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From Japan’s Inland Sea to the Alps (2019 Itinerary)

11 days

Never more than 16 guests. Guaranteed.

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Cultural encounters from city to countryside

+ Experience Japan’s enduring ways when you dine with Geisha, sample fine sake, visit the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market, and learn to prepare restaurant-quality sushi.
+ Hear colorful stories of Kyoto’s Geisha traditions on a guided stroll through the historic Gion district.
+ A skilled chef teaches you how to prepare restaurant-quality sushi.
+ Learn about the ancient tenets of Japanese landscape design at Kenrokuen, revered as one of the country’s three loveliest gardens.
+ Journey to the rural mountain hamlet of Shirakawago, known for its unusual century-old farmhouses.

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Day
1

You’ll be met at the airport and guided to the coach that will take you to the deluxe Granvia Hotel.

Day
2

Your exploration of Kyoto c begins at Nijo Castle where you can try to walk in stealth across the Nightingale Floor, designed to chirp in warning if would-be assassins penetrated into the Shogun’s chambers. You’ll also tour Kinkakuji Temple and Sanjusangendo with its 1,001 statues of Kannon, Goddess of Mercy. Then delve into Japan’s enduring traditions when you dine with Geisha at lunch and stroll in Gion where Kabuki traditions began long ago. Meals B+L+D

Day
3

Across the Inland Sea to Miyajima and Hiroshima

Hotel Granvia - Kyoto, Japan

Cross the island-dotted Inland Sea to Miyajima Island and visit Itsukushima Shrine c, established in the 6th century. Just off shore, a majestic red Torii Gate* rises from the sea. In Hiroshima, you’ll visit Peace Memorial Park, where the Memorial Museum stands as a sobering reminder of the destruction wrought by the Atomic bomb. Back in Kyoto, your evening is free. Meals B

*Miyajima's Itsukushima Shrine will undergo restoration work from 2019 - late 2020 and scaffolding will cover the torii gate for much of this period.
 

Day
4

Excursion to Nara, Japan’s First Capital

Hotel Granvia - Kyoto, Japan

Discover the ancient capital of Nara c where Buddhism was first introduced to Japan nearly 1,500 years ago. You’ll visit Todai-ji Temple, one of the largest wooden structures in the world and home to an immense statue of Buddha. Stroll the peaceful lantern-lined forest paths of Kasuga Shrine before returning to Kyoto.

This evening, if you wish, we can arrange for you to enjoy the hospitality of a traditional Japanese inn. Set in a landmark 18th-century structure in the heart of Kyoto’s Gion district (where Geisha and Kabuki traditions began long ago), the deluxe family-owned Yoshi-ima Ryokan offers an authentic Japanese experience. You’ll spend the night in a spacious tatami-matted room with a private en suite bath and enjoy a traditional Kaiseki dinner and Japanese breakfast. The Yoshi-ima’s Buddhist Alter Room, Teahouse and Courtyard Garden enrich your memorable overnight. Meals B

Day
5

Journey to Kanazawa and visit the Nomura Samurai Residence and Kutani Kosen Pottery Studio to see skilled artisans at work. While strolling through Kenrokuen, revered as one of Japan’s finest gardens, you’ll learn firsthand about the 6 elements of traditional landscape design which have been incorporated so perfectly here. Overnight at the deluxe Nikko Hotel. Meals B

Travel to the mountain hamlet of Shirakawago c, famous for its “Joined Hands” farmhouses. More than a century old, they derive their name from their steeply pitched roofs which look like hands joined together in prayer. Continue to the deluxe Associa Takayama Resort. Meals B+L+D

Day
7

Mingle with residents at the busy morning market and then admire perfectly-preserved buildings like Takayama Jinya, a government hall of the Edo era. Enjoy a tasting of fine sake and tour the Folk Craft Museum. At the Festival Floats Exhibit Hall, you’ll see parade floats dating back 400 years, many with cleverly engineered figures that can be animated when these floats are used in the town’s colorful spring and autumn festivals. Meals B

Journey by rail to Tokyo and transfer to the Keio Plaza Hotel. After time to refresh in your Premier Grand room on the Club Floor, join your guide for a walking tour in the vibrant Shinjuku district. Meals B

Day
9

Enjoy a special early morning visit to the famous outdoor fish market in Tsukiji where the city’s best chefs come to procure the freshest seafood. Then join one such chef to learn the art of preparing sushi. Enjoy the fruits of your labor for lunch before ascending the Tokyo Observatory for breathtaking views over the city. Delight in the colorful stalls of the Nakamise Arcade and visit Asakusa Kannon Temple; dating to the 7th century, it’s the oldest temple in the city. Meals B+L

Day
10

Travel to the 5th Station of Mt. Fuji and continue to beautiful Hakone National Park, beloved for its pine forests and lovely views of Mt. Fuji. Enjoy a cruise across picturesque Lake Ashi and ascend Mt. Komagatake by cable car for sweeping views over the forested mountains. Return to Tokyo with time to refresh before tonight’s Farewell Dinner. Meals B+D

Day
11

Depart Tokyo

Step aboard the comfortable airport limousine coach for your trip to the airport. Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons

Be A Hong Kong Insider

Our resident guide will take you around town like a savvy insider to discover facets of Hong Kong which few visitors ever glimpse! We include transfers, a choice of fine city-center hotels, our exclusive Be a Hong Kong Insider full-day private tour, and more!

Be a Beijing Insider

This Private Tour just for your traveling party includes your choice of deluxe or luxury hotel, 5 meals and extensive sightseeing with your own personal car, driver and guide.

Shanghai

Our 3-day Private Tour package includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, full day sightseeing with your own personal car, driver and guide and private car airport transfers.

Japan Inland Sea MapSearch

Save $1,000 Per Couple
+ $500 Solo

Pay in full at time of booking.

Stay in a Japanese inn...  

Enjoy dinner and a night at the Yoshi-ima Ryokan here in Kyoto’s Gion district on Day 4. Just $195 per person double, $200 single.

Kyoto’s Gion Festival  

Experience one of Japan’s liveliest festivals with 1,200 year-old traditions! At festival-time, the streets of Gion, Kyoto’s historic Geisha district, are filled with color, music and light. Join local residents for this mid-summer revelry, see the festive decorations and thrill to Yamaboko-Junko, a spectacular parade of gigantic floats pulled by teams of men in traditional garb. Experience all this and more on our July departure.

Takayama's Seasonal Festivals  

With colorful centuries-old traditions, Takayama’s Spring + Fall Festivals are highlighted by a spectacular parade of giant floats, many of them dating to the 17th century with remarkable, ingeniously-animated moving parts. Go in Spring and delight in the island’s famed Cherry Blossoms or join us in the fall for the brilliant autumn foliage – what the Japanese call Momiji.

 

Get Your Kimono
on in Tokyo

When you think Japan and Japanese aesthetic, the kimono immediately comes to mind.   This deceptively simple but eternally elegant garment has been the national dress of the Japanese for centuries... Read More >>

5 Ways to Go Native in Kyoto

For all her cutting age technology, Japan guards her cultural traditions jealously.  Nowhere is this more palpable than in the ancient city of Kyoto.   The exquisite palaces and temples make Kyoto a highlight of any trip to Japan, but it is the ancient traditions... Read More >>

Nara: The Cradle of
Japanese Buddhism
 

Japan's imperial capital of Nara (710-794) is the home to some of the country's most iconic architectural monuments, including the Nanto Shichi Daiji, the seven Buddhist shrines that date back to the introduction of that faith to Japan... Read More >>

Nothing Stands in the Way
of Tokyo's Modern Vibe
 

Tokyo's unique architectural skyline is a coming-of-age story that dates back to the nineteenth-century when the growing imperial power sought to reinvent itself as a modern, Western nation with grandiose architecture to match its... Read More >>

The Sanno Matsuri Festival: Takayama’s Glorious Rite
of Spring
 

In the Japanese Alps, where the winters are long and the snows deep, is it any wonder that spring is welcomed wholeheartedly when it finally arrives? In one alpine town - Takayama - welcoming spring is taken very seriously indeed... Read More >>

Welcome to the Inscrutable World of Japan’s Geisha  

If Japan had anything as pedestrian as a mascot, it might very well be an elegant Geisha, resplendent in her traditional silk robes, elaborate coiffure, and stylized make-up.  This 400-year tradition of professional entertainment is often...
Read More >>

Kanazawa's Venerable Kutani Porcelain  

Porcelain, along with paper and silk, is one of Asia’s most significant contributions to civilization. Developed in China around 200 BCE, fine porcelain’s impermeability and ability to withstand... Read More >>

Occupancy

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26 September 201906 October 2019$7,599Sold Out
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Pay-In-Full

Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

Book Your Air

Ask about international air service, including business class. See your travel agent or call us for current international airfare associated with this program. We offer both economy and business class fares. Prices are in U.S. currency and are per person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Availability is limited.

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