Elegant Japan

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For more information: Call us at 617-566-1907.

Depending on availability, this tour can be reserved for any dates. 

 

Many flights now follow the sun over Alaska and on to Tokyo and the magical land of Japan.  On our eleven day tour, you will discover the history, culture, and folkways of Japan.  Here you enjoy the elegance of Tokyo, a silver city with its great museums, and parks; a day trip to spectacular Fuji-Hakone National Park; and then on to Kyoto and Nara, once Imperial capitals and now living museums of Japan’s artistic heritage.  At the end of the tour, you leave Japan from Osaka’s stunning airport.

Tokyo is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and atmosphere.  Families in western dress and elegant shops contrast with the ancient moat and gates of the Imperial Palace.   You visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest and perhaps most impressive temple in Asakusa. You explore the Meiji Shrine, leading you toward its Inner Garden with the delicate sounds of birds and water in a nearby stream.  You see the lively Ginza, home to boutiques and three of Japan’s most famous department stores. You visit Ueno Park with the renowned Tokyo National Museum, its building designed by the famous architect, Yoshiro Taniguchi.

One of the most spectacular parks in Tokyo is Shinjuku Gyo-en Imperial Garden, a 150 acre celebration of Japanese, English and French gardening styles.  The park was given to the nation by the Imperial family.  For the Japanese, gardens are islands of serenity.  Many are designed to convey spiritual and philosophical messages, such as the unity of man and nature.  Stylized pruning and intricate designs are intended to emphasize the essential qualities of each tree.  Shapes are suggested. The visitor is left to complete the image. Thus the full appreciation of Japanese gardens lies in the mind of the viewer.

Just two hours from Tokyo on a day trip is Fuji-Hakone National ParkHere the star is Mt. Fuji, spell-binding in its beauty. You also savor Hakone with its mountains, volcanic landscapes and lake cruises and enjoy seeing Japanese families vacationing.

One evening in Tokyo, you may decide to attend a performance of kabuki, a traditional form of Japanese theater.  The fantastic gestures, music, and costumes of kabuki help us experience Japan through the dramatic sensibilities of the Japanese themselves.

In your free time you would enjoy the Edo Tokyo Museum focusing on the history of Tokyo, the Japan Folk Crafts Museum or the Nezu Art Museum, a private art museum set in a tranquil garden with ancient trees.  Other delightful activities are wandering through antique stores or the shop, Blue and White, a Tokyo landmark for 35 years, renowned for its handmade crafts.

One of your great experiences in Japan is taking a fast train, the spectacular shinkansen, to Kyoto, three hours from Tokyo.

In Kyoto, you visit the seventeenth century Ni-jo Castle and Gardens with its superb paintings.   You also see the temple Ryoanji, with its famous rock garden.  This garden is constructed of 15 stones of various sizes and raked sand.   With its Zen influences, the rock garden was intended expressly for contemplation.

You see the Silver Pavilion, a temple that was formerly the retirement villa of a shogun. Stroll along the Philosopher’s Walk, a path beside the old Sosui Canal, once used for philosophical reflection, and today lined with interesting architecture and shops.

The Golden Pavilion is famous for its gold leaf covering and its setting overlooking a pond. Another impressive setting is the UNESCO World Heritage temple’s, Kiyomizu-dera, built into a hillside.  The temple’s location gives you stunning views over Kyoto.

You travel to the Imperial city of Nara.  Some of the best examples of traditional Japanese art and architecture are here in excellent condition.  Imperial Nara is a metropolis of temples, shrines and dwellings. You arrive at Nara Park, a wooded area with over a thousand tame and graceful deer. Here you visit the Great Bronze Buddha in one of the loveliest temples, the Todaiji, completed in 752. You also see the ancient Horyu-ji Temple, the oldest temple complex in Japan, founded in 607.  Its forty-five buildings include the world’s most ancient wooden structure, the Five-Storied Pagoda.

The price per person for the eleven day tour, with double occupancy, includes all five star hotels, airport transfers, entrance fees, private guides, driver and private transportation, ten breakfasts, and gratuities.  We also have a number of single accommodations available for an additional fee.

 

 

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Traditional Japanese Dancers, Kyoto, Japan

 

 

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