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JAPAN

Japan: An Exploration of History, Culture and Society

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Road Scholar
Program #19724RJ
17 Days | 16 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Day 6 Kaida Plateau, 3700 feet. Day 7 Road Journey to Takayama, 4000 feet.

Equipment Requirements
Your one piece of main luggage (a medium suitcase no larger than 25in x 18in x 11in) should have wheels for easy navigation through train stations and public transport. We recommend good quality comfortable shoes/boots that are suitable for walking.

Itinerary for Sep 23 — Oct 9, 2014

Expand all
Day One: Tuesday, September 23 - Departures
Evening: Depart on overnight flights from the USA.

Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: The Yaesu Terminal Hotel is a modern, comfortable business hotel located in the busy and popular Marunouchi district, only a 3-minute walk from Tokyo station and surrounded by shops and restaurants. In common with many Japanese city hotels, the rooms are a good deal smaller than you may be accustomed to. However, the location is second to none in terms of accessibility and convenience.

Contact info:
Yaesu 1-5-14
Chuo-Ku
Tokyo, 103-0028 Japan
phone: +81 -3-3281-3771
web: www.yth.jp/english/index.html

Room amenities: Western-style rooms with air-conditioning, High-Speed Wireless Internet access, cable / satellite television, direct-dial telephone, alarm clock, radio, tea making facility, bathrobe, slippers, private bathroom with bathtub and shower, hairdryer. Non-smoking rooms are available

Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar; WiFi Internet access in lobby, concierge desk and laundry service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact Program Provider
Contact Program Provider for Rates and Reservations.

Check in time: 2:00 PM


Day Two: Wednesday, September 24 - Arrivals / Welcome and Program Overview
Note: For independent arrivals, there are regular Narita Express Trains (approx 55 min journey) from Narita Airport to JR Tokyo Station. One-way tickets cost approximately 3000 Yen. The hotel is a 3-minute walk from Tokyo station. PLEASE ALSO SEE THE MAPS AND DIAGRAMS AT THE END OF THIS DOCUMENT FOR MORE DETAILS.

Afternoon: Arrivals at Narita Airport, Tokyo's international airport. Transfer to central Tokyo.

Dinner: Program orientation and welcome during your first meal of the program.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Yaesu Terminal Hotel

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: The Yaesu Terminal Hotel is a modern, comfortable business hotel located in the busy and popular Marunouchi district, only a 3-minute walk from Tokyo station and surrounded by shops and restaurants. In common with many Japanese city hotels, the rooms are a good deal smaller than you may be accustomed to. However, the location is second to none in terms of accessibility and convenience.

Contact info:
Yaesu 1-5-14
Chuo-Ku
Tokyo, 103-0028 Japan
phone: +81 -3-3281-3771
web: www.yth.jp/english/index.html

Room amenities: Western-style rooms with air-conditioning, High-Speed Wireless Internet access, cable / satellite television, direct-dial telephone, alarm clock, radio, tea making facility, bathrobe, slippers, private bathroom with bathtub and shower, hairdryer. Non-smoking rooms are available

Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar; WiFi Internet access in lobby, concierge desk and laundry service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact Program Provider
Contact Program Provider for Rates and Reservations.

Check in time: 2:00 PM


Day Three: Thursday, September 25 - Historical Edo, The Samurai And Economic Heart Of...
Note: 3.5 mile walk from Nihonbashi through the grounds of the Imperial Palace East gardens and Yasukuni Shrine. In the afternoon, a 30-minute transfer is followed by an approximately 0.5 mile walk around the Edo Tokyo Museum. The return journey to the vicinity of the hotel is 20 minutes via public transport and walking.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Begin with a walking exploration of the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo with your Study Leader. Edo, as Tokyo used to be known in the feudal period, was the de facto political and military centre of Japan. Nihonbashi was Edo’s heart, with the five main highways of Japan, terminating here. Continue walking to the nearby Imperial Palace Gardens, on the site of the Shogun’s castle, then on through stimulating Yasukuni Shrine as far as Iidabashi.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: A guided visit to the excellent Edo-Tokyo Museum, which describes well the built environment and life from the Edo period through to post-war Tokyo. For the energetic, carry on to Ginza, once the site of the shogun's treasury and now the premier shopping district of Japan. Ginza has a plethora of upmarket and smaller shops to browse through before returning to our hotel.

Dinner: In a lively izakaya restaurant, a popular choice for most Japanese. The large and varied menu caters to everyone's tastes.

Evening: At leisure

Lodging: Yaesu Terminal Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: The Yaesu Terminal Hotel is a modern, comfortable business hotel located in the busy and popular Marunouchi district, only a 3-minute walk from Tokyo station and surrounded by shops and restaurants. In common with many Japanese city hotels, the rooms are a good deal smaller than you may be accustomed to. However, the location is second to none in terms of accessibility and convenience.

Contact info:
Yaesu 1-5-14
Chuo-Ku
Tokyo, 103-0028 Japan
phone: +81 -3-3281-3771
web: www.yth.jp/english/index.html

Room amenities: Western-style rooms with air-conditioning, High-Speed Wireless Internet access, cable / satellite television, direct-dial telephone, alarm clock, radio, tea making facility, bathrobe, slippers, private bathroom with bathtub and shower, hairdryer. Non-smoking rooms are available

Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar; WiFi Internet access in lobby, concierge desk and laundry service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact Program Provider
Contact Program Provider for Rates and Reservations.

Check in time: 2:00 PM


Day Four: Friday, September 26 - Edo - the City of the Townspeople
Note: Approximately 3.5 miles of gentle strolling and 1hr of assorted rail and subway transfers enable us to explore Tokyo today.

Breakfast: Before exploring the fish market, enjoy a sushi breakfast of the freshest produce available anywhere in the city.

Morning: After breakfast (Market is now open from 0900), observe the intricacies of buying and selling of one of Japan's most important commodities during a morning visit to the world-famous Tsukiji fish market. From here we transfer to Asakusa. This area has long been famous for its Senso-ji temple, which we visit together.

Lunch: Try your hand at making Okonomiyaki at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Transfer to the charming neighbourhood of Yanaka. A quiet quarter with winding streets and narrow alleyways, local shops and an intimate feel, Yanaka provides perhaps the closest approximation to how life once was in downtown Edo through to the pre-war years of Tokyo. It is a straightforward journey on the Yamanote line back to the vicinity of the hotel.

Dinner: With help from your Group Leader, choose from a variety of local and international eateries.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Yaesu Terminal Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Inn

Description: The Ryokan Iwaya is a traditional, elegant Japanese inn, with tatami rooms and natural hot spring baths, located in the heart of historic Kiso-Fukushima.

Contact info:
Fukushima 5169
Kiso Gun
Kiso-Fukushima, Japan
phone: +81 264 22 2015
web: www.kisoji-iwaya.com/

Room amenities: Tatami rooms with futon mattresses, air-conditioning, direct-dial telephone, alarm clock, radio, Japanese tea making facility, in-room safe, mini-bar, bathrobe, slippers, private bathroom with bathtub and shower, hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Traditional Japanese cuisine and hot spring public baths (male and female). Wifi Internet access available in the lobby.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Saturday, September 27 - The Nakasendo Way and the Post Towns of the Kiso ...
Note: Approximately 3 hours by rail to Ena and the Hiroshige Print Museum. 40 minutes by coach from Ena to Tsumago. Approximately 1 mile walking around the village of Tsumago. Optional 3 mile (1.5hr) walk on trails from Magome Pass to Tsumago. Approximately 1 hour onward journey to Kiso-Fukushima. Sleep on traditional futons on tatami mats on the floor. Main luggage is sent by overnight courier from Tokyo arriving in Kiso-Fukushima on day 6.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Set off in the early morning by train, including Shinkansen Bullet train, to the picturesque Kiso Valley and the Nakasendo Way. Learn about the woodblock printing process at the Hiroshige Print Museum, then try your hand at producing your own. These iconic prints give great insight into the daily life of Edo-period Japan, particularly along the Nakasendo Way.

Lunch: Your choice to explore local fare while experiencing the novelty of a Japanese supermarket.

Afternoon: Continue by coach to Tsumago, a picturesque old post town and probably the most famous in Japan. Explore the workings of a traditional high-class inn and visit the local history museum. Prior to this, an optional 3 mile (1.5hr) walk along the old Nakasendo from the Magome Pass to Tsumago, for those so inclined, while others can enjoy exploring Tsumago. Onward travel to Kiso-Fukushima and our lodgings. Immerse yourself fully in Japanese culture, at an excellent modern Japanese inn with onsen hot spring baths

Dinner: Traditional Japanese-style dinner at the ryokan.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Ryokan Iwaya

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Inn

Description: The Ryokan Iwaya is a traditional, elegant Japanese inn, with tatami rooms and natural hot spring baths, located in the heart of historic Kiso-Fukushima.

Contact info:
Fukushima 5169
Kiso Gun
Kiso-Fukushima, Japan
phone: +81 264 22 2015
web: www.kisoji-iwaya.com/

Room amenities: Tatami rooms with futon mattresses, air-conditioning, direct-dial telephone, alarm clock, radio, Japanese tea making facility, in-room safe, mini-bar, bathrobe, slippers, private bathroom with bathtub and shower, hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Traditional Japanese cuisine and hot spring public baths (male and female). Wifi Internet access available in the lobby.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Six: Sunday, September 28 - Soba Noodles and Barrier Stations
Note: 20 minute local bus journey to our cookery workshop, followed by another 20 minute bus journey after lunch back to Kiso Fukushima. Approximately 1.5 miles walking around historic Kiso-Fukushima.

Breakfast: Traditional Japanese-style breakfast in the ryokan.

Morning: Roll up your sleeves and learn how buckwheat soba noodles, a local specialty are made by hand.

Lunch: Enjoy the noodles you have made.

Afternoon: Return to Kiso-Fukushima and visit the Edo-period Barrier Station. Learn more about travel under the watchful eye of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Dinner: Traditional Japanese-style dinner at the ryokan.

Evening: An after-dinner lecture on the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Lodging: Ryokan Iwaya

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Located in the heart of historic Takayama, a short walk from the many attractions of this compact city.

Contact info:
6-6 Hananosato Machi
Takayama
Gifu, NA 506-0026 Japan
phone: +81 -577-37-2000
web: http://www.bestwestern.co.jp/english/takayama/

Room amenities: TV, Satellite TV, Telephone, Wireless Internet, Tea Set, Refrigerator, Hair Dryer, Trouser Presser, Desk Lamp, Iron, Humidifier, Individual Temperature Control, Soap, Body Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, Toothbrush, Razor, Shower Cap, Brush, Towel, Bath Towel, Slippers, Pajamas

Facility amenities: Restaurant, Lounge, Conference Room, Sauna, Non Smoking Rooms, Vending Machines, Computers, Fax, Internet Access, Room Service, Massage Service, Wake-Up Call,

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Seven: Monday, September 29 - Castle Towns and the Japan Alps
Note: Approximately 1.5 hour coach or rail journey from Kiso-Fukushima to Matsumoto. Total 1.5 mile walking to explore Matsumoto Castle and its surrounds. Drive 2.5 hours by coach through the mountains from Matsumoto to Takayama.

Breakfast: Traditional Japanese-style breakfast in the ryokan.

Morning: Travel by coach to the city of Matsumoto for a visit to the city's castle. The keep of Matsumoto Castle, an impressive and imposing structure, is an original structure dating back to the late 16th Century and it is one of only four in Japan to be designated a National Treasure. Learn insights into the establishment and importance of castle towns under the Tokugawa Shogunate. Delve into the facts versus myth surrounding the Samurai.

Lunch: Learn about miso production and enjoy a delicious lunch at a traditional manufacturer of this tasty Japanese essential foodstuff.

Afternoon: Continue by coach through the spectacular mountains of Japan’s Central Alps to the town of Takayama.

Dinner: At the hotel, featuring a specialty of Takayama: Hida beef.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Best Western Hotel Takayama

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: A truly excellently located 3-star hotel in central Kyoto. Within easy walking distance of two main subway stations, the Gimmond is an ideal base from which to explore this fascinating city. Choice of Japanese or Western-style breakfast.

Contact info:
Takakura-Oike-dori
Nakagyo-ku
Kyoto, 604-8105 Japan
phone: +81 -75-221-4111
web: www.gimmond.co.jp/kyoto/english/e_index.html

Room amenities: Refrigerator, Remote control, Colour TV, Alarm clock, Hanging closet, Night wear 'Yukata', Hair dryer, Towels, Shampoo, Toothbrush, In-room japanese tea set, High Speed wireless and cable Internet

Facility amenities: 24 Hour Front Desk, Safe deposit box at reception, Once daily maid service, Laundry service, Xeroxcopy, fax service, Coin operated Internet at Lobby, Free WiFi Access in Lobby, Italian Restaurant, Japanese Restaurant.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Eight: Tuesday, September 30 - Takayama, Independent City
Note: Leisurely walking of approximately 2 miles around the sights of Takayama. 3 hour rail transfer to Kyoto, arriving in the early evening.

Breakfast: Western and Japanese buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Explore Takayama, a charming, small mountain town. Its streets are lined with Edo-period shops and houses. Largely isolated by the surrounding mountains, Takayama fiercely protected it's independence under pressure from the Shogunate, which eventually had to resort to direct rule. Through a visit to the historic Jinya, the Shogunate’s local headquarters, gain insights into Takayama's proud history and daily life in the provinces.

Lunch: Your choice to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Time for independent exploration before departing by rail to Kyoto in the mid-afternoon.

Dinner: A slightly later dinner than usual, taken at or nearby the hotel following our arrival in Kyoto

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Gimmond

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: A truly excellently located 3-star hotel in central Kyoto. Within easy walking distance of two main subway stations, the Gimmond is an ideal base from which to explore this fascinating city. Choice of Japanese or Western-style breakfast.

Contact info:
Takakura-Oike-dori
Nakagyo-ku
Kyoto, 604-8105 Japan
phone: +81 -75-221-4111
web: www.gimmond.co.jp/kyoto/english/e_index.html

Room amenities: Refrigerator, Remote control, Colour TV, Alarm clock, Hanging closet, Night wear 'Yukata', Hair dryer, Towels, Shampoo, Toothbrush, In-room japanese tea set, High Speed wireless and cable Internet

Facility amenities: 24 Hour Front Desk, Safe deposit box at reception, Once daily maid service, Laundry service, Xeroxcopy, fax service, Coin operated Internet at Lobby, Free WiFi Access in Lobby, Italian Restaurant, Japanese Restaurant.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Nine: Wednesday, October 01 - The Cultural Icons of Kyoto
Note: A combination of public transport, private-hire vehicles and leisurely walking of 3-4 miles to enjoy the important attractions of Kyoto.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Discover Kyoto's icons, that form much of the heart of Japan’s history and culture. Visit Kinkaku-ji temple (Golden Pavilion) and the fabulous Zen gardens at Ryoan-ji temple. The Golden Pavilion, probably the most recognizable structure in Japan, was built by 3rd Ashikaga Shogun Yoshimitsu as a lavish retirement villa.

Lunch: Your choice to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Free time to explore independently.

Dinner: Your choice among Kyoto’s abundant, small restaurants. Your Study Leader will provide suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Gimmond

Meals Included: Breakfast
Type: Hotel

Description: A truly excellently located 3-star hotel in central Kyoto. Within easy walking distance of two main subway stations, the Gimmond is an ideal base from which to explore this fascinating city. Choice of Japanese or Western-style breakfast.

Contact info:
Takakura-Oike-dori
Nakagyo-ku
Kyoto, 604-8105 Japan
phone: +81 -75-221-4111
web: www.gimmond.co.jp/kyoto/english/e_index.html

Room amenities: Refrigerator, Remote control, Colour TV, Alarm clock, Hanging closet, Night wear 'Yukata', Hair dryer, Towels, Shampoo, Toothbrush, In-room japanese tea set, High Speed wireless and cable Internet

Facility amenities: 24 Hour Front Desk, Safe deposit box at reception, Once daily maid service, Laundry service, Xeroxcopy, fax service, Coin operated Internet at Lobby, Free WiFi Access in Lobby, Italian Restaurant, Japanese Restaurant.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Ten: Thursday, October 02 - The Importance of Tea in Japanese Culture
Note: This is a busy day that includes 2.5 miles of walking in the morning, assisted by short transfers on public transportation. In the afternoon, sit on either tatami mats or small chairs on the floor while participating in the tea ceremony. The after-dinner walk is 1 mile and finishes at the hotel. Note that space is limited at the tea room, and that large groups will be split into two, reversing the daily itinerary.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Continue to delve into Kyoto's history and culture. First, a visit Nijo-jo castle, the only Shogun residence still in existence, for a chance to learn about the daily life at the Shogun's court. Continue to Daitoku-ji temple complex, associated with the ultimate master of the tea ceremony; Sen-no-rikyu.

Lunch: At a Shojin Ryori, or temple vegetarian restaurant located by the 56-acre Daitoku-ji temple complex.

Afternoon: To round off the main theme of today, experience the Tea Ceremony in the informative and enthralling company of a Tea Master. Delve into the ceremony, a delightful and deeply meaningful practice far from the rigid image it often has, and also make tea for each other.

Dinner: In a local restaurant.

Evening: Take an evening stroll around the exclusive Gion district of Kyoto with your Study Leader. Here, with some luck, you might spot a Geisha scurrying between appointments.

Lodging: Hotel Gimmond

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Very well located, on the edge of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Contact info:
3-3-1 Ote-machi, Naka-ku
Hiroshima, NA 730-0051 Japan
phone: +81 -(0)82-249-3600
web: http://www.sunroute.jp/english/hotelinfo/chugoku_shikoku/hiroshima/

Room amenities: Toothbrush Set, Bath Towels, Face Towels, Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Soap, Brush or Comb, Nightwear, Slippers, Razor, Refrigerator, Toilet (with bidet), Hairdryer. High Speed Internet Access is available in all guest rooms (Free of Charge).

Facility amenities: Western restaurant, Japanese restaurant, Bar, Banquet hall, Meeting room, No-smoking rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Eleven: Friday, October 03 - Hiroshima - A City Reborn
Note: 105-minute bullet train transfer to Hiroshima with luggage. Total walking around Hiroshima 3 miles. Transfers by tram and train.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Morning departure by Shinkansen Bullet train to Hiroshima, a vibrant city that belies its recent and infamous past. The town has one of the last remaining tram systems in Japan, which we ride to alight the Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum. Within the grounds of the Park is the Atom Bomb Dome, the old Industry Promotion Hall. The Hall was very close to the epicenter and its smashed walls and twisted metal frame vividly recalls the blast. The Museum itself is a thoughtful and non-sentimental exhibition of the effects of the bomb. The Park also contains the eternal flame and a serene, underground memorial hall. The whole area is thought-provoking site but with an overwhelming feeling of the forward-looking, positive way the people of Hiroshima are using their experience.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: In the afternoon, visit Shukkeien, an archtypal “shrunken” Japanese garden. There are a number of tea houses en route as we stroll around - those who wish can enjoy the beautiful scenery over a cup of green tea before returning to the hotel

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Sunroute Hiroshima

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Very well located, on the edge of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Contact info:
3-3-1 Ote-machi, Naka-ku
Hiroshima, NA 730-0051 Japan
phone: +81 -(0)82-249-3600
web: http://www.sunroute.jp/english/hotelinfo/chugoku_shikoku/hiroshima/

Room amenities: Toothbrush Set, Bath Towels, Face Towels, Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Soap, Brush or Comb, Nightwear, Slippers, Razor, Refrigerator, Toilet (with bidet), Hairdryer. High Speed Internet Access is available in all guest rooms (Free of Charge).

Facility amenities: Western restaurant, Japanese restaurant, Bar, Banquet hall, Meeting room, No-smoking rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Twelve: Saturday, October 04 - The Tale of Heike
Note: Total walking around Hiroshima and Miyajima, 3 miles. Short transfers by tram and ferry, and cable car.

Breakfast: Western and Japanese Style in the Hotel

Morning: Take the tram to Miyajima-guchii then the ferry to Miyajima island. The island is justly famous for the Shinto Itsukushima Shrine, which is built out over the sea. The Shrine is over 1,400 years old but its present form was established in 1168 under the patronage of Taira-no-Kiyomori, who established the first samurai government of Japan. The Taira Clan’s fierce and bloody feud with the Minamoto Clan is related in the epic, Tale Of Heike. Finally victorious, the Minamoto established the Shogunate at Kamakura in 1192.

Lunch: Your choice to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Miyajima, where vehicles are few, is a pleasant place to stroll around. Take the cable car close to the top of Mt. Misen for views across the Seto Inland Sea, before returning to Hiroshima.

Dinner: At leisure.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Sunroute Hiroshima

Meals Included: Breakfast
Type: Other

Description: The Shuhokan Inn is situated one-half mile from the Yufuin railway station and offers a scenic view of Shuho Yufu Peak, in the renowned spa town of Yufuin.

Contact info:
Kawakami 2415-2
Yufuin-Cho
Yufuin, 879-5102 Japan
phone: +81 977 84 5111
web: www.shuhokan.jp/

Room amenities: Air-conditioned Japanese and Western-style rooms, cable / satellite television, direct-dial telephone, alarm clock, Japanese tea making facility, in-room safe, bathrobe, slippers.

Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar, hot-springs, sauna, Wifi internet access in rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Thirteen: Sunday, October 05 - Early Japanese Buddhism
Note: Another active day with a 3-hour transfer on Shinkansen "bullet" train and Sonic express train with luggage. A short coach transfer is followed by approximately 1 mile of walking to visit some temple precincts, where there is some rough ground and steep steps. Another mile walking around Kitsuki followed by a 1-hour transfer to the hotel. Accommodation here is mostly Japanese style - you may be sleeping on traditional futons on tatami mats on the floor. Main luggage sent by overnight courier.

Breakfast: Early breakfast (6:30) am at the hotel.

Morning: Early departure to the train, the award-winning Sonic Express. Kunisaki is a little-known but fabulous area of Japan. The area is now sparsely populated but was once one of the first Buddhist strongholds in Japan. Many beautiful temples and thousands of stone Buddhas and deities are spread throughout the whole of Kunisaki. Common in years past, monks on pilgrimage are now a rare sight. But the local religion, which has morphed over the centuries into an eclectic concoction of Buddhism, Shintoism and various folk religions, is vibrant. Visit Fuki-ji, one of the most picturesque temples in Japan. Note: In order to protect the treasures inside Fuki-ji temple from the elements, it may not be possible to view the interior of the temple in rainy and windy conditions.

Lunch: Enjoy locally-produced, farmhouse dishes in a nearby restaurant.

Afternoon: Kunisaki, like so many rural areas of Japan, suffers from depopulation and decline. In conversations with residents, examine the problems this raises for the local community and what is being done to reinvigorate a small part of Japan. Continue to Kitsuki, a quiet castle town, to visit a splendid example of a thatched Samurai house. End the day in the surroundings of a high-class resort hotel in Yufuin, an up-market destination famed both for its setting: nestled in a valley below Mt. Yufu-dake and its onsen. Japanese style accommodation.

Dinner: Traditional Japanese-style dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Shuhokan

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: The Hotel Cuore is a conveniently-located Western-style hotel near the main railway station and a short tram ride to the center of town.

Contact info:
7-3 Daikoku-cho
Nagasaki, 850-0057 Japan
phone: +81958189000
web: www.hotel-cuore.com/

Room amenities: Western-style rooms with air-conditioning, Wired LAN Internet Access, cable / satellite television, direct-dial telephone, Japanese tea making facility, in-room safe, bathrobe, slippers, private bathroom with bathtub and shower, hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Wired LAN Internet Access, coin laundry service, computers available for use in the lobby.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Fourteen: Monday, October 06 - The Romance of Train Travel
Note: Leisurely independent walking in the morning, followed by a 3.5 hour train transfer with luggage in the afternoon. Due to high demand during the peak seasons, in the case that seats on the train are not secured, transfer will be made by coach to Nagasaki.

Breakfast: Traditional Japanese-style breakfast in the ryokan.

Morning: Take some time to explore Yufuin before boarding the train to Nagasaki. The train system in Japan is one of the best in the world and the trains on Kyushu the most interesting in Japan. Today, travel on the Yufu-no-Mori, a slightly eccentric looking, but comfortable express train.

Lunch: You may wish to try a bento packed lunch, or other selections available for purchase on the train.

Afternoon: The train continues to wind its way through Kyushu’s beautiful countryside past villages, fields and mountains. Arrive in the early evening in Nagasaki, the most westerly city in Japan. Founded by the Portuguese in the 16th Century, Nagasaki is a compact and unusually cosmopolitan city.

Dinner: In a restaurant near the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Cuore

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: The Hotel Cuore is a conveniently-located Western-style hotel near the main railway station and a short tram ride to the center of town.

Contact info:
7-3 Daikoku-cho
Nagasaki, 850-0057 Japan
phone: +81958189000
web: www.hotel-cuore.com/

Room amenities: Western-style rooms with air-conditioning, Wired LAN Internet Access, cable / satellite television, direct-dial telephone, Japanese tea making facility, in-room safe, bathrobe, slippers, private bathroom with bathtub and shower, hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Wired LAN Internet Access, coin laundry service, computers available for use in the lobby.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Fifteen: Tuesday, October 07 - Edo Japan and Trade With the West
Note: Approximately 3.5 miles leisurely walking in the morning, with some short public transport transfers.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Visit re-created Dejima, the small Dutch trading post that was the sole access between Japan and the West during Japan’s long period of seclusion from the rest of the world. The buildings have been recreated and these, along with informative displays, provide a very good idea of daily life in the Edo period. Continue to the nearby Tojin-machi, the still-atmospheric and original Chinese quarter, and Glover Gardens. The latter was the home of an expatriate Scots businessman, Thomas Glover, living in Japan during the late Edo and early Meiji, modern state, period. The gardens, which provide great views over the sea inlet, now contain period houses of other foreign traders brought here from around Nagasaki.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to explore the many other interesting places of the city.

Dinner: Use your tram pass to explore independent dining options and Nagasaki's lively nightlife - your group leader will advise.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Cuore

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: Ideally located next to Fukuoka's main railway station. Free-to-use iPads have been installed in every room.

Contact info:
4016, Hakataeki Chuogai, Hakata-ku
Fukuoka, NA 812-0012 Japan
phone: +81 -(0)92-473-7111
web: http://www.hotelforza.jp/hakata/en/

Facility amenities: Restaurant, Public computers and free-to-use coffee machine available in the lobby.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: Contact Program Provider
Contact Program Provider for pricing

Check out time: 11:00 AM

Day Sixteen: Wednesday, October 08 - Fukuoka - Japan's Gateway to Asia
Note: Express train to Fukuoka 2 hrs followed by dropping off luggage and 30 minutes to Dazaifu. 2 miles total walking.

Breakfast: Western and Japanese buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Travel to Fukuoka, where an exploration of this lively city - Japan's gateway to Asia – commences. A 30-minute ride on the Nishtetsu Railway brings you to Dazaifu, the old western capital of Japan. Visit the impressive Tenman-Gu Shrine and Komyo Zen-ji Zen Buddhist temple and its beautiful garden.

Lunch: Your choice to explore local fare.

Afternoon: In the Kyushu National Museum, view the collections of calligraphy, sculpture and arts from Japan and its Asian neighbors.

Dinner: Celebrate your journey and review the highlights at a farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Forza Hakata

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Seventeen: Thursday, October 09 - Return to the U.S.A.
Note: 3-4 hr railway journey to Kansai International Airport.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Transfer by Rail to Kansai International Airport.

Evening: Depart Kansai International Airport for flights to the USA. Cross International Date Line. Arrivals in the U.S.A.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
15 nights of accommodations
34 meals: 15 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 11 dinners
4 Expert-led lectures
21 Field trips
4 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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