Now THIS is a trip for the foodies! Japan is overflowing with rich history, culture, culinary treats, and the kindest people you may ever meet. During your time, dress up in traditional geisha attire and roam the ancient streets and temples of Kyoto, try tako tamago (candied baby octopus), explore bamboo forests, and trek to the top of Mt. Fuji – Japan’s tallest mountain (3776m) for an epic sunrise. Yasashii can be translated closely to “thoughtful of others,” which is a perfect way to describe the Japanese people. The rich food and culture, vibrant cities, and polite people will remain in your memory forever. No matter what your fancy, Japan has it.
Today, you’re given time to find your way to the hotel and perhaps explore Tokyo a bit. The city is massive, yet the easy-to-understand rail system makes getting around a snap. We come together in the evening for a traditional Japanese dinner, meet and greet, and general overview of the days to come.
Our first day is spent exploring the vast city of Tokyo. You’ll visit rows of bamboo and finely manicured landscapes at Chidorigafuchi and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. A visit to the National Museum of Modern Art shows a bit of Japanese history, with beautiful gold screens, watercolors, and more. Even non-art lovers will appreciate the simplistic design. A late lunch in the famous fish market district is a sushi lovers delight!
The morning is free to soak in more of Tokyo before departing for Mt. Fuji. After about 2-3 hours through the countryside, arrive to the base of the mountain where we begin the hike (Station #5). Starting the journey in the late afternoon ensures not too much time in the heat of the day. The hike isn’t too strenuous, and after about 3 hours, you will arrive at your cabin. Be sure to take time for stargazing before calling it a night.
An early rise ensures a captivating sunrise from the peak of Mt. Fuji – weather permitting of course. The hike to the top begins in the dark, under the stars. White rope lines the trail, and your headlamp keeps you on track. Journeying together with other hikers, the clouds gently roll below you and the sun peaks over the horizon. Relax at summit, explore the inactive crater, visit the temple, and enjoy warm soup before beginning the trek downhill. At base, enjoy lunch at an authentic Japanese restaurant before the 5-hour train ride to Kyoto, a welcomed rest after the long hike.
Kyoto is a city with harsh lines separating old from new. One street has flashing lights, store windows, smooth sidewalks, and crowds of people, feeling just like Tokyo. Cross the river, and it’s like stepping back to the origins of Japanese culture. Geishas in wooden slippers roam the cobblestone streets, ancient shrines cast shadows on the tree-covered cliffside. Meet with a local organization set on improving their community and the world. The remainder of the day is yours to explore all Kyoto has to offer.
Enjoy a sunrise start to the day as you bicycle around some of the top sights of Kyoto. Stops include one of Kyoto’s oldest temples, preserved historical landscapes, local hotspots, and the world-famous bamboo forest of Arshiyama. The afternoon is free to continue soaking in all the culture Kyoto has to offer.
Be sure to have an empty stomach as we head southwest to Osaka (15 minute train ride), the food capital of Japan. Be sure not to miss Minami, where you’ll find the 100 year old Kuromon Market, also known as Osaka’s Kitchen. Shopping in Japan can be a full day activity, especially in areas like Shinsaibashi-suji, a shopping destination for over 300 years. There is also a phenomenal aquarium, old castles, parks, and temples. It’s impossible to take in all Osaka has to offer, but we hope you’ll try your best!
Today is a free day in Osaka, here to squeeze in anything that didn’t quite fit the day prior.
Fly south to the island of Yakushima, known for ancient moss-covered forests, centuries-old redwoods, and picturesque beaches. Upon arrival, check into the traditional Japanese style guesthouse and then enjoy the evening exploring the quaint downtown area with restaurants and waterfront views.
Yakushima is an island that seemingly takes you back in time. Few cars and people, moss covered mountains, trees dating back centuries, peace that only comes when removing oneself from the speed of civilization. Step back in time as you hike the ancient Shiratani Unsui Ravine through forests of massive cedars, moss covered boulders, and majestic views overlooking ravines that stretch to the East China Sea. After the exhilirating hike, re-energize in the soft sand and crystal blue waters of Isso beach. This island chain is sometimes called the Hawaii of Asia, and here you will see why!
Today is a free day, left for you to explore the island and all it has to offer. Perhaps rent a bike and explore, enjoy fresh sushi or massage, kayak, book a local tour guide, or beach hop. We come together in the evening for a traditional hot pot dinner among friends.
Today is our ending day. We will help arrange your departure or extension, depending on preference. Flights back to Tokyo from the island are about 3.5 hours and operate multiple times per day. Or, return by ferry and explore Kagoshima. The choice is yours!
Interested in a private tour, alternate dates from what’s listed, or other questions or inquiries? We’d love to help!