Essence of Japan - 13 Days

Essence of Japan

TIME OF YEAR – Mar – Jun, Aug – Nov

Discover the revered customs and unique sense of beauty that infuse life here… On the main island of Honshu, from Tokyo to the hot springs resort town of Hakone and on through the “Japanese Alps” to Kanazawa and the cultural treasure trove of Kyoto, visit a private home, shoes off, for a tea ceremony and Origami… explore castles, temples, shrines, a samurai home, and world-class gardens… spend a night at a ryokan with traditional Japanese cultural experiences… make sushi, taste sake, cruise Lake Ashi to see Mt. Fuji… enjoy a taiko performance, Shinto music, Kagura dancing, a sumo wrestling demonstration… and meet a geisha expert. Join us for a Japan trip to remember.

Only With Tauck

In Kyoto, enjoy a private home visit with tea ceremony & Origami demonstration, explorations with a local Geisha expert, visits to Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple & Pure Water Temple (Kiyomizu Temple).

Tour prices are per person in U.S. dollars.All hotel accommodations, entertainment, special dinners, motor coach transportation, sightseeing, porterage, admissions, the services of the Tauck Director, local guides and drivers are included. Transportation from Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is included, regardless of the time you check in to the hotel, provided you have furnished us with accurate flight arrival information at least three weeks prior to the start of your tour. Transportation from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Tokyo to Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport is also included when you check out of the hotel. Transfers to and from airports may be shared with other Tauck guests.

Rates and schedules are not guaranteed until booked and will vary based on departure date.

Day 1
Arrive Tokyo

Tour begins: 6:30 PM, Park Hyatt Tokyo. A transfer is included from Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport to the five-star Park Hyatt Tokyo, occupying the top 14 floors of a 52-story tower in the heart of Shinjuku, the city’s vibrant business and entertainment district. This evening, please join us for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel featuring a larger-than-life demonstration by sumo wrestlers.

Meals – Dinner

Lodging – Park Hyatt Tokyo

Day 2
Tokyo, yesterday & today

A drive through Tokyo this morning gives you an overview of one of the world’s most dynamic capital cities, touching on both history and modern life. Begin today’s sightseeing in Japan’s capital city with a visit to the Meiji Shrine – honoring the deified spirits of Japan’s Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken, who died in 1912 and 1914, respectively – and take in a live performance of traditional Shinto music and Kagura dancing. Visit central Tokyo’s renowned Tsukiji Market, the largest fish and seafood market in the world, for a walk around the outer market before heading to lunch at the celebrated restaurant Nobu. After lunch, enjoy a Tauck Exclusive – an exhilarating taiko drumming performance, including a hands-on instruction session and demonstration; try your hand at this time-honored tradition where rhythm, melody, and movement combine to create an extraordinary musical experience. The rest of the day and evening are free for further exploring on your own. Many good restaurants can be found in the vicinity of your hotel, and your Tauck Director can make suggestions for places to try.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch

Lodging – Park Hyatt Tokyo

Day 3
More discoveries in Tokyo

Another day of discoveries in Japan’s historic capital includes visits to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, whose exhibits focus on Tokyo’s history, culture and development from its roots as a fishing village called Edo; the ancient Buddhist Asakusa Kannon Temple – also known as the Senso-ji – in the Asakusa district, Tokyo’s oldest temple; and the Nakamise Shopping Arcade, one of the oldest in the city. Following lunch at a local restaurant, join your Tauck Director for a walking tour of Tokyo’s celebrated Ginza shopping district, considered among the most elegant and expensive streets on Earth. The rest of your afternoon and evening are free to explore more of Tokyo as you please.

Meals – Breakfast, Dinner

Lodging – Park Hyatt Tokyo

Day 4
Cruise on Lake Ashi & a culinary tradition

This morning, board the renowned bullet train (shinkansen) in Tokyo for a short ride south to Odawara, and continue on to the scenic hot springs resort town of Hakone in Kanagawa. En route, enjoy a cruise on Lake Ashi; weather permitting, see views of Mt. Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain, looming over the landscape. Have lunch at a local restaurant on the shores of Lake Ashi, then continue on to your ideally located spa resort in Hakone . This afternoon, get your hands around an authentic Japanese culinary tradition during a private sushi and miso making demonstration; later, gather for a “homey” dinner at your resort.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Lodging – Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa

Day 5
Sculpture or whisky & flowers in Hakone

Start the day off with a visit to the Itchiku Kubota Museum, set amidst magnificent views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi. Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003) is considered one of the most important Japanese textile artists of the 20th century; he rediscovered, revived and subsequently modernized a traditional Japanese kimono dyeing technique, creating exceptional artistic kimonos. The museum you’ll visit today celebrates his art and legacy. After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll have a choice of excursions. You can explore the Hakone Open Air Museum, the first open-air museum in Japan, renowned for its outdoor sculpture park with beautiful views of the mountain. The grounds are the permanent home of approximately 120 works by well- known international sculptors including Rodin, Bourdelle, Miro, and Moore. Or visit the Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery, for a tour and tasting at one of the largest whisky-making facilities in Japan. You’ll then have an opportunity to learn the art of ikebana – Japanese flower arranging – from a teacher who gives a class and demonstration of this time-honored tradition. Dine on French or Japanese cuisine at one of your resort’s restaurants this evening.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Lodging – Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa

Day 6
A farm, Matsumoto & the Japanese Alps

Today, depart Hakone and head north through forested mountain landscapes of the “Japanese Alps,” through winding valleys dotted with rice farms, lakes, rushing rivers, and small villages, and visit a private farm. Continue on to the hot springs town of Matsumoto, where, after lunch, you’ll see 400-hundred-year-old Matsumoto Castle. Arrive this afternoon at your onsen (hot springs) hotel, combining the authenticity of a traditional Japanese ryokan with the comforts of a contemporary hotel, including western-style and Japanese rooms. Your Tauck Exclusive dinner tonight is Japanese kaiseki style, yukatas and slippers on, in a private room with musical entertainment.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7
Old Takayama and a Sake brewery

Depart Matsumoto this morning and head for Takayama, a mountain city long famed for its artisans and woodworkers. Do some sightseeing along the narrow lanes of its historic center, and have lunch at a local restaurant known for its Hida beef. Following a lesson in sake making and a tasting at a local brewery in Takayama, continue on to Kanazawa, just inland from the Sea of Japan. Enjoy an included dinner at your choice of your hotel’s restaurants either tonight or tomorrow.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8
Samurai legacies, gardens & more in Kanazawa

A full day’s sightseeing in Kanazawa includes: time exploring the historic Samurai District, where samurai homes are tucked among narrow lanes and canals behind earthen walls and private entrance gates, with a visit to the restored Nomura Samurai Family Residence for a look at the lifestyle of the samurai during feudal times, when they were prosperous; a guided stroll through celebrated Kenroku-en Gardens, considered among the country’s top three landscaped gardens; lunch at a Paul Bocuse restaurant; and a walk through the city’s Omicho Market. Cap the day with a Tauck Exclusive, private Samurai show at a local temple, then spend the rest of the evening as you please at your hotel or exploring on your own in Kanazawa.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9
Kanazawa to Hiroshima via Kyoto

Depart Kanazawa by train for Kyoto, then continue on by train to the city of Hiroshima for an overnight stay. After lunch at your hotel, you have a choice between visiting the iconic Miyajima-Itsukushima Shrine that seems to float on water (a photographer’s dream) on Miyajima Island, or taking a tour of the local Mazda factory.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10
Hiroshima & on to Kyoto by bullet train

In Hiroshima today, you’ll visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum, and the A-Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome) –the only structure left standing in the area of the WWII atomic bomb blast that destroyed the city in August 1945, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Orizuru Tower. After lunch at a local restaurant, return this afternoon by bullet train to the historic city of Kyoto, where your evening is free to spend as you wish.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Lodging – Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

Day 11
A castle, a temple & a Kyoto geisha district

Kyoto sightseeing today begins with a visit to the famous golden-topped Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), set in an ancient garden on the edge of a lake – a position symbolizing its place “between heaven and Earth.” Hear the story of how this 14th-century temple was burned to the ground by a young monk and then completely reconstructed. Continue on to Nijo Castle, surrounded by stone walls and a moat; tour this 17th-century shogun’s residence and UNESCO World Heritage Site – and discover the secret of its “nightingale” floors. After lunch at a local restaurant, meet up with a geisha expert who leads an exploration of the back streets of one of Kyoto’s geisha districts, and shares insights on the “flower and willow” world of the geishas, past and present. The evening is free to spend as you wish.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch

Lodging – Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

Day 12
A private home visit & traditions in Kyoto

Begin your day with a prayer at the Kiyomizudera (Pure Water Temple) established in 778; the current buildings were rebuilt in the 17th century. Drink the water here in long-handled cups as you wish for longevity, success or love. Kyoto is known as the craft capital of Japan, and many traditional arts have been passed down through the generations. Experience the revered customs of Japanese culture firsthand during a visit to a private home here; take your shoes off, come in, and your gracious hostess will demonstrate the very specific rituals of a Japanese tea ceremony, followed by a lesson in the paper art of Origami. Return to your hotel where the afternoon is free for you to enjoy Kyoto’s charms as you like. Join us for a special farewell reception and dinner tonight.

Meals – Breakfast, Dinner

Lodging – Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

Day 13
Journey home

Tour ends: Kyoto. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto to the airport. Please allow a

minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport.

Meals – Breakfast

What's Included

  • Multiple-night stays in premier hotels in Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa & at a hot springs resort & spa in Hakone Overnight stay in a traditional ryokan in Matasumoto
  • Tokyo's Edo-Tokyo Museum, Shinto music, Kagura dancing, taiko drums & sumo wrestling
  • A cruise on Lake Ashi beneath Mt. Fuji
  • Attend a flower arranging class in Hakone; a lesson on sake brewing & a tasting at a local brewery in Takayama A guided tour of Kanazawa’s Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japan’s most revered landscaped gardens
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 30 meals; gratuities to local guides, service charges, admission fees, taxes and porterage

Nights1-3 Tokyo, Japan

Park Hyatt Tokyo

An elegant oasis of space and calm in the heart of the Shinjuku district, Park Hyatt Tokyo is the ideal luxury destination in

Tokyo where guests can enjoy a 360-degree view of the bustling city and Mount Fuji. Occupying the top 14 floors of a 52- story tower, the hotel offers guests an unparalleled level of comfort and personalized service as well as top class gourmet dining options at the heart of this vibrant city. Designed as a private urban residence by the late Pritzker Prize-winning architect Dr. Kenzo Tange and interior designer John Morford, Park Hyatt Tokyo is distinguished in its modern interior design, private art collection and acclaimed restaurants, spa and fitness center. Guest rooms are spacious and serene, each offering walk-in closets and high-tech amenities, and all are appointed with original artwork, exquisite woods and fabrics and books for reference and pleasure. Dining options are plentiful at Park Hyatt Tokyo. Guests can either enjoy a 360-degree view of the city from the iconic New York Grill & Bar on the 52nd floor, or savor world-class, authentic Japanese cuisine overlooking Mt. Fuji at Kozue. The hotel also features Girandole, a French Brasserie, and The Peak Lounge & Bar on the 41st floor atrium where guests can go for a relaxing afternoon tea, a glass of Champagne or original cocktails. On the ground level, you’ll find Delicatessen and Pastry Boutique, offering a wide range of homemade items.

Nights 4-5
Hakone, Japan

Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa

Located in the midst of the resort region of Hakone, an area noted for its natural hot springs, the Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa extends a warm welcome to travelers seeking a natural experience in the green foothills of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. Generously sized guest rooms, highlighted by contemporary design, offer balconies or sun rooms, 32-inch TV with cable / satellite channels and DVD player, marble bath, coffee maker, hairdryer, safe and Japanese cotton robes. The Spa Izumi and Onsen Halone feature separate soothing hot springs baths for men and women. The Dining Room, a provincial restaurant with an open kitchen and relaxing views, features authentic French and Japanese cuisine. The Living Room, with its delightful outdoor terrace, serves a wide selection of coffees and teas, snacks and light meals during the day and cocktails in the evening.

Night 6
Matsumoto, Japan

Tobira Onsen Myojinkan

Tobira Onsen Myojinkan sits 1,050 meters above sea level, nestled in Matsumoto in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture, surrounded by the beautiful natural environment of Yatsugatake Chushin Kogen Quasi-National Park. Established in 1931, Myojinkan has a rich history of welcoming visitors from all over the world to enjoy bubbling hot springs amidst a tranquil and remote natural environment. The onsen’s relaxed, modern Japanese interiors integrate effortlessly with the traditional Japanese furnishings to create an ambience of total relaxation in both Japanese-styled and western-styled guest rooms. Tobira Onsen Myojinkan combines the elements of a traditional Japanese inn with all the creature comforts of a luxury hotel. At Tobira Onsen Myojinkan, experience true Japanese hospitality amdist the unique beauty of the four seasons – the serenity of murmuring brooks, tranquil birdsong, conifers swaying gently in the breeze, and snow covered vistas – and feel life’s stress and tension simply melt away.

Nights 7-8 Kanazawa, Japan

Hotel Nikko Kanazawa

The luxury accommodations of Hotel Nikko Kanazawa combine an elegant European atmosphere with the beauty of the four seasons, conveniently located in front of JR Kanazawa Station and within walking distance of some of the most famous tourist spots in Kanazawa, Japan. At 130m, it is the tallest hotel in the Hokuriku area. Comfortable, well-designed guest rooms offer air conditioning, satellite / cable TV , radio, coffee / tea making facilities, minibar, telephone, hairdryer, bed slippers, and luxury bath amenities. Dining options at the hotel include European cuisine at La Plage, Chinese cuisine at Toh-Lee, traditional Japanese at Benkay, Teppan grill at Icho, and several bars and lounges.

Night 9 Hiroshima, Japan

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel is conveniently located in the city next to JR Hiroshima Station with direct access to the bullet train and bus terminals. You’ll be in the middle of the energy and excitement of Hiroshima, along with its historic sites and architecture. Find total comfort in the hotel’s well-appointed guest rooms, all of which feature the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience. Guests staying in Sheraton Club Rooms are welcome at the Sheraton Club Lounge, where you’ll find breakfast, soft drinks and cocktails. Only the highest-quality ingredients, with a focus on local and seasonal foods, are used in the hotel’s restaurants – Bridges (International) and Miyabi-Tei (Japanese) – offering the finest and freshest cuisine; the hotel’s lounges and bars are perfect for gathering with friends old and new. And be sure to relax and recharge your mind and body at Shine Spa for Sheraton.

Nights 10 – 12 Kyoto, Japan

Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

Experience personalized, insider access to Kyoto’s four-season delights within light-filled and spacious guest rooms at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto. Double-height windows frame the hotel’s tranquil garden as you enjoy modern European brasserie dining. Sip local craft beers on the waterside terrace; melt into bliss in the spa; or celebrate new beginnings in this fascinating city of contrasts. The hotel’s amenities include an 800-year-old ikeniwa (pond garden), the poetic heart of the property, crossed by a glass bridge; two restaurants, a bar, lounge and tea house; indoor pool and whirlpool; a full-service spa with seven treatment rooms; and a 24-hour fitness center.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Essence of Japan

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