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Tours - Essential Japan (8 days)

Day 1: ARRIVE TO TOKYO

Meet your assistant at Narita Airport and transfer to the city hotel on a shared coach.  Relax at the hotel and enjoy walkable Japanese-style restaurants in the area of your hotel regarding the provided brochure.

Meals: None
 

Day 2: HARAJUKU - ASAKUSA

After a breakfast, your private guide takes you on a tour using the inner-city public transit system tostroll at the peaceful Hamariyku garden, the former private garden of an Edo Period Lord. Here you will stop for a Japanese green tea. What a way to start the day. Followed by a short cruise along the sumida river to see the Tokyo from different angle.
  
Next, head over to Asakusa - home of the grand temple of Senso-ji! This bright red temple is central to an area famous for kimono, geisha, performing arts and old-fashioned souvenirs for more than 300 years. Get your fortune told, find high-class incense, spot geiko (young geisha) passing by and snack on Edo foods! After having sushi or ramen for lunch at the local restaurant.

In the afternoon, you will visit  the magnificent Meiji Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the Meiji Emperor, and the most popular place in the city for weddings and end-of-year "Hatsu-mode."  You will be shown the traditions associated with visiting such a shrine. Continue the journey to Harajuku and Omote-Sando, also known as Tokyo&;s Champs-Elysee. This broad, tree lined avenue features a multitude of fashion flagship stores designed by internationally renowned architects within a short distance. End the day at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku is one of Tokyo&;s tallest and most distinctive skyscrapers. The 243 meter tall building has two towers, and each houses an observatory at a height of 202 meters, which provide good panoramic views of Tokyo. 

Day 3: EXPLORE TOKYO IN YOUR OWN WAY

You can go back to the areas we showed you to get a deeper look at the fascinating back alleys, or use our information packet to visit new areas of the old town. Make a visit to the Tsukji Fish Market and surrounding restaurants in Tsukushima. 

Or perhaps take a cruise down the Sumida River to visit Odaiba - a unique island of gaming and multi-media! If  you are interested in traditional art, come to the Kabuki-za Theatre in Ginza, and see a performance while there - a must-see for any visitor to Japan. 

Day 4: TOKYO – HAKONE

Wake  up bright and early as we take you to Hakone National Park, an area known for its geothermal activity and beautiful landscapes. Visit Mount Fuji - a symbol of Japan all around the world in the paintings of Hokusai. Admire the 2,500 meter high "5th station," mountain on a cruise aboard a replica pirate ship, from the nearby Lake Ashi. 

We'll take a ropeway ride to see more of the x - an area of colorful, bubbling hot springs, steam vents and more where you can catch a glimpse of living Earth. Stay in a traditional ryokan - designed with tatami floors and zen-like architecture, with fluffy futon and eat a traditional kaiseki-style full-course meal. This checkpoint was famous for its hot springs and geisha - much of the traditional town persists to this day. Get a taste of the old life simply by walking out of your hotel room and strolling down to the nearby izakaya! The Hakone townsfolk are friendly - take their recommendations when asking what of the many o-tsu-mami to try while accompanying your sake! 

Meals: B

Day 5: TOKYO

Today is your food experience day. We take you for a Japanese cooking lesson using local ingredients. Learn how to make many kinds of sushi - maki-sushi, gunkan-maki, and the ever-popular nigiri! We'll show you how to appreciate the ingredients and encourage them to bring out the authentic Japanese flavor so that you too can make sushi for your friends and family at home. 
In the evening, we bring you to a special kind of izakaya so that you can try even more delicious foods you make have never experienced before. Feel free to ask your tour guide if there is anything specific you're interested in trying while in the country - we're good at making accommodations!

Meals: B

Day 6: TOKYO - OSAKA

We take you by train to Osaka, a bustling, gaudy, vibrant city of multi-cultural life and trade in the center of the Kansai Area of Japan. We'll start with a walking guided tour in which we visit the oldest areas of the city, and the backstreets which have changed little over the years! We also visit the Tsutenkaku - an icon of the city, featured in multiple movies and once the highest structure in Asia. Visit the curious god of luck on the 5th floor, and tour the curious streets of old Naniwa in the area! Don't forget to try the local cuisine - tiny shops and stalls boast finger-foods unique to the city.

Meals: B

Day 7: OSAKA

 Returning in the direction of Tokyo once again, we visit the Kyoto of East Japan - Kanazawa. This lovely town, like Kyoto, was spared the firebombings of the war, and so boasts similarly nostalgic and traditional streets. Visit the teahouses, spot geisha strolling the alleyways, and see in what kind of homes the samurai lived. Kanazawa is unique for its use of color and gold - not only in architecture and design, but in food as well! A very walkable town, you can enjoy this area at your liesure - there isn't a boring street to be found.

Meals: B

Day 8: TOKYO

Finally, return to Tokyo and the forefront of the future by spending the last two days in Shinjuku. This area is famous for its generous use of neon lighting, multi-cultural restaurants, mish-mashed with traditional sights still found on the back streets! Shop for souvenirs, try those exotic foods you had been meaning to, and check the final items off your list of "must do while in Japan," all in this exciting area!

Meals: B
 

 

 

 

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