Tour Program Summary
While retaining its time-honored culture, Japan rapidly absorbed Western technology during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The harmonious contrast of tradition and modernity is apparent all across this island nation. Fall is the best time to visit Japan to see the rich colors in the leaves of the trees of its abundant forests. Immerse yourself in the colors, flavors and aromas of this exotic destination.
Your grand Japan tour starts in Tokyo, the Capital of Japan and largest city of the country. The city’s history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa, and in many excellent museums, historic temples and gardens. Tokyo also offers a seemingly unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining to its visitors.
Next visit Mt. Fuji and Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 100 (62 miles) kilometers from Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, natural beauty and a stunning view of the iconic Mt. Fuji, Hakone is one of the most popular destinations among tourists looking for a break from Japan’s urban areas. Nikko is a hill town at the entrance of Nikko National Park, most famous for Toshogu, Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine and the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Nikko and the Okunikko area around Lake Chuzenji, in particular, are well known for their beautiful autumn colors.
Travel from Tokyo by bullet train to Nagano City which evolved as a temple town around Zenkoji Temple, one of Japan’s most attractive and interesting. In 1998, the city hosted the Winter Olympic Games, and some former Olympic facilities can still be viewed around town. Matsumoto is most famous for iconic Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan’s most beautiful original castles. Board an express train to Takayama, a city in the high mountainous Hida region of Gifu Prefecture. Takayama retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town – Shirakawa-go.
Another express train ride will bring you to Kyoto, where over 1000 years of history and Buddhist culture live on today. Kyoto flourished as the capital of Japan for several centuries after 794 and is one of the few cities in Japan to maintain its ancient architecture. Thirteen temples, three shrines and Nijo Castle are all registered as World Heritage Sites. Enjoy a day trip to Nara, located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital of Japan, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest temples.
Travel by vehicle to this tour’s last city, Osaka. With a population of 2.5 million, Osaka is Japan’s third largest and second most important city. It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region for many centuries. End of tour services and return home from Osaka.
Tour Leader & Escort
Ms. Napito Asahara was born in China but grew up in Japan until she went to California for her university education. Ms. Asahara graduated from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies. She has traveled extensively in Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America, and worked in both private and public educational institutions.
Ms. Asahara has a passion for travel and is very enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge on Japanese culture and tradition with travelers. She is currently working as travel consultant and group tour leader at Access China Tours’ Vancouver Office.