Japan offers unparalleled luxury journeys not only those visiting Japan for the first-time, but also for discerning travellers who wish to explore the country in depth. Upon arrival, take a glimpse into the bustling metropolis of Tokyo before experiencing traditional Japanese hospitality in Hakone: relax in a hot spring bath surrounded by nature and sample the best of Japanese gastronomy. Finally, feel the ambience of ancient times in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, filled with serene Temples, peaceful gardens and remnants of a glorious past.
Day 01: Arrival day - Narita Airport to Tokyo
Welcome to Japan! Upon your arrival at the airport, meet and greet by our representatives in Tokyo to be transferred to your hotel, Aman Tokyo.
Day 02: Tokyo – Full Day visit
After your breakfast, head off to Tsukiji morning market, the largest wholesale fish markets of the world. Start strolling around the outer-market before entering the actual wholesale market, where you will see fish & seafood being prepared & sold. You may also sample the freshest sushi at a restaurant nearby. After this, transfer to Asakusa one of Tokyo oldest and well preserved districts. Walk along the Nakamise dori merchant street, dating back to the Edo period when the temple’s neighbours were given special right to open their shops in the approach to the temple and arrive at the Sensoji Temple, with its huge lantern. After having your lunch, enjoy a private Japanese cultural experience, in the intimate setting of a modern Traditional Japanese Arts school, usually catering to Japanese adults who wish to learn the traditional arts. You can choose between either calligraphy where you will witness witness a demonstration by a master calligraphist and write your chosen “Kanji” or have a tea ceremony which is one of Japan's traditional cultural practices, it is the name given to a synthetic art that encompasses not only the making of tea, but also tea-room architecture, the appreciation of tea utensils and bowls and Zen Buddhism. After this peaceful & inspiring experience, continue your visit onto Ginza district, known for having the most expensive real estate on earth and home to some of the country’s most prestigious companies and brands. Here, architects rival in imagination with fashion designers from all over the world, including the Swatch & the Hermes buildings. Also take some time to visit some of Ginza’s famous department stores, especially their basement floors, with high-end food courts, where Tokyoites buy their delicacies.
Day 03: Tokyo – At leisure
Optional full-day visits , you can choose one of the following:
Option 1: Full day visit in Modern Tokyo: Start with a pleasurable stroll in the Yoyogi park of Meiji Jingu Shrine, was constructed in 1920 by more than 100,000 volunteers to honor Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of modern Japan. Afterwards, explore the nearby Harajuku, to see the best of Tokyo’s sub-culture, where so-called “Harajuku Girls” gather on Sunday, dressed up in “Cosplay”, imitating their favorite Fantasy Heroes. Also take a dive into “Takeshita Dori” a small street packed with both fashion shops and shoppers. Then transfer to Roppongi Hills, a sleek and modern shopping and entertainment complex. Have lunch then visit the Mori Art Museum, established as a cultural complex on the upper floors of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, it takes an open attitude in introducing the newest art forms from all over the world, with its key emphasis placed on being “contemporary” and “international” and the belief that each of the world’s diverse cultures must be accorded equal importance.Then climb up to the Roppongi Hills observation deck located on the 52nd floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, where you can enjoy 360 degree view of Tokyo.
Option 2: Full day trip to Nikko: Start from the Toshogu, the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. See fabulous carvings of the mausoleum in beautiful mountain setting. After lunch transfer to Lake Chuzenji, situated at an elevation of 1,269 meters, a beautiful lake with forested shores at the foot of the sacred volcano Mt. Nantai. The lake is said to have been formed by lava flows of the presently dormant volcano several thousand years ago.View the magnificent Kegon Falls, 97 meter-high, one of Japan’s three highest waterfalls, with smaller waterfalls situated behind and to the sides of Kegon Waterfalls, leaking through the many cracks between the mountain and the lava flows.
Day 04: Tokyo to Hakone – Full day visit
Check out of your hotel to depart from Tokyo to Hakone. Upon arrival, transfer to the unique Hakone Open Air Museum. Appreciate the balance of nature and art: a variety of sculptures on its spacious grounds in perfect harmony with picturesque views of the surrounding valley and mountains. Take a look at its various indoor galleries, too, including a sizable Picasso Collection. After having lunch, take a cable car and ropeway ride to Owakudani Valley, around a crater created in the last eruption of Mt. Hakone, around 3,000 year ago. Experience the views of sulfurous fumes, hot springs and rivers while walking around the area. On arrival on the other side of the mountain, board a lake cruise while enjoying the magnificent views of Mt.Fuji in the background. Look for reflections of the surrounding mountains in the lake surface. Lake Ashi was formed in the caldera of Mt. Hakone after the volcano’s last eruption. After the visit, check in Yoshimatsu Ryokan.
Alternatevley you could go Glamping in Japan at the uber luxiourious Hoshinoya Fuji, which we highly recommend. The view from your window will be one you will never forget.
Day 05: Hakone to Kyoto – Afternoon visit
Check out your hotel to depart from Hakone to Odawara station and board a direct “bullet-train” train to Kyoto in first-class seats. Upon arrival in Kyoto, start a half-day excursion at Nijo Castle, built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Edo shogunate. Then transfer to the Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) temple, built in 1397 to serve as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, whose grandson actually used as the inspiration for the Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) temple. Continue to the serene Ryoan-ji temple, prominent for its rock garden comprised of nothing but clay walls, raked sand and fifteen rocks. It is intriguing to interpret the garden’s mysterious arrangement based on intuition. Compare the stark differences between magnificence of Kinkakuji and the simplicity of Ryoanji temples. After your tour, transfer to the Ritz Carlton Kyoto and check in.
Day 06: Kyoto – Full day visit
After breakfast, start your visit at the Kiyomizu-dera Temple originally founded in 798. Its magnificent views of the city from its main hall. Enjoy a nice and relaxing stroll will take you through the old neighbourhood of “Sannenzaka” (Three year slope), which used to be the favored route of pilgrims before reaching Kiyomizudera. It is now lined with little shops and cafés. Take your time to try delicious delicacies on the way. Along the 'Higashiyama Path, which connects the Yasaka Shrine with the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kodaiji Temple is a temple of the Rinzai (Pure Land) school of Zen Buddhism and was founded during the Momoyama-period, by the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the powerful general who unified Japan at the end of the 16th century. Kodaiji is interesting, not only for its formal gardens, including “artificial mountains’ garden and dry rock garden, but also a bamboo grove leading to two famous teahouses and the splendid Maki-e, which give this temple its nickname as “Maki-e Temple. Reach Yasakajinja shrine which is one of Kyoto’s most famous Shrine, particularly for travelers. Enter the peaceful grounds and witness the multiple offerings made by local people & businesses. You may also witness or even experience a ceremony performed by the Shrine’s maidens (advance notice is required). Enjoy Lunch in nearby Gion and discover the numerous interesting shops offering great shopping opportunities. Depending on your centers of interest, your guide will hand-pick the most appropriate places. The Geisha district of Gion is famed for the preservation of its traditional architecture and traditional entertainment presented by graceful “Geiko,” which literally means “women of art.” During its golden age in the first half of 19th century, more than 3000 Geikos worked in some 700 teahouses in Gion. On the way back, stop at the Sanjusangendo Hall founded in 1164 and Famed for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess mercy. Entering the main hall, guests can notice a centrally located large Kannon, flanked on each side by 500 smaller statues, standing in neat rows side by side, each as tall as a human being.
Day 07: Kyoto - At leisure
Optional full-day visits, you can choose one of the following:
Option 1: Day trip to Nara:
Start your visit from Nara Park; a large pleasant park in the center of the city, commonly known as “Deer Park,” home to hundreds of freely roaming deers. Visit Kasugataisha Shrine, originally established in 768A.D. as the shrine of the powerful Fujiwara Family. See the magnificent interior famous for its numerous bronze hanging lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up to the shrine. Move on to the gigantic Todaiji temple, reputedly the largest wooden buildings in the world and one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples to be overwhelmed by the giant statue of Buddha Virocana. Finish your Nara tour in Naramachi, the former merchant district of Nara, which was not affected by bombings during the Second World War. The district features several traditional warehouses and residential buildings including the Naramachi Koshi-no-ie, an old residence open to the public for free.
Option 2: Full day visit in Arashiyama:
After breakfast, visit Arashiyama which is surrounded by nature, start at the Tenryu-ji Temple. This famous Zen Buddhist temple is the head temple of the Tenryu-ji branch of Rinzai Zen sect and part of World Cultural Heritage monuments, it also has a spectacular garden. From here, take a relaxing stroll around the Bamboo Forests, designated as one of the three most beautiful bamboo forests in Japan. Arrive at Okochi Sanso, a splendid mountain retreat, previously occupied by Ōkōchi Denjirō, a silent screen actor. Continue to the Adashino Nembutsuji temple where you will find 8,000 stone Buddha and pagodas. After a small walk, visit Otagi-Nenbutsuji Temple, the interest of this Tendai-shu sect Buddhist temple lies in the 1200 Rakan figures, carved by worshipers from 1981 to 1991 to pray for the prosperity of the temple. Very different from other Buddhist figures, these statues have been sculpted with much humor!
Day 08: Kyoto to Kansai International Airport:
Check out the hotel for your departure to Kansai International Airport to head back home!