Footsteps of Japanese History

Duration

14 Days

Footsteps of Japanese History


An in-depth journey through Japan’ s national history.


Beginning in Tokyo, learn the history of Japan’s capital from its roots as a small village to a leading mover in the world.


In addition, visit Japan’s former capital and follow ancient paths through the mountains. See traditional towns where the routines of centuries are still visible.

Finally, meet the master artisans who keep Japan’s history alive.

Day 1

Palace Hotel Tokyo

Palace Hotel Tokyo (4 nights)

Location - Center of Tokyo adjacent to the Imperial palace gardens, in the heart of the financial and business district Marunouchi - 10-minute walk to Tokyo Station with 12 railways and bullet trains - Direct underground access to Otemachi Station with 5 metro lines - 30 minutes to Haneda Airport by taxi -60-90 minutes to Narita Airport by taxi - 10 minute taxi ride to famous Ginza shopping district - Free-standing hotel - Spacious guest rooms from 45sq.m./485sq.ft, most futuring balconies - Very first evian SPA in Japan - State of the art fitness facilities with indoor pool - 7 unique restaurants - 3 bars and lounges Services - Complimentary wireless/wired in-room Internet - Complimentary use of fitness center for staying guests - Complimentary mineral water - Complimentary daily newspaper

Narita Arrival Transfer

Narita Arrival Transfer

Meet your driver in the arrival area and move to Tokyo. It is about a 90 minute drive.

Day 2

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Public transportation for touring

Public transportation for touring

Today you will tour using a combination of trains, buses, and taxis.

Tsukiji & Toyosu Market

Tsukiji & Toyosu Market

Every day, from Monday to Saturday at the famous tuna auction is held at Toyosu Fish Market in the early morning hours and afterwards the market opens up to the general public midmorning. This is an excellent chance to discover some of the world’s best seafood and see this famous market in action. While the inner market has many shops that sell business to business, the outer market in Tsukiji is a wonderful chance to to sample a wide variety of some of Japan's finest seafood and various fresh, hot snacks. Your brief tour today will take you to the outer market to experience some of Tsukiji’s best eating (and drinking). We recommend the yaki-tamago - a sweet, custard like scrambled egg pan fried in layers and served fresh out of the pan.

Hamarikyu Gardens

Hamarikyu Gardens

Your first stop today will be the beautiful Hamarikyu Garden. Nestled along the coast surrounded by high rise buildings, the garden was once a popular duck hunting ground. The views of the garden change depending on when you visit as the pond takes in sea water during high tides.

Zojoji Temple

Zojoji Temple

Visit Zojoji Temple, which is at the base of the tower. The temple was built in the year 1393 and moved to its present location in 1598 by Tokugawa Ieyasu who selected it as his family temple. A mausoleum of the Tokugawa family can be found on the temple grounds. Most of Zojoji's buildings are recent reconstructions except for the main entrance gate, the Sangedatsumon, which has survived the many past fires, earthquakes and wars and dates from 1622.

Sengakuji Temple

Sengakuji Temple

Sengakuji is a small temple in southern Tokyo, which is famous as the final resting place of the "47 Ronin." The story of the 47 loyal ronin has been one of the most popular historical stories in Japan, and many people visit the temple in order to pay respect to these loyal men by burning incense sticks in the graveyard. A small museum commemorating the 47 ronin can also be found at Sengakuji.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

One of Tokyo’s most unmistakable landmark is Tokyo Tower. Long a symbol of Japan’s post war economic recover, the tower is actually a functioning broadcast tower. Although technology has advanced, leaving the tower with minimal functionality (Tokyo SkyTree now broadcasts much of the signals), Tokyo Tower is still a popular historical landmark to visit. The surrounding area also offers much for visitors to see and do.

Day 3

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Public transportation for touring

Public transportation for touring

Today you will tour using a combination of trains, buses, and taxis.

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace East Gardens are a part of the inner palace area and are open to the public. They are the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circles of defense, the honmaru ("main circle") and ninomaru ("secondary circle"). None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist. It is a sight to see.

Goma Fire Ritual

Goma Fire Ritual

The Goma Fire Ritual is one of Japan's most enchanting and fascinating experiences. Fire is believed to have many cleansing properties in the Shingon sect of Buddhism and is often used in prayers and requests. The ritual is powerfully hypnotic with the monks’ chants accompanying the intense and purifying fire.

Fukagawa Edo Museum

Fukagawa Edo Museum

The Fukagawa Edo Museum is a reproduction of the actual city streets of Tokyo at the end of the Edo period. The museum goes to great lengths and extraordinary detail to show the lives of the people of that time, including the daily instruments and food they used and consumed to the places they called home.

Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple

Sensōji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo, having been built in 645AD. Unfortunately, after remaining relatively unscathed for 13 centuries, it was destroyed during WWII. Sensoji was rebuilt after the war and has become a symbol of rebirth of the city and the nation. Nowadays, millions of people step through the Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate, famous for its huge lantern, and stroll along Nakamisedori, the street leading to the temple, filled with small shops selling all manners of goods.

YA NE SEN & Calligraphy Experience

YA NE SEN & Calligraphy Experience

Take a casual stroll through the famous YA NE SEN area. Comprised of three small “towns”, YAnaka, NEzu, and SENdagi, this area is popular among tourists and locals alike for its rustic architecture, plentiful eating, and interesting shopping. During your time in this area, take in a calligraphy experience and learn the secrets to Japanese brush-style writing. During this lesson, you'll break down complex Chinese characters into their individual components (called "radicals") and practice writing each one. After going through the basics, you'll then use these radicals to write more complex characters. As you finish the lesson, you'll work on your final product to bring home with you. After completing this lesson, the signs you see around you during your time in Japan will be just a tad more familiar to you.

Day 4

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Public transportation for touring

Public transportation for touring

Today you will tour using a combination of trains, buses, and taxis.

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto Shrine in central Tokyo that was founded in 1869, It commemorates Japanese who have died in war. The spirits of over 2 million people are enshrined there. There is much controversy surrounding the shrine because 14 Class A war criminals are also enshrined there and many Japanese politicians have paid and continue to pay visits to the shrine causing worry about the glorification of Imperial Japan. There is also a war museum attached to the shrine that gives a unique version of history.

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

A pleasant mix of Japanese, English, and French style gardens, Shinjuku Gyoen offers a green escape for people living in the heart of Tokyo. This 400 year old garden first began as a private residence for a local lord and was only converted to a garden thereafter. Owner was eventually transferred to the Imperial Family and access to the gardens was opened up to the public. Although the garden offers pleasant strolls for visitors year round, the blossoming of the cherry trees in early spring makes Shinjuku Gyoen one of Tokyo's most beautiful areas.

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine was built nearly 100 years ago to commemorate Emperor Meiji’s contribution to modern Japan. The shrine is entirely surrounded by a forest, with an area of 70 hectares of land and over 120,000 trees, all of which were donated to the shrine from different parts of Japan. Although rather young compared with other shrines, Meiji shrine has its own dramatic story to tell. While the original construction of the shrine was completed in 1926, the shrine was destroyed during the bombings of World War II and rebuilt in 1958. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a couple on their wedding day, making their way through the shrine’s grounds on their way to their ceremony.

Harajuku & Omotesando

Harajuku & Omotesando

Harajuku’s Takeshita Street - This narrow, crowded street is lined with shops that sell the latest fashion trend, sweets, and other interesting items. It is in this area that some of the outrageous fashion that Japan is know for originates. As the trendy streets of Harajuku end, the amazing architecture of Omotesando begins. With seemingly endless modern, cutting-edge architecture, great shopping, and delicious restaurants, Omotesando is Tokyo’s Champs-Elysées Boulevard. Many of the buildings along this street were designed by Pritzker Prize winning architects such as Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

Day 5

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Private vehicle, full day

Private vehicle, full day

Hasedera Temple

Hasedera Temple

Hasedera temple is halfway up a tree-lined slope to the west of Kamakura. It has wonderful views of the city. The temple is famous for its more than 30-foot-tall eleven-headed statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. It is regarded as the tallest wooden sculptures in Japan and, according to legend, it is from the same tree that a similar statue in Nara's Hasedera Temple. Following the stairs to the top of the slope is the Jizo Hall with hundreds of statues of Jizo Bodhisattva, the protector of children.

Kamakura Daibutsu

Kamakura Daibutsu

The Grand Buddha of Kamakura sits in the open air on a large stone platform. It was housed in various temples until the 15th century when its housing was destroyed in a tsunami. The Buddha at a height is second only to the Buddha at Todaiji Temple in Nara.

Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine

Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine

Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine is a well known shrine to the west of Kamakura. It is famous as a place where visitors wash their money with the hope that the money will double. The shrine was founded in the 12th century by Minamoto Yoritomo, the first Kamakura shogun. The shrine is a very good example of the blending of Buddhism and native Shinto beliefs.

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu

Tsurugaoia Hachiman-gu is Kamakura's most Important shrine. It was founded in 1063 and is dedicated to the god, Hachiman, the patron deity of the Minamoto Family, the shoguns of the Kamakura Era. The shrine is reached by a long walkway that leads from the waterfront through the center or town, with many torii gates along the way.

Kinnotake Tonosawa

Kinnotake Tonosawa (1 night)

Featuring open-air hot spring bath and relaxation spa, Kinnotake Tonosawa is a beautiful ryokan in Hakone surrounded by water and bamboo trees. Our accommodation concept is based on a nation-wide famous story "Takemonogatari" from "Kaguyahime", a story of a woman who fell in love with the emperor but their love lasting only for a moment until she is sent to the moon. Kinnotake Tonosawa has free Wi-Fi, private parking and on-site bar with view. We also have business rooms at the basement floor. All rooms include a private bathroom equipped with bath tub with bath robes and slippers. Some rooms have a seating area with views of either mountains or garden. From our accommodation, Hakone Open-Air Museum is 3.6 km away and Hakone Gora Park is 4.3 km away.

Day 6

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Private vehicle for touring

Private vehicle for touring

Magome

Magome

The town has been beautifully restored with a broad stone walkway lined with carefully tended foliage. Magome's embellished preservation contrasts with the rugged authenticity of neighboring Tsumago. While exploring Magome, visitors will surely come across the name Shimazaki Toson. Born in Magome in 1872, Toson is a highly regarded figure in Japanese literature. In his novel Yoakemae (Before the Dawn), he famously describes life in the area during the early years of the Meiji Restoration. Honjin/Toson Memorial Museum Toson's father was the last person to oversee Magome's Honjin, and Toson himself was born there. Today, it serves as a memorial to the artist.

Magome-Tsumago Trail

Magome-Tsumago Trail

The trail between Magome and Tsumago is a well maintained section of the former Nakasendo. The trail is not difficult and is well marked in English and Japanese. It is about 8 km long and should take two to three hours to complete at a leisurely pace. The trail leads through the countryside and passes right alongside the houses and fields of local residents. It also intersects with the road and hikers must tread along asphalt for some portions. Despite this, a walk along the Magome-Tsumago trail is a highly enjoyable part of visiting the Kiso Valley.

Tsumago

Tsumago

The town and its residents go to great lengths to recreate the ambiance of the Edo Period. Cars are prohibited on the main street during the day and phone lines and power cables are kept concealed, allowing visitors to imagine they have slipped back to an earlier time. Tsumago also recreates the post town atmosphere by maintaining its Honjin and Wakihonjin. In all post towns, the Honjin was the principal inn and served government officials who were traveling through. When more lodging was required, the Wakihonjin served to accommodate the travelers of lower status. Tsumago also maintains the office where laborers and horses were rented to aid in travel. Rekishi Shiryokan is a rather extensive historical museum on Tsumago and the Kiso Valley. Most of the museum is translated into English, and many models and artifacts are on display.

Forest Hotel Fuki

Forest Hotel Fuki (2 nights)

Fukinomori is a Japanese-style hotel located near the Nakasendo, the traditional route between Kyoto and Tokyo. Its location allows guests to explore the mountainous area and immerse themselves in the local culture. It is well-known for its cypress wood baths and amazing views from the outside bath.

Day 7

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Private vehicle for touring

Private vehicle for touring

Today you will tour in the comfort of your private vehicle.

Kiso Fukushima Town

Kiso Fukushima Town

This town was once the halfway point between Tokyo and Kyoto on the Nakasendo, one of the two roads that linked the Shogunate and Imperial capitals. While the town is not as famous as it once was, it still a wonderful place to see Japan as it once was. Visitors can visit the reconstructed Fukushima Checkpoint, where travelers had to wait and present their passes for travel and be searched by soldiers of the Tokugawa regime for weapons or letters that might be used for rebellion. There is a museum attached that has documents, handcuffs. torture implements and wooden passes used in the Edo Era. Other points of interest are the former residence of the governor of the ovary clan who controlled the area for the Tokugawas and the Kiso Fukushima Historical Museum, which contains items from the area and a traditional farmhouse that was transported from a nearby village. The most important aspect is simply the atmosphere of the town, both relaxing and energizing.

Nara-juku

Nara-juku

Narai of a Thousand Houses. Once the most prosperous post town on the Nakasendo, Narai still retains some of its former glory. Located at the base of Torii Pass, the town is a great place to enjoy a stay at a rokan, have a bath or simply take a break with excellent local cuisine and locally brewed beer. Some sites include the Nakamura Residence, former home of a wealthy wooden comb craftsman, and the Kiso Shashi, a wooden bridge constructed of 300-hundred-year-old cypress wood. The main street is lined with traditional houses filled with shops that sell local delicacies, lacquerware, hand-woven baskets, woodwork, local beer and the famous local sake, Nanawarai (Seven Smiles). This town is a must-see for those interested in traditional Japanese life and history.

Kiso-Hirasawa

Kiso-Hirasawa

Kiso-Hirasawa is the center of lacquerware in the central area of the Japan Alps. The town is over 400 years old and the streets are lined with traditional houses. Many housing lacquerware shops, including those of living national treasures. Visits to workshops to see the process of this amazing craft can be arranged and travelers can see the centuries-old techniques that have been passed down through generations.

Day 8

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Private vehicle for touring

Private vehicle for touring

Today you will tour in the comfort of your private vehicle.

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle is one of Japan's most complete and beautiful original castles. The wooden interior is especially interesting compared with concrete reconstructions. The surrounding grounds are a popular cherry blossom viewing spot.

Matsumoto Museum of Art

Matsumoto Museum of Art

This museum, located in the birthplace of Yayoi Kusama, has a wide selection of her works from all periods of her life.

Japan Ukiyoe Museum

Japan Ukiyoe Museum

Here is ,displayed but a small percentage of the wealthy merchant family's collection of more than 100,000 pieces. They have been collecting wood block prints for over 300 years.

Tobira Onsen Myojinkan

Tobira Onsen Myojinkan (2 nights)

We also invite you to enjoy relaxing baths of the Yin and Yang, right in the heart of nature. Don’t forget our chef who specializes in macrobiotic cooking also serves the kaiseki cuisine, perfectly refined with a balance between colors, flavors, and textures.

Day 9

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Public transportation for touring

Public transportation for touring

Today you will tour using a combination of trains, buses, and taxis.

Takayama

Takayama

Nestled deep in the mountains of Gifu is Takayama, one of the largest cities in Japan by land area. The city is well known for its quality - amazingly delicious Hida beef, super fresh locally grown vegetables, and expertly produced woodworking. The center of town is also a pleasant strolling area - we recommend walking by the old castle ruins, temples, and old town for a chance to step back in history for a few hours.

Day 10

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Takayama Morning Markets

Takayama Morning Markets

Stop by the Takayama Morning Market for an amazing chance to meet locals and try some delicious food!

Shirakawa-go & Gokayama

Shirakawa-go & Gokayama

Located in the mountains of Gifu just an hour away from Kanazawa is the world heritage site Shirakawago. Here you’ll get a first-hand glimpse at what life might have been like in a traditional farming village and take in the refreshing mountain air. The village, filled with Gassho Tsukuri (literally praying hands houses), offers plenty of chances to try excellent food & drink, enter historical sites, and enjoy a very leisurely day of touring on foot. Gokayama is a little more difficult to access, but the villages of suganuma and Ainokura are much less crowded than Shirakawago, displaying an intimate ancient atmosphere. For a truly unique meal, we recommend trying hoba miso - a local specialty where various foods are cooked over a huge hoba (magnolia) leaf with miso paste.

UAN Kanazawa

UAN Kanazawa (2 nights)

The stone paving glistens, the greenery of Kenroku-en deepens, and the lights sparkle in the rain. The streets of Kanazawa are beautiful in the drizzling rain. An old proverb says, “You can leave home without your lunchbox, but never leave without your umbrella”. The city’s culture and structures are shaped by the abundant rain. On your trip to Kanazawa, of course, we want you to enjoy fine days, but we also want you to experience the refined atmosphere the rain brings to the city. The idea of enjoying and experiencing Kanazawa in the rain is contained in “Uan”, a hotel with a name which evokes the rain. We want our guests to feel they were lucky to be here on a rainy day. With us, you can experience Kanazawa in a deep and meaningful sense.

Day 11

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Dinner with Geisha

Dinner with Geisha

For the evening, enjoy a special dinner with a private geisha performance. During your Japanese course meal, you’ll enjoy a shamisen/dance performance by geisha, and the chance to play some games and interact with the ladies as well. Be careful though – these ladies are masters of their craft and should you lose you’ll need to down a drink.

Public transportation for touring

Public transportation for touring

Today you will tour using a combination of trains, buses, and taxis.

Kenroku-en and Kanazawa Castle

Kenroku-en and Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle, which is most commonly associated with the powerful feudal lord Maeda Toshiie, was first built in the 16th century. Although it has suffered many devastating fires throughout history, an accurate reconstruction of castle grounds gives visitors a glimpse of what was once the seat of power for this region of Japan. Your introduction to Kanazawa will continue with a tour of Kenroku Garden. The history of Kenroku Garden dates back to 1676 when Maeda Tsunanori began constructing a garden around his villa. For almost 200 years, the garden was private, until 1871 (the fourth year of the Meiji period) when the garden was first made available to the public. It has since been a favorite among visitors, ranking as one of the top three gardens in Japan.

Nomura-ke

Nomura-ke

Nagamachi was a samurai district at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle, where samurai and their families used to live. The area preserves a historic atmosphere with its remaining samurai r residences, earthen walls, private entrance gates, narrow lanes and water canals. One of the main attractions of the district is the centrally located Nomura-ke, a restored samurai residence displaying the lifestyle and artifacts of the time when samurai were prosperous.

Omicho Market

Omicho Market

Situated on the west coast of Japan, hugging the Sea of Japan, is the coastal city of Kanazawa. Although well known for its artistic heritage, people from all over Japan come to Kanazawa for one major reason: food. Widely regarded as Japan's kitchen, Kanazawa cuisine offers a wide variety of modern fusion, traditional Japanese, a variety of international cuisine from American to some of the best Indian dining to be found anywhere. The secret to Kanazawa's delicious eating lies in the seafood from the sea of Japan, incredible local vegetables, and a culture focused on making natural ingredients shine.

Higashichayagai

Higashichayagai

Perhaps the most photogenic area in all of Kanazawa, Higashichayagai is an old style street lined with tea houses (higashi means "eastern", chaya means "tea houses", and gai means "neighborhood"). While some of these tea houses are now residences, many of them have been repurposed as boutique shops. The area offers an abundance of unique tasting opportunities and arts and crafts. For a less crowded stroll, we recommend moving across the street to Kazue-machi. While the area doesn't offer as many options for eating and shopping, it does allow you to enjoy the unique architecture and street design at a more leisurely pace.

Day 12

Rapid Train - Kanazawa to Kyoto

Rapid Train - Kanazawa to Kyoto

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Today you will tour in the comfort of your private vehicle.

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market

Today’s tour will begin at Nishiki Market in the heart of the city. A long, narrow street, this market sells everything from pickles, to countless green tea varieties, and lots of Kyoto typical delicacies. As you stroll through the market, you’ll have plenty of chances to sample treats and pick up some unique items to bring home.

Golden Pavilion

Golden Pavilion

Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavilion, is one of Japan’s iconic sites. The temple grounds first began as a small villa in 1224 and was converted to a Zen temple shortly after. Like so many other historical landmarks in Japan, the temple has unfortunately suffered destruction from fires in its history. The building, as it stands today, is a historically accurate reconstruction of the temple before it burned down from arson in 1950.

Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony

Every step is deliberate. Every movement of the arms is intention. Every fold in the towel to lift the lid off the pot of boiling water meaningful. Throughout the centuries, the tea ceremony has evolved into a highly complex and purposeful ceremony, allowing one to show the utmost respect to their guest, while benefiting from the meditative state that each deliberate movement creates. Beyond serving a cup of tea, the tea ceremony has had tremendous impact on Japan's culture, with many points of etiquette and philosophies extending from the ceremony to every day life. Although it takes many years to master this deceptively simple art, you’ll get a thorough introduction that will explain the intricacies in every step.

The Ritz Carlton, Kyoto

The Ritz Carlton, Kyoto (3 nights)

Built on a site favored by Japanese nobility since the 17th century, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto continues a legacy of quiet luxury. Drink in picturesque views of the Kamo River relax with a spa ritual inspired by Japan’s wellness traditions or stroll to nearby Gion to take in the region’s finest shopping and entertainment. This Kyoto hotel also features 134 refined guest rooms and suites, internationally inspired cuisine and five event spaces.

Day 13

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Today you will tour in the comfort of your private vehicle.

Arashiyama

Arashiyama

Arashiyama is one of Kyoto’s most beloved spots. It has a famous and storied wooden bridge, numerous temples known for their statuary and gardens, a scenic bamboo grove that is great for a stroll, and picturesque streets that complement each other to make a pleasant atmosphere excellent for leisurely walks.

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

While many religious sites have a somber tone, Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is a fun twist on the Japanese temple experience. Here you'll find well over 1,000 small stone statues, called rakan, often depicting humorous and lighthearted disciples of the Buddha.

Giouji

Giouji

Gouji Temple is known for its moss garden. Beautiful Japanese maples are interspersed through out the garden. Thatched roofs adorn the temple's entrance gate and small main hall. The temple is a wonderful alternative to Saihoji Temple.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The bamboo forest offers paths for walking or biking. It is a must see for those visiting Arashiyama. The bamboo grown here has been used for centuries for creating crafts, such as tea whisks, sake cups, baskets and many others.

Tenryuji

Tenryuji

With a history dating back nearly 700 years, Tenryuji is one of Arashiyama's most visited sites, and for good reason. While the building complex has suffered from fire damage throughout history (like much of Japan), the stunning gardens remain in their original form. As you stroll through the garden, both from within the temple and on the garden paths, you'll move from the pond, which symbolizes a large lake, up the mountain and into the forest (where multiple cherry trees can be found). As you exit the temple, you'll come to the famous bamboo forest.

Jojakko-ji Temple

Jojakko-ji Temple

Founded in the 16th century, this temple is located on the mountainside nestled beneath a canopy of maples and pines. Its small, attractive buildings and gates provide the temple with a gentle and understated atmosphere. The moss all along the temple's paths and stairs add to the ambience.

Day 14

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel and set out for a private guided tour.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Today you will tour in the comfort of your private vehicle.

Fushimi Inari

Fushimi Inari

Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermillion gates that line this sacred mountainside, is the most important shrine in Japan dedicated to the Shinto god Inari, with a history dating back over 1,200 years. As you make your approach to the shrine, you’ll notice the ever-present statues of foxes. Although it seems a bit strange to associate foxes with healthy rice crops, it’s actually quite logical – foxes eat mice, thus protecting the crops from rodent damage. There are an estimated 30,000 sub shrines that belong to Fushimi Inari across Japan.

Nara

Nara

Nara was the capital of Japan for about 100 years prior to the capital being moved to Kyoto. Like Kyoto, the city is filled with historical landmarks and must-see items. One of the city’s most beloved attractions are its deer. Roaming the streets freely in search of “shika-senbei” (deer crackers), these timid creatures were once considered sacred messengers of the gods.

Todaiji

Todaiji

One of the Nara's (and Japan’s) most incredible landmarks is Todaiji, which houses the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. Construction of the temple began in the 8th century, a time of heightened instability in Japan. As with many structures in Japan, the temple has suffered from extensive fire damage/destruction in its history, and the current structure today is the second largest entirely wooden building in the world.

Kasuga Shrine

Kasuga Shrine

Within the city is Kasuga Shrine – a temple with a history as old as Nara city itself. Although the site Kasuga Shrine was built on is old, the buildings themselves were rebuilt on a periodic basis throughout history. The shrine is surrounded by an old-growth forest that has remained relatively undisturbed throughout the ages.

Mt. Wakakusa

Mt. Wakakusa

Mt. Wakakusa is a grass-covered slope near Nara Park. It offers wonderful views of the city. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the viewing spot. The hill is covered with cherry trees and is one of the best blossom viewing spots in the city.

Day 15

Private Vehicle Transfer, Hotel to Kansai International Airport

Private Vehicle Transfer, Hotel to Kansai International Airport

Meet your driver in the lobby of your hotel and move to Kansai International Airport by private vehicle.

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