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Itinerary: Journeying Japan’s History

Abercrombie & Kent | Japan Tour

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On this 11-day journey hosted by Abercombie & Kent, you will delve into Japan’s history and heritage from the modern era back through the feudal period of warlords and shogun. You’ll see some of the country’s most important Shinto shrines, get to walk the scenic Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto and experience some of the country’s most fascinating customs. From a traditional tea ceremony and a kaiseki ryori dinner with a traditional maiko to trying your hand at Sushi making, it won’t take you long to fall in love with this country of astonishing contrasts.

Day 1

Tokyo

Welcome to Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun. Put yourself on Tokyo time and soak up this ultra-modern city from your hotel which is just steps from the Ginza, Tokyo’s exclusive shopping and entertainment area. You’ll be dazzled by the views over Tokyo Bay and the historic Hamarikyu Gardens.

Day 2

Tokyo

This morning you will meet your host before heading out to explore this surprising city. You will start the day in Asakusa, which is one of the city’s oldest geisha districts and home to the 7th century Sensoji Temple. The streets around the temple are full of traditional shops selling Japanese crafts and souvenirs and are a delight to explore. Here you will experience a private sushi making demonstration and lunch. This afternoon’s touring includes Meiji Jingu, Tokyo’s most famous shrine, dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji. From old to new, you’ll wander from Meiji Jingu shrine down Omotesando, commonly referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysées. This broad, tree lined avenue in Harajuku features a multitude of fashion flagship stores designed by internationally renowned architects, upmarket shopping complexes, elegant restaurants and fashionable coffee shops.

  • Stay at Conrad Tokyo (City View Room)
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 3

Tokyo

Start the day with a stroll through the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. The Ninomaru Grove is a woodland area and one of the prettiest parts of the garden, with a pond and elegant teahouse. Today, increase your understanding of Japan’s past and present, starting at the Samurai Museum, where you learn about the customs of this elite-warrior class and get an up-close look at an authentic collection of their exotic armour and weaponry.  After lunch a kabuki performance in the Ginza district rounds out our day of discovery.

Day 4

Tokyo – Kanazawa

Tody you will travel by high-speed train north to Kanazawa where we tour the 21st century Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum is known for its modern architecture and progressive exhibits, including Leandro Erlich’s “Swimming Pool,” which gives an illusion of being under or above the pool’s water. You’ll have lunch at the museum restaurant, then continue to learn about the Japanese arts when we visit the studio of a local pottery master who practices the ancient art of Kutani-yaki.

Day 5

Kanazawa

Start today with a visit to the Seisonkaku Villa, one of the most elegant 19th century samurai villas still remaining. Afterwards you will take in the stunning scenery at the Kenroku-en gardens, ranked in the top three in Japan. Then this afternoon you will visit the former samurai house in Nagamachi, which was turned into a fascinating museum, and stroll around the old district of Higashi-Chayamachi, known for its tea houses and geisha culture.

Day 6

Kanazawa – Shirakawago – Kanazawa

Today we head into the mountains to Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed collection of traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukkuri translates as ‘Praying Hands’, as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer and are designed to withstand the heavy snows which fall in the region. You will visit Minkaen which comprises nine of these houses.

Today you will travel by high-speed train to Kyoto where your next three nights are spent at the lavish and superbly located Four Seasons Kyoto in Higashiyama. There is time to relax before an early evening visit to the picture perfect Kodaiji Temple and its extraordinary garden which combines 20th century design with traditional Japanese elements. Tonight, you will be immersed in Kyoto tradition at a special performance by beautiful and elegant maiko (apprentice geisha) dining in true Kyoto culinary style with kaiseki ryori, a meticulously prepared, multi-course meal.

One of the most photogenic sites in Japan, Fushimi Inari, is your first stop this morning. This 8th century shrine complex has dazzling arcades of red torii gates which spread across thickly wooded slopes. Afterwards you will visit the Gekkeikan Okura sake museum and brewery, where we’ll have a chance to try the local drop. Then after lunch you will tour the Ginkakuji, a Zen temple in Kyoto’s eastern mountains. You will walk the circular route around its grounds, from which the gardens and buildings can be viewed, and along the two-kilometre Philosopher’s Path, which ends in the neighbourhood of Nanzenji.  You will then conclude the sightseeing with an ancient Japanese tradition of the tea ceremony.

You’ll explore another of Kyoto’s most famous landmarks this morning – the Golden Pavilion. Built as a retirement villa for the shogun, it became a Buddhist temple after his death and is today one of the city’s most famous temples. Next, you are transported by rickshaw to Nonomiya Shrine in Arashiyama district with time to wander through the bamboo forest to the 14th century World Heritage listed Tenryuji Temple. After lunch at the temple, a stirring taiko (traditional Japanese drum) performance is scheduled before returning to the hotel.

Return to Tokyo today by bullet train and to your hotel with time to get ready for tonight’s farewell dinner at the hotel.

  • Stay at Conrad Tokyo (City View Room)
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Today you are transferred to the airport for your departure flight.

  • Breakfast

Japan's History and Heritage

Travel Dates 2018

  • Apr 4, 2019 – Apr 14, 2019
  • Nov 14, 2019 – Nov 24, 2019

Prices

  • Apr 4, 2019 – Apr 14, 2019: AU$17,795pp
  • Nov 14, 2019 – Nov 24, 2019: AU$16,795pp

For more information and to enquire about this tour visit: www.abercrombiekent.com.au

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