Japan. History and super technologies during the "momiji" red leaves season

Price
$2609
+ flight to Osaka and from Tokyo back home
Duration
14 days

What you get

Japan
History and modernity
Transportation
During the entire trip
Guiding
Professional tour leader - traveler
Food
In traditional hotel
Accommodation
13 nights
Physical grade
Level 1 (easy) out of 5

Japan. History and super technologies during the "momiji" red leaves season

Skyscrapers, robots and wild nature, meticulously preserved by the Japanese. The oldest traditions of the once most closed country and vibrant areas of dynamic Tokyo. We are in Japan - the most modern, and one of the most ancient countries in the world!

  • Watch the glitter of the gold plates covering the main shrine - the Golden Temple 
  • Admire the geisha dances which they learn for years
  • Explore the 14th century samurai castle of Himeji and feel like a hero of James Bond films, one of which was shot here
  • Enjoy a complete peace of mind, riding a boat on the lake overlooking the sacred mountain of Fuji 
  • Learn all details of the traditional tea ceremony in the hometown of matcha tea, Uji

Trip code
FVKF
Japan,Osaka,Kyoto, Tokyo

The price of the trip includes:

  1. All transportation, including trains, metro, buses, ferries, boats and cable cars;
  2. Accommodation throughout the trip;
  3. Breakfast and dinner during our stay in traditional Japanese hotel - ryokan;
  4. Professional guiding services.

What is NOT included:

  1. Flight to Osaka and from Tokyo back home;
  2. Insurance (mandatory);
  3. Entrance tickets to parks, museums and other attractions along the route (approximately $250);
  4. Food (approximately $20-50 per person per day).

Departures

2019
Price
Book
04 November, Mon 17 November, Sun
$ 2609
plus $600 for single accommodation
plus $600 for single accommodation

Day 1

Osaka castle Dotonbori street Umeda Sky skyscraper

We arrive in Osaka ad begin our group trip to Japan with checking into a capsule hotel - a unique Japanese place to stay. Everyone will have their own “room” - a capsule with a comfortable large mattress. Very unusual! We take off to samurai Osaka Castle. It was first built of wood in the 16th century and surrounded by huge moats that made it inaccessible to enemies during the times of the samurai wars. 

We enjoy the park near the castle, and then we go to Dotonbori - the famous gourmet street. It is located along the canal, which a local entrepreneur dug in 1612, hoping to attract merchants to the region. Within a few years, during the planning of Osaka, Dotonbori was set to become an entertainment area. Now it boasts some of the best restaurants and cafes of traditional Japanese cuisine. We plunge into the bright neon life of Dotonbori and try several traditional dishes. For example, okonomiyaki - delicious "stirring" octopus balls. 

Next, we explore the observation deck of the Umeda Sky skyscraper and from the height of 173 meters admire the lights of the evening city. From here it looks like a giant luminous anthill!

Day 2

Kyoto Fushimi Inari temple Golden Temple of Kinkakuji

We go to Kyoto (about 1 hour on the way) and check into a hotel. This city was the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, until 1869. Fortunately, during the bombing of Japan during the Second World War, Kyoto was spared, so all 2,000 Buddhist and Shinto temples remained intact. 

We will visit the main Shinto temple - Fushimi Inari, known from the photographs of thousands of sacral gates - torii. Let's walk under this bright gate to the top of the mountain, where the temple, known since the 8th century, is located. Next, we head to the main temple of the country, the Golden Temple of Kinkakuji. Yes, it is covered with plates of real gold! One could admire this luminous picture and its reflection in the lake forever. 

It was built in the 14th century as the Fujiwara family estate, but the place fell into disrepair when the head of the family was arrested after the assasionation plot of the emperor was revealed. The temple became a Buddhist monastery. On July 2, 1950, a scandal occurred, described by Yukio Mishima in the famous novel “The Temple of the Golden Pavillion” - a 21-year-old novice monk set the shrine on fire. His mother committed suicide out of shame. The temple was rebuilt according to drawings and photographs only in 2003. 

We explore the Ryoan-ji garden of stones and try to see all 15 stones at once. This is the classic idea of the creators of such gardens - from whatever side you look at the stones, you can see no more than 14 of them. Only the people who have attained enlightenment can see the fifteenth stone hidden from their eyes. But we still try!

Day 3

Arashiyama bamboo grove Otagi Nenbutsu-ji temple Geisha dances

In the morning we go to the suburb of Arashiyama and discover the Iwatayama wild monkeys park. There is a special place where you can feed the animals and watch cubs play. We reach the famous bamboo grove, familiar from so many photos. Smooth and thin trunks, like spears, tend to the sky, covering the sun with the leaves of their tops and spilling bright green soft light around. Not a single photo will convey these colors! It seems that you are on another planet or in the mythical world of John Tolkien. 

We go out onto the road with traditional shops and restaurants and reach the remote Otagi Nenbutsu-ji temple. Years ago, the abbot of the temple-sculptor by profession had an original idea. He began to give lessons to visitors teaching them to carve figures of Buddha's disciple out of stone. The figures remained in the temple as an offering. In just a few years of simple lessons of sculpture, thousands of figures gathered around the temple! Each has his own facial expressions, some have guitars in their hands and even tennis rackets. Few visitors come here, and it’s a real pleasure to wander in silence, looking at the figurine's faces covered with moss. 

We return to the city center and attend a geisha show. We will see dances, which these white-faced, stern beauties study for years!

Day 4

Kiyomizu-dera White Heron Castle

Free day in Kyoto. You can visit Kiyomizu-dera temple. It is located on the mountainside, and the view of the city is wonderful. Dream of finding your soul mate? Ask for a divine help in this temple! Locals believe that the spirit of love dwells in this temple. 

You can also take a train to Himeji (40 minutes on the way), where the White Heron Castle, famous from many movies, is located. It consists of 83 structures, the shape of which resembles a heron preparing for take off. The first samurai castle was built here in the 14th century, and the current one is more than 400 years old. Many famous films were shot in the castle - for example, “The Last Samurai” and “You only live twice” - the fifth film about the British superspy James Bond.

Day 5

Nara Todai-ji Buddhist temple The town of Uji

In the morning we take a train to Nara (about 2 hours on the way). The symbol of this city is deer. They roam freely in the main park and enjoy food from the hands of visitors. These animals are considered sacred here, and killing a deer was punishable by death until the 17th century. All because of the Japanese believe that the thunder god Takemikazuchi appeared in Nara riding on a deer. 

We will explore the largest wooden structure in the world - Todai-ji Buddhist temple. This is where you can feel tiny! The most popular place in the temple is a small opening in one of the columns. It is believed that everyone who can go through it will receive a blessing. It is not surprising that children generally receive blessings. 

On the way back, we'll stop in the town of Uji, the homeland of Japanese matcha tea, which has been grown and sold since the 12th century. We will taste local tea, and explore the old streets. 

Day 6

Arima-onsen hot springs Traditional hotel ryokan Kaiseki gourmet cuisine

We continue our guided tour to Japan and travel to Arima-onsen, one of the most famous hot-spring villages in Japan. We will check into the traditional hotel - a ryokan, to live like the Japanese have lived for thousands of years! The floors are lined with tatami thatched mats, doors are replaced by bamboo lattices with fine paper. 

We will sit and sleep on futons that are spread out on tatami. We will also join the Kaiseki gourmet cuisine - two meals a day (breakfast and dinner), with dinner consisting of many small traditional dishes and tea.

Day 7

Okayama Korakuen garden Canals of Kurashiki

Train to Okayama (1 hour on the way). Okayama is the capital of the prefecture of the same name, known for one of the three most beautiful gardens of Japan, Korakuen. We will also visit the nearby town of Kurashiki. Here we will ride boats along the narrow canals of the town, watching the old elegant buildings and factories, turned into galleries.

In the evening we return to our hotel in Okayama. 

Day 8 - 9

Miyajima Island Hiroshima Naoshima island

In the morning we go to Hiroshima (40 minutes by Shinkansen) and take a ferry to Miyajima Island, which is familiar to many from the photos from the torii (gate) in the water. Here we take the cable car to the top of the mountain and discover the Itsukushima shrine. 

In the evening we return to Hiroshima and stop at the Memorial Peace Park, where the famous Genbaku Domeis located - the only building in the city that survived the atomic bomb. We spend the night in Okayama. 

In the morning, we take the train and the ferry to the cozy island of Naoshima (1.5 hours on the way), turned into an art object. Here we get acquainted with modern art in numerous museums and make memorable pictures with some very unusual sculptures located throughout the island. Night in Okayama.

Day 10

The capital, Tokyo The busiest pedestrian crossing in the world Harajuku district

We take the original Japanese Shinkansen train to the capital, Tokyo. This train is called a bullet for a reason - we will cover a distance of 800 km in just 4.5 hours! Landscapes outside the window flicker very quickly, merging and blurring before one's eyes. We check into a hotel and begin to explore different areas of the capital. 

In Shibuya we will see the famous monument to the faithful Hachiko dog, and walk on the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. Here the green light comes on for pedestrians from five sides at once, and crowds of people are rushing towards each other. This place appeared in many films, for example, in “Lost in translation”. 

We walk around the Shinjuku district, looking at the neon signs of the endless bars and observing locals squander money on their favorite slot machines. We will explore the latest trends in fashion and cosplay in the area of Harajuku fashionistas. Designers around the world draw ideas for new collections here. You can buy something from what you see right here, in one of the many themed clothing stores. 

In the evening, we will climb the roof of the Tokyo City Hall to look at the city from above and try to recognize areas we visited today.

Day 11

Buddha Kamakura Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine Yokohama

We leave for Kamakura, one of the oldest cities in Japan (1.5 hours on the way). Here we will continue our small group trip to Japan and see a bronze statue of a 13th century Buddha which is more then 13 meters tall. Peer at this figure, and the face of complete peace and tranquility. Although the history of this monument can not be called calm! The first statue here was wooden, but it was damages during the storm. In the 14th century, the Buddha was made of bronze, with the roof and a hall around him. Storm and tsunami demolished this building twice! Finally, the Japanese stopped arguing with forces of nature and left the Buddha to sit under the open sky. 

We will aso visit the famous Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shinto shrine, built in the 11th century. On the way back to Tokyo, let's take a look at modern Yokohama to see the famous Port of the future - a district of super modern building, including the second tallest structure in Japan. Impressive!

Day 12

Fujikawaguchiko town Fuji mountain Iyashi-no-Sato open-air museum

Two hours from the capital - and we are in the area of five lakes is the wonderful resort town of Fujikawaguchiko. Here we will ride a boat on the lake, admiring the views of the famous Mount Fuji. Three centuries before us, watching this picture, the most famous Japanese poet Matsuo Basho wrote this haiku: 

Wind from the slopes of Fuji

taken into the city 

like a priceless gift.

Trying not to splash out tranquility, we ride bicycles around the lakes and reach the Iyashi-no-Sato open-air museum. Here we find ourselves in a real old Japanese village, which was restored after the landslide of 1966. We walk among the village houses under the straw which now house cafes, small shops and museums. We return for the night in Tokyo.

Day 13 - 14

Tsukiji fish market Souvenirs

Free day. You can go shopping, take a walk around Tokyo. But make sure to first have a breakfast at the famous Tsukiji fish market where you will find the freshest sushi. When buying souvenirs, think maneki-neko - a Japanese cat figurine that brings good luck, or daruma - a traditional wooden doll charm. And, of course, do not forget about traditional alcohol, sake and sweet mochi!

In the morning we bid farewell to Japan and fly back home. Our group trip to Japan had come to an end. Thank you for discovering this unique country with us!

Tour leader

Yevgeniy Ikhelzon
co-founder, tour leader

Is this trip for you?

This trip is of easy level of physical grade. It includes walks in cities and parks and short (up to 4.5 hours) trips by trains, buses and ferries. We will also travel by cable car and take short boat trips. Accommodation in twin/double rooms of tourist class hotels. All will have wi fi internet. One night will be spent in the capsule hotel and one night - in the traditional Japanese hotel ryokan.

Visa

Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to enter Japan.

We provide free visa consulting to our clients.

Additional options

SIM card with 3G internet in Japan
Price: + $30
SIM card with LTE internet, 1Mb per day

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