Japan's Olympic Summer

Japan’s Olympic Summer


The Olympics will be an exciting time for Japan, but stressful for non-Olympic travelers. There’s no need to avoid Japan during this time, though! Rather than landing in Tokyo, we start in Osaka – a vibrant, lively city that has endless amazing eating and experiences. From there we explore both modern and traditional Japan, from Kyoto to Kanazawa, and Shikoku.

Day 1

Private Vehicle Transfer, Kansai International Airport to Hotel

Private Vehicle Transfer, Kansai International Airport to Hotel

Meet your driver in the arrival area and move to your hotel.

The St. Regis Osaka

The St. Regis Osaka (2 nights)

Reside in the heart of beautiful Midosuji, the Champs Elysees of Osaka. The St. Regis Osaka affords proximity to such destinations as the ancient Shitennoji Temple, the Municipal Museum of Fine Art and the city's most exclusive shopping boulevard. Every experience is enhanced with St. Regis Butler Service available any time, day or night.

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.

Private Vehicle for Touring

Private Vehicle for Touring

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

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

Originally built in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Osaka Castle was once destined to be the center of a unified Japan. Unfortunately, the castle suffered the exact opposite fate as it was destroyed in 1615. It was rebuilt shortly after, only to be struck by lightning in 1665 and burned down once again. It wasn't until 1931, just shortly before World War II, that the castle was rebuilt using more modern technology/materials. The castle was spared destruction during the war and has been one of Osaka's main attractions since its reconstruction. The castle grounds provide plenty of green space for visitors and during cherry blossom seasons a perfect place for picnics.

Osaka Food Tour

Osaka Food Tour

Osaka is one of Asia's ultimate food destinations: stroll along the never-ending food stalls streets and tunnels to enjoy the huge variety of traditional dishes as well as the city street food culture atmosphere - it will add a unique memory of your trip.

Sake Tasting Cruise with Grilled Snacks

Sake Tasting Cruise with Grilled Snacks

Osaka is a city with strong ties to the water. Throghout history it has served as a strategic port for the region, and even today the water areas are bustling with activity.

Take in a unique view of Osaka from the busy water ways as you try unique grilled snacks and delicious sake while enjoying conversation with your hosts.

Harukas300 sky view

Harukas300 sky view

Japan's tallest building is not located in Tokyo or Yokohama, but in Osaka. The Abeno Harukas Building is Japan's tallest building at 300m, and perched at the top is the Harukas 300 Observatory. From here, visitors can enjoy a sweeping and commanding view of the Kansai region of Japan. On clear days, one can see as far as Kyoto and Kobe.

Day 3

Private Vehicle Transfer, Hotel to Station

Private Vehicle Transfer, Hotel to Station

Meet your driver in the lobby of your hotel and move to the station. Your driver will assist you in boarding your train.

Rapid Train - Osaka to Kyoto

Rapid Train - Osaka to Kyoto

Private Guided Tour Upon Arrival

Private Guided Tour Upon Arrival

Meet your guide upon your arrival and set out for a private guided tour.

Private Vehicle Transfer, Half Day

Private Vehicle Transfer, Half Day

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

Kiyomizudera

Kiyomizudera

Situated in Kyoto's historic Higashiyama district is Kiyomizu Temple. For over 1200 years people have flocked here seeking comfort and guidance, offering up prayers in its splendid halls. Everything about Kiyomizu Temple is designed to inspire - from its approach, it's massive architecture, its beautiful strolling areas, and even the surrounding neighborhood are quintessentially Kyoto.

Kodaiji Temple

Kodaiji Temple

Prior to the Meiji Restoration, Japan was known as an isolated country. This isolation is due to the policies of the Tokugawa Shogun as a way of maintaining peace and stability for a unified Japan, with Tokugawa Ieyasu establishing these isolation policies. Toyotomi Hideyoshi was the predecessor Shogun to Tokugawa Ieyasu, ruling from 1585 to 1591, and was considered one of Japan's great unifiers. Upon his death in 1598, his wife Nene established Kodaiji in his memory, which was backed by Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Gion

Gion

Famous for its shrine, traditional winding streets, and wooden town houses, the Gion area offers seemingly endless hidden alleyways to explore. The area is filled with some of Kyoto's finest dining, unique shopping and of course, the chance to witness a geisha on her way to an evening engagement. Should you spot a geisha, please be considerate in your requests for pictures.

The Ritz Carlton, Kyoto

The Ritz Carlton, Kyoto (2 nights)

Another C (アナザー シー) Reservation

Another C (アナザー シー) Reservation

Head Chef Dan, born in New York City, creates playful and fun interpretations on Japanese dishes, fusing local ingredients with a bit of flair from New York City. Address: Sanjo-Kiyamachi Bld 4F, North East Corner of Kiyamachi-Street and Sanjo-Street Course: Chef's Special, JPY 15,000/person Payment: Cancellation Policy: USD 25/pax 1 day prior (Please pay on spot)

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.

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

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

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.

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.

Rickshaw Ride (30 Minutes)

Rickshaw Ride (30 Minutes)

While in Arashiyama, you’ll get to experience a rickshaw ride through the famous bamboo forest. The word rickshaw originates from the Japanese word 人力車, “jin-riki-sha”, which literally means human powered car. During your ride today, you will learn more about the Arashiyama bamboo forrest area from your shafu (driver), as well as have the chance to ask them about their life as a rickshaw puller.

Shojin Ryori

Shojin Ryori

A traditional Buddhist meal, shojin ryori is made without the use of any animal ingredients. This meal is the perfect chance to taste the exquisite flavor of Japan's vegetables while refueling for your touring.

Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama

Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama

Arashiyama Monkey Park is popular among foreign visitors but not only. Located on the left bank of Oi River in Arashiyama region, the park is inhabited by around 130 Japanese macaques, native of the country and also known as "snow monkeys". The monkeys are entirely wild animals and live in the surrounding mountains. They visit the park every day to receive the food from the park staff. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes because it is a 30 - 40 minute hike. Proceeding up the mountain, you will find signs that indicate when you are entering the areas where monkeys can be found - please note that the monkeys, although looked after by humans, are still wild and it is forbidden to feed them with your own food.

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.

Day 5

Private vehicle transfer, hotel to station

Private vehicle transfer, hotel to station

Meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel and move to the station.

Rapid Train - Kyoto to Kanazawa

Rapid Train - Kyoto to Kanazawa

Private vehicle transfer, station to hotel

Private vehicle transfer, station to hotel

Meet your driver upon your arrival in Kanazawa and move to your hotel.

Day at leisure: Kanazawa

Day at leisure: Kanazawa

Spend the day exploring Kanazawa at your leisure.

UAN Kanazawa

UAN Kanazawa (3 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 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, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

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.

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.

Mizuhiki Experience

Mizuhiki Experience

Mizuhiki is an old art form that uses tightly wound rice paper to create strings. These strings are then shaped and colored by the artist. Traditionally, mizuhiki was used often used to decorate envelopes and make as display pieces for festivals. Your visit today will introduce you to this art form, as well as the person who is widely credited for not only creating a renewed interest in mizuhiki, but expanding its uses into jewelry and functional pieces. You'll then have the chance to create your own piece, and the skills you learn are something you can keep practicing on your own long after the experience is complete.

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.

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, Full Day

Private Vehicle for Touring, Full Day

Bamboo Artist Visit with Hands-on Lesson

Bamboo Artist Visit with Hands-on Lesson

In Japan, there are a special type of craftsmen known as “shokunin”. Whether it be the pursuit of making the perfect sushi, lacquerware, swords, or even a tea cup, these artisans are known to have dedicated their life to the pursuit of perfection. Enomoto Chifuyu is one such artisan. He has spent his life honing his skill as a bamboo craftsmen. Although working with bamboo is relatively simple and straightforward, and basic techniques easy enough to learn, mastering this craft takes decades. After observing the master at his craft, and seeing his beautiful pieces of art, Mr. Enomoto will share some of his techniques with you in a special and unique chance to make a connection across language and culture through a mutual appreciation of the arts.

Kaga Hot Springs visit

Kaga Hot Springs visit

The Kaga area has long been famous for its medicinal hot springs and as an artistic hub.

As you tour the area, you'll not only get the chance to enjoy a local bath (be careful - the water is hot!) but also enjoy a gorgeous stroll along the river, visit many artisans, enjoy unique local experiences, and delicious local treats.

Day 8

Private vehicle transfer, hotel to station

Private vehicle transfer, hotel to station

Meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel and move to the station.

Rapid Train - Kanazawa to Kyoto

Rapid Train - Kanazawa to Kyoto

Shinkansen - Kyoto  to Okayama

Shinkansen - Kyoto to Okayama

Private vehicle transfer, station to hotel

Private vehicle transfer, station to hotel

Ryokan Kurashiki

Ryokan Kurashiki (1 night)

Welcome to Ryokan Kurashiki, a small traditional Japanese inn located in the lovely historic town of Kurashiki. We look forward to greeting you and showing you the true meaning of omotenashi or hospitality from the heart.

Day 9

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel (2 nights)

Enjoy your trip in Hiroshima at our conveniently- located hotel for easy access to enjoy the world-renowned tourist attractions such as Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Castle, Itsukushima Shrine and more. 35 m2

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

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

Miyajima Ferry

Miyajima Ferry

Peace Memorial Museum

Peace Memorial Museum

The large park of over 120,000 square meters, with its trees, lawns, and walking paths is in stark contrast to the surrounding downtown. Before the bomb, the area of what is now the Peace Park was the political and commercial heart of the city. For this reason, it was chosen as the pilot's target. Four years to the day after the bomb was dropped, it was decided that the area would not be redeveloped but instead devoted to peace memorial facilities. The park's main facility is the Peace Memorial Museum. Consisting of two buildings, the museum addresses the history of Hiroshima and the advent of the nuclear bomb. Its main focus is on the events of August 6: the dropping of the bomb and its outcome in human suffering. The personal details displayed are quite upsetting and serve to remind that we should not take peace for granted.

Miyajima

Miyajima

Miyajima is a small island close to the city of Hiroshima. It is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan's three best views. Miyajima is a romantic spot, best enjoyed by staying overnight at one of the island's ryokan. While there are usually many day tourists, in the evening the area becomes much quieter and more peaceful. There are also wild deer on the island that have become accustomed to people. In the day the very tame deer wander around the same sites as the tourists, and in the evening they sleep along the walking paths.

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Caste, also called the Carp Castle, is a good example of a castle built in the center of a city as opposed to hilltop and mountaintop. Its main keep is five stories tall, and its grounds are surrounded by a moat. Also within the castle's area are a shrine, some ruins and a few reconstructed buildings of the Ninomaru (second circle of defense). Hiroshima developed as a castle town. The castlle was constructed in both the physical and economical center of the city in 1589 by the powerful feudal lord Mori Terumoto., While it was spared the destruction that many other castles met during the Meiji Restoration, like the rest of the city, Hiroshima Castle was entirely destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. Thirteen years later, its main keep was rebuilt in ferro-concrete with an attractive, partially wooden exterior. Inside is an informative museum on Hiroshima's and the castle's history and Japanese castles in general. From the top floor, you can enjoy the view of Hiroshima. .

Day 11

Private Vehicle Transfer, hotel to station

Private Vehicle Transfer, hotel to station

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

Shinkansen - Hiroshima to Okayama

Shinkansen - Hiroshima to Okayama

Private Vehicle Transfer, Okayama Station to Uno Port

Private Vehicle Transfer, Okayama Station to Uno Port

Miyajima to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Miyajima to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Water Ferry - Uno Port to Naoshima

Water Ferry - Uno Port to Naoshima

Water Ferry - Uno Port to Naoshima

Day at Leisure

Day at Leisure

Spend the day exploring at your leisure.

Benesse House

Benesse House (2 nights)

Benesse House is a facility based on the concept of coexistence among nature, architecture, and art. The Museum, incorporating a museum and a hotel, opened in 1992, followed by additional lodging facilities in the buildings known as Oval (opened in 1995), Park, and Beach (both of which opened in 2006), for a total of four buildings accommodating guests, plus a restaurant, cafe, spa and shop open to the general public. Contemporary art is displayed not only within the Museum galleries, but also in all parts of the buildings and surrounding area. Guests can engage with artworks everywhere they go, digest the experience at leisure in their rooms, and emerge to be inspired by art once more. Benesse House is a place where people can explore art, nature, architecture, and their own thoughts in a multi-layered and synergistic fashion. The complex, intended to blend increasingly into the natural environment of Setonaikai National Park as the years go by, was entirely designed by Tadao Ando. It is meant to be appreciated with the entire body, with long ramps, stairs, and passages to traverse, and with natural light from outside pouring in through apertures, weaving together the indoors and outdoors. *Please note that reservations for Benesse House are currently extremely difficult to secure. We will make every effort to secure reservations for your desired dates and room type, but in the event that we cannot we ask for your understanding as we propose alternative arrangements. 1F 2101-2104, 2F 2202-2203 (total 6 rooms)

Day 12

Private Guided Tour

Private Guided Tour

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

Naoshima Art Site

Naoshima Art Site

Chichu Art Museum: Housing artworks by Claude Monet, James Turrell, and Walter De Maria, this museum epitomizes the island’s focus of harmonizing nature and art. The building was designed by Tadao Ando and is largely subterranean. Lee Ufan Museum: Continuing with the theme of harmonizing nature and art, the Lee Ufan Museum is a beautiful collaboration of art and architecture between Lee Ufan and Tadao Ando. Art House Project: Comprised of multiple historical buildings housing art galleries, the Art House Project is a chance to not only enjoy contemporary art, but to also experience the history of this area as you stroll from building to building. Ando Museum: Old meets new. Tadao Ando has taken an old village house and infused it with modern elements to breathe new life into it. In addition to this fascinating contrast of old and new, you’ll learn more about Ando’s life & works, and the history of Naoshima.

Day 13

Water Ferry - Naoshima (Miyanoura) to Takamasu

Water Ferry - Naoshima (Miyanoura) to Takamasu

Setouchi Island Cruise

Setouchi Island Cruise

Our guests will have the opportunity to feel the sea and the wind out on the deck, relax in their luxurious cabin, receive holiday surprises, enjoy the service and entertainment, and get the experiences that can only be had on the Seto Inland Sea. Enjoy the beautiful colors of the sea that change with the seasons and the time of day; dine on fresh seafood; learn about the history of the islands; and make countless other unforgettable memories with that special someone.

Private vehicle transfer, Takamatsu Port to Hotel

Private vehicle transfer, Takamatsu Port to Hotel

Meet your driver upon your arrival in Takamatsu Port and move to hotel.

Kiyomisanso Hanajyukai

Kiyomisanso Hanajyukai (2 nights)

Guest rooms with gorgeous open-air baths.

We hope you have a relaxing time in a space where you can feel the taste of each season with your body and soul.

Our rooms come with a bath made from hollowed out natural granite.

In addition to our exceptional cuisine, you can enjoy the relaxing and refreshing properties of our natural hotspring at anytime during your stay.

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, full day

Private vehicle, full day

Ritsurin Garden

Ritsurin Garden

Ritsurin Garden is the largest Cultural Property Garden in all of Japan, and is an important cultural asset that has been maintained for nearly 400 years. Originally created in the Edo period for the daimyo (feudal lord), the garden features six ponds and thirteen landscaped hills in front of the green vista of Mt. Shiun, along with stunning rock arrangements and a wide variety of beautiful plants. Seasonal flowers and one thousand carefully maintained pine trees create gorgeous scenery that changes throughout the seasons. The garden was designed to be leisurely strolled through, and each step offers a new perspective on the garden's scenery. Passed down through the generations, Ritsurin Garden is truly an invaluable cultural treasure.

Shikoku Village

Shikoku Village

The Shikoku House Museum is an open-air museum where old houses were rebuilt and restored from all over Shikoku on the foothills of Yajima, known as the ancient battlefield of Genpei. Since its establishment in 1976, it has been popular as a place for social education and as a sightseeing spot under the nickname of Shikoku Village. The 50,000-square-meter site, full of nature, houses buildings rich in local colors from the Edo era to the Taisho era, and many folk implements are displayed to show how people lived back then.

Kotohira-gu Shirine

Kotohira-gu Shirine

This is a popular shrine, commonly known as Konpira-san. It is the head shrine of "Kotohira" or "Konpira" shrines in Japan and has been worshiped since ancient times as "the God of the Sea". There is an extremely long staircase, consisting of 1,368 steps. The area around the shrine is crowded with many shops such as cafes, teahouses, souvenir shops and udon restaurants. You can rent a walking stick and go for a stroll or take a ride in a "kago" palanquin and enjoy the sights as you are carried around. At the mid-way point, you will find the Main Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to many gods including the gods of agriculture, livestock, medicine and marine safety. There are wonderful paintings on the ceiling of the main shrine. On certain festival days you can see the priests and shrine maidens dancing in traditional clothes. You can also purchase a beautiful Kofuku no Kiiroi Omamori (Yellow Charm of Happiness).

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.

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