DAY 1: TOKYO The Adventure Begins
DAY 2: TOKYO Hit the Streets
DAY 3: TOKYO Cross an Item off the Bucket List
DAY 4: TOKYO TO KYOTO A Town Frozen in Time
DAY 5: KYOTO Lose Yourself in Nature
DAY 6: KYOTO It’s All Ancient History
DAY 7: KYOTO TO OSAKA City Streets and Tasty Treats
DAY 8: OSAKA Audacious Architecture
DAY 9: OSAKA Bon Voyage
Day 1: An English-speaking assistant will be waiting for you upon your arrival at the airport, holding a sign with your name on it. Transfer to Keio Plaza Tokyo.
Day 2: Spend a half day discovering Tokyo’s fascinating sites that juxtapose traditional temples and gardens with futuristic skyscrapers. The attractions include the outside of the Imperial Palace, Asakusa, Sensoji Temple, Nakamise, Meiji Shrine, and Omotesando shopping street. Stay at Keio Plaza Tokyo.
With your private guide, discover the allure of Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji on a full-day tour of the picturesque Fuji Five Lakes region, a group of scenic crater lakes that offer some of the most celebrated views of Japan’s revered mountain. You’ll take a cable car ride to Mount Tenjo’s peak (weather permitting) and visit the Arakura Sengen Shrine, home to the spectacular Chureito Pagoda, a famous multi-tiered red tower known for its scenic views across to Mt. Fuji. Visit Kubota Itchiku Art Museum and enjoy the picturesque views of Fuji and over the beloved Fuji Five Lakes. Stay at Keio Plaza Tokyo.
Day 4: Board a train from Tokyo with direct service to Kyoto. You’ll navigate cobblestone streets in neighborhoods that were established over a 1000 years ago. You’ll find that Kyoto is not only a city steeped in the past, but full of modern monks, artisans, baristas, and college students still working towards its lively future. The attractions include Kinkakuji Temple, a most-visited place in Japan covered in real gold leaf, photogenically vibrant at any time of year no matter the weather. You'll also visit Kintano-tenmangu is a remarkable shrine to scholarship was built to appease the spirit of an angry ghost. Stay at Granvia Kyoto.
Day 5: Today you’ll be exploring Arashiyama, the western outskirt of Kyoto home to the world-renowned Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and the Nonomiya Shrine, two of Japan’s most picturesque sites. Stroll along the sprawling stalks of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, a serene and mystical forest that makes you feel like you’re walking in another world. Afterwards, you’ll visit Nonomiya Shrine where in ancient times, single imperial princesses stayed for a year or more to purify themselves prior to taking up their duties as royalty. Next, you’ll visit Tenryuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site ranked among Kyoto's five great Zen temples, and the largest and most impressive temple in Arashiyama. Stay at Granvia Kyoto.
Day 6: Today’s tour will include a visit to Todaiji temple, the world’s largest wooden building and famous for its Great Buddha. You’ll also visit Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers. Next, take a stroll through Nara Park, nicknamed Deer Park known for being home to 1,000 tame deer living there. On the way back from Nara, you’ll visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, one of the iconic sites in Japan known for its 10,000 red tori gates that form a path up the mountain behind the temple.
Day 7: You’ll integrate yourself in local culture by making use of Osaka’s efficient transit system instead of a private driver. Regarded as the gastronomic hub of Japan, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the splendors of Osaka’s casual cuisine, venturing into the nation’s most famous restaurant district: Dotonbori. Stay at Marriott Miyako Hotel.
Day 8: The first stop of the day will be at Himeji Castle, also known as the White Heron Castle. The 400-year-old, six-story castle is a one of Japan’s twelve original castles, as most of the others have been destroyed by war or natural disaster. A UNESCO world heritage site, this site is a beloved Japanese natural treasure that’s especially gorgeous during fall’s peak foliage when the leaves turn into a stunning array of reds, oranges and golds or the popular cherry blossom season. Afterwards, you’ll head to the nearby Kokoen garden, a beautiful traditional Japanese garden in nine different styles. Stay at Marriott Miyako Hotel.
Day 9: Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle.