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All Japan Tours       337 N.Vineyard Ave Suite 215, Ontario, CA 91764
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Japan In Depth: Kyoto Aoi Festival Tour 2020 - 5/11

Observe the graceful Kyoto Aoi Festival and travel deeper into Japan by exploring the country's three main islands.

Tour Code: GTY1663022

Tour Information

Land cost: from USD $5098.00

Single supplement: USD $1170.00

Tour duration: 14 days 13 nights

Destination:
Tokyo / Mt Fuji / Hakone / Hikone / Koka / Kyoto / Nara / Osaka / Himeji / Kurashiki / Takamatsu / Shimanami Kaido / Hiroshima / Kitsuki / Beppu / Takachiho / Nagasaki

Tour cost includes:
• 11 nights Western style and 2 nights Japanese style accommodation
• Meet and greet upon arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport
• Airport transfers on arrival and departure
• Private coach transfers between destinations in Japan
• Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
• Gratuities
Meals
• Breakfast everyday
• 6 lunches and 6 dinners
Admission fees and activities
• All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

Dates & Price
2020
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Mon. May 11, 2020 Sun. May 24, 2020 USD $5098.00 Tokyo Fukuoka View Tour
2021
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Tue. May 11, 2021 Mon. May 24, 2021 USD $5098.00 Tokyo Fukuoka View Tour
2022
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Wed. May 11, 2022 Tue. May 24, 2022 USD $5098.00 Tokyo Fukuoka View Tour

Please Note:
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.

Itinerary

Day 1

Tokyo Narita Airport

Welcome to Tokyo! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.

Hotel Mystays Premier Narita or similar class
Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class (NOTE 1 & 2)

NOTE 1: If you wish to stay in the center of Tokyo for the first 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. We will provide you directions to get to your hotel in advance, or we can arrange shared shuttle service for you at US$65.00 per person per way.

NOTE 2: If you will be flying into Haneda Airport (HND) instead of Narita International Airport (NRT), we can arrange for you to stay in the center of Tokyo (Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class) instead of Hotel Mystays Premier Narita. In this case, meet-and- greet and airport transfer are not included. We will provide with full instructions to get to the hotel in advance, or we can arrange shared shuttle service for you at US$60.00 per person per way.

NOTE 3: The meet-and-greet is ONLY available for flights arriving in Terminal 1 & 2 after 11:00 AM. For guests arriving in Terminal 3, airport pickup is not included, but 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.

Day 2

Tokyo (Asakusa Sensoji Temple / Sushi-Making Experience / Tsukiji Outer Market / Imperial Palace / Tokyo Tower)

Today, you will be taken to the Asakusa Kannon Temple, an active place of worship where you can see the largest paper lantern in Japan. You will also be able to explore the Nakamise Market, which is located right outside the temple's outer gates. It is a shopping street in a traditional- style with centuries of history. Next, you will have the chance to enjoy a sushi-making experience with a professional sushi chef. Whatever you prepare, you will get to eat! Afterwards, we will proceed to the Tsukiji Outer Market, where various restaurants and shops line the streets. Then, pay a visit to the Imperial Palace, the former site of Edo Castle and current residence of Japan's Imperial Family. In the afternoon, we will visit the world's tallest self-supporting steel tower. At 333 meters (1092.5 feet) high, Tokyo Tower is 9-meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. You will be able to sightsee at 150 meters (492 feet) up in the main observatory deck and get a bird's eye 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.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class

Day 3

Mt Fuji, Hakone (Hakone Ropeway / Owakudani)

We will depart from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji on our private coach. Along the way, enjoy the changing scenery, from thick vegetation to lowlands to rolling clouds. Stop at Mt. Fuji 5th station (depending on weather) to admire the world famous peak. Next, we will travel to Hakone, which is among Japan's most popular hot spring resorts, and view the forested slopes of Hakone National Park. We will take a 20-minute ropeway ride from Togendai to Owakudani. Most of the area around Owakudani is considered an active volcanic zone since its creation from the eruption of Mount Hakone some 3,000 years ago. Now, you can experience hot springs and hot rivers there, where sulfurous fumes still linger. Owakudani also has splendid views of Mount Fuji in good weather. Tonight, we will stay at an Onsen hotel in Atami Onsen, where you can soak in the soothing waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Atami New Akao Hotel or similar class

Day 4

Shinkansen Bullet Train Ride from Atami to Nagoya, Hikone (Hikone Castle - Genkyuen Garden), Koka (Miho Museum)

After breakfast at the hotel, our group will experience a Shinkansen bullet train ride from Atami to Nagoya, which can reach speeds of up to 320 km/hr (200mph). Visit the Hikone Castle, an original castle, i.e. it survived the post feudal era without undergoing destruction and reconstruction, considered one of the four most beautiful castles in Japan with its three-layered chalk tower. Hikone Castle has a backdrop of Lake Biwa and Konki-zan Hill, and is regarded as one of four national heritage castles, along with Inuyama Castle in Aichi, Himeji Castle in Hyogo, and Matsumoto Castle in Nagano. Visit the Genkyuen Garden, a beautiful Japanese landscape garden located on the castle grounds. Visit Miho Museum, which exhibits stunning architecture that accentuates the surrounding natural scenery while exhibiting a variety of items from ancient civilizations. It was designed by the renowned architect, I. M. Pei, and is named after Koyama Mihoko, one of the richest women in Japan and the founder of the museum. Moreover, the museum has been listed as one of the "1000 Places to See Before You Die". Afterwards, we will proceed to Kyoto for three nights.

Breakfast

Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or similar class

Note: If Miho Museum is close, we will visit Kyoto National Museum or Sagawa Art Museum instead.

Day 5

Kyoto (Aoi Festival / Free for leisure in the afternoon)

This morning, you will visit the Aoi Festival by train. In addition to being one of the three largest festivals in Kyoto, Aoi Matsuri is the festival of the two Kamo shrines: Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine. Held on May 15th every year, this is one of the most solemn and graceful festivals in the country and has been well preserved since the eighth century when it first started. A very popular festival, the Aoi Matsuri includes a procession of about 500 people who are clad in the elegant and ornate dress of the ancient imperial court followed by gorgeous carriages pulled by oxen. The festival begins at Kyoto’s Imperial Palace where the procession proceeds to Shimogamo for the first ceremonies. The parade then continues to make its way to Kamigamo Shrine. This is the section that most people are referring too when they mention the Aoi festival. A stately procession of palanquin bearers, oxcarts, horses, and men bearing offerings proceed towards their destination: Shimogamo Shrine. Upon arrival at Shimogamo, most of the members of the parade will go inside to perform the ceremonies. However, many others will remain outside and perform a dance for the gods and for the watching crowd. After enjoying the festival, you will be free in the afternoon to explore Kyoto on your own.

Breakfast

Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or similar class

Day 6

Kyoto (Arashiyama - Tenryuji Temple - Sagano Bamboo Forest - Togetsukyo Bridge / Golden Pavilion / Nishijin Kimono Show / Kiyomizu Temple / Gion Geisha District)

Today we will start our tour of Kyoto, once the capital of Japan and still considered its cultural center. First is a visit to Arashiyama to see Tenryuji Temple where you can have a glimpse of traditional Zen landscape garden design. Then proceed through a dense bamboo forest, past several small shrines, tea shops and private houses before arriving at the Togetsukyo Bridge over Hozu River. Continue on to the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) covered with 18-karat gold leaf. This three-story structure was originally built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. At the Nishijin Textile Center, you can view displays of kimonos and even watch a kimono fashion show. Then, we will visit the famous Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters (42.6 ft) above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall, as well as a beautiful scene of Kyoto City in the distance. We will end our day in the Gion Geisha District, where its streets are lined with ochaya (teahouses), exclusive establishments where guests are entertained by Geisha and Maiko.

Breakfast / Dinner

Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or similar class

Day 7

Kyoto (Green Tea Ceremony with Maiko Interaction / Fushimi Inari Shrine), Nara (Todaiji Temple / Deer Park), Osaka (Dotonbori - Shinsaibashi)

The day begins with a green tea ceremony and a meet- and-greet with a maiko – an apprentice geisha. You will have photo-taking opportunities and a chance to interact with the maiko. After that, make your way to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The shrine is famous for its thousands of stunning vermilion torii gates that are lined along a 4 km (2.5 mile) long tunnel, which was even featured in the film "Memoirs of a Geisha". This complex wraps around a bamboo wilderness that consists of mountains, streams, and ponds, making it the perfect backdrop for a scenic hike. We will then travel to Nara, where we will go to the Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in Japan. The temple also houses one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha at 15 meters (49 feet) high. Nearby, explore the surrounding Deer Park, filled with over 1,000 Sika Deer. Our final stop of the day will be in Osaka. We will spend some time in Dotonbori, a popular shopping, entertainment, and food district. It is known for the hundreds of neon and mechanized signs that line its streets. Our group will also stop by Shinasaibashi, one of Osaka's oldest shopping destinations.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Elsereine Osaka or similar class

Day 8

Himeji (Himeji Castle), Kurashiki (Canal Area)

Today we take a 2 hour ride on a luxury coach to Himeji to visit Himeji Castle. It is known as "White Egret Castle" and "White Heron Castle" because of its brilliant white exterior, resembling a bird taking flight. Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and is one of the few remaining original castles in Japan. This splendid example of traditional architecture was declared one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. Next is a visit to Kurashiki. In merchant days, 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. Tonight, we will stay in a spa hotel in Kurashiki, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a buffet dinner.

Breakfast / Dinner

Washu Blue Resort Kasago or similar class

Day 9

Seto Ohashi Bridge, Takamatsu (Shikoku Mura Village / Ritsurin Park)

After your Japanese breakfast at the hotel, we will cross the inland sea through the Seto-ohashi Bridge to Shikoku Island. Seto-ohashi Bridge is a collective term for the six bridges that connects Japan's main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku, passing over five small islands in the Seto Inland Sea. These beautiful bridges took 40 years and a tremendous amount of money to build. They are the essence of all available bridge-building technologies. Proceed to Takamatsu with a visit to 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.

Breakfast / Dinner

Imabari Kokusai Hotel or similar class

Day 10

Shimanami Kaido (Scenic Driving), Hiroshima (Peace Memorial Park - A-Bomb Museum / Miyajima - Itsukushima Shrine)

In the morning, we will drive through the Shimanami Kaido to Honshu Island. The Shimanami Kaido is a 60 kilometer long toll road that connects Japan's main island of Shikoku to the island of Honshu, passing over six small islands in the Seto Inland Sea. It is also known as the Nishiseto Expressway. In Hiroshima, we will visit the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Museum. Then take a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima, considered sacred by many. At high tide, 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 and Miyajima has been selected as one of Japan's three most scenic places (nihon sankei).

Breakfast

Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima or similar class

Day 11

Shinkansen to Kokura, then board the "Sonic" express train to Kitsuki, Kitsuki (Kitsuki Samurai Districts - Ohara Residence), Beppu (Beppu Hells / Mt. Takasaki Monkey Park), Takachiho (Takachiho Shrine - Yokagura Performance)

This morning, we will take a ride on the top speed Shinkansen bullet train to Kokura, then board the "Sonic" express train to Kitsuki where we will visit the Kitsuki Samurai Districts. From Kitsuki, we proceed to a bather's paradise - the celebrated hot spring resort of Beppu. Marvel at one of Beppu's most celebrated attractions, the Jigoku Meguri, or "Boiling Hells" hot springs. View two of the nine hot springs or “hells” of Beppu. These hot springs are ideal for viewing rather than bathing. The springs earned their name because it was said that these mysterious, steamy attractions resembled a scene from hell ("jigoku" means "hell"). Then we will enjoy a scenic drive to Mt. Takasaki Monkey Park where we will take a monorail up to the observation area. Mt. Takasaki is a forested mountain just outside of Beppu and home to over 1,500 wild Japanese monkeys. Within this natural habitat, the monkeys have been fed regularly in order to keep them living on the mountain and prevent conflicts with local fruit farmers. The monkeys are quite accustomed to human visitors, and it is possible to get very close in order to take their pictures! From here, we drive west to Takachiho, a town in northern Miyazaki Prefecture that is steeped in Japanese mythology. It is the supposed site of legend where Amaterasu, the Shinto Sun Goddess, disturbed by her brother's cruel pranks, hid herself in a cave, prompting the other gods and goddesses to try and lure her out. Another legend suggests that this is where Amaterasu's grandson Ninigi- no- Mikoto descended to earth to establish Japan's imperial family. Takachiho is also known as a "power spot", a place of profound religious importance and natural beauty, which radiates spiritual energy. After a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner, we have a special treat- a Yokagura Dance Performance. An outrageously ribald dance that supposedly caused Amaterasu to leave the cave to see what all the fun was about, and in doing so she returned her light to the world.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Hotel Takachiho or similar class

Day 12

Takachiho (Takachiho Gorge / Amano Iwato Shrine), Ferry from Kumamoto to Shimabara

After breakfast, we will visit Takachiho Gorge, a narrow chasm cut through the rock by the Gokase River. The nearly sheer cliffs lining the gorge are made of slow forming volcanic basalt columns, which resemble the scales of a dragon where the stone twisted and flowed as it was formed. Partway along the gorge is the 17 meter high Minainotaki waterfall cascading down to the river below, and it is truly impressive to see the waterfall against a backdrop of dense green foliage and the surrounding grey cliffs. Then visit Amano Iwato Shrine and Amano Yasukawara. Amano Iwato Shrine was built near the cave where Amaterasu is said to have hid herself. A short walk down the road from Amano Iwato Shrine is a path that leads down to the river below. Eventually the path leads to a simple shrine inside a cave known as Amano Yasukawara. This is said to be the cave where the gods and goddesses met to discuss their strategy of luring Amaterasu out of hiding. The natural beauty of the cave and river lined by countless stacks of stones make Amano Yasukawara a place not to miss. After lunch, proceed to Kumamoto and take a 30 minute ferry crossing the Ariake Sea to Shimabara. Tonight we stay in a western style hotel in Nagasaki.

Breakfast / Lunch

ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Nagasaki Gloverhill or similar class

Day 13

Nagasaki (Nagasaki Peace Park / Dejima / Glover Garden / Oura Church), Fukuoka (Wagyu Dinner)

After breakfast, we will visit the Nagasaki Peace Park that holds the memorial for the victims of the second bomb that hit the land. A statue of a man pointing up and holding his other arm out is symbolic of the Nagasaki Peace Park. Our next site is Dejima, an area with over 400 years of history in Dutch trade. It features historical warehouses and residences, providing insight into the former Dutch Trade Post and how they lived during Japan's two centuries of isolation. Then, visit the Glover Gardens, an open air museum where we can see a fine collection of historic mansions of former Western residents of Nagasaki. Continue to the Oura Catholic Church, the oldest standing Christian church in Japan. It was also the first Western building in Japan to be designated as a national treasure. In the afternoon, we depart from Nagasaki to Fukuoka, where we will savor the world famous Wagyu beef.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Hotel Nikko Fukuoka or similar class

Day 14

Tour Ends

After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am, free for leisure until transfer Fukuoka Airport for departure.

Breakfast

NOTE 5: If you would like to stay longer in Japan, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.