Classic Highlights of Japan


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  • Itinerary
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Japan, the island country in East Asia, encompasses both bucolic and urban elements that makes it a dream destination. It’s famous for its traditional arts like tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and flower arrangements and is home to more than a dozen UNESCO World Heritage sites. Japan’s trendy pop culture will unravel new, quirky, and mind blowing experiences on each day of your visit. You’ll get to discover its sacred temples and shrines, go bike riding through the countryside and meander around the most famous neighborhoods of Tokyo, the capital and most populated city in the world. Does this set off alarm bells? If this overview itself is kindling your travel bug, then fasten your seatbelt because we’ve just started the joyride. Here’s a day-by-day itinerary of your Japan road trip.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Duration:
  • 13 Nights / 14 Days
  • Landscapes:
  • Forest, Mountains
  • Travel Style:
  • Chauffeur Driven
  • Activities:
  • Architecture, Islands, Nightlife, Train Rides, Walking Tours
Day 01
Day 02
Day 03
Day 04
Day 05
Day 06
Day 07
Day 08
Day 09
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14

Day 01

Arrive in Tokyo

Welcome to the Land of the Rising Sun! Our guide will escort you to your hotel on a high tech train and provide a pocket Wi-Fi device for you to use throughout your journey in Japan. What a way to start your Japan road trip! On the way to the hotel, don’t be surprised if you get a cultural shock. It’s going to take time for you to get accustomed to this new world. Settle into your hotel, refresh, and then you’ll be ready to pop off for a saunter in the evening. The city’s bright lights will ease you into the culture and ambience of Japan. And then, delicious dinner awaits you with a breathtaking view as you overlook the majestic Tokyo from its top floor restaurants. If you’re in the mood for a more low-key meal, head to the Asakusa neighbourhood for some of Tokyo’s best street food.

Day 01 - Arrive in Tokyo

Day 02

Guided Tour of Tokyo

After a good night’s sleep, get ready to experience what a curated travel experience really mean. Our Japan custom tour package is custom made as per your interests. Your local guide will meet you in the morning and take you to explore Tokyo. You are likely to visit the neighborhoods of buzzing Shinjuku, quirky Harajuku, and traditional Asakusa. You will see some of the main sights such as the ancient Senso-ji Temple, the famous Shibuya Crossing, the Tsukiji Fish Market (where you’ll find fresh sushi!), the Meiji Shrine, and much more. In the evening, you can head back to Shinjuku to party the night away or sing your heart out at one of the popular karaoke bars. Don’t shy away from chatting with the locals in an “izakaya” and don’t forget to have a meal in one of Tokyo’s trendy themed restaurants.

Day 02 - Guided Tour of Tokyo

Day 03

Hiroshima

You’ll take the famous “Shinkansen” which can go as fast as 320 km per hour as you head west towards Hiroshima. Looking at this well-constructed modern city on Japan’s Honshu island, it’s so hard to imagine that it was once destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945. The city has since been rebuilt and is packed with charm and historical significance. As you explore this welcoming city, visit the Peace Memorial Museum and walk through the surrounding park to learn how the destruction affected the people of Hiroshima. Also take a stroll down Hondori Street, a pedestrian shopping arcade and visit the Hiroshima Castle, originally built in the 1500s and reconstructed after the war. And then, how about a cherry on the cake moment to end the day as you find yourself in one of the best spots to see the cherries blossom when they’re in season!

Day 03 - Hiroshima

Day 04

Miyajima Island

Each day of your Japan customized holiday package is going to treat you with new experiences. Today, you are going to take a train and a ferry to reach Miyajima, a small sacred island in Hiroshima Bay. This special place is an excellent example of man-made structures that blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings. The most recognizable landmark is the Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate marking the entrance to the Itsukushima Shrine. At high tide, this beautiful gate actually looks like it’s floating on water! Take the ropeway or hike to the top for fabulous views of the untouched forest and the sea below. You’ll spend the night at a “ryokan”, or a traditional inn, where you will dine on a gourmet multi-course meal, known as kaiseki, featuring locally-sourced oysters. Yumm!!

Day 04 - Miyajima Island

Day 05

Kyoto - Japan's Ancient Imperial Capital

It’s day 5, but trust us when we say that fun has just begun! In this part of your Japan road trip, you will head back east to the enchanting former imperial capital of Japan, the city of Kyoto. It’s famous for handicrafts like textiles, kimono, and pottery. Our personalized itineraries of Japan will transport you back in time as you walk around classical buddhist temples, imperial palaces, and Shinto shrines. It’s also known for formal traditions such as kaiseki dining which consists of multiple courses of precise dishes, and geisha, female entertainers often found in the Gion district.  After checking into your hotel, you are free to have the day to yourself and explore Kyoto. A language translator mobile app would help you to find your way through the city and will also give you an opportunity to interact directly with the locals, and explore the city together!

Day 05 - Kyoto - Japan's Ancient Imperial Capital

Day 06

Guided Tour of Kyoto

The sixth day of your Japan custom tour package will kick-start with a hearty breakfast. Then, your private guide in the hotel will take you on a walking tour through the ancient streets of Kyoto, again a time-travel experience that is going to take your curated travel experience of Japan to another level. You’ll visit the celebrated Kiyomizu-dera buddhist temple. Spend some time taking in the beauty of this ancient temple and experience the calm and peace around you. In a complete contrast, head towards the geisha district of Gion and see entertainers rushing to their next appointment in colourful kimonos. Next, visit the gold-covered Zen temple of Kinkakuji also known as the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion” for an excellent photo op. This is one of the most popular structures in Kyoto and has been featured in several Hollywood movies, another thing to add to your ‘brag-to-your-friends’ list!

Day 06 - Guided Tour of Kyoto

Day 07

Kyoto

Kyoto is a magical city like nowhere else. As the imperial capital of Japan for over 1000 years (until 1868), it’s the heart of traditional Japanese culture. Today is the ideal day to experience a formal Japanese tea ceremony, take a class in Japanese calligraphy, flower arranging, or ninja training, or watch a samurai demonstration – that’s right, we provide more than just a Japan custom tour package, we are about personalized curated travel experiences. And if that’s not enough, you can even become a geisha or a samurai for the day with a special makeover before taking a stroll in Gion district! Alternatively, take a day trip to the peaceful bamboo grove of Arashiyama on the outskirts of the city. Walk among the towering stalks before visiting the Tenryui-ji temple. Later, you can cruise off the Hozugawa River to see the area’s natural beauty in all its glory.

Day 07 - Kyoto

Day 08

Day Trip to Nara

Ancient Nara was the imperial capital of Japan throughout most of the eighth century and contains dozens of shrines and temples built by the imperial family and aristocrats. Visit the Todaiji temple to see the massive bronze Buddha statue and the Horyuji temple, which is considered to be one of the oldest surviving wooden structures in the world. Then take a stroll through the enchanting Kasuga Taisha shrine and the surrounding sacred primeval forest. Here, you will find stone and bronze lanterns over 1,000 years old and free-roaming deer. If you’d like to see more wild deer, head to Nara Park where you can get up close to these slender-legged mammals and even feed them. Then head to Naramachi, the city’s former merchant district, to see and visit traditional homes and buildings preserved from as far back as the early 1600s.

Day 08 - Day Trip to Nara

Day 09

Takayama

We make personalized itineraries of Japan memorable yet dynamic. In this regard, we will be taking you to Takayama today for a change of pace. Takayama is a city in Japan’s mountainous Gifu Prefecture and is sometimes called “Little Kyoto” for its well-preserved historic buildings. You will explore the Old Town and Sannomachi Street where you’ll find traditional homes as well as shops, restaurants, and sake breweries, some of which have been in operation for centuries. It is also known for its local foods including sansai (mountain vegetables), wasakana (river fish), beef, soba, and ramen. Enjoy a hearty local meal, try some local drinks, and enjoy your day in Takayama. Some of the buildings have been turned into museums so you can see how merchants lived in this remote part of Japan during the Edo Period (1603 to 1868).

Day 09 - Takayama

Day 10

Takayama - Cycling in Rural Japan

This morning of your Japan customized holiday package, you will hop on the train for a short 15-minute ride south of Takayama to the town of Hida Furukawa – a quaint, traditional town located in the mountainous region of northern Gifu. Here, you will join a small, guided group for a bicycle tour in the countryside. You’ll pedal through rice fields and villages with excellent views of the surrounding mountain landscape. The pace will be relaxed and you will have plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos along the way. Enjoy your time in this stunning historic town with wonderfully ambient atmospheres and also ride along the picturesque canal that runs through its centre which is home to thousands of carp fish!

Day 10 - Takayama - Cycling in Rural Japan

Day 11

Thatched Roof Farmhouse Stay in Shirakawa-go

Head to the remote village of Shirakawa-go, declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, to see its famous gassho-zukuri or steep thatched roof farmhouses. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. This Edo-era building style was designed to withstand the heavy snow that falls in the area each winter. The roofs, made without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms. Enjoy the peace and quiet, with rice fields and mountains stretching as far as the eye can see. You’ll spend the night in one of these preserved farmhouses and have a home-cooked meal. Any homesick feeling, gone with the whiff!

Day 11 - Thatched Roof Farmhouse Stay in Shirakawa-go

Day 12

Kanazawa

Grab a seat on Japan’s newest bullet train to the city of Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture; it’s located in Japan’s Hida Mountains. Historically considered to be one of Japan’s great cultural centres, the city is most famous for its’ Kenrokuen Garden, thought by many to be the most beautiful in the country. The work on the famous Kenrokuen Garden began in the 17th century and till date it is celebrated for its classic landscape designs incorporating ponds and streams. The nearby Kanazawa Castle was built in the 1580s after the defeat of the Peasant’s Kingdom, Japan’s only Buddhist fiefdom. Also take some time to explore Kanazawa’s geisha district and samurai neighborhood before visiting one of the city’s many sake breweries to sample Japan’s national drink.

Day 12 - Kanazawa

Day 13

Tokyo

Spend the morning exploring Kanazawa. You will get to make a halt at places like the Ninjadera temple which is equipped with secret doors, tunnels, and traps. Or, you can visit the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art for a more modern feel. Later, you will take the bullet train back to Tokyo for the evening, passing the magnificent Mt. Fuji on the way. It’s your last night in Japan, so perhaps indulge in a special dinner at one of the capital’s famous restaurants and make some time for last minute shopping; souvenirs, anybody? If you have seen enough temples and ancient structures in the last few days, this evening will give you one an opportunity to celebrate your final night in Japan in one of the trendy bars, pubs, and restaurants in the buzzing city of Tokyo.

Day 13 - Tokyo

Day 14

Depart Tokyo

After breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye to lovely Japan. Make your way to the airport by public transportation for your flight back ‘home sweet home’. One visit to Japan is not enough and you are likely to return to explore another part of this unique country. Until then, Otsukaresama desu!

Destinations don’t make a trip; people make a trip. During this journey you will have made new friends and memories of a lifetime. After all, isn’t a feeling of wistful affection for your days spent in a trip with some wonderful people a reminder to come back again for new memories? J And we, at Adventures Overland, will always be there to make it happen for you!

Day 14 - Depart Tokyo

Cost

Trip Inclusions

Trip Exclusions


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