Welcome to Japan! Transfer by coach (SHUTTLE BUS) to hotel.
18H30.- Meeting with the guide. Late in the afternoon, we will pay a visit to this fascinating country by taking a trip on the metro (tickets included) to the Shinjuku district and see the crowds of people who use this modern and efficient collective transport system. Shinjuku is one of the most important nightlife districts. Dinner included and return to the hotel by metro with our guide.
In the morning, we take part in a 5-hour trip with our guide to see this amazing city, with its hustle and bustle and extremely modern districts that coexist with quiet, peaceful areas. A brief stop at the Zojoji Temple to make a beautiful photograph of the Tokyo Tower. Pay attention to the hundred of Jizos, stone traditional protecting deities who guide us on our travels, give power to those who are weak (such as children) and those in dangerous places, and who are dressed including hats, robes, and windmills. Then we head to the junction of Shibuya, a junction that is said to be the most crowded in the world. The Meiji Temple is dedicated to Emperor Meiji, his wife, and their spirits. We continue on our bus along the elegant street of Omotesando. We will edge the most beautiful part of the Imperial Palace and the gardens. Stop to visit the famous Nijubashi Bridge. We will pass through the district of Akihabara, the “electric town” with icons from the popular Japanese Manga and Anime culture, and then see Kokugikan, the Sumo stadium, home of this Japanese sport. We will also visit the Buddhist temple of Sensoji, the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo, with its 55-meter-high pagoda. Then we will have some free time to visit the traditional commercial street of Nakamise in the district of Asakusa. Lunch is included in a local restaurant. Return to hotel.
Free time in the afternoon.
NOTE: During the Japanese Olympics, accommodation may be given near Narita airport.
We will leave Tokyo for KAMAKURA. This “oasis of peace” for two centuries was the capital of Japan, and treasures numerous sanctuaries, temples, and gardens. In the Zen temple of Hokoku-Ji, we will stroll through its bamboo forest (admission included) and we can have green tea. We also see Sugimoto-dera, the oldest temple in the city, founded in 734. Time in the pleasant city centre before seeing the Great Buddha (Daibutsu – admission included). Our route is subsequently one of scenic beauty following the Pacific Ocean. Free time for lunch and a stroll in ENOSHIMA, a small island in the ocean connected by a bridge. We continue to ODAWARA; here we include admission to the castle, an imposing medieval fortress (restored in the twentieth century) from the Edo era, one of Japan´s main castles. Continuation to the beautiful area of Hakone, a region of lakes and mountains near Mount Fuji. Accommodation in the pleasant town of GORA (or a nearby place).
Today’s stage is spectacular. We start the day going up OWAKUDANI, the “hell valley”, steam boiler, bubbling mud, and sulfurous gases (Note: Access is sometimes closed due to high volcanic activity or toxic gases, in which case we would include the Arakurayama Sengen Park). After that, we go on to OSHINO HAKKAI, a small, picturesque village with 8 ponds and views of Mount Fuji. We continue to KAWAGUCHIKO, an idyllic city of small houses, flowers, and mountains next to its beautiful lake, where we include a beautiful boat trip. Later we start to climb Mount Fuji where, on the road that takes us to the “fifth station” amidst spectacular forests and views, we reach a height of 2305 meters. Return to Kawaguchiko, where there will still be time for a stroll by the lake. We will stay in a Ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel), where we can enjoy its ONSEN (public bath). Dinner included.
Note: In the planned Ryokan some rooms are Japanese style, accommodation on tatamis, and others in western style. Accommodation may sometimes be in a western type hotel.
Note: In winter, the climb to Mount Fuji is often closed by snow or other weather conditions; if this is so, we will go as far as we are authorized.
We are only 130km (81 miles) from KYOTO. In the morning, we continue along the pretty road bordered by lakes to IYASHI NO SATO NENBA, a tiny village destroyed by a typhoon in 1966 and later restored as a traditional open-air mountain village and museum. Its traditional houses have been transformed into arts and crafts shops, restaurants, and traditional museums. We then have the opportunity to admire the SHIRAITO FALLS, considered one of the most attractive sites in Japan, with a waterfall height of 150 meters. We will then continue to NAGOYA, the third most important city in Japan, on the shores of the Pacific. Here we will visit the TOYOTA MUSEUM (admission included), a must-see for motor lovers. We continue to KYOTO, accommodation.
We spend all day in the city that was the capital of Japan from the year 794 to 1868 and home to the Imperial Court. During World War II the city was the only major Japanese to escape the bombardments, and so it still preserves its wealth of artistic heritage; the famous protocol restricting greenhouse gas emissions was signed in Kyoto in 1997. We head for the outskirts of Kyoto to Arashiyama, where we cross the Togetsukyo Bridge (“bridge over the moon”), which has fantastic views. We will visit the Tenryuji temple, one of the “five major Zen temples of Kyoto” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by a walk through its mystic bamboo forest. The visit includes a trip to one of the most important parts of the city. We will see the marvelous Shinto Shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji temple, “the golden pavilion” and its wonderful gardens.
Free time before visiting GION, a busy traditional quarter famous for its Geisha. Free time.
We leave for NARA and visit Todaiji, a magnificent Buddhist temple built in 752, which has a giant Buddha and where passengers can take photos and touch and feed the deer that wander through the park. Lunch included. After the visit, we will see the HORYUJI Buddhist temple, a World Heritage Site that includes a seminary, monasteries, and temples. Its main pagoda temple is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world and is the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan and is an important place of worship.
We continue to OSAKA, where we arrive in the evening. Accommodation in this modern city (Japan’s second city). We will visit Dotonbori, a colorful district filled with nightlife.
We leave for Mount SHOSA, and its ENGYO-JI complex of temples dating back more than 1,000 years, which was the place where the film “The Last Samurai” was made. Cable car ride. After this, we will see HIMEJI, where we will include entry to its immense complex that shows us the architecture of Japanese castles. Lunch is included in a local restaurant. We go on to OKAYAMA, where we will visit Korakuen, one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, with its lakes, waterfalls, and traditional teahouses.
We leave for KURASHIKI, a city with a very well-preserved historical centre. Time for a stroll in this charming place with its atmosphere from the past. We continue on our way to HIROSHIMA, a city sadly known for the atomic bomb that fell on it in 1945 and which leveled the city. We will stroll around the Peace Memorial and the Dome of the bomb and we will visit the impressive Museum of Peace. After the war, we will seek peace by embarking on a ferry to the island “where men and gods live together”, with the sanctuary of ITSUKUSHIMA dedicated to the guardian of the seas, built partially over the sea. Time to visit the temple, stroll around its pretty center and have lunch. Return to our hotel in Hiroshima. Dinner included.
Note: The order of the visits in Hiroshima may vary without affecting their content.
After breakfast, transfer to the station to take the BULLET TRAIN to TOKYO. It takes four hours to travel the 800 kilometers between both cities. Arrival in Tokyo at around 2:00 pm. END OF THE TRIP. Check your flight time in case you need an additional night. Transfer to the airport for departure is not included. Our guide will advise you on the best public transport to get there. Note: If you have booked additional nights in TOKYO at the end of the trip, the transfer from the station to the hotel is NOT included.