JapanDeluxeTours

Japan Deluxe Tours, Inc.
1820 W. Carson St. Suite 224 Torrance California 90501 USA
Phone: 310-327-1111 FAX: 310-329-7609
14 Nights 15 days Takayama & Villages | Grand Tour - Cherry Blossom Seasonal Tour
Day 1
Welcome to Japan! We will have transportation services to take you to your hotel. Please refer to your tour handbook for more information.

Rest at the hotel and be ready to start your exciting tour tomorrow.



**INFORMATION**

From Narita Airport to downtown hotel in Tokyo - about 90 mins(Bus)

From Haneda Airport to downtown hotel in Tokyo - about 30 mins(Bus)

Day 2

Today, we’ll start our morning exploring the Tsukiji Fish Market, former home of the world-famous tuna auction. Browse through the numerous vendors lining the walkways and pick up a couple of mouth-watering snacks made from the freshest ingredients while you are there. The tour then takes you the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, the busiest pedestrian crosswalk in the world. Be a part of the almost 2500 people crossing and pay a visit to the Hachiko Statue.



Next, we’ll dive into the center of Japanese street fashion in Harajuku. Shop through the trendy district while snacking on the famous Harajuku crepes and other kawaii treats from Takeshita Dori. For lunch, enjoy a delicious, authentic Teppan-yaki meal before we take a short walk over to the anime mecca of the world, Akihabara, or as locals call it, Akiba. Spend your time enjoying shopping at some of the most popular otaku stores, including Animate. Animate carries all kinds of character goods, mangas/animes, and popular video games.



You will have 3 options to choose from (on the day of) on how you would like to continue your day:





  1. Spend more time in Akihabara to shop and explore. We recommend stopping by Super Potato for vintage games, the SEGA arcade, or a Maid Cafe for starters.
    Within this, you can either do the following:

    1. Explore and shop until the bus returns to pick up those who would like to return to the hotel.

    2. Spend the rest of the day in the area and return to the hotel on your own. Your tour guide will provide instructions on how to get back to the hotel via train.





  2. After your time in Akihabara, the tour will head to the old town district of Asakusa where you can purchase traditional Japanese souvenirs at the Nakamise area. Take time to explore the neighboring Senso-ji Temple as well, one of Tokyo’s most popular temples. Return to the hotel afterwards.



  3. If you wish to continue the day, your tour will take you the Tokyo Skytree where you will get to shop at the ever so popular Pokemon Center, a must-go for all Pokemon fans. Purchase exclusive goods and interact with other Pokemon fans via the battling/trading room. For Shounen Jump fans, there will also be a JUMP Store where you can get merchandise from your favorite Jump animes. Return to the hotel.



Breakfast Lunch
Day 3

Our Japan tour will start the day by heading to the renown Hakone area. The first stop of the day will make our way up to the Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station where you will find breathtaking views of the mountain up close as well as the surrounding scenery. Be sure to take photos of the unique perspective of Mt. Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes you won’t see anywhere else.



After our time at Mt. Fuji, we will stop for Hoto, a Japanese noodle dish and considered a local specialty of the region.



Before heading to the hotel, your group will be visiting Matsumoto Castle, also named the Crow Castle due to the unique black color of the building. Considered one of the three premier castles in Japan, the castle has never been destroyed with its initial buildings still intact since construction. The castle tower is Japan’s oldest existing castle tower and is a designated national treasure.


Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Day 4

Today, our Takayama tour will have several stops before arriving in the city of Takayama, the first being Narai-Juku. This preserved district was the thirty-fourth of the sixty-nine stations of the Nakasendo Trail and is recognized as a Cultural Property of Japan. The district maintains the same facade as it did during the Edo Period, allowing visitors to experience what it was like walking through town during that time period. Visit the many attractions with your tour guide, including the immaculately preserved Nakamura Residence or the stunning Kisho Ohashi bridge.



From there, we’ll follow the Nakasendo Trail and enjoy a brief hike between Tsumago and Magome, the forty-second and forty-third stations of the trail respectively. Similar to Narai Juku, the two towns are well-preserved and even go as far as making sure that electrical wires, TV antennas, and telephone poles do not show to recreate the atmosphere of the Edo Period. Enjoy some wagashi Japanese sweets and relax with a cup of tea before we head to the hotel.



Breakfast Dinner
Day 5

We’ll begin our day in Takayama with a visit to the morning market, one of the many areas in the city with buildings and shops more than 300 years old. Enjoy exploring the area by visiting the numerous vendors and important sightseeing spots. We recommend trying Hida Nikuman (beef buns) or Gohei-Mochi while at the market.



While at the market, we also recommend visiting the Takayama Jinya, a building which served as the local government office from 1692 up until 1969. Now a public museum, you can learn about the history of the building as well as old government documents and city plans of the area. The tour will also take a stroll through Takayama’s old town district which is filled with many well-preserved buildings from the Edo Period back when the city thrived as a wealthy merchant town.



Your group will then make its way to the small, rural farming village of Shirakawa-go, famous for its thatched-roof houses made using the gassho-zukuri method. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will get a glimpse into the traditional Japanese farming life in the early eras. A visit to the Nagase House, will provide insight on the various tools and trinkets used in the farming village back in the day.



We will end the day by spending time exploring Kanazawa’s Higashi Chaya tea-house district. Featuring tea houses preserved from the Edo Period, the traditional shopping street is lined with stores and cafes where you can purchase souvenirs and enjoy a cup of tea.


Breakfast
Day 6

We will spend the morning taking in the beautiful landscape of Kenrokuen Garden. Considered one of the top three most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan, Kenrokuen contains everything nature has to offer including streams, hills, and seasonal flowers which are sure to calm the soul.



Afterwards, our tour will head to the Koke no Sato Wisdom Forest. The Forest of Wisdom is one of the best places to see various Japanese moss with the Wisdom House, located in the forest, meant to encourage guests to share experiences or engage in workshops before getting lost in nature.



Our last stop of the day will take you to the city of Komatsu where the group will explore the Yunokuni no Mori traditional Japanese handicraft village. The scenic village offers a variety of workshops including washi (Japanese paper), gold leaf works, Kutani ceramic pottery, Kaga Yuzen (printed silk), glass work, scent bag crafts, and soba making just to name a few. Your tour will include your choice of craft experience.



End your day with a long relaxing soak in the onsen, hot spring, before enjoying a kaiseki dinner (traditional Japanese food). You can also enjoy an exhilarating Taiko Show at the hotel if you wish.


Breakfast Dinner
Day 7

We begin our day with a visit to the Miho Museum to enjoy a morning filled with contemporary and Japanese art. Designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, the Miho Museum is a modern architectural treasure located in the quiet forests of the Shiga prefecture and is meant to blend seamlessly into the surrounding nature. Take in the calm and picturesque grounds while enjoying the works of art on display ranging from classic modern-day artworks to treasures from ancient civilizations.



The tour will then head to Nara to explore Todaiji Temple and the Deer Park. Todaiji Temple is considered one of the largest wooden buildings in the world and holds the largest Buddha statue in Japan, a truly impressive sight to behold. A short walk over and you will stand among the deer of the Nara Deer Park. Considered divine, the deer are adored by people all over the world.


Breakfast
Day 8

Our day in Kyoto will start off with a spirited rickshaw ride through the serene Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Experience what it was like to get around the city back in the day as you enjoy the relaxing scenery.



Next, the group will make its way to the Golden Pavilion, or Kinkakuji Temple, an absolute must-see attraction where the upper two floors are covered with gold leaf. Another short ride away and you will be at Fushimi Inari Shrine, home of the famed thousand torii gates. Explore the area by either making your way through the torii gates to the Omokaru Stone or watch the local priests performing prayers every so often.



The rest of the day will be spent taking part in activities that are quintessential to Japanese culture. First up will be a hands-on lesson on the tea ceremony. Learn about the history and meaning behind the ceremony as you watch it being performed before your eyes. Lastly, we will end the evening with a kaiseki dinner accompanied by a maiko performance. Afterwards, your group will get to interact with the maiko, ask questions, and play some classic party games to end the day.


Breakfast Dinner
Day 9

Today, we will travel further west to the Himeji prefecture to visit the magnificent Himeji Castle. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, it is considered one of Japan’s three premier castle. Nicknamed the White Heron Castle due to the castle’s brilliant white walls, the castle maintains almost all of its original structures since its construction in the early 1600’s. After overcoming war, natural disasters, and going through restorative work, enjoy exploring the largest castle in Japan in all its glory.



After spending time in Himeji, your group will make its way to Shimane prefecture to spend time at the Adachi Museum of Art. Art collections include works from illustrious Japanese artists including Yokoyama Taikan, Takeuchi Seiho, Hashimoto Kansetsu, and Sakakibara Shiho. The true gem, however, lies in the museum’s impressive array of Japanese gardens. With 6 gardens to explore, each one provides a distinct feel and atmosphere unique from each other. The impressive gardens have been recognized not only in Japan (Best Garden in Japan since 2003), but also received a three-star rating by the Michelin Green Guide.



Before we head to the hotel, the tour will visit Izumo Taisha, also known as Izumo Grand Shrine. Believed to have been around since the early 700’s, it is one of Japan’s oldest and most important shrines. Okuninushi no Okami, the creator of Japan as well as the god of marriage and relationships, is said to be enshrined here, making it a popular destination for couples. One of the most recognizable structures at the shrine is the shimenawa (sacred straw rope), the largest in Japan with a length of 13.5 meters and weight around 5 tons.


TBA or similar
Breakfast Dinner
Day 10

Our tour will start the day with a short boat ride over to Miyajima Island. Here, you will find the iconic floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine greeting you as you enter the shrine grounds. The unique sight is due to the natural sequences of the ocean’s tide and is considered on of Japan’s top three most beautiful sights. The island is also known for its Momiji manju and delicious oysters which you can snack on during your visit.



After our morning in Miyajima, we will head into the city of Hiroshima. Spend the afternoon strolling around the historically important A-Bomb Dome, the only surviving building from the atomic bombing of the city during World War Two. Surrounding the dome is the Peace Memorial Park where you can learn more about the bombing and see famous attractions like Sadako’s statue and the Freedom Bell.



The group will make a quick stop in Iwakuni to visit the Kintai Bridge before heading to the hotel. First built in 1673, Kintai Bridge is recognizable for it’s distinctive five arches made of wood and is considered one of Japan’s most famous bridges. The surrounding area provides picturesque backdrop regardless of the season.


Breakfast
Day 11

Today, we begin our Southern Japan journey with a trip to the Arita Porcelain Park. The buildings are styled after a traditional German village with the most striking feature being the reproduction of the Zwinger palace in Dresden. Here, you will learn about the history and the influence that Arita porcelain had in Europe, hence the European style buildings.



Next, we’ll head make our way to Nagasaki to spend time at the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Park. The park is situated at the site of the epicenter of the blast from the atomic bomb and contains a commemorative tablet, museum containing exhibits about the bombing, the Fountain of Peace, and the famous peace statue signifying the need for peace and to stand up against war.



From there, our tour will head to Glover Garden which exhibits Western style mansions with Japanese influences due to influences from foreign trade in Nagasaki before isolationism ended in Japan. After viewing the gorgeous mansions, we will continue to the Oura Catholic Church, Japan’s oldest standing Catholic church. With foreign trade came new religion and Nagasaki became the main city for Japanese Catholics.

Breakfast Lunch
Day 12

Our first stop today will be the city of Kumamoto for a visit to Kumamoto Castle. Kumamoto Castle is one three premier castles in Japan, along with Matsumoto Castle and Himeji Castle which we visited earlier. While we won’t be going inside the castle due to reconstruction, the many views and scenery can still be enjoyed from the castle grounds. The castle grounds also contain Johsaien, a shopping arcade with over 20 shops and the Wakuwaku-za museum featuring the history and culture of Kumamoto.



Next, your cherry blossom tour will travel to the fabled lands of Takachiho. Takachiho Gorge is said to be the hiding spot of the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, when Susano-o, the God of Storms, was terrorizing her. The natural greenery in contrast with the volcanic rock that forms the gorge makes for a magnificent scenery. Our last stop of the day will be the Tunnel Station which houses the Kagura Shuzo Brewery. Sample the local sake and shop for potential gifts at this unique destination.


Breakfast Dinner
Day 13

Our Southern Japan tour continues onwards to Yufuin, a charming rural hot spring town where we will stop by Lake Kinrin and the local shopping street. A special feature of Lake Kinrin is that on top of the regular spring water, hot spring water also feeds into the lake, creating a layer of wondrous mist during cool mornings.



After a relaxing morning in Yufuin, we’ll head toward Beppu, a famous hot spring city known for its 8 unique hot spring areas intended for sightseeing only. Today, we will stop by the Umijigoku, or “Sea Hell”, which has beautiful cobalt blue waters due to the various minerals present.



This completes our tour of Kyushu and we’ll hop onto a ferry for ride to the neighboring island of Shikoku. Our destination city, Matsuyama, has one of the oldest hot springs in the world: Dogo Onsen. With a history of over 3000 years, this onsen is famous for welcoming the imperial family as guests in the exclusive Yushinden room. The surrounding area also has plenty to see and do with an optional rickshaw ride through the area or some light shopping at the local stores.


Breakfast Dinner
Day 14

Our cherry blossom tour today starts today with an Udon making workshop to learn how to hand-make the popular thick-noodle Japanese dish. While Udon is not as well known as Ramen, it is considered a local specialty of the area loved by all the locals. Enjoy a hearty bowl of Udon while learning the art of crafting your own dish.



After filling ourselves with a warm meal, your tour will visit what is considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, Ritsurin Garden. With the gorgeous Mt. Shiun overlooking the garden and specifically designed to seem as if the garden does not end, you are sure to snap a great picture wherever you are in the grounds.



After soaking in some natural beauty, the tour will make its way through Tokushima. We will stop at the Awa-odori Museum, a museum dedicated to the prefecture dance of Tokushima. An annual festival where thousands of spectators will flock to the area to watch the dance being performed during Obon season. Here, we’ll learn about the history as well as learn some parts of the dance.



The tour will end the day by heading to Osaka where you can experience the food destination of Japan for dinner on your own.



Breakfast Lunch
Day 15
Your pleasant and memorable Japan tour ends today. The tour will disband after breakfast. Fly home with cherished memories or enjoy your extended stay in Japan.



**INFORMATION**

From downtown hotel in Osaka to KIX Airport - about 70 mins (Bus)

From downtown hotel in Osaka to ITM Airport - about 30 mins (Bus)
Breakfast