Day 1: Tokyo
Arrive in Tokyo, where you will be welcomed by our airport representative who will assist you with transferring by either train or shuttle bus to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight in Tokyo.
Day 2: Tokyo
Full day guided sightseeing tour including visits to Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Omotesando, Ginza, Imperial Palace East Garden, Asakusa Kannon Temple (Sensoji) and Nakamise Shopping Arcade. Overnight in Tokyo.
Day 3: Tokyo - Nikko - Tokyo
Full day excursion to Nikko National Park in Tochigi Prefecture and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Toshogu-shrine complex. Meet your guide on arrival at the station and visit some the of numerous temples and shrines. Overnight in Tokyo.
Day 4: Tokyo - Takayama
Take the famous bullet train to Takayama (self-guided), a beautifully preserved old town with unique culture. Tonight you will stay in a traditional Japanese-style ryokan accommodation, complete with tatami mats, shoji rice paper sliding doors and onsen baths. This evening, relax in your yukata, and dine on a sumptuous kaiseki multi course meal, served by kimono clad waitresses. An onsen after dinner is highly recommended. Overnight in Takayama.
Day 5: Takayama
Day at leisure. (We suggest you spend your morning perusing the Miyagawa market. Visit the Hida no Sato Folk Village open air museum and see how many local handicrafts are made.) Overnight in Takayama.
Day 6: Takayama - Shirakawago
This morning you will travel by bus (1hr) to Shirakawago (self-guided). The Shirakawa-go and neighboring Gokayama regions line the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that span from Gifu to Toyama Prefectures. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, they are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Tonight, you will have the opportunity to stay in one of these farmhouses, a great way to experience a traditional Japanese family home and get more intimate with gassho-zukuri buildings. Overnight Shirakawa-go.
Day 7: Shirakawago - Kanazawa - Kyoto
Continue on by bus to Kanazawa (self guided). You will have time to visit Kenroku-en garden, ranked one of Japan’s top 3 Gardens. After visiting Kenroku-en, it is 2 hours by train to Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital. Home to over 2,000 temples and shrines, inclduing 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one could spend years in Kyoto and never run out of things to see and do. Overnight in Kyoto.
Day 8: Kyoto
Explore Kyoto with a knowledgeable guide. Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites including Nijo Castle, the Golden Pavillion and Daitoku-ji temple complex. In the afternoon make your way to Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple and enjoy stunning views over Kyoto from the 13m high veranda. Overnight in Kyoto.
Day 9: Kyoto>
This morning, learn about Japanese culture in a beautifully restored machiya (traditional wooden townhouse). You will have the opportunity to wear a traditional kimono. You will be dressed by a professional kimono dresser. Next, you will participate in a chanoyu, or Tea Ceremony, you will also be able to try your hand at making your own tea. The rest of the day is free at leisure to visit more of Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Overnight in Kyoto.
Day 10: Kyoto - Koya-san
Take the train to holy Mt Koya (self-guided), enjoying the views as it winds it way through the mountains. Make the final ascent to the summit by cable car. You will be met by a local guide upon arrival and visit some sights and learn about Japanese Buddhism. Koya-san and its surrounds is a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tonight you are staying at Shukubo, a Japanese Temple Lodge. Dinner will be Shojin Ryori, traditional Buddhist cuisine (vegetarian). Overnight in Koya-san.
Day 11: Koya-san - Hiroshima
An early start to witness the monks chanting their morning prayers. Travel by cable car, train and bullet train to Hiroshima. In the afternoon visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and see the A-Bomb Dome, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the park and visit the museum at your leisure. Overnight in Hiroshima.
Day 12: Hiroshima - Miyajima - Hiroshima
Take a train and a ferry to get to your destination – Miyajima, a small sacred island located in the Inland Sea. Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan – The Floating Torii Gate. The Torri gate and shrine buildings have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the islands sites and meet the friendly deer. Overnight in Hiroshima.
Day 13: Hiroshima - Nara
Back on the Shinkansen one last time as you head to one of Japan’s former capitals, Nara. You have this afternoon free to explore this small town. We recommend visiting Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha, and Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most celebrated shrine. Overnight in Nara
Day 14: Nara Departure
Day at leisure until your transfer to Osaka Kansai Airport airport for your departure flight.