Explore Japan on foot
Japan is a land of vast cultural diversity with ultra-modern cities, sparsely populated fishing islands, Buddhist mountain sanctuaries, feudal castles and cultural arts. Japan Roads Cultural Diversity Tour of the Kansai area will allow you to experience Japan unlike any other tour. Since this is a private tour which includes only your friends, family, and a tour guide, we will travel according to your schedule.
The tour combines the comfort of an organized tour while still offering you the freedom to explore by yourself. In Himeji and Kameoka, you will be escorted by our local Japanese liaisons. Fluent English-speakers and experts in their field, they will be glad to give you an insight into the local history and people. On Mount Koya and in Kyoto you will be assisted by a tour leader who will assist you with travel details like hotel check-ins and train schedules and will generally make sure that your trip goes smoothly.
As with all of our Independent tours, changes can be made to this tour depending on your requirements.
Open Dates - Private Tour with Full Time Tour Leader
From US$ 4,800 per guest Tour prices include all accommodations, meals as listed below, transportation to and from destinations and while with your international liaison, travel leader, and cultural liaisons in Himeji and Kameoka.
Tour Leader through out the tourLocal Tour Guides in Himeji and Kameoka
Overnight stay at a mountain temple, Himeji Castle, home-stay with a Japanese family, Kyoto, close contact with the Japanese throughout the entire tour.
Train ('Shinkansen' bullet train and local trains), bus, boat and on foot.
Participants must be at least 12 years old. Anyone under 20 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Today your airport pick up will meet you at Kansai International Airport (assuming your flight arrives after 8:00am and before 21:30) and taken to your hotel in Osaka by public transportation. They will give you an orientation, hand you your transportation tickets, check you into your hotel, and answer any of your questions. The train from Kansai Airport to Namba Station in Osaka will take about 45 minutes. You will be on your own for dinner but your airport pick up will make a few suggestions.
After breakfast your guide will take you to Osaka and discover this city of merchants. Osaka is most famous for its inhabitants and local cuisine. The people of Osaka are widely known for their outgoing spirit and friendliness and the local dialect has been adapted as the standard for stand-up comedians and actors. Osaka’s regional cuisine is thought to be the best in Japan. Dishes include okonomiyaki (a pancake-based dish containing vegetables, meat, and/or seafood), takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and udon noodles.
Today your tour guide will take you to a holy temple complex located on a mountain top surrounded by cedar trees and mountain peaks known locally as Koyasan or Mt Koya. It is the center of Shingon Buddhism and one of the most important spiritual centers in Japan, with over one hundred temples. One of the highlights of visiting Koyasan is walking through the Okunoin Cemetery. This cemetery lies in the middle of a forest of majestic cedar trees, and the roughly 200,000 graves contain some of the most famous figures in Japanese history. At night the roughly 1 mile path through the cemetery is lit by overhead lights and stone lanterns, and it makes for a wonderful evening stroll. All meals will be vegetarian shojin ryori which is the same that the monks eat. The trip from Namba Station to Koyasan Station will take about 1 hour and 55 minutes. In the evening the monks will serve you dinner and then you can take a stroll that was mentioned above.
In the morning you will observe the monks' morning prayers before having breakfast and departing for Kameoka with your tour guide. You will be met at Kameoka station by your home stay family and driven to their home in the rural Japan. After a break and time to explore your new surroundings you will have a chance to learn about Japanese cooking with your host family. Then it is time to eat, talk and enjoy. In the evening you are free to wander about the neighborhood until your bath is ready. The trip from Koyasan Station to Kameoka Station will take about 2 hours and 50 minutes.
You will wake up to the sound of nature and a home cooked breakfast. Your host grows her own organic food so everything will be super fresh. She will then take you around her village and introduce you to her friends many of which are local artisans. You will have access to a part of Japan that very few travelers can even dream of. You will have lunch at a local restaurant and then continue exploring with your host. In the evening you are in for a very special treat as your host will prepare a home cooked meal. In the evening you will have time to talk to your host who loves talking about Japanese culture. You may also chose to take a stroll.
After breakfast with your host family you will be taken to Kameoka Station and then travel to Kyoto Station. In Kyoto you will be met by your tour guide and taken to your Japanese ryokan to drop off your bags. You will then start to explore Japan's most traditional city with your tour guide. In the evening you will have a formal multi-course Kaiseki dinner in your ryokan. The train from Kameoka Station to Kyoto Station will take about 30 minutes.
After breakfast at your ryokan and will head out with your tour guide to explore Kyoto. Because there is so much to see and do in this ancient city and since tastes are different from one traveler to an other we leave your sightseeing itinerary up to your guide based on your personal tastes. Entry fees are not included as guiding is custom for each traveler.
Today you will have free time to explore Kyoto on your own.
Your guide will meet you at your ryokan and will take you to Nara for the day. Formerly known as Heijo-kyo, this city occupies an important position in the history of Japan as the first capital from 710 until 784. During this period, a large number of shrines and temples were erected under the protection of the imperial family and aristocrats. However, when the monks in the surrounding hills started gaining too much influence and eventually tried to seize power, it was decided to move the capital to Heian-kyo, nowadays known as Kyoto.Many of the temples built at the height of Heijo-kyo, like the Todai-ji and Horyuji temples, are currently registered as World Heritage Sites. Both Japanese and foreign tourists visit the city to see these temples, to walk among the free-roaming deer of Nara park or to visit some of the beautiful scenic mountains surrounding the city. The train from Kyoto Station to Nara Station will take about 45 minutes. In the evening you will return to Kyoto.
Today will be your last day in Japan and your last chance for sightseeing and shopping. Please make sure you arrive at Kansai Airport or Itami Airport at least 2 hours before your scheduled flight.