From neon-lit streets filled with people to quiet shines filled only with silence, come face-to-face with a culture thousands of years in the making. Explore the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, traveling between them on the famous shinkansen bullet train. Experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Meet the incredible ama pearl divers and dine with them while hearing tales of their lives and traditions. Meet the bowing deer of Nara Park. See the beauty of the Golden Pavilion and the Arashiyama bamboo forest. Dive deep into the culture of Japan with the Women's Association of Kyoto. Explore the historic geisha district of Kyoto, Gion. Stay among Buddhist monks at a monastery on Mount Koya and wander the moss-covered paths of Okunoin Cemetery. Visit the Peace Park and Memorial Museum of Hiroshima and hear first-hand accounts of the atomic bomb's devastation. See the famous O-torii Gate of Miyajima Island. Explore the neon-soaked streets of Osaka's Dotonbori district. Discover the thousand facets of culture, art, and life that make up the incredible spirit of Japan.

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Offer valid through 6/30/2024
14 Days
Day 1TokyoFrom the tranquility of ancient temples to the energy of bustling cities, find a blend of all things old and new in Japan.
Day 2TokyoSay "Konnichiwa!" to the incredible, eclectic city of Tokyo. Japan is a land of contrasts, and you're about to discover the thousand facets of culture, art, and life that make up its incredible spirit. From neon-lit streets filled with people to quiet shrines filled only with silence, you'll come face-to-face with a culture thousands of years in the making. Storied history, artistic traditions, cutting-edge technology - it's all part of Japan's everyday life. You'll soon discover that you could explore Japan for a thousand years and only experience a part of what this country has to offer.
Day 3TokyoThis morning, start your first day in Tokyo like a true local - by hopping on the subway. Clean, efficient, fast, and easy to use, the Tokyo subway system is one of the best in the world. Follow your Tour Manager on a walk through Ginza, one of the most elegant and luxurious streets in the world. Enjoy shopping at some of the most renowned "department stores" in Japan. This afternoon, visit Zojoji Temple, standing in the shadow of Tokyo Tower and painting a powerful picture of Tokyo's ancient roots and modern culture. Zojoji is the center of Japanese Buddhism in the region, and the resting place of the royal Tokugawa family. Head back to the hotel through the lush and beautiful Shiba park, a green oasis in the urban landscape. Tonight, sit down and get to know your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.
Day 4TokyoFeel the excitement start to build as you head to Asakusa, passing by the grounds of the Imperial Palace and see the Nijubashi Bridge. Next, experience the long-standing tradition of the Japanese tea ceremony, dating back to the 15th century. Enjoy free time exploring Nakamise shopping street, where you can stroll between the stalls leading to the Sensoji temple to buy local souvenirs and sweets. Then, head to Tokyo National Museum to learn about the fascinating history and culture of the city. The museum displays artwork and antiques from Japan and the surrounding area.
Day 5TokyoClimb aboard the high-speed shinkansen, or bullet train. Sleek, modern, and comfortable, the bullet train will flash through the idyllic Japanese countryside at 200 miles per hour, but you'll barely feel or hear a thing. Keep an eye peeled for Mt. Fuji in the distance.* Arrive at one of the most important shrines in Japan - Ise Shrine. This grand shrine is built to honor the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu. Wander among the thatched roofs and raw wood of buildings, taking in the serenity of this spiritual wonder. Tonight, your meal will be a traditional and delicious Japanese kaiseki dinner, an artfully prepared and presented, multi-course meal using ingredients at the absolute peak of freshness.
Day 6Ise-ShimaThis morning, you'll head to the Mikimoto Pearl Museum. Explore the island and the legacy of the skilled ama pearl divers, women who defied conventional gender roles to dive in the sea to harvest oysters and their pearls. Watch divers take the plunge and learn about the history and science of pearl diving. This evening, set out for Azurihama Beach, where you'll venture across the sands to an ama hut for an incredible dining experience. While local seafood is grilled in a charcoal fire right before your eyes, hear tales from the ama women about their lives and the sacred rights of their profession.
Day 7Ise-ShimaKyoto awaits! Before arriving in Japan's former capital city stop at Nara Park and Todaiji Temple. Venture inside the massive building to take some time in this sacred place and find the huge bronze Buddha statue. Wander the grounds outside and discover the famous "bowing" deer of Nara. Next, it's off to Kyoto, one of the nation's top cosmopolitan cities.
Day 8KyotoBegin your day at Kinkakuji (UNESCO), the Golden Pavilion, a Zen temple whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Once the lavish retirement home of a shogun, it was converted to a Zen temple in the 1400's. It has survived wars, been rebuilt after fires, and still stands as an impressive piece of historic architecture. Depart for the Arashiyama bamboo forest. Set out among the towering bamboo stalks that shade the forest paths and gently sway in the breeze. Later, visit the Women's Association of Kyoto in a traditional Kyoto town house. Here, delve into a wide array of enlightening Japanese activities, guided by your knowledgeable hostess. Sip different sakes, try your hand at making sushi, fold intricate origami shapes, and speak to your hostess about Japan, its culture, and women's roles in this complex society.
Day 9KyotoHead to Gion, Kyoto's famous geisha district. Here, your Tour Manager leads you through the narrow cobblestone streets and if you're lucky, you may see a woman in full traditional geisha regalia headed to one of the hidden, exclusive tea houses. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure to explore how you want. Perhaps you'll stay in the Gion district to wander among its temples, shrines, traditional shops and charming cafes. Or, you could make your way to the Nishiki Market, where colorful stalls are filled with fresh foods and local specialties, like pickles, dried seafood, and sushi.
Day 10KyotoThis morning, explore Fushimi Inari Taisha for a glimpse into the most revered shrine of Inari. Follow the rows of orange torii that weave through the forest, leading you to the inner shrine. Then, head for the mountain village atop Mount Koya. A special and sacred site, Mount Koya is filled with shrines, temples, and monasteries. This afternoon, walk into the heart of the awe-inspiring Okunoin Cemetery, and make your way to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. Kobo Daishi hasn't passed on - Buddhist belief says he waits in eternal meditation, answering the calls of those who would pray to him. After, settle into your accommodations for the night - a traditional Japanese monastery,** complete with sliding paper doors and tatami mats. Meet with one of the monks of the temple and learn about life there before sitting down for dinner, where you'll eat a vegetarian meal, featuring tempura-fried favorites.
Day 11MT. KOYAIf you so choose, you can rise in the early morning to join the Buddhist monks in prayer. Sit in the serenity of the temple shrine as the monks ring their gongs, chant, burn incense, and center themselves for the activities of the grand day ahead. Then, you'll once again board the shinkansen bullet train and be whisked away to Hiroshima. Enjoy lunch at a local cooking studio, where you'll learn how to make the famous Japanese okonomiyaki, or savory pancake, a favorite of Hiroshima residents. After, visit the Peace Memorial Park, and pause to see the ruined Atomic Dome (UNESCO), a sobering reminder of the devastation caused by the dropping of the atomic bomb during World War II. Reflect at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Day 12HiroshimaHead back to the Peace Park and Memorial Museum this morning for a powerful impact moment, a meeting with someone who experienced the devastating effects of the Atomic bomb firsthand.*** They'll talk about what it was like to live in Japan during that time, the aftermath of that terrible day, and how they keep the memories of those who were lost alive. After, board a ferry for the short trip to Miyajima Island, or "Shrine Island" (UNESCO). Famous for the Itsukushima Shrine and its mythic O-torii Gate standing proudly in the water.
Day 13HiroshimaToday, journey to your final destination, the energetic city of Osaka. Set out on a walking tour through the famous Dotonbori district. From shopping, to dining, to nightlife, Dotonbori has it all - bathed in the neon glow of huge electric signs. Learn why Osaka is known as the "Kitchen of Japan" as you sample its famous and delicious street food. Tonight, sit down and say your fond farewells to your travel companions at a farewell dinner. Raise a cup of sake and toast to the colorful spirit of Japan, and the adventures you've had.
Day 14OsakaTake a quiet moment to reflect on all the new memories you have created before heading home.

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Prince Park Tower Hotel - Tokyo, Japan
Nemu Resort - Ise-Shima, Japan
Hotel Granvia - Kyoto, Japan
Sekishoin - Mt. Koya, Japan
ANA Crowne Plaza - Hiroshima, Japan
ANA Crowne Plaza - Osaka, Japan
* NOTE: Tour prices are land only rates based on per person, double occupancy. Some dates may feature various changes in hotels, sightseeing and inclusions. Please confirm your specific itinerary at the time of booking. Government taxes and fees are additional. Land rates are guaranteed at time of deposit. Certain taxes and fees are to be paid upon exiting the country in local currencies.
Airfare is additional and is available through Collette Vacations.


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