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.
Scottie was the BEST! He kept in good contact with updates and planned our trip based on OUR needs and wants. We felt we got a great overview of Japan for our 2week trip and the Cherry Blossoms were off the charts! 10+++ As were our guides. Very good English and not your typical guide that repeats themselves over and over. That is very annoying as a tourist! The variety of all the cities and landscapes we saw. Seeing all the UNESCO sites and having my Temple book with all its stamps! only have 3 empty pages. Kanazawa - The Park was exquisite! Love the chi & feel of this city! The hotel was fabulous and we had 2 of the best meals based on their recommendations. Kyoto - having a driver for all the temples was the best! And then Scottie taking us out for the whole day to sip Whisky & Sake plus takes us to the secret temple not in any guide books was very special! (Personal remarks) 4 star hotels are not the same in the US. We would have only stayed at 4.5 and above. for the Wide view train – seats 1 are least desirable – farther back is better. Honjin Hiranoya has a free shuttle - found that out when we asked for a taxi - not sure if they will pick up guests arriving & the walk with luggage takes more like 15 minutes – TI next to station with map was very helpful. In Hakone we had no guide and communication was difficult as we wanted a driver to take us to see the temple, the lake & then to Odawara. It didn't happen but we did see Mt Fuji from the train..better than nothing. Ryokans - I thought we would be staying at a place more like a B & B than a hotel. Not as charming as I had envisioned. The one in Takayama really did a better job of creating more hominess and explaining how it all works. Osaka Hotel was in the train station which would have been helpful to know on our itinerary. Slight mix up as guide was on the platform and we assumed she would be on the other side of the exit gate. My personal thoughts - the trip should get better as it goes along and Kyoto was the main reason we even went. That hotel was only 4 star because they put a toothbrush & some cheesy amenities in the bathroom. The room was small with cheap furniture. it was disappointing after the Kanazawa experience.... READ MORE