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 Imperial Palace Plaza before continuing to 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.
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. Stop at the Nezu Museum to view the exquisite porcelain, ceramics, textiles, calligraphy and paintings on display, and stroll its tranquil gardens. 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
Board a 175-mph bullet train to Osaka, one of the largest cities in Japan. This afternoon, stroll through the lovely grounds of Osaka Castle, which played a key role in the unification of Japan in the 16th century. This afternoon, stroll through the lovely grounds of Osaka Castle, which played a key role in the unification of Japan in the 16th century. 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, stop at the Kehaya-za Sumo Pavilion, where you observe a demonstration of this fabled Japanese sport that culminates in a match between two professional sumo wrestlers. Continue to Nara Park, home to over a thousand tame deer, and stop at Todai-ji, a temple complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. Complete your excursion with a visit to the Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Nara’s most celebrated shrine, it is dedicated to the deity tasked with protecting the city. 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. Transfer to your hotel this afternoon for an evening at leisure.
Kyoto | Japanese Mingei Folk Art
This morning, visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple and stand on its massive veranda for stunning city views. Then, stroll along Gojozaka Hills, an area known for its many pottery studios, on your way to the home and studio of the late Kawai Kanjiro, one of Kyoto’s most famous potters, and one of the first to combine modern manufacturing methods with traditional Japanese and English designs. Kanjiro’s beautiful, unusual home — redesigned to resemble a country house — is filled with his own creations and his personal collection.
Transfer to Kansai or Itami Airport, both located just outside of Osaka, for your international flight home.