Day 1 - Tokyo
Welcome to Tokyo! After arriving at the airport you will:
- Be taken to your hotel by private car.
- Meet your Kichi rep who will orientate you to your trip.
- And have the evening free to settle into your hotel and explore some of the surrounding areas for dinner.
Day 2 - Tokyo
After meeting your private guide at your hotel, you'll embark on a walking tour which will include the following:
- An early morning practice session at a sumo stable.
- A visit to Meiji Jingu, one of Tokyo's most important shrines.
- A walk through the trendy popculture centre of Harajuku complete with its quirky costume galleries and character cafes.
- A local food tour in and around the alleys of Shimbashi.
Day 3 - Tokyo
Get ready for an early start as you explore some of Tokyo's fish markets and religious sites. Activities will include:
- A guided tour of both Tsukiji and Toyosu fish markets, including the early morning tuna auction.
- A delicious sushi lunch.
- Visiting Tokyo's oldest temple, Sensoji, and neighboring shrine - showing the stark contrast between Shintoism and Buddhisim.
- Time in the vibrant anime and electronic mecca that is Akihabara, giving an insight into this hugely important, and sometimes odd, aspect of modern Japanese culture.
Day 4 - Lake Kawaguchi
A high-speed train will take you to the country's most iconic landmark where you'll meet your expert local guide and private driver. You'll see the following today:
- The Aokigahara forest which, although having a somewhat sombre history, is absolutely beautiful.
- Chureito pagoda, which offers one of the best views of the mountain.
- Some of the region’s old lava tunnels around Mt Fuji, carved out by the magma from Mt Fuji aeons ago.
- A sake brewery which uses the spring water from Mt Fuji to make its distinctive rice wine.
Day 5 - Kanazawa
Your day will start with a bullet train ride to Kanazawa where you'll be greeted by your local guide. Together you'll take in the following sites:
- Kenroku-en, one of the three finest landscape gardens in Japan, and an ancient wooden villa within.
- Kanazawa Castle, which was for a long time a prime seat of power for the Maeda clan.
- The Nomura Clan Samurai Home, which belonged to a high-ranking samurai family who ultimately lost their fortune with the advent of the Meiji Era.
- The geisha 'chaya' district, complete with its streets lined with beautiful wooden teahouses, ryokan and geisha houses.
- The Omicho fresh food market which has been the city's biggest market since the Edo Period.
Day 6 - Shirakawago/Gokayama
Journey outside of Kanazawa today to the picturesque and ancient mountain villages of Shirakawago and Gokayama. With a guide and private driver, slow down as you:
- Catch a glimpse of rural life in Japan.
- Appreciate the architecture of the villages' centuries-old gassho-style houses and temples and shrines.
- Learn about the village's industrial production of natural minerals, silk, and paper in the Edo era through a few small museum visits.
- Get a taste of the bountiful fresh food available, sourced from local mountain vegetables, homemade tofu, and fish caught from nearby streams.
Day 7 - Kyoto
Journey by bullet train south to Kyoto, a city brimming with history and rich in culture. With your private guide head to the following sites:
- Kiyomizudera, or the 'Pure Water Temple'. The structure gets its name from three streams of water which bring the drinker different fortunes.
- A tea house to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
- Fushimi Inari, arguably the most important shrine in the entire nation, which has over 10 000 picturesque red 'torii' gates donated by people and various businesses from all over Japan.
- The historic Gion district for an optional traditional Japanese arts show before dinner.
Day 8 - Kyoto
Just outside of Kyoto sits an area filled with natural beauty, historic temples and shrines, and a peace that you won't find in the city. After meeting your guide at your hotel, you will:
- Journey down the Hozugawa river on a traditional 3-manned Japanese boat, giving you amazing views of the river and surrounding Fall-colored forest.
- Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site Tenryuji temple, which is ranked first amongst the 5 great zen temples.
- Walk through the famous bamboo grove behind Tenryuji; standing amidst these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world.
- Head to Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, a unique temple that houses hundreds of statues, all carved by different people over several decades.
- Finish off the day with a visit to the city's biggest market, Nishiki.
Day 9 - Kurama/Kibune
You'll spend the day walking the forested paths between the villages of Kurama and Kibune with your guide. Along the way you'll:
- Enjoy a short hike up to Kurama Temple, through its forest lined with towering cedar trees and inhabited by friendly deer, on to the small town of Kibune.
- Sit down to an obanzai course lunch and Japanese spirits overlooking the flowing waters of the Kibune river.
- Take in the changing colors of Fall during your journey through Kurama's mountain paths.
Day 10 - Himeji/Hakone
You'll spend the day in two different locations with a bit of travel in between, and your schedule will look something like this:
- Start the day with a visit to one of Japan's most spectacular original castles with your guide.
- Enjoy lunch before hopping on a bullet train back east.
- Relax for the evening at a traditional ryokan inn complete with private hotsprings and a kaiseki course meal.
Day 11 - Tokyo
Today your time with Kichi Japan comes to an end. You have the option of spending some more time in Hakone, or making the short journey back to Tokyo and settling in on your cruise before departing the city in the evening. We hope you've had an amazing time in Japan. Sayonara, until next time!
We planned this 11-day experience to provide you with an overview of all that we love about Japan – from the bustling streets of Tokyo and rich samurai homes of Kanazawa, to the ancient temples of Kyoto and natural beauty of Mt Fuji. Accompanied by private guides, and staying in some of our favorite local luxury hotels, we’ve designed this to be a trip that you won’t be forgetting any time soon! Please see the day-to-day itinerary sent over email for more detail on inclusions and exclusions.