To the Rhythm of the Rising Sun

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295
21 days
Availability : All year long
OSAKA
TOKYO

There may not be enough time in life to grasp the infinite intangible heritage of Japan nor run through its 6,852 islands. But we believe that a careful selection of destination, accomodation and activities can appease your curiosity through this relaxing and complete exploration of Japan.

  • Three weeks !

A trip that lets Japan enough time to reveal itself in its finest possible aspects: the perfect mix for those looking to live to the rhythm of the Rising Sun.

  • Comfort and balanced rhythm

Local & comfortable stays, along with great cuisine are not to be outdone in order to seize the real soul of Japan.  We carefully included many activities as well as free time, in both rural places and big cities.

 

  • Diverse and deep immersion

Day 1: Arrival in Osaka - Yôkoso!

As soon as you land under the rising sun, your guide hands you vouchers, a pocket wifi device, train tickets and all you need for a comfortable trip. Don’t waste a moment and set off to explore Osaka! Your first encounter with Japan will immediately seduce you. Stroll through the warm neighbourhoods of Namba, Amerika-Mura and Shin Sekai and revel in the famous street food of Osaka while sampling yummy takoyaki and steaming okonomiyaki.

Day 2: Osaka - Discovering the Southern Capital

Visit Osaka Castle and wander the small streets of Shinsaibashi. Lose yourself among the piles of crockery on Doguyasuji street, the fish of Kuromon and feel the atmosphere of this easy-going city where “people go broke to eat”! Osaka conceals secrets that lovers of arts and bonhomie appreciate. Do not hesitate to talk to people, here you will forget the cliché of a dull and serious Japan, inspired by the business centres of Tokyo. We also suggest the district of Dotombôri for night-owls.

Day 3: Koyasan - In the Footsteps of the Monk Kukai

In a spiritual atmosphere, you head to Danjo Garan whose scarlet red pagoda contrasts with the greenery that elegantly dresses Koyasan. Take the road to the Kongobuji and Banryu Tei temples: the largest stone gardens of Japan, whose beauty is matched only by their majestic austerity. Visit the Okuno-in Cemetery overlooking the mausoleum of the same name where the monk Kûkai finished his days.
 

Day 4: Fushimi Inari Shrine

Spend the morning in the Ginkaku-ji Pavilion stone garden before losing yourself along the old canal bordered by hundreds of cherry trees at the Nanzen-ji temple. The alley, known as the Philosophers Path, takes you to the Heian Jingû Shrine. In Teramachi, the heart of the imperial capital, dozens of merchants will offer you a sample of their signature dishes from their stalls while in the Nishiki Market. Considered to be some of the best food in Kyoto, you have to try!

Day 5: Kyoto's Western Jewels

Let’s head to Arashiyama, home to the bamboo forest and Tenryu-ji temple. A walk along the Katsura river gives you an overview of Japanese poetry and art-de-vivre. Let’s move towards the Kinkaku-ji “Golden Pavilion” where the golden glow is reflected in a zen pond. `Finally, the “Ryoan-ji” zen garden, will impress you with its famous stone garden. For those who prefer to find some calm, we recommend the peaceful Daitoku-ji temple to end the day.

Day 6: Excursion to Nara - the First Capital and Kingdom of Deer

Travel by train to Nara, the first capital of Japan. Hosted by the local cervids, visit the park where the main sights of the city are located. Start by the temple “Kofuku-ji” and its sumptuous pagoda. Then go to the Todai-ji with its imposing statue of Buddha. Then the Kasuga-Taisha Shrine along the stone lantern-lined path. For the more sporty, head to Mount Wakasuka which offers a magnificent view of the city, and have a sweet treat in the old district of Nara-machi”

Day 7: Kyoto - The Hidden Treasures of The East

Kyoto is full of spiritual wonders. With Zen, Shintô, Shingon schools coexisting in the city, each of them have their own emblematic places of worship. Head to the famous Fushimi Inari, the largest Shinto shrine in the archipelago, built more than 13 centuries ago. As you admire the thousands of vermilion torii that form a path winding the hill, you understand how important Inari Ookami, deity of cereals, rice, industry and trade, is in Japan.

Day 8: Hiroshima and Bound for Miyajima

The bullet train takes you to a place rich in emotions with a heavy history: Hiroshima. Sadly famous for being the first city in the world to be hit by an atomic bomb, Hiroshima has rebuilt itself with an energy and dynamism that will move and surprise you. You visit the Peace Memorial Park and its museum where you will be saddened by the photos of the tragedy but confident in Japan’s commitment to peace. Tonight you will go to Miyajima to experience a change of atmosphere!
 

Day 9: Torii in Miyajima

As soon as the sun rises, you witness the spectacle of the famous Itsukushima shrine that seems to float on the inland sea. This panorama is considered to be one of the three most beautiful views in Japan. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can understand why facing its majestic vermilion torii. Afterwards, climb Mount Misen. The short hike can be sweeter by cable car, you will still be stunned by the magnificent panorama of Hiroshima Bay.
 

Day 10: Nagoya - the Samurai Who Never Sleeps

Today, start with Nagoya Castle, then head to the Osu-Kannon temple and stroll through the shopping mall to taste the best Karaage fried chicken in the city! If you have time, visit the famous Shinto shrine of Atsuta which contains one of Japan’s national treasures, the sword called Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. At the end of the day, go to Oasis 21 to the glass platform for a view of the Nagoya tower and the lively Sakae district.

Day 11: Hiking in the Rice Fields: Nakasendo

The second hike of your trip awaits you! In the heart of the Japanese Alps countryside, enjoy the medieval road of Nakasendo, once used by samurai, merchants and high-ranking dignitaries. Let yourself be immersed in the rural lifestyle following the slow-paced rhythm by the rice fields. You spend the night in a traditional minshuku inn in the village of Magome and taste dishes made with the vegetables from the garden.
 

Day 12: Second Day of the Nakasendo Hike & Medieval Villages

The jewels of Nakasendo are its medieval villages. The first on your way is the village of Magome-juku, and its traditional wooden houses. Keep on walking through a magnificent wood to the next village, Tsumago-juku, one of the best-preserved villages on the trek. You travel back in time to the period when Tokyo was still called Edo and discover the Wakihonjin history museum that allows you to discover the life in the Kiso Valley during the 19th century. If you have enough time left tonight, consider visiting the majestic “black crown castle” of the next historical city: Matsumoto. You can also take your time and enjoy it tomorrow morning.
 

Day 13: Takayama - the Pearl of the Japanese Alps

Take the bus to the charming town of Takayama in the middle of the Japanese Alps. Start strolling along the river right away and make the most of the local market and its various mountain products. Feel like a samurai! In the afternoon, go visit the traditional alleys where plenty of sake distilleries await – you won’t be able to refuse a drink! Tonight, you enjoy an immersive stay in a traditional ryokan where the water of the thermal bath heals your body and soul.
 

Day 14: Takayama and Its Thatched Roofs

People of Takayama are proud of the World Heritage status they received for all the cultural treasures like Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum with many traditional houses with interesting architecture. Takayama’s massive farmhouses are named after their steep thatched roofs which resemble a pair of hands joined in prayer gassho. They were moved here from nearby Shirakawago village that you can also reach by a little local bus.

Day 15: Kanazawa - the Last Samurai

Today, you take the shinkansen towards Kanazawa. You will feel the nostalgia of old Japan by strolling its numerous historical streets. Let’s wander in Kenrokuen Garden, considered by many to be the most beautiful garden in Japan. Nostalgia will pursue you to the Geisha district of Higashi Chaya. Savour some freshly caught fish, carved by the hands of sushi and sashimi masters in the central Omicho market.
 

Day 16: Tokyo, from Neon Lights to Lanterns

Here you are in Shinjuku, the temple of Japanese business which is worth a detour. The neighborhood invites you to stroll everywhere, like in the Golden Gai, where you can feel the unique atmosphere of Tokyo in the 1930s.

Your journey continues south towards Shibuya. Go ahead and visit the majestic Shinto site Meiji-jingu in the eccentric Harajuku district: a breath of fresh air in the capital and a shock of eras guaranteed! Modern Japan quickly catches you up. Let it surprise you. The excess of Tokyo also leads you to explore the favorite neighborhoods of Japanese youth like Akihabara.

Among the off-the-wall and kawaii-dressed youngsters, you notice many trendy boutiques and cafes whose offbeat themes surprise you. You can try to understand this Tokyo at the antipodes of our Western cities by discovering a maid cafe!

Are you going to have tea with the owls and the cats? Or a bowl of steaming noodles between neon lights and lanterns?

Day 17: Tokyo, the soul of Japan

Visit the main temple of Tokyo, the Sensô-ji, whose large vermilion gate is a symbol of the Asakusa district. The neighborhoods around Ueno such as Okachimachi or Ginza will give you a glimpse of Japanese luxury craftsmanship. «Shitamachi»: the «below city», that of ordinary people, and merchants used to contrast with the «Yamanote» quarters of yesteryear nobles and lords. But you can easily move from one to the other and enjoy the endless possibilities of this world-city …
 

Day 18: Tokyo at Large!

With your local guide, you are free to suggest and decide where to go. Lose yourself in the excess of this capital and the multitude of activities it offers. You can visit museums, temples or gardens; go shopping; discover culinary specialities, dive into the heart of manga and samurai culture, or stroll through the small streets and soak up a Tokyo – where temples rub shoulders with skyscrapers! The city that never sleeps will seduce you.
 

Day 19: Excursion to Kamakura - Buddha's Feet in Water

Kamakura is Buddha feet in the water: A memorable excursion very close to Tokyo where you can grasp the veneration that Japanese Buddhism has for the goddess Kannon. The temples and gardens which are dedicated to the god are innumerable and dot the city. The seaside resort will also be appreciated by gourmands of all kinds.
 

Day 20: Last Night in Tokyo: The city of all possibilities

Free day! Free to lose yourself in the excessiveness of the capital and the multitude of activities it offers. You can visit museums, temples & gardens, go shopping, discover amazing cuisine and crafts, dive into the heart of manga or samurai culture … or simply stroll through the full-of-contrasts small streets of Tokyo where old the temples rub shoulders with skyscrapers. The city that never sleeps might also seduce the noctambules among you. Gather your last memories !
 

Day 21: Sayônara Japan - We already miss you

We believe your biological clock somehow merge with that of the rising sun during these 3 weeks… We hope to see you soon for another spiritual and traditional trip that could lead you to walk on the Kumanokodo trail for exemple.

Budget

Includes

  • 20 Nights Hotel Accommodation
  • 20 breakfasts 2 dinners
  • Your personal road book
  • Rental of a wifi router
  • Transfer by public transport from the airport to the hotel with a English-speaking guide
  • Japan Rail Pass for 21 days
  • Contactless card for ground transporation charged with 1500JPY
  • 2-days transportation card for Koyasan
  • An english-speaking guide in Kyoto for the whole day (8h)
  • An english-speaking guide in Tokyo for the whole day (8h)

Excludes

  • International flights
  • Entrances to sites other than those mentioned as included
  • Meals, except those mentioned as included, as well as drinks
  • Transport other than that mentioned as included (taxis, ferry ...)
  • Tourist tax, between 100 and 500 yen per night and per person, collected on site in cash in hotels in major cities
  • The thermal tax, about 150 yen per night and per person, collected in thermal cities in cash
  • The amount to be paid in cash for baggage shipments (see above luggage delivery slip)
  • (Optional) Concierge service 7/7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help you book certain services and activities (except restaurants, be careful, some establishments may refuse reservations)
  • Your personal expenses
  • Tips (mainly for non-Japanese guide or assistants)
  • Insurance (repatriation, cancellation)