Discover Japan’s remarkable natural beauty and fascinating history on a sweeping 12-day Asian tour from city, to sea, to mountain and garden! And with an intimate and congenial group, the wonderful native-born trip guides will also immerse you in the True Spirit of his native land – introducing you to local residents eager to share insight into their lives and traditional ways. Tour Asia in style, and don’t miss a thing.
Japan Asian tours with AAA Vacations
Day 1 – Welcome to Kyoto
Upon arrival, you’ll be met and guided to the coach that will take you to your city central accommodations at the deluxe Granvia Hotel. That night’s complimentary pre-tour stay is an exclusive AAA Vacations amenity.
Day 2 – Kyoto on Your Own
This entire day is yours to enjoy as you wish in this ancient city, revered by the Japanese as the cultural and spiritual heart of their nation.
Day 3 – The Best of Kyoto
The day begins at Nijo Castle where you can try to walk in stealth across the Nightingale Floor, designed to chirp in warning if would-be assassins penetrated into the Shogun’s chambers. Continue to the vermilion-hued Heian Shrine and Kinkakuji Temple – the glittering Golden Pavilion. Delve into Japan’s enduring traditions when you dine with Geisha and tour the tranquil Zen meditation gardens of Kodai-ji Temple.
Day 4 – Inland Sea and Hiroshima
Cross the island-dotted Inland Sea to Miyajima Island and marvel at Itsukushima Shrine, established in the 6th century. Just off shore, the magnificent red Torii Gate rises majestically from the sea. In Hiroshima, visit Peace Memorial Park, where the Memorial Museum stands as a sobering reminder of the destruction wrought by the Atomic bomb.
Day 5 – Tour Nara, Japan’s First Capital
Discover the ancient capital of Nara where Buddhism was first introduced to Japan nearly 1,500 years ago. You’ll visit Todai-ji Temple, one of the largest wooden structures in the world and home to an immense statue of Buddha. Stroll the peaceful lantern-lined forest paths of Kasuga Shrine before returning to Kyoto.
Day 6 – By Rail to Kanazawa
Journey to Kanazawa and visit the Nomura Samurai Residence; with its marvelous cypress wood ceiling, hand-painted screens, and interior garden, it reflects the nobility of the wealthy family who lived here during the rule of the Maeda Samurai clan. At the Kutani Kosen Pottery Studio, you’ll see skilled artisans at work. Then stroll through Kenrokuen, revered as one of Japan’s finest gardens, and learn firsthand about the elements of traditional landscape design which have been incorporated so here.
Day 7 – Shirakawago and Takayama
Travel to the mountain hamlet of Shirakawago, famous for its “Joined Hands” farmhouses. More than a century old, they derive their name from their steeply pitched roofs which look like hands joined together in prayer. Surrounded by rugged alpine peaks, the region was often isolated from the rest of Japan for much of its history. It developed unique traditions which experienced guides will illuminate as you explore this picturesque region.
Day 8 – Full Day Sightseeing in Takayama
Mingle with city residents as they go about their daily shopping at the busy morning market and then admire perfectly-preserved buildings like Takayama Jinya, an imposing government hall of the Edo period. Enjoy a tasting of fine sake and tour the Folk Craft Museum. At the Festival Floats Exhibit Hall, you’ll see enormous parade floats dating back 400 years, many with cleverly engineered figures that can be animated when these floats are used in the town’s colorful spring and autumn festivals. A sake tasting reveals the history and finer points of this traditional Japanese rice wine.
Day 9 – Onward to Tokyo
Journey by rail to Tokyo and transfer to your hotel, ideally located in vibrant Shinjuku. After time to refresh in your spacious Plaza Premier Room, join your guide for a walking tour in the vibrant, modern district where you’re staying. The area is popular with Tokyo residents for shopping, dining and entertainment.
Day 10 – Tsukiji Fish Market and Tokyo City Sightseeing
Early in the morning, we take you on a special visit to the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market, where the city’s best chefs come daily to procure the freshest seafood. Then join one such master chef to learn the art of preparing restaurant-quality sushi. Enjoy the fruits of your labor for lunch before ascending the Tokyo Observatory for breathtaking views across the capital. Then stroll along the bustling Nakamise Arcade, home to colorful merchant stalls selling traditional Japanese snacks and handicrafts. End your sightseeing at the colorful Asakusa Kannon Temple; dating back to the 7th century, it’s the oldest in the city. Join chefs and homemakers at a bustling morning seafood market and learn how to prepare restaurant-quality sushi for lunch.
Day 11 – Full Day Excursion to Mt. Fuji and Hakone
Travel to the 5th Station of Mt. Fuji and continue to beautiful Hakone National Park, beloved for its pine forests and lovely views of Mt. Fuji. Enjoy a cruise across the placid waters of picturesque Lake Ashi and ascend Mt. Komagatake by cable car for sweeping views over the forested mountains. Return to Tokyo and enjoy your evening at leisure. On a clear day, your cruise on Lake Ashi offers breathtaking views of forested slopes and Mt. Fuji.
Day 12 – Depart Tokyo
Step aboard the comfortable airport limousine coach for your trip to the airport.
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