From neon-lit streets filled with people to quiet shines filled only with silence, come face-to-face with a culture thousands of years in the making. Explore the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, traveling between them on the famous shinkansen bullet train. Discover the thousand facets of culture, art, and life that make up the incredible spirit of Japan.

Our prices start from

$ 4,999 LAND ONLY

14 Days • GUIDED • 19 Meals

Operated Tour

The Details

  • 13 nights accommodation
  • On some dates additional accommodations may be used
  • Services of a tour manager
  • All on-tour transportation and related fees
  • Hotel-to-hotel baggage handling
  • Round trip home to airport sedan service provided when you purchase airfare through Member Choice Vacations. One transfer per person, per reservation. (Restrictions Apply)
  • 12 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 6 dinners

Itinerary

Engaging Experiences These special places and experiences are considered tour highlights. Look for them in the daily itineraries.

Day 1 - Overnight Flight

Hotel the Celestine Tokyo Shiba, Tokyo

From the tranquility of ancient temples to the energy of bustling cities, find a blend of all things old and new in Japan.

Day 2 - Tokyo, Japan - Tour Begins

Hotel the Celestine Tokyo Shiba, Tokyo

Say "Konnichiwa!" to the incredible, eclectic city of Tokyo. Japan is a land of contrasts, and you're about to discover the thousand facets of culture, art, and life that make up its incredible spirit. From neon-lit streets filled with people to quiet shrines filled only with silence, you'll come face-to-face with a culture thousands of years in the making. Storied history, artistic traditions, cutting-edge technology – it's all part of Japan's everyday life. You'll soon discover that you could explore Japan for a thousand years and only experience a part of what this country has to offer.

Day 3 - Tokyo

Hotel the Celestine Tokyo Shiba, Tokyo

Breakfast, Dinner Included

This morning, start your first day in Tokyo like a true local – by hopping on the subway. Clean, efficient, fast, and easy to use, the Tokyo subway system is one of the best in the world. Follow your Tour Manager on a walk through Ginza, one of the most elegant and luxurious streets in the world. Enjoy shopping at some of the most renowned "department stores" in Japan. This afternoon, visit Zojoji Temple, standing in the shadow of Tokyo Tower and painting a powerful picture of Tokyo's ancient roots and modern culture. Zojoji is the center of Japanese Buddhism in the region, and the resting place of the royal Tokugawa family. Head back to the hotel through the lush and beautiful Shiba park, a green oasis in the urban landscape. Tonight, sit down and get to know your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Day 4 - Tokyo

Hotel the Celestine Tokyo Shiba, Tokyo

Breakfast Included

Feel the excitement start to build as you head to Asakusa, passing by the grounds of the Imperial Palace and see the Nijubashi Bridge and Sakurada Gate. Experience the subtle and gentle art of the green tea ceremony. In a special demonstration, you'll learn about the ancient practice that is used to calm the mind, shift the focus away from the day-to-day of life, and appreciate the moment. Enjoy free time exploring Nakamise shopping street, where you can stroll between the stalls leading to the Sensoji temple to buy local souvenirs and sweets. Then, head to the Edo Tokyo Museum to learn about the fascinating history and culture of the city. The museum displays life-size and model scale replicas of towns and buildings of old Tokyo. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 5 - Tokyo - Ise-Shima

Enjoy a traditional, multi-course kaiseki meal.

Nemu Resort, Ise-Shima

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Climb aboard the high-speed shinkansen, or bullet train. Sleek, modern, and comfortable, the bullet train will flash through the idyllic Japanese countryside at 200 miles per hour, but you'll barely feel or hear a thing. Keep an eye peeled for Mt. Fuji in the distance.* Arrive at one of the most important shrines in Japan – Ise Shrine. This grand shrine is built to honor the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu. Wander among the thatched roofs and raw wood of buildings, taking in the serenity of this spiritual wonder. Tonight, your meal will be a traditional and delicious Japanese kaiseki dinner, an artfully prepared and presented, multi-course meal using ingredients at the absolute peak of freshness. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

*Mt. Fuji is only visible from train on a clear day and cannot be guaranteed based on weather conditions.

Day 6 - Ise-Shima

Meet Japan's ama pearl divers and learn more about their elite profession.

Hotel Granvia, Kyoto

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Enjoy a relaxing start today. Perhaps you'll take advantage of the hotel's scenic walking trails that lead to a picturesque beach. Later this morning, you'll head to the Mikimoto Pearl Museum. Explore the island and the legacy of the skilled ama pearl divers, women who defied conventional gender roles to dive in the sea to harvest oysters and their pearls. Watch divers take the plunge and learn about the history and science of pearl diving. This evening, set out for Azurihama Beach, where you'll venture across the sands to an ama hut for an incredible dining experience. While local seafood is grilled in a charcoal fire right before your eyes, hear tales from the ama women about their lives and the sacred rights of their profession. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Day 7 - Ise-Shima - Kyoto

Hotel Granvia, Kyoto

Breakfast Included

Stop at Nara park and Todaiji Temple. Venture inside the massive building to take some time in this sacred place, and find the huge bronze Buddha statue. Wander the grounds outside and discover the famous "bowing" deer of Nara. Then explore Japan's former capital city, Kyoto, one of the nation's top cosmopolitan cities. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 8 - Kyoto

Wander among the swaying trees of the Arashiyama bamboo forest.

Hotel Granvia, Kyoto

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Begin your day at Kinkakuji (UNESCO), the Golden Pavilion, a Zen temple whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Once the lavish retirement home of a shogun, it was converted to a Zen temple in the 1400s. It has survived wars, been rebuilt after fires, and still stands as an impressive piece of historic architecture. Depart for the Arashiyama bamboo forest. Set out among the towering bamboo stalks that shade the forest paths and gently sway in the breeze. Later, visit the Women's Association of Kyoto in a traditional Kyoto town house. Here, delve into a wide array of enlightening Japanese activities, guided by your knowledgeable hostess. Sip different sakes, try your hand at making sushi, fold intricate origami shapes, and speak to your hostess about Japan, its culture, and women's roles in this complex society. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Dive deep into the culture and social norms of Japan over dinner with the Women's Association of Kyoto.

Day 9 - Kyoto

Hotel Granvia, Kyoto

Breakfast Included

Head to Gion, Kyoto's famous geisha district. Here, your tour manager will lead you through the narrow cobblestone streets and if you're lucky, you may see a woman in full traditional geisha regalia headed to one of the hidden, exclusive tea houses. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure to explore how you want. Perhaps you'll stay in the Gion district to wander among its temples, shrines, traditional shops and charming cafes. Or, you could make your way to the Nishiki Market, where colorful stalls are filled with fresh foods and local specialties, like pickles, dried seafood, and sushi. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 10 - Kyoto - Mt. Koya

Stay among Buddhist monks at a monastery on Mount Koya.

Sekishoin, Mt. Koya

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Today, head for the mountain village atop Mount Koya. A special and sacred site, Mount Koya is filled with shrines, temples, and monasteries. When you arrive, walk into the heart of the awe-inspiring Okunion Cemetery, and make your way to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. Kobo Daishi hasn't passed on – Buddhist belief says he waits in eternal meditation, answering the calls of those who would pray to him. Settle into your accommodations for the night – a traditional Japanese monastery,** complete with sliding paper doors and tatami mats. Meet with one of the monks of the temple and learn about life there before sitting down for dinner, where you'll eat an incredibly delicious vegetarian meal, featuring tempura-fried favorites. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

**This tour features a one-night experiential stay at a traditional monastery. During this stay, porterage is not available and rolling luggage is not allowed inside. An overnight bag is required and your main luggage will stay on the coach. Beds are mats placed on the floor. Socks are recommended.

Day 11 - Mt. Koya - Hiroshima

Make delicious okonomiyaki, savory pancakes that are a Japanese favorite.

ANA Crowne Plaza, Hiroshima

Breakfast, Lunch Included

If you so choose, you can rise in the early morning to join the Buddhist monks in prayer. Sit in the serenity of the temple shrine as the monks ring their gongs, chant, burn incense, and center themselves for the activities of the grand day ahead. Then, you'll once again board the shinkansen bullet train and be whisked away to Hiroshima. Enjoy lunch at a local cooking studio, where you'll learn how to make the famous Japanese okonomiyaki, or savory pancake, a favorite of Hiroshima residents. After, visit the Peace Memorial Park, and pause to see the ruined Atomic Dome (UNESCO), a sobering reminder of the devastation caused by the dropping of the atomic bomb during World War II. Reflect at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Today breakfast and lunch will be included.

Day 12 - Hiroshima

Visit Hiroshima's Peace Park and Memorial Museum and hear accounts of the atomic bomb's devastation.

ANA Crowne Plaza, Hiroshima

Breakfast Included

Head back to the Peace Park and Memorial Museum this morning for a powerful impact moment, a meeting with someone who experienced the devastating effects of the atomic bomb firsthand.*** They'll talk about what it was like to live in Japan during that time, the aftermath of that terrible day, and how they keep the memories of those who were lost alive. After, board a ferry for the short trip to Miyajima Island, or "Shrine Island" (UNESCO). Famous for the Itsukushima Shrine and its mythic O-torii Gate standing proudly in the water. Today breakfast will be included.

***In the event that an atomic bomb survivor is unavailable, a legacy successor (relative or friend of a survivor) will meet the group and share their relative's experiences and stories.

Day 13 - Hiroshima - Osaka

Explore the neon-soaked streets of Osaka's Dotonbori district.

ANA Crowne Plaza, Osaka

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Today, journey to your final destination, the energetic city of Osaka. Set out on a walking tour through the famous Dotonbori district. From shopping, to dining, to nightlife, Dotonbori has it all – bathed in the neon glow of huge electric signs. Learn why Osaka is known as the "Kitchen of Japan" as you sample its famous and delicious street food. Tonight, sit down and say your fond farewells to your travel companions at a farewell dinner. Raise a cup of sake and toast to the colorful spirit of Japan and the adventures you've had. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Day 14 - Osaka - Tour Ends

Breakfast Included

Take a quiet moment to reflect on all the new memories you have created before heading home. Today breakfast will be included.

Itinerary featured is for May 2022 - April 2023 tour departures. Departures prior will vary. On some dates alternate hotels may be used. Pricing is per person, double occupancy, land and rail only, based on January 24, 2023 travel date. Single supplement from $1,300.

All this makes it AAA Vacations®

AAA Complimentary Inclusion: $75 per person credit toward an optional excursion

Member Benefit: $75 per person savings

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