Day 1 – “YOKOSO” Welcome to Japan
On your arrival at the international airport, The Vacation Studio’s representative with receive you to do the meet and greet. Later they will transfer you to the designated hotel in Tokyo. The rest of the day is free at leisure for you to get acclimatized to the new climate and new time zone. Overnight stay at your hotel in Tokyo.
Day 2 – Tokyo City Tour with Sushi-Making Experience
Today after Breakfast, you will be taken to the Asakusa Kannon Temple, an active place of worship where you can see the largest paper lantern in Japan. You will also be able to explore the Nakamise Market, which is located right after the temple's outer gates. It is a traditional-style shopping street with centuries of history. Next, you will have the chance to enjoy a sushi-making experience with a professional sushi chef. Whatever you prepare, you will get to eat! Late, we will proceed to the Tsukiji Outer Market, where various restaurants and shops line the streets. Then, pay a visit to the Imperial Palace, the former site of Edo Castle, and the current residence of Japan's Imperial Family. In the afternoon, we will visit the world's tallest self-supporting steel tower. At 333 meters (1092.5 feet) high, Tokyo Tower is 9 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. You will be able to get a bird's eye view of the city from 150 meters (492 feet) up at the main observatory deck.
Note: For Sushi Making Experience, if you are vegetarian, on a gluten-free diet, have a seafood allergy, or don't eat raw fish, We can inform the chefs at the time of booking, for them to prepare other ingredient options.
Day 3 – Fuji Five Lakes Tour & Mt Fuji
On this day, we will travel to the Fuji Five Lakes area to experience the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. This is one of the most popular locations to view the Shibazakura flowers – a very picturesque location with over 800,000 stalks of pink moss spanning the land with the majestic Mount Fuji in the background. Don't forget your camera! We will then travel to the near-by Lake Kawaguchiko for the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum. Here, we can see elaborate Kimono designs by Kubota Itchiku such as his unfinished "Symphony of Light", a collection of what should have been 80 kimonos, of which only 36 were completed. This series is meant to show the 4 seasons and, though incomplete, is truly an inspiring work of art with each kimono blending seamlessly into the next. We will continue our journey closer to Mt. Fuji, enjoying the changing scenery, from thick vegetation to lowlands and rolling clouds. We will stop at Mt. Fuji 5th station (depending on weather) to admire the distinguished peak. Finish the day with a relaxing stay at the Onsen Hotel where you can soak in the soothing waters of a hot spring bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
Day 4 – Matsumoto & Yudanaka (Snow Monkey Park)
In the morning, we will travel to Matsumoto. Visit Matsumoto Castle, also known as "Black Crow Castle" because of its black exterior. Inside, we can see the best examples of the wooden construction of a traditional Japanese-style castle. This is one of the most complete castles surviving in Japan. At over 400 years old, it is a marvel that its mainly wooden structures are still mostly intact. We will then visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park, famous for the monkey's that enjoy warm baths. The main pool in which the monkeys gather is reserved specifically for the monkeys so they can feel safe there. After observing the monkeys, enjoy the nearby onsen yourself! Once again, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the hot spring waters. Take note of how the water differs from your previous experience; each onsen town in Japan has a unique mineral blend and can sometimes vary even within the same town.
Day 5 – Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
After a sumptuous Breakfast, proceed to witness the highlight of this entire tour, the Alpine Route.
By popular demand, you will delight in the breathtaking sight of the Alpine Route. Here, you can enjoy the scenic views of mountains and winter landscapes, wildlife, hot springs, and local cuisine. The best way to appreciate the full route involves many different types of transportation including our private tour bus, cable car, trolley bus, ropeway, and of course, your own two feet. The main attraction here is the snow corridor where the walls reach heights of 20 meters (65.5ft). A section of this path is available for pedestrians to enjoy from mid-April to mid-June. Along the route, you can also enjoy the site of Mt. Tateyama, a part of the Japanese Alps, and Mikurigaike pond. The pond is frozen over most of the year but in July and October, it is smooth as glass and reflects the mountain on its surface. Along this route, you can also see Buddhist relics which visitors have been leaving behind for many years to commemorate their visit.
Day 6 – Takayama City Tour
After Breakfast & today, we will enjoy the Takayama City Tour.
Takayama is famous for its artisans and craftsmen with traditions continuing to this day from the 9th century. The day starts off with a visit to the Morning Market, where snacks, farm products, and local crafts are sold. The Takayama Yatai (floats) Kaikan Museum features elaborately decorated floats, which are over 700 years old. The Yatai demonstrate the legendary craftsmanship of Takayama. Later on we will make a visit to the Kusakabe Heritage House, which is one of the oldest merchant homes in Takayama open to the public. Lastly is the exploration of Sanmach Suji, one of the three Old Town streets that have survived in a beautiful state with some businesses that have been around for centuries.
Day 7 – Shirakawa-go & Kanazawa Tour – Train to Kyoto
Shirakawa-go is home of the UNESCO-designated Gassho-styled ("praying hands") farmhouses. First is the Shiroyama Viewpoint, where great views of Ogimachi Village can be seen. Next is the Gassho-zukuri Minkaen open-air museum where farmhouses and other structures were relocated to the area. The Wada-ke House was owned by one of the wealthiest families in Ogimachi and is now a public museum. The Kenrokuen in Kanazawa is classified as one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan. This afternoon we board the Thunderbird train for a rail journey to Kyoto for two nights.
Day 8 – Kyoto City Tour with Geisha District
Today after breakfast, get ready to enjoy the whole day visiting the major sights of Kyoto city.
Today we will start our tour of Kyoto, once the capital of Japan and still considered its cultural center. First, we will visit Arashiyama to see the Tenryuji Temple, where you can have a glimpse of a traditional Zen landscape garden design. Then, proceed through the dense Sagano Bamboo Forest, pass several small shrines, tea shops, and private houses before arriving at the Togetsukyo Bridge over Hozu River. Continue on to the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) covered with 18-karat gold leaf. This three-story structure was originally built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. At the Nishijin Textile Center, you can view displays of kimonos, watch an elegant kimono fashion show, and learn how they are made. Our group will tour the Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its large wooden stage that sits 13 meters (42.6 ft) above a hillside. Visitors are granted with a charming view of numerous cherry trees that come with spring, as well as a beautiful scene of Kyoto City in the distance. Lastly, we will tour Gion, a famous geisha district in Kyoto lined with many restaurants and teahouses called Ochaya.
Day 9 – Kyoto – Green Tea Ceremony with a Maiko, Nara Deer Park) & Osaka Visit
The day begins with a green tea ceremony and a meet- and-greet with a maiko – an apprentice geisha. You will have photo-taking opportunities and a chance to interact with the maiko. After that, make your way to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The shrine is famous for its thousands of stunning vermilion torii gates that are lined along a 4 km (2.5 mile) long tunnel, which was even featured in the film "Memoirs of a Geisha". This complex wraps around a bamboo wilderness that consists of mountains, streams, and ponds, making it the perfect backdrop for a scenic hike. We will then travel to Nara, where we will go to the Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in Japan. The temple also houses one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha at 15 meters (49 feet) high. Nearby, explore the surrounding Deer Park, filled with over 1,000 Sika Deer. Our final stop of the day will be in Osaka. We will spend some time in Dotonbori, a popular shopping, entertainment, and food district. It is known for the hundreds of neon and mechanized signs that line its streets. Our group will also stop by Shinasaibashi, one of Osaka's oldest shopping destinations.
Day 10 – Time to Say Bye to Japan
After enjoying breakfast at the Hotel. Checkout from the hotel & transfer to Kansai International Airport. Board Flight and Bring Sweet memories back home.