today we will walk to the Aerial Garden Observatory, where we will get a sweeping view of Osaka. After lunch,we'll vist the Osaka Castle, built in 1583 as the intended capital of Japan, before the capital was moved to Edo (now known as Tokyo). Walk through the newly renovated castle while learning from the exhibit detailing life in old Osaka. From there, we will walk to the nearby river boat dock to board the Aqua Liner for an hour-long cruise around Nakanoshima.
Rest of the day at leisure to do some last minute shopping.
Day 08: Depart Osaka
In time transfer to the Airport to board flight back home.