12 Day Japan, Then & Now

From

$3549

Land Only

$4329*

Air & Land



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Dates

*Not Included:
Optional tours and gratuities.


Additional Information:
Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers.

Passengers should select flights that arrive in Narita Airport no later than 4 pm in order not to miss the welcome dinner and trip briefing.


Accommodation Details:
Hotel rooms in Japan cannot comfortably accommodate 3 adults; therefore, a double, plus a single room configuration should be purchased.

Feb 20, Mar 06, Mar 14, Mar 21, Mar 28, Mar 29, Apr 04, Apr 11, Apr 18, Apr 25, Apr 26, May 02, May 09, May 16, May 30, Jun 27, & Jul 25 departures will be accommodated at Righa Royal Hotel in Kyoto.

Apr 12, Jun 12, & Jun 14 departures will be accommodated at Takayama Kanko Hotel in Takayama.

Jun 13 departure will be accommodated Takayama Kanko Hotel in Takayama and Righa Royal Hotel in Kyoto.


Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.



Is This Trip Right for You?

This moderately active trip covers a fair amount of ground each day. Expect from three to four hours walking every touring day. The pace is moderate, however you will encounter some uneven surfaces, stairs and steps. Please be aware that Japan is an expensive destination. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

Flight Details


Accommodation Details

  • Requests are not guaranteed and are subject to each hotel's discretion and availability

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights Los Angeles-Tokyo, Osaka-Los Angeles
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 10 nights First Class accommodations
    • 4 nights Tokyo
    • 1 night Kaga
    • 1 night Takayama
    • 4 nights Kyoto
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 19 meals: 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Wine with all dinners
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring
 

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals
  • Tour dazzling Tokyo, a city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology
  • Culinary demonstration led by a professional chef -- learn the art of creating sushi and sashimi
  • Visit the serene Meiji Shrine honoring the first Emperor of modern Japan and his Empress
  • A day of breathtaking natural scenery as you drive to the National Park of Hakone in full view of Mt. Fuji
  • Board the famous Shinkansen, or "bullet train" that takes you to Kanazawa south of the Noto Peninsula
  • Travel to the UNESCO site of Shirakawa-go, known for its village of gassho-zukuri farmhouses
  • In Kagaonsen, stay at a traditional Ryokan (inn)
  • A walking tour of Takayama’s historic district reveals its traditions dating back to the 9th century
  • Discover enchanting Kyoto, founded in the 7th century, one of the early capitals of Japan
  • Visit Kyoto’s Nijo Castle, residence of Shoguns, and the magnificent gilded Golden Pavilion
  • Experience the cultural heritage of Kyoto at a traditional Tea Ceremony at the Gesshin-in Temple
  • Dinner and traditional Maiko (Geisha) dance performance reflects the core of Japanese culture
  • Travel to the Imperial capital of Nara, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites

†Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates

Is This Trip Right for You?

This moderately active trip covers a fair amount of ground each day. Expect from three to four hours walking every touring day. The pace is moderate, however you will encounter some uneven surfaces, stairs and steps. Please be aware that Japan is an expensive destination. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

Note: your itinerary will change depending upon the day of the week you depart. Click a day above to see what is included.

DAY 1, Wednesday - Depart for Japan
Depart for Japan

DAY 2, Thursday - Arrive in Tokyo
Arrive in dynamic Tokyo in the "Land of the Rising Sun"; transfer to your hotel. This evening, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6:30 pm with your Tour Manager on the exciting adventure that awaits you in Japan, followed by a Welcome Dinner and drinks with your fellow travelers. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm on Day 2 of the itinerary, if possible
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Friday - Imperial Palace & Asakusa Kannon Temple
Start your day with the Imperial Palace, the former site of Edo Castle, where Samurai warriors lived from the 17th to 19th centuries, and primary residence of Japan's Imperial Family. Visit the East Garden, a precious jewel of nature within the hectic city center and view the lovely Nijubashi Bridge that stretches over the moat in the outer gardens with its colorful displays of seasonal flowers. Later, travel to the imposing Asakusa Kannon Temple (Sensoji) enshrining a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy; its entrance is dominated by a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red and black tones. Walk along Nakamise, a major shopping area, centuries-old, where everything from souvenirs to genuine Edo-style crafts is sold. Finally, visit the serene Meiji Shrine nestled in a forested area, honoring the first Emperor of modern Japan and his Empress. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a Japanese style pub
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4, Saturday - Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, Hakone National Park and Mt. Fuji Excursion*
A full day of breathtaking scenery as you drive south to Hakone, the most famous National Park in Japan. En route, stop to visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, situated in the wooded hills along the coast of Lake Kawaguchi. Here, view exhibits of the textile artist Kubota Itchiku’s kimono creations, depicting the themes of nature and the seasons. Continue along the scenic roads of rural Japan to Hakone where a gondola takes you on the Hakone Ropeway to the Owakudani Valley’s extraordinary volcanic zone. Here, the bubbling pools cook eggs in the hot waters blackened by sulfur, and are said to prolong one's life by at least seven years. Enjoy a relaxing cruise around placid Lake Ashi. End your visit in Hakone with a drive along Cedar Avenue, a historic site of Hakone Old Tokaido Road that linked Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo Period. Tonight, be adventurous and explore Tokyo’s incredible variety of cuisine! 
*Due to local conditions, the Mt. Fuji sightseeing might be altered. Details will be provided locally by your Tour Manager.
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5, Sunday - Tsukiji Fish Market, Sushi Demonstration & Akihabara District
On today’s tour of Tokyo, witness the stark contrasts of this dazzling city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology. To begin, walk the lanes of the hectic Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world! Afterward, enjoy a culinary demonstration led by a professional Sushi Chef. Learn the art of creating different varieties of sushi and sashimi and enjoy them for lunch afterward! Continue to the Ginza district, Tokyo's most celebrated upscale shopping, dining and amusement area. Then, Akihabara shopping district, a wonderland of electrical equipment shops, computer shops and animation studios that are attracting world attention
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 6, Monday - Kenroku-en Gardens, Kagaonsen Ryokan Experience
Board the famous Shinkansen, or "bullet train," that takes you to Kanazawa south of the Noto Peninsula, with its winding cobblestone streets, Samurai residences, Geisha houses, lavish gardens and a flower filled open-air market. Stroll through Kenroku-en Garden, one of the country’s most elite gardens with its elaborate water fountains and designs. Continue to the Nomura Family House, where Samurai once dwelled. In Kagaonsen, an exceptional experience is awaiting you. Spend the night at a traditional Ryokan (inn), where you dress in yukata (bathrobe) that you wear to the onsen (hot spring spa.) You overnight in authentic Japanese rooms with tatami mats and sleep on a futon bed. Dinner together at the Ryokan is a full course Kaiseki Dinner highlighted by regional specialties
Overnight: Kaga
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, Tuesday - Thatched Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go, Takayama’s Old Town
You travel from Kagaonsen to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, known for its village of thatched gassho-zukuri (praying hands) farmhouses. Visit the historic village of Ogimachi and the ruins of its castle, dating back to medieval times. From atop the observation deck, see the amazing view of an entire settlement of thatched style houses. Lunch at local restaurant before driving to 16th century Takayama, with its meticulously preserved Old Town. Upon arrival, visit Takayama Jinya, a historic government house converted to a museum and the Yatai Kaikan Hall housing intricately designed wooden floats brought out only for major festivals. Later, you arrive at a scenic mountain resort for overnight
Overnight: Takayama
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8, Wednesday - Takayama's Historic District, Morning Farmer’s Market, Bullet Train to Kyoto
The delightful town of Takayama, with its wealth of museums, galleries, and impressive temples, is often called "Little Kyoto." A walking tour includes the remarkably preserved Edo-period merchants’ shops and houses in the Sanno-machi Historic District. Visit the morning market along the Miya River with farmers and craftsmen selling everything from vegetables to clothing and hand carvings. Across the river lies the Sanmachi-Suji (district) of sake breweries, cafes and immaculately preserved old private houses. Lunch en route before boarding the express train to Nagoya. Upon arrival, you will change and board the bullet train to enchanting and historic Kyoto, founded in the 7th century, one of the early capitals of Japan
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9, Thursday - Kyoto’s Cultural Heritage & Tea Ceremony, Zen Meditation
Your first discovery in Kyoto is Kiyomizu Temple, known for its sacred waters believed to bestow health and longevity. As you stroll through the ancient streets of Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, you’re transported back in time to "old" Japan on these distinctive streets crowded with old wooden storefronts and tea houses. View the Zen Buddhist Temple of Kodai-ji’s richly decorated interior, and the surrounding zen gardens. Next, familiarize yourself with Zen meditation, a calming practice deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Enjoy a traditional Tea Ceremony, where you participate in the ritualized art of preparing and serving tea, savoring the hospitality of the host in an atmosphere distinctly different from the fast pace of everyday life. Lunch at a local restaurant, followed by leisure time in Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district. Afterward, visit the impressive Heian Shrine, a Shinto shrine boasting the largest torii (gate) in Japan. It was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital from Nara to Kyoto
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Friday - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Nijo Castle, Kimono Dressing
Discover the beautiful cultural heritage of Kyoto that has spanned the centuries. Head outside the city to Arashiyama bamboo forest. Here, take a stroll through the stunning bamboo grove, followed by a ride on a traditional Japanese rickshaw, a unique experience! Visit the celebrated Kinkaku-ji Temple, "the Golden Pavilion," and understand why this magnificent gold leaf covered temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to Ryoan-ji Temple with its mysterious Rock Garden before moving on to Nijo Castle, a residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun, with its ornate interior handcrafted with Japanese cypress. Afterward, dress in an authentic kimono during a visit to a Kyoto-style home. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure for individual pursuits
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11, Saturday - Imperial Nara, Great Buddha Statue, Deer Park, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Maiko Dance Performance
Make a stop at Fushimi Inari Shrine before traveling by private bus to the 8th century Imperial capital of Nara, repository of Japan's cultural heritage, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a wealth of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples. Arrive at the exquisite wooden Todai-ji Temple, home of the impressive Daibutsu (Great Buddha) bronze statue, rising over 50 feet high. You then continue to Nara (Deer) Park to see the over 1,000 tame deer roaming freely in the peaceful park. Visit the famous and beautiful Kasuga Grand Shrine displaying over 3,000 antique hanging stone lanterns. Return to Kyoto and enjoy leisure time this afternoon before a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant, featuring a traditional Maiko (Geisha) dance performance that reflects the core of Japanese culture
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Sunday - Depart Japan
Sayonara! Transfer to Osaka for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 1, Thursday - Depart for Japan
Depart for Japan

DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Tokyo
Arrive in dynamic Tokyo in the "Land of the Rising Sun"; transfer to your hotel. This evening, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6:30 pm with your Tour Manager on the exciting adventure that awaits you in Japan, followed by a Welcome Dinner and drinks with your fellow travelers. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm on Day 2 of the itinerary, if possible
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Saturday - Imperial Palace & Asakusa Kannon Temple
Start your day with the Imperial Palace, the former site of Edo Castle, where Samurai warriors lived from the 17th to 19th centuries, and primary residence of Japan's Imperial Family. Visit the East Garden, a precious jewel of nature within the hectic city center and view the lovely Nijubashi Bridge that stretches over the moat in the outer gardens with its colorful displays of seasonal flowers. Later, travel to the imposing Asakusa Kannon Temple (Sensoji) enshrining a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy; its entrance is dominated by a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red and black tones. Walk along Nakamise, a major shopping area, centuries-old, where everything from souvenirs to genuine Edo-style crafts is sold. Finally, visit the serene Meiji Shrine nestled in a forested area, honoring the first Emperor of modern Japan and his Empress. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a Japanese style pub
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4, Sunday - Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, Hakone National Park and Mt. Fuji Excursion*
A full day of breathtaking scenery as you drive south to Hakone, the most famous National Park in Japan. En route, stop to visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, situated in the wooded hills along the coast of Lake Kawaguchi. Here, view exhibits of the textile artist Kubota Itchiku’s kimono creations, depicting the themes of nature and the seasons. Continue along the scenic roads of rural Japan to Hakone where a gondola takes you on the Hakone Ropeway to the Owakudani Valley’s extraordinary volcanic zone. Here, the bubbling pools cook eggs in the hot waters blackened by sulfur, and are said to prolong one's life by at least seven years. Enjoy a relaxing cruise around placid Lake Ashi. End your visit in Hakone with a drive along Cedar Avenue, a historic site of Hakone Old Tokaido Road that linked Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo Period. Tonight, be adventurous and explore Tokyo’s incredible variety of cuisine! 
*Due to local conditions, the Mt. Fuji sightseeing might be altered. Details will be provided locally by your Tour Manager.
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5, Monday - Tsukiji Fish Market, Sushi Demonstration & Akihabara District
On today’s tour of Tokyo, witness the stark contrasts of this dazzling city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology. To begin, walk the lanes of the hectic Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world! Afterward, enjoy a culinary demonstration led by a professional Sushi Chef. Learn the art of creating different varieties of sushi and sashimi and enjoy them for lunch afterward! Continue to the Ginza district, Tokyo's most celebrated upscale shopping, dining and amusement area. Then, Akihabara shopping district, a wonderland of electrical equipment shops, computer shops and animation studios that are attracting world attention
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 6, Tuesday - Kenroku-en Gardens, Kagaonsen Ryokan Experience
Board the famous Shinkansen, or "bullet train," that takes you to Kanazawa south of the Noto Peninsula, with its winding cobblestone streets, Samurai residences, Geisha houses, lavish gardens and a flower filled open-air market. Stroll through Kenroku-en Garden, one of the country’s most elite gardens with its elaborate water fountains and designs. Continue to the Nomura Family House, where Samurai once dwelled. In Kagaonsen, an exceptional experience is awaiting you. Spend the night at a traditional Ryokan (inn), where you dress in yukata (bathrobe) that you wear to the onsen (hot spring spa.) You overnight in authentic Japanese rooms with tatami mats and sleep on a futon bed. Dinner together at the Ryokan is a full course Kaiseki Dinner highlighted by regional specialties
Overnight: Kaga
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, Wednesday - Thatched Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go, Takayama’s Old Town
You travel from Kagaonsen to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, known for its village of thatched gassho-zukuri (praying hands) farmhouses. Visit the historic village of Ogimachi and the ruins of its castle, dating back to medieval times. From atop the observation deck, see the amazing view of an entire settlement of thatched style houses. Lunch at local restaurant before driving to 16th century Takayama, with its meticulously preserved Old Town. Upon arrival, visit Takayama Jinya, a historic government house converted to a museum and the Yatai Kaikan Hall housing intricately designed wooden floats brought out only for major festivals. Later, you arrive at a scenic mountain resort for overnight
Overnight: Takayama
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8, Thursday - Takayama's Historic District, Morning Farmer’s Market, Bullet Train to Kyoto
The delightful town of Takayama, with its wealth of museums, galleries, and impressive temples, is often called "Little Kyoto." A walking tour includes the remarkably preserved Edo-period merchants’ shops and houses in the Sanno-machi Historic District. Visit the morning market along the Miya River with farmers and craftsmen selling everything from vegetables to clothing and hand carvings. Across the river lies the Sanmachi-Suji (district) of sake breweries, cafes and immaculately preserved old private houses. Lunch en route before boarding the express train to Nagoya. Upon arrival, you will change and board the bullet train to enchanting and historic Kyoto, founded in the 7th century, one of the early capitals of Japan
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9, Friday - Kyoto’s Cultural Heritage & Tea Ceremony, Zen Meditation
Your first discovery in Kyoto is Kiyomizu Temple, known for its sacred waters believed to bestow health and longevity. As you stroll through the ancient streets of Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, you’re transported back in time to "old" Japan on these distinctive streets crowded with old wooden storefronts and tea houses. View the Zen Buddhist Temple of Kodai-ji’s richly decorated interior, and the surrounding zen gardens. Next, familiarize yourself with Zen meditation, a calming practice deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Enjoy a traditional Tea Ceremony, where you participate in the ritualized art of preparing and serving tea, savoring the hospitality of the host in an atmosphere distinctly different from the fast pace of everyday life. Lunch at a local restaurant, followed by leisure time in Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district. Afterward, visit the impressive Heian Shrine, a Shinto shrine boasting the largest torii (gate) in Japan. It was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital from Nara to Kyoto
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Saturday - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Nijo Castle, Kimono Dressing
Discover the beautiful cultural heritage of Kyoto that has spanned the centuries. Head outside the city to Arashiyama bamboo forest. Here, take a stroll through the stunning bamboo grove, followed by a ride on a traditional Japanese rickshaw, a unique experience! Visit the celebrated Kinkaku-ji Temple, "the Golden Pavilion," and understand why this magnificent gold leaf covered temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to Ryoan-ji Temple with its mysterious Rock Garden before moving on to Nijo Castle, a residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun, with its ornate interior handcrafted with Japanese cypress. Afterward, dress in an authentic kimono during a visit to a Kyoto-style home. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure for individual pursuits
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11, Sunday - Imperial Nara, Great Buddha Statue, Deer Park, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Maiko Dance Performance
Make a stop at Fushimi Inari Shrine before traveling by private bus to the 8th century Imperial capital of Nara, repository of Japan's cultural heritage, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a wealth of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples. Arrive at the exquisite wooden Todai-ji Temple, home of the impressive Daibutsu (Great Buddha) bronze statue, rising over 50 feet high. You then continue to Nara (Deer) Park to see the over 1,000 tame deer roaming freely in the peaceful park. Visit the famous and beautiful Kasuga Grand Shrine displaying over 3,000 antique hanging stone lanterns. Return to Kyoto and enjoy leisure time this afternoon before a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant, featuring a traditional Maiko (Geisha) dance performance that reflects the core of Japanese culture
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Monday - Depart Japan
Sayonara! Transfer to Osaka for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 1, Friday - Depart for Japan
Depart for Japan

DAY 2, Saturday - Arrive in Tokyo
Arrive in dynamic Tokyo in the "Land of the Rising Sun"; transfer to your hotel. This evening, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6:30 pm with your Tour Manager on the exciting adventure that awaits you in Japan, followed by a Welcome Dinner and drinks with your fellow travelers. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm on Day 2 of the itinerary, if possible
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Sunday - Imperial Palace & Asakusa Kannon Temple
Start your day with the Imperial Palace, the former site of Edo Castle, where Samurai warriors lived from the 17th to 19th centuries, and primary residence of Japan's Imperial Family. Visit the East Garden, a precious jewel of nature within the hectic city center and view the lovely Nijubashi Bridge that stretches over the moat in the outer gardens with its colorful displays of seasonal flowers. Later, travel to the imposing Asakusa Kannon Temple (Sensoji) enshrining a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy; its entrance is dominated by a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red and black tones. Walk along Nakamise, a major shopping area, centuries-old, where everything from souvenirs to genuine Edo-style crafts is sold. Finally, visit the serene Meiji Shrine nestled in a forested area, honoring the first Emperor of modern Japan and his Empress
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4, Monday - Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, Hakone National Park and Mt. Fuji Excursion*
A full day of breathtaking scenery as you drive south to Hakone, the most famous National Park in Japan. En route, stop to visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, situated in the wooded hills along the coast of Lake Kawaguchi. Here, view exhibits of the textile artist Kubota Itchiku’s kimono creations, depicting the themes of nature and the seasons. Continue along the scenic roads of rural Japan to Hakone where a gondola takes you on the Hakone Ropeway to the Owakudani Valley’s extraordinary volcanic zone. Here, the bubbling pools cook eggs in the hot waters blackened by sulfur, and are said to prolong one's life by at least seven years. Enjoy a relaxing cruise around placid Lake Ashi. End your visit in Hakone with a drive along Cedar Avenue, a historic site of Hakone Old Tokaido Road that linked Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo Period. Tonight, be adventurous and explore Tokyo’s incredible variety of cuisine! 
*Due to local conditions, the Mt. Fuji sightseeing might be altered. Details will be provided locally by your Tour Manager.
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5, Tuesday - Tsukiji Fish Market, Sushi Demonstration & Akihabara District
On today’s tour of Tokyo, witness the stark contrasts of this dazzling city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology. To begin, walk the lanes of the hectic Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world! Afterward, enjoy a culinary demonstration led by a professional Sushi Chef. Learn the art of creating different varieties of sushi and sashimi and enjoy them for lunch afterward! Continue to the Ginza district, Tokyo's most celebrated upscale shopping, dining and amusement area. Then, Akihabara shopping district, a wonderland of electrical equipment shops, computer shops and animation studios that are attracting world attention. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a Japanese style pub
Overnight: Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6, Wednesday - Kenroku-en Gardens, Kagaonsen Ryokan Experience
Board the famous Shinkansen, or "bullet train," that takes you to Kanazawa south of the Noto Peninsula, with its winding cobblestone streets, Samurai residences, Geisha houses, lavish gardens and a flower filled open-air market. Stroll through Kenroku-en Garden, one of the country’s most elite gardens with its elaborate water fountains and designs. Continue to the Nomura Family House, where Samurai once dwelled. In Kagaonsen, an exceptional experience is awaiting you. Spend the night at a traditional Ryokan (inn), where you dress in yukata (bathrobe) that you wear to the onsen (hot spring spa.) You overnight in authentic Japanese rooms with tatami mats and sleep on a futon bed. Dinner together at the Ryokan is a full course Kaiseki Dinner highlighted by regional specialties
Overnight: Kaga
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, Thursday - Thatched Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go, Takayama’s Old Town
You travel from Kagaonsen to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, known for its village of thatched gassho-zukuri (praying hands) farmhouses. Visit the historic village of Ogimachi and the ruins of its castle, dating back to medieval times. From atop the observation deck, see the amazing view of an entire settlement of thatched style houses. Lunch at local restaurant before driving to 16th century Takayama, with its meticulously preserved Old Town. Upon arrival, visit Takayama Jinya, a historic government house converted to a museum and the Yatai Kaikan Hall housing intricately designed wooden floats brought out only for major festivals. Later, you arrive at a scenic mountain resort for overnight
Overnight: Takayama
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8, Friday - Takayama's Historic District, Morning Farmer’s Market, Bullet Train to Kyoto
The delightful town of Takayama, with its wealth of museums, galleries, and impressive temples, is often called "Little Kyoto." A walking tour includes the remarkably preserved Edo-period merchants’ shops and houses in the Sanno-machi Historic District. Visit the morning market along the Miya River with farmers and craftsmen selling everything from vegetables to clothing and hand carvings. Across the river lies the Sanmachi-Suji (district) of sake breweries, cafes and immaculately preserved old private houses. Lunch en route before boarding the express train to Nagoya. Upon arrival, you will change and board the bullet train to enchanting and historic Kyoto, founded in the 7th century, one of the early capitals of Japan
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9, Saturday - Kyoto’s Cultural Heritage & Tea Ceremony, Zen Meditation
Your first discovery in Kyoto is Kiyomizu Temple, known for its sacred waters believed to bestow health and longevity. As you stroll through the ancient streets of Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, you’re transported back in time to "old" Japan on these distinctive streets crowded with old wooden storefronts and tea houses. View the Zen Buddhist Temple of Kodai-ji’s richly decorated interior, and the surrounding zen gardens. Next, familiarize yourself with Zen meditation, a calming practice deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Enjoy a traditional Tea Ceremony, where you participate in the ritualized art of preparing and serving tea, savoring the hospitality of the host in an atmosphere distinctly different from the fast pace of everyday life. Lunch at a local restaurant, followed by leisure time in Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district. Afterward, visit the impressive Heian Shrine, a Shinto shrine boasting the largest torii (gate) in Japan. It was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital from Nara to Kyoto
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Sunday - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Nijo Castle, Kimono Dressing
Discover the beautiful cultural heritage of Kyoto that has spanned the centuries. Head outside the city to Arashiyama bamboo forest. Here, take a stroll through the stunning bamboo grove, followed by a ride on a traditional Japanese rickshaw, a unique experience! Visit the celebrated Kinkaku-ji Temple, "the Golden Pavilion," and understand why this magnificent gold leaf covered temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to Ryoan-ji Temple with its mysterious Rock Garden before moving on to Nijo Castle, a residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun, with its ornate interior handcrafted with Japanese cypress. Afterward, dress in an authentic kimono during a visit to a Kyoto-style home. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure for individual pursuits
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11, Monday - Imperial Nara, Great Buddha Statue, Deer Park, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Maiko Dance Performance
Make a stop at Fushimi Inari Shrine before traveling by private bus to the 8th century Imperial capital of Nara, repository of Japan's cultural heritage, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a wealth of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples. Arrive at the exquisite wooden Todai-ji Temple, home of the impressive Daibutsu (Great Buddha) bronze statue, rising over 50 feet high. You then continue to Nara (Deer) Park to see the over 1,000 tame deer roaming freely in the peaceful park. Visit the famous and beautiful Kasuga Grand Shrine displaying over 3,000 antique hanging stone lanterns. Return to Kyoto and enjoy leisure time this afternoon before a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant, featuring a traditional Maiko (Geisha) dance performance that reflects the core of Japanese culture
Overnight: Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Tuesday - Depart Japan
Sayonara! Transfer to Osaka for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

Book Now!
Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
Book your Optional Tours before you travel. See more, save time, save money.
  • Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
  • Tours often sell out. Avoid disappointment
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  • Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
  • The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week

Japan, Then & Now, July 2018
Dummy Image

It was awesome. This was my first tour with Gate1. I was not disappointed. It was well planned, there were variety of things to do, places to visit. Our dietary need as a vegetarian was taken care of! I loved the tour guide, Yumi. She was great.

Abirami K. Cupertino, CA
Japan, Then & Now, May 2018
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Our Japan trip was excellent & very enjoyable. Tokyo & Kyoto hotels were very centrally located, convenient and excellent. I will give them A+. Our tour guide/ Manager Mr. katsumi was the best ... Wish we had manager like Mr. katsumi on all our tour. Very down to earth person.

Jash P. Indianapolis, IN
Japan, Then & Now, May 2018
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Great! Japan is very clean. I like Kyota best. Tokyo is a so big that it would be very scary if you got separated from your guide. Very interesting country

Fay S. Pittsburgh, PA
Japan, Then & Now, April 2018
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The Japan tour was great! Our tour guide Mitsuko was very nice, friendly and knowledgeable. The hotels were great as well. We are now discussing of where Gate1 will take us next.

Nina M. Los Angeles, CA
Japan, Then & Now, March 2018
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The Discovery Japan tour is one of our top three favorite trips from Gate 1. The enriching cultural history, the food, the Japanese Garden, the unforgettable view of Mt. Fuji, the Cherry blossom festival ,the kimono dressing, the unforgettable bullet train experience and the geisha dance performance. Overall, A wonderful wonder wow vacation.

Josie F. Laguna Niguel, CA
Japan, Then & Now, March 2018
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It was an excellent trip and the tour manager Rumi Yamaguchi was very knowledgable ,helpful in short she was a superior tour guide.

Ayse R. Des Plaines, IL
Japan, Then & Now, February 2018
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Generally we were pleased with the tour. It was well organized, transportation from and to airports was reliable, hotels very nice. Our tour director and guide, Shizu, was outstanding-helpful, informative and good sense of humour. It was a bit cool in February, but probably it was less crowded than other times of the year and Shirakawa in the snow was beautiful. We would certainly consider other tours with Gate 1.

Warren B. Ottawa, CA
Japan, Then & Now, February 2018
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It was wonderful!!! We loved Shizu, she really made the tour great. She has a charming personality that made learning interesting. Well done Shizu!!!

Cathleen P. Camillus, NY
Japan, Then & Now, March 2017
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Touring Japan was a wonderful experience. Everything went well - no glitches and lots of good food and comfortable lodgings.

Helen H. Austin, TX
Japan, Then & Now, February 2017
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We had a wonderful trip. Our tour leader was terrific. The hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto were really first rate--very clean and the staff were very accommodating. The other 2 were also fine. Our itinerary each day was really well planned. We loved the extras--dressing in kimonos, sushi lesson, meditation class. Our group had only nine people which was a real treat to be in such a small group. I'm glad that this trip was not discontinued for this year so others can enjoy it as much as we did. We can't wait to take our next trip with Gate 1 (actually we're scheduled for Italy in October).

Gale F. White Plains, NY
Japan, Then & Now, October 2016
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Everything about the trip was wonderful!! I think I like the small groups in Discovery Tours rather than the 45 people in a larger tour, and it's easier to navigate on the tours with a small group. The hospitality, respect, daily tours, our guide ('Yumi') the variety of places we visited....on and on....were all great! It's a trip to be remembered and cherished.

Susan L. Bronx, NY