Day 1 (Tokyo)
Welcome to Tokyo, the biggest city in the world! A private car will collect you from the airport and take you to your accommodations. You will also meet your Kichi Japan representative who will orientate you to your trip, explain your travel pack, and arrange your rail passes for you. After freshening up, get ready for a welcome dinner like no other at Moonflower Sayaga, a restaurant that is equal parts fine dining and fine art. It is a collaboration between TeamLab (which is one of the leading groups for art installations in the entire nation), and the Sagaya restaurant which is one of the city’s best fine dining establishments. This 12-course meal comes with a seasonal menu and corresponding interactive artwork projected onto the walls and tables. The pairing of different dishes to shifting ethereal artworks is an otherworldly experience you will find nowhere else.
Day 2 (Tokyo)
Your second day will begin with a guided tour of Tsukiji fish market – previously the largest wholesale fish market in all of Japan. After getting your fill of sashimi, uni and maguro, you will then head to a nearby kitchen to make your own sushi under the guidance of a trained chef! After this you will make your way to the man-made island of Odaiba that houses the digital artspace that is TeamLab Borderless. Be prepared to spend a few hours here as you witness art come to life. Between these two activities, the expansive Imperial Palace gardens at the heart of the city also makes for a great stop.
Day 3 (Lake Kawaguchi)
No trip to Japan would be complete without seeing one of the country’s most iconic natural landmarks – the majestic Mt Fuji, and you will have the privilege of seeing it right up close as you travel to its base near the stunning Lake Kawaguchi. A short walk to Chureito pagoda will reveal one of the best views of Fuji in the entire region, while a tour at a local sake brewery will show you the fascinating process behind creating Japan’s most famous drink. This brewery is really special as it uses the water from Mt Fuji to make its product, which you will also get a taste of during your tour. You will also be in the city during their Autumn leaves festival where you can look forward to a magnificent Momiji corridor, and evening autumn foliage light-up and delicious seasonal foods to name but a few. On returning to your ryokan accommodations, you can look forward to relaxing in your own private open-air hotspring bath.
Day 4 (Kyoto)
Today you bid farewell to the beautiful mountain and hop on the bullet train to Kyoto. This former capital of Japan is absolutely bursting with history. Whereas Tokyo is typically busy and modern, Kyoto moves at a slower pace and has a tighter hold on tradition. You will experience the ‘budo’ culture with a kendo lesson and fun tournament at the end of the session. In the evening you’ll visit Fushimi Inari, the shrine with over 10 000 picturesque red ‘torii’ gates which is best enjoyed later in the day once the crowds have died down.
Day 5 (Kyoto)
Today you will travel down the Hozugawa river on a traditional 3-manned Japanese boat, which will give you amazing views of both the river and surrounding forest. Upon arriving in this beautiful district, you will embark on an exploration of Tenryuji temple and the famous bamboo grove behind it, before finishing up the day with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Not only an art, but a spiritual discipline, this time-old tradition provides a great insight into some important aspects of Japanese culture. Arashiyama is also the perfect location for an anniversary photoshoot. Don traditional kimono as your photographer helps you celebrate your time together with an amazing backdrop of temples, gardens and stunning autumn foliage.
Day 6 (Himeji/Osaka)
Today, you will visit what is likely the most spectacular castle ever constructed in Japan. Not only is Himeji the largest castle in the country, it is one of the few castles that stands as it was originally designed! Most of the castles in Japan have been destroyed in war, earthquakes or other natural disasters, and the structures that replaced it are merely museums. This will be an opportunity for you to see a castle as it was meant to be. At night you’ll enjoy interacting with one of the city’s greatest entertainers during dinner with a geisha. Contrary to popular belief, geisha do not offer any services of an illicit nature, and are at their core entertainers and master communicators who have been trained in a plethora of traditional arts from a young age to keep people engaged - much as a musician or an actor would do at a theatre. During this one-of-a-kind experience she will capture you with games, dances, and also offer an insight into life as a geisha as she answers all of your questions about the lifestyle of these high-class ladies.
Day 7 (Hiroshima)
You will have a couple of hours in Kyoto in the morning before boarding the bullet train to Hiroshima. Nishiki Market, with over a hundred different food stands as stalls, is a great stop for breakfast before saying goodbye to this traditional capital. After dropping your bags, your first stop will be the Atomic Dome Museum and Peace Park where you will learn about the tragic nuclear events of WW2, but also see how the city built itself back up again so beautifully. In the evening enjoy some of the region’s most distinctive dishes, which include okonomiyaki and oysters, as you experience some more of Japan’s culinary offerings.
Day 8 (Miyajima)
Your entire day will be spent on the pristine island of Miyajima. This is another one of those rare locations in Japan which has never experienced an earthquake. This means that many of the temples and shrines are original and centuries old. On your tour of the island you will visit Daisho temple, Itsukushima shrine, Mt Misen via a scenic ropeway and encounter lots of friendly deer! You will also be there during peak momiji season as the trees turn brilliant red, orange and gold. Miyajima offers some of the best autumn foliage in the entire nation so this is sure to be a real treat!
Day 9 (Tokyo)
Today you will depart Japan and reflect on all the fantastic memories you’ve made during your trip! After disembarking from the bullet train in Tokyo, you will head to the airport to fly out later in the day.