19725
Japan
The Cultural Highlights of Japan
Take the adventure of a lifetime as you dive deep into the ancient culture of Japan, discovering iconic monuments, ancient traditions and world-renowned cuisine.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19725RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
6,613
Flights start at
825
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16 days
15 nights
35 meals
14 B 11 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Depart the USA
In Flight

Evening: Depart on overnight flights from the USA.

DAY
2
Arrivals / Welcome and Program Overview
Tokyo
D
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Ginza

Activity note: Allow 2 hours for a road or rail / taxi transfer from Narita Airport to the hotel in Tokyo. If arriving independently, take a 55 minute journey on the Narita Express, a 7 minute walk through Tokyo station with luggage, and a 3-minute walk to the hotel.

Afternoon: Arrivals at Narita Airport, Tokyo's international airport. Travel to the program hotel in central Tokyo.

Dinner: An initial program briefing is held over our first meal of the program.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Edo – the City of the Shogun and the townspeople
Tokyo
B,L,D
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Ginza

Activity note: Walk approximately one mile walk through the grounds of the Imperial Palace East gardens. In the afternoon, an approximately 0.5 mile walk around the Edo Tokyo museum. Transfers made by private motor coach.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Begin with an exploration of the Imperial Palace East gardens, the site of the Shogun’s castle, with your Study Leader.

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.

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.

DAY
4
Cultural entertainment in Japan
Tokyo
B,L
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Ginza

Activity note: Approximately 1 mile of gentle strolling and transfers by taxi enable us to explore the art of Kabuki today. Sitting on chairs in a lecture room.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: A morning lecture by an expert in Kabuki, classical Japanese dance-drama that has been performed in Japan since 1603.

Lunch: Experience a Japanese bento lunch box.

Afternoon: Our Kabuki experience continues into the afternoon.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Japanese Feudal Castle Towns
Matsumoto
B,L,D
Hotel Kagetsu

Activity note: 3.5 hour coach transfer to Matsumoto. One mile of walking to explore Matsumoto and the museum.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Depart Tokyo and travel into the heart of central Japan to Matsumoto, a pleasant regional city surrounded by the Japan Alps. As we travel, enjoy a lecture by your study leader.

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

Afternoon: A visit to Matsumoto's modern museum which features a permanent exhibition of one of Matsumoto's most prominent figures, Yayoi Kusama.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
The Nakasendo Way
Matsumoto
B,L
Hotel Kagetsu

Activity note: Two hour return coach trip to Narai. 1 ~ 2 miles strolling around Matsumoto Castle & Narai. The castle interior contains some very steep flights of steps and polished wooden floors - entering is optional. Shoes will need to be removed to enter the castle today.

Breakfast: Western or Japanese breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: An early morning guided tour of the castle, one of only four castles in Japan that are listed as national treasures. We continue to Narai, one of the best-preserved post towns of the old Nakasendo Highway. Lying at the foot of the difficult Torii Pass (4200 feet), Narai prospered from the travelers who would rest there in order to prepare for the difficult journey ahead. View the distinctive wooden houses with their overhanging roofs and the many well-preserved features of an old post town.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue exploration of Narai before returning to Matsumoto.

Dinner: Your choice to explore local dining.

Evening: At leisure

DAY
7
Japanese Mountains
Takayama
B,L,D
Best Western Hotel Takayama

Activity note: 2.5 hour motor coach transfer to Takayama. Leisurely walking of approximately 0.5 miles around the sights of Takayama.

Breakfast: Western or Japanese breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Depart Matsumoto and drive through the spectacular scenery of Japan’s Central Alps to Takayama, also known as ‘Little Kyoto’ by the locals.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Upon arrival, visit the Takayama Festival Float museum before checking into the hotel.

Dinner: Enjoy a traditional Japanese-style dinner at the hotel, featuring the local specialty, Hida Wagyu beef.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Japanese Regional Architecture
Takayama
B,D
Best Western Hotel Takayama

Activity note: Approximately 1 ~ 2 miles gentle strolling around Takayama. Shoes will need to be removed to enter some attractions today.

Breakfast: Western and Japanese breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Take in the picturesque Sanmachi district of Takayama, where the streets are lined with many beautifully-preserved traditional shops, inns, restaurants, cafés, private homes and museums. This is followed with a visit to the Jinya, the local governor’s buildings of the Tokugawa Shogunate, providing a fascinating look at period regional architecture.

Lunch: Lunch on own - your group leader will advise.

Afternoon: Visit the local folk museum in an old Merchant's house, which includes a private collection of folk craft and ceramics from the Muromachi and Edo periods.

Dinner: In a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Small-Scale Agriculture and Rural Ecology In Japan
Kanazawa
B,L,D
Kanazawa New Grand Hotel

Activity note: 1hr coach journey to Shirakawago. Approx 1 ~ 2 miles gentle strolling around the area of Shirakawago. Shoes will need to be removed to enter some attractions today.

Breakfast: Western and Japanese breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Depart by motorcoach to Kanazawa, arriving at the end of the afternoon. En-route, visit rustic Shirakawa-go, a village situated in the midst of remote mountain countryside. Shirakawa-go is famous for its Gassho-zukuri, large, A-framed thatched farmhouses. Almost one hundred of these farmhouses stand amid vegetable plots and paddy fields. Take a leisurely stroll through this timeless village, where motorized vehicles are not permitted.

Lunch: Contemplate the ingenuity and scale of the architecture as you enjoy local specialty food.

Afternoon: Continue on to Kanazawa.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
The Samurai and Edo Period Lifestyle
Kanazawa
B,L
Kanazawa New Grand Hotel

Activity note: Approximately 2 miles leisurely walking around the main sights of Kanazawa.

Breakfast: Western and Japanese breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: In the Edo Period, Kanazawa flourished economically and culturally under the powerful Kaga Clan. With the exception of the Shogun’s family, the Kaga Clan was the wealthiest family, with a worth of more than one million koku - one koku was defined as enough rice to feed one person for a year. The city’s glorious past is still palpable in its samurai quarters, former pleasure quarters and temples. The Kenrokuen Gardens and the imposing, recreated castle buildings, which we walk through this morning, attest to the power of the Clan’s wealth and evoke their grand lifestyle.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Stroll through former Geisha and Samurai quarters and visit the 21st Century Museum.

Dinner: Venture out into town on your own for dinner - your study leader will advise.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Japanese Shinto practises
Kyoto
B,D
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto Shijyo-Karasuma

Activity note: 3.5 hour motor coach to Kyoto. One mile walk around Shimogamo shrine in the afternoon.

Breakfast: Western and Japanese breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to Kyoto by motorcoach. En-route enjoy a lecture about depopulation and other issues that Modern Japan faces.

Lunch: Stop at a Japanese service station or purchase a bento for the coach ride.

Afternoon: Visit Shimogamo shrine, one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan and one of seventeen historic monuments of ancient Kyoto that has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Dinner: In a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Ancient Capitals of Japan
Kyoto
B,L,D
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto Shijyo-Karasuma

Activity note: Approximately 2 miles leisurely walking around the main sights of Nara. Shoes will need to be removed to enter some attractions today.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Full day excursion to Nara. Visit Todai-ji temple, once one of the powerful seven great temples, it houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: A visit to our second of the seven great temples and another of Nara's UNESCO Heritage site. The temple's pagoda is acknowledged to be one of the oldest wooden buildings existing in the world.

Dinner: In a restaurant back in Kyoto.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Making A Cup Of Tea and Humanity
Kyoto
B,L
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto Shijyo-Karasuma

Activity note: Approx one mile walk around the Daitokuji Temple Complex. Shoes will need to be removed to enter some attractions today.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We start the day by exploring the massive, 56-acre Daitoku-ji temple complex associated with Sen-no-Rikyu, the ultimate master of the tea ceremony. Explore the meaning of Zen buddhist rock gardens and the origins of some notable Japanese architectural features.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

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: Your choice to choose among Kyoto’s abundant, small restaurants. Your Study Leader will provide suggestions and help with reservations.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
At the Shogun's Court
Kyoto
B,L,D
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto Shijyo-Karasuma

Activity note: A mile of leisurely walking around Nijo-jo. A ten minute walk to the Shibori craft museum. Various transfers by public transport. Shoes will need to be removed to enter some attractions today.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We 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. Then, take in the serenity of one of the exquisite gardens of Kyoto.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Participate in a Shibori dying experience. Over the course of two hours we will dye a scarf using traditional dying methods.

Dinner: In a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
The Mystery of Noh
Kyoto
B,L,D
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto Shijyo-Karasuma

Activity note: Short transfer to lecture in the morning and a short walk from there to the craft museum. Free time in the afternoon. Activity levels depends on activity chosen.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Learn the traditions and symbolism of Noh theatre during a lecture and demonstration from one of its leading Western students. Afterwards, delve into Kyoto’s history and culture with an introduction to the city’s splendid artisan crafts at the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Arts.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to explore independently.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Departures
In Flight
B

Activity note: Approx 2.5 hour transfer by road to Kansai International Airport.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Afternoon: Departures to the USA from Kansai International Airport.






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