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Classical Japan Tour

View Classical Japan in a larger map

Tokyo (private guide on day 2) - Seat of the Tokugawa Shogun during the Edo Period and modern capital
Kamakura (day trip) - Home of one of the world's largest bronze Buddha statues
Nikko (day trip) - Toshogu Shrine where the first Tokugawa Shogun is enshrined
Hakone - Rejuvenate at your hot spring ryokan and enjoy a traditional dinner
Takayama - Beautifully preserved classic town
Shirakawa-go (day trip) - 300 year old thatched roof farmhouses
Kanazawa - Kenrokuen Garden, Ninja Temple and the Chaya Geisha District
Kyoto - Imperial Japan in a city founded in 794 AD with 17 World Heritage Sites
Nara - Imperial capital before it was moved to Kyoto

On the Classical Japan Tour you will explore the Edo Period, founded by Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first Tokugawa Shogun. You will start in Edo (modern Tokyo) which was the seat of the military government. You will take a day trips to Kamakura to see an ancient bronze Buddha near the sea and to Nikko to see Toshogu Shrine where Ieyasu Tokugawa is enshrined. You will then head to Hakone where the citizens of Edo would go to refresh themselves and enjoy a meal in one the many hot spring ryokans. Your ryokan will serve you a traditional kaiseki dinner and you will relax in their hot spring baths. Now that you know how the ruling class lived you will head north to Takayama to see a well preserved merchant street and morning market. Rural Japan will be your next visit as you take a day trip to Shirakawa-go filled with thatched roof farmhouses. Many of Japan's artisans are from this area so you will travel to Kanazawa to see Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan's best. The samurai capital was in Edo but the imperial capital remained in Kyoto, your next destination. Here you will explore the streets where the emperor and other aristocrats played and worshipped. Nara was the capital of Japan before Kyoto was founded so we also include a day trip. You will then head back to Tokyo to prepare for your flight home.

Itinerary Details:

Day 1 – Tokyo - Western Hotel
Upon arrival you will be met at Narita Airport and escorted by one of Japan Roads team members to your hotel in Tokyo by public transportation. While still at the airport they will validate your JR Rail Passes, make seat reservations, answer any of your questions and hand you your rental cell phone programmed with our Japan office number just in case you need additional help. Our office will also call you midway through your tour to make sure that you are having a great time and answer any questions.

Day 2 – Tokyo - Private Guide in Tokyo
Today you private guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and will show you Tokyo. You may wish to visit Harajuku for current kids fashions, Ginza for up scale Tokyo, Akihabara for the latest electronics or Asakusa to see traditional Tokyo. The options are endless.

Day 3 – Day Trip to Kamakura
In the morning you will take a train to Kamakura to see the old capital near the sea. While in Kamakura you will visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura which was cast in 1252. Originally it was housed in a protective building though that structure was destroyed in the 15th century and the Great Buddha has been exposed to the elements since 1495. In the evening you will head back to Tokyo where you will sleep.

Day 4 – Day Trip to Nikko
Today you will take a day trip to Nikko to see where the first of the Tokugawa Shoguns is enshrined at Toshogu Shrine. You will also visit Taiyuinbyo, Rinnoji temple and other places before heading back to Tokyo for the night.

Day 5 – Hakone - Ryokan - Japanese Inn
After breakfast you will head to hot spring area of Hakone. Here you can visit Lake Ashinoko, Owakudani, Hakone Shrine, Pola Museum and many other sights in the unique area. In the evening you will head to your ryokan for a traditional Japanese dinner and a refreshing hot spring bath.

Day 6 – Takayama - Western Hotel
In the morning you will have time explore Hakone and then take a rather long train ride of 4.5 hours to Takayama. During the Edo Period, Takayama thrived thanks to timber resources which attracted artisans and craftsmen. Many of the merchants homes survived and are now open to the public as museums and galleries.

Day 7 – Takayama
In the morning you can go to Takayama's famous morning market and then start your sightseeing of the town. In the afternoon you can head to Hida Folk Village. This is an outdoor museum with thatched roof farmhouses from the Edo Period on display.

Day 8 – Day Trip to Shirakawa-go on your way to Kanazawa - Western Hotel
You will take a coach bus to Shirakawa-go, which was cut off from the rest of Japan due to its remote location in the mountains. The steep thatched roofs distinctive of this area were designed to protect the homes from heavy snow. In the center of the home is a sunken hearth, called an irori, which was used to cook food and heat the house. Instead of a chimney the villagers would put a large plank over the fire which would catch any rogue sparks and distributed smoke throughout the house. The smoke is necessary for the roof as it would act as a bug repellent and waterproofing. Without the smoke from the hearth the roof would leak and be filled with bugs. Besides keeping snow off the home the steep roof also provided a second floor where the owner could raise silkworms as a cash crop for the artisan of Takayama. You will explore Shirakawa-go for about 4 hours before heading by bus to Kanazawa.

Day 9 – Kanazawa - Western Hotel
Kanazawa is home to one of Japan's most famous gardens, Kenrokuen Garden. Today you can explore this garden and other areas of the old city including; Ninjadera (ninja temple), Nagamachi Samurai neighborhood, and 21st Century Museum.

Day 10 – Kyoto - Western Hotel
Today you will take a train south to the ancient imperial capital of Kyoto. Here you will have a chance to visit hundreds of temples, shrines, gardens, shops and neighborhoods. The beauty and history of Kyoto is so vast that it is impossible to see it all in one visit.

Day 11 – Kyoto - Private Guide
Your private guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel to show you Kyoto. You may wish to visit Nijo Castle, Kiyomizu Temple, the Geisha District of Gion, Ryuonji Temple, Nishiki Market, Higashiyama and many other historical sites.

Day 12 – Day Trip to Nara
In the morning you will take the 1 hour train to Nara (founded in 710) to visit the capital of Japan before Kyoto was founded. The main sightseeing area is known as Nara Park. This park is dotted with many Buddhist temples including the Todaiji Temple, home to one of the largest indoor bronze statues of Buddha in the world. Todaiji is the world’s largest wooden structure and was rebuilt in 1692. In the evening you will head back to Kyoto for the night.

Day 13 – Tokyo
In the morning you will visit any sights in Kyoto that you missed and want to visit. You will then take a Shinkansen Bullet Train back to Tokyo. You will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Day 14 – Tour Ends
Today you will head home. If your flight is in the afternoon then you can also do some last minute sightseeing. Just make sure to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your scheduled departure time.

Tour Accommodations:
Throughout the tour, you will have the chance to stay at Japanese style inns, or ryokans, as well as modern, Western style hotels. By choosing the best accommodations possible and offering both traditional and modern lodging experiences, Japan Roads aims to give you a deeper insight into life in Japan and make you as comfortable as possible. In particular, the traditional accommodations will allow you to have close personal contact with the Japanese owners and staff of these places, thus deepening your cultural experiences.

Food is an important part of any vacation and helps the traveler get a better understanding of the area they are visiting. This is definitely true of Japan so we have included a dinner at your ryokan in Hakone. This will give you a wonderful chance to try something that you might not have a chance to if you only stayed at Western style hotels. Each morning you will be served breakfast.

About Independent Tours:
Your tour includes a detailed tour organizer built specially for you. This organizer will have everything you need to take your tour including hotel details, directions, sightseeing suggestions and other useful information. We will also give you a rental cell phone that is programmed with our Japan office's phone number that you can call for help while you are in Japan. We are there for you.

This 14 day tour begins and ends in Tokyo, Japan.

If you have any questions or if you are ready
to make a reservation please Contact Us or call at +1-248-747-4048

American Society of Travel Agents MemberJapan Travel SpecialistJapan Endless Discovery

Tour schedules are subject to change.
If any changes should be made it will be done in the best interest of the travelers.
Japan Roads will at all times aim to offer you the most interesting tour possible.

Open - Independent Tour
Prices 2016
Per Person Prices starting at US$4,400 ~ based on double occupancy for at least 2 travelers
Meals Included
Breakfasts: 13
Lunches: 0
Dinners: 1 at your ryokan in Hakone
13 nights, 14 days

Private Guide in Tokyo on Day 2 and in Kyoto on Day 11. For other days you will have detailed materials as well as support from our experts in Japan will be available for this independent tour. No tour leader is supplied.

Tokyo, Hakone ryokan stay, Takayama's Old Town, Gassho Zukuri farmhouses of Shirakawa-go and Classical Kyoto
Mode of Travel
Train ('Shinkansen' bullet train, limited express and local trains), buses, and on foot.
Group Size
Minimum of 2 guests
Age Restrictions
Everyone younger than 20 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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