Experience the contrast-rich Japan where vibrant and modern metropolises meet beautiful nature, graceful geishas and historic temples. The trip is a group trip with people from all over the world and an English-speaking guide. See listofusnewspapers for mass media in Japan.
On this trip you will encounter many different aspects of Japanese culture and nature. Tokyo and Kyoto, the modern and imperial capitals of Japan, respectively, together represent the perfect fusion of the prehistoric and the present. On this journey, you explore both of these two and everything in between, thoroughly. Traditional rural communities, miles of rice fields, prehistoric temples and stunning views of the Japanese Alps. Snow monkeys, geishas, the throng of pedestrians leaving Tokyo’s Shibuya district and the exceptionally friendly staff at the traditional ryokan inns are just a few of the locals you will meet and never forget.
Day 1: Departure from Scandinavia
Departure from Scandinavia to Japan with arrival the next day. Depending on the airline, there are one to two stopovers on the way.
Day 2: Arrival in Tokyo
Arrival in Tokyo. As your fellow travelers arrive at different times, there are no planned activities today. Remember to ask at the reception if there is a message from your guide with details about the evening’s group meeting. At this meeting you will meet your guide and your fellow travelers and you will jointly go through the logistics for the coming period.
Day 3: Discover Tokyo
Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is one of the most modern cities in the world. It seems like everybody on the street has the latest version of everything. We start the day with a walk in the vibrant and modern areas of Harajuku, Shinjuku and Shibuya. The rest of the day you are on your own in Tokyo. Ginza is packed with department stores that sell the latest fashion and Akihabara is the place to find the latest gadgets before they become available in the west. But it is enough that you look under the shiny facade: here is also a Tokyo that is very traditional. The women still wear kimonos as they walk around the city, people go to temples like Senso-ji to read some prayers on the way to work and couples get married in their traditional wedding clothes in the beautiful areas around the Meiji shrine. And in the spring, couples sit,
Day 4: From Tokyo to Nagano
Today we travel to the Japanese Alps and Nagano, the host city for the 1998 Winter Olympics, and visit the historic 600th-century Zenkō-ji Temple. Today we get the opportunity to go to the world-famous monkey park Jigokudani Yaen Koen, where wild snow monkeys can be seen swimming in natural hot springs.
Day 5: From Nagano and Matsumoto
Today we will experience Matsumoto, a distinctive castle town with one of Japan’s most appreciated castles with its original wooden interiors and stone designs still well preserved today. Together we will explore this castle where samurai once in the 17th century wandered around before we go out into Matsumoto’s prehistoric streets or eat in a traditional warehouse. The tour then returns to Nagano, where we explore the historic Zenkō-ji Temple.
Day 6: From Nagano to Otsu
Today we continue to the city of Otsu which is beautifully situated by Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake. Here we will enjoy the hot springs in the area’s onsens.
Day 7: From Otsu to Hagi
After enjoying the morning atmosphere in Otsu, we set course for Hagi, a well-preserved castle town next to the Sea of Japan. All over Hagi you will find historic temples and small cozy pottery shops.
Day 8: On an adventure in Hagi
Today we will explore the old city on a bike ride. We will also eat and hang out with our local hosts at our homestay accommodation.
Day 9: From Hagi via Miho-Misumi to Tottori
We say thank you and goodbye to our homestay hosts after a good breakfast and now take the train to Miho-Misumi. Here we will learn the ancient art of creating washi, traditional Japanese paper, a method that is especially recognized by UNESCO. Then we continue our journey to the coastal town of Tottori.
Day 10: From Tottori to Kyoto
In the morning we explore the large dunes that can be up to 50 meters high and then we visit the local fish market. Here we get the chance to enjoy a delicious lunch before we board the train to Kyoto.
Day 11: We discover Kyoto
We spend the day discovering Kyoto, Japan’s cultural center. Kyoto has some of the country’s most magnificent and centuries-old temples. There are said to be 2,000 temples, shrines, palaces, museums and traditional gardens in Kyoto. We start with a hike up to Fushimi Inari through 10,000 amazing torii gates while your guide will help you take in different shades of Buddhism, Zen and Shinto and explore some of the most beautiful of temples, such as Kiyomizu, the “Temple of Love”, or the incredible Chion-in Temple with Japan’s largest temple bell.
Day 12: Departure from Kyoto and return to Scandinavia
After an exciting trip around Japan, the trip goes home. You can get to Osaka Airport on your own, depending on when your flight departs. Arrival the same day in Scandinavia.
Ten nights in a hotel and traditional guest house, onsen and homestay.