Osaka – Kobe – Himeji – Shikoku Island – Kurashiki – Okayama – Hiroshima
Dogo – Kombira – Iya – Kochi – Kotohira – Kato – Osaka
Tour: Oct 23 – Nov 02, 2018 Price: $3,995 + Tax
The price includes airline tickets. (The tour extends 11 days/9 nights)
Check-in at Los Angeles Airport. Depart for Osaka, Japan. AV Travel Tour Leader will assist and escort travelers throughout the trip.
Arrive in Osaka in the early evening. After hotel check-in and dinner, if time allows, our guide will take you out to explore Osaka’s night time. (D)
Start your journey in KOBE city (home to the famous Kobe Beef). Dine at a restaurant specialized in Kobe beef. Visit and take pictures at the Kobe Harbour, gaze at the beauty of a city that was destroyed by an earthquake over 20 years ago. But today, Kobe has put on a completely new look and become a developed city of Japan.
Visit the Head Temple of Nenbutsushu Buddhist Sect of Japan (the Royal Grand Hall of Buddhism) with a scenic beauty. Nenbutsushu Buddhist Sect of Japan is supposed to be the largest temple in Japan to date. If you come here in the sakura season, you will be amazed by thousands of blooming sakura trees here.
Visit Himeji Castle, a hilltop Japanese castle complex located in the city of Himeji. The castle dates to 1333, when Akamatsu Norimura built a fort on top of Himeyama hill. The fort was dismantled and rebuilt as Himeyama Castle in 1346, and then remodeled into Himeji Castle two centuries later. Himeji castle is regarded as the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture. The castle is frequently known as “White Egret Castle” or “White Heron Castle” because of its brilliant white exterior and supposed resemblance to a bird taking flight. Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and it was registered in 1993 as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. (B/L/D)
Visit the history museum and the swords that have been listed as Japan’s national properties. Visit the Shizutani School and Ushimado Olive Garden – a wonderful place for stunning vistas of the Seto Inland Sea. (B/L/D)
Visit the Korakuen garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, along with Kenroku-en and Kairaku-en. Embark on the journey to Bika tourist attraction. Visit Mount Washu, a small mountain from which you have a beautiful view of the Seto Inland Sea and the Seto bridge. There are two observatories near the top. The view from the observatories is absolutely beautiful, you can see several small islands in the sea. It is extremely romantic at night when you take a walk along the old streets and feel like you are back into the 16th-17th century, with sakura trees on both sides. Visitors have very inspiring moments going shopping at night markets and embrace the nightlife of Okayama. (B/L/D)
Visit Senkoji Temple and pray for those who died of two atomic bombings in World War II. Visit Hiroshima city and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
Visit Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The shrine is located on the island of Miyajima, in the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture.
The dramatic gate, or torii, of Itsukushima Shrine is one of Japan’s most popular tourist attractions, and the most recognizable and celebrated feature of the Itsukushima Shrine, and the view of the gate in front of the island’s Mount Misen is classified as one of the Three Views of Japan. The torii appears to be floating only at high tide. When the tide is low, it is approachable by foot from the island. Gathering shellfish near the gate is also popular at low tide. At night, powerful lights on the shore illuminate the torii. The Itsukushima Shrine was built in the 6th century. (B/L/D)
Visit the Peace Park, Onomichi, and a garden that is known for its sweet and seedless oranges and cumquat. Transfer to Dogo on a Hi-speed Botchan train with a velocity of 300km (186mi)/hour. After dinner, have all of your tiredness of a long day rinsed out as you bathe in the Dogo Hot Spring. Among the public baths, the Dogo Hot Spring is designated as an important national cultural asset and the structure at the hot spring is highly valued as well. (B/L/D)
Journey to Iya valley, known as one of the three most remote places in Japan and the place where the defeated Heike warriors took refuge at the end of the 12th century. Iya is famous for the Kazura Bridge (or Vine Bridge), which was made of vines so that it could be easily cut to prevent pursuers from crossing. It was built by samurai who escaped into this area around 800 years ago. Every step on the bridge is met by shaking and rocking. If you look down at your feet, you will see the river far below from between the bridge’s logs. Visiting this bridge will absolutely bring you a thrilling experience.
Visit the ASAHI beer factory. Visit Matsuyama and go white water rafting on OBOKE Borge with spectacular and sacred sceneries. Most notably, join us for a banquet with a Geisha performance which will surely bring you a memorable experience. (B/L/D)
Visit the Museum of Culture, where artists will bring you a brilliant Yosakoi dance performance (similar to Vietnam’s puppetry). Visitors can take part in a Yosakoi dance with the instruction of the artists while putting on costumes and holding traditional “Naruko” bird clappers. Try the Udon noodles, a local delicacy, perfect for warming the body and mind.
The Shikoku island is known for its whale sashimi and bonito fish and as this island has developed the fishing industry for a long time. After lunch, we will explore Konpira Shrine, which is renowned for its challenging 1,368 step climb that tests pilgrims’ endurance and determination. Despite the challenging climb, Konpira Shrine is visited by many locals and tourists. It is a Shrine of faith and culture and there are many cultural properties located along the route to distract climbers from their fatigue. (B/L/D)
Among 88 temples on Shikoku island, the most important and unique one is Temple No. 75, Zentsuji. Zentsuji’s enormity is not only felt in the area of the temple complex, but also in the monuments dedicated to Shikoku’s most famous monk. Visiting the temple combines history, religion, and architectural achievement, making for a destination not soon to be forgotten.
Continue on to the journey, you will enjoy an AWA Odori dance performance before boarding onto a cruise to Awaji island. Return to Osaka. (B/L/D)
Explore the well-known Kuromon fish market in Osaka. Go shopping at the Namba – Dotonbori – Shinasibashi complex before heading for the airport and returning to the U.S. (B/L)