Japan 2018 Tour: Join us on this wonderful adventure

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Miyajima fall colour

(Feb 2) – Today I am delighted to announce an exclusive 13-day tour to Japan to see spectacular fall foliage colour, visit picturesque temple sites, famous and historic locations as well as enjoy seasonal festivals and other cultural highlights.

If you’ve never been to Japan, this is the perfect tour for you – rich in content and diversity, safe; well-planned; professionally guided and designed to give you a complete experience of Japanese culture, from sushi making to sake tasting and more.

Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto

The linking theme will be the transcendent beauty of fall foliage colours in gardens and key landscape areas in villages, towns and cities at this special time of year.

The tour will start in Tokyo on Nov. 20 and end in Kyoto on Dec 2. This is the best time to see great fall foliage – you won’t see these beautiful landscapes in September or October. It is also a great time to be in Japan when many celebrations are going on.

However, please note that you will be home again in good time to celebrate Christmas with family and friends . . . and by then you will also have some amazing stories to tell.

Tokyo: City of neon lights at night

In Tokyo, we’ll visit popular areas such as Senso-ji, Akihabara, Harajuku and Ginza, and as well as the famous Meiji Jingu Shrine and Imperial Palace.

All our hotels have been selected for quality as well as to put you close to key areas for sightseeing, shopping, top restaurants and night life.

This itinerary includes all breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners, including the special farewell dinner. 

Miyajima: Wonderful anytime of year but spectacular in the fall

Tour highlights include a visit to Hakone with a boat ride across Ashinoko Lake and cable-car ride over neighbouring mountains with views of Mt Fuji; a trip to the scenic island of Miyajima as well as time in historic Hiroshima plus a stay at a quality Ryokan, a typical traditional Japanese-style hotel.

World-class gardens we will be visiting include Kenrokuen Garden and Nomura Samurai House in Kanazawa, Ryoan-ji with its superb raked gravel courtyard plus the Golden Temple and Silver Pavilion in Kyoto as well as time to stroll the wonderful Philosopher’s Walk.

Many people go to Japan to see cherry blossoms in spring, which we have done, but the fall foliage colours in the gardens and cities in autumn is equally, if not more spectacular and ethereal. 

Over the years, these uniquely breathtaking landscapes have come to define Japanese elegance and refinement and garden making at its most sophisticated.

Take time to look over the complete day-by-day itinerary below. You will find there is much more included.

You’ll find not only first-class content but also a relaxed pacing to allow you to soak in atmosphere as well as time to explore and get a complete experience of Japan.

YOUR NEXT STEP: please call to reserve your place on the tour by contacting our agent, Lyle Truden at Flight Centre. Office, either by phone at 604-684-7951 or by email at lyle.truden@flightcentre.ca

Bookings will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

TOUR PRICE: $7,754 per person double occupancy and $2,540 for single supplement. Please see the day-by-day itinerary below for full details. 

YOUR DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

Tokyo

DAY 1: Nov. 20 – TOYKO

Konichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Bursting with contemporary urban culture, there are many sides of Tokyo to explore: fascinating museums, world-class shopping, bustling energy and futuristic architecture, as well as a gentler side of

Tokyo: City of neon lights at night

neighbourhood backstreets where citizens often reveal themselves – particularly outside of working hours – to be some of the friendliest of any capital city in the world. There are many vestiges of the past, with historic temples and shrines still to be found in some of the most unexpected places, as well as an abundance of parks and gardens. Your adventure kicks off with a welcome meeting before heading out on a walking tour to see this bustling city.

Arrival Transfer
· Included (shuttle bus)
Included activities
· Welcome meeting
· Walking tour
· Transport via subway
Accommodation
Century Southern Tower Hotel Tokyo, or similar
http://en.southerntower.co.jp/
Asakusa Sensoji Temple and Nakamise shopping area

DAY 2: Nov 21 – TOKYO

Today you’ll undertake a varied, full-day tour of the city, beginning in the historic Asakusa area. This is one of the older and more traditional parts of Tokyo, and is often called the temple district. Here you’ll stop by Senso-ji, the city’s oldest temple – founded almost 1,400 years ago when Tokyo was nothing more than a fishing village.

Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo

Browse the many interesting stalls – filled with tasty treats, crafts and souvenirs – that line the shopping street of Nakamise dori. After lunch you’ll enjoy an alternative view of Tokyo as you relax on a short cruise down the Sumida River. You’ll pass significant buildings like the Sky Tree Tower and Tsukiji Fish Market, under the bridges that bisect the river, and then alight at the delightful urban oasis of Hama Rikyu gardens. Here you’ll have time to stroll along paths that were once the sole preserve of the shogun, who would hunt ducks here in the feudal era. Later you can make your way to the luxurious shopping district of Ginza where, depending on the theatre schedule, you’ll have the chance to see a short performance of Kabuki, one of Japan’s more spectacular performing arts.

 Included Activities
· Sensoji Temple
· Sumida River cruise
· Hama Rikyu Garden
· Transport via private coach
 Accommodation
Century Southern Tower Hotel Tokyo, or similar
Ashinoko Lake with view of Mt Fuji

DAY 3: Nov 22 – TOKYO/HAKONE

Today you will be taking a day trip to Hakone by the limited express train. Once in Hakone, take a boat across Ashinoko Lake and then ride a cable car over the surrounding mountains.

Mount Fuji in the fall.

The area around the lake offers plenty of stunning views, and you may even catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji in the distance if weather conditions are clear. Depending on arrival time and weather, you may do these activities today.

Included Activities
·  Hakone – Lake Ashino-Ko boat trip
· Hakone – Cable Car
· Transport by train
 Accommodation
Century Southern Tower Hotel Tokyo, or similar
Nijubashi Bridge at the imperial Palace

DAY 4: Nov 23 – TOKYO

Start the day at the Meiji Jungu Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Next stop is the Imperial Palace to see the Nijubashi Bridge. Nijubashi is the most famous bridge of the many that span the moats of the Imperial Palace.

Shibuya Crossing

Afterwards we learn to make sushi like a pro with some of the freshest and high-quality fish in Japan. Our instructor will give us advice on the best techniques and seasonal sushi varieties and then we get to practice the 200-year-old art of sushi making. Finally enjoy your own uniquely prepared lunch.

For the rest of the day there’s almost an endless number of things to see and do. See the crowds at Shibuya Crossing, the fashion in Harajuku, take in history at the Imperial Palace or the treasures at the National Museum, and see the grand shrine dedicated to the 19th-century Emperor.

 Spend some time in the city’s green spaces like Yoyogi or Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, or you could always create your own entertainment with a memorable turn in a sky-high karaoke glass box.

 Included Activities
· Meiji Shrine
· Imperial Palace
·  Sushi making class
· Transport by private coach
 Accommodation
Century Southern Tower Hotel Tokyo, or similar
Takayama

DAY 5: Nov 24 – TOKYO/MATSUMOTO/TAKAYAMA

Jump on a bullet train and travel to the rural area near Matsumoto to visit one of Japan’s largest wasabi farms. Similar to horseradish, wasabi is a root plant used as a condiment for sashimi (raw fish slices) and sushi. The farm has many large wasabi fields with a pristine network of irrigation channels, larger rivers and traditional watermills. You might like to taste some of the farm’s wasabi too – the farm shop offers all manner of wasabi flavoured goods including wasabi ice-cream! 

Takayama market

Continue to the picturesque castle town of Matsumoto. visiting the city’s most famous site, the Matsumoto Castle, formerly known as Fukashi Castle. The regal-looking building has an elegant black roof and walls, and is sometimes nicknamed Crow Castle due to its resemblance to the bird spreading its wings. As the oldest original castle in the country (begun in 1592), it’s also one of Japan’s four castles listed as national treasures.

Afterwards spend an unforgettable night in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in Takayama.

Included Activities
· Visit to Wasabi Farm
· Matsumoto Castle 
·  Transport via private coach
Accommodation
Oun Takayama, or similar
https://www.hotespa.net/hotels/takayama/ 
Produce at morning market

DAY 6: Nov 25 – TAKAYAMA/SHIRAKAWAGO/KANAZAWA

We spend half the day in Takayama seeing the Morning Market, Takayama Jinya and Yatai Kaikan where you will see the four of the autumn festival’s eleven floats are exhibited. After we head to Shirakawago for an orientation of one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and visit the Wada-ke House.

Shirakawago, classical Japanese village

The Wada house is said to have been built in the mid-Edo period (1603-1868) and it also serves as a residence now. We have dinner in a local restaurant before heading to Kanazawa and our hotel.

Kanazawa, is sometimes known as the hidden pearl of the Japan Sea. Having avoided bombing in WWII, it’s a place where both modern and traditional Japan are found. The city is full of historic sites like Kanazawa castle, Korakuen gardens, Bukeyashiki (Samurai House), the very traditional Chaya gai (tea house district), geisha and samurai districts, but also home to the world class, ultra-modern 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.

 Included Activities
· Takayama walking tour
· Takayama Jinya and Yatao Kaikan
· Transport via private coach and train
 Accommodation
Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel, or similar
http://www.tokyuhotelsjapan.com/en/hotel/TH/TH_KANAZ/index.html
Kenrokuen Garden

DAY 7: Nov 26 – KANAZAWA

Wake early and head over to the Omicho market, where the city’s quality foods and producers gather. Fish from Ishikawa prefecture is brought in from the port every morning and, as well as on sale fresh, there are also a number of restaurants in the market who whip it up into special seafood rice bowls or sushi.

Nomura Samurai garden

There are almost 200 different stalls to get lost in. We also take part in the city’s living cultural heritage with a Japanese sweet making class. Wagashi sweets are classically used to accompany tea ceremonies, and they are as tasty to look at as they are to eat.

Later we stroll through Kenrokuen Garden and visit the ‘Samurai House’ in the Nagamachi district, where Maeda samurai lords provided their vassals with grand estates. Be transported back in time, with the house giving a good idea of the life-style of samurai during the Edo period, when Japan was secluded from the outside world.

 Included Activities
·  Kenrokuen Garden
·  Walking tour of Omicho Market
·  Wagashi sweet making class
·  Visit the Nomura Family Samurai Residence
·   Transport via private coach
Accommodation
Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel, or similar 
Hiroshima: City of peace

DAY 8: Nov 27 – KANAZAWA/HIROSHIMA

This morning you’ll travel from Kanazawa to Hiroshima – the city indelibly connected with World War 2 and the Atomic Bomb. After settling in we visit the Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, both of which stand testament to the fateful day in August 1945 when Hiroshima was chosen as the target for the first ever wartime use of the atomic bomb.

Hiroshima

The dome was just metres from where the bomb detonated so it was able to retain its shape; the fact that it looks almost exactly as it did after the bombing means it serves as a reminder and symbol of peace. The memorial park serves the same purpose, and has museums, memorials and monuments dedicated to the memory of victims, education on what lead to the bomb’s use, as well as advocating world peace.

Tonight, maybe try one of the city’s signature dishes for dinner – okonomiyaki, a kind savoury pancake of egg, cabbage, soba noodles, and meat or seafood.

 Included Activities
• Hiroshima – A-Bomb Dome
• Hiroshima – Peace Park & Museum
• Transport via train
 Accommodation
Oriental Hotel Hiroshima, or similar
https://www.oriental-hiroshima.com/
Miyajima: Wonderful anytime of year but spectacular in the fall

DAY 9: NOV 28 – HIROSHIMA

This morning head for the serene, enchanting island of Miyajima, reached after a short ferry ride (30 kilometres) across the Inland Sea. The island is home to the venerable Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, famous for its huge bright orange gate (tori) that rises majestically out of the sea.

Miyajima fall colour

At high tide it is considered to be one of the most beautiful sights in Japan. The size and physical landscape of Miyajima makes it an ideal place for walking. There is the lovely Momaji Park (known as Maple Valley), from where it is possible to walk or take a cable car up to the top of Mt. Misen. Return to Hiroshima for the night.

 Included Activities
· Trip to Miyajima (island)
· Entry to Itsukushima Shrine
·  Transport via private coach
Accommodation
Oriental Hotel Hiroshima, or similar
Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto

DAY 10: Nov 29 – KYOTO

Leave Hiroshima today and head to Japan’s most impressive samurai castle at Himeji by train (approximately 1 hour). The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015. The moats, baileys, towers and walled alleyways were ingeniously designed to trick attackers – perhaps so intimidatingly that they were never in fact tested. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families and look out over the castle grounds and the city below from the seventh floor. Continue on a 1-hour train ride to Kyoto. Originally founded as Heian-kyo (literally “tranquility and peace capital”) by Emperor Kammu in 794, Kyoto had its golden age during the imperial court’s heyday from 794 to 1185. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years (the name means “Capital City”) but the emperor and government are now located in Tokyo. With over 2,000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a great place to get lost in.

Nishiki market in Kyoto

In the late afternoon we take a walk around Nishiki food market. Known as Kyoto’s kitchen. Afterwards, take a step back in time on a walk through the narrow streets of Kyoto’s charming Gion district, an entertainment district that’s the centre of geisha culture and that really comes alive at night. If you’re lucky you might spot geikos (geishas) or maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dress and make up.

Included Activities
·  Entry to Himeji Castle
·  Nishiki food market
·  Transport via subway
 Accommodation
Noku Roxy Kyotol, or similar
https://www.nokuroxy.com/about-noku-roxy/
Golden Temple, Kyoto in the fall

DAY 11: Nov 30 – KYOTO

You’ll begin the day with an orientation walk around some of Kyoto’s more important sights. Visit Kinkakuji Temple’s Golden Pavilion. From there we take a bus to Ryoan-ji in search of some tranquility in one of Japan’s famous Zen Gardens. Visit the imposing and opulent Nijo Castle, home to the Tokugawa Shoguns who had power over the country during the Edo period. Check out the ‘nightingale floors’ of Ninomaru Palace, which squeak to warn of intruders (like otherwise-silent ninjas). 

Included Activities
· Entry Kinkakujii Golden Pavilion
· Entry to Ryoan-ji Zen garden
·  Entry to Nijo Castle
·  Transport via private coach
Accommodation
Noku Roxy Kyotol, or similar
Arashiyama

DAY 12: Dec. 1 – KYOTO

Today we take a train journey to visit Arashiyama, a scenic area on the outskirts of Kyoto. This was a popular place for nobles to relax in a serene natural setting during the Heian period (785–1185). This bamboo forest is one of the most photographed sights in the city.

Philosopher’s Walk

In the afternoon we visit Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavilion) and take a pleasant stroll along the Philosopher’s Path. Approximately 2km long this riverside path gets its name from one of Japan’s most famous philosophers who was said to practice meditation while walking along the path to Kyoto University

 Afterwards, we enjoy a delicious Japanese feast to celebrate the final night of our Japan journey.

 Included Activities
• Arashiyama including bamboo forest
• Entry to Ginkakuji
• Philosopher’s Path
• Japanese feast
• Transport via train and private coach
Accommodation
Noku Roxy Kyotol, or similar

 

Foliage colour in Japan in fall is amazing

 DAY 13: Dec 2 – KYOTO

 There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Check out time is 10AM.

 Departure Transfer
·  Included (shuttle bus)
DETAILS
Start – Tokyo
Finish: Kyoto
Meals – 12 breakfast, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Airport transfers – Arrival and departure transfers included
Guide – 1 English-speaking Japanese guide throughout

swhysall@hotmail.com

 

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