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Splendors of Japan Celebrate Takayama Festival

Operated by: Trafalgar

9 Days from $4,395 per person

Countries Visited

Japan ...more Japan

Locations Visited

Tokyo, Lake Yamanakako, Mt. Fuji, Takayama, Gokayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto ...more Tokyo, Lake Yamanakako, Mt. Fuji, Takayama, Gokayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto
  1. Day 1 Arrive Tokyo (2 Nights)

    Your in-depth exploration of Japan begins in Tokyo. Take a shuttle bus transfer to your centrally located hotel, where you'll join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetizers.

    meals Welcome Reception
    hotel New Otani Garden Tower
  2. Day 2 Tokyo Sightseeing

    We launch our City Tour in the old-time entertainment center of Asakusa, where we'll encounter the Sensoji Buddhist Temple. One of Tokyo's most colorful and popular temples, Sensoji has been rebuilt countless times since it was founded in 628, making it Tokyo's oldest temple site. Strolling down Nakamise next, we immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of shitamachi (downtown Tokyo), admiring the wooden dolls, colorful chiyogami (origami paper) and traditional Japanese sweets. We'll ascend Tokyo Skytree, the world's highest free-standing broadcasting tower for panoramic views of the city, then enjoy the rest of the day at leisure or on an Optional Experience.

    meals Buffet Breakfast
  3. Day 3 Tokyo - Lake Yamanakako

    Our first stop today is the Imperial Palace Plaza from where the two bridges that form the entrance to the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace can be viewed. We'll have the opportunity to explore the leafy Imperial Palace East Gardens before continuing our City Tour. At the Edo-Tokyo Museum, we delve into the history and culture of Tokyo's Edo era, then continue to the Ginza district where we'll learn how to make sushi with a Local Specialist. We venture to the Five Lakes District next, keeping a keen eye out for the UNESCO listed Mt. Fuji which dominates the landscape.

    meals Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    hotel Fuji Marriott Yamanakako
  4. Day 4 Lake Yamanakako - Mt. Fuji - Takayama (2 Nights)

    This morning ascend Mt. Fuji by road to 7,550 feet at the 5th station before taking a ride up Mt. Tenjo on the Kachikachiyama Ropeway (both weather permitting), for jaw-dropping views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko. Continue your journey through the Japanese Alps to the hillside town of Takayama, before enjoying an early dinner at the hotel. Later dive into culture as the warm glow of lanterns beckons and with them, an opportunity to delve into centuries of tradition at the Yomatsuri Night-time Festival. Watch in wonder as ornate floats lit up by hundreds of lanterns parade through the streets to sounds of cheery bystanders, drums and jangling bells.

    meals Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Associa Takayama Resort
  5. Day 5 Takayama Sightseeing and Festival

    Immerse yourself in tradition as you walk through the Edo-style streets of Takayama's Old Town. Indulge in a lunch of Japanese Hida-gyu—beef from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed, renowned as one of the finest quality varieties of beef. After lunch, immerse yourself in the town's festive atmosphere. Admire the intricately carved yatai (floats) that date back to the 17th century and feature karakuri ningyo, (marionettes) which move and dance as their strings are managed by the tsunakata (puppeteers). Later, return to the hotel by coach.

    meals Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
  6. Day 6 Takayama - Gokayama - Kanazawa

    Journey back in time this morning during a visit to the peaceful UNESCO-listed Gokayama, a mountain village set amidst five valleys. Admire the unique construction of the local Gassho-zukuri wooden houses that have been built without the use of nails with steeply sloped thatched roofs to prevent snow from building up on them. Later dive into culture observing local artisans making washi paper and trying your hand at making your own. Make a difference to the sustainability of this small business during your visit. Then, continue to Kanazawa and take a short walk through the Omicho market and enjoy an insider's view of everyday life in a busy coastal town. Next, visit the gardens of Kenroku-en, shaped over a hundred years before continuing with a visit to a Local Specialist to learn the secrets of painting gold leaf. Stay overnight in Kanazawa.

    meals Buffet Breakfast
  7. Day 7 Kanazawa - Kyoto (2 Nights)

    We board an Express train this morning to Kyoto, where we'll connect with locals at a traditional ryokan, built in 1932 to serve as the second residence of Emperor Akihito's uncle. We'll enjoy a Be My Guest lunch and learn about local Japanese customs as our hosts welcome us into their beautiful home. After lunch, we visit the UNESCO-listed Kinkakuji Temple with its famous Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion), the proud symbol of Kyoto and a Zen temple, which has its origins as a 14th-century villa.

    meals Buffet Breakfast, Lunch
    hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto
  8. Day 8 Kyoto Sightseeing

    The blazing orange torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine guide our path through the forest, up into the mountains and to a sacred site that has heard prayers for prosperity and happiness since the 8th century. We continue to Sanjusangen-do Hall and admire the minute detail of each of its 1,001 "thousand-handed" goddesses of mercy, then enjoy a walking tour of the Gion area. This evening, we indulge in a festive Farewell Dinner with your Travel Director and fellow guests.

    meals Buffet Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
  9. Day 9 Depart Kyoto/Osaka

    Take a transfer by airport shuttle service to Kansai International Airport or Osaka Itami Airport for your onward flight.

    meals Buffet Breakfast
JPNL-splendors-of-japan-new-map-tt-19.jpg
Price Includes

Meal Summary

8 buffet breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners.

Included Highlights

Connect With Locals

  • A kaiseki lunch at a traditional Japanese ryokan home near Kyoto where you will learn about local customs

Dive into Culture

  • Join the locals at the Takayama Festival.
  • Sample Japanese sake during a walking tour in the Edo-style streets of Takayama Old Town.
  • Learn how local artisans make Japanese washi paper in the UNESCO village of Gokayama.

Make a Difference

  • By supporting a local business with a visit to a washi paper workshop. You'll watch the family at work, and test your paper-making skills for yourself.

Local Specialist

  • Sushi making in Tokyo and Gold Leaf painting in Kanazawa

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour of Tokyo, Kyoto
  • Visit the Edo Tokyo Museum, the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, Mt. Fuji 5th Station, the Kinkakuji Temple, Sanjusangen-do Hall, Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto
  • View Mt. Fuji
  • See the traditional Gassho-zukuri houses in Gokayama, the beautiful gardens of Kenrokuen in Kanazawa
Dates & Prices
Airfare is not included, but can be added to quote upon request
  • Definite Departure
Start Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
Optional Add-Ons

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Tokyo

Izakaya Dining Experience

Join your Travel Director for a different kind of Japanese dining experience at an ‘izakaya.’ It is a type of informal Japanese pub where the food is shared by everyone at the table (similar to Spanish tapas). These are popular with the local office workers who tend to frequent them at the end of their working day. The menu changes according to the season but generally includes small Japanese appetizers, seasonal sashimi, tempura, grilled chicken, yakisoba yakitori, boiled rice and dessert. Three drinks are also included with a choice of wine, beer or soft drinks. The price shown is in Japanese Yen.
Adult Price: ¥5500

Kanazawa

Izakaya Dining Experience

Join your Travel Director for a different kind of Japanese dining experience! An ‘izakaya’ is a type of informal Japanese pub where the food is shared by everyone at the table (similar to Spanish tapas). The menu changes according to the season but generally includes a small Japanese appetizer, sashimi, Japanese salad, grilled prawns, yakisoba, tofu yaki and chicken yakitori. The main dish is Japanese style dumplings known as ‘Gyoza’ which are very popular in Japan and featured on the menu at many izakaya establishments. The price also includes vanilla ice cream and two glasses of wine, beer or soft drinks per person. Vegetarian options are available for non-meat eaters. The price shown is in Japanese Yen.
Adult Price: ¥4500

Kyoto

Gion Corner, Kyoto

The Gion corner is a unique experience where you can observe seven of Kyoto’s traditional performing arts, all on one stage. See a Bunraku puppet play; A UNESCO listed traditional Japanese puppet performance. Listen to the wonderful harmonies of Koto Music, as a master plays an ancient six stringed zither using ivory plectrums worn on their fingers. Watch Kyo-Mai, an elegant and dazzling dance performed by Maiko dancers in beautiful and ornate dress. Enjoy a performance of Kyogen Theatre, a comical play portraying humorous stories of daily life. Experience Gagaku (court music), the indigenous Japanese music performed at imperial court shrines and temples. During the evening observe the art of creating flower arrangements and a traditional ‘Ryurei style’ tea ceremony. There is also a Maiko Gallery, displaying costumes, hair decorations and videos of Maiko Dancers. The price shown is in Japanese Yen.
Adult Price: ¥3900

Ninja Dining Experience

Visit the Ninja-themed restaurant for a truly unique dining experience. You will be welcomed by a Ninja guide who will guide you through the labyrinth-like caves into the underground restaurant and to your table. The Ninja theme is carried on in incredible detail; the menus are ninja scrolls and while you are waiting for your meal there are crackers shaped like throwing stars to keep you going. Even the food itself is themed with dishes having names like ‘Ninja Teleportation Chicken Steak’ for example. If you’re lucky you might even meet one of the Ninja masters who’ll show you some of their magic tricks at your table. Also included are 60 minutes of unlimited drinks with a choice of wine, beer or soft drinks. The price shown is in Japanese Yen.
Adult Price: ¥7000

Japanese Tea Ceremony Experience

Experience the ambience of a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony with a professional Tea Master who will have spent many years leaning his craft which is often presented in a ceremony influenced by Zen Buddhism. Learn about the history and culture of tea making in Japan and observe how the powdered green tea (matcha) is prepared by adding boiling water and mixing it with a bamboo whisk. There will also be an explanation on the Japanese way of making and drinking tea. Take the opportunity to try some Japanese sweets and afterwards, having observed the skill involved in making the tea, have a go at making your own! The price shown is in Japanese Yen.
Adult Price: ¥3500

Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Trusted Customer
Monday, July 1, 2019
Service
Highly experienced, gracious, effective. I would recommend good word around.
Vacation
I'm fascinated by the high service, help provided all over. The sightseeing grandiose, variety of food healthy and tasty. I'll keep vivid, pleasant memories.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We are so happy that you enjoyed your latest trip to Japan. We also appreciate your loyalty and repeat business. Thank you
Monday, July 1, 2019
Trusted Customer
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Service
We had credit from previous trip to Europe that my husband couldn’t make it, Alyssa helped us apply credit to our trip to Japan. Thank you for making it easy for us!
Vacation
It was an excellent trip to Japan. We have not only the cities the towns but the culture and history! Suzuki San, our tour guide for all 9 days, is so lovely, helpful and well organized. All bus drivers we had are good and very polite. Hotels choices are excellent! As a Buddhist, we would love at least one big Buddha in Japan but we didn’t!
Samuel Bass
Monday, April 15, 2019
Service
Booking was easy, with good recommendations, and worked out well
Vacation
Overall Japan was a disappointment. . Too modern with little history other than temples and Hiroshima. Did not like the food at all.
Trusted Customer
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Service
This was second trip I've taken- and everything was well organized and a great value!
Vacation
Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Everything was as hoped for!
Trusted Customer
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Service
It was a great trip. We saw major highlights of more than 10 cities/towns (large and small) across Japan from Tokyo to Hiroshima. It was a wonderful, educational and fun experience. Learned to make washi paper as well as sushi. Ate authentic Japanese meals. Visited Fuji mountain, numerous shrines and temples, beautiful gardens and rural areas with 200 year old thatched roof homes. Traveled on tour buses, express train and bullet train. Japanese tour guide was very knowledgeable with nice personality. I am not a big shopper, so the only negative thing was too much time allotted for shopping in various cities. Could have used that time to tour more areas.
Vacation
no information on purchases.
Trusted Customer
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Service
I took a Trafalgar tour package of Europe 20 years ago, and I was displeased with the trip. I was especially unhappy about the numerous optional experiences. If you wanted a complete tour, you had to pay an additional large amount. My experience of this tour of Japan was a very pleasant surprise. I will not hesitate to take another trip.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you so much for giving us another chance. We are so happy that you enjoyed Japan, Grand European Travel
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Vacation
It was a very enjoyable trip. I had only one objection, and that was the visit to the Okonomiyaki Museum. It was totally a commercial purpose, and almost all the persons on this tour agreed with this explanation. And by the way, the description of this activity in our travel itinerary had a total of eight lines, but the same paragraph gave the Peace Memorial Park a mere two lines. Did Trafalgar Company receive a monetary reward for bringing travelers to this facility?
Trusted Customer
Friday, May 27, 2016
Service
While contact person was pretty good, the air department appeared lacking. They told me to review flights and let them know what I wanted; I thought it was their purpose to research and provide the best flights. Everything did turn out quite well.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for your valuable feedback. We're sorry to hear about the difficulty booking your flights with us. We do try to find the perfect fit when it comes to flight arrangements and will often ask for more input form our Guests when there several options available. It sounds as if you had a wonderful time once you arrived. Grand European Travel
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Vacation
The hotels, locations visited and food included were all excellent. The tour guide was extremely informative about every subject and included a visit to a high point for views on one of the islands. The pace was perfect and not rushed with a perfect group size. A very enjoyable tour in every respect.
Trusted Customer
Friday, October 23, 2015
Service
Hotels were better than expected. While we've traveled with GE before, this was actually our first experience with Trafalgar. Impressed with accommodations.
Vacation
Our Guide, Kimiko Tsukushi, made the trip an awesome experience. This will rank among our favorite trips.
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