Japan is full of historical, cultural and linguistic anthropology to study and enjoy! The ancient tombs of third century Nara or Aichi’s 15th century Inuyama Castle tell of a country’s origins and establishment. Edo Tokyo Museum gives a detailed view of historical Tokyo’s everyday life including architecture, cultural heritage, political climate, commerce and more. Visit Hiroshima to experience the deeply poignant and moving Peace Park and hear the actual WW II stories from the Hibakusya, or survivors, plus the World Heritage site Miyajima Island. At the same time, Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world, with cutting edge technology and engineering. It is also a force in popular culture, a leader in animation, fashion, and entertainment.
The tour will start at the heart of modern Japan in Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolis. There is plenty to see, with layer upon layer of neon-drenched main streets and mysterious passageways with shops and restaurants on every floor in Shinjuku, nearby are the teen fashion mecca of Shibuya, the flagship luxury stores of Omotesando nicknamed ‘Japan’s Champs Elysees’, and the majestic Meiji shrine. You can also visit the Sumida Hokusai Museum featuring woodblock prints of Hokusai, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, and/or Sony Explorascience Museum. Students can enjoy interactive exhibitions! To finish an exciting day, feel the thrill and vibration of the city with a Taiko Drum workshop led by professionals!
Catch a bullet train to Mt. Fuji! The connecting bus journey from the station is amongst Japan’s most scenic, which gets you to the historic hot springs town of Hakone in good time for a hearty meal at your traditional onsen spa hotel.
No trip to Japan would be complete without a few days in Kyoto, a treasure trove of historic streets, shrines, temples and gardens that was fortunately spared wartime bombing. Enjoy group dining with Maiko and Geiko where they show their artistic talents of dance and instrumental performance. The group can also see the oldest form of orchestral music in the world, Bugaku, featuring dancers and various traditional instruments established in the 7th century.
It's under an hour on to Japan's second biggest city, Osaka. Hit hyper-colorful Dotonburi street for shopping and decadent street foods or Osaka Aquarium, one of Japan's most spectacular. The group can also experience the art of tea ceremony evolved under the influence of Zen Buddhism, aiming to attain a perfect balance between nature and the human soul. Nara, where Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710, remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples with a giant buddha statute.
Even the most jaded city kids will have their heads in a whirl by now, so change the pace and spend a day strolling the willow-lined and neon-free nostalgic canals of Kurashiki's historical quarter. The Ohara museum here is one of the finest in Japan with several wings devoted to Western and Japanese art across the ages.
Last stop on this itinerary is Hiroshima, a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with a street tram system giving it a European feel. Your guide here will illuminate the city's wartime history in the Peace Park, then take you back to pre-modern Japan on picturesque Miyajima island with one of the country's most revered shrines and its famous “floating” gate in the sea.
Catch a flight from Hiroshima Airport back to Tokyo, and then off for home. We would expect nothing less from the most efficient nation on earth, yet nothing feels hurried on this epic exploration of Japan.
Visit to a cutting-edge science and technology museum and Japanese traditional art museum in Tokyo
Taiko drum workshop
200 mph bullet train ride!
Hike up to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji! (seasonal)
Staying in a Japanese traditional ryokan resort
Dinner with Maiko and Geiko in Kyoto
Performance of Bugaku, the oldest orchestral music form
Visit a picturesque floating red torii gate and its shrine in Miyajima Island
Peace Memorial Park and Museum
Tokyo – Mt. Fuji – Hakone – Kyoto – Osaka – Nara-Kurashiki – Hiroshima
Day 1 – Tokyo
Fly into Tokyo and meet your Tour Manager at airport
Day 2 – Tokyo
Guided tour of historical part of Tokyo including Asakusa, Sumida area with Japan’s tallest structure Tokyo Skytree, and Edo Tokyo Museum
Day 3 – Tokyo
At leisurely Meiji Shrine, find serenity in the middle of the city adjacent to the youth mecca “Takeshita Street” in Harajuku. Taiko drum workshop with professional drummers!
Day 4 – Hakone
Go up the 5th station of Mt. Fuji on coach and relax in hot springs at ryokan resort.
Day 5 – Kyoto
Bullet train ride to Kyoto. Tour excursion in Kyoto
Day 6 – Kyoto
Guided tour in Kyoto
Day 7 - Kyoto
Day trip to Nara and Osaka
Day 8 - Hiroshima
Wander around Kurashiki’s renowned historical district, “Bikan Historical Quarter”, and head to Hiroshima
Day 9 - Hiroshima
Tour Peace Memorial Park and Miyajima Island
Fly from Hiroshima Airport to Tokyo and then off for home!