All Japan Tours 337 N.Vineyard Ave Suite 215, Ontario, CA 91764
Toll Free: 1-855-325-2726 (US/CANADA) Tel: 1-909-988-8885
Fax: 1-909-349-1736 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tour cost includes:
• 1 night temple lodging, 9 nights Western style and 4 nights Japanese style accommodation
• Meet and greet upon arrival at Osaka Kansai Airport
• Airport transfers on arrival and departure
• Private coach transfers between destinations in Japan
• Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
• Breakfast everyday
• 9 lunches and 7 dinners
Admission fees and activities
• All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary
Welcome to Osaka! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
NOTE 1: If you wish to stay in the center of Osaka for the first night instead of Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport, we can arrange for you to stay at Hotel Elsereine Osaka (or similar class). In this case, airport transfer is not included, but we will provide you directions to get to your hotel in advance.
NOTE 2: If you will be flying into Itami Airport (ITM) instead of Kansai International Airport (KIX), we can arrange for you to stay in the center of Osaka (Hotel Elsereine Osaka or similar class) instead of Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport. In this case, airport transfer and meet- and- greet are not included, but we will provide with full instructions to get to the hotel in advance.
NOTE 3: The meet and greet is ONLY available for flights arriving in Terminal 1 after 11:00 AM. For guests arriving in Terminal 2, airport pickup is not included, but and we will provide you with directions to get to your hotel in advance.
NOTE 4: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Today we take a 2-hour ride on a private coach to Himeji to visit the Himeji Castle. It is known as "White Egret Castle" and "White Heron Castle" because of its brilliant white exterior, which resembles a bird taking flight. Himeji Castle is the largest, most visited castle in Japan, and is one of the few remaining original castles in the country. This splendid example of traditional architecture was declared one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. Next is a visit to Kurashiki. Back in the day this scenic town thrived as a port for rice shipments. Several old rice granaries and examples of historic architecture still remain, in addition to the stone-lined canal. We will also visit the Ohara Museum of Art, which is considered the first museum of Western art in Japan. It is a private museum consisting of three adjacent buildings next to the canal. In the afternoon, we will continue our journey to Hiroshima for two nights.
Today our travels will continue with a visit to the Peace Memorial Park, the iconic landmark of Hiroshima's memorial for those who passed away in the infamous Hiroshima bombing on August 6th, 1945. There, we will also enter the A-Bomb Museum where documents, artifacts, and videos are displayed throughout the museum. After lunch, we will take a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima; the cherry blossoms on the island are a spectacular sight. At high tide we can see the famed vermilion torii gate of the Itsukushima Shrine looks like it's floating in the middle of the sea. The shrine complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while Miyajima has been selected as one of Japan's three most scenic places (nihon sankei).
In the morning, we will drive through the Shimanami Kaido to Shikoku Island. The Shimanami Kaido is a 60 kilometer long toll road that connects Japan's main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku, passing over six small islands in the Seto Inland Sea. It is also known as the Nishiseto Expressway. We will stop by Kirosan Observatory where you can take in views of the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridges standing among hundreds of islands that are beautifully scattered all over the Seto Inland Sea. The modern observation deck was cleverly designed and built halfway into the ground of the hillside so as not to spoil the natural surroundings. We then proceed to Takamatsu with a stop at the Shikoku Mura Village. Shikoku Mura (Shikoku Village) is an open air museum situated at the base of Yashima. This pleasant hillside park preserves and exhibits traditional buildings and structures that have been relocated here from all over Shikoku Island. Then visit Ritsurin Park, a masterpiece of Japanese landscape 100 years in the making. This sprawling park features beautiful ponds and pavilions with Mt. Shiun as the perfect backdrop.
We continue our journey today at Naruto. Naruto is known for its swirling whirlpools, we will take a small boat and get right up next to and among the whirlpools. Naruto is also the starting point of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, which leads around the island to visit 88 temples across Shikoku associated with the famous Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. Naruto's Ryozenji Temple is the first temple of the pilgrimage. We will be traveling by foot for approximately 1.2 km (0.75 miles) from Ryozenji Temple to Gokurakuji Temple. From Shikoku Island, we will board a ferry to Honshu Island where we will stay in a monastery in Koyasan complete with authentic Buddhist vegetarian meals. We will experience life very much as a monk would in Japan. Koyasan is the center of Shingon Buddhism, a Buddhist sect that was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi, one of the most significant personalities in Japan’s religious history. The temple complex of over 100 temples is located on a mountain top, surrounded by cedar trees and mountain peaks. After a vegetarian dinner at the temple, you will have the option to follow your guide at night to Okunoin's gravesite. It is the largest cemetary in Japan where the founder of Shingon Buddhism is said to be in eternal meditation.
Today activities begin with reflection as we medidate with the monks of Koyasan. Then we will go to Okunoin Temple that is surrounded by many grave markings, the majority of which are old and worn out. The gravesite is also the resting place of the founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan, Kobo Daishi. Next is Kongobuji Temple which was originally built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Nobunaga's generals during the warring era. The temple also has the Ohiroma room, a special room designated for ceremonies and rituals with tatami mat floors and elegantly designed sliding doors. The pilgrimage finishes at Danjo Garan, a temple complex also belonging to Kobo Daishi's original foundations. Painted in brilliant vermillion color, one of the pagoda structures called the Konpon Daito stands out amongst the others.
This morning we head out to the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where pilgrims have walked the forest trails for over 1000 years. The Kumano region is the mountainous southern portion of the Kii Hanto, the largest Peninsula of Japan, where sacred trails are still used for the pilgrimage to the three grand shrines of Kumano. We will walk along a short section of Daimon-zaka Trail and visit the 133 metre high Nachi Waterfall, whose vertical torrent pouring over the cliff edge into the virgin forest, is said to be the highest in Japan. We slowly climb the pilgrim's steps to visit Seigantoji Temple, originally built in 1590, and a very picturesque 3 storied vermilion coloured pagoda that creates a perfect picture of Japanese tranquillity.
The pilgrimage continues to Ise Shima where the Ise Grand Shrine is located. The Ise Grand Shrine has a two- thousand year history, is Japan's most important Shinto shrine, and serves as the centre of all Shinto shrines nationwide. Situated near the banks of the Isuzu River, the shrine is surrounded by Japanese cedar trees, some 800 years old. The inner shrine is considered to be the abode of Amaterasu, the sun goddess, the deity the emperor was considered to be descended from. At Okage Yokocho Street we can experience the townscape of a bygone era, where buildings leading to the inner shrine reproduce the architecture and atmosphere that surrounded Ise pilgrims during the Edo Period (1600-1868). Our next stop is at Mikimoto Pearl Island where in 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto first perfected the technique of producing cultured pearls and started a now world wide industry. Here we see 'Ama' , women pearl divers, demonstrate their skills, watch how cultured pearls are produced and see a truly amazing collection of million dollar treasures made with pearls.
After breakfast, we will make our way to Nara to visit the Todaiji Temple, one of Japan's most historically significant temples. Its main hall is the largest wooden building in Japan, and it also houses one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha at 16.3 meters high. Outside the temple grounds is the Nara Deer Park, filled with over 1,000 Sika deer. Our tour will continue to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its 4km long tunnel of vermillion colored torii gates, which was also featured in the film "Memoirs of a Geisha". Lastly, you will have the chance to experience a traditional green tea ceremony. There will also be a meet-and-greet with a maiko, who is simply an apprentice geisha. Photo-taking opportunities will be available as well.
We will spend the day touring Kyoto, which once served as Japan's capital from 794 until 1868. It is considered Japan's cultural center, even being spared from the bombings of WWII due to its historically priceless structures. Our group will first visit Arashiyama, a scenic area particularly popular during the spring and autumn seasons. Visit a traditional Zen garden at Tenryuji Temple before enjoying a stroll through the Sagano Bamboo Forest. Continue to the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), distinguished for its two top floors completely covered with 18 carat gold leaf. It was originally built as a retirment villa by shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. Then, our group will get experience an elegant kimono fashion show and learn how they are made at the Nishijin Textile Center. Our next attraction is the famous Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its wooden stage that extends from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of numerous cherry and maple trees below, as well as a beautiful scene of Kyoto in the distance. From Kiyomizu Temple, we will head to Maruyama Park, which is one of the most popular places for cherry blossom viewing (hanami) in Kyoto. Our last destination for the day will be Gion, the city's most famous geisha district. It is filled with exclusive ochaya (teahouses) where maiko and geisha entertain, and is also recognized for its traditional wooden machiya merchant houses.
Today, you will get to experience a Shinkansen bullet train ride from Kyoto to Maibara, which can reach speeds of up to 300 km/hr. Afterwards, transfer to Kanazawa to visit Kenrokuen Garden, one of three most beautiful strolling gardens of Japan. Here, you'll find the oldest fountain in Japan and Kotoji-toro, the two-legged stone lantern and iconic symbol of Kanazawa. Then, we will we cross mountains by private coach to the World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go. Shirakawa-go is home to the Gassho-zukuri ("praying hands") farmhouses. We will go to the Shiroyama Viewpoint to see splendid views of the Ogimachi Village. Next, the Gassho-zukuri Minkaen, which is an open air museum of farmhouses and other structures. We will continue to Takayama, a city located amongst the Japanese Alps and sometimes referred as "Little Kyoto" for its preserved historical structures and environment. Due to it's remote position in the mountains, it has maintained a very unique and traditional atmosphere. Tonight, we will stay at the Ryokan, where you can enjoy a soothing soak in the onsen and try a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
After enjoying a Japanese breakfast at the ryokan, we will continue sightseeing in Takayama. Browse through the market stalls at the Morning market for local crafts and fresh produce. Next, visit Takayama Jinya, a former local government office that now serves as a public museum. It features an interesting interrogation room and official documents of past feudal lords. Proceed to Takayama's beautifully preserved Old Town, which highlights many buildings and whole streets of houses dating from the Edo Period (1600- 1868). In the afternoon, our group will visit the Matsumoto Castle, also known as "Crow Castle" because of its black exterior. Inside, we can see the best examples of a wooden constructed, traditional Japanese-style castle. It is classified as a "hirajiro", meaning it is a castle built on plains rather than on a hill or mountain.
Today, we will travel to Mt. Fuji on our private luxury coach. If the weather is in our favor, we will stop by the Mt. Fuji 5th Station for a grand view of Japan's famous mountain. Enjoy an extensive tour of Hakone by taking a 20 minute ropeway ride from Togendai to Owakudani. Owakudani is known for its active volcanic zone that was created from the eruption of Mount Hakone some 3,000 years ago. Here, you can experience its hot springs and bubbling pools, where volcanic gases still linger. From there, we will travel to Tokyo and spend time in Shibuya. There, you will get to see the famed Shibuya Crossing in action and cross the street with the crowd. You will also be able to take photos with the Hachiko Statue, a monument dedicated to Japan's most loyal dog, which continued for nine years after his owner's death.
After breakfast, you will be taken to the Asakusa
Temple, the most colorful temple in Tokyo that holds
Japan's largest paper lantern. You will also be able to
explore the Nakamise Market, which is located right
the temple's "thunder gate" (Kaminarimon). It is an Edo-
style shopping street full of traditional snacks and
souvenirs. Then, make your way to Ueno Park, an
excellent cherry blossom spot with more than 1,000
cherry trees. Afterwards, you will have the chance to
participate in a delicious sushi making experience with a
professional sushi chef. Whatever you prepare, you will
get to eat! Our next attraction will be the Tsukiji Outer
Market, which is lined with a plethora of food stands and
shops. Our group will continue to the Imperial Palace,
current residence of Japan's Imperial Family and former
grounds of the Edo Castle. It is surrounded by moats
stone fortifications, located in the heart of Tokyo. From
there, we will reach our final stop of the day, the Tokyo
Tower. At 333 meters high, Tokyo Tower is 13 meters
taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. Visitors can go up
150 meters to the main observatory deck and get a
panoramic view of the city.
Note: For Sushi Making Experience, if you are vegetarian, on gluten-free diets, have seafood allergy, or don't eat raw fish, please contact us for other ingredient options.
NOTE 5: If you wish to stay in the center of Tokyo for the last night instead of Hotel Mystays Premier Narita, we can arrange for you to stay at Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro (or similar class). In this case, airport transfer is not included, but we will provide full instructions for you to get to the airport in advance.
NOTE 6: If you will be flying out from Haneda Airport (HND) instead of Narita Airport (NRT), we can arrange for you to stay at Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro (or similar class) instead of Hotel Mystays Premier Narita. In this case, airport transfer is not included but we will provide full instructions for you to get to the airport in advance.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am and Narita Airport can be reached by hotel shuttle bus.
NOTE 7: If you would like to stay longer in Japan, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.