These tours are great for first time visitors to Japan looking for comfortable accommodation with all entrance fees and most meals included. Our Japan Deluxe Tours are accomodated with professional tour guides, fluent in both Japanese and English, to ensure an educational and valuable visit. Air-conditoned, private coaches are also included, so you can enjoy a comfortable and hassle-free time in Japan. Our tours range from 7 to 21 days, to various regions of Japan.
These tours combine enrichment, enjoyment, and education with time to truly absorb and appreciate your surroundings. Our Deluxe-Plus small group tours are created to cater to those who are interested in having a deeper understanding of Japan's culture. You will have the opportunity to participate in culturally rich activities and visit destinations only locals may know. Experience luxurious hotels and travel at a leisurely pace when you book a Deluxe-Plus small group tour.
Explore the must-see sights and enjoy the hassle-free trip to Japan at an affordable price. Our most cost-effective way to see the highlights of Japan while staying in budget-friendly accommodations. If you would like to have a quick stop to sample the must-see sights of Japan, or plan to explore Japan on your own but would like to take a short trip to learn about Japan before your self-guided journeys. These are the tours for you.
Explore Japan off the beaten path via Japanese public transportation, walking, hiking, cycling and more. Take more time to enjoy local experiences and picturesque landscape. Our Active Small Group Tours combine the best of cultural destinations with off-the-beaten-path via Japanese public transportation, Discover the country of Japan the way the locals do and see Japan from a different angle. A focus on getting away from the crowds and into the real Japan, see the diversity of Japan’s countryside unfold before your eyes.
The price is per person, based on twin or triple room occupancy
For single travelers, this tour has a single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour
Prices are excluding international flights
Single room types are rooms for
single room occupants.
One person will be occupying the hotel room throughout the tour.
Twin room types are rooms set for two people who will occupy one room, but will have two separate beds.
A double room is a room that has one bed for two people to share.
A triple room is one room where three people may share the same room. It has three separate beds.
Japanese Style Room
A Japanese-style room traditionally does not have a western-style bed, it is a tatami floor room with futon bedding. However, if you prefer a western-style bed, you may request one though we cannot guarantee it.
Please note: If you would like to request neighboring rooms next to your traveling companions, you and your traveling companions must have the same room types in order to be next to each other. For example, if you have requested a double room, but your traveling companions have requested a twin, or triple room, then neighboring rooms cannot be accommodated. However, if both you and your traveling companions match in room type, then neighboring rooms will likely be arranged for your convenience.
Our Japan Garden & Art Tour features fourteen days' worth of meticulous garden landscapes, where each tree, rock, pond, and teahouse is poetically placed to engage the mind. Cherry blossoms in springtime are special here indeed although evergreen trees is a major player in traditional Japanese gardens as Japanese wished for eternity in making them. The cherry blossoms bring extraordinary beauty to the gardens, parks and streets so that people walk around in high spirits and enjoy them a... View More
Our Japan Garden & Art Tour features fourteen days'
worth of meticulous garden landscapes, where each tree,
rock, pond, and teahouse is poetically placed to engage
the mind. Cherry blossoms in springtime are special
indeed although evergreen trees is a major player in
traditional Japanese gardens as Japanese wished for
eternity in making them. The cherry blossoms bring
extraordinary beauty to the gardens, parks and streets so
that people walk around in high spirits and enjoy them
around this time of the year. Please come and share this
Japanese spring fantasy which will last only a week. The
itinerary includes must-see museums to add a splash of
thought-provoking contemporary art to complement the
relaxing garden atmosphere.
Your journey through Japan's best garden spots will be facilitated by an English-speaking, government certified guide with over 10 years of experience. Having studied under the NHK Kyoto garden program, your knowledgeable and friendly guide will bring a specialized expertise to your tour. Additionally, the tour includes meeting an insightful tour with a Japanese garden expert and former gardener in Kyoto, who will be available to answer any questions about Japanese landscape gardening and maintenance, and also go with you to tour Murin-an - a charming Japanese promenade garden.
Discover the best gardens of Japan, as well as other gorgeous locations as you travel through Himeji, Matsue, Kurashiki, Takamatsu, Naoshima, Bizen, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Hakone, and Tokyo. Some of the top gardens we will visit include Ritsurin Garden, Yushien Garden, Isuien Garden, and the gardens of Kyoto's temples - including two private local gardens! While on the tour, you will be surrounded by unforgettable scenes of Japan's famous cherry blossoms in such top viewing spots as the Philosopher's Path of Kyoto and Tokyo's Chidorigafuchi.
This is also an art tour, so you will visit some select modern museums. Travel by ferry to the inspiring Naoshima Art Island, for a day of discovery at the island’s intriguing museums designed by architect Tadao Ando - featuring the Benesse House, a combination museum and hotel, displaying a variety of contemporary artworks. Also included are the Kawaguchiko Muse Museum, the Ohara Museum of Art, the Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum, and the Hakone Open Air Museum, with numerous sculptures that incorporate the surrounding nature, adding a new layer of beauty to each work.
Finally, we added handpicked cultural experiences to help you make the most out of your trip to Japan by taking a close look at traditional customs. While in Osaka, we visit Hasshu-an, an exclusive establishment which offers an in- depth look at green tea ceremony, ikebana flower- arranging, and zen meditation. Explore the Imbe Bizen Pottery Village to study the Bizen style of pottery-making. More native experiential opportunities include trying on a kimono and savoring some traditional Kyoto cuisine while being entertained by a Maiko.
Browse our itinerary below for more details on our Japan Garden and Art Cherry Blossoms Tour.
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All prices are per person, based on twin (double on request) or triple occupancy.
International flights are not included on our tours - this allows you the flexibility to choose your own departure and get the best value for your money!
We can arrange international flights for US customers if needed, please ask for details.
We require US$200 deposit per person to hold the space at time of booking and the final payment is due 2 month prior to departure.
Travel by air conditioned, luxury private coach, baggage handling free.
For arrivals at Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) or Itami Airport (ITM), this tour starts in Osaka and ends in Tokyo, with departures at Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND).
Vegetarian or special meals can be arranged.
Please note that the meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, please contact us for the transfer if needed.
Welcome to Osaka! We will pick you up from the airport and take to the hotel by private car.
NOTE 1: The meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, please contact us for the transfer if needed.
NOTE 2: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Today, we will visit Himeji Castle, the most magnificent castle in Japan and one of the surviving twelve original castles. The six-story castle keep is iconic; its dazzling white coated walls that seem to spread from the tower like wings lend Himeji Castle the nickname “White Heron” (or White Egret) Castle. A short walk from the castle is Kokoen Garden, which was opened in 1992 – the 100- year anniversary of Himeji City’s founding. Built over a residencial area of high-ranking samurai warriors, Kokoen features a garden with a big pond with a dynamic waterfall, full of colorful carp, and several more different gardens. The cherry blossoms here are especially beloved in Himeji. The tour will stop in Yasugi for a look at the Adachi Museum of Art. The outer landscape garden – a masterpiece established by museum founder Adachi Zenko – has been repeatedly heralded as the Best Garden in Japan by the “Journal of Japanese Gardening”. We continue to Matsue to check into your ryokan, a Japanese styled inn, facing Lake Shinji, for a relaxing evening.
Today you will explore the former castle town of Matsue, beginning with imposing Matsue Castle. Also known as “the Black Castle” for the inky coloring of its central keep, it is one of Japan’s few original castles that preserves the same central structure it had since the feudal era. The cherry blossoms of the surrounding park are really beautiful. We will enjoy a short ride in a small boat around the castle moat and soak in the tranquil landscape. Nearby is an old samurai district featuring the Buke Yashiki, a traditional samurai home filled with preserved artifacts detailing the simple, yet elegant mode of living for these warrior-noblemen. Then travel to an island in nearby Lake Nakaumi to visit Yushien Garden. While the garden features many traditional landscape elements, it is famous for its collection of 250 types of peonies. Some are kept outside in traditional, protective, bamboo coverings, but far more are kept inside in the lovely indoor garden.
In the morning, we will start the day with a tour of Kurashiki Canal Area, a scenic historical quarter with gorgeous waterways bordered with willow trees plus old- fashioned storehouses built in the Edo-era style. Then we tour the Ohara Museum of Art - one of the first museums of Western art in Japan. The museum features Japanese Craft Arts and Asiatic Arts, in addition to a great collection of Western paintings. Then drive across the Seto-ohashi Bridge to Shikoku. Seto-ohashi, or “Great Seto Bridge” is actually a 13-kilometer long network of smaller bridges linking the main Island with Shikoku Island across the Seto Inland Sea. This incredible bridge system uses smaller islands to transition from one link to the next, in a clever combination of different modes of engineering, to make one of the longest bridges in the world. Making our way into Takamatsu, our first stop is a local bonsai farm. This private farm offers an exclusive look into the world of bonsai - miniature pine trees shaped into elegant and thought-provoking works of art. Continue to Ritsurin Garden, a traditional Japanese garden regarded as one of the top gardens of Japan. The garden features peaceful walking paths beneath well-maintained trees along beautiful ponds, and 400-year-old Kikugetsu-tei teahouse with an excellent view, sitting next to a large pond.Here, you can enjoy amazing skills and passion of Japanese gardeners.
Today, take a ferry to Naoshima Art Island for a day of inspiration with buildings designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando. We start with the Art House Project, where artists renovate old houses, turning the house and the space inside into a new work of art. Then move to Benesse House, a combination of modern museum and deluxe hotel, with myriad works of artists from all over the world. These include a series of outdoor sculptures set up on the park and shoreline. Next, we will visit the Chichu Art Museum. Built into a hill on the southern coast, Chichu Art Museum’s underground display rooms use natural light to showcase works from a limited selection of artists including Claude Monet and James Turrell. Tonight, you will stay in the Benesse House, which is equal parts hotel and art gallery, for a relaxing evening of artistic immersion.
Today, we take the ferry back to Okayama, and travel from there to Bizen famous for Bizen Ware, ceramics much favored by Japanese. After we arrive, we will first tour the Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum, where a variety of swords can be seen as you study the history and process for making Japanese swords, and even have the chance to see swords being hammered up close. Next, we make our way to the Imbe Bizen Pottery Village which is the center of the Bizen style of pottery-making. Around the village you can see the workshops, kilns, and shops that preserve this time-honored craft. The quiet and simple wares, made without glaze, are beloved by Japanese. From there, we continue to Osaka, arriving just in time for a dinner of Wagyu Beef. Wagyu has become world- famous as a richly-textured, high-quality beef that is so tender it practically melts in your mouth, and tonight you will be able to savor for yourself the mouthwatering taste of this prized meat.
Today we travel to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan back in the 8th century. Our first stop is the city's most iconic historical landmark - Todaiji Temple, famous for the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha. The thousand adorable Shika deer wandering freely around the grounds of the temple make Todaiji especially charming. From Todaiji's Nandaimon Gate, its a short walk to Isui-en Garden, a name meaning “garden founded on water” in reference to its picturesque ponds dotting the green landscape, fed by the small river nearby. We go from there to the Higashimuki shopping area, where you will have lunch on your own. Then we take a short trip to see the five- storied pagoda of Kofukuji Temple - family temple of the noble and powerful Fujiwara clan and an iconic city landmark. There you also see its private museum with a lot of the nicest treasure of Japan from the 8th Century. Nearby is Naramachi - an Edo-era heritage quarter, where you will find the nearly 100 year-old Nigiwai-No-Ie House. This former merchant's dwelling was simply built with old- fashioned tatami rooms, a traditional kitchen, and a pretty backyard garden. Then we return to Osaka for a relaxing evening at the hotel.
In the morning, the visit to Osaka continues with a visit to Hasshu-an, a charming establishment that intruduces visitors to Japanese traditions. Here we will enjoy a Green Tea Ceremony, an Ikebana (flower-arranging) Experience, and a lesson in Zen Meditation. Next, a short drive takes you to Kyoto, where our first attraction of the day is Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site from Japan’s feudal era, and palatial temporary residence of the Tokugawa shogun when he was in Kyoto. The magnificent buildings and elegant interior are well preserved – the foremost example of Edo-era castle architecture. We continue with a walking tour of Ponto-cho and the Gion Geisha District. Ponto-cho is an alley packed with various restaurants that serve everything from traditional and modern Kyoto cuisine to foreign dishes. The nearby Kamogawa River lends a charming atmosphere to the whole alley as you walk past the various storefronts. Then walk through the Gion Geisha District, where its streets are lined with ochaya (teahouses), exclusive establishments where guests are entertained by Geisha and Maiko, Geisha apprentice.
Begin the day with a visit to the Kyoto Imperial Palace. This was the palace of Japan’s Imperial Family for 500 years until 1868, during which the capital moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. It means the Emperor moved to Kyoto at that time.Then we will tour the Arashiyama district. First is a visit to see Tenryuji Temple where you can catch a glimpse of an exquisite traditional landscape garden with a big pond and borrowed scenery. Then we walk through a dense grove of towering bamboo trees before our visit to Ryoanji Temple. Ryoanji is home to a world-famous rock garden, or "karesansui". While the exact meaning of the garden is a mystery, one can't help but feel a sense of peace and tranquility from its simple, elegant design. Next, we visit the Golden Pavilion, which is perhaps Kyoto's most renowned landmark. The three-story temple is covered in shining gold-leaf and topped with a representation of a phoenix. Then we travel to Daitokujji Temple, a massive complex with over twenty-two sub- temples, each of which has a unique Zen garden within the grounds. The temple is also thought of as the spiritual birthplace of Japanese Tea Ceremony, containing a tea house used by the legendary tea master Sen-no-Rikyu. We will visit two of the sub-temples: Zuiho-in and Daisen- in. In Zuiho-in, you see one of the 20th Century Zen Gardens, designed by Shigemori Mirei. Daisen-in, created in 1509, has one of the oldest remaining Zen gardens. The gardens surrounding the main hall represent metaphorical journey of a human life. End the day with a private dinner with a "Maiko" or Geisha apprentice who gives an elegant traditional dance performance in gorgeous kimono.
After breakfast, our first stop for the day will be Ginkaku- ji, the Silver Pavilion, a Zen temple where you can feel what Zen is like. It was a retirement villa for shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, who was a great connoisseur and patron of art and culture but a poor politician. The memory of that historical period can still be seen while strolling by rare dry sand gardens and old structures. Next you will take a walk down the famous Kyoto Philosopher's Path and view the lovely cherry blossoms. Then meet with a Japanese garden expert and former gardener, and go together to visit Murin-an - a Japanese strolling garden created after Japan started rapid Westernizaion in the latter half of the 19th Century. This is a new type of Japanese gardens liberated from many restrictions in making gardens, where you enjoy bright green plants, grass and moss everywhere you look, hearing the sound of peaceful streams. While here, you can talk with the Japanese garden expert and ask questions about the time-honored art of Japanese landscape gardening. Then enjoy exclusive access to a local private garden in Kyoto by visiting the Namikawa Yasuyuki Sippo Memorial Museum. Namikawa Yasuyuki was a Japanese cluisonne artist known for his naturalistic style and transparent black enamel, and this museum houses some of his most famous works. After, we go to the Heian Shrine, which was built to honor the foundation of Kyoto (once known as Heian) of over a thousand years ago. The shrine itself is known for its enormous torii gate and vermillion-colored main building with green roof tiles in an old style. Behind the main building are the Shin-en Gardens - a series of five gardens with various ponds, traditional buildings, and plants, including its "weeping" cherry trees. Finally, enjoy a Kimono Wearing experience where you will be able to try on a colorful kimono, and take pictures while in the traditional Japanese attire.
Before traveling to Mt. Fuji, you will first board one of Japan’s high-speed bullet trains to experience the thrill of this high-speed local transportation.You'll be surprised at its punctual service as well. Disembark at Shin- Fuji Station near Lake Kawaguchi to visit the Kawaguchiko Muse Museum, featuring charming dolls made by artist Yuki Atae. Continue across the lake to the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. This art museum is devoted to the works of silk-dyeing artist Kubota Itchiku, who devoted his life to recreating elaborate kimonos using the lost art of silk- dyeing. Then take a stroll around Oishi Park, which sits on the shores of Lake Kawaguchiko and offers spectacular views of Mount Fuji when it's sunny.
This morning, enjoy a scenic cruise along Lake Ashinoko, which borrows scenery from Mt. Fuji to create a stunning landscape. The next attraction will be the Hakone Open- Air Museum, which displays abstract sculptures and structures designed by various artists. It balances the outdoor exhibits with the surrounding mountains and valley. Then we take a drive to the capital city of Tokyo which, despite the dense urban sprawl, has much of its cityscape devoted to parks and gardens. Rikugien, or "six poems garden" is especially inspirational, reflecting in its quiet pond, manicured shrubs, and abundant trees, a number of poetic scenes, not only from six poems, but eighty-eight of them. Finally we go to one of Tokyo's most prized cherry blossom viewing spots - Chidorigafuchi. A stroll beside the broad palace moat at this time of year, when the long branches of over two hundred cherry trees hang heavily over the water's surface, beckoning visitors to step out of the busy Tokyo streets and into a springtime dream.
After breakfast, we will make our way to the garden of the Hotel New Otani Tokyo. This beautiful garden with a dynamic waterfall is steeped in 400 years of feudal history and possesses a peaceful ambience while nestled in the heart of Tokyo. Next is Asakusa Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest temple, and home to Kaminarimon - a gate hung with an enormous paper lantern. Next, board a Sumida River Cruise, where you can enjoy urban scenery of the city on your way to Hama Rikyu Garden, a traditional landscape garden next to the sea surrounded byTokyo's skyscrapers. Visit the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, home to tasty sushi. There're some other food options. Have lunch on your own. Finally, discover the unique urban designs of Ginza architecture on a local walking tour with your friendly guide. We have farewell dinner.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends.
Checkout time is 11 am.
Transfer to Tokyo Narita Airport or Haneda Airport by private car.
NOTE 3: The departure airport transfer is ONLY available on the last day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights after the tour, please contact us for the transfer if needed.
NOTE 4: If you would like to stay longer in Japan, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
They city of Himeji is located in western Kansai and is known for one of Japan’s most beautiful and finest castles. This is a popular destination or side-trip for tourist visiting Kyoto or Osaka. Himeji is famously known for the beautiful Himeji castle, which is both a national treasure castle and listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are plenty of shops, food, and sight-seeing spots available for tourist visiting Himeji.
Japan's best preserved feudal castle (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Himeji Castle is located in the city of Himeji and is only a five minute bus ride away from Himeji Station. Himeji Castle the most popular and visited castle in Japan, it is also listed both as one of Japan’s national treasure castles and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This castle is also one of Japan’s twelve original castles, which means it was never destroyed in its history and has been standing since it was originally completed in the year 1609. The surrounding area is also one of Japan’s most popular cherry blossom destinations during the spring.
Beautiful Japanese Garden next to the famous Himeji Castle.
Located right next to the famous Himeji Castle is the beautiful Kokoen Garden. This garden was constructed and completed in the year 1992 where noble residences once stood in the past. The landscape features various trees, flowers, bamboos, ponds, and waterfalls. Visitors can explore and enjoy the tea at the tea house or at the restaurant located on the garden grounds.
Yasugi is a city at the eastern end of Shimane Prefecture. Directly to the west is the town of Higashi Izumo and then Matsue city. Directly to the east is the city of Yonago (Tottori Prefecture). On October 1, 2004, the towns of Hakuta and Hirose merged with the city of Yasugi. It used to be important for its steel production. It is best known for the comedic yasugibushi dance and as the home to the Adachi Museum of Art.
Art museum with a spectacular garden.
The Adachi Museum of Art is another one of Matsue’s most popular museums and destination. This museum is best known for its award winning garden and art exhibits. Guests are able to enjoy one of the best gardens in Japan and view over more than one thousand pieces of art. One of the most popular exhibits is the museum’s ceramics exhibit.
The city of Matsue is the capital city of the Shimane Prefecture. This city has many fun attractions for tourist visiting the area. The most popular attraction is the Matsue Castle, which is one of the 12 original castles of Japan. Another attraction is the Adachi Museum of Art, which holds various pieces of art and holds one of the most beautiful garden in Japan. Other attractions include the former samurai district of Matsue, museums, food, and flower gardens.
One of Japan’s twelve original castles.
Located in the city of Matsue is one of Japan’s twelve original castles, which means it has never been destroyed in its history since completion. Inside the castle there are various original artifacts and items that date back from the 1600s. The top of the castle offers a fantastic view of the surrounding area for guests that wish to reach the top.
Castle Town Landscape Cruise.
One of the most enjoyable activities for guests visiting the Matsue Castle area is taking one of the Horikawa boat tours. There are many boat tours available for guests that would take them around Matsue Castle and the surrounding canals. There are several stops along most of the boat tours and there are often recordings in other languages which teach about the local history of the area.
Former samurai district of Matsue.
The city of Matsue hosts many tourist attractions, and one of the most popular attractions is the former samurai district of Matsue. Many of the buildings and homes in this district once belonged to samurai families and have been preserved. Now many of the buildings and homes in this area is open for the public to explore. One of the most popular buildings in this district is the Matsue Buke Yashiki, which is the former residence of a high ranking samurai family. This former residence is a great example of how a high ranking samurai family once lived and features many weapons and other artifacts.
Vibrant and fashionable Japanese garden with 120 different types of peony.
One of the most vibrant and fashionable Japanese gardens around, Yushien Garden, on Daikonshima Island near in Shimane Prefecture, is a landscape manicured to perfection. The garden, is renowned for cultivating over a hundred and fifty different types of peony. Although the garden carries a splendid elegance throughout the year, the best time to go to Yushien is, arguably, in late April, when hundreds of peonies are set afloat in the garden pond creating a fantastic sea of brilliant pink peony blossoms.
Located near Okayama City in the Okayama Prefecture is the city of Kurashiki, which is known for its well preserved Edo Period canal area. Guests can visit one of the most beautifully canal areas in Japan, where many of the buildings that were once storehouses have been turned into modern attractions. The Ohara Museum of Art is also a great museum for tourist to visit while exploring Kurashiki. Other popular destinations include the Ohashi House, Ivy Square, and many museums.
Canal lined by willows and old storehouses.
Kurashiki’s canal area is one of Japan’s most beautifully preserved canals that date back as far to the Edo Period. The canals were once used to transport rice into the storehouses where they would be shipped to cities such as Osaka and Tokyo (was known as Edo during those times). Now this historic area is the most popular destination for tourist visiting Kurashiki. Many of the historic storehouses have been turned into shops, cafes, restaurants, and museums for guests to enjoy.
The oldest Western art museum in Japan.
Located in Kurashiki’s historic canal area is the Ohara Museum of Art was Japan’s first museum of Western Art. This museum was the first museum built for western art in all of Japan and holds many displays of western art. There are many masterpieces of art on display from famous artist, such as Picasso, Pollock, Modigliani, and many more. There are three buildings that visitors can visit, the main gallery, annex, and the Kojima Museum. Each building features different displays of western art, Japanese art, sculptures, and other forms of art.
The city of Takamatsu is the capital of the small Kagawa Prefecture. It is the home of one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens and is famous for its udon. There is plenty for visitors to explore and experience in this city. One of the most popular attractions is the Ritsurin Koen Park, which is one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens. There are also many museums available, like the popular Shikoku Mura Village and the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum. Other attractions and activities include tasting the famous Sanuki Udon, hiking, bike riding, shopping arcades, and many more.
Farm specializing in the cultivation of various bonsai trees.
Bonsai is an ancient form of tree cultivation which uses special techniques in pruning and training to produce minature trees in small planters. The final result is an artful representation of a full-grown tree. Private nurseries and farms across Japan have specialized in this form of cultivation, displaying numerous species of trees, trimmed and shaped to a broad variety of interesting and though provoking shapes. And at one of these farms, you'll be able to observe the expert cultivation of these decorative trees up close.
Outstanding Japanese style landscape garden (Place of Scenic Beauty).
Ritsurin Koen Park is one of Japan’s most beautiful landscape garden located in the city of Takamastu. Many consider this garden to belong on the list of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens. This spacious and beautiful park features many ponds, hills, trees, bridges, and pavilions. There are a number of walking routes throughout the park and provides views that would leave any guest satisfied.
The centerpiece of Ritsurin Garden, Kikugetsu-tei Teahouse is an ancient pavilion still serving fresh matcha tea to visitors near a peaceful pond.
Kikugetsu-tei, or "Moon-scooping Pavilion" was placed in the garden by one of the Takamatsu lords who ruled the area in the mid-1600s, and it has been serving tea to the park's visitors ever since. This ancient teahouse is constructed of plain wood darkened with age, and is sparsely adorned. But it maintains an air of elegant charm with nothing more than the refreshing sight of verdant surroundings, the playful splash of koi fish in the nearby pond, and the taste of freshly whisked matcha tea served in an exquisite, though plain-patterned, ceramic teacup. While on the veranda overlooking Ritsurin Park, sitting in the same spot once occupied by noble samurai, visitors to Kikugetsu-tei Teahouse truly feel transported back to feudal Japan.
Located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan is the Naoshima Island. This island is best known for its modern art, museums, architecture, and sculptures. The most popular attraction in Naoshima Island is the Benesse House, which is a modern art museum and hotel. There are plenty of museums to visit for guests at this destination. The most popular museums include the Chichu Museum, Lee Ufan Museum, Ando Museum, and other various attractions with unique artwork.
Art scattered around a small port town.
A collection of abandoned structures renovated into special venues dedicated towards contemporary art in Naoshima Island, Japan
A traditional residence with an unusual interior.
The Ando Museum is a work of modern architectural beauty designed by and dedicated towards Tadao Ando, also known as one of the most famous modern architects of Japan. Located by the Honmura Port as one of the featured buildings of the Art House Projects on Naoshima Island, visitors are greeted by the perfect fusion of traditional and modern traits featured at this museum. The Ando Museum infuses new life in the century year old traditional wooden house of Honmura by adding the signature use of concrete to the overall design. The contrasts between the elements of past and the present with traditional aspects of wood intertwined by the harmony of concrete fused together to form the atmosphere created by Tadao Ando, attracting thousands of visitors to travel to Naoshima Island every year. Travelers can learn the history of art on Naoshima through varies photographs and models, along with Ando’s architectural work which consists of most venues on the island. The gift shop in the museum has gained popularity for selling items related to Ando including post cards with the Chichu Art Museum and personally autographed by Tadao Ando himself, a perfect souvenir for friends of all ages.
One of the most popular museums located on Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea.
The Chichu Art Museum is one of the most popular museums located on Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. The museum itself is a combination of art and architecture, even though most of the building is underground, it uses natural light to brighten up the artwork. Only a few people are allowed in at a time for the museum because appreciating the artwork in the museum is best viewed with as few people around as possible. There is a small café and waiting area, and it is also advised for guests to arrive early because the crowds will get rather large.
Combination of art museum and hotel.
The Benesse House is the most popular destination for guests visiting Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. This building is both a modern art museum and a resort hotel. The main attraction is building is the modern art museum, where different works of art are displayed from both Japan and all over the world. Visitors staying at the hotel have twenty-four hour access to the museum and there is also restaurants, cafes, shops, and a spa. Visitor do not have to stay at the hotel to have access to all the amazing facilities at the Benesse House.
Bizen is a town located in Okayama Prefecture. The town is home to one of Japan's most distinctive pottery styles, which is called Bizen-ware after the town. This particular style is as old as the 6th century, and is made by firing clay without using a glaze, and commonly has reddish, earthy hues. You can see examples of the famous pottery style all around Bizen and pottery workshops in the Imbe- Bizen Pottery Village produce ceramics using age-old traditions. The town also has a museum that celebrates traditional and contemporary examples of Bizen-ware. The town of Bizen is also famous for being the location of Japan's first public school. Shizutani School was built in 1670 as the first school open to the general public, and now features learning opportunities for children of the area. The grounds are pretty in spring and fall, when the cherry or maple trees bring seasonal color.
The Bizen Osafune Japanese Samurai Sword Museum shows visitors the history of Japanese sword manufacture in Osafune.
The Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum is a museum that teaches the history of Japanese sword production in the little town of Osafune. The town was a major producer of samurai swords during the Edo period. You can learn the history of Japanese sword manufacture, see a variety of beautiful Japanese swords on display, and even experience the thrilling sight of sword artisans forging a Japanese sword up close. Japanese swords are produced by a very intense process where "tamahagane" - a steel made from iron sand, which is then heated in a furnace to 1300 degrees Celsius (just over 2300 degrees Fahrenheit) and repeatedly hammered into shape. At times of the year, the museum hosts special exhibitions for fans of sword artistry that include elements like animation and video games. Visitors can even order a custom-made sword that will be traditionally forged by these Japanese sword masters.
The Imbe Bizen Pottery Village offers guests a look at a style of local pottery centuries old.
The Imbe Bizen Pottery Village is a town in the Bizen area that is home to the traditional pottery-making artform called "Bizen-ware". Bizen-ware is an artform going back over 1000 years, with some of the workshops and guilds in the village being kept in the same family for many generations. There are even ruins of ancient kilns from as far back as the 16th century. The clay is locally sourced and has a high iron content, leading to its distinctive earthen colors. There are examples of Bizen-ware pottery decorating the entire village, and there are even special shrines where the potters go to pray. The village hosts the Bizen Pottery Festival in October, where many locally- made ceramics are sold at discount, and there are even workshops where visitors can try making Bizen-ware for themselves. The village also has the Bizen Pottery Traditional and Contemporary Art Museum, which celebrates Bizen-ware past and present.
Osaka is the second largest city in Japan in terms of size located not too far from Kyoto. This city is one of the top three destinations for tourist visiting Japan after Tokyo and Kyoto. Osaka is the location of the popular Universal Studios Japan, Osaka castle, and Namba. There is plenty to experience in Osaka, from shopping to visiting temples and shrines, Osaka has plenty of destinations to experience Japan.
There are many restaurants located within Kobe that serve Japanese or international cuisine, but there are many places that offer Kobe beef. Kobe is known around the world for its famous Kobe beef, which is beautifully marbled, delicious, and very expensive beef. The most popular way to enjoy Kobe beef is in a restaurant where the chef grills the meat in front of the guests. Eating Kobe beef is a popular activity for tourist visiting Kobe and can provide a delicious and unforgettable experience.
Hasshu-an is a charming establishment that offers demonstration lessons introducing visitors to Japan's time-honored traditions.
Hasshu is a word referencing Japan's ancient past, and Hasshu-an is a relaxing retreat that immerses visitors in traditional Japanese culture. Based in Osaka, Hasshu-an shares with visitors an inside look at the national heritages of green tea ceremony, ikebana flower arranging, and zen meditation, as demonstrated by professional, friendly instructors. The head of the establishment is a Buddhist monk and master of both tea ceremony and flower arranging, eagerly sharing with travelers his love for these time-honored customs. The whole atmosphere of this charming hermitage is tranquility itself, steeped with the simple elegance and reflective wabi-sabi of traditional Japan.
Traditional way of preparing and drinking tea.
Green tea has a rich history in Japan and has been the most popular non-alcoholic beverage for years. A green tea ceremony is the ceremonial way of preparing and drinking green tea that has been practiced for hundreds of years. The ceremony is full of many rituals and has a strong Zen Buddhism influence. The tea is prepared by the host for the guests and is usually green tea made from powdered tea leaves.
A form of expressing Japanese discipline and beauty using flower arranegments.
Ikebana is one of Japan’s oldest crafts, which is the art of flower arrangement. The history of Ikebana (also known as Kado in Japanese) is rich and has different techniques and styles just like any other form of art. There are classes and lessons available for visitors to attend that teaches the art of Ikebana. Guests can learn about the different techniques, styles, and history of Ikebana while taking these lessons.
Zazen is a type of meditation unique to Zen Buddhism that functions at the heart of the practice.
Zen meditation is unique and is central in Zen Buddhism. This form of meditation calms both the body, mind, and to also gain enlightenment by seeking insight into the nature of existence. There are lessons and classes available for visitors where a Zen priest guides guests to practice Zen meditation and teaches the significance of Zen as part of the Japanese culture.
The city of Nara was once known as the first capital established in Japan. Nara is located only less than an hour away from both Kyoto and Osaka. Nara is home to some of Japan’s oldest, largest, and historic temples. The landmark and symbol of Nara is the Todaiji Temple, which was built in the 7th century. One the most popular attractions is Nara Park where visitors come every day to see the wild deer that roam free throughout the park.
One of Japan’s most historic and famous temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Located north of Nara Park is one of Japan’s most historic and famous temple called the Todai-Ji Temple. This temple is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple’s main hall named Daibutsuden, is the largest wooden building in the world. It is home to one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha siting at fifteen meters tall.
Japanese walking garden featuring a large reflective pond and scenic borrowed landscape.
Isuien Garden is a charming Japanese-style walking garden near Todaiji-Temple in Nara. Originally two separate parks, the land was merged to make room for the Neiraku Ceramics Museum. With a meaning of "park relying on water", Isuien's most prominent feature is a large reflective pond fed by the local river. Using a technique of "borrowed landscape", other elements, such as the trees of other nearby gardens and the gate of Todaiji temple, blend into or frame the garden elements, creating an attractive visual continuity.
Popular Nara Shopping arcade with a myriad of family-owned shops.
Perhaps the most popular shopping arcade in Nara, Higashimuki Shopping Street is a long shopping center lane in the middle of Nara. This shopping street sells everything from local arts and crafts, to traditional clothes and items, to high-quality green tea and rice crackers, to Nara-specific souvenirs. Many of the shops are well- established family-run buisnesses that have been there for years, and the arcade roof makes going there a pleasure even on a rainy day.
Kyoto temple known for distinctive five-tiered wooden pagoda.
Kofukuji Temple is a Buddhist temple marked by a distinctive five-tiered pagoda - the second tallest in Japan, rising over 50 meters high. Also on the temple grounds is the National Treasure Museum, housing famous Buddhist statues distinctly cherished as Cultural Properties. The two distinctive octagonal pagodas lend an original interest, and the surrounding trees and gardens add a splash of seasonal color throughout the year. Constructed by the influential Fujiwara family during the Heian period, Kofukuji was once part of powerful and exclusive set of Buddhist sites known as the Seven Great Temples of Nara.
Naramachi is Nara city's heritage district, featuring Nigiwai-no-Ie, and merchant's townhouse over 100 years old.
The heritage area of Naramachi is the city of Nara's vintage commercial district, where streets are lined with Edo-era merchants' residences and preserved warehouses. Many of these old buildings are now converted into antique stores, cafes, restaurants, and museums that maintain the ancient history of old Nara. Among these is Nigiwai-no-Ie, a classic merchants' townhouse over 100 years old. The house interior is decorated according to a traditional Japanese idea that the year had 24 seasons. The classical architecture is perfectly preserved, drawing countless visitors to admire the old-fashioned charm of feudal Nara.
Kyoto was once the old capital of Japan and is filled with historic temples, shrines, buildings, and other structures. Kyoto is filled with many temples and shrines such as the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Golden Pavilion. It is also home of the Gion Festival, which is the most famous festival in Japan. Kyoto is the number two destination for tourist bound for Japan, and is the number one destination for tourist looking for a full Japanese cultural experience.
Former Kyoto residence of the shogun (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
In the northern part of central Kyoto is Nijo Castle, where it was once the former Kyoto residence of the shogun. This area is also listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This area was once home to the shogun when he would visit Kyoto. This place serves as the best examples of castle palace architecture from Japan’s feudal era because most of the buildings here survived since they were originally built.
The Pontocho and Gion Geisha District Walking Tour offers a close look at the rustic old-fashioned wooden buildings at two entertainment districts.
Take a walking tour through the Ponto-cho and Gion Geisha Districts in Kyoto. The Ponto-cho district is a charming dining area near the Kamogawa River. It is actually a portmanteau word of the Portuguese "ponte" (bridge) and Japanese "cho" (neighborhood, block) It is an alley stuffed with restaurants of various cuisines, including classical Kyoto cuisine. The district truly comes alive at night with brightly lit wooden buildings. While walking through the Ponto-cho area, enjoy the shop-fronts hung with lanterns and the refreshing atmosphere next to the river. The Gion Geisha District is a traditional entertainment district full of various restaurants, shops, and ochaya (teahouses). Walking through, visitors will undoubtedly notice the tightly packed nature of these "machiya" wooden townhouses, hearkening back to a time with property taxes were calculated based on street frontage. In this atmospheric locale, geisha and maiko (geisha apprentices) entertain guests with classical Japanese arts and dance.
Large Kyoto park complex, and the Imperial Seat of Japan's former capital.
The Kyoto Imperial Palace was the former residence of the Emperor until the capital city was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1868. Located in the Imperial Park complex behind a broad earthen wall with a slanted roof, the Palace itself is surrounded by gravel paths, some excellent gardens, and groves of tall trees. Many of the buildings had been destroyed by fire over the years, but each time the Palace was scrupulously rebuilt. In the same Park enclosure is Sento Palace, a former imperial retirement home.
Pleasant district at the outskirts of Kyoto.
Arashiyama is located on the western outskirts of Kyoto and is a well-known destination for both the cherry blossoms and fall colors seasons. North of the famous Togetsukyo Bridge is Sagano, and together they make this place a nice little getaway from temples and shrines to enjoy nature. Popular destinations include the Togetsukyo Bridge and the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama.
Zen Temple in the Arashiyama district (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Located in the Arashiyama district in Kyoto, the Tenryu- Ji Temple is Arashiyama’s most popular temple. The temple is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The original buildings of Tenryu-Ji Temple was lost many times throughout its history, except for Tenryu-Ji’s garden. The Tenryu-Ji Temple Zen Garden that visitors see today is the original garden and landscape.
One of the most popular and well-known spots for visitors in Arashiyama.
One of the most popular and well-known spots for visitors is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. A nice walking path takes visitors through the groves of bamboos. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is also one of the most famous and photographed places in all of Kyoto and brings many visitors every year during the autumn color season.
Zen Temple with famous rock garden.
The Ryoan-Ji Rock Garden is located only one mile down the road from the famous Kinkaku-Ji Temple (Golden Pavilion) in northern Kyoto. It is the location of Japan’s most famous rock garden and attracts hundreds of visitors every day throughout the year. The surrounding area features a beautiful pond with a nice walking trail that circles the area.
Temple building covered in gold (National Special Historic Site).
The famous Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Temple is located in northern Kyoto and is most known for the building covered in gold leaf. This famous building is the number one most popular destination for tourist visiting Kyoto. The Golden Pavilion sits overlooking a large pond and various small attractions and shops are available for visitors.
Prominent Zen Buddhist temple complex with 22 distinct sub-temples
Deitokuji Temple started out as a small monastery built in the 14th century. It slowly rose in stature over the feudal years of Japan as a prominent temple of Zen Buddhism, gaining administrative perview over twenty-two sub- temples in the area. Among these temples are Daisen-in - famed for its elaborate rock garden, Soken-in - mortuary temple of renowned Japan unifier Oda Nobunaga. The temple is also thought of as the spiritual birthplace of Japanese Tea Ceremony, containing a tea house used by the legendary tea master Sen-no-Rikyu.
Enjoy a traditional Japanese kaiseki dinner in the company of a Maiko.
Kyoto is known for its Gion district which is famous for its geisha (geiko in Kyoto dialect) and apprentice geisha called maiko. There are many locations within Kyoto and the Gion district where visitors can have a maiko experience. Enjoy a traditional Japanese kaiseki dinner in the company of a Maiko.
Beautiful temple not actually covered in silver.
Ginkakuji Temple, also known as the Silver Pavilion, is a Zen temple that was built to be a retirement villa for Ashikaga Yoshimasa.
Walking trail famous for cherry blossoms.
The Philosopher’s Path is a stone walkway in the northern part of Higashiyama District that follows a canal lined with hundreds of cherry blossoms.
Garden near a Buddhist temple, known for Japanese landscaping with European design elements.
Formerly the villa of Japanese military leader and politician Yamagata Aritomo, this Meiji-era strolling garden was arranged on land near Nanzen-ji temple. Murinan is a registered cultural property of Kyoto for the beauty of its garden elements and a unique villa following a Western design. Additionally, one can enjoy how the garden "borrows" the nearby mountain scenery in a Japanese landscaping technique with makes the mountain appear to be included as a part of the garden.
Tour the Namikawa Yasuyuki Sippo Memorial Museum to see the artist's famous cloissone artworks, and view the museum's private garden.
While in the city of Kyoto, tour the Namikawa Yasuyuki Sippo Memorial Museum, including the museum's Private Garden. Namikawa Yasuyuki was a famous master artist of cloisonne - which is the art of adorning metal objects with enamel, or melted, colored glass. Namikawa Yasuyuki, along with other artists of the time, began a golden age of Japanese enamel art, with his work winning prizes at national exhibitions and world's fairs. Famed for a naturalistic kind of decoration featuring smooth, transparent black glaze, his works are often known for intricately detailed designs featuring nature motifs, involving such elements as plants and birds. The museum itself is housed in Namikawa's old house and workshop. Outside the museum is a private garden maintained in a traditional style, with bushes and trees bordering a small pond. This intimate garden is decorated with stone lanterns and offers a spot of tranquil reflection while you view Yasuyuki's cloisonne artworks.
Modeled after the ancient Imperial Palace
The Heian-Jingu Shrine is located in eastern Kyoto, only thirty minutes away by bus from Kyoto Station. This shrine has a short history compared to other shrines in Kyoto since it was only built and completed in the year 1895. The main area is large with a spacious wide open court. For a fee, visitors can stroll the gardens behind the main building.
Garden in Heian Shrine with many weeping cherry trees
This beautiful garden circles behind the main building of the Heian-Jingu Shrine. Visitors can find the entrance on the northwestern side of the spacious courtyard and exit on the northeastern side. This beautiful garden features a variety of plants and ponds. Guests can see the koi fish or even turtles that swim in ponds and lucky guests can even see a crane which is said to bring good luck. During cherry blossom season, many people come here to view the beautiful weeping cherry trees in bloom.
Continue exploring Japan, but wearing a kimono for a more traditional flavor.
Japan is a very unique cultural experience because much of Japan’s history is still preserved, protected, and celebrated. One of the best ways to experience a visit to Japan would be to explore it while wearing a kimono. The kimono is one of Japan’s most oldest and traditional pieces of clothing. There are many places available in Japan to rent a kimono to wear and explore this beautiful country.
Japan's main islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido are served by a network of high speed train lines that connect Tokyo with most of the country's major cities. Japan's high speed trains (bullet trains) are called shinkansen and are operated by Japan Railways (JR). The shinkansen network consists of multiple lines, among which the Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo - Nagoya - Kyoto - Osaka) is the oldest and most popular. All shinkansen lines (except the Akita and Yamagata Shinkansen) run on tracks that are exclusively built for and used by shinkansen trains. Most lines are served by multiple train categories, ranging from the fastest category that stops only at major stations to the slowest category that stops at every station along the way.
High-speed railway at speeds up to 300 km/hr.
The shinkansen (or Japan’s bullet train) is a high speed train that travel between most of the major cities in Japan. Travelers can reserve seats on either ordinary or green car seats for an added cost. The shinkansen can run up to 320 kilometers per hour (close to 200 miles per hour), and are known to always be on time, comfortable and safe.
The highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters above sea level, and is located more or less in the center of Japan, stretching over Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. Its elegant conical form has frequently been depicted in many paintings and literary works since ancient times. Many artists have been captivated by the diverse expressions shown by this mountain depending on the season, or depending on the time of the day, whether in the morning or early evening. It is widely believed that Mt. Fuji is unparalleled worldwide as a mountain that has so frequently been narrated, sung in verse, and drawn.
The Kawaguchiko Muse Museum displays the cute cloth dolls of Yuki Atae, as well as a charming flower garden.
The Kawaguchiko Muse Museum is a museum located on the edge of Lake Kawaguchi near the iconic Mount Fuji, and is considered a branch of the Kawaguchiko Museum of Art. Named after the Greek goddesses of the Arts, the Muse museum features a rotating series of exhibits displaying the cute and expressive dolls designed by renowned Japanese dollmaker Yuki Atae. These dolls are made of simple cotton cloth, yet have delicate and life-like features. The museum also has a outdoor garden that adds to the atmosphere of whimsical fantasy, which includes lavender blooms, roses, and other flowers in all colors.
Excellent museum about the kimono artist.
The Kubota Itchiku Art Museum is located on the north coast of Lake Kawaguchiko near Mount Fuji. This museum showcases the works of the late Kubota Itchiku, a famous Japanese kimono artist. This museum showcases several of Kubota Itchiku’s kimono art, which are based on themes of nature, the seasons, and the cosmos.
Lake Kawaguchi is the most famous of the Fuji Five Lakes, with breathtaking landscape scenery in the spring and autumn seasons.
Lake Kawaguchi is one of Mount Fuji's Five Lakes, and is by far the most famous, attracting visitors to the hotels that dot its shoreline throughout the year. It is arguably the most picturesque, being displayed prominently below the iconic mountain on postcards for the region. The landscape around the long lake is dramatic and stunning in every season, especially during spring cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. Despite the lake's proximity to Mount Fuji, the mountain is not always visible from the lake due to the cloud cover, with the early morning and late afternoon being the best time to get a good glimpse. A number of other attractions sit around the lake, including the Kubota Itchiku Museum, Kawaguchiko Muse Museum, FujiQ Highland amusement park, and a number of hot spring bath resorts.
Hakone is located in Kanagawa Prefecture and is only about two hours away from Tokyo. Hakone is park of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is a popular destination for tourist. Hakone is famous in Japan for its hot springs and beautiful natural views. Visitors can go to the many hot spring resorts to relax and unwind or visit the many museums and shrines available. Guests that would appreciate nature more could go to the parks and trails to experience the natural beauty.
Famous for having Mount Fuji in the background and the lake as its inspirational canvas.
Lake Ashinoko along with Mount Fuji in the background is the proud symbol of Hakone. One of the best views with the lake and Mount Fuji could be seen from one of the many sightseeing boats. There are a few boat cruises available, but the main two are ran by Hakone Sightseeing Boats and Izuhakone Sightseeing Boats. The best time to come is during the cherry blossom season and when the autumn colors are at its peak.
Exhibiting sculptures and paintings.
The Hakone Open Air Museum is located near Chokoku No Mori Station in Hakone. There are over than one thousand pieces of art featured at this museum that will keep visitors busy besides the breathtaking views. The museum features various sculptures with beautiful views of the surrounding area of Hakone. The museum also features indoor galleries of paintings, sculptures, ceramic art, and other artistic creations.
Tokyo is the number one destination for tourist bound for Japan. It is the number one most populated, the biggest city, and is the capital of Japan. From shopping to sightseeing, this city offers everything that tourist want to see. There are a number of places to see the entire city, tourist can visit the Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower to get a breathtaking view of the city. For shopping, visitors can head to the most popular areas such as Ginza, Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City, or Shinjuku. There are also many museums available such as the Edo Tokyo Museum or the Tokyo National Museum. This modern city still has many parks, temples, and shines for anyone interested in a cultural experience.
Idyllic garden landscape depicting scenes from famous poems.
Easily one of Tokyo's best gardens, Rikugien is a spacious and idyllic, with a name that means "Garden of Six Principles of Poetry". Over three centuries old, the garden's design created 88 scenes from traditional Japanese and Chinese poetry, with the poems in indicated in stone around the park. Though only a few of these stones survive, all the poetic beauty of the landscape may still be admired in any season, with the overall potential of the composition flaring to crimson capacity every autumn.
Former moat of Edo Castle, transformed every April into a wonderland of blossoming springtime beauty.
Near the Imperial Palace is an broad moat named Chidorigafuchi, that once separated Edo Castle from the city proper. During most of the year, this landmark is a tranquil park of stately beauty - an excellent place for a short break from the ceaseless frenzy of downtown Tokyo. Yet during the waning weeks of spring, Chidorigafuchi is elevated from functionally pretty park to terrestrial paradise, when hundreds of cherry blossoms bloom and fall along the shallow banks, turning the peaceful moat into a pink pastel fantasy.
Luxurious Tokyo Hotel with 400-year old samurai garden.
The New Otani Hotel has been around since the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 1964, but the Japanese garden near it is far older, having been the former private garden of various samurai officials for the past 400 years. This tranquil little garden is characterized by narrow strolling walks bordered by dense hedges and other foliage, a broad variety of flowers, charming little scarlet bridges, and small ponds with bright koi swimming through their shallows.
Buddhist temple with souvenir shopping street, an atmosphere of old Tokyo.
The Sensoji Temple located in Asakusa is one of the most popular Buddhist temples to visit. The temple was built and completed in the year 645 and is Tokyo’s oldest temple. The surrounding area offers shopping for souvenirs and food. The Sanja Festival is one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals and is held every May at Asakusa Temple.
Leisurely cruise down Tokyo's Sumida River with picturesque city and nature views.
The Sumida suijo-bus (or "water bus"), while not as quick as the trains, is the best way to see Sumida River and Tokyo Bay up close, as well as scenic views of Tokyo. The leisurely boat travels between 12 locations on its voyage, including Asakusa, Hamarikyu Garden, Odaiba Seaside Park, and Tokyo Big Sight. It offers travelers a perfect opportunity to relax, breath in fresh sea air, and enjoy Tokyo from a different perspective.
Former Imperial detached palace and landscape garden near Tokyo Bay.
Hama Rikyu Garden is a landscape garden just beside Tokyo Bay along the Sumida River. The garden includes flower gardens and trees that can be enjoyed year-round. In addition are numerous traditional buildings, including a teahouse, that hearken back to the days when this garden was part of a detached palace for the Imperial family. One of the most impressive features of Hama Rikyu are the garden saltwater ponds, which change level along with the tides. The peaceful atmosphere found in the garden is a refreshing break from the bustling cityscape visible just across the bay.
Visit a famous Japanese market filled with fresh fish and agricultural products, plus delicious dishes.
The outer Tsukiji Fish Market offers a variety of freshly prepared food products and ingredients. Travel in between the different stores and taste a few of their dishes, freshly prepared with some of the best ingredients.
Explore the unique art-deco buildings in the high-class Ginza district during the Ginza Architecture Walking Tour.
Tour the bold and unique architectural designs of the upscale Ginza district during our Ginza Architecture Walking Tour. Ginza was once the site of a silver mint (Ginza means "silver mint"), but after much of the area was destroyed in 1872, Ginza was remodeled into a trendy upscale shopping district. Now the name Ginza is synonymous with ritzy Western shops, and many of the buildings have an art deco design. Many fashion shops have their corporate flagship store there, including the Louis Vuitton, which has their Louis Vuitton Matsuya Ginza Facade designed by Jun Aoki. Other prominent buildings in Ginza include the Ginza Six Shopping Mall, designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, Maison Hermes Ginza by Renzo Piano, Armani Ginza Tower by Studio Fuksas, Ginza Place by Klein Dytham architecture, and the Mikimoto Ginza 2 by Toyo Ito. The tour is guided by an expert with a passion for the architecture of Ginza as well as the history and culture attached to them.
Kobe (Day 1)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Okura Kobe is a luxury and elegant city resort hotel located at Meriken Park overlooking Kobe harbor front. It is the comfortable space which harmonized the traditional beauty and functionality of Japan, and rooms are designed by globally prominent British interior design designer Mr. David Hicks. Hotel Okura Kobe offers the ultimate in elegance and hospitality as the land mark of Kobe.
Matsue Shinjiko Onsen (Day 2)
Japanese Style Accommodation
Located in Matsue Shinjiko Onsen, 2.6 km from Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum. The property is situated 4.4 km from Lake Shinji, 1.9 km from Matsue Castle and 1.9 km from Shimane Art Museum. The accommodation features a hot spring bath, free WiFi throughout the property and family rooms. The ryokan offers certain rooms with lake views, and every room is equipped with a kettle. All units will provide guests with air conditioning, a safety deposit box and a flat-screen TV.
Kurashiki (Day 3 & Day 4)
Western Style Accommodation
The Kurashiki Royal Art Hotel is located just a short walk from many of the attractions of the historic and cultural city of Kurashiki. Kurashiki is most famous for its Bikan historical quarter, a preserved town on the canal from the Edo period, which is just a five-minute walk away from the Royal Art Hotel. Close by you’ll also find other attractions such as Osashi House (a five-minute walk) and the Ohara Museum of Art (a ten-minute walk). Slightly further afield, but still within walking distance, are the City Art Museum, the Observatory and the Museum of Natural History.
Naoshima Island (Day 5)
Western Style Accommodation
The Benesse House is a place on Naoshima Island that is part art gallery / part hotel. Guests who stay there for the night can immerse themselves completely in nature and art. The hotel has four different accommodation types available. The first is the Museum accommodation, where guests can stay within a modern art museum setting. Spacious rooms are tastefully decorated with various artworks, and offering gorgeous views of the surrounding woods and sea. Then we have the "Oval" accommodation, which sits on a hill and features a sweeping view of the Seto Inland Sea and walls decorated by tasteful drawings. Then we have the "Park" accommodation, which features nearby open-air artwork agains the beautiful backdrop of Setouchi. And Finally, there is the "Beach" accommodation, which sits right on the shore and makes the guest feel like they are floating over the sea. The gentle sound of the waves lapping against the shore. Each accommodation was designed by famed Japanese architect Tadao Ando, giving each building a unique character. The hotel is also near other museums and galleries on Naoshima Island, providing the excellent opportunity to view all the island has to offer.
Osaka (Day 6 & Day 7)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Nikko Osaka is a deluxe hotel located in a prime area of central Osaka. The hotel faces the famous tree- lined Mido-suji Avenue, the city’s main boulevard and home to the headquarters of major corporations and the city’s main shopping and leisure district.. The hotel offers numerous room accommodations to choose from and an array of international cuisine.
Kyoto (Day 8, Day 9 & Day 10)
Western Style Accommodation
Cross Hotel Kyoto offers a great location, putting you within just a 10-minute walk of Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market. For a bite to eat, guests can check out KIHARU Brasserie, which serves Mediterranean cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Nice touches like deep soaking tubs, premium bedding, and slippers are offered up in all rooms. The helpful staff and central location get great marks from fellow travelers. Public transportation is just a short walk: Sanjo Keihan Station is 5 minutes and Shiyakusho-mae Station is 5 minutes.
Hakone (Day 11)
Japanese/Western Style Accommodation
Remodeled in April, 2014, Laforest Hakone Gora Onsen Yunosumi is a sophisticated modern Japanese inn, located in a secluded area. The inn is ideal for business and leisure travelers and features meeting rooms, banquet halls, and a restaurant. Guests can enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot spring bath while gazing at the surrounding nature. Creative cuisine where Japanese cuisine meets Western cuisine is made with fresh ingredients. Guest rooms are modern Japanese- Western-style rooms.
Tokyo (Day 12 & Day 13)
Western Style Accommodation
Surrounded by a gorgeous ten-acre Japanese garden, with the bright lights of Tokyo glimmering nearby, the Hotel New Otani Tokyo has achieved a zen-like balance between traditional beauty and stylish modernity. Each room is appointed with plush linens, the most modern technological accessories, and floor-to-ceiling windows which provide you with breathtaking views of the lush grounds.
PLEASE NOTE: These are the hotels All Japan Tours generally uses on the touring styles and regions shown. There is no guarantee that you will stay in the lodgings listed on the website. We encourage you to check your travel documentation for confirmation of the exact accommodation you will be staying in.