Arrive Tokyo, Japan
Arrive in Tokyo, Japan’s exciting capital. Transfer to your hotel, located in the upscale Roppongi district.
Tokyo | Tsukiji Fish Market
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. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and 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. Finish your day 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, before returning to your hotel.
Tokyo | Life of a Samurai
Today, visit 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. The colorful pagoda-style temple was completed in 645 and is dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of mercy in several East Asian spiritual traditions. Finish your day with a photo stop at the Imperial Palace Plaza before returning to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure to explore Tokyo on your own.
Hakone | Traditional Ryokan
Travel to Hakone, among Japan’s most popular hot-spring destinations, and view the forested slopes of Hakone National Park, an area encompassing coastlines, mountains, lakes and more than 1,000 volcanic islands. Board an aerial tram rising above the wooded slopes for inspiring views of Mount Fuji. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before strolling the grassy hillsides of Hakone’s Open Air Museum. Admire the impressive contemporary sculptures and artwork on display, including masterpieces by Henry Moore and Rodin. The museum also features one of the world’s finest Picasso exhibits, presenting visitors with some 300 works by the cubist master. Tonight, enjoy unparalleled service at Gôra Kadan, an exclusive ryokan (traditional inn).
Osaka | Bullet Train & Dotonbori Delicacies
After breakfast at your ryokan, head to the Okada Museum of Art to view its stunning collection of paintings, ceramics, lacquerware and bronzes from Japan, Korea and China. Then, Ride Like a Local by bullet train to Osaka. Historically known as a merchant city, it is today renowned as Japan’s undisputed culinary capital, where diners indulge in everything from octopus dumplings to Okonomi-yaki — a battered, grilled concoction of chopped cabbage, meat or seafood, and seaweed, topped with mayonnaise. This evening, enjoy a wonderful foodie tour in the Dotonbori district, sampling dishes from the brilliantly lighted and culinarily creative restaurants that line the street.
Nara | Insights into a Profoundly Spiritual Heritage
Travel early this morning to ancient Nara, Japan’s first capital. 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 hundreds of tame deer, venerated here as divine spirits, which you have the opportunity feed by hand. Complete your Nara excursion with a visit to celebrated Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine.
Kyoto | The Golden Pavilion & Bamboo Grove
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 tranquil pond beside it, the temple exhibits three different styles of architecture — shinden, samurai and zen — one on each floor. After lunch, explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, strolling along a winding path as sunlight filters down through towering bamboo shoots, considered by many a healing experience. Proceed to nearby Tenryuji Temple and its wonderful gardens before continuing to your hotel.
Kyoto | Traditional Home of a Beloved Artist
This morning, visit Shogunzaka Temple for stunning views of Kyoto, and then continue to the home and studio of the late Kawai Kanjiro, one of Kyoto’s most famous potters. In Kanjiro’s beautiful home, view his own creations as well as his personal collection of ceramics, sculptures and wood carvings. Proceed to a local temple, where you experience the art of the tea ceremony, noting its refined sense of hospitality and etiquette, which date to the time of the samurai.
Transfer to Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport, both located just outside of Osaka, for your international flight home.