Starts any day. January to December8 days from $8445.00
Arrive Tokyo, Japan
Welcome to Japan! You are met upon arrival in vibrant Tokyo, and taken to your luxury hotel. Located in the heart of the city, the Palace Hotel overlooks the Imperial Palace Gardens, and is close to the Yasukuni Shrine as well as a selection of fine restaurants and shopping.
The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure.
Enjoy a full day guided tour of this fascinating and diverse metropolis. Begin with a visit to the Tsukiji Market, the biggest wholesale fish market in the world. Then, enjoy a stroll through tranquil Hamarikyu Garden before boarding a river boat cruise to the ancient Asakusa district. Your guide leads you through the district’s tiny and well-preserved streets - View the Sensō-ji Buddhist temple, with its large lantern, and walk along the Nakamise shopping arcade that dates back to the Edo period. If time permits, you may explore the Tokyo Skytree, the recently completed tallest structure in Japan.
This afternoon, enjoy your choice of a Japanese cultural experience – savor the traditions of a private Japanese tea ceremony, or participate in a hands-on calligraphy demonstration.
End the day exploring the Ginza District, home to some of the country’s most prestigious companies, numerous brand shops, department stores, boutiques, bars and restaurants. Arrive back at your hotel by late afternoon. (B)
This morning, drive to Yoyogi Park, 53 acres of evergreen forest. Visit the serene Meiji Jingu Shrine built in 1920. It was constructed by more than 100,000 volunteers to honor Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of modern Japan.
Next, focus on the modern as you explore the fashionable shopping streets of Harajuku and “Takeshita Dori,” centers of the Japanese sub-culture. Harajuku has also become a major fashion corner, filled with numerous famous and creative designer shops. Then take time to meander along the trendy backstreets of Omotesando, discovering small designer shops by Japanese craftsmen and artists.
Enjoy the rest of afternoon to relax or explore more of Tokyo on your own. (B)
Tokyo to Hakone
Depart Tokyo this morning, and drive south along the scenic Shonan Coast to Hakone, a volcanic national park near Mt. Fuji.
Visit the unique Hakone Open Air Museum and appreciate how the sculptures pose harmoniously against the picturesque mountain backdrop. Take an exciting cable car and ropeway ride up the Ōwakudani Valley, a volcanic national park. View the crater created by the last eruption of Mt. Hakone, 3,000 years ago. Enjoy the magnificent views, and then take a scenic cruise on placid Lake Ashi, a crater lake that offers picture-perfect reflections of Mt. Fuji.
Tonight, savor a traditional Kaiseki dinner. (B,D)
Hakone to Kyoto
This morning, you are transferred to the Odawara station to board the “bullet-train” for a memorable first-class ride to Kyoto. You are met upon arrival, and taken to your hotel located in the traditional area of Higashiyama Shichijo, surrounded by notable temples and museums.
In the afternoon, enjoy a private tour of Nijō Castle, built by the founder of the Edo shogunate, then tour the famed Kinkakuji Temple. Also known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, it was originally built in 1397 as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Hear the stories of how the temple was burnt to the ground in 1950 by a young monk, and then completely reconstructed in 1955. Next, explore the Ryōan-ji Temple, with its prominent and mysterious garden of rocks and sand.
Return to your hotel by late afternoon. (B)
Today explore Kyoto on a private full day tour. Begin with a visit to Kyoto’s 8th century Kiyomizu-dera Temple, founded in 798, and renowned for its magnificent views of the city. Stroll the cobblestoned “Sannenzaka” pilgrimage route, and explore its sacred shrines, as well as the little shops and cafés along the way. See the Zen Buddhist Kodaiji Temple, known for its formal gardens, bamboo grove, and teahouses, and Yasakajinja, Kyoto’s most famous Shrine.
Next, tour the Geisha district of Gion, famed for its preservation of traditional architecture and graceful “Geiko” entertainment. During its golden age, more than 3000 Geikos worked in some 700 teahouses in Gion. Enjoy a walk through this area of trendy fashion boutiques and traditional wooden lattice windows as you watch the ‘maiko’ dancers (apprentice geishas) who stroll through the neighborhood dressed in their traditional, colorful costumes.
The last stop of the day is to visit the 12th century Sanjusangendo Hall, famed for its 1001 statues of the goddess Kannon. (B)
Today you are taken on a full-day excursion to the Imperial 8th century capital of Nara. Your sightseeing begins in Nara Park (Deer Park), home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. (In the Shinto religion, deer are regarded as messengers of the gods.) Visit the Kasuga Grand Shrine, built in 768 as the shrine for the powerful Fujiwara Family. Three thousand bronze and stone lanterns line the avenue leading to this dignified shrine, all. set in perfect harmony with their natural surroundings. Then see the wooden Tōdai-ji Temple and its giant statue of Buddha Virocana.
In the afternoon, enjoy time in the ancient merchant district of Naramachi. Remarkably unaffected by the WWII bombings, this former merchant district features several traditional warehouses and residential buildings along its narrow lanes, as well many lovely small boutiques, shops, cafes and restaurants. (B)
Depart Kyoto & Osaka
Today you are transferred to the airport in Osaka for your flight home or onto your next destination. (B)
The Palace Hotel, Tokyo
A haven of hospitality, serene and refined, the new Palace Hotel embodies the very best of Japan. Palace Hotel Tokyo is the newest addition to the city's luxury scene and is set to redefine hospitality with its continued commitment to preserving its independence and delivering the finest home-grown hospitality. With leafy carpet motifs and earthy color palettes throughout, the luxuriously cozy and contemporary interiors of Palace Hotel Tokyo's 290 guestrooms take inspiration from their proximity to the capital's much loved natural splendor - the 3.5 square kilometres in the heart of the city that is the Imperial Palace gardens.
Yoshimatsu Ryokan, Hakone
The Yoshimatsu Ryokan is an intimate traditonal luxury Japanese inn. With only 19 rooms, you are sure to enjoy quality relaxation while keeping your privacy. Yoshimatsu is located on a hill surrounded by trees and bamboo groves. It is also located near the famous Lake Ashi in Hakonee. This peaceful resort features a private open-air hot-spring bath and traditional gourmet Japanese food.
Hyatt Regency Kyoto, Kyoto
Hyatt Regency Kyoto is a stylish design hotel located in the traditional and historic area of Higashiyama Shichijo, in the heart of Kyoto, Japan. Located just a few minutes away from JR Kyoto Train Station, the hotel features spacious rooms & luxury suites suitable for business and leisure travelers alike. Hyatt Regency Kyoto hotel hosts The Grill serving French cuisine, casual Italian restaurant Trattoria Sette and Touzan Japanese Restaurant & Bar. RIRAKU Spa offers body and facial treatments based on Eastern and Western traditional techniques which give relaxation in body and soul. This fine hotel in Kyoto is close to the main city landmarks including the National Museum, Chishakuin, Sanjusangendo and Yogenin Temples. Gion district, a traditional neighborhood famous for geishas, has numerous shopping and entertainment options, with Shijo street and Nishiki market within short distance.