Tokyo – Mt. Fuji – Nagoya – ISE – Nara
Kyoto (bullet train) – Kobe – Himeji Castle – Osaka
Tour: April 02 – April 11, 2020 Price: $3,795 + Tax
Inclusive of international airfares & daily meals
Your local guide: Journalist Do Thong Minh or Philosopher Tran Duc Giang, with extensive knowledge
and over 50 years' living experience in Japan
Mt Fuji and Cherry Blossom
Check in with AV Travel tour guide at LAX and depart for Tokyo, Japan.
Welcome to Tokyo, one of the busiest cities in the world day and night. Check-in Hotel and dinner (D)
Start our cherry blossom (Sakura)-viewing trip by visiting Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, the most beautiful place for sakura-viewing. The Garden is divided into 3 areas, each of which is influenced by the English, French or traditional Japanese style. The Shinjuku Garden features more than 2000 sakura trees of over 60 varieties with numerous colors, including green. Cherry blossoms are fragile and only last for 2-3 weeks (normally from late March until mid-April). During this time, not only the Japanese but people from all over the world also come to Japan to enjoy the delicate flower.
Continue to visit Ushiku Daibutsu, recognised in the Guiness Book of Records as the world’s largest standing statue of Buddha. Visit Senso-ji, the oldest and most popular Buddhist temple in Tokyo dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. Enjoy sightseeing in Tokyo night time. (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.
Visit the old village Oshino Hakkai which bears Japanese traditional architecture and sits at the foot of Mt. Fuji. There are plenty of local food vendors that will definitely satisfy your taste buds. Embark on a boat trip on Lake Kawaguchiko and have a wonderful view of Mt. Fuji. You will enjoy walking along the pathway that leads to the Peace Garden, with sakura trees lining up on both sides.
We’ll be staying at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). After dinner, you can enjoy bathing in the onsens (thermal hotsprings) that Mount Fuji has to offer, and have all of your tiredness after a long day rinsed out. (B/L/D)
Transfer to Nagoya. Visit the Samurai village. (B/L/D)
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 used to be a popular destination for pilgrimages. Purportedly the home of the Sacred Mirror, the shrine is one of Shinto’s holiest and most important sites. Especially, 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, forever ancient and original.
During 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. Our local tour guide will tell you the stories of the Ninjas in the ancient times, about how they protected their chiefs (Shogun) 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 Todaiji 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 moving 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. (B/L/D)
We’ll visit Kiyomizu Temple. The temple is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site, and is known for Otowanotaki waterfall, where visitors drink sacred waters that is 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 the flavorful cinnamon rolls to the soft and sweet mochis.
Depart from Kyoto for Kobe by high-speed bullet train with a velocity of 300 kph. (B/L/D)
Enjoying Sakura at Osaka Castle would be a fantastic moment during your sightseeing in Osaka. The castle and trees are beautifully lit up in the evening, and you can enjoy a memorable boat cruise along the moat that surrounds the castle and mirrors the delicate trees.
Start your journey in Kobe city. Kobe, scene of the worst earthquake in the living memory of most Japanese, has rebuilt and revitalized to form one of the most delightful and peaceful cities you can wish to visit. Historically, due to its port, Kobe has a long history of foreign contact, which has imbued its people with a very global outlook and attitude. It is also home to the famous Kobe Beef, which is known for its tenderness, sweet flavor and fine texture. Dine at a restaurant specialized in Kobe beef – a delicious treat!
Also, a Japan’s famous Sake brewery is not to be missed. You’ll be touring the brewery and tasting three different kinds of Sake. (B/L/D)
Visit Himeji castle, which is Japan’s foremost historic castle, was built in the 17th century, and became the first site in Japan to be registered in the World Cultural Heritage listings in 1993. The stunning appearance, and high level of detail of this wooden architectural masterpiece have made Himeji Castle known all over the world. Furthermore, the castle is surrounded by Sakura trees. Each spring, the trees flower simultaneously, covering Himeji castle in a sea of beautiful pink blossoms. Early April is the one chance each year to see Himeji Castle with its cherry blossoms in full bloom, one of Japan’s truly beautiful and iconic sights. The sight of this amazing scenery will live long in the memory as a memento of your visit to Japan.
Perhaps spend the rest of your day in Dotonbori – Namba – 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)
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