Highlights of Japan
8 Nights / 9 Days
- Osaka & Kyoto
- Eiheiji & Chirihama
- Wajima & Tokyo
DAY 1: Arrive at Osaka Kansai airport and meet with our representative. Transfer to your hotel in Osaka.
DAY 2: Breakfast at your hotel, then enjoy a full-day sightseeing tour in Kyoto with a guide. Visit:
– Nijo Castle, a world heritage site, and one of the best-preserved examples of palace architecture from Japan’s Samurai era. Beautiful and serene, it is a must for those who love traditional Japanese castles.
– The Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-Ji). Kyoto’s (literally) golden treasure: Kinkaku-Ji, is a two-story Zen Temple covered from head to toe in gold leaf. One of Kyoto’s most photogenic temples awaits its visitors reflecting its glittering surfaces in the waters that surround it.
– Ryoan-Ji Temple is a Zen Buddhist temple which holds Japan’s most famous rock garden, a still life-like piece of architecture which represents nature using only rocks, pebbles and moss. The meaning behind this rock garden remains unknown; some say it represents infinity, others say a tiger. It is up to the viewer to find his/her own meaning hidden in the silent resting rocks.
– Fushimi Inari Shrine – the long rows made of thousands of vermilion shrine gates guide visitors to a totally different world, away from the hustle of everyday life and into the mystical land of Shintoism. Inside the premises of the shrine, there are some challenging mountain trails, perfect for hiking inside untouched wild nature. You may even come across the god Inari’s messenger, a white fox carrying an ear of rice.
DAY 3: Half-day sightseeing tour in Kyoto with your guide, taking in Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, where refreshing shades of green will comfortably cool you down in the dense Bamboo Groves of Arashiyama. Come and listen to the bamboo stalks swaying gently in the breeze. Hozugawa River Boat Ride, a relaxing boat trip downstream the Hozugawa River from Kameoka to Arashiyama which uses traditional flat-bottomed boats. The boats are sailed by boatmen using a bamboo cane in the front and an oar in the rear to guide the wooden boat through an almost-untouched ravine, right in the middle of nature. The beautiful riverbank scenery will please your eyes at any time of the year.
DAY 4: Eihei-Ji Temple, Fukui’s largest and most important active Zen temple complex, placed in the outskirts of the city at the foot of the mountain. The temple offers a beautiful view of the autumn leaves in autumn, the different shades of red, ochre and yellow colouring the massive complex of temple buildings and structures. Enjoy a Zen Meditation Experience & *Morning rituals before breakfast instructed by a Buddhist priest, sit down inside the temple grounds to focus on your inner self, looking for the self-enlightenment and ultimate peace that is said to be achieved through meditation. Empty your mind from mundane thoughts and worries to experience first-hand the basics of Zen Buddhism. The priests will be happy to explain the correct manners of how to sit, breathe and focus in your meditation, and answer any questions about Zen Buddhism.
Live the Japanese Calligraphy Experience – Shakyo is the art of hand-copying Buddhist sutras as an act of self-purification. This is mainly done using traditional Japanese calligraphy methods, with brush, ink and Japanese “Washi” paper. With the help of instructors, you will quickly be able to write down the characters with the brush, one after the other. A unique and rewarding experience only available in Japan.
DAY 5: Full-day sightseeing tour in Chirihama & Wajima with guide by private car. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway A 5-mile stretch of beach which offers a unique experience of driving along the beaches of the Sea of Japan, Noto Peninsula. People can park their cars off the driveway to pick seashells or enjoy the waters. At the southern end, you can find exquisite food stalls where you can taste the local specialities: grilled clams and turban shells. Senmaida, literally meaning “a thousand fields of rice”, is a popular tourist attraction where the azure Sea of Japan meets hillsides covered in terraced fields of rice – making a spectacular landscape, unique to Japan. The patchwork of small hand-worked rice fields makes a highly photogenic spot. Wajima Museum of Urushi Art, the only Museum in Japan which specialises in Lacquer (Urushi) Art. This spacious museum displays a number of lacquer artworks by various artists, some of whom are designated as a “Living National Cultural Treasure”.
DAY 6: Heavy baggage will be transferred from Wakura Onsen to Tokyo by courier service. Please prepare a hand-carried bag for 1 night in Yamanouchi. Meet your English-speaking guide in the hotel lobby then transfer to Wakura Onsen station.
DAY 7: Meet your English-speaking guide at the hotel lobby. Transfer to Iyama station. Leave Iyama for Tokyo by bullet train and visit Asakusa Kannon Temple with its Nakamise Shopping Arcade. Colourful and majestic, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple welcomes visitors with its huge Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), its giant, crimson paper lantern being an excellent photo spot. The Nakamise shopping street, just beyond the gate, is the best place to feel the hassle of Tokyo’s markets, and buy traditional Japanese goods, souvenirs and snakes.
Take advantage of Ginza Shopping District – looking for high-end brands and luxury shopping? Glamorous night clubs and high-class cafes? Ginza is your place. See Japan’s most upmarket shopping district and visit its boutiques; every leading brand can be found here.
DAY 8: Half-day sightseeing tour in Tokyo with your guide. Meiji Shrine is just a step away from the clamorous streets of modern Tokyo, Meiji-Jingu Shrine offers a mystical, relaxing space for those who like peace, nature and tranquillity. Come and sense the breath of Japan’s Shintoism in the pure heart of Tokyo. The large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace from which you can overlook the two Nijyu-Bashi bridges, the first of them called the “Eyeglass Bridge” for its looks, is the most famous. The plaza gives nice photo spots of the Imperial Palace as well. The centre and cutting edge of Japan’s eccentric teenage cultures, where the latest trends and fashion styles for teens flourish. Visit the trendy shops, food stalls and boutiques in Takeshita-dori (Takeshita Street) to feel the “kawaii” spirit of Japan.
DAY 9: Transfer to the international airport for your return flight home.
Our Suggested Accommodation:
Aman Tokyo: A sanctuary at the top of the Otemachi Tower, Aman Tokyo’s sleek design is rooted in ritual – a perfect balance of urban dynamism and cultural sensibility. Ikebana displays and engawa platforms blur the boundary between indoors and out; ryokan-style rooms and an Aman Spa are among the city’s largest. The sense of space and breadth of venues are unmatched in the metropolis, allowing Aman Tokyo to identify both as social hub and serene escape – an inspiring addition to the Tokyo skyline.
St. Regis Osaka: Reside in the heart of beautiful Midosuji, the Champs Elysées of Osaka. The St. Regis Osaka is located at close proximity to popular destinations such as Universal Studios Japan, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and the city’s most exclusive shopping districts. There is no better address to explore the city center and the neighboring cities of Kyoto, Nara and Kobe.
The Four Seasons Kyoto: Spacious Guest Rooms blend refined, modern aesthetics and the creations of Japanese artisans – including washi-paper lamps, fusuma screens and urushi lacquerware, while large windows offer views across the courtyard, garden or city.