The Experience

Experience this land of captivating contrasts on a journey through electrifying Tokyo, traditional Kyoto and historic Nara Park. Meditate in a Zen temple and savor the hospitality of a ryokan (inn). Day 1: Arrive Tokyo, Japan Arrive in Tokyo, Japan’s exciting capital. Transfer to your hotel, located in the upscale Ginza district. Imperial Hotel Day 2: Tokyo | Meiji-Jingu Visit the Imperial Palace Plaza and stroll the grounds of Meiji- Jingu, a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife. Later, visit Asakusa Temple, pausing to look for keepsakes in the tiny shops of Nakamise-dori. Tonight, join fellow guests for a welcome dinner. Imperial Hotel | Meals: B L D Day 3: Tokyo | Nikko National Park The Japanese have a saying: Don,™t say kekko (wonderful) without seeing Nikko., Today, travel overland to Nikko National Park in the mountains north of Tokyo and discover this lovely region. Visit the magnificently carved 17th-century Toshogu Shrine and take part in a special Shinto ceremony with a Shinto priest or miko (priestess). Imperial Hotel | Meals: B L Day 4: Tokyo | Glamorous Ginza Take a guided tour of Ginza, a trendy neighborhood brimming with designer boutiques, chic restaurants and art galleries. Your afternoon is at leisure to experience Tokyo’s contemporary galleries, museums and fine restaurants. Imperial Hotel | Meals: B Day 5: Kamakura to Hakone | Great Buddha Drive to Kamakura to see the Great Buddha at Kotoku-in, an iconic Japanese statue standing over over 37 feet tall. Visit Hase Kannon Temple; its flower-filled garden is unusual among Japanese gardens, which normally focus on structure. After lunch, continue to the forested slopes of Hakone National Park. Cruise Lake Ashi and board a gondola on the Komagatake Ropeway for a spectacular view of Mount Fuji. Tonight, enjoy the unparalleled service and kaiseki cuisine at Gara Kadan, a top-rated traditional inn where reservations are difficult to come by. Gara Kadan | Meals: B L D Day 6: Kyoto | Japan’s Main Stage Board the bullet train for Kyoto, the epicenter of Japan’s cultural, spiritual and artistic heritage. Kyoto boasts more than 2,000 temples and shrines, 17 of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Walk before the 1,001 statues of Kannon at Sanjusangendo Temple, visit Kodai-ji for a lesson in Zen meditation, and take part in a tea ceremony. Tonight, relax at a local izakaya (Japanese pub). Kyoto Hotel Okura | Meals: B D Day 7: Kyoto to Nara | Nara Park Travel early this morning to contemplate the iconic Zen rock garden at Ryoan-ji and glittering Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). Next, visit ancient Nara, Japan’s first capital. Wander through Nara Park, home to over a thousand tame deer. Continue to eighth-century Todai-ji, a temple complex that contains the world’s largest wooden structure and the largest bronze Buddha in Japan. Later, return to Kyoto. Kyoto Hotel Okura | Meals: B L Day 8: Kyoto | Japanese Mingei Folk Art This morning, visit Kiyomizu Temple and stand on its massive veranda for stunning city views. Then stroll along Gojozaka Hills, an area known for its many pottery studios, on your way to the home and studio of the late Kawai Kanjiro, one of Kyoto’s most famous potters. Kanjiro’s beautiful, unusual home redesigned to resemble a country house is filled with his own creations as well as his personal collection. After a Kyoto-style lunch, your afternoon is at leisure. Kyoto Hotel Okura | Meals: B L Day 9: Kyoto | Geisha Culture Take a guided walk through some of Kyoto’s market areas, including the lively Nishiki market. Your afternoon is free to enjoy on your own, with abundant opportunities to shop for traditional arts and crafts, including textiles and ceramics. Tonight, celebrate the end of your journey with an exquisite kaiseki banquet, where an attending geiko (as a geisha is known in Kyoto) and maiko dance, sing, pour sake and converse about their fascinating lives. Kyoto Hotel Okura | Meals: B D Day 10: Kyoto Transfer to Kansai or Itami Airport for your international flight home. Meals: B

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