Iconic Japan

Resort: Iconic Japan
Operator: G Adventures
Destination: Japan
Price From: £3023.20

Over View

In Japan, tradition and modernity are celebrated side-by-side in ways that often appear contradictory. Immerse yourself in this intriguing culture, beginning in sprawling Tokyo, one of the worlds most innovative cities. Then head by rail into the countryside to visit traditional villages and tranquil shrines. Explore quaint geisha districts and inspiring gardens; savour the fresh flavours of Japanese cuisine; and get a glimpse of the ancient soul of this fascinating, futuristic country.


Day 1

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Day 2

Spend the day exploring vibrant Tokyoone of the worlds most populous citiesby public transit. Experience the traditional side of the Japanese capital on a visit to the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife; and take a stroll in Asakusa, the historic heart of Tokyo. We then get a glimpse of the citys quirky, modern side on a walk through Harajuku, a centre of Japanese pop culture and a great place to sit back and people watch.

Day 3

This morning, we set out on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Toyosu Fish Market (formerly known as the Tsukiji Fish Market), the largest fish and seafood market in the world. Delve into the bustling maze of vendors with our expert local guides, learning about Japans massive fishing industry, and round off the tour with a sushi-making class. Learn how to identify the freshest fish, prepare, fillet, and present; then enjoy a taste of your tasty creations. The afternoon is free to explore Tokyo on your own.

Day 4

Depart Tokyo by train. Disembark at Nagiso and continue to a local minshuku, a traditional Japanese bed-and-breakfast, where well spend the night. Enjoy a walk through the countryside, passing lush farms and rice paddies into Tsumago, a protected cultural area dating to the Edo period. Explore the charming town, where motorized vehicles are prohibited on the main street during the day and phone lines and power cables hidden from view to preserve its traditional feel. Back at our minshuku, feast on a kaiseki meala ritualistic multi-course dinner emphasizing artful presentation and fresh ingredients.

Day 5

Continue by train to the historic city of Kanazawa, the seat of the powerful Maeda clan during the Edo period. Venture to Nagamachi, the citys well-preserved samurai district located at the foot of Kanazawa Castle, and learn about the lifestyle of Japans ancient, elite warrior class. Well also visit the Nomura residence, the beautifully restored home of a wealthy samurai family, boasting a collection of antique heirlooms and a stunning garden.

Day 6

Spend the day exploring Kanazawa. Visit the Myoryuji Templecommonly known as the Ninja Templewhich doubled as a military outpost, and discover its many hidden defenses and escape routes. Take a walk through the Higashi Chaya geisha district and gain insights into geisha culture, viewing one of the districts traditional wooden houses. Then visit a local craft studio, where well learn about the citys time-honoured crafts and learn to paint chopsticks with gold leaf.

Day 7

Travel by bullet train to Hiroshima. Here, well pay a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, located in the heart of the city, which commemorates the tragic atomic bombings of 1945. Take your time to wander through the park, pausing at memorials dedicated to the victims of the attack, and visit the moving statue of Sadako Sasaki at the Childrens Peace Monument, a reminder of the thousands of young lives lost as a result of the bombings.

Day 8

Catch a ferry to Itsukushima Island, popularly known as Miyajima. Here, youll find one of Japans most beautiful and sacred temples, the 12th-century Itsukushima Shinto shrine. This UNESCO World Heritage site is built over the water, with a red torii or wooden gateway that appears to float at high tide. Spend the afternoon at leisure, opting to ferry over to other islands and explore on your own.

Day 9

This morning, visit the World Heritage-listed Himeji Castle, widely considered Japans most spectacular and best-preserved castle. The castle was completed in the early 17th century and features an elegant white facade with multiple wooden roofs. Later, we hop on a train to Kyoto, which served as Japans imperial capital for more than a thousand years. Explore the citys stunning temples, shrines, and gardens at leisure. This afternoon, take a guided stroll through the lantern-lined streets of Gion, Kyotos renowned geisha district.

Day 10

Venture to the breathtaking Fushimi Inari shrine just outside of Kyoto, dedicated to the Shinto god of rice. Walk under the temples iconic red gates, where a scene from Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed. Spend the rest of the day discovering ancient Nara, the site of Japans earliest capital. Visit the impressive Todaiji templehome to the largest bronze Buddha statue in the worldand wander the walkways of Kasuga Taisha, one of Japans most sacred Shinto shrines.

Day 11

This morning, we visit a local temple to learn about the history and practice of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Meet with a local monk for a lesson in Zen meditation and calligraphy; then head to the shimmering Kinkakuji, or temple of the golden pavilion, one of Kyotos most magnificent sites. Later, well learn the basics of samurai etiquette and the practice of kembu, or traditional Japanese swordplay. Try your hand at this delicate art form, and witness a memorable performance by kembu masters.

Day 12

Depart at any time.

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