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Girls in kimono walking gracefully down the streets of Kyoto while neon lights of Tokyo shine so brightly that you almost forget where you are. Japan cannot be detailed within a couple of blog posts or comic books, you've gotta come to see what it's really like. This 8-day tour suits best to first-timers: cityscape of Tokyo, majestic landmark that is Mt.Fuji, delicate temples of Kyoto and you get to experience the comfort of Shinkansen, mind-smoothing tea ceremony and a night soaking up in the Onsen.
This itinerary is only for your inspiration. Different strokes for different folks, we believe you have your own ideas, please send them along in the inquiry and an itinerary with quotation will come right away.
Once you land in Osaka, you will experience the comfort of a private transfer to downtown Osaka.
Japan is proud to run one of the world's fastest and most efficient public transportation. In your visit to Japan, you will get a taste. For airport transfer, you will have a private driver and car while for sightseeing and city connection, we will choose public transportation for you, eg. trains, tramcars and buses. If you prefer private transportation for all times, please let us know in your inquiry.Accommodation:
1 night at Cross Hotel Osaka (Handpicked Comfort) / Imperial Hotel Osaka (Luxury)
Transfer to Kyoto in the morning.
After you settle down at the hotel, start today with the famous Nijo Castle, later visit Golden Pavilion Temple and bustling Nishiki Market. Get up to Kiyomizu Temple (Pure Water Temple) and finish today with a leisure walk at Gion District.
Good to Know:
Gion District used to be the residence and working place for Geisha ladies but now they are rarely seen working on the street. We suggest you add a Kaiseiki Dinner with Geisha Performance if you are interested. The Gion Corner is also a good place for a culture show where you can see Geisha dancing with elegance.Accommodation:
2 nights at Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa (Handpicked Comfort) / Kyoto Brighton Hotel (Luxury)
Brightly hued Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto
Famous for its thousands of orange torii gates, Fushimi Inari Shrine is your first stop in the morning. The best time for great photos is before 1000am when the sun casts light gentle on the paint without being dazzlingly over-exposed. Get on the train to Nara and have some simple lunch upon arrival.
Walk your way up to the sublime Todaiji Temple, the world's largest wooden building and home to Japan's biggest Buddha image. If you are traveling with children, they will like what's coming up: a visit to Nara Deer Park. Deer is believed to be diety's messengers and they can roam freely all over Nara. Feed them some deer crackers before we get to a Sake Brewery for a short visit.
Deer in Nara Deer Park are gentle and healthy, no worries for kids to play with them.
Take a morning train ride to Uji, the birthplace for Japanese macha tea. Here you will have an interesting experience of making tea on your own. Enjoy a cup of tea afterwards whilst your tour guide explains more about Uji and its history.
Stroll along the lovely streets of Uji and go for a simple lunch. Hop on the train back to Kyoto, from where you will continue to Hakone.
Arrive in Hakone and enjoy an onsen bath to ease your body and soul.
Enter a local workshop that has been in the tea industry for over a century. Here you will have a comprehensive introduction about Japanese chado (Way of Tea) and learn about all kinds of tools that are used during the tea-making process and tea ceremony.
Roll up your sleeves and follow the instruction of an old local tea master, who will share his unique scoop during decades of practice. The whole tea-making experience will last about one hour, after which you will have a chance to learn how to make a cup of tea with boiled water. It takes some slow and delicated motion around your wrist to find the right angle. A nice cup of tea is worth the wait.
You will have a bag of dried tea leaves as souvenir after the experience.
What makes it special for me?
- Back to the origin: No better place than the birthplace of Chado that is Uji. Uji offers the most authentic touch while tea-related experiences in other destinations might be down to the minimalist.
- Smaller group and better experience: This hands-on experience is only available for group of less than 10 people, which ensures you will have more attention from the master and better chances to get your questions answered.
- Keep the old traditions alive: Big machines have marched into more and more tea factories while the local tea masters try hard to keep the old traditions alive. Be a part of help to support the beautiful and tactful traditions.
1 night at Hakone Hotel (Handpicked Comfort) / Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort (Luxury)
Enjoy a hot spring bath in your onsen hotel in Hakone
First you will be escorted to explore the Mt Fuji National Park, you can take advantage of the numerous forms of transport on offer. Ride the world's second longest cable car up Mt Owakudani, passing over sulfurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers in this volcanic area, where you can eat an egg hard boiled in the sulfuric hot springs which make Hakone famous. If you do, it will add seven years to your life!
Have some simple lunch at a local restaurant.
A majestic replica pirate ship will sweep you across the Lake Ashinoko, a lake formed by a volcanic eruption 3000 years ago, and the Hakone Tozan 'switchback train' zig zags through the mountains, giving amazing views of the surrounding valleys.
Hop on the Romance Car and ride to Tokyo. Upon arrival, make your own transfer to your hotel in Tokyo.
Good to know:
We will choose your hotel in Tokyo near the Shinjuku Station so it won't be too much trouble on transportation.
3 nights at Hotel Gracery Shinjuku (Handpicked Comfort) / Imperial Hotel Tokyo (Luxury)
Being hyper morden yet the intriguing traditions still linger, Tokyo greets you with its beautiful cityscape and fascinating lifestyles. Today you will take in Tokyo's highlights including Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Meiji Shrine.
With a Water Bus Boat Trip along the Sumida River, you will whizz alongside with Tokyo's skyline brimmed with skycrappers. Have some lunch and take a short break. Later, take a rickshaw ride at Asakusa; this old-time man-driven ride gets you to some major sites in the old town of Asakusa without being jostled by the crowds.
In the afternoon, get to Shibuya Streets where a 2-hour walking experience weaves you into the most bustling neighborhood of Tokyo. Sip a cup of good coffee at a Cat Cafe (or Maid Cafe) to learn about Tokyo's funky fashion.
Highlights of Today: Lost in Tokyo Shibuya Walking Tour
The neon-lit Shibuya Scramble Crossing is the stage for the movie "Lost in Translation" featuring Bill Murray and Scarlet Johnanson, Takashita Street, Harajuku Street and Cat Street. When you are walking here, feel the vibe of Tokyo's passion for fashion, comics and colorful street cultures.
Take a break at a Cat Cafe (or Maid Cafe based on your own interest) and your tour guide will teach you something about the Kawaii cultures (cute cultures). Wrap up the trip with a simple soba noodle for dinner at a local chain.
What makes it special for me?
- Not on the hot list: Get to the corners of the streets and a local sushi parlor where you meet more locals and few tourists.
- Interesting talk with an interesting person: Your tour guide, a local insider, sits you down with a cup of coffee and entertain you with amusing introduction of Japan's cute cultures.
This morning, your tour guide will take you to wander among thousands of fish stands at the outer market of Tsukiji. Housewives pick their eels with some great tacts while the shop runners couldn't give in for the price. Learn some picking skills and then you will get to a local house for a sushi-making experience. Enjoy the creation of your labor during lunchtime with the house hosts.
Enjoy some down time in the afternoon.
Highlight of Today: Market Visit and Sushi Rolling
Tsukiji Fish Market, Asia's largest seafood market, starts its busy day at 0300am when fishing boats bring in freshly-caught giant tunas and other kinds of seafood. Dealers will be occupied with chopping up big fish and dispatching them to countless stands, when the outer market opens to the locals from 0900am. Following your private tour guide, you will get to see different kinds of seafood and how they are handled at the stalls.
Walk inside a traditional Japanese household and be greeted by the host. Learn to prepare maki sushi (rolled sushi), gunkan maki (sushi rice wrapped with a strip of seaweed and topped with soft ingredients), and nigiri sushi (sushi rice topped with a slice of raw fish). Exchange life stories over lunch with the house hosts.
* Note: There will be 60 spots that are allowed to get inside the Tuna Auction Hall at 0530am. However, you will need to get up as early as 0200am and wait in the line for almost 2 hours. When you get the opening tickets, you will be briefed of how the auction works, which will all be done within 20 seconds for a tuna that weigh up to 300 pounds. If that's not a problem, please let us know as it this a special experience that you can talk about for a long time.
What makes it special for me?
- Come while it's still here: It has been reported that the famous Tsukiji Fish Market is about to be moved. It was still there when we last visited in May 2017 but we cannot say when it's gonna be gone. Come before it disappears!
- Real life of real people: Japanese people might strike you as modest, shy, serious and with few word. But how are they really like? Get inside a local house to learn about their daily life and you will be surprised how friendly, passionate and open-minded!
- Some good quality time: Bring some exotic culinary skills to your own family and everybody gets to make their favorite sushi. What can be better than a cooking class with laughther?
Learn to make sushi at a local house in Tokyo
Say goodbye to the Japan and we hope to see you again soon!
Asia Highlights chooses hotels with a balanced mixture of traditional style and modern comfort, easy access to everything yet quiet enough for a good night's sleep.
- Ranked 10/321 on TripAdvisor, Certificate of Excellence.
- Close to Nambo Station and many shops and restaurants around.
- Room on Cross Floor on higher floor, 24sqm with city view.
- Ranked 86/367 on TripAdvisor, great value.
- Subway, train stations within walking distance, near Gion.
- 22sqm Superior Room accommodates up to 3 people, soft bed.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence and #24/244 on TripAdvisor.
- By the lakeside of Lake Ashinoko, on-site onsen and great food.
- Spacious 38sqm Superior Room with beautiful lake view.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor, #5/83 in Shinjuku.
- 5-minute walk from Shinjuku Station, newly open in 2015.
- Deluxe Room of 32sqm with a sofa for relaxing time.
Note: Your comfort counts! It's totally possible to change hotels based on your interests and budget. Just let us know your preferences and we will help you choose.