small group, countryside tours of Japan

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Thousand Cranes

small group guided tours of Japan

click here for map of trip  click here for map of Japan
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datevisits of interestaccommodation
Day 1 Tokyo Tokyo / hotel
Day 2 Sensoji Temple, Ueno Food Market Tokyo / hotel
Day 3 Okayama Castle, Korakuen Garden Okayama / hotel
Day 4 Hiroshima Peace Park Hiroshima / hotel
Day 5 Miyajima, Itsukushima Shrine Hiroshima / hotel
Day 6 Dogo Onsen Matsuyama / onsen ryokan
Day 7 Matsuyama Castle Matsuyama / onsen ryokan
Day 8 Ritsurin Park, Inland SeaKojima/ hotel
Day 9 Nishiki Food Market, Gion Geisha Quarters Kyoto / hotel
Day 10 Golden Pavilion, Ryoanji Temple Kyoto /hotel
Day 11 Nara (Todaiji Temple, Great Buddha, Kofukuji Temple, Deer Prk).
Kyoto / hotel
Day 12 Tour ends  
Note : The tour starts in Tokyo and ends in Kyoto and the proximate int'l airport to Kyoto is Kansai International Airport.

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


Maximum number of participants : 6 clients.

Minimum number of participants : 4 clients.

Price : from JPY449,000

What is included : all domestic transport, full guide service, all accommodations, all 11 breakfasts, 3 dinners, baggage forwarding, airport pickup.

What is not included : lunch, drinks during meals, international flights, personal use of taxi , airport transfer at the end of the tour (the trip ends at the hotel in Kyoto).



Day by Day Tour Itinerary



Day 1

Arrival day in Tokyo.

Day 2

Half day city tour of Tokyo, which includes Sensoji Temple, located in the downtown area with a marvelous laneway called Nakamise, lined with a hundred shops selling all kinds of traditional Japanese items.
We also explore one of the most trendy districts in Tokyo called Omotesando. There is a shrine revered by Many Japanese, Meiji Jingu, which is dedicated to Emperor Meiji, who was credited with bringing this country into the forefront of the world powers in the latter half of the 19th century.

Day 3

In the morning we get on board a bullet train bound for Okayama.
The journey is a little over three hours. If we are in luck, we can take a glimplse of Mt. Fuji from the Pacific coast.
After arriving in Okayama, we start a sight-seeing tour of Okayama castle, which was originally built in the early 1600s, and Korakuen Garden, which is one of the three most refined, sophisticated Japanese gardens.

Accommodation: hotel in the city

Day 4

Today we head on west on a bullet train to Hiroshima. The town was devastated by the A-bomb explosion in August 1945. At the epicenter of the blast stands the A-bomb Dome, which has been preserved intact with only the skeltons of the building. Next to the Dome is the Peace Park to pay tribute to the victims. The Atomic Bomb museum sits in the precincts of the park. All the materials including the photos, remnants of the blast, etc, are quite sobering.

Accommodation: hotel in the city center

Day 5

The Miyajima island has been considered sacred by the Japanese and the Itsukushima Shirine has been the center of worship. The famous Torii Gate painted in vermilion color, which appears rising out of water, when seen from a distance, looks even divine and sacrosanct.
Just browsing around the small main thoroughfare of the island is quite exhilarating. They sell oysters grilled over the charcoalon the roadside stalls. Momiji Manju or dumplings stuffed with red beans shaped like a maple (momiji) leaf is a local specialty. We go back to the Hiroshima mainland by a short ferry boat ride.

Day 6

Today we get across the Inland Sea to the other side, Matsuyama, on Shikoku Island. Matsuyama is a prefectural capital of Ehime Prefecture and is well known for the Dogo Onsen, a hot spring spa which boasts itself to be the oldenst hot spring spa in Japan. In fact, the onsen has been captivating a lot of people from all over Japan. The onsen quarters come alive in the evening with tourists in yukata taking a stroll in the souvenir shop districts.

Accommodation: onsen ryokan

the countryside tours of Japan

Day 7

This morning, we are off to the Matsuyama castle. which is designated as important cultural property. The edifice stands on a hill in the city center. We go up to the top of the castle keep by a chair lift. Inside the castle has many exhibits related to the edo period (feudal samurai period). The town is quite compact and pleasant to wander in. They even have street cars, which went out of use in many parts of Japan.

Accommodation: same as previous night

Day 8

By express train, we head for Takamatsu, a prefectural capital of Kagawa prefecture. The town looks out on the Inland Sea. The castle remains is an iconic landmark of the city. There still stands a turret (watch tower), and the reconsturction of the caslte tower is now under consideration. We visit Ritsurin Park, one of the three most sophisticated strroll-type gardens built in the early 1600s by the lord who governed this region.

Accommodation: western style hotel

Day 9

Today we head for Kyoto, traveling some 200 km. We get on board the bullet train and head east for about one hour. 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 away from 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.
In the afternoon we explore the downtown Kyoto. The main attraction is Nishiki-cho food market, which is a 400m narrow lane lined with fish stores, stores selling small dishes for dinner, vegetable shops, cuttery store, you name it.
In the evening we go out and explore a district called Gion well-known for Geisha. If we are in luck we may be able to run into one or two geisha on their way to appointments.

Accommodation: western style hotel

Day 10

In the morning, we explore the western part of Kyoto including Golden Pavillion, famed for its magnifiscent archtectural finesse, and Ryoanji Temple, best known for Rock Garden with 15 rocks laid out seemingly at random on white gravel sand. English Queen Elizabeth raved about this garden when she visited Kyoto in the 1970s. All afternoon left free for your own activities.


Day 11

Today we visit Nara, boardidng a train for some 40 minutes. The city was the old capital of Japan in the 8th century when Japanese Buddhism was in full swing. As a matter of fact, the city boasts a host of cultural properties and some of them were designated as World Heritage Sites. We take a leisurely walk to Todaiji temple, watching deer roaming freely around Nara Park. Todaiji Temple is actually made up of many subsidiary temples in the vast tracts of land and the statue of Great Budda is housed in the main temple. This hall is the largest wooden structure in existence today in the world. Just relaxing in this serene and lovely city can be an unforgettable memory for all of us.
 

Day 12

Tour ends. Sayonara! Looking forward to making a reunion soon!


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