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Save $1,000 per couple | $500 solo

Land of the Rising Sun - Guntu Cruise

12 days

A Luxury Land + Water Journey at Cherry Blossom Time

Our Distinctive A+R Style

+ Delight in Japan’s most scenic vistas during Sakura season, when gardens and countryside are awash in delicate pink Cherry Blossoms.
+ Experience age-old traditions from Noh Theater to the Tea Ceremony and calligraphy with our cultural workshops and hands-on activities.
+ Delight in colorful anecdotes of Japan’s ancient Geisha and Sake traditions on guided strolls through two lively historic districts in Hiroshima and Kyoto.
+ Savor real Osaka cuisine on our special culinary tour of the eateries along Dotonbori Street.
+ Behold five of Monet’s Water Lilies paintings, strikingly displayed under natural light on Naoshima Island – famed for its art museums.
+ Board a rickshaw to visit a temple and shrine in Arashiyama, a wonderful leisurely way to explore this tranquil forested Kyoto neighborhood.
+ With 9 nights luxury hotel + 2 nights luxury cruise; 23 meals with wine at dinner; all sightseeing + shore excursions; all transfers; port charges; and all gratuities except Trip Leader.

Visit 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites 

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On arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to the luxurious Imperial Hotel in the heart of the city. A+R guests enjoy Deluxe Imperial Floor Rooms high above the city with complimentary WiFi and views of the Okawa River.


Osaka Castle + Noh Traditions

Imperial Hotel - Osaka, Japan

Enjoy a tour of Osakajo; surrounded by stone walls, moats and landscaped grounds graced with a profusion of Cherry Blossom trees, this is one of Japan’s most impressive Shogun castles! Tracing its history to 1583, it’s a marvelous place to begin your foray into Japan’s rich and dramatic history. Then at the nearly century-old Yamamoto Theater, our exclusive workshop reveals the rich traditions of Japan’s Noh Theater, an ancient art from of music and drama that has been performed since the 14th century.
With some free time this afternoon, you can take advantage of our luxury hotel’s city-center location to experience more of Osaka at your own pace. This evening, take in the superb views of the city at night from atop the Umeda Sky Building. Then head to one of our favorite Osaka restaurants for a Welcome Dinner. 
Meals D


A Taste of Osaka + On to Hiroshima

Granvia Hotel - Hiroshima, Japan

In the heart of this modern metropolis, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back centuries when you enter Hozenji Temple, built in 1637. Splash some water on the small Buddha statue that you’ll find inside; locals believe that this simple act will bring a bit of good luck. Indeed, visitors have been doing this for centuries and the result is that the statue is now covered entirely in bright green moss!
Then visit the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum to see a marvelous collection of woodblock prints from the Edo era. There are some 50 rare and priceless works on display, many of them depicting the great Kabuki actors of the era. For lunch, savor authentic Osaka cuisine as you explore with our in-the-know guide along Dotonbori Street, famed for its many eateries. Then head to the station where you’ll board the world-famous Bullet Train for Hiroshima. On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the 5-star Granvia Hiroshima Hotel.  Meals B+L


Hiroshima + Miyajima Island

Granvia Hotel - Hiroshima, Japan

Founded in 1589, Hiroshima is one of Japan’s most historic cities. In the 20th century, of course, it entered the annals of history as the first city to be hit with an atomic bomb, a cataclysmic event that shaped our generation. Nearly 70% of the city was completely destroyed, but one of the few surviving structures was a domed building close to the detonation site. Today, this architectural shell stands in Peace Memorial Park c close to the Peace Memorial Museum and the Memorial Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims. Visiting these sites with our compassionate Japanese guide is a sobering yet inspiring experience – a reminder of the devastation of war and the enduring spirit of humankind.
Then cross the lovely, island-dotted Inland Sea to Miyajima Island to visit the incomparable Itsukushima Shrine c; established in the 6th century, much of its present-day architecture dates to the 12th century, and it remains a spectacular sight. Built on piers over the bay, the shrine and its magnificent red Torii gate appear to float over the tranquil waters during high tide. In the afternoon, our hands-on cultural experience is a fun way to learn about Japanese calligraphy, the ancient rituals of the Tea Ceremony, and even the proper way to don a kimono!  Meals B


Hiroshima Traditions + Embark our Luxury Ship, guntû

guntû - Cruising the Seto Inland Sea

Hiroshima’s Saijo district is well-known among sake connoisseurs worldwide, and is the reason why the city is known as Sake Town. There are no fewer than eight historic breweries here and the neighborhood is also home to the well-respected National Research Institute of Sake Brewing. It’s a lively and colorful district and this morning’s guided stroll is a delightful way to experience and learn about Japan’s favorite brew. Finish your morning exploring the charming port of Takehara, famed for its remarkable ensemble of finely preserved Edo-era buildings.
Then continue to the Bella Vista Marina where our elegant vessel awaits. Board guntû and settle in to your refined terrace site as we begin our voyage into the springtime landscapes of the Seto Inland Sea.  Meals B+L+D
(Cruise itinerary subject to change based on local conditions)


Cruising the Seto Inland Sea

guntû - Cruising the Seto Inland Sea

A wondrous day unfolds as we step ashore on a few of the 3,000 islands that dot the beautiful Inland Sea – at the peak of their Cherry Blossom glory. You might, for example, explore Inujima; diminutive and easily explored on foot, this island was a feudal-era industrial powerhouse, producing granite blocks that were used to construct some of Japan’s most famous Shogun castles. In the early 1900’s, it was home to a copper refinery. These industrial relics can still be seen, and the ruins of their old brick walls and crumbling smokestacks give Inujima a uniquely resonant ambiance. Today the island is home to a small rural village, several renowned art galleries and the innovative Inujima Seirensho Art Museum. Today you might also sip green tea as you watch a master craft wagashi - colorful, delicate confections made of rice flour and sweet bean paste. Back on board our luxury ship, sit down to delightful meals, prepared-to-order with locally sourced ingredients including the day’s catch. Traditional Japanese cuisine, the finest sushi, and Western-style dishes are attentive served in tranquil and elegant spaces with views of the passing scenery.
(Cruise itinerary subject to change based on local conditions)


Kurashiki + On to Okayama

Granvia Hotel - Okayama, Japan

Delight in a leisurely morning of cruising! Take in the views from your private terrace or relax in your suite as you gaze at the scenery through floor-to-ceiling windows. Or retreat to the Top Deck where you can experience the sublime views from the Engawa, a uniquely Japanese-style veranda found in temples and traditional homes.
Upon reaching our private marina in the late morning, you’ll step off guntû and continue to the historic city of Kurashiki. With picturesque tree-lined canals dating back to the Edo era, it’s easy to imagine Kurashiki centuries ago when it was an important rice distribution center. With their distinctive black-glazed ceramic tile roofs and white-washed walls, many of the town’s centuries-old rice storehouses are now home to museums, galleries and cafes. A guided canal cruise is the perfect way to experience Kurashiki’s unique heritage and present-day charm. After sightseeing, continue to Okayama and check in to the Granvia Okayama Hotel.  Meals B+L


Art of Naoshima Island

Granvia Hotel - Okayama, Japan

Spend the day with your engaging guided on this lovely forested island. Its rugged coasts, hidden beaches and forested hills are masterpieces of nature, but here they are merely the backdrop for remarkable human-made works, from the striking architecture of Pritzker Prize Laureate Tadao Ando to paintings and sculptures by Japanese and international artists. See five paintings from Monet’s tranquil Water Lilies series, amazingly displayed in a subterranean gallery, yet gloriously bathed in abundant natural light.
Sit down to lunch amidst the contemporary art works on display at Benesse House, with views of the Inland Sea. Then experience one of Naoshima’s most unusual works; Still in-progress, the Art House Project is a unique undertaking that will convert seven former island homes into organic works that weave together the artists’ visions with the history and memories of these buildings and their former inhabitants. Late in the day, you’ll board the ferry back to Honshu Island and return to the Granvia Okayama Hotel where you’ll have time to refresh before dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Okayama.  Meals B+L+D


From Okayama to Kyoto

The Thousand - Kyoto, Japan

After breakfast and check-out, start your day with a guided tour of Okayama Castle, also known as “crow castle” because of its distinctive black-stone exterior and black-glazed tile roofs – soaring six stories above the tree tops. Much of the original 16th-century castle was destroyed during World War II, but carefully reconstructed in the 1960’s.  Just across the Asahi River, you’ll tour Korakuen Garden. Created by a feudal lord in 1687 for his private use, it was opened to the public in 1884 and is now revered as one of Japan’s three finest landscaped gardens. Along with the nearby grounds of Okayama Castle, there are approximately 500 cherry trees which, at this time of year, should be sheathed in delicate pink Sakura blossoms!
At midday, we’ll take you to the rail station to board the Bullet Train for Kyoto. On arrival, you’ll be escorted to The Thousand, our brand new luxury hotel in the heart of this revered city. Enjoy lunch and settle in to your room. The balance of this day is yours to relax, enjoy and explore as you wish.  Meals B+L


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then join your guide to explore this classic city, starting with Sanjusangendo Temple. Founded in the 12th century, this elegant structure – the longest wooden building in Japan – is famous for its 1,001 delicately carved images of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. After lunch, your sightseeing continues at Nijo Castle c where you can try to walk in stealth across the Nightingale Floor – ingeniously designed ago to chirp in warming if would-be assassins penetrated the Shogun’s inner chambers. Then visit Kinkaku-ji Temple c, the oft-photographed golden pavilion that shimmers in its tranquil setting surrounded by pine forests on the edge of a quiet pond. End your tour with a guided stroll in Kyoto’s Gion district where Geisha and Kabuki traditions began long ago. With stories and insight from your guide, it’s a delightful way to learn about some of Japan’s most famous cultural traditions.  Meals B+L

With its forested hills and groves of blossoming cherry trees, Arashiyama is a riverside district that has been a popular destination since the Heian Period when nobles would come to enjoy its natural beauty. Exploring this morning in traditional rickshaws is a perfectly pleasant way to see the sites – from the picturesque Togetsukyo Bridge and ethereal Sagano Bamboo Forest to several important shrines and temples. Built by the chief disciple of the great haiku master Matsuo Basho, Rakushisha is a rustic yet elegant thatch-roof hut set in the edge of a forest. On the grounds are stone tablets inscribed with famous haiku poems while lovely ink-brushed poems grace the interior walls.
You’ll also visit Tenryuji Temple c, founded in the 14th century and renowned for its beautiful garden; created by the famed garden designer Muso Soseki, it has survived the centuries in its original form. Refresh and recharge with traditional matcha green tea here at Tenryuji before a guided stroll to experience more of Arashiyama’s charms. You’ll have free time this afternoon to relax and explore as you wish. This evening’s farewell dinner includes an enchanting dance and music performance by Maiko – young women learning to become Geisha.  Meals B+D


Sayonara, Japan

After breakfast, you’ll be chauffeured to Kansai Airport for your onward flight. Or continue on with us to spend 4 days in Tokyo.  Meals B

Extend Your Trip


4-Day Post-Tour Extension from $3,799

Complete your travels in Japan with our easy-to-add extension to Tokyo. We include 5-star hotel accommodations, all on-tour transportation and our unique in-depth sightseeing.

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By Bullet Train to Tokyo

At the end of your 12-day Land of the Rising Sun journey, you’ll be guided to the station to board the Bullet Train bound for Tokyo. On arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to the 5-star Keio Plaza Hotel where A+R guests will be upgraded to spacious Premier Grand rooms on the new Club Floor. The rest of this day is yours to enjoy as you wish. With the Keio Plaza’s ideal location in the lively Shinjuku district, you’ll find some of the city’s best shopping and dining within an easy walk of our hotel.


A View of Tokyo, Past + Present

This morning’s sightseeing begins high above the city at the Observation Deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers. Thrill to captivating views over this vast metropolis; on a clear day, you can even see Mt. Fuji. Then tour Meiji Jingu Shrine, dedicated to the first emperor of modern Japan - who ascended to the throne in 1867 during the peak of the Meiji Restoration. End your sightseeing with a special culinary tour of Shinjuku, sampling traditional Japanese favorites. It’s the perfect light lunch and offers a genuine look into Tokyo’s rich and varied food scene. After this unique A+R experience, the rest of your afternoon is free to enjoy as you wish.  Meals B+L


A Taste of Tokyo

After breakfast, the day’s sightseeing begins with a guided tour of the Edo Tokyo Museum where well curated exhibits provide a fascinating look into Tokyo during the Edo period, from the early 1600’s to the modern era. Next up is the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market where residents and the city’s best chefs come to procure the freshest seafood. Then join one such chef for a hands-on cooking class, finishing with a delightful lunch featuring the traditional and authentic dishes you’ve helped to prepare. Back at the Keio Plaza by mid-afternoon, the rest of this day is yours to enjoy as you wish.  Meals B+L


Depart Tokyo

After breakfast, you’ll be chauffeured to the airport for your onward flight.


Save $600 Per Couple
+ $300 Solo

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! Take advantage of our Family & Friends offer and Save $100 per person anytime you book 4 or more people on the same A+R program.


Save $600 per couple + $300 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you book and pay-in-full within 7 days of booking and prior to the final payment date listed in our published terms and conditions.

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