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Leisure's Legendary Luxury Tour of Japan

Japan is a marvelous fusion of past and future, old and new, technology and tradition where hi-tech futuristic innovations prosper harmoniously along with medieval and sacred Japanese temples. Our private 15-day luxury tour of Japan will guide you through the country in style, so you can experience the many facets of the phenomenal “Land of the Rising Sun” for yourself. 

 

Japan Tour At A Glance

Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo

Day 2: Tokyo Exploration

Day 3: Japanese Design in Tokyo

Day 4: Studio Ghibli/ Odaiba

Day 5: Trendy Tokyo

Day 6: Nikko Excursion

Day 7: Tokyo - Hakone

Day 8: Hakone Exploration

Day 9: Hakone - Takayama

Day 10: Scenic Takayama

Day 11: Takyama - Kanazawa
Day 12: Kanazawa Samurai Traditions
Day 13: Kanazawa - Kyoto

Day 14: Kyoto Culture
Day 15: Kurashiki Excursion
Day 16: Nara Excursion
Day 17: Depart Japan

DETAILED ITINERARY

Detailed Itinerary

 

Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo

Upon arrival at Narita Airport, an English-language assistant and porter will meet you as you exit customs and escort you to the Narita Express Train (NEX) to Tokyo. At the station, an assistant will greet you for your private transfer to the Peninsula Tokyo. The rest of the day is at leisure. 

 

Day 2: Tokyo Exploration
Today, explore Tokyo like a local with a guided tour with transport by foot and subway. Begin at the Imperial Palace Plaza, the current home of the Imperial family. Continue to the Meiji Shinto Shrine, set in a serene wooded area. Then, visit the Asakusa Kannon Temple in the traditional district known as Shitamachi. Here you can stroll through the Nakamise Shopping Arcade, a festive marketplace for souvenirs and traditional snacks. Conclude your tour in the lively Ginza district, famous for its shops and tea houses. 

 

This evening before dinner, take a helicopter night cruise. Explore the galaxy of lights of this vast metropolis, seen from the luxury and comfort of your own chartered helicopter. The ride takes approximately 20-minutes. 

 

 

Optional activity in Tokyo: 

Depending on availability, you may want to start one of your days in Tokyo with a visit to a Sumo Stable, a communal training facility where all aspects of daily life are dictated by strict tradition. Watch gigantic sumo wrestlers as they start their day with an early morning (6:00 am) practice. 

 

Day 3: Japanese Design in Tokyo

Today, set out with your guide to see first-hand how Japan earned its reputation as a leader in design, electronics and technology. Transport will be by foot, subway, or taxi. The tour begins with 21-21 Design Sight, designed by influential architect Tadao Ando. Depending on your interests, you may wish to see the flagship Sony showroom in Ginza and other cutting-edge electronic stores. In Akihabara Electric town, amid flashing lights, vendors sell the latest high tech electronics. This district is also a popular shopping area for fans of manga and anime. Another option is Toyota Mega Web, a car theme park created by Toyota. Or, visit the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, a futuristic science museum that includes an interactive exhibition of humanoid robots.


Day 4: Studio Ghibli or Odaiba

Today, set out with your guide by train to visit the Studio Ghibli Museum, a famous studio well known for its many Japanese anime films. Through a collection of colorful interactive displays, various permanent and periodic exhibitions and creative architecture the museum brings to life the look and spirit of the studio’s films.

 

A different option is a tour of the vibrant artificial island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay, a bustling hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Your guide will meet you at the hotel for the taxi ride to the island. The guide will help you navigate the many attractions, which include SEGA Joypolis, (an indoor amusement park and virtual reality game room); a ferris wheel, and a Statue of Liberty replica. For some relaxation, visit Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari, Tokyo’s first and only onsen (hot springs) theme park. 

 

In the early evening, head out with your guide for a night on the town. You’ll travel by taxi and public transport. Start off sampling sake at some of Tokyo’s old-fashioned typical Izakaya (Japanese pubs). Your guide will talk you through tasting the great variety of flavors that result from the various brewing processes. Continue to a restaurant specializing in sake pairings. End the evening with a nightcap at a Japanese speakeasy. 


Day 5: Trendy Tokyo

Your guide will meet you at the hotel this morning and you will set out by train for a guided visit to Harajuku, the narrow bustling streets at the center of Japan’s most extreme teenage fashion culture. You may wish to try a fresh-made Harajuku crepe, the must-eat item of Takeshita Street, stuffed with your choice of delicious fillings. The tree-lined area leading from the south of the park to Shibuya is filled with all sorts of street performers, folk-pop singers, hip-hop dancers and loud rock bands (that are periodically swept away by police!). Return to your hotel by taxi in the afternoon. 

 

Day 6: Nikko Excursion
Depart with your guide and driver on a 2.5-hour drive to Nikko, the renowned Buddhist-Shinto religious center. Visit Tosho-gu Shrine, built by over 15,000 Japanese artisans. Also visit the Taiyuin-byo Shrine, where four colorful guardian statues of different gods welcome you. Drive up the thrilling Irohazaka Driveway with its 48 hairpin curves to Nikko National Park. There you will view Lake Chuzenji, which was formed by the eruption of Mt. Nantai. Continue to the 315-foot Kegon Waterfall. Conclude the day with a visit to the Ryuzu Falls before returning to Tokyo. 


Day 7: Tokyo - Hakone
This morning, depart Tokyo for Hakone. En route, visit the ancient capital of Kamakura, where you will see the magnificent 44-foot-tall bronze statue of the Great Buddha and the Hase Kannon Temple. Hakone is blessed by its wonderful natural environment, superb scenery and an abundance of natural hot springs. Take a ride on the Hakone Ropeway (similar to an aerial gondola ride). The 30-minute journey allows visitors to take in such spectacular views as the crystal-clear blue waters of Lake Ashi, the rising volcanic fumes of Owakudani, and the grandeur of Mount Fuji. Then take a boat cruise on the lake. After touring, you will be transferred to your ryokan (traditional hot springs inn) for a two-night stay. 

 

Day 8: Hakone Exploration

Today, enjoy an art-focused day starting with the Hakone Open Air Museum. This museum successfully creates a harmonic balance of nature and art by exhibiting various sculptures outdoors with beautiful views of the surrounding valley and mountains. There are also indoor exhibitions, including the Gallery of Picasso. Afterwards, visit the Narukawa Art Museum, one of the leading museums in Japan with a collection of over 4,000 modern masterpieces of nihonga, Japanese-style paintings. Transportation will be by private car (without guide). Return to the ryokan after touring. 

 

Day 9: Hakone - Takayama

This morning, you will transfer from your ryokan to the Odawara Train Station by private car, accompanied by an assistant. The train journey takes a little over four hours. In Nagoya, you will be assisted to the train to Takayama, a traditional old highland town located in the heart of the Japanese Alps. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.

Note: Because baggage limitations on bullet trains are strict, your luggage will be transported separately by a luggage transfer service. Please carry overnight bags to Takayama. 

 

Day 10: Scenic Takayama

This morning, enjoy a full-day of privately guided sightseeing in Takayama, a traditional old highland town located in the heart of the Japanese Alps. The narrow streets are lined with well-preserved wooden homes, teahouses, and shops, all with the hanging roofs and latticed windows that characterize Edo-era architecture. Start with a walk through the morning market, selling produce grown in the surrounding mountains. Tour the Kusakabe Folkcraft Museum, housed in an Edo-period home; and the Takayama Festival Craft Hall. Also visit a local sake brewery and the Hida Folk Village; an open air museum with typical farmhouses and other traditional buildings.

Day 11: Takyama - Kanazawa
This morning, you will depart Takayama for the Shirakawa-go Gassho Village by road.  Shirakawa-go is a World Heritage Site that has 112 intact Gassho-style houses. You will have the chance to venture inside one of these amazing houses and walk around the charming village. Also visit to the ruins of Ogimachi Castle and Miboro Dam before continuing on to Kanazawa where you will check in to a traditional ryokan. You will have  Kaga cuisine this evening, an unforgettable dining experience combining traditional local cuisine, seasonal fish, and produce with refined dinner-ware. 

 


Day 12: Kanazawa Samurai Traditions

Today’s full-day private tour first visits the historic samurai houses and traditional workshops in the Nagamachi samurai district. Continue to the treasured Kenrokuen Garden, considered one of the three most important gardens in Japan. Then visit the Sesonkaku Villa, followed by the Kutani Pottery Kiln where you will see the process of producing handmade Kutani ware. Finish the day with a visit to the Yuzen Silk painting Hall where you will learn about and experience the yuzen process, and have the opportunity to purchase a variety of Yuzen products from the Halls own shop. 


Day 13: Kanazawa - Kyoto

This morning, transfer by taxi to Kanazawa Station for your trip to Kyoto. Japan's imperial capital for many centuries, Kyoto was largely spared bombing damage during the war and is today a living treasure chest showcasing Japanese history and culture. Upon arrival, an assistant will meet you and transfer you by taxi to your hotel. 

 

Because baggage limitations on bullet trains are strict, your luggage will be transported separately by a luggage transfer service early this morning and arrive tomorrow. Please carry an overnight bag to Kyoto.

 

Day 14: Kyoto Culture
Today enjoy a full day flexible tour of the city with your guide. Travel by foot and by taxi. Recommended highlights include Nijo Castle with its famous squeaking “nightingale” floors and beautiful surrounding gardens, the exquisite Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, and the Ryoanji, a Zen temple famous for its rock garden. Proceed to a private tea ceremony. This is a ritualistic way of serving and drinking green tea, developed together with other Zen-related arts like flower arrangement, ink painting, and calligraphy. End the day with a visit to the beautiful Arashiyama/Sagano district. Walk through bamboo forests along the river and browse the unique handicraft shops.


Day 15: Kurashiki Excursion

This morning, transfer to the train station by taxi for the train to Kurashiki,  via Okayama, where your guide will meet you for a full-day tour. Known as “Warehouse Village,” as it was originally an important center of the rice trade, and has many existing buildings dating from the Edo period. A highlight is the Ohara Museum. In addition to Japanese artists, it features original work from Gauguin, Monet, Matisse and other beloved Western artists. Also of interest are the Kurashiki Folkcraft Museum and the Japanese Rural Toy Museum; stop in the many shops, and cafes in Kurashiki before returning to Kyoto later in the afternoon.

Day 16: Nara Excursion
This morning, you will be transferred with your guide and private driver to Nara, the first capital of Japan. After a scenic drive, visit Todaiji Temple, a massive wooden structure housing the Great Buddha; Nara Park with roaming deer; and the serene Kasuga Taisha Shrine, surrounded by woodlands populated with hundreds of lanterns and deer. Return to Kyoto, where your guide and driver will transport you to the Kyoto International Manga Museum. If you like, a private manga comic drawing lesson can be arranged. Return to your hotel by taxi. 

 

Day 17: Depart Japan
This morning, you will be transferred to the Osaka Airport by high speed train for your international departure flight.

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