Tour OverviewJapan Essentials Encompassing Japan's "Golden Route", this itinerary features the bright lights and futuristic sites of Tokyo, the beautiful nature of iconic Mt. Fuji in Hakone National Park, Kyoto, Japan's spiritual and cultural capital with 2,000 temples, shrines, and 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Osaka, the culinary capital of Japan. Includes: All Private Ground Transfers3 Nights TokyoTokyo City TourTsukiji Fish Market Visit + Sushi Making1 Night HakoneHakone Tour + Hakone Jinja3 Nights KyotoHome Visit & Cultural ExperienceKyoto City Tour + Nijo Castle & Kiyomizu TempleNara & Fushimi Inari Tour1 Night OsakaClassic Osaka Tour + Osaka CastleFirst-Class Rail Between CitiesDaily Breakfast
View More Information on Tour Destinations
Itinerary OverviewAvanti Destinations: Japan Essentials
Day 1 Arrive Tokyo
On arrival at Narita Airport, you will be met in the arrival hall by your driver who will assist you with the included shared transfer to your hotel (60 90 minutes).TokyoOne of the Worlds most cutting-edge capitals, Tokyo is a city of contrasts. Famous for its cutting edge modernity, neon-lit landscape and towering skyscrapers, it is also home to sprawling parkland, peaceful shrines and temples and lovingly tended gardens. Despite its love affair with manga pop culture, fashion, high-tech trends and conspicuous consumption, below the surface is a city that has its roots in an ancient heritage. Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples stand close to skyscrapers as a reminder of a more contemplative time and at the heart of the hyperactive centre lies the serene Imperial Palace, the home of the ruling emperor that provides a tangible link to the citys historical past. Behind the shopping, entertainment and commercial emporia can be found quaint wooden houses, private gardens with meticulously clipped bonsai trees and the Zen-like calm of the Hamarikyu Gardens. The citys reputation as a mega-expensive metropolis is ill conceived and visitors can take advantage of inexpensive izakaya bars and neighborhood cafes that serve delicious noodles and rice dishes.
The remainder of your day is at leisure.
Centrally Located Hotel In Tokyo, ()
Day 2 Tokyo
Tokyo City TourTake a day tour of this fascinating city with a local guide, making use of Tokyo's comprehensive and user friendly public transport system. The day begins with a visit to Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Take a walk down Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world's top fashion brands.
Asakusa VisitHead across town to Asakusa, Tokyo's old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of the Tokyo of old. Visit Sensoji, Tokyo's oldest temple and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Take a boat cruise on the Sumida River passing under 12 bridges. Disembark in Hamarikyu garden, an Edo Period Japanese garden surrounded by the Shiodome district's futuristic skyscrapers, a great example of how Japan is the land of contrasts, where you will stop for a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea house on a small island in the park's lake.
Centrally Located Hotel In Tokyo, (B)
Day 3 Tokyo
Tsukiji Fish Market VisitThe worlds largest fish market, Tsukiji Market handles about 2,888 tons of marine products a day worth about 2.8 billion yen (US$20million). Some 450 kinds of fish are received; from penny-per-piece sardines to golden brown dried sea slug caviar, a bargain at US$473 a pound. Some of the giant tuna go for well over 1,000,000JPY each (US$8000). Take time to wander through this enormous market, exploring both the vegetable and fruit areas plus the impressive seafood section. There may also be an opportunity to see a complete tuna being cut and filleted.
Sushi MakingYou will then visit a typical Japanese home. Your guide will answer all your questions about Japanese culture and everyday life in Tokyo during the transfer by public transportation. Learn to prepare maki sushi (rolled sushi), gunkan maki (sushi rice wrapped with a strip of seaweed and topped with soft ingredients), and nigiri sushi (sushi rice topped with a slice of raw fish). You will then get to enjoy your home made sushi for lunch.
Your afternoon will be at leisure.
Centrally Located Hotel In Tokyo, (B,L)
Day 4 Tokyo to Hakone
Today leave Tokyo behind as you make the 90 minute journey to Hakone, the gateway to Mt Fuji and surrounding national park. Your local guide for the day will accompany you on the Romance Car express train from Tokyos Shinjuku station.
HakoneHakone is a natural nature wonderland and is famous for its hot springs, outdoor pursuits and the view of the nearby Mount Fuji. It is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is less than 100-km from Tokyo, thereby providing a popular weekend destination for city residents keen to escape the frenzy of the capital. Beautiful Hakone has about everything a vacationer could wish for. Besides the towering mountains, lakes and views of Mount Fuji, it is also blessed with interesting historical sites.
Hakone TourTo explore the National Park, you can take advantage of the numerous forms of transport on offer. A majestic replica pirate ship will sweep you across the Lake Ashinoko, a lake formed by a volcanic eruption 3000 years ago, and the Hakone Tozan switchback train zig zags though the mountains, giving amazing views of the surrounding valleys.
Hakone JinjaVisit Hakone Jinja, a delightful mountain Shinto sanctuary close to the lake, which is known for granting harmony in relationships.
Throughout the day you will have the chance to get a glimpse of Mt Fuji, however please keep in mind that she is a notoriously shy mountain and it needs to be a clear day.
Centrally Located Hotel In Hakone, (B)
Day 5 Hakone to Kyoto
Today you will ride Japans world famous Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto. Capable of speeds of up to 185mph (360km/h), the Shinkansen takes 2 hours to reach Kyoto.
KyotoThis is a must see destination in Japan. Kyoto is the nations former capital and was the residence of the emperor from 794 until 1868. It is Japans seventh largest metropolis with a population of around 1.4 million and a city of culture that offers a plethora of temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures that still survive today. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and associated architecture, it is one of the best preserved cities in Japan and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Kyoto represents the Japan of old and beyond the high rise skyscrapers built as a monument to progress, the real monument to Japans historical and cultural past can be found in the citys narrow alleyways where tea houses abound and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function. This is a place to go back in time to Japans mysterious past where echoes of the court nobility resonate at the Imperial Palace and the search for contemplation can be found in Ryoanjis Zen rock gardens.
This afternoon you will have the opportunity to experience Japanese culture hands-on.
Home Visit with Cultural Experience
Visit the home of an instructor of one of Japans Traditional Arts. One or our assistants will meet at your hotel and escort you to the instructors house. You may choose from Tea Ceremony, Flower Arrangement, Calligraphy or Origami. Enjoy learning these hands-on traditional arts with the support/advice from the professional instructor and interpretation from our assistant. Please notice the entire group has to choose the same activity.
Centrally Located Hotel In Kyoto, (B)
Day 6 Kyoto
Kyoto City TourToday you explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide, utilizing Kyotos comprehensive bus system to visit some of Kyotos World Heritage Sites. You will start your day with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death it became a Buddhist Temple at his request, and is now one of Kyotos most famous temples.
Nijo CastleNijo Castle is an ornamental castle was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning surrounding gardens. The main building was completed in 1603, and is famous for its architecture, decorated sliding doors and chirping nightingale floors. Take a walk down Nishiki Market, a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi.
Kiyomizu Temple VisitsFinal stop today is Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. From the 13m high veranda jutting out from the Main Hall you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto, whilst pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners.
Centrally Located Hotel In Kyoto, (B)
Day 7 Kyoto
Nara TourTransfer from your hotel to Nara by train (45min) with a local guide. For 74 years during the 8th century Nara was Japans capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain. Visit Todaiji temple, the worlds largest wooden building and home to Japans largest Buddha. Next stop is Naras most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers. Take a wander through Nara Park, called Deer park by locals due to the large population of more than 1,000 tame deer living there.
Fushimi Inari TourOn the way back from Nara, visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, which was used in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. It is home to over 10,000 red tori gates, which form a path up the mountain behind the temple.
Centrally Located Hotel In Kyoto, (B)
Day 8 Kyoto to Osaka
Transfer to Osaka by train using your JR Pass.
Classic Osaka Tour + Osaka CastleIn the afternoon your guide will meet you at your hotel to take you on a tour of Osaka by public transportation. Start your day visiting the magnificent Osaka Castle. The castle is one of Japan's most famous, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. It has been completely rebuilt, faithful to the original appearance, after its destruction during World War II; the inside is modern and functional and serves as a museum of Osaka history. Next stop is the Floating Garden Observatory. Built on top of the highest building in Osaka, its an open air observatory from which you can enjoy stunning views of the city and the bay. Hop on the underground for todays last stop: the hustling district of Dotonbori, a former pleasure district turned restaurant mecca. You can sample the famous takoyaki, octopus dumpling, Osakas most famous street food.
Centrally Located Hotel In Osaka, (B)
Day 9 Depart Osaka
Your day is free before you transfer to the airport to continue on to your next Avanti destination!
Centrally Located Hotel In Osaka, (B)
Tour Dates & Pricing
- Sunday May 1st, 2016 - Monday December 31st, 2018