Arrive Tokyo, Japan
Arrive in Tokyo, Japan’s exciting capital. Transfer to your hotel, located in the upscale Roppongi district.
Tokyo | Tsukiji Fish Market & Asakusa Kannon Temple
Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market, a bustling hub of Japanese daily life and the source of most Tokyo inhabitants’ seafood. Next, visit the Shitamachi Museum to view historical reproductions of the living spaces of artisans and merchants who once occupied Tokyo’s lowlands, and learn about their remarkable culture. Proceed to Asakusa Kannon Temple, also known as Sensō-ji, to admire its pagoda-style architecture and learn about its history, which dates to the seventh century. Later, pause in the tiny shops of Nakamise-dori. Enjoy a brief visit to the Imperial Palace Plaza before returning to your hotel.
Tokyo | Life of a Samurai
Today, increase your understanding of Japan’s past and present, starting at the Samurai Museum, where you learn about the customs of this elite warrior class and get an up-close look at an authentic collection of their exotic armor and weaponry. Then, pass by Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo’s answer to Times Square, to watch the downright mesmerizing multi-directional foot traffic. Proceed to Tokyo’s vibrant Harajuku district, where the city’s youth gather to see and be seen, sporting colorful, eclectic fashions. Also visit Omotesando Street, an elegant row of upscale shops offering chic ambience and dazzling façades.
Hakone | Traditional Ryokan
Travel to Hakone, among Japan’s most popular hot-spring resorts, and view the forested slopes of Hakone National Park. Cruise Lake Ashi and board a cable car on the Hakone Komagatake Ropeway for a spectacular view of Mount Fuji. Tonight, enjoy unparalleled service at Gôra Kadan, an exclusive ryokan (traditional inn).
Osaka | Bullet Train Ride & Medieval Castle
After breakfast at your ryokan, head to the Okada Museum of Art to see the exquisite ceramics, lacquerware and paintings on display, and stroll its tranquil gardens. Next, board a 175-mph bullet train to Osaka, one of the largest cities in Japan. This evening, enjoy a wonderful foodie tour in the Dotonbori district, sampling dishes from the brilliantly lighted and creative restaurants that line the street.
Nara | Bronze Buddha
Travel early this morning to visit ancient Nara, Japan’s first capital. En route, pause for a photo opportunity of Osaka Castle and its lovely grounds. On arrival in Nara, visit Todai-ji, a temple complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. Continue to Nara Park, home to over a thousand tame deer before visiting Kasuga Taisha Shrine, dedicated to the deity tasked with protection of the city. Stroll the narrow lanes of Naramachi, Nara’s historic merchant district where traditional residential buildings and warehouses are preserved. Afterward, return to your hotel in Osaka.
Kyoto | Gardens, Pavilions & Temples
Travel to Kyoto early this morning to contemplate the iconic Zen rock garden at Ryoan-ji and glittering Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). Covered in gold leaf that casts a shimmering reflection in the pond before it, the temple exhibits three different styles of architecture — shinden, samurai and zen — one on each floor. Later, explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, a lush oasis formed from towering stalks of bamboo. Proceed to nearby Tenryuji Temple and its wonderful gardens before continuing to your hotel.
Kyoto | Japanese Mingei Folk Art
This morning, begin sightseeing with a visit to Shogunzuka, home to a Buddhist temple with stunning views over Kyoto. Continue to the home and studio of the late Kawai Kanjiro, one of Kyoto’s most famous potters. Kanjiro’s beautiful, unusual home — redesigned to resemble a country house — is filled with his own creations and his personal collection, including ceramics, sculptures and wood carvings. Proceed to a temple, where you experience the art of the tea ceremony, noting its refined sense of hospitality and etiquette that date to the time of the samurai.
Transfer to Kansai or Itami Airport, both located just outside of Osaka, for your international flight home.