Japan (8D7N) – Keen on Kyoto (incl. public transportation & walking tours)
- Tokyo, the capital of Japan, mixes ultra-modern and the traditional, from the neon-lit skyscrapers to historic temples. Explore one of the most vibrant cities on earth and enjoy a cruise along the Tokyo River.
- The beauty of Fuji Hakone Izu will take your breath away. This national park covers 1,227 km² and features incredible scenery including the famous Mount Fuji.
- Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples. as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses.
Day 1 . Arrival in Tokyo
Welcome to Japan!
Upon arrival, our English speaking assistant will meet and greet you at the airport and assist you with the transfer to the hotel by the Airport Limousine Bus.
The rest of the day is free. We recommend exploring on foot the vibrant neighbourhood of Shinjuku. It is a major commercial and administrative centre and also encompasses the buzzing clubs and karaoke rooms of neon-lit East Shinjuku and upscale bars and restaurants in the Skyscraper District.
Overnight in Tokyo.
Day 2 . Tokyo
Using public transportation, enjoy a full day of explorations around Tokyo together with our guide.
We’ll start in the exquisitely beautiful Edo period Hamarikyu Garden where seawater ponds change with the tides. A traditional teahouse on an island offers visitors a resting place to enjoy the scenery. This traditional green oasis stands in stark contrast to the surrounding skyscrapers of the adjacent Shiodome district.
Then it’s all aboard a boat for a cruise along the Tokyo River passing more of the city sights. The boat will dock in Asukasa where we’ll find the Sensoji Temple, a very popular and colourful Buddhist temple. It is one of Tokyo’s most colorful and popular temples. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon.
No visit to Tokyo would be complete without checking out the shops! We’ll take a walk along Nakamise Street lined with boutiques, souvenir shops and street food outlets.
Our final stop is at the spacious Meiji Shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken.
Overnight in Tokyo.
Day 3 . Hakone
The guide will meet us at the hotel and together we will drive by public transportation to Shinjuku Station. From there we’ll take an Express Train to Hakone-Yumoto. The train ride will take approximately two hours.
We’ll head to Hakone today and explore the beautiful Fuji Hakone Izu. This national park is home to incredible scenery including the famous Mount Fuji. Sit back and soak in the natural scenery of Lake Ashi on the Pirate Cruise Ship. From here we’ll get wonderful views and photos of Mount Fuji.
Our next mode of transport is the cable-car known as the Hakone Ropeway. This gives us the chance to glide through the skies looking down on the Japanese countryside. We’ll get off in Owakudani – an active volcanic zone of sulfurous fumes, hot springs and rivers.
Our final stop is at the Hakone Open Air Museum to see the various sculptures and paintings, including a collection by Picasso.
Overnight in Hakone.
Day 4 . Kyoto
Breakfast and check out from the hotel. Our assistant will help us take public transfer to Odawara station, from where we will take the Bullet Train to Kyoto. This is a chance to experience Japan’s famous, fast trains.
Free Leisure in Kyoto. Enjoy the hotel or venture out to discover the city. Kyoto is famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It’s also known for formal traditions such as kaiseki dining, consisting of multiple courses of precise dishes, and geisha, female entertainers often found in the Gion district.
Spend the night in Kyoto.
Day 5 . Kyoto
Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in Kyoto together with our guide using public transportation.
What better way to start the day than with a nice cup of tea! The Japanese tea ceremony, known as chanoyu or sado, is a custom that dates back thousands of years. The ceremony is a carefully choreographed ritual that offers the ultimate in Japanese hospitality. As well as trying out a cup of this delicate green tea, we’ll get a unique insight into the customs and etiquette of traditional tea serving.
Fully refreshed, we’ll visit the Kinkakuji Temple, a Zen temple known for its delicately manicured gardens and floors covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuonji, the temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.
A walk through the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama is next on the itinerary. The walking paths cut through bamboo groves that have been used for centuries to make traditional crafts. We’ll continue across the Togetsukyo Bridge, an iconic landmark. Great photos can be had of the forested mountains in the background and the nearby riverside park full of cherry trees.
Overnight in Kyoto.
Day 6 . Kyoto & Nara
Today is all about Nara – Japan’s first permanent capital. Together with our guide, we will use public transportation in order to get to Nara. We’ll discover Todaiji Temple, home to Japan’s largest Buddha image. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most historically significant wooden buildings in the country.
While strolling through the grounds of Nara Park, we can take photos of the population of more than 1,000 tame deer.
Kasuga Taisha Shrine is the most important Shinto shrine in Nara. More than just the shrine buildings, Kasuga Taisha is a mysterious world of atmospheric forest, pathways, lanterns and wandering deer.
Back in Kyoto, we’ll visit the Gion and Pontocho area. Gion is known for its charming, historic atmosphere and strong ties to the world of traditional Japanese arts. In particular – geisha. Pontocho is one of Kyoto’s most atmospheric dining areas offering a variety of choices from inexpensive yakitori to highly exclusive establishments.
Spend the night in Kyoto.
Day 7 . Kyoto
Spend the day exploring Kyoto together with our guide!
The east side of Kyoto beckons today. This is where we’ll find Fushimi Inari Shrine, an important Shinto shrine famous for thousands of bright red torii gates that line the way to the top of the sacred Mount Inari.
We’ll continue to Kiyomizu Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which offers incredible views from the 13-metre high building whose massive veranda was built without using any nails.
In the spacious Kyoto Imperial Park we’ll find the Kyoto Imperial Palace where Japan’s Imperial Family resided until 1868 when the capital was moved to Tokyo.
Back in central Kyoto we’ll visit the beautiful Nijo Castle, once the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns.
Our final stop is at Nishiki Market. Known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, this lively retail market specializes in all things food related and is a great place to find Kyoto specialties such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi.
Overnight in Kyoto.
Day 8 . Departure from Osaka
Sadly it’s the end of the tour and time to say goodbye to Japan. After breakfast meet the assistant and transfer to Kansai International Airport by public transportation for the departure flight.
End of services.
Duration: 8Days/7 Nights