This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our current new Japan Panorama tour.
Japan is a wonderful and fascinating destination. It's also very expensive—unless you're traveling with Friendly Planet! Now you can explore this ancient yet modern country for a truly remarkable price. You'll visit Tokyo, Japan's modern capital and Kyoto, ancient capital for over 1000 years, on this thrilling 10-day tour.
Day 2: Arrive Tokyo, Japan. Welcome to Japan, the "Land of the Rising Sun". Afternoon arrival in Tokyo, Japan's vibrant capital. Tokyo is a great mix of ancient Japanese culture and modern, dazzling architectural landmarks which you'll be able to explore over the next few days.
Your tour host warmly welcomes you upon arrival and escorts you to your downtown hotel. Your host will share with you some vital information about Japan, Tokyo and your upcoming tour program. Asakusa View Hotel
Day 3: Tokyo. Morning guided tour to explore some of the highlights of amazing Tokyo. Start with a visit to the 1093 ft. Tokyo Tower, the tallest structure in the city, modeled on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. From here you may enjoy bird's eye views of Mt. Fuji and the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, home to 10% of Japan's population and the center of the nation's politics, business, finance, mass media, and pop culture.
Then, tour the historic Imperial Palace district, which dates back to the 15th century. The emperor and his family still live in the western part of the Imperial Palace, known as the Kokyo. You'll see the charming East Outer Garden with views of the ancient castle walls and ruins. Proceed to a Pearl Gallery where you'll learn more about the pearl's cultivation tradition.
Your tour concludes at the Sensoji, or Asakusa Kannon, Tokyo's most sacred and spectacular Buddhist temple. Narrow alleys filled with small shops, restaurants and tranquil gardens surround the temple. Stroll Nakamise Street nearby, filled with stores stocking treasure troves of traditional Japanese wares and crafts.
Afternoon is free for independent pursuits. You may explore the nearby exciting Ginza district, home to Tokyo's oldest and most prestigious department stores, including Wako, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel and Prada, and renowned for its world-class dining and entertainment, including the Kabuki theatre. Breakfast provided.
Rihga Royal Hotel Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Kyoto. The capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, Kyoto is a world-class gem, a true oasis. Today, a local expert leads you on a guided tour exploring some of the city's highlights. Begin at Nijo Castle, renowned for its ornate interiors. Built by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early 17th century, the castle symbolizes the power and riches of the newly established Edo-based Shogun.
Your next stop is one of Kyoto's most inspiring sights, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, also known as Kinkaku-ji. As you approach the temple via a tree-shaded path, emerge into an exquisite Japanese-style garden on the other side of which stands the fabled pavilion. It is built on pillars magnificently suspended over a lake. Proceed to the colorful Handicraft Center where you can see demonstrations of traditional Japanese arts and crafts.
Day 8-9: Kyoto. Two full days on your own to explore ancient Kyoto's grace and beauty or join an optional tour. You may visit some of the smaller and serene temples, marvel at splendid classical Japanese gardens, see the exquisitely dressed geishas and performing arts at the colorful Gion corner, or join a traditional tea ceremony.
Perhaps visit the acclaimed Miho Museum, built on a wooded mountain-top outside Kyoto. Also available is an optional excursion to Nara, Japan's first capital and symbol of tranquility, where you may see the world's largest indoor Buddha. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Kyoto/USA. Transfer to the airport for your return flight. Your amazing journey ends on arrival in Los Angeles later today. Breakfast provided.
For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Japan, click here.