Tokyo – Kamakura – Mt. Fuji – Hamamatsu – Ise – Nara
Kyoto (bullet train) Kobe – Osaka
Tour: Jul 03 – Jul 12, 2018 Price: $3,895 + Tax
Check in at Los Angeles International Airport. Depart for Tokyo on a non-stop flight.
Arrive in the afternoon. Welcome to Tokyo, one of the busiest cities in the world day and night. It is bursting with contemporary urban cultures mixed with traditional ones. You’ll soon find this city mind-blowing. (D)
We will begin our trip by visiting the famous Akihabara Shopping District. Akihabara is one of the most lively and vibrant districts in Tokyo. It’s also considered the center of many electronic, game and anime stores which are great attractions for children. We’ll go shopping in the Ginza area. Visit Asakusa district, famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. In Japan’s history, there are six bodhisattvas (goddesses), all of whom experienced dramatic love lives. During the tour, journalist Minh Do and philosopher Giang Tran will tell you about their love stories.
Visit Sensō-ji and Asakusa Shrine, which welcomes around 700,000 visitors every day. Japanese shrines’ custom requires you to purify your hands and mouth at a water pavilion before standing in front of the deity. You will scoop up water in a ladle with your right hand and pour water over your left hand. Next, hold the ladle with your left hand and pour water over your right hand. In your left hand, take some water that you have scooped with the ladle and rinse your mouth. Never touch the ladle directly to your mouth. You can only scoop up water one time, at the very first step of the process.
There are plenty of shops In front of Asakusa Shrine where you can buy souvenirs for your loved ones. They will make for very nice gifts at reasonable prices. You’ll also find plenty of street food such as dried rice, preserved plums, and mochis… along the road that leads up to the shrine.
In the afternoon, we’ll visit the monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amida Buddha (built in 1252) in Kamakura city. (B/L/D)
Leave Tokyo for Mount Fuji. We’ll be staying at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). After dinner, you can enjoy bathing in the onsens (thermal hot springs) that Mount Fuji has to offer, and have all of your tiredness after a long day rinsed out. (B/L/D)
This morning, we’ll take you to Mount Fuji and to Camp 5 (depends on weather conditions), up on the mountain, to enjoy breathtaking views and the beauty that has inspired so many artists and poets. Mt. Fuji, with its 3,776-meter height, is listed as a UNESCO heritage and known as the symbol of Japan. We’ll continue on to visit Owakudani valley and the Peace Garden. (B/L/D)
Depart for Ise Peninsula by ferry. Ise is home to Ise Grand Shrine, the most sacred Shintō shrine in Japan. The city has a long-standing title: “The Holy City”. During the Edo period, Ise Grand Shrine was a popular destination for pilgrimages. Purportedly the home of the Sacred Mirror, the shrine is one of Shinto’s holiest and most important sites. What makes it special is that the shrine’s buildings are made of Japanese cypress wood. Every 20 years, the old shrines are torn down and new ones, which look exactly the same as the old, are built nearby so that the buildings will be forever new and forever ancient and original. On our journey in Ise Bay, we will take you to the world-famous Mikimoto Pear Island, where you’ll be watching women divers demonstrate the traditional method of diving for pearls. (B/L/D)
You will get to know the Ninja martial art by visiting the Ninja museum and watch a Ninja performance. Mr. Minh Do or Mr. Giang Tran will tell you the stories of the ninja in the ancient times, about how they disguised themselves and excellently hid their weapons at ordinary places.
We’ll move on to Nara, Japan’s first capital city. Pay a visit to Tōdai-ji Temple, once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples and still houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. We will also stop by Nara Deer Park before continuing on to Kyoto.
Kyoto was Japan’s capital city from 794 to 1868 before the title was given to Tokyo city. For 12 centuries in history, Kyoto witnessed all the rise and fall of Japan.
At the heart of Kyoto lies Gion, the center of the city’s art. Gion is the most charming in the early evening, when the lanterns are lit and Geishas and Maikos flit about the back streets on their way to their appointments.
We’ll visit Kiyomizu Temple. The temple is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site, and is known for Otowa-no-taki waterfall, where visitors drink sacred waters that are believed to bestow health and longevity. Food vendors are available along the road that leads to the temple. You’ll find these foods Kyoto-authentic, from cinnamon rolls to mochis. (B/L/D)
Depart from Kyoto for Kobe by high-speed bullet train with a velocity of 320 kph. We’ll stop at Kobe Port and hear the story of how this city was thriving after the 1995 earthquake.
Also, a Japan’s famous Sake factory is not to be missed. You’ll be touring the factory and tasting three different kinds of Sake. What is also special is you will be tasting the world-renown Kobe beef – a delicious treat! (B/L/D)
Enjoy another day in Kobe. We will pay a visit to the old town Osaka. Perhaps spend the rest of your day in Shinsaibashi – the largest shopping area in Osaka where many boutiques and specialty shops are gathered, attracting local people and visitors. Depart Osaka for Los Angeles. (B/L)