Touch down Japan! Welcome to the land of culture, a country with majestic mountains, crazy neon lights, world class food & ancient and fascinating history. A land where the sake is hot or cold, where the sun glistens off the snow covered peaks, where incense floats around temples and shrines & where the technological advances take the world by storm. Japan is a dream, a desired destination where all those leave with a new found sense of wonder. Arrive into your traditionally designed Tokyo hostel in the beautiful Asakusa area to be greeted by your tour guide. Tonight we’ll take you out to feast on Japanese cuisines and meet the rest of your group.
We’ll start the morning off with a language and culture class with a Tokyo local. You’ll learn simple Japanese customs and phrases to help you dictate your way across the country. Once we have learned all we need, we’ll head out to the birth place of Japanese teen pop culture Harajuku. We’ll then grab traditional bento boxes and head into Yoyogi park, host of the beautiful Mei-ji Shrine. After that we’ll make our way to Akihabara – Tokyo’s electric town -and be blinded by the all the neon lights and crazy shops in store. We’ll challenge you all in the Sega Centre and provide you with a map and “Best things to do” so you can explore around the area. Once we’ve finished exploring, we’ll move back to Asakusa to visit Senso-ji when the crowds have gone. This is one of the most important temples in Tokyo. This illustrious red temple is a feast for the senses.
Today we’ll head to the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market. Tokyo is famed for its seafood delights and this market is the birthplace of Japan’s most famous food; sushi! Once we have toured the area, we will head over to our sushi making class where sushi masters will teach you how to roll the perfect sushi, fry the best tempura and eat sashimi properly. After your sushi lunch we’ll head back to the hostel for a quick freshen up before heading to the incredible Shinjuku area for the best night view of the Tokyo skyline before a meal of Yakitori and beer down the famous Omoide Yokocho alley. After dinner we will treat you to an incredible show like no other, where robots dance to the theme of thriller whilst lasers and lights bounce of the walls at the world famous Robot Restaurant. Wrapping up the day viewing the world-famous Shibuya Pedestrian Crossing.
Today we leave Tokyo by the aptly named “Romance Car” to the stunning mountainous town of Hakone. After checking into our guesthouse accommodation situated in the mountains, we will spend the day exploring the surrounding areas on a variety of different transport including Cable Cars, Rope Ways and even a Pirate Ship. Why is Hakone so special? Well, not only is the food incredible but the views of Mt Fuji are pretty spectacular also. After a day of exploring and taking photos of Japan’s most famous mountain we’ll arrange a typical Japanese Nabe dinner on the roof deck and watch the sunset over the spectacular little town
Today we board the bullet train, a soaring feat of engineering that throws you across the countryside. We’ll then take the stunning mountains that pass by all the way to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Takayama. Our accommodation tonight is in a stunning Japanese temple. Never before would you have stayed in more beautiful surroundings, your bed will be on simple tatami mats. In the afternoon we’ll head out for some traditional Sake tasting and you can even treat yourself to some infamously tasty Hida beef. After all of that you get a real chance for you to focus on your mindful experience as you sleep soundly in the temple with most rooms offering views of a traditional Japanese garden.
In the morning your guide will walk you round the beautiful old town and village of Takayama as well as a morning market tour on the banks of the Miyagawa River. After stopping for lunch we’ll board the train back to Nagoya and take our final bullet train to Kyoto. Famous for its shrines, temples and Geisha’s, Kyoto is a sure fire way to find your inner peace and get lost exploring its small alleyways. Our accommodation is only 5 minutes walk from the famous Gion district and the Nishiki market. In the evening, we’ll walk around Kyoto’s Gion district, known for Geisha’s (Japan’s traditional art form of entertainment), if you are lucky enough, you might even spot one.
This morning we’ll head to the astonishing Golden Pavilion, a beautiful gold laden building, surrounded by lakes which showcase a stunning reflection of the building. After we’ll head to Daitoku-ji, a quiet, leafy complex of old temples, away from the main tourist districts. In the afternoon we head to a traditional Kendo class housed in the dojo where it all began. Your authentic Bushido instructor, a descendant of a Japanese Samurai, will teach you the way of this respectful martial art, before finishing with a 10-minute guided meditation reflection to finish off this incredible day.
We’ll rise before dawn and take the subway to Kiyomizu dera temple, one of Japan’s most famous temples. A stunning bamboo and wooden complex that sits high in the mountain side. After we will head to the Fushimi-Inari Shrine. We arrive early to escape the bustling throng of tourists and work our way through the mountain exploring corridors of never ending red gates. After feasting on lunch in Gion, we take the train to Arashiyama. This stunning town is flanked by mountainous valleys with a river working its way through the middle. We’ll start of by wondering through the Instagram worthy bamboo forest, before climbing the steps up to Monkey Mountain. Once we make our way down, we’ll board a private row boat and explore the valleys the traditional Japanese way.
Today, you’ll have one final chance to finish buying all your final souvenirs from Kyoto before we jump on the train and head to Osaka. After checking in we will head out into the Dotonbori area, a wild ride of an inner city complex, the ‘kitchen of Japan’ will take you in with its lights, colours, food and people and after our food tour you won’t want to leave. There is no better way to view this incredible, living, breathing city than tasting your way through it. In the evening we’ll wrap up our tour with one final Japanese tradition – Karaoke!
After nursing your head from last nights antics, it’s time to say goodbye to your group and the new friends you have made from your tour. We hope we have shown you the best that Japan has to offer. If you’re continuing your travels with us, we can’t wait to see you in Sri Lanka or The Philippines, or if you’re returning home, we hope we have at least inspired you to #exploremore