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

What you get

Japan
Main cities and holy sites
Transportation
During the entire trip
Guiding
Professional tour leader - traveler
Experiences
To last a lifetime
Accommodation
13 nights
Physical grade
Level 1 (easy) out of 5

Japan. Two weeks during the wonderful sakura blossom season

All iconic sights of the most modern country in the world, during the most beautiful time of the year. This journey you will remember for a lifetime! 

  • Take a stroll through the colorful areas of Tokyo and explore all the famous Kyoto temples
  • Enjoy the views of the sacred mountain of Fuji
  • Immerse yourself in history at a traditional ryokan hotel and sample gourmet kaiseki cuisine 
  • Walk in the White Heron castle, where the fifth James Bond movie was shot 
  • Watch a geisha performance and take part in a traditional tea ceremony
  • Feed wild deer in Nara parks and watch the stunning sunset on Miyajima island

Trip code
JSHS
Japan. Two weeks during the wonderful sakura blossom season

The price of the trip includes:

  1. All transportation, including trains, boats, ferries, buses and trips from the airport and to the airport;
  2. Accommodation in double/twin rooms during the entire trip;
  3. Professional guiding services.

What is NOT included:

  1. Flight to Okayama (or Tokyo / Osaka) and from Tokyo back home. (Let us know if you need help finding the best deals);
  2. Insurance (mandatory);
  3. Entrance fees to parks, museums and other attractions along the route (approximately $150);
  4. Visa (if you need one);
  5. Food (approximately $20-50 per person per day).

Departures

2021
Price
Book
31 March, Wed 13 April, Tue
$ 2609
Individual Tour
You can choose your date

Day 1 - 2

Osaka samurai castle Kyoto Fushimi Inari shrine Kinkakuji Golden Temple Taizō-in traditional rock garden

We arrive in Osaka (or in Tokyo and take a train to Osaka). We begin our group trip to Japan - after checking into a capsule hotel, we head to the five-story castle, which has become a symbol of the city. Built in the 16th century, it survived many samurai wars. We learn more about its history from the museum, which is located inside. Here you can even feel like a samurai of the past and try on old armor! For dinner, go to the famous Dotonbori area, which is famous for restaurants and street food. We recommend paying special attention to seafood dishes. 

The next morning we take a train to Kyoto (1 hour on the way) and check into the hotel. The former imperial capital, this city is famous for temples, of which there are more than one and a half thousand. We begin with the Fushimi Inari, the main Shinto temple dedicated to the goddess of rice and abundance. It was built in the 8th century, and is famous for the thousands of red sacred torii gates. Under them, as in ancient times, we will go to the top of the hill, examining all the shrines along the way. 

Next we will explore the symbol of the country - the Kinkakuji Golden Temple. Completely covered with gold plates, it, unfortunately, cannot boast of ancient history - the building was completely rebuilt after the 1950 fire. This tragedy was described in his famous book The Golden Temple by Yukio Mishima. In the evening, we will enjoy the views and coolness in the Taizō-in traditional rock garden.

Day 3

Arashiyama bamboo grove Otagi Nenbutsuji temple Geisha performance

In the morning we drive to the suburb of Kyoto - Arashiyama. This area is known for the famous bamboo grove that resembles magical forests from Tolkien's books. Thousands of thin bamboo trunks dig into the sky, and the rays of the sun flood the grove with a gentle green light. Fabulous place! We feed monkeys froms hands, walk through the garden near the Tenryuji Temple, and then go to another unusual place that tourists do not know about. This is a small temple of Otagi Nenbutsuji, around which are thousands of stone figures of arhats - disciples of the Buddha. 

Many years ago, the priest of the temple - a former sculpture teacher began to invite parishioners to sculpture classes. Under his leadership, everyone could carve out an arhat figure from a stone and leave it in the temple as an offering. That is how the forest around the temple got thousands of unique figures - each has its own story, facial expression and character. 

But Kyoto is not famous for the temples alone. The city also boasts the most famous geisha schools in the country. In the evening we will attend a performance of geishas and see the dances these beauties have been studying for years. For example, in order to graduate from maiko status to geisha status, a young woman will need at least 3 years of study in art, calligraphy, dance and poetry!

Day 4 - 5

Kiyomizu-dera temple Himeji castle Deer of Nara Uji, home of Japanese tea

Free day in Kyoto. Begin it at the Kiyomizu-dera temple, which was built in the 8th century and is famous for a small waterfall. The temple also offers a wonderful view of the whole city. Another option is to visit Himeji (40 minutes by train). The must-see here is the stunning White Heron Castle. Snow-white and light, it stands on a hill, as if ready to rise above the clouds and sail away. It is not surprising that not only tourists, but also movie directors love it. The famous Akira Kurosawa shot two films here, and the creators of the fifth movie in the James Bond series placed a ninja school here. 

The next day we go to Nara (2 hours on the way) where we will continue our guided tour to Japan. Let`s enjoy the city parks and meet famous local wild deer! These graceful and always hungry animals walk here completely freely! They love to be touched and fed. But offending or harming a deer in any way is strictly not recommended - just recently it was a crime punished by death in Nara! We walk to the Shinto shrine Kasuga taisha, known since 768, and then we walk around the largest wooden structure in the world - the Buddhist temple Todai-ji. 

After lunch, we head to the town of Uji - the home of traditional Japanese matcha tea. Here, we will learn more about tea production and tea culture of Japan. 

Day 6 - 7

Arima- onsen hot springs Traditional ryokan hotel Kaiseki cuisine Korakuen garden Canals of Kurashiki

We head to Arima-onsen (an hour and a half on the way). This is a small village located near the hot springs. The Japanese come here to live in traditional ryokan hotels surrounded by beautiful nature. We will follow their example and plunge into Japan of the past. We will sleep on traditional beds - futons, which are spread on the tatami bedding, sit on the floor at low tables, enjoying kaiseki cuisine. It consists of many small and very exquisite dishes. Needless to say, we will relax in hot springs! 

The next day we leave for Okayama (1 hour on the way). We check into a hotel and go for a walk in one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan - Korakuen. It is especially beautiful during the sakura blossom season! After lunch, we head to the neighboring town of Kurashiki to take a boat ride along the picturesque canals and look at the ancient houses of the Edo era - the golden age of Japanese economy and culture in the 17-19 centuries. The town also boasts excellent takomeshi - steam rice with octopus. At night we return to the hotel in Okayama.

Day 8

Miyajima island Itsukushima shrine Peace Park

Our guided tour to Japan continues - in the morning we take a high-speed Shinkansen train to Hiroshima (40 minutes on the way), there we catch a ferry to the island of Miyajima. It is here that the famous red torii gate in the water is located, which you could see in many photographs. We visit the famous Itsukushima shrine, see the gates, which symbolizes the transition from earthly to heavenly, and take the cable car to the top of the mountain. Enjoy beautiful sea views and the sea breeze. The Japanese consider this landscape one of the most beautiful in the country, and it is difficult to disagree with them! 

We take a ferry back to Hiroshima and head to the famous Peace Park marked by the famous Genbaku Dome, the remains of the only building in the city center that survived the nuclear bombing on August 6, 1945. It stands dilapidated, like a ghost of a tragic past. And the present that the Japanese created in Hiroshima is very impressive! In just a few decades they built this modern city from ruins! In the evening we return to our hotel in Okayama (40 minutes on the way).

Day 9

Naoshima island Chichu Art Museum Spotted pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama

In the morning we take the train and ferry to the Naoshima island (1.5 hours on the way) - a paradise for art lovers. Let's start with the Chichu Art Museum. Located underground, this unusual building was created by the famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando. And the most famous exhibit is a Claude Monet painting from the "Water Lilies" series. The museum also boasts many works of contemporary Japanese artists.

We walk around the island, watching unusual sculptures and houses of bizarre shapes. Surely you heard about the modern Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, who became famous for her drawings with polka dots. In 2008, she became the most successful living female artist when one of her works was sold at Christie's auction for five million US dollars. We will see one of Kusama's works - a huge spotted pumpkin. In the evening we return to the hotel in Okayama.

Day 10

Tokyo Shibuya district The busiest crosswalk in the world Harajuku district Tokyo City Hall observation deck

We continue our small group trip to Japan and take a high-speed train to Tokyo (4.5 hours on the way). We check into a hotel and begin acquaintance with the most iconic areas of the super metropolis. We begin in the Shibuya district and the famous monument to the faithful dog Hachiko. His name became famous throughout the country when a local newspaper told his story. He was going to the metro every day at the same time for years to meet his long-dead owner. Now, lovers and newlyweds love his monument which has become a symbol of love and fidelity. 

We will also walk the busiest crosswalk in the world, which you will definitely recognize from many films and photographs. The same can be said about the center of fashion and cosplay - the Harajuku district. You can observe these young people dressed in fictional characters and comic book heroes all day long! In the evening we go up to the roof of Tokyo City Hall to see the city from a bird's eye view.

Day 11

Kamakura 13th century Buddha statue Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine Port of the Future in Yokohama

We go to Kamakura (1.5 hours on the way) to see another iconic site of Japan - a 13th century Buddha statue. In ancient times, this place was a Buddhist monastery, and this serene Buddha sat in the middle of the central temple. But the tsunami and storm destroyed the monastery several times, so the Japanese decided not to rebuild it and the Buddha remained sitting in a lotus position in the open. 

We will also visit the famous Shinto shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu built in the 11th century. Newlyweds love to be photographed here, especially during the sakura blossom season! If we have time, on the way back to Tokyo we will stop in Yokohama to see the Port of the Future - the embankment of the country's highest buildings, modern skyscrapers and the popular Ferris wheel. Night at hotel in Tokyo.

Day 12 - 14

Views of mount Fuji Traditional village of Iyashi no sato Tsukiji fish market

In the morning we go to the resort town of Fujikawaguchiko (2 hours on the way). The Japanese come here from all over the country to enjoy the views of the sacred mountain of Fuji, like their ancestors did centuries ago. We will ride a bus or bicycles around the lakes, admiring the views of the mountain. Those who wish can ride a boat. 

Next, we head to the traditional village of Iyashi no sato. Here, the old rural houses under thatched roofs are completely preserved. Inside are now souvenir shops and cafes. In the evening we return to Tokyo. The next day is free. We advise you to start it with a visit to the largest fish market in the country - Tsukiji. Here you can not only see the most exotic inhabitants of the oceans, but also enjoy the freshest seafood. Do not forget about souvenirs. Traditional mochi sweets, sake alcohol, a daruma doll amulet or a cat figurine that brings good luck, traditional clothes and art objects - there is plenty to choose from! 

On the last day we fly back home. Our group trip to Japan has come to an end. Thank you for exploring with us!

Tour leader

Yevgeniy Ikhelzon
co-founder, tour leader

Is this trip for you?

This trip is of easy physical grade. It includes long walks in cities and easy hikes in parks and short (up to 4.5 hours) trips by trains, buses and ferries. We will also be riding the cable car and take a boat trip around the lake. Accommodation in double/twin rooms in tourist class hotels. All will have wi fi internet.

Visa

Japan is visa free for citizens of most countries.

Citizens of some countries who need a visa should apply in the Japanese embassy in the country of residence before the trip.

We provide free visa consulting for 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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