Team Travel Kuramoto


Go back

16 Days
Authentic Japan
(Alps, Wakayama and Ise)

Itinerary Summary

    Day 1 – Arrival in Japan

    Yokoso! Welcome to Japan. After immigration and customs formalities, you will be greeted by your private guide. Transfer to your accommodation in central Tokyo by private car. After check-in, you will be free to explore at your leisure.

    Night in Tokyo

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 2 – Tokyo Highlights

    Follow your guide around Tokyo, one of the best, most entertaining, most enchanting cities in the world.

    The Tsukiji Fish Markets were relocated to Tsukiji from Nihonbashi in 1923 after the great Tokyo Fire. For almost a century, Tsukiji has sustained both the residents of Tokyo as well as the restaurants by offering fresh seafood at market prices. Over the years, Tsukiji has become one of the largest markets in the world.

    Lunch Time – Head to Ganko Sushi restaurant for a cooking lesson. First, learn about the history and fundamental knowledge of Sushi. A chef will then explain and demonstrate the techniques, before you start making your own sushi under his guidance. 

    Asakusa is the center of Tokyo’s Shitamachi (literally “low city”), one of Tokyo’s districts, where an atmosphere of the Tokyo of past decades survives. Asakusa’s main attraction is Sensoji temple, one of the oldest in Tokyo. The temple is approached via the Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries.

    Next, head to Meiji Shrine. Being the largest Shrine in Tokyo, the shrine is dedicated to the divine souls of Emperor Meiji. The walk through the Sacred Forest will calm your spirit, especially in central Tokyo.

    Right outside Meiji Shrine, you will find Harajuku. The district  has some of the most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles. Make sure you go to Takeshita Dori (Street), which is lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques and used clothes stores. You may also see many people lining up to get into the trendy crepe stands, pancake shops and other cafes. Stop by “Kiddy Land” , the largest toy store in Tokyo.

    Shibuya is known to be a shopping and entertainment area and hence brings many young Japanese to spend their free time and money. The Shibuya Crossing in front of Shibuya Station has at least 2,000 people cross it every time the light turns green, and it always makes for a great photo or video opportunity.

    Night in Tokyo

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 3 – Kanazawa

    Today you will depart from Tokyo and head north to Kanazawa.

    Kanazawa used to be a city of merchants, artisans and samurai. To this day, the city retains its traditional atmosphere and offers some of the best-preserved Geisha districts and Samurai houses.

    Omicho Market has been Kanazawa’s largest fresh food market since the Edo Period. Today, it is a busy and colourful network of covered streets lined by about 200 shops and stalls. Lunchtime at the market.

    Kenrokuen garden is classified as one of Japan’s “Three most beautiful landscape gardens” alongside Mito’s Kairakuen Garden and Okayama’s Korakuen Garden. The spacious grounds of Kenrokuen used to be the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle. The name Kenrokuen means “Garden of the six Sublimities” referring to spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and broad views, which according to the landscape theory, are the 6 essential attributes that make up a perfect garden.

    Next, visit Kanazawa Castle. Kanazawa was one of the more important castles in the Edo period and was ruled over by 14 generations of the Maeda clan. The castle burnt down several times over the centuries, but the garden dates from 1788.

    Higashi Chagai ya is a traditional Japanese area with many Japanese style houses, and where once Samurai and Geisha walked the streets.

    End of the tour at your accommodation. Evening at your leisure.

    Night in Kanazawa

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 4 – Noto Peninsula – Craft and Nature

    Today you will start visiting the Noto Peninsula and its incredible natural surroundings. Wajima City is the largest city in the Okunoto region, which makes up the northern half of the Noto Peninsula . The city is centred around a protected harbour on the Sea of Japan coast and is most famous for its morning market and lacquerware.

    The Wajima Nuri Kaikan has two floors, and only the museum on the second floor requires an entrance fee. The first floor is a shopping area, where a large number of lacquer products are on sale. The Wajima Museum of Lacquer Art (Urushi), located a bit outside the city centre, has a wider variety of lacquerware on display in a nice atmosphere conducive to admiring the works.

    The Kiriko Hall is a museum for the massive illuminated festival floats known as “Kiriko.” The floats are used between July and September during summer and autumn festivals of the Noto Peninsula.

    Workshop: Wajima is the perfect place to try your hand at decorating your own lacquer chopsticks. Come up with your design and get the hang of scraping into the lacquer with a sharp object resembling a pen. The finished chopsticks are handed back over to the experts to get them filled out with real gold leaf.

    Leaving Wajima, you will head to the Shiroyone Senmaida Rice terraces. Overlooking the Sea of Japan, the scenery of 1,004 small rice paddies on steep slopes along the seaside is splendid and it was also chosen as a “Special Place of Scenic Beauty.

    The final stop of the day will be Suzu eden mura. In this area of Japan, the locals have been producing salt from seawater for centuries. The methods by which the salt is extracted from the water have changed over the years. In the Okunoto Sea Salt Village, however, the oldest methods have been kept alive. The traditional Agehama salt production taking place in Okunoto, is the only of its kind in the country.

    End of the tour at your accommodation in Kanazawa.

    Night in Kanazawa

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 5 – Shirakawago village (Unesco Site)

    Today, head further into the Japan Alps, visiting Shirakawa Go village.

    Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, the village is famous for its traditional Gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. A private car will take you to the old gassho-zukuri style houses situated in this mountain village. After visiting the village, you will head to Takayama where you will spend the night.

    Night in Takayama

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 6 – Takayama – free day

    Takayama retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town. It now ranks as one of the prime candidates among travelers wishing to add a rural element into their itineraries.

    Located on the riverbank, Takayama morning market sells a variety of foods, souvenirs and handmade goods. It’s a great way to take a refreshing morning walk and sample the town’s specialties.

    Takayama Jinya is a beautiful traditional Japanese style building, the Takayama Jinya used to serve as Takayama’s government office during the Edo Period, when the city stood under the direct control of the shogun due to its valuable timber resources.

    Sanmachi Street survives in a particularly well-preserved state with many old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, some of which have been in business for centuries.

    The Matsuri no Mori Museum showcases the key aspects of the Takayama Festival, which takes place for two days each spring and autumn. The festival is known as one of Japan’s three most beautiful, along with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and the Chichibu Yomatsuri.

    Night in Takayama

    Inclusions: Accommodation and Breakfast.

    Day 7 – Mie Prefecture and Ise National Park

    Today you will transfer from Takayama to Toba city. This rural area is known for its numerous artisan villages featuring traditional knives, Washi paper, etc.

    Your first stop today will be Seki City. Since the Mino sword-making tradition was founded in the Seki area, this place has been synonymous with hand-crafted blades. However, when Japan embraced modernity in the early Meiji era, samurai were banned from carrying swords, and in order to survive, Artisans diversified into knives, scissors, cutlery, and other tools, for which Seki is still renowned.

    Mino washi is a traditional papercraft in Gifu. The ancient technique used, produces a fine paper that balances thinness with strength and beauty. Japan’s last feudal military government, the Tokugawa Shogunate, favoured this paper. Mino is also famous for its porcelain made in Tono. There are fifteen different types, with the most popular styles being oribe, shino and kizeto ware. This tradition, which likely dates back to the 7th century, now produces over 60 percent of Japan’s porcelain ware.

    Gujo Hachiman offers visitors a look at the traditional, small-town atmosphere of rural Japan. Best known for its summer dance festival and its historic waterways, the town has many small museums and galleries, as well as temples and shrines, including Jionzenji Temple with its beautiful Zen garden, which earns Gujo Hachiman its “Little Kyoto” nickname.

    Night in Toba

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 8 – Ise Shima National Park

    oday, you will go on a day trip to the Ise National Park. Visit the incredible shrines, walk the old districts, have lunch with an “Ama” (woman shellfish divers) in a hut and visit the Ago bay famous for its pearl production.

    Ago is a scenic, island-dotted bay with a rugged coastline, located at the southern tip of the Shima Peninsula. The bay is famous for pearl cultivation with many oyster rafts floating in the water. The art of pearl cultivation was first mastered by Mikimoto Kokichi in 1893. Mikimoto was born and grew up on the Shima Peninsula, not far from Ago Bay.

    For lunch, head to the Ama Hut Satoumian. Ama means “sea woman” in Japanese. They are Japanese female divers famous for collecting pearls. Along with pearls, The Ama used to also pick-up their lunch at the bottom of the sea (shells, etc.) and grill them in their huts by the sea. Today the tradition continues and travellers can now enjoy an “ama” lunch.

    Next, visit the Ise Shrines. Formally known as the Toyouke Daijingu, the Outer Shrine encompasses the Shinto deity and guardian of food, housing and clothing. The deity provides the food for the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu Omikami, who is enshrined at the Inner Shrine, four kilometres to the south. The Outer Shrine is traditionally visited before the Inner Shrine.

    The Inner Shrine (Naiku) enshrines Shinto’s most venerated deity, the Sun Goddess (Amaterasu Omikami), and is considered Japan’s most sacred shrine. The Inner Shrine is believed to have been established over 2,000 years ago. Both the Inner and Outer Shrine are rebuilt from scratch every 20 years according to an ancient Shinto tradition.The tour will end at your accommodation in Ise.

    Night in Ise

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 9 – Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails (Day 1)

    Leave the Ise National Park and head south in the Wakayama prefecture to the entrance of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails. For this first day on the trail, you will visit 2 of the 3 main temples and walk on the ancient stone-paved road.

    Found at the mouth of the Kumano River, whose waters flow from the sacred Kii mountains. Hayatama Taisha is one of the 3 most important shrines along the Kumano Kodo Trails and it has been in this spot since the 12th century.

    Following Hayatama Taisha, visit Nachi Taisha Shrine. The particularity here is that you can find both a Shinto shrine and a Buddhist temple on the same site. Nachi Taisha also boasts the tallest waterfall in Japan, a three-story pagoda.

    Daimon Zaka is an impressive cobblestone staircase heading to the Nachi Taisha shrine. The path is lined with century-old tree bamboo groves. Walking the Daimon zaka really feels like you’re going back to the time the pilgrims walked the grounds.

    Night in Katsura Onsen

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 10 – Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails (Day 2)

    For your second day on the pilgrimage trail, you will first visit the final and most important of the 3 temples: Hongu Taisha. After lunch, enjoy the pilgrimage road along the river. The Kumano River is part of the Kumano Kodo and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Your first stop of the day will be Hongu Taisha. The pavilions of the shrine are an outstanding example of Japanese Buddhist architecture, which uses careful craftsmanship to join shrine pieces together (as opposed to nails) and only natural materials to blend in with its natural surroundings. The most notable feature of the Hongu Taisha is the walkway that joins the pavilions. This is where pilgrims would receive teaching or meditate. It is regarded as sacred as this where a saint is enlightened.

    Visitors to Kumano can travel down the Kumano-gawa river from Hongu Taisha Grand shrine to Kumano Hayatama Taisha, in the same manner as emperors long ago. The river is part of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Night in Katsura Onsen

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 11 – Koyasan – the sacred mountain and Buddhist experience

    Koyasan is the mountain headquarters of the Shingon Buddhist sect in Japan, which was founded in the 8th century. After visiting the large temple complex, you will spend the night in a temple and experience a real Buddhist retreat.

    Due to being such an important and popular pilgrimage destination, Koyasan offers temple lodging. Whilst many temples throughout Japan offer temple lodging, Koyasan is perhaps one of the best places to experience a simple and traditional lifestyle of Buddhist monks. Staying at one of the temples, you will eat vegetarian monk’s cuisine and attend morning prayers, all to get an insight into their lifestyles.

    Night in a temple at Koyasan

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 12 – Osaka, fun and food

    After the morning celebrations at Koyasan temple, you will take a scenic train and head to Osaka for the day. The city is known as the Gourmet Capital of the country and a great day trip on your way to Kyoto.

    The heart and soul of Osaka, Dotonburi is the city’s colourful, famed tourist hotspot renowned for its bright lights, extravagant signage and a huge array of restaurants and bars.

    The Kuromon market has about 150 shops that predominantly sell fish, meat products with other shops also purveying traditional sweets and low-priced clothes and homeware. The market dates back to the Edo period, and today makes for an atmospheric place to stroll around, shop and eat a variety of different street foods.

    After visiting Osaka, you will take the train and head to Kyoto your next stop.

    Night in Kyoto

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 13 – Kyoto Sightseeing

    Today, with your guide, visit some of the must-sees of the city. Start with northern Kyoto:

    Arashiyama is one of the popular areas of Kyoto. Here you can see the Togetsukyo Bridge (literally means – the Bridge that crosses to the Moon) as well as the famous Bamboo Forest.

    Tenryuji Temple is the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. It was ranked first among the city’s five great Zen temples and is now registered as a World Heritage Site. Tenryuji’s garden survived the centuries in its original form.

    Next visit of the day, Ryoanji Temple is a place of contemplation with its amazing stone garden. Have time to sit down and just relax by looking at the Zen Garden and not thinking about anything. There are 15 Stones in this Zen Garden, but from no matter what angle you look at this garden, you can only see a total of 14 stones at one time.

    A few minutes from Ryoanji Temple. you will visit Japan’s most iconic Temple: The Kinkakuji Temple ( Golden Pavilion). The wooden architecture of the building  is covered in thin layers of pure gold and is surrounded by a Buddhist pond that is perfect and represents the pure land of Buddha.

    Early in the evening, you will return to central Kyoto and take part in a Kaiseki dinner with a Geisha.

    Night in Kyoto

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, dinner, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 14 – Kyoto Sightseeing and food workshop

    Today, you will continue your exploration of Kyoto.

    See the World Heritage Gates of the Nijo Castle and the squeaking (Nightingale) floorboards that alerted residents of the castle that enemies were approaching. Nijo Castle was built by the Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu, in 1603 to protect Kyoto Imperial Palace and as a residence for the shogun when he visited Kyoto.

    Nishiki Market is a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, this lively retail market specializes in all things food-related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialities, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. After shopping for the ingredients, you will head to the cooking studio and start making one of Japanese household staple dishes: Donburi.

    Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most visited Shrine in Japan. Fushimi Inari Shrine is a shrine that brings fortune/wealth to your business. The tori gates along the entire trail are donations by individuals and companies, and you will find the donator’s name and the date of the donation of each gate inscribed on the back.

    A little bit off the beaten tracks, visit the Tofukuji Temple. This temple is renowned not only for its historical buildings, and the artistry of its gardens but also for a deep ravine filled with maple trees that runs through the center of its grounds. In all seasons, visitors can enjoy spectacular views here from the quaint wooden bridges that cross the ravine The Hojo, the head priest’s former living quarters, is surrounded by 4 Rock gardens. Each garden has a different character, employing pebbles, large rocks, moss, trees and checkered patterns.

    Night in Kyoto

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 15 – Kyoto free day sightseeing

    Today, you will have the full day free at your leisure to explore Kyoto or maybe take a day trip to Nara. Just 30 minutes from Kyoto by local train, Nara is the former capital of Japan. You will find many amazing temples and shrines, and of course, Nara’s famous guests: the Nara deer.

    Todaiji Temple is a World Heritage Site and is the tallest wooden structure in the world. It also happens to be the home to the largest Buddha Statue in Japan. From Todaiji Temple you can walk through Nara park amongst all the freely roaming deer. Nara Park will lead you to Kasuga Taisha Shrine.

    Kasuga Shrine is also a beautiful World Heritage Shrine famous for its lanterns, which have been donated by worshipers. Hundreds of bronze lanterns hang from the buildings, while as many stone lanterns line its approaches. The lanterns are only lit twice a year.

    Naramachi is the former merchant district of Nara, where several traditional residential buildings and warehouses are preserved and open to the public. Boutiques, shops, cafes, restaurants and a few museums now line the district’s narrow lanes.

    Night in Kyoto

    Inclusions: Accommodation and Breakfast

    Day 16 – Departure – Kansai International Airport

    Sadly, today marks the last day of your Japan tour. After check-out, and depending on your flight time, you will have some free time before meeting our airport transfer assistant at your hotel lobby. Together you will take the express airport train direct for Osaka International Airport. It is also possible to take the bullet train back to Tokyo if needed.

    Inclusions: Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Go back