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This Japan tour is a must for value-minded travelers who enjoy history, beautiful settings, and fascinating architecture. You’ll start in Tokyo, end in Osaka, and overnight along the way in the Mount Fuji area, Kyoto, and Hiroshima. Highlights of this tour through Japan are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites you’ll visit. In Kyoto, visit Nijo Castle, built in 1603 as the shogun’s official residence; the Temple of the Gold Pavilion, a Buddhist temple overlooking a large pond and covered in beautiful gold leaf; and the Pure Water Temple, founded in 780 AD on the site of a waterfall. In Hiroshima, visit Peace Memorial Park and see the only remaining structure—the Atomic Bomb Dome—that predates the 1945 atomic blast. An excursion from Hiroshima takes you to the Itsukushima Shrine, built over water and known for its iconic floating Torii gate. Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has long been worshipped as a sacred mountain. You’ll enjoy views of majestic Mount Fiji during your cruise on crystal-blue Lake Ashi and during your cable-car ride (weather permitting).In addition to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, famous shrines, and other historic sites, this Japan tour also includes visits to two of Japan’s beautiful gardens: Koraku-En, dating to 1686 and considered one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens, and Shinjuku Gyoen, dating to 1603 when it was a feudal lord’s home. Plus, you’ll ride on the famous bullet train. History, scenery, and fun experiences…this Japan vacation has it all!
Day 1: TOKYO, JAPAN.
Welcome to Japan’s capital city. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2: TOKYO.
Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions prior to morning sightseeing in Tokyo. Your tour starts with a visit to MEIJI SHRINE, a magnificent 20th-century Shinto monument set in a man-made forest. Next, visit SHINJUKU GYOEN GARDEN. Originally dating from the early 1600s, the garden was destroyed in World War II and reopened in 1949 as a public park. Today, it remains a very popular stop for locals and visitors alike. Last stop is the ASAKUSA KANNON TEMPLE and the bustling NAKAMISE SHOPPING ARCADE. The balance of the afternoon is at leisure. (B)
Day 3: TOKYO–KAMAKURA–MOUNT FUJI AREA.
This morning, leave Tokyo and head south along the coast to Kamakura to see the 750-year-old GREAT BUDDHA. Continue on to the Mount Fuji area for a CRUISE on Lake Ashi, followed by a CABLE-CAR RIDE (weather permitting) for panoramic views of spectacular Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain. (B,L)
Day 4: MOUNT FUJI AREA–KYOTO.
This morning, board one of Japan’s famous BULLET TRAINS bound for Kyoto. Upon arrival, visit the FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE, renowned for the thousands of brightly colored Torii Gates. This evening, you may choose to stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan (additional expense). (B)
Traditional Ryokan Stay
Immerse yourself in the Japanese culture and hospitality at a ryokan (Japanese inn). Your ryokan, Gion Hatanaka, features traditional touches—tatami mat floors, a thin sleeping mattress on the floor, and the chance to experience a Japanese-style bath—as well as the modern convenience of a private bathroom. Included: transfers to/from ryokan and from/to hotel in Kyoto; traditional Japanese dinner and breakfast.
Space is limited. See Dates & Prices for supplement.
Day 5: KYOTO.
Your day begins with a visit to NIJO CASTLE, built in 1603 as the official residence of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Then, visit stunning Kinkakuji, the TEMPLE OF THE GOLD PAVILION, covered in shimmering gold leaf. Lastly, visit KIYOMIZU TEMPLE, the “Pure Water Temple,” with stunning views over Kyoto. Along the way, walk through the busy streets where shops and restaurants have been catering to pilgrims for centuries. (B)
Day 6: KYOTO–HIROSHIMA.
The morning is at your leisure to explore more of Kyoto’s historic temples and shrines. This afternoon, drive south to Hiroshima. (B)
Day 7: HIROSHIMA.
Today’s sightseeing starts at PEACE MEMORIAL PARK, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the PEACE MEMORIAL, commonly referred to as the Atomic Bomb Dome, that has been preserved just as it was on August 6, 1945, immediately after the bombing. You will also visit the MEMORIAL MUSEUM and MEMORIAL HALL, which memorialize the lives lost that day. Next, join the afternoon excursion to MIYAJIMA ISLAND to visit ITSUKUSHIMA SHRINE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its floating Torii Gate. (B)
Day 8: HIROSHIMA–OKAYAMA–OSAKA.
Drive north to Okayama and visit KORAKU-EN, one of the “Three Great Gardens of Japan.” Covering some 30 acres, the garden features ponds, plum groves, and tea fields. A unique feature not typically found in Japanese gardens are the wide lawns which are said to help uplift the spirit and promote open mindedness. Continue on to Osaka and enjoy the evening at leisure. (B)
Day 9: OSAKA.
Your sightseeing tour starts at the OPEN-AIR MUSEUM OF OLD JAPANESE FARM HOUSES, where traditional thatched-roof farm houses dating from the Edo period have been restored. See the old architecture and be transported back in time. Next, visit OSAKA CASTLE and take a WALKING TOUR in Dotonbori, the city’s most famous entertainment district. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. Perhaps return to Dotonbori this evening to sample some local cuisine and see the sparkling neon lights. (B)
Day 10: OSAKA.
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Sightseeing & Activities:
Visit Meiji Shrine, Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, Asakusa Kannon Temple, and Nakamise Shopping Arcade
MOUNT FUJI AREA
Cable-car ride to view Mount Fuji
Bullet train from Mount Fuji area to Kyoto; visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, Nijo Castle, Temple of the Gold Pavillion, and Kiyomizu Temple
Visit Peace Memorial Park, Peace Memorial, Memorial Museum, Memorial Hall, Miyajima Island, and Itsukushima Shrine
Visit Koraku-en Garden
Visit Osaka Castle and the Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farm Houses; walking tour through DotonboriPrivate, deluxe, air-conditioned motorcoach while touring; bullet train from Mount Fuji area to Kyoto
9 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Gratuities for Tour Director and driver are available for pre-purchase.
Prices are per person, based on double room occupancy.
Single Room Supplement:
Triple Rooms are not available.
Extra nights per person in Tokyo:
in single room $260; in twin room $156
Extra nights per person in Osaka:
in single room $176; in twin room $131
$375 per person in twin room; $425 single room supplement
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