The Blades of Japan with high ethics
11 nights 12 days
If you are asked on what your image of Japan is, many people will mention Samurai, Geisha, Sushi, and even the Japanese Sword. Even though the majority of swords made in Japan now are for ceremonial or ornamental purposes, there actually are a few locations that still produce swords in the exact traditional way as they were made in the mid 1500's. We can exclusively take you to one of those locations.
Welcome to Japan! As most flights arrive in the early evening into Tokyo, you will be met by your English Speaking Guide at the Airport Arrival lobby, and then taken to your Deluxe Tokyo accommodation by a Chartered Vehicle. You may have wanted to transfer directly to Osaka, but we can save that fun until tomorrow. (The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Tokyo)
Take a early morning Bullet Train from Tokyo to Osaka. Meet with your guide at the Shin-Osaka station and be taken to an exclusive Forger(Blacksmith) that was certified by the Japanese Government in the 1500 hours to be the only place to produce Japanese Swords for the War Lords and Samurai of Japan. Swords are still made there now-a-days, but you can also see kitchen knives, scissors that use the same method of production. (Hilton Hotel Osaka)
Enjoy the major sights of the 2nd largest City in Japan, Osaka. Take in a panorama view of Osaka City from the High above Floating Garden building, and also take in the Osaka Castle a symbol of the most famous War lord's love of Gold. Also see the Dotonbori Canal area of Osaka along with the Kuromon Markets. (Hilton Hotel Osaka)
Have a Day Tour from Osaka to Himeji City by Private Car. Visit the Himeji castle or fondly known as the White Heron, not just because of the white color, but it actually looks like a Heron bird with its wings spread out. After Himeji Castle,visit a Temple complex that is on top of a mountain, and only accessible by Gondola. Walk the vast Buddhist temple and enjoy a Meditation session with the Monks, but you will most likely be the only one there (Hilton Hotel Osaka)
Transfer from Osaka to Kyoto by Private Car. Kyoto is only 1 hour away, so upon arrival you can take in several landmarks and sightseeing locations of Kyoto to break the ice in Japan's Cultural Capitol. See the Togetsukyo Bridge and Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, and then move to the Kinkaku-ji Temple (= Golden Pavilion) and another World Heritage site, Ryoan-ji Temple with its impressive rock garden. (The Ritz Carlton Kyoto)
Move away from the crowds of Central Kyoto and head to the mountains that surround Kyoto. You can walk over the mountain for approx..1 hour or take the car, but then visit 3 amazing Temples and Shrines location on the hillside. For lunch, you will be having an experience that you will never forget. Eat an authentic Japanese Meal while sitting on Tatami mats that are above a flowing river. True Japanese style. (The Ritz Carlton Kyoto)
Sleep in a little today, and then enjoy a casual Half day of Kyoto Sightseeing. Walk and take the local buses to the Imperial Gardens, Heian-Jingu Shrine, and then finish with a walk down the kitchen of Kyoto for over 400 years, the Nishiki Markets. (The Ritz Carlton Kyoto)
Today experience a little hidden area of Kyoto. Take a private car inland to the small, but historical village called Miyama. There are 38 preserved Traditional Thatched Roof houses here for you to walk in and around and feel the yesteryear of Japan. There are only 3 craftsman that can repair these houses. On the way back to Kyoto, take a 16 km Japanese Boat ride down the stunning Hozu Gorge. A beautiful natural setting. (The Ritz Carlton Kyoto)
The best of Kyoto and Japan continues. Visit the most visited Shrine in all of Japan, and also sample some local Japanese Sake (Rice Wine). To go hand in hand with the Sake, also experience a 1hour Japanese Tea Etiquette lesson in the Uji area. Uji is where the first Japanese Tea was produced and is slightly a higher quality than all the other Tea of Japan. Uji is the home to Byoudouin Temple which you can see on the 10yen coin and the 10000 yen note. (The Ritz Carlton Kyoto)
Today will be an exclusive arrangement. Using a Chartered Car and English Speaking Guide, travel to a very special World Heritage Temple in the outskirts of Kyoto. Have a private Monk show your around the complex and learn their day to day activities. Not to mention you will be exclusively let in to areas of this Temple that are not open to the public and be able to few some treasures that will not doubt be the highlight of your tour. A life changing experience. (The Ritz Carlton Kyoto)
Transfer from Kyoto to Tokyo by Bullet train and join the English Speaking Guide waiting at the Station for you. Enjoy half day Tokyo sightseeing by a private car showing you the Tokyo Sky Tree tower, Asakusa Temple and the upmarket Ginza Shopping district. You last meal in Japan will be in a high rise Restaurant with unbelievable nights views of Tokyo and even Mt Fuji in the dusk. (The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Tokyo)
After your Hotel check out, it only remains for you to be transferred to Narita International Airport in a chartered Car that we will provide. Your 11 nights in Japan has allowed you not only to see the culture and traditional of Japan, but taken you to an authentic Japanese Sword Maker, and let you immerse in a true Buddhist Temple. You have been able to do things not many travelers get the chance to.
Hi Scott, In a word - PERFECT - !! You listened to our brief and together over many months we formulated the plan which was executed in total without a single iccup. Along the way you threw in some lovely surprises which made our 50th very very special. The weather played the game with only two half days of drizzle, and the cherry blossoms seemed to come into full bloom sequentially as we moved along from one area to the next !! As a result of all this i ended up with 2976 photos to now review and edit !! It was altogether a challenging schedule which we simply could not have achieved on our own in the time available. To say the Assistants, Guides and Drivers were each brilliant would be a total understatement and we certainly appreciated the professionalism, kindness and friendship they showed us, each in their own way. Ineko was the best possible introduction to Japan. She was a total delight and we thoroughly enjoyed her company in Tokyo and on to Hakone. On day one she walked us 12 km in Tokyo and we loved every minute of it. Greenclass travel turned out to be a welcomed novelty for her as we travelled to Hakone where we had a wonderful time with her with lots of laughter. Also the brilliant accommodation made this special. Miyuki was at first a little unsure of our fitness levels, given our advanced years and the challenges of the Kyoto mountains. We soon overcame her fears and set out on 5 days together on vigorous and amazing sightseeing, including the incredible Miyama experience where our hosts were also exceptional. It felt like Miyuki had become family by then !! Finally in Kanazawa after a very informative and interesting day with our first guide (whos name Ive forgotten), we teamed up with Fumiko who did a brilliant job in showing us the local areas. Again i think we surprised her by our fitness level and she too saw things that were new to her, given that in depth visits with tours of 45 people are not possible. I think we might have worn her out !! Topping this off, our final fling on the Funasei boat was a riot and we loved it. Great way to finish the tour. So thank you Scott (and your team) for a unique experience where we saw and learned a massive amount. We found Japan to be a vibrant, exciting and beautiful place. The people are friendly, polite and incredibly helpful as well as being blessed with a great sense of humour - which was quite a surprise us. There is no doubt in our minds that Japan and its people stand head and shoulders above their immediate neighbours, and indeed above much of the rest of the world. There is so much we could learn from them ! Travel arrangements were excellent and we enjoyed both the public transport and the Bullet Train GranClass. Accommodation was excellent throughout with Yoshiike Ryokan and Miyama (Hisaya) being standouts. Scott the trip was expensive but at our age wisdom dictates that Value is a much better measure than Cost. In that regard you should be proud that for both Jenny & I after 50 years of travelling together, this experience ranks as equal number one for value ( the other being a 2 week adventure cruise in the Kimberly region of WA). I think this speaks for itself and once again many many thanks to you and the wonderful team. We will miss you and hope one day to return for another adventure. With Thanks and Very Best Wishes to all our new friends Jenny & Keith... READ MORE