DAY 1 - Arrive in Tokyo, Japan.
Welcome to Japan's capital. Hotel rooms are ready check-in at mid-afternoon.
DAY 2 - Tokyo
Meet your tour manager and travelling group before the morning sightseeing at Tokyo, home to over 8 million people. The tour takes you to the MEIJI SHRINE, a beautiful 20th-century Shinto monument set in a man-made forest, followed by a road excursion to view the Imperial Palace Plaza. Next, visit the Artists studio to enjoy demonstrations by a master calligrapher before trying it for yourself. You will also have the opportunity to try on a traditional kimono and join a tea ceremony. Last stop is the Asakusa Kannon Temple and the Nakamise shopping arcade. The rest of the afternoon is spent at leisure. At night, join your travelling group for a dinner hosted by your tour manager. After dinner, go for a walk tour with the tour manager among the dazzling city lights of Tokyo.
DAY 3 - Tokyo–Kamakura–Mount Fuji Area
This morning, leave Tokyo and head south along the coast to Kamakura to see the 750-year-old Great Buddha. Continue on to the Mount Fuji area for a crusise on Lake Ashi, followed by a cable car ride for panoramic views of the spectacular Mount Fuji.
DAY 4 - Mount Fuji Area–Matsumoto–Takayama
The day starts with a journey to Matsumoto, the gateway to the Japanese Alps. Visit famous Matsumoto Castle, dating back to 1593, and discover history at the Matsumoto City Museum. Later, travel through the ruggedly serene Japanese Alps and isolated town of Takayama, to witness the untarnished traditions of the place. Enjoy a wonderful Japanese-style dinner on returning to the hotel.
DAY 5 - Takayama
The day begins with a visit to the Morning Market, where farmers have on display locally grown fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Visit Takayama Jinya, a former government office from the 1692-1868 period. This conserved building is a historic location and is one of the only remaining buildings of its kind in Japan. Move on to the San-Machi Suji historic district – a place made famous for its lacquerware shops and sake breweries, identified by the sugidama - balls made of cedar branches that hang over the entrances. Stop over at the breweries for sake tasting. The rest of the day can be spent at leisure, providing you the opportunity to peruse the narrow streets where merchants trade in the same way as history has known it for the last 300 years.
DAY 6 - Takayama–Shirakawa–Kanazawa
The day starts with an enjoyable drive through the mountainous Shokawa valley to Shirakawa. This remote region of Japan is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites due to the unique Gassho-Zukuri (joined hands) style thatched houses that can be found only here. Continue moving along to the scenic town of Kanazawa, located between the mountains and the Sea of Japan and once the country's richest region. Your tour manager will lead you on a tour of one of Japan's greatest gardens, Kenroku-En, the "Garden of Six Qualities," dating from the 1670s. Later on, partake in a Gold Leaf class, where you will have the opportunity to learn about this ancient traditional craft and make your own bento box souvenir. The included dinner is at place of your choice on one of three restaurants at your hotel.
DAY 7 - Kanazawa–Kyoto
Start the day travelling along the Sea of Japan to Kyoto. Upon arrival, visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, renowned for the thousands of brightly colored Torii gates. Next, stop at Sanjusangedo Temple, well known for its 1,001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Flanking the main statue are 1,000 more life-sized statues, covered in gold leaf, with 40 arms said to have the power to save 25 worlds. Continue on to the Higashiyama District to visit Kiyomizu Temple, the "Pure Water Temple," with stunning views over Kyoto. Along the way, walk through the busy streets where shops and restaurants have been catering to pilgrims for centuries. Lastly, take a walking tour through Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district, also known for its high concentration of machiya-style merchant houses. If lady luck comes your way, you may even see a geisha or a geisha-in-training, called a maiko. Spend the evening at a traditional Japanese ryokan.
DAY 8 - Kyoto
Start the day with a visit to stunning Kinkakuji, the temple of the gold pavilion. Visit Yuzen handmade corner to learn about the Yuzen dyeing technique used to decorate kimonos by painting dye directly on the cloth. Participate in making your own souvenir using this traditional method. At lunchtime, participate in a special Japanese cooking class. Under the instruction of a local chef you will learn how to make miso soup, teriyaki chicken and makizushi, more commonly known as a sushi roll. During the afternoon, take an excursion to Nara, the oldest capital of Japan. Here, visit two separate UNESCO World Heritage sites. First, at Nara Park, is Todaiji Temple, built in 752 AD and one of Japan's most significant temples. Rebuilt after a fire engulfed it in 1692, the temple is now only two-thirds its original size, yet remains the world's largest wooden building structure. The Daibutsu (Giant Buddha) inside the main hall is made of copper and bronze, and is the largest in all of Japan, weighing in at 250 tons and standing some 49 feet tall! Nearby is the Kasuga Shrine, known for its 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns. Return to Kyoto to spend the rest of the evening.
DAY 9 - Kyoto
A complete day at leisure to get out and experiment and discover more of Kyoto's temples, shrines, palaces and pagodas. Your tour manager will host a farewell dinner to celebrate your discovery of Japan.
DAY 10 - Kyoto
The tour comes to a close with breakfast served. Ensure travel arrangements are booked prior to 3 pm as you head onwards to Kansai International Airport in Osaka.