JTW 2017 – Japan

24 March 2017 – 9 April 2017


// Visit the famous Tsukiji Fish Market and try your hand at making sushi
// See the iconic ‘Wada’ Houses of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
// Experience the traditional art of Japanese Paper Making
// Explore the Sagano Bamboo Grove to see the Cherry Blossoms
// Dinner with a Maiko in Kyoto (apprentice Geiko)
// Tea Ceremony at the prestigious Happoen Teahouse
// Visit the Pearl Diving Mermaids of Japan – the Ama (women of the sea)
// See the iconic “floating” Torii gate, said to be the boundary between the spirit and the human worlds
// Breakfast daily, 11 x lunches and 6 x dinners

Day One // 24th March 2017
Today you will be transferred to Sydney airport for your overnight flight to Tokyo.
Meals: In flight

Day Two // 25th March 2017
On arrival in Tokyo, we will be transferred to our accommodation with an early check in included. We will spend the morning at leisure to recover after the overnight flight. This afternoon, we have an orientation of the city before your first dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: In flight, Dinner

Day Three // 26th March 2017
It’s our first full day of exploring Tokyo! We will start with a visit to the Imperial Palace Plaza, where their Majesties the Emperor and Empress reside. Situated in the centre of Tokyo, the palace is surrounded by a water-filled moat and tree-covered grounds – a precious taste of nature within the bustling metropolitan city. We continue through the city exploring Nakamise Street, where you will find great unique shopping stores. After lunch we have time to explore the vibrant and stylish Ginza region; before stopping to enjoy a beautiful Tea Ceremony at the prestigious Happoen Teahouse.  Our day concludes at Tokyo Tower, standing an impressive 333m tall!
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Four // 27th March 2017
Today our tour takes us to explore many some of many beautiful, scenic areas outside of the city.  We start at the Nikko Toshogu – a lavishly decorated shrine complex consisting of more than a dozen buildings set in a beautiful forest. After lunch we continue to Lake Chuzneji, which was formed 20,000 years ago when Nikko’s sacred volcano erupted. Located at the foot of Mount Nantai, Lake Chuzneji offers breathtaking views and is home to the Kegon Falls. The falls are said to be the best in all of Japan and is absolutely worth visiting before returning to Tokyo.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Five // 28th March 2017
When you think of Japan, Mt Fuji is sure to come to mind and today is our opportunity to see this iconic area. Our morning will start with a visit to the Hakone Open Air Museum which successfully creates a harmonic balance of nature and art. This is achieved by exhibiting various sculptures on its spacious grounds, in combination with beautiful views of the surrounding valley and mountains. We then board a cruise to explore the peaceful Lake Ashi, which is considered sacred by the Japanese with a Shinto shrine at its base. With Mt. Fuji as its backdrop, it is a dazzling view on the water. Our last highlight today is Mt. Komagatake, a 1357-meter high lava dome, created by a Hakone volcanic eruption 40,000 years ago. It only takes 7 minutes in a cable car to get to the top, but the view is stunning…you’ll see Mt. Fuji and a chain of Hakone mountains on the left; Odawara, Yokohama, Ohshima Island, and Sagami Bay on the right; and Ashinoko Lake and Suruga Bay behind you. Below you is an afforested area of Japanese cedars halfway up the mountain. Today is sure to be a highlight!
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Six // 29th March 2017
It’s an early start today as we experience the famous Tsukiji Outer Fish Market. Here you will witness the energy of one of Japan’s busiest markets before getting involved in some sushi making, which you will take away for lunch later in the day. This afternoon we visit Ameyayokocho market, which was once a black market during post World War II. But now it is a lively open air market where you will find various products such as clothes, bags, cosmetics, fresh fish, dried food and spices are sold.

By nightfall we will leave the markets to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day Seven // 30th March 2017
It’s time to farewell Tokyo and have our first experience on the bullet train! We are travelling towards the picturesque town of Takayama. This town retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town. As we explore the old town, we will also visit the Folkcraft Museum and the Matsuri no Mori, an impressive museum dedicated to the Takayama Matsuri.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Eight // 31st March 2017
This morning we enjoy a walk through the Miyagawa morning markets; before departing Takayama and travelling to Shirakawago. This is a quiet mountain village with rice fields and a river running through it. 114 iconic thatched roof ‘Wada Houses’ stand together in the village, which was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. After lunch at a local restaurant, we continue through to Gokayama to experience the traditional art of paper making (Washi). We will stay in Kanazawa tonight with dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Nine // 1st April 2017
Experience Omi-cho markets this morning, which were established about the middle of the 18th century. Since then, it has been supporting the gastronomic culture of Kanazawa for more than 280 years. Afterwards we get to experience one of the ‘Three Great Gardens of Japan’ – the Kenroku-en Garden; before stopping for lunch in a local restaurant. Our afternoon is an exploration of the crafts, started at Yuzen Fabric Dyeingwhere you will experience a traditional technique of dyeing silk fabrics for kimonos and other products. This is followed by the opportunity to learn a little more about the traditional Japanese lacquerware.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Ten // 2nd April 2017
Today we travel to Kyoto on the Express Thunderbird. After a week of sightseeing, today you will have some free time to relax before having dinner with a Maiko. A Maiko is an apprentice geiko whose job it is to perform songs and dances, and to play traditional Japanese instruments over dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner


Day Eleven // 3rd April 2017
It will be a big day exploring Kyoto today with highlights such as Nijo Castle and Kinkakuji Temple, which has the top two levels completely covered in details gold leaves! You will also see Heian Jingu Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple and Sanjusangendo Temple – which is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Twelve // 4th April 2017
The Sagano Bamboo Grove is particularly popular at this time of the year due to the Cherry Blossoms and the fall colour season. Although we can’t guarantee the Cherry Blossoms, we are travelling at the best time and fingers will be crossed. The Bamboo forest is one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason; standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in a different world.

After our visit we continue through to see the Tenryuji Temple and Jojakka-ji Temple. The day finishes with a stop at Nara Nagomikan where you can find a vast array of Nara souvenirs.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Thirteen // 5th April 2017
Today you will be transferred to Ise, home to Japan’s most sacred Shinto shrines. While in the town of Ise you will have the opportunity to visit the Pearl Diving Mermaids of Japan – the Ama (women of the sea). These women are free divers, who make their living by diving to depths of up to 25 metres without using oxygen tanks or other breathing apparatus. Instead, the Ama rely on their own skill and breathing techniques to propel them to the bottom of the ocean and back to the surface again while holding their breath for up to two minutes at a time. Even more remarkable, in recent years as the population has aged and young people have left the villages for the city, the majority of Ama are now aged in their 50s and 60s, with some divers continuing to dive well into their 70s! Our visit wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Mikimoto Pearl Island where you will visit a museum about pearls, pearl cultivation and mikimoto kokichi (the pioneer who first succeeded in cultivating pearls).
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Fourteen // 6th April 2017
Farewell Kyoto because it is back on the bullet train to travel to Hiroshima! Once arrived you will discover the Peace Memorial Museum & Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome, before taking a ferry to Miyajima. This is where you will visit the Itsukushima shrine, which is known worldwide for its iconic “floating” Torii gate. The great Torii is said to be the boundary between the spirit and the human worlds. This afternoon we continue through to Osaka to check into our hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Torii Gate

Day Fifteen // 7th April 2017
Today we will be exploring the bustling metropolis of Osaka. A little less frantic than Tokyo, but slightly more dynamic than Kyoto – Osaka is famous throughout Japan as the centre of ‘’food culture’’. Enjoy the Kongobuji Temple and Danjo Garan before venturing to the Okunion Temple. It is believed that this temple is in eternal meditation for the Buddha of the future, who provides relief to those who ask for salvation.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Sixteen // 8th April 2017
This morning we board an “Aqua-Liner” –
a water bus which cruises around the Okawa River (former Yodo River). The ‘’bus’’ goes around popular landmarks such as the red-brick Japan Mint in Osaka, a retro building
of Osaka City, the Central Public Hall, and the symbol of Osaka, the Osaka Castle.
The tour is full of new discoveries when viewed from the water from a different perspective. Hopefully we will even see the cherry blossoms adorning the river side. Afterwards we visit one of the largest public aquariums in the world – Kaiyukan Aquarium – which is home to gigantic whale sharks.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Seventeen // 9th April 2017
This morning we will transfer to the airport for our flight home.This will be an overnight flight.
Meals: In flight

Day Eighteen // 10th April 2017
On arriving in Sydney, it officially becomes the end to an amazing adventure as you are transferred to your home address .
Meals: In flight

Osaka Castle

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