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Itinerary ( B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner )
Welcome to Osaka!
Rest at the hotel and be ready to start your exciting tour tomorrow.
Private tours include transportation from the airport to your hotel.
Sheraton Miyako Osaka Hotel or similar
We will begin our day with a stop at Himeji-jo, or Himeji Castle. Himeji-jo is a UNESCO distinguished site, having survived all wars, earthquakes and natural disasters. After our castle visit, we will take a small boat to Itsukushima, a small island off the main shore famously known as Miyajima. It is the home of the floating torii, which at high tide seems to float on water. Along the torii, the Itsukushima Shrine complex is also built over water and is ranked one of Japan's three best sceneries. After a quick picture stop at one of the main highlights here in Hiroshima, the A-Bomb Dome, the only surviving building from the aftermath, we will head back to a hotel.
Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel or similar (BL)
We will spend part of this morning at the Peace Park Memorial. Stroll along the park to see famous attractions like that of Sadako's statue and the freedom bell. Here you can see and read about the relic of the war. We will then take a bullet train to Nagasaki, during which you can enjoy a train bento box, or eki-ben. Our first stop is Gen-en mon We will then head to Glover Garden which exhibits Western style mansions. After viewing these gorgeous mansions, we will continue with our foreign influences to the Oura Catholic Church. The Oura Catholic Church is Japan's oldest standing Catholic church. Our last stop of the day is the Nagasaki Peace Park which was built to commemorate the Nagasaki atomic bomb. In the park is a large pillar engraved with the names of the victims.
Hotel New Nagasaki or similar (BLD)
Early morning we will head to Kumamoto, an old city centering on its castle. Kumamoto Castle is considered the most impregnable fortress in Japan up to this day. The founder, Kato Kiyomasa, was renowned castle architect in the 17th century who constructed castles in Japan and Korea. We will be passing by Mt. Aso, so make sure you have your camera ready. Reaching the opposite shore of Kyushu, we will reach Takachiho. This magical town holds a legend about Amatarasu and her cave. In the evening, we will go to Takachiho Shrine to see a traditional kagura dance base on the local legend.
Hotel Takachiho or similar (BLD)
Today we will head North to Beppu. There we will take the pleasure in joining The Tour of Hell. This interesting little town is ranked second in the world to discharge water creating thousands of mineral springs. The Tour of Hell will focus on the eight most popular hot springs in town. You can purchase pudding from local markets that were cooked using the steam from the geysers. After lunch, we will hitch a ride in a boat to Matsuyama, a castle city. Following the pattern of hot springs, we will soak in one of the oldest in the world, Dogo Onsen. It is said that its 3,000 years old with healing qualities. We can see the Imperial family own rooms and onsens that are reserved for them called Yushinden. We will return to our hotel for a traditional style dinner, a luxurious multi-course Japanese meal. Afterwards, you have time to roam the old streets of Matsuyama or take a soak in the hot springs. There is a Taiko Show you can enjoy at the Tsubakikan Hotel in the main building for free.
Tsubaki-kan or similar (BLD)
We will be traveling around Shikoku, the fourth largest island of Japan. After one last look at Dogo Onsen, we will head towards Ishiteji Temple, 51st of the 88 temples along the holy pilgrimage route. This extraordinary temple has an underground labyrinth and caves that can date back to 8th century. There is a legend about Emon Saburo who returned to the temple after he was reincarnated. Traveling East, we will visit one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan that overlooks Mt. Shiun, Ritsurin Garden. Michelin Green Guide graded the garden three stars. Our last stop before hitting Osaka is Naruto, a small town off the coast. Here in Naruto, many hope to observe the large Naruto whirlpools that can be seen under very ideal conditions. Before ending our day, we will spend some time at Dotonbori, a popular tourist district for dining, shopping, and entertainment. The street is lit by hundreds of neon lights at nighttime, keeping the town lively throughout the night.
Sheraton Miyako Osaka Hotel or similar (BL)
We will begin our morning by heading to Todaiji Temple. Todaiji Temple holds the World Guinness Record as the largest wooden building. Inside the temple, you will behold the largest Buddha statue of Japan. Just outside the temple is the Nara Deer Park, where you will be greeted by numerous deer that roam around freely. The deer here at the park are known to be friendly and may even bow at you for a little treat. After our friendly encounter with the deer we will experience traditional green tea ceremony. The tea ceremony (sado: “the way of the tea”) is a ceremonial way of preparing and drinking tea. The entire process of creating and serving green tea is a form of art in Japan appreciated since the 9th century. We will all have the chance to taste a cup of authentic green tea prepared by the host. Then why not try a little sake tasting? We will be heading to a sake brewery to learn how sake is made and try different types of sake. Our next stop is the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of red torii gates that lead to the sacred Mt. Inari. We will then head to Sanjusangen-do, a temple in eastern Kyoto famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Our final stop of the day is the Gion Geisha District.
Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or similar (BL)
Our first stop of the day will be a trip to the Kiyomizu Temple. The most iconic temple of Japan, Kiyomizu Temple is a wooden structure that overlooks the city of Kyoto. On the base, three canals sprout water representing love, wisdom, and longevity. We will then walk to Ninenzaka, an area of town with streets filled with Kyotoesque shops, perhaps an ideal place for souvenir shopping. Our next stop is a visit to the Golden Pavilion, or Kinkakuji, a must see attraction where the two upper floors are covered in gold leaf. Upon leaving the gorgeous Golden Pavilion, we will head to the Nishijin Textile Center, where you can witness the creation of traditional kimonos. The center offers courses in handweaving, traying on elegant kimonos, and if you'd like you can even purchase it. You will be invited to see dazzling arrays of kimonos in a fashion show. Our last stop is Nijo Castle, where the first shogun of the Edo Period, Tokugawa Ieyasu, resided. Its walls and door panels are heavily decorated with gold and beautiful pictures of nature. The castle was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994 as one of the best examples of castle palace architecture of Japan's feudal era.
Atami Hotel New Akao Resort or similar (BLD)
We will start our day heading to owakudani, an active volcanic crater still steaming from its last eruption some 3,000 years ago. There you will get a taste of the local cuisine, the black egg, cooked in one of the craters. We will then take a cruise in Lake Ashi where on a clear day you can get a clear view of Mt. Fuji. Then why not continue our adventure with a rope-way ride and then head to Lake Kawaguchi. We will visit the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum. Here we will witness beautiful works of Itchiku Kubota, a Japanese textile artist who devoted his life in recreating Tsujigahana, a fabric dyeing technique from 15th century.
Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba or similar (BL)
We will first stop by the Imperial Palace Plaza to get a glimpse of the current Emperor's home. Next the tour will head out to Edo Tokyo Museum where you can get acquainted with the history of Tokyo. After lunch, we will delve in the old town district of Asakusa – shop around the Nakamise Shopping area and pray at the Sensoji Temple. We will also stop by the famous Meiji Shrine located in Shibuya. In the evening, we will probe the stores at Harajuku, the unofficial fashion capital of Japan that offers the latest pop culture and fashion. Returning to our hotel, we will be passing by the famous Shibuya Crosswalk.
Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba or similar (BL)
Sadly your enjoyable Japan tour ends today, you will return home with cherished memories or enjoy your extended stay in Japan.
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