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Classic Japan

Duration of this Trip 11 Days Priced From JPY 3,530,000 per person

Still one of the world's most fascinating destinations, travel to Japan is more popular than ever. With the 2020 Olympics on the horizon, Japan has put its tourism infrastructure on the fast-track, ready to engage more visitors from around the world. In this tour Silk Road Treasure Tours will take you on an exploration of Japan's fascinating cities from the ancient to the modern, of its spectacular scenery, centuries of history and tradition, and a culture of hospitality unmatched anywhere.

At a Glance

Duration

11 Days

Priced From

JPY 3,530,000 per person

Departures

  • 20-30 March, 2016
  • 21-31 March, 2017

Itinerary

  • Days 1-4: Tokyo
  • Day 5: Hakone
  • Days 6-7: Kyoto
  • Day 8: Kyoto – Nara – Kyoto
  • Days 9-10: Kanazawa
  • Day 11: Depart

Itinerary

Sunday March 20th Arrival - TOKYO

Arrive at Narita International Airport.  Collect your luggage and pass through customs. Be met by your driver outside the secure area and enjoy a private transfer to your hotel. Evening at leisure. Dinner at Narisawa, Overnight: Peninsula

Monday March 21st  TOKYO

Meet your guide at 10:00 AM in the hotel lobby to begin your exploration of this incredible city. Begin with a private tea ceremony in the home of a tea master and learn the about the connection with Zen Buddhism.
The neighborhood of Ningyocho was once a center of arts and creativity in Tokyo known for its traditional doll-making workshops, and we'll introduce you to the hidden studios, galleries, and tiny sweets shops that once characterized the area.
Lunch at the beloved Taniya Tempura for the freshest, crispest handmade tempura or savory udon noodles.
We'll visit a kimono-dyeing workshop where the artisan is considered among Japan's best. You may observe the process, or try your hand at making a simple handkerchief using this time-honored technique.
In the afternoon Tokyo's iconic Meiji Jingu (shrine), an oasis of calm in the center of one of the world's most energetic cities. Covering 175 acres and home to 120,000 trees, it's easy to forget where you are. From here, it's a pleasant stroll over to Harajuku, center of fashion and youthful energy.
Return to your hotel by 6pm. Dinner at Kanda Sushi. Overnight: Peninsula

Tuesday March 22nd TOKYO

Tsukiji Market is on the docket this morning followed by a sushi making lesson. When the doors to visitors open at 9:00AM, the biggest, busiest fish and seafood market in the world has already been bustling for over six hours. Fast and furious, fish flying, voices soaring, and then bam! It's all over but the clean up! The outer market consists of retailers and restaurants, selling everything from aprons and dishes to carrots and pumpkins.
At the Fukagawa Edo Museum, visit a life-size reproduction of the city streets of Fukagawa Saga Town at the end of the Edo period. The family, occupation, and age of each resident have been established and the reconstruction shows the lifestyles of the people of that time in great detail.
End the day at the Fukagawa Fudoson (temple) for the Goma-Kiso Fire Purification Ritual, not only of visual interest but also impressive for the energetic drumming that accompanies the ritual.
Dinner at Nanachome.  Overnight: Peninsula

Wednesday March 23rd TOKYO

Meet your guide at 9:30AM in the hotel lobby on your way to a most unique destination.Visit the beautifully restored Yasuda Residence, a lovingly restored former baronial mansion in the classic Japanese architectural style. Having survived both the massive earthquake of 1923 and the fire bombing of WWII, the home narrowly escaped demolition to make way for modern construction. A wonderful way to peek at a nearly forgotten Tokyo in a traditional neighborhood.
Many craftspeople who are keeping traditional techniques alive also reside in this area. Also worth a visit is the massive Nezu Jinja (shrine), once the largest in Tokyo, with it's own Noh stage, a tunnel of vermillion torii to stroll through,
Option: End the afternoon with a visit to a phenomenal bonsai museum and garden. With hundreds of trees in a beautiful setting, this is a gem.
Return to your hotel to freshen up and then head out to a pre-dinner sake experience with our local English-speaking sake expert. Learn about the process of making sake and then sample a variety of the best.
Dinner.   Overnight: Peninsula

Thursday March 24th HAKONE

Meet your guide in the lobby and take a taxi to Tokyo Station to catch the Shinkansen train to Odawara in the Hakone area.
A private car will meet you at the station and transfer you to Gora Kadan, your ryokan (inn) for the night and former retreat of the Imperial family. Everything you've ever imagined out of a Japanese fairytale; the gentle swoosh of a sliding shoji doors, the fragrance of incense, the feast for the senses of Kaiseki cuisine and the warmth of hot spring waters.
Leave your bags and explore the surrounding area, the legend-rich sulphur hot springs and Lake Ashi and if the weather is good enjoy stunning views of Mt. Fuji. At the Hakone Sculpture Park there are works by masters of modern and contemporary art, such as Rodin, Bourdelle, Miró, and Moore. Stop by the Pola Museum, the Botanical Garden, or the Hakone Art Museum.
Dinner & Overnight: Gora Kadan

Friday March 25th KYOTO

A private transfer will take you back to Odawara to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto.  Your guide will meet you on the platform to begin your tour of the former Imperial capital of Japan. Start with a lunch at Honke Owariya, Kyoto's oldest noodle restaurant and still the Imperial Family's noodle purveyor of choice!
Arashiyama & Tenryuji
The scenic Arashiyama district, west of Kyoto city center, has long been known for its mountains and river.
The picturesque Togetsukyo Bridge dates back to the 9th century, while UNESCO World Heritage site Tenryuji is one of the five most important Zen temples in Kyoto. Since its origins in 1339, many of its original structures fell victim to fire and war, save for the its beautiful and expansive garden.
Amble along the paths through the Arashiyama bamboo groves and enjoy the gentle shades of green and the swish of the stalks in the breeze. This is also a perfect place for a jinrikisha ride, a traditional form of transportation for the monied class.
End the day with a private geisha dinner. Kyoto boasts the largest geisha population in Japan and three of these exquisite entertainers will join you during dinner to sing, dance, and entertain you throughout your meal.  
Overnight: Ritz Carlton Tokyo

Saturday  March 26th  KYOTO

Meet your guide in the hotel lobby and travel by taxi to Kinkaku-ji. Perhaps best known in English as the "Temple of the Golden Pavilion," this icon of Kyoto rises shimmering above a quiet reflecting pond, resplendent in its layers of gold leaf.
From here, head over to Nijō Castle. A favorite of many visitors to Kyoto, Nijō-jo has much to recommend it. Built on orders from Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa for his Kyoto residence, today it's in excellent repair. With its wide moat, white sail-like roofs and nightingale floor, secret doors and thick stone walls, it's every bit the imposing structure it was meant to be.
We'll stop for a delicious shojin ryori lunch. This is the traditional Buddhist vegetarian cuisine and the foundation of kaiseki. Using seasonal ingredients, a series of small, beautiful dishes are prepared for you in a lovely restaurant set within the temple grounds.
Explore the temple grounds, and the Philosopher's Path, to Ginkakuji - the "Silver Pavilion". Originally built as the retirement villa for a local shogun, the area became a center of culture and remains a popular site for visitors.
Finish the afternoon at the home and gallery of expat and ceramics expert Robert Yellin.  Extremely knowledgeable about Japanese pottery and his lovely old house is used as both residence and gallery.
 
Optional: Hosoo is a Kyoto-based textile company founded in 1688 that specializes in superior quality fabrics for high-end interior design and fashion. Widely acknowledged for its exceptional skills within traditional Japanese three-dimensional weaving techniques and for applying richly textured Nishijin weaving to contemporary design.
Return to the hotel around 5:30. Dinner.   Overnight: Ritz Carlton Kyoto

Sunday  March 27th KYOTO /NARA

Meet your guide and driver at 9:00 AM  for a day exploring Nara. Begin the day at the visually powerful Fushimi Inari Taisha: Perhaps one of Japan's most recognizable symbols, the endless wending of thousands of vermillion torii mark this well-known shrine along with dozens of fox statues. Dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, Fushimi is one of Kyoto's oldest structures, erected even prior to the establishment of the capital in 794AD.  
From here, you'll continue south to the ancient capitol city of Nara, home to many of Japan's best-loved treasures, and perfect place to have a delicious local lunch.
Among the sights that you'll visit are Tōdai-ji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and until 1998, it was the world's largest wooden building and still boasts the largest bronze Buddha in the world. Many visitors like to try their luck with a pillar near the giant Buddha in which there is a hole the same size as the Daibutsu's nostril. A successful passage through the nostril is said to guarantee enlightenment in one's next life! 2011 saw the opening of the new Tōdai-ji Museum, full of temple treasures, religious art, and objects of deep cultural significance.  
Prior to visiting Nara Park, we'll stop to experience the art of kimono dressing. You'll have the opportunity to dress in traditional kimono (for men and women) and take a stroll through Nara Park: best known for the herds of tame deer. The deer were considered divine for centuries and killing one of these sacred creatures was punishable by death, although the last recorded offense took place in 1637. The deer were summarily stripped of their divinity in 1946, and are now simply designated National Treasures. Dinner. Overnight: Ritz Carlton Kyoto

Monday  March 28th KANAZAWA

A taxi will take you to Kyoto Station to catch the Express Ltd. Thunderbird to Kanazawa. You'll be met on the platform by your interpreter and driver. Stop off at the ryokan to leave your bags, then have lunch at a popular local restaurants. Afterwards, it's time to meet one of Japan's greatest living artists. Maki-e is Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder. Of the many shokunin (highly skilled artisans) in the Kanazawa area creating maki-e, none is as warm, friendly, or accommodating as this man. He is the latest in a long line of maki-e artists, each having learned from celebrated teachers and predecessors. He creates one of a kind pieces in his home studio, a lovely old traditional Japanese-style dwelling. The roofline of the temple where his ancestors' spirits reside peeks over the fence, reminding him on a daily basis of his place and his responsibilities.
 Return to Kinjoro, your home for the next two nights. One of Kanazawa's oldest and most elegant ryokan it's known for its food and displays of traditional art.
Overnight & Dinner: Kinjoro

Tuesday  March 29th KANAZAWA

Meet your local expert after breakfast at the ryokan. Holding a doctorate in urban history, he has a knack for making the past come alive with anecdotes and humor and a pure passion for his subject. He's the history professor you wish you'd had! Among the sights you'll visit are:
Kenrokuen
One of Japan's three most beautiful classic gardens.
Seisonkaku: The thirteenth lord of the Kaga Domain, Nariyasu Maeda, built the Seisonkaku in 1863 as a comfortable retirement home for his mother. An architectural masterpiece Seisonkaku also functions as a museum.
Kanazawa Castle: Having been burned down a number of times throughout its history the only surviving original part is the Ishikawa-mon Gate. Since the 1990s a project to rebuild the castle buildings has been underway, using original building techniques and materials.
The Nagamachi Samurai District: Located at the castle's base the area retains its historic atmosphere with preserved residences, narrow lanes and canals that wind through the neighborhood.
The Higashichayagai district: The largest of three well-preserved and working geisha districts. We'll visit both the Shima Teahouse and Kaikaro Teahouse.
The tour will end with lunch, after which you'll have time to explore a couple of Kanazawa's most appealing museums. The D.T. Suzuki Museum, designed by internationally acclaimed architect Yoshio Taniguchi, best-known for the redesign of MoMA in New York. The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art contains phenomenal exhibitions, interactive installations, permanent collections, and surrounding gardens.
Overnight: Kinjoro Ryokan

Wednesday  March 30th  DEPARTURE (Breakfast)

Depending on your flight time & departure airport, travel by express train or plane to the airport for your flight home.

Land Tour Costs

From JPY 3,530,000 for 6-10 travelers

Single Supplement

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Scheduled Departures

  • 20-30 March, 2016
  • 21-31 March, 2017

Trip Highlights

  • Delve deep into the stylish subcultures of Tokyo's various neighborhoods.
  • Discover the temples and traditions of Japan's former capital, Kyoto.
  • Get below the surface of Japan by exploring the hidden treasures of Kanazawa
  • Uncover Japan's rich culinary heritage with visits to fish markets, noodle makers,and teahouses.
  • Meet artisans carrying on family traditions for generations.
  • Visit the samurai town of Kanazawa with its rich artistic traditions.

Visited Countries

Japan

Visited Cities & Places

Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa

Suggested Extensions

Reading Lists

  • A year in Japan, Kate Williamson
  • Japanese Inn, Oliver Statler
  • Embracing Defeat, John Dower
  • The Nobility of Failure, Ivan Morris
  • Taiko, Eiji Yoshikawa
  • The Making of Modern Japan, Marius Jensen
  • Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
  • I am a Cat, Natsume Soseki
  • Snow Country, Yasunari Kawabata
  • In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizaki

What's Included

  • Airport transfer on arrival date
  • Taxis, public transportation, or private car when with guide.
  • JR trains
  • English-speaking guide/escort
  • Hotel accommodation in double room
  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner (*Dinner included depends on lodging)
  • Entrance fees to museums, temples, shrines, and monuments when with guide

What's Not Included

  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Lunches
  • Beverages
  • Personal expenses

Thank you for your interest in Silk Road Treasure Tours. We're looking forward to providing you with the trip of a lifetime. Please take a moment to complete and submit the form below. You can also call us at 1-888-745-7670 (or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to discuss all the aspects of the tour and reserve your tour.

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Classic Japan Tour

An 11 day tour available as scheduled group tour or as custom private tour

Scheduled Departures

  • 20-30 March, 2016
  • 21-31 March, 2017

Land Tour Costs

From JPY 3,530,000 for 6-10 travelers

Single Supplement

call us