Luxury Tailor Made Journeys depart on the dates that work for you and feature expert local guides throughout your journey. The itinerary below can be customized to your interests.
ARRIVE TOKYO, JAPAN
Arrive in Tokyo, Japan’s exciting capital. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the expansive views over the city.
TOKYO | THE SHRINE OF MEIJI-JINGU
Meet your private guide and visit the Imperial Palace Plaza and stroll the grounds of Meiji-Jingu, the most popular Shinto shrine in Japan. Established in 1920 and dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, the shrine stands surrounded by more than 100,000 trees that have been donated by people from all over Japan. Proceed to Asakusa Kannon Temple, pausing in the tiny shops of Nakamise-dori. The colorful, pagoda-style temple was completed in 645 and is dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of mercy in several East Asian spiritual traditions. Next, stop in Ginza for the opportunity to browse its many luxury shops.
TOKYO | WONDERFUL NIKKO NATIONAL PARK
The Japanese have a saying: “Don’t say kekko (wonderful) without seeing Nikko.” Today, travel overland to Nikko National Park in the mountains north of Tokyo and discover this lovely region. A blend of man-made and natural beauty, the park features numerous shrines and temples recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the 17th-century Toshogu Shrine with its lavish decorations and magnificent wood carvings. Next, view Kegon Waterfall, a beautiful 300-foot cascade that is the only outlet for scenic Lake Chuzenji. Enjoy vistas of the falls and the lake from several vantage points, before returning to your hotel.
KYOTO | BULLET TRAIN RIDE & BREWERY VISIT
This morning, travel by bullet train to Kyoto, moving at speeds approaching 175 miles per hour. Upon arrival in Kyoto, set out with your private guide, first visiting the Fushimi Inari Shrine, situated at the base of the mountain of the same name, and see many sculptural depictions on site of kitusune (foxes), considered spiritual messengers and worshipped in the Shinto religion. Next, proceed to Kyoto’s sake district to tour a sake brewery and sample the elixir brewed using the clean, soft water drawn up from underground springs. After a relaxing time, check in to your luxurious hotel.
NARA | JAPAN’S SPIRITUAL HERITAGE
Begin your day with a visit to Nara, where Japan’s first permanent capital was established in 710. Tour Todaiji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most historically significant Buddhist temples in Japan. Enter its spacious main hall to behold the Daibutsu — the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. Stroll the grounds of Nara Park, which surrounds the temple, watching for the deer that roam free there. Next, visit Kasuga Shrine, a renowned Shinto shrine noted for its architecture and the distinctive style of its hanging lamps. Proceed to Kiyomizu Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating to 780. Enjoy vistas from the main hall, looking out from its mountain cliff-side perch, and visit the smaller shrines and temples on site, stopping at one to take part in a traditional tea ceremony.
KYOTO | THE GOLDEN PAVILION & BAMBOO GROVE
Today, discover the glittering Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), covered with gold leaf, surrounded by finely manicured green gardens and set on a lovely, tranquil pond. Later, explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, a lush oasis home to monkeys and towering stalks of bamboo. Bask in the magical atmosphere here, peacefully walking a winding path, as sunlight filters down through bamboo swaying in the breeze. Later, visit Togetsu Bridge, a picturesque span in keeping with the Japanese aesthetic. Then, stop by the centuries-old Nishiki Market, strolling its five-block-long stretch of shops and restaurants frequented by locals and visitors alike.
After breakfast, transfer to Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport, both located just outside of Osaka, for your flight home.
Enhance Your Journey
Elevate your experience with a host of options available for an additional cost.
Explore Tokyo Traditions Both Old & New
First, learn about the traditional dress, techniques and weapons of the ninja at a local training room. Next, explore the honorable code of the warrior at Tokyo’s Samurai Museum. Continue on to discover a more recent cultural phenomenon at a local cat café. Cap off your excursion with a hands-on lesson in the intriguing art of drawing manga (graphic novels).
Stroll Kyoto’s Finest Parks & Exhibits
Begin in Maruyama Park, home to a magnificent weeping cherry tree and a hub of local New Year celebrations. Next, take in the diverse specimens of the Kyoto Aquarium. Then, pause for bit of culture and lunch with a bento-making class. Finally, browse exhibits spanning historic engines and rolling stock at the Kyoto Steam Locomotive Museum.
Dine with a Maiko & Geiko
Tonight, celebrate in style with an exquisitely presented kaiseki (traditional multi-course dinner) overseen by a geiko (geisha in the Kyoto dialect) and maiko (geiko’s apprentice).