Team Travel Kuramoto


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16 Days
Shogun and Samurai Roads

Itinerary Summary

    Day 1 – Arrival in Japan

    After being welcomed by our private, English-speaking driver, you will travel to your accommodation in Tokyo by private vehicle. Settle in, adjust to your new environment and get ready for your upcoming adventures.

    Night in Tokyo

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 2 – Tokyo sightseeing

    Today is your first full day visiting Tokyo. Start your day with a walking tour of the Tsukiji fish market. Then, head to Asakusa district where the atmosphere of the Tokyo of past decades survives. Visit the popular Sensoji Temple and traditional streets of the area.

    In the afternoon, head to Shibuya District and visit the Meiji Shrine, the largest in the city. After the shrine, we head to Harajuku, the most popular and fashionable district in Tokyo.

    Finish the day near Shinjuku and explore the streets of Shinbashi. Experience how the Japanese working class unwind after a long day at the office in a maze of eateries (izakayas).

    Night in Tokyo

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

    Day 3 – Tokyo Sightseeing (free day)

    Now that you know how to get around the city and use the public transportation system, you will be free to visit and walk around Tokyo at your leisure. Why don’t you head to Yanaka district where the Shitamachi atmosphere, an old town ambience reminiscent of Tokyo from past decades, still survives. Throughout the district, there is an air of nostalgia and rustic charm. It is also within walking distance of Ueno Park and offers a sightseeing opportunity different from the metropolitan city feel of other parts of Tokyo.

    Night in Tokyo

    Inclusions: Accommodation and Breakfast.

    Day 4 – Transfer to Matsumoto

    After check-out, head to Tokyo station and take the bullet train for Matsumoto. Meet your Private guide at Matsumoto, proceed to check-in at your accommodation then  visit the highlights of the city: Matsumoto Castle; Nawate Dori Shotengai Street famous for its frog memorabilia and the City Art Museum featuring the works of native Kusama Yayoi.

    Night in Matsumoto

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

    Day 5 – Wasabi farm visit and transfer to Narai

    After breakfast and check-out, head north of the city to the largest Wasabi farm in Japan. After the tour of the farm, return to central Matsumoto and continue to Narai “post town”.

    By the shogunate’s restriction, travelers had to make their trips on foot. As a result, “post towns” developed every few kilometers to provide travelers with places to rest, eat and stay overnight during their journey. Narai is one of those preserved post-towns on an ancient 70 km trade route called “The Kisoji”.

    Night in Narai

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

    Day 6 – Walk along the Nakasendo trail between Magome and Tsumago post-towns

    After breakfast and check-out, head to Magome for a walk on the Nakasendo road, one of the Five Edo Routes.

    Magome-juku was very prone to fires and burned down twice in 1895 and in 1915. The streets of Magome-juku you can see today were rebuilt after those fires. The Nakenso walk will take you to Tsumago (another post-town) where you will spend the night.

    Night in Tsumago

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

    Day 7 – Visit Tsumago and transfer to Takayama

    Check-out from your accommodation, and explore the town of Tsumago in the morning. Tsumago is the first post town in Japan to have actively made an effort in conserving the town’s retro streetscape. In 1976, Tsumago-juku was designated as an important historical and architectural preservation district by the national government.

    Visit the Nagisomachi Museum and the Wakihinjin-Okuya, a building that remains from 1877, and is registered as a national important cultural property. Another important building, The Tsumago-juku Honjin is a life-size replica of a honjin, or an accommodation facility that was specially designated for daimyo (powerful feudal lords).

    After the visit of Tsumago, you will head to Takayama by private car.

    End of the tour at Takayama after check-in.

    Night in Takayama

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

    Day 8 – Takayama – Sightseeing

    Takayama is a very compact town and you can easily access most of the sights walking or you can use a rickshaw ride.

    Some suggestions: Takayama Morning Market. Located on the riverbank, the morning market sells a variety of foods, souvenirs and handmade goods. A leisurely stroll through the market is a perfect way to explore all that it has to offer.

    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 pretty state with many old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, some of which have been in business for centuries.

    Night in Takayama

    Inclusions: Accommodation and Breakfast.

    Day 9 – Day trip to 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. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together.

    A private car with a driver and a guide will bring you to the Village and return to Takayama.

    Night in Takayama

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

    Day 10 – Transfer from Takayama to Kyoto

    Check-out from your accommodation and head to Takayama station where you will take an express train bound for Tokyo. Meet your guide at the station and start an afternoon tour of Kyoto.

    Kiyomizudera Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below and its sacred Otowa waterfall. After the temple, walk down the traditional streets of Ninnenzaka and Sannenzaka, Kyoto’s best-preserved historic districts. Finish the promenade at Gion District which is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geisha and maiko (geisha apprentices) entertain.

    Night in Kyoto

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

    Day 11 – Kyoto sightseeing

    Start your day with a visit of the  Imperial Palace

    Located within the Imperial Park grounds, The Kyoto Imperial Palace used to be the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family until 1868 when the residence was moved to Tokyo.

    Just a couple minutes walk from the Imperial Palace, visit the Nijo Castle. Originally the home of the first shogunate of the Edo period, the castle later served as an imperial residence. The palace buildings are arguably the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture of Japan’s feudal era, and the castle was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994.

    For a deeper glimpse into Kyoto’s past, visit the Nijo-jinya, an intriguing inn that served feudal lords visiting during the Edo Period. For security reasons, the structure was designed with ingenious trap doors, secret passages and hidden escape routes.

    Finish the day at Nishiki food market. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, this lively, 5-blocks long retail market specializes in all things food-related from fresh foods to kitchen implements.

    Night in Kyoto

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

    Day 12 – Day trip to Himeji

    Start the day exploring Himeji Castle, widely considered to be Japan’s most beautiful surviving feudal castle. This prestigious castle is designated both a national treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Just outside the city, Mount Shosha is the site of Engyo-ji, an atmospheric temple complex with a history of over 1,000 years. Due to the beautiful scenery and absence of modern infrastructure on its temple grounds, Mount Shosha is frequently used as a filming location and you might recognize it from the movie, The Last Samurai.

    Night in Kyoto

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

    Day 13 – Kyoto sightseeing (Free day)

    Full free day to enjoy the Cultural capital at your leisure.

    Some suggestions: The Fushimi Inari Shrine. This very popular and photogenic shrine brings fortune/wealth to your business. The torii 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 inscribed on the back of each gate.

    Arashiyama area, one of the popular areas of Kyoto. Located in the Northern parts 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.

    Yogen-in Temple – Blood-Stained Ceiling Temple. In September 1600, the Fushimi Castle was defended by a force loyal to Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Eastern army, led by Torii Mototada. It soon was to become the scene of the death of nearly 2,000 soldiers. Surrounded by some 40,000 of Hideyoshi’s men, the soldiers within the castle were overwhelmed, and all but 10 perished. Mototada, his family, and some 380 soldiers committed ritual suicide as the castle burned, thus soaking the floorboards with their blood. When the castle was dismantled, in 1623, the wood was sent around to other castles and temples in Japan to be reused. At Yogen-in temple, you can observe one of the best-preserved blood-stained ceilings of Kyoto.

    Night in Kyoto

    Inclusions: Accommodation and Breakfast.

    Day 14 – Transfer from Kyoto to Mt. Koya

    Check-out from your accommodation and board the local train heading for Mt. Koya.

    The most mystical, sacred mountain in Japan, Mt. Koya is a religious city long closed in on itself. Its temple-inns and forest-necropolis invite spirituality. With one hundred and ten temples still active in the town, the headquarters of the Buddhist Shingon School remains an influential religious center.

    Tonight, you will also spend the night in a temple, partake in a special Buddhist vegetarian meal and have the option to take part in the different rituals.

    Night in Koya-san

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

    Day 15 – Transfer to Osaka and sightseeing.

    After breakfast and the morning rituals, leave Mt. Koya and head back to Osaka Check-in at your accommodation and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

    Construction started on Osaka Castle in 1583 and almost half-a-millennium later, through numerous changes, stands as an elegant symbol of the city.

    Shin-sekai is a central district in Osaka. The northern half of the district was constructed to resemble Paris and the southern half after Coney Island in New York. The iconic Tsutenkaku Tower, modelled after the Eiffel Tower, stands at the district’s midpoint.

    Combine a part of Japanese manga, part amusement park, along with food stalls and restaurants, and you have the eclectic Dotonbori. Best enjoyed at night, the long pedestrian street is lit by hundreds of neon lights and mechanical signs that delight visitors of all ages.

    For a well-preserved slice of bygone Osaka, head to nearby Hozenji Yokocho (alleyways near Dotonbori) and the discreetly hidden Hozenji Temple where you can splash water on the Buddha figure for good luck.

    Night: Osaka

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

    Day 16 – Departure

    Unfortunately, today marks your final day in Japan. After check-out, meet your transfer assistant and head to Osaka Kansai airport by the express train.

    Inclusions: English-speaking assistant, airport express train (Haruka).

    Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

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