Small group, countryside tours of Japan

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Eight Million Gods

small group guided tours of Japan

click here for map of trip   click here for map of Japan

date visits of interest accommodation
Day 1 Meet up in Kyoto Kyoto / hotel
Day 2 Gion Geisha Quarters, Golden Pavilion, Nishiki Food Market, Kyoto / hotel
Day 3 Nara Side Trip (Kofukuji Temple, Todaiji Great Buddha, Deer Park) Kyoto / hotel
Day 4 Himeji Castle, Kokoen Japanese Garden

Himeji / Hotel

Day 5 Izumo Grand Shrine, Hino Misaki Cape Izumo / onsen ryokan
Day 6 Izumo farming Village Izumo / onsen ryokan
Day 7

Korakuen Garden

Okayama / hotel
Day 8 Kenrokuen Garden, Food Market, Higashi-chaya Kanazawa / hotel
Day 9

Shirakawago (side trip)

 

Kanazawa / hotel
Day 10 Snow Monkeys, walk in a pristine forest Yudanaka / onsen ryokan
Day 11 Tokyo, Sensoji Temple Tokyo / hotel
Day 12 Meiji Shrine, Shibuya Scramble crossings, Omote Sando Tokyo / hotel
Day 13 Tour ends
Tour Duration : 12 nights / 13 days
Tour Price : from JPY492,000 per person

What is included : all the accommodation, all breakfasts, 3 dinners (Day 5,6,10),
all admission fees, guide service all the way through, airport pick up, all domestic transportation.

what is not included : international flights, lunch, drinks, personal use of taxi, airport transfer at the end of the tour

Tour Highlights

-The main focus of this tour is on the Japanese countryside. The rural Japan is glorious, which stands in stark contrast to the heavily congested cities and towns that are strung together on the Pacific Corridor between Tokyo and Hiroshima.

- Steep in authentic Japanese way of life by staying 2 consecutive nights (Day 6,7) at a hidden Japanese inn (ryokan) tucked into a valley in a reclusive calm. Enjoy exquisite Japanese cuisine and taking a soak in indoor and outdoor hot spring baths. Slip on yukaya (a simplified kimono) for dinner in a private Japanese room.

-Stay right in the middle of Asakusa district in Tokyo with an excellent access to Sensoji Temple and vibrant Tokyo downtown ambience.

-Savor Japanese architectural finesse at Himeji Castle and Japanese gardens nexxt to it.

-Take a drive in a private van to the Sanddunes of Tottori.





Note : The tour starts in Kyoto and ends in Tokyo and the proximate int'l airport to Tokyo is Narita or Haneda International Airport.

It is best if you can fly into Japan via Kansai (Osaka) airport and then depart via Narita or Haneda airport.
Using this route (or the reverse) will save you half a day of travel and potentially significant savings on train or air fair.



Day by Day Tour Itinerary



Day 1

Fly into Osaka (Kansai).
You will be picked up and escorted to the hotel in Kyoto.

Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan for about 1,000 years until Tokyo was selected as the new capital when the country grew out of samurai rule to modern Japan in 1868. Kyoto is a facinating city in that it is a grand repository of ancient Japan which blends quite nicely with a modern, western facade of the landscape.

Day 2

Kyoto S/S. Golden Pavilion, Nishiki Food Market, Geisha Quarters.

Day 3

Nara side trip.
Kofukuji is the oldest temple in Nara, the foundation of which dates all the way back to 710.
Today, reconstruction work is underway to repair damages wreaked through a long history of Nara.

It is enjoyable to feed rice crackers to deer roaming freely around the park.

In the early 700s when everything was dictated by Buddhism in the capital, the ruling elite spent astronomical amounts of money to cast
a huge image of Buddha. Though it was destroyed many times by fire, civil war, and so forth, the image stands solemnly in the largest wooden structure in the entire world.

Day 4

Head for Himeji by bullet train.
Himeji is a regional city and keeps a national treasure and UNESCO cultural site, Himeji Castle, which is often called White Heron Castle.
This castle is one of the 12 castles that are original.
At the peak of Japan's feudal rule of 1700s, Japan boasted more than 200 castes across the nation. But, the modern era Japanese governments systematically destroyed castles one after another, believing they represented something outdated or much worse, nuisance that had to be discarded.
The Himeji castle is the culmination of the pride of, and identity as, the Japanese.
You not only catch on to the ethos of the Japanese belief system, which is often said to have been derived from Samurai warrior culture, but also architecture and small details that Japanese are skilled at.
The masterpiece film "Last Samurai" featuring Tom Cruise was shot in this city.
 
Kokoen Japanese Garden.
Samurai houses used to be standing at this site before 1992 when this magnifiscent garden was laid out. This is typical of Japanese stroll type of gardening, which developed in the late 1500s.


Day 5

By express train, travel to Tottori, which is the first leg of the trip today.
Tottori Sanddunes is the main draw in this region and most extensive of all the sanddunes in Japan.
From a mound right in the middle, we overlook the Sea of Japan extending in all directions.
In the afternoon, we take off for Izumo by express train.

This evening, you get a flavor of what it is like to experience an authentic Japanese life by taking a soak in hot spring baths and slippig on a yukata to enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine.



Day 6

We visit Izumo Grand Shrine first thing in the morning.
The shrine was founded as early as 600s and has been shrouded by mythology ever since.
It is known that the deity of this shrine is related to Imperial bloodline and has been held in high regard by the Japanese populace.
We proceed to Hinomisaki Cape, a truly picturesque site with light house and small, lonely fishing village.
We take a leisurely walk on a trail hugging along the Sea of Japan.


Day 7

Today we head for Indand Sea coast.
Stay at Okayama, a regional city with a population of over 700,000.
We visit Okayama Korakuen Garden(one of the three finest gardens in Japan).

Day 8

By bullet train and express train, we head for Kanazawa. We visit Kenrokuen Park, one of the three finest Japanese gardens and Higashi Chaya Geisha Quarters.

Day 9

Today, as a side trip we explore Shirakawago , a preserved village from the olden days.
Characteristic "Gasho-zukuri" roofing, or prayer style shingle of thatched roofing is what sets
this village apart from houses seen in modern Japan.
Coming back to Kanazawa, we visit Ohmicho Food Market.

Day 10

We proceed to Nagano, and then on to Yudanaka to visit Snow Monkey Park.
We walk on a mountain trail to get to the tonight's accommodation, a Japanese onsen ryokan
hidden from the bustle of city life.

Day 11

By bullet train, head for Tokyo.

Day 12

Tokyo sight seeing tour, including Sensoji Temple, Meiji Shrine, Omote Sando, etc.

Day 13

Tour ends.


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