Tokyo, a “prefecture” and capital of Japan, this is the world’s most populous metro area and home to unlimited choices—shopping, dining, entertainment, historic temples and sites, peaceful gardens, and excellent museums. On this 7-day vacation, we’ve arranged hotel accommodations for three nights each in Tokyo and Kyoto, as well as private guided sightseeing in each city, breakfast daily, and a bullet train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto. Plus, in each city, an expert Local Host is on hand and at your service to ensure your trip runs smoothly, to answer your questions, and to help you put your own personal stamp on your vacation.
After a restful night, rise and shine over a hearty breakfast. Afterward, embark on a private guided sightseeing tour using Tokyo’s famous subway system. You will see the Meiji Shrine, a 20th-century Shinto monument built within a man-made forest; the Samurai Museum, where you can learn about Japanese history and see authentic swords and armor; visit the bustling Nakamise Shopping Arcade; and one of the city’s most colorful temples, the Asakusa Kannon Temple.
Enjoy the afternoon and the following day at your leisure. Your Local Host will have suggestions about what to see and do during your stay. Perhaps take an excursion out of the city to Mount Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the country’s most iconic landmarks. Here, you will cruise on Lake Ashi and take a cable-car ride for spectacular views of the Owakudani volcanic valley and majestic Mount Fuji. Or maybe do a bit of exploring on your own. For an unforgettable view, ascend the 2,080-foot-tall Tokyo Skytree tower and if you’re a tech enthusiast, spend some time in the Akihabara electronics district.
A highlight of the vacation is the Shinkansen (bullet train) ride from Tokyo to Kyoto. Between the nearly 200-mile-per-hour speeds, this is, by far, the most entertaining way to travel between cities. Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour that includes visits to Sanjusagendo Temple and the beautiful Temple of the Gold Pavilion. Built on a lake and surrounded by a thick forest, the image of the temple’s reflection in the water is a must-take photo. You’ll also walk through Gion and explore the thousands of Torii Gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine. In your free time, hop aboard a rickshaw for a ride through the Old Town, visit nearby Nara, join a Japanese cooking class, attend a sake tasting, or indulge in some of the country’s finest Japanese cuisine.
We know you can’t truly experience Japan without riding a bullet train, so we include your transportation from Tokyo to Kyoto on one. It makes getting from one place to another half the fun!
DAY 1 ARRIVE IN TOKYO, JAPAN
Welcome to Japan! Your hotel room is available for mid-afternoon check-in.
DAY 2 TOKYO (B/L)
Today, hop on Tokyo’s subway system for a PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR of the city. First, stop at MEIJI SHRINE, a magnificent 20th-century Shinto monument set in a man-made forest. Next, stop at the SAMURAI MUSEUM to learn about their history and see authentic period-specific swords, armor, and helmets (kabuto). You will even have the chance to have your picture taken wearing a helmet and armor! You’ll also stop at SHINJUKU GYOEN GARDEN which dates back to the early 1600s. Lastly, visit bustling NAKAMISE SHOPPING ARCADE and ASAKUSA KANNON TEMPLE, the oldest of their kind in Tokyo. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
DAY 3 TOKYO (B)
Today, enjoy a full day at your leisure. Your Local Host will have suggestions
DAY 4: TOKYO –KYOTO (B)
Today, transfer to the train station and board your Bullet Train to historic Kyoto, former capital of Japan. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
DAY 5 KYOTO (B/L)
This morning, your PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING starts at stunning Kinkakuji, TEMPLE OF THE GOLD PAVILION, covered with shimmering gold leaf. Next, take a WALKING TOUR through Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, which is also known for its high concentration of machiya-style merchant houses. Continue on to SANJUSAGENDO TEMPLE, famous for 1,001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Flanking the main statue are 1,000 life-sized statues, covered in gold leaf, with 40 arms said to have the power to save 25 worlds. Finish with a visit to FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE, renowned for the thousands of brightly colored Torii Gates.
DAY 6 KYOTO (B)
A full day at leisure to explore more of Kyoto’s historic temples and shrines.
DAY 7 KYOTO (B)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. Homebound flights from Kansai International Airport in Osaka should not depart prior to 11 am.