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Japan and Koya-san

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1-800-688-1804 info@civilizedadv.com

Features


Date: Choose your dates (12 Days/11 Nights)
Host: Local expert guide / self-guided
Cost: Starting at US$ 4,050 per person
Trip Type: Custom Civilized Adventure 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Private guided tour of Tokyo
  • Visit the Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple
  • Dive into the lively street food scene of Tokyo with the assistance of your English speaking guide
  • Visit the Ninja Temple, Myoryji Temple
  • Take a train and cable car to the top of Mount Koya (Koyasan)
  • Stop in at DisneySea to visit your favorite characters

 

Photos Courtesy of EXO Travel

Brief Itinerary

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival Tokyo, Japan 

Arrive in Tokyo, you will be transferred to your hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure.

Day 2 - Tokyo

Meet with your guide this morning and depart for Hama-Rikyu  Teien, the former private garden of an Edo Period lord. After strolling around the garden, you will take a break in the tea house known as ‘Nakajima No Chaya’ which stands elegantly in the park’s lake. Here, you will have the chance to get a taste of matcha, or Japanese green tea, paired with a Japanese sweet.

Afterwards, you will heading to Asakusa, a part of Tokyo’s shitamachi or old town. Asakusa is the city’s oldest Geisha district and also the home to Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. The streets around Senso-ji feature many traditional shops that sell Japanese crafts and souvenirs and are a delight to wander through. Asakusa is also famous for tempura, so you will stop by one of the area’s local restaurants for a set course lunch.

From Asakusa, a short walk will take you to Kappabashi, also known as the ‘Kitchenware Town’. Lined with dozens of stores selling everything that restaurateurs need, you will find specialized stores for dishes, pots, pans, cooking utensils, stoves, tables, chairs, signs, lanterns, and much more. This is also the place where you will find on sale the plastic food models that you see in restaurants.

Last stop for the day is Ueno’s Ameyoko-cho, a busy market street underneath the train lines. Formerly the site of a black market after World War II, this bustling market is now filled with shops and stalls selling various products such as fresh fish, dried food and spices, and is a great place to try some local snacks. 

Day 3 - Tokyo

Day at your leisure.

Tonight an English speaking assistant will take you inside the lively street food scene of Tokyo: an exciting trip  across some of the hidden pearls that can only be found with the help of a local, wandering around the city’s narrow streets. Your local English speaking food expert will take you to tiny izakayas (Japanese style pubs) and small traditional restaurants and bars – with their distinctive atmosphere these are the heart of the traditional Japanese entertainment districts.

Day 4 - Tokyo

Today, make your way to Tokyo Disney Sea. Go on a new adventure and travel through Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost river Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermid Lagoon, and Mysterious Island. Take flight on a magic carpet ride on Jasmine's Magic Carpets, and meet Ariel in her grotto. Alcohol is served in DisneySea, making it the popular choice for grown-ups.

Day 5 - Tokyo - Kanazawa  

Start early and get on the bus to Kanazawa, the castle town that thrived as the center for culture and the arts in the 17th century.

Check into your hotel and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 6 - Kanazawa on your own

Kanazawa on your own.

We suggest you to visit:

Kenroku-en Garden. Ranked one of the top three in Japan, its breath-taking beauty shines through in any season. 

Kanazawa Castle, the former home of the powerful Maeda clan who ruled  the area for 300 years.

Omicho Market, known throughout Japan for its fresh seafood and fine sushi. Your guide will introduce you to a local restaurant where you can sample the local wares.

Nomura House, (located in the old Samurai district), is a restored residence of a high ranked samurai family. Also in the area are many other historical buildings, including a pharmacy and old homes turned into museums.

Day 7 - Kanazawa – Shirgawago - Kanazawa

Day at your leisure. We suggest you to visit Shirakawago (1 hour bus).

Shirakawago, and its neighboring Gokayama region, lines the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that  stretch from Gifu all the way to Toyama Prefecture. Both of these prefectures are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. They were also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer," as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. The architectural style developed over many generations, intricately designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, which were constructed without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms.

In the afternoon, make your way back to Kanazawa

Day 8 - Kanazawa - Kyoto

Today is a self-guided day.

Today travel by shinkansen to Kyoto.

Suggested activities:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art: The museum known for its progressive architecture and ever-changing exhibits. One of the permanent artworks in the museum is Leandro Erlich’s “Swimming Pool,” a pool wherein people can enter and appear as if they are underwater.

Old Town of Higashi Chaya District: One of the three, well-preserved chaya districts in Kanazawa. A “chaya” (teahouse) was where Geishas used to entertain their guests with a song or a dance. Higashi Chaya has several artisan shops, including Hakuza, a specialized store that sells gold leaf products and features a tearoom covered in gold.

In the afternoon, travel by limited express train to Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital and home to around 2,000 shrines and temples, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Day 9 - Kyoto

Spend the day exploring the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide, utilizing Kyoto’s comprehensive bus and subway system to visit some of the area’s spectacular sites.

Start the day with a visit to Nijo Castle. This ornamental castle, surrounded by stunning gardens, was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence. The main building was completed in 1603 and is well-known for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors, and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors.

Then visit Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion, which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death, it became a Buddhist Temple at his request and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples.

The tour ends with a stroll along the busy streets of Higashiyama district, a collection of narrow alleyways lined with local stores, souvenir shops, small eateries, and even pottery centers.

Day 10 - Kyoto - Koyasan

Make an early start today for the scenic journey to holy Mt. Koya (Koyasan). The 3-hour train journey is one of the  best in Japan, as the local train winds its way up into the mountains of Wakayama Prefecture. The final ascent to the top of Koya is via cable car.

Mt. Koya is the center of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect which was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi. Since then, over 100 temples have sprung up along the streets of Koyasan. The most important among them are Kongobuji, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism, and Okunoin, the site of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. Koyasan, together with its entire vicinity, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 11 - Koyasan - Osaka 

Today is a self-guided day. *No guide included. 

Suggested activities:

To have a complete experience of Koyasan, joining the Morning Prayer, which usually starts at 06:00, is highly recommended. Be immersed in the calming chants of the monks inside the prayer hall (prayers are only in Japanese but some priests provide a simple explanation in English at the end of the ceremony).

Afterwards, proceed to the dining room for a shojin ryori breakfast.

 

The rest of the morning is free to further explore Koyasan before taking off for Osaka, Japan’s Kitchen Capital. Osaka’s flamboyance, fun-loving people and amazing food are the highlights of the city.

Day 12 - Depart Osaka

Today, take the shuttle bus to Osaka airport on time to board your flight home.

Cost

Cost

Arriving Tokyo/Departing Osaka

  • Starting at US$ 4,050 per person (based on twin-share)

All quoted prices effective at time of publication (April 23 '18). Prices vary by date. While not expected, itinerary and prices are subject to change.

 

 

Suggestion:

To have a complete experience of Koyasan, joining the Morning Prayer, which usually starts at 06:00, is highly recommended. Be immersed in the calming chants of the monks inside the prayer hall (prayers are only in Japanese but some priests provide a simple explanation in English at the end of the ceremony).

 

Afterwards, proceed to the dining room for a shojin ryori breakfast.

 

The rest of the morning is free to further explore Koyasan before taking off for Osaka, Japan’s Kitchen Capital. Osaka’s flamboyance, fun-loving people and amazing food are the highlights of the city.


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