|Day 1||Arrive in Tokyo, Explore||Tokyo|
|Day 2||Full-Day Tokyo Highlights Tour||Tokyo|
|Day 3||Full-Day Tokyo Art & Culture Tour by Private Car||Tokyo|
|Day 4||Tokyo to Hakone, Mount Fuji National Park Excursion||Hakone|
|Day 5||Hakone to Kyoto, Geisha Tea Ceremony & Show||Kyoto|
|Day 6||Full-Day Kyoto Highlights Tour||Kyoto|
|Day 7||Full-Day Nara & Fushimi Excursion from Kyoto||Kyoto|
|Day 8||Full Day Hiroshima Excursion from Kyoto by Public Transport||Kyoto|
|Day 9||Kyoto to Osaka, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo, Explore
Welcome to Tokyo! Upon arrival at the airport, you'll be escorted to your hotel via private transfer, ensuring a stress-free, comfortable journey. Once settled, get out and explore your neighborhood before getting a good night's rest.
Day 2: Tokyo Highlights Tour
Take a day tour of fascinating Tokyo with a local guide. 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. Next, take a walk down Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree-lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world's top fashion brands.
End your day 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. This is where you'll stop for a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea house on a small island in the park's lake.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Full-Day Tokyo Art & Culture Tour by Private CarToday will start with a lesson in Iaido, a form of Japanese swordsmanship. Laido's emphasis is on precise, controlled, fluid motion and is sometimes referred to as 'moving Zen'. You are allowed to practice actual cutting techniques on bamboo or straw block forms using real Iaido swords.
Time to put down the sword and take up the pen as we have a lesson in shodo, Japanese calligraphy. You will learn how, when writing kanji (Japanese pictographs), each stroke has a proper way to begin and end, and there is a correct order and path to follow. The slightest lapse in concentration will show in one's work.
Last, head to Shinjuku's Samurai Museum. Located in a traditional Japanese building nicely contrasting with the neon jungle of Shinjuku, the museum hosts an incredible collection of armor, swords, and objects that belonged to samurai warriors throughout the ages.
Day 4: Tokyo to Hakone, Mount Fuji National Park ExcursionToday leave Tokyo behind as you make the journey to Hakone, the gateway to Mount Fuji and the surrounding
national park. To explore the national park, you can take advantage of the numerous forms of transport on offer. For instance, ride the world's second-longest cable car up Mount Owakudani, passing over sulfurous fumes, hot springs, and hot rivers. This is where you can eat egg hard-boiled in the sulfuric hot springs, which make Hakone famous. If you do, it will add seven years to your life!
Other ideas include a majestic replica pirate ship that sweeps passengers across Lake Ashinoko, a lake formed by a volcanic eruption 3,000 years ago, while the Hakone Tozan switchback train zigzags through the mountains, giving
amazing views of the surrounding valleys.
Day 5: Hakone to Kyoto, Geisha Tea Ceremony & ShowAfter arriving in Kyoto, you'll enjoy an authentic traditional tea ceremony hosted by a real Kyoto geisha, also called a geiko, or their apprentice called a maiko! You will be introduced to the unique geisha culture of Kyoto, where young geiko women would serve tea to pilgrims visiting the historic temples in Eastern Kyoto.
Day 6: Full-Day Kyoto Highlights TourToday you'll explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide, utilizing Kyoto's comprehensive bus system to visit some of Kyoto's World Heritage Sites. You'll start your day with a visit to Kinkaku-ji 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 Kyoto's most famous temples.
Nijo Castle is an ornamental castle built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning 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.
To end the day, you can decide what to visit. You may want to go to Kiyomizu Temple. From its high Veranda jutting out from the Main Hall, you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto while pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners; however, it is a steep walk uphill, and the temple is now under repair work, although it is still enjoyable and a Kyoto landmark.
You may decide, instead, to visit Sanjusangendo, a temple that is Japan's longest wooden structure. It's famous for its 1,001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. In the center of the main hall sits a large, wooden statue of a 1,000-armed Kannon that is flanked on each side by 500 statues of human-sized Kannon standing in 10 rows. Together they make for an awesome sight.
Day 7: Full-Day Nara & Fushimi ExcursionTransfer from your hotel to Nara by train with a local guide. For 74 years during the 8th century, Nara was Japan's capital, and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain. Start by visiting Todai-ji temple, the world's largest wooden building and home to Japan's largest Buddha. Then stop at Nara's most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, which is famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns. Next, 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.
Quench your thirst at a sake brewery. In the traditional style, you'll sample different types of their sake and see which one you like the most! On the way back from Nara, visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, which was used in the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha." It's home to over 10,000 red tori gates, which form a path up the mountain behind the temple.
Day 8: Full-Day Hiroshima Excursion from Kyoto by Public TransportThis morning you'll transfer to Hiroshima. Upon arrival, you'll be met by a local guide and visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The area where the park now lies was ground zero for the Atomic Bomb in 1945. After the bombing, the park was created and dedicated to those who lost their lives in the attack. Stroll through the park and discover the many memorials, monuments, and statues in the park before heading into the museum itself.
From Hiroshima, a short ferry ride will take you to Miyajima island. A small sacred island located in the Inland Sea, it has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times. Here you'll find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan: the Floating Torii Gate. Designated as one of Japan's '3 Most Beautiful Views', the shrine it belongs to dates back to the 6th century, with the present structure dating back to the 12th century.
The harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mere 'commoners' were not allowed to set foot on this holy place, and even now, it is forbidden to give birth or die on the island! You'll have time to explore the island and its many shrines and temples and sample local goodies, like maple leaf-shaped cakes, before heading back to Kyoto.
Day 9: Kyoto to Osaka, Depart
It's time to say goodbye to Japan! At the appointed time, a private transfer will collect you at your hotel and take you to the airport. Safe travels!