Explore Japan on foot
Discover the rich culture of Japan
|Open - Custom Tour|
|13 nights, 14 days|
|Minimum of 2 guests|
|Airport Pick-up and Orientation at your arrival.
Private Local Guide in Osaka on Day 2.
Private Local Guide in Kyoto on Day 13.
Detailed materials will be provided as well as support from our experts in Japan will be available for this independent tour. No tour leader is supplied.
|-Bikan district of Kurashiki
-Hot Spring Bath in Kinosaki Onsen
-The village of Ine
|Age restrictions: Everyone younger than 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.
Nara is located in the central west of Honshu. 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 Osaka Station to Nara Station will take about 50 minutes.
Himeji and Naoshima
Today you will leave Osaka by Shinkansen Bullet train and first stop in Himeji to visit Japan's most beautiful castle.
Then you will head to Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea by train and ferry. This island has been inhabited for as long as people have lived in Japan but jumped to fame when Tadao Ando and others transformed it into an island dedicated to art.
Today you will take some rest in Naoshima. One of the best way to enjoy the island is to rent a bicycle. There are a number of different bike rental shops. Please note that most art exhibitions are closed on Mondays. One of the best ways to get around the island is to rent an electric bike. Please let us know if you would like us to make a reservation for you.
Today you will go to Kurashiki and explore its historic district, willow-lined canal area with storehouses preserved since the Edo Period (1600-1868), before returning to your lodging for some fine Japanese cuisine and a relaxing bath.
Today you will leave Naoshima and cross the country to reach Matsue. This is a lovely town located near Lake Shinji and the Sea of Japan. Matsue boasted one of Japan original castles and makes a good base for visiting Izumo Taisha, one of Japan's most important shrines and the Adachi Museum of Art with one of Japan's most beautiful landscape gardens.
Today we invite you to take your time, and enjoy Matsue's Garden located in the Adachi Museum of Art as much as you like. The Adachi Museum of Art is best known for its award winning garden. It has been named the best garden in Japan annually since 2003 by the "Journal of Japanese Gardening". The garden can be enjoyed at anytime of the year and shows a different character depending on the season. It can only be viewed from the museum building.
Kinosaki Hot Spring is a resort town near the Sea of Japan. There are a number of hot spring bath houses all over the town and bathers will wander in their traditional yukatas (cotton kimono) from bathhouse to bathhouse enjoying the different hot spring baths. In the evening you will settle down in your ryokan for a seafood kaiseki dinner before drifting off to sleep in a completely relaxed mood.
After a transfer by train and bus you will arrive in the quaint village of Ine. Ine is a village located around the Ine Bay in northern Kyoto Prefecture, about 15 kilometers north of Amanohashidate. This working town has a long and rich history as a fishing village and is regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in Japan.
Something unique about Ine is its funaya. Literally meaning "boat houses", these traditional waterfront buildings contain garages for boats on their first floors and residential space on the upper floors. Today there 230 funaya remaining along the bay.
Today you will have a full day to discover Ine. Popular activities are: Cruise in the bay of Ine, Kayak, Cycling,...
Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan, is where the traditional Japanese ‘high arts’ flourished like tea ceremony, calligraphy, poetry, philosophy and religion. Numerous temples and shrines are located throughout the city and walking along canals, next to traditional wooden houses and through the small streets really gives you an idea of the ancient imperial culture. Kyoto also famous for its crafts: textile, kimono and pottery. In Kyoto you can stay in a Hotel or Machiya Townhouse
Your private local guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and will show you Kyoto. Your guide will take you to Japan's most beautiful and historic temples and shrines, and you will walk down ancient streets where Japanese nobles strolled. There is too much to see and do but you want want to focus on Higashiyama to see Kiyomizudera, Gion to see geisha walking to their next appointment or head north to Kinkakuji. Your guide will work with you so you see the sights you are most interested in visiting. We can work on the sightseeing itinerary before you go to Kyoto to better tailor your sightseeing.
The final day has come; today you will fly home with memories that you will keep for the rest of your life.