Welcome to Japan! You will be transferred to your hotel by coach and introduced to your guide. Later in the afternoon, take a trip on the Tokyo metro to the Shinjuku district and see the crowds of people who use this modern and efficient collective transport system. The visit includes an ascent to the Metropolitan Tower, which has a wonderful view of the city from the 45th floor. Then you will take a walking tour around the vibrant district famous for its nightlife ending at your restaurant. NOTE: This visit may take place on the day of arrival or after the panoramic city tour next day, depending on the passenger flight arrival times.
In the morning, you will head out for a 5-hour trip with our guide to see this amazing city, with its hustle and bustle and ultramodern districts that coexist with quiet, peaceful areas. After a brief stop at the Zojoji Temple with hundreds of Jizos, stone traditional protecting deities who guide us on our travels, give power to those who are weak and those in dangerous places, and who are dressed in hats, robes, and windmills. Then you will head to Shibuya Junction, said to be the most crowded in the world and Meiji Temple which is dedicated to Emperor Meiji, his wife, and their spirits. Walk to the lively Harajuku area where you can find shops and boutiques of the most eccentric styles and continue by bus along the elegant streets of Omotesando. You will drive past the most beautiful part of the Imperial Palace and the gardens and stop to visit the famous Nijubashi Bridge. Pass through the Akihabara District, the “electric town” with icons from the popular Japanese Manga and Anime culture and then see Kokugikan, the Sumo stadium, home of this Japanese sport. You will also visit the Buddhist temple of Sensoji, the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo, with its 55-meter high pagoda. You will have some free time to visit the traditional commercial street of Nakamise in the district of Asakusa and enjoy lunch in a local restaurant.
Set out for the beautiful region of Mount Fuji, passing through picturesque countryside. You will reach the idyllic city of Kawaguchiko with its little houses, flowers and mountains, and its beautiful lake. On arrival, you will visit the Fuji Sengen Shrine, a magical site surrounded by tall trees and spectacular views of Mount Fuji and the starting point of the traditional pilgrimage to the mountain. At the shrine, you can express your thanks for being able to visit this wonderful place. The trip includes ascent by cable car to Mount Tenjo from where the views of the neighboring lakes and Mount Fuji are breathtaking. The visit also includes a delightful boat trip on Kawaguchiko Lake. After lunch, you will begin ascending Mount Fuji on the road that takes you to the “fifth station”, surrounded by spectacular forests and views, to a height of 2,305 meters. Note: In winter, the route up to Mount Fuji is closed due to snow or other adverse weather conditions; during this season, we will ascend as far as the authorized point. You will return to Kawaguchiko, with time to stroll near the lake. Stay at a Ryokan (a traditional Japanese hotel), and have the chance to enjoy its onsen (public baths). (NB: In the planned Ryokan, some rooms are in Japanese style, with accommodation on tatamis, and others are in western-style).
In the morning, you will continue along pretty roads bordered by lakes to Iyashi No Sato Nenba, a tiny village destroyed by a typhoon in 1966 and later restored as a traditional open-air mountain village and museum. Its traditional houses have been transformed into arts and crafts shops, restaurants and traditional museums. You will then have the opportunity to admire the Shiraito Falls, considered one of the most attractive sites in Japan with a waterfall height of 150 m. You will then continue to Nagoya, the third most important city of Japan, on the shores of the Pacific. Here you will visit the Toyota Museum (admission included), a must-see for automobile enthusiasts.
You will leave at first light to spend all day in Kyoto, the city that was the capital of Japan from the year 794 to 1868 and home to the Imperial Court. During World War II it was the only major Japanese city to escape the bombardments, and so it still preserves its wealth of artistic heritage. The famous protocol restricting greenhouse gas emissions was signed in Kyoto in 1997. Your visit includes a trip to one of the most important parts of the city. You will see the marvelous Shinto Shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji temple, “the golden pavilion” and its wonderful gardens. You will have some free time in the city before you visit Gion, a busy traditional quarter famous for its geishas.
You will head for the outskirts of Kyoto to Arashiyama, where you will cross the Togetsukyo Bridge (“bridge over the moon”), which has fantastic views. Visit the Tenryuji temple, one of the " five major Zen temples of Kyoto" and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by a walk through its mystic bamboo forest. Then leave for Nara and visit Todaiji, a magnificent Buddhist temple built in 752, which has a giant Buddha and where passengers can take photos and touch and feed the deer that wander through the park. After the visit, we will see the Horyuji Buddhist temple, a World Heritage Site that includes a seminary, monasteries, and temples. Its main pagoda temple is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world and it is the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan and an important place of worship. You will continue to Osaka, where you will arrive in the evening. In the evening you will visit Dotonbori, a colorful district famous for its nightlife.
Today you will leave for Himeji famous for its hilltop castle built in the traditional Japanese style. You will then take a cable car trip up to Mount Shosha, home to the Engyo-Ji temple complex with over a thousand years of history, where the film “the last Samurai” was shot. After lunch in a local restaurant, you will travel to Okayama, where you will visit Korakuen, one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, with its lakes, waterfalls and traditional teahouses.
You will set out for Kurashiki, a city known for its well preserved historical center. You will have time to explore this charming place with its old world atmosphere before leaving for Hiroshima, a city made famous by the atomic bomb that fell on it in 1945 and which leveled the city. You will visit the Peace Memorial, the Dome of the Bomb and the impressive Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Seek peace by embarking on a ferry to the island “where men and gods live together”, with the sanctuary of Itsukushima dedicated to the guardian of the seas, built partially over the sea. After visiting the temple you will have time to stroll around the island’s pretty center and have lunch. Return to your hotel in Hiroshima at the end of the evening.
Today you will take a ferry to Shikoku Island, a pleasant trip that will show you the many islands that makeup Japan. In Matsuyama, you will take the cable car up to its impressive seventeenth-century castle. Afterwards, visit Ishiteji, a beautiful Buddhist temple and popular place of pilgrimage. In the late afternoon, you will visit Dogo Onsen one of Japan’s oldest hot springs with a traditional Japanese bathhouse built in the 19th century.
Depart for Kotohira, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the God of Sailors. The shrine stands on Mount Zosu and is reached by climbing 785 steps. Later in Takamatsu, you will visit Ritsurin, one of the prettiest gardens in Japan. Then, in Naruto, you cross an impressive Onaruto Bridge over the sea, stopping on the way to admire the construction and walk on its glass floor with the sea 45 meters below you. You will arrive in Kobe at the end of the day.
In Kobe, you will visit the Earthquake Memorial Museum, built to memorialize the earthquake that devastated the city in 1995 and the aftermath. You will then go on to Osaka with time for a stroll and lunch. That marks the end of our services.