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Japan Tour “The art island of Naoshima”

A trip to Japan that includes visits to the four capitals of Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka), Japanese castles, the most beautiful gardens and parks, and the art island of Naoshima! Naoshima features modern art museums, unique art objects, sculptures and installations, pumpkins by the artist Kusama Yayoi, works by architect Ando Tadao, and much more in harmony with the natural beauty and scenery of the Sea of Japan.

CUSTOMIZED ITINERARY FOR YOUR DATES

Dates

  • Private tour

Duration

  • 10 days / 9 nights

Price

  • On request

Itinerary

  • Tokyo → Kyoto → Nara → Osaka → Himeji → Okayama → Naoshima → Kurashiki → Tokyo
Reservation

Daily itinerary

1

Day 1

Arrival at the International Airport
Meet your tour guide at the Arrivals
Transfer to Tokyo by private transport
Check-in at the hotel, rest
Evening Tokyo city tour: Shibuya district and Shibuya Sky observatory, walk around Ginza
Back to the hotel
Hotel accommodation: Tokyo [Read more...]

Shibuya Area

Shibuya scramble crossing is one of the busiest crossings in Tokyo. The green light comes on from four directions at once, and several hundred people (during peak hours, the number can reach 1,000) rush simultaneously in all directions, managing to dodge each other with ease built up over the years.

For its picturesque yet orderly crowds, the crossing is beloved by filmmakers, and people worldwide are familiar with it from TV series, movies, and commercial videos. The best spot to watch the hypnotic flow of people is the Starbucks coffee shop on the 2nd floor of the building on the north side of the crossing.

There is also a statue of the faithful dog Hachiko near Shibuya Station, where he used to meet his master, a professor at Tokyo University, every day. After the professor’s sudden death, the dog came to the station every day for nine years, waiting for his master to return. Hachiko became the symbol of loyalty.

Ginza District

Ginza is Tokyo’s most luxurious shopping district, home to prestigious department stores, world-famous designer boutiques, coffee shops, and traditional Japanese restaurants. People come here to learn about the latest high fashion trends and enjoy the creations of the best architects worldwide.

At the same time, Ginza is an art lover’s paradise. There are about 200 art galleries and Kabukiza Theater, which still regularly hosts Kabuki theater performances.

2

Day 2

Breakfast at the hotel
Meet your tour guide at the hotel lobby
Tokyo sightseeing by private transport: Asakusa district, Sensoji Buddhist Temple, Nakamise shopping street, TeamLab museum, Japanese garden
Back to the hotel
Hotel accommodation: Tokyo [Read more...]

3

Day 3

Breakfast at the hotel, check-out
Meet your guide at the hotel lobby
Move to Kyoto by Shinkansen bullet train
Meet your guide at the train platform at Kyoto Station
Kyoto sightseeing by private transport: Golden Pavilion, Zen Rock Garden, Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Transfer to the hotel, check-in
Kaiseki dinner with geishas
Back to the hotel
Hotel accommodation: Kyoto [Read more...]

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkaku-ji Temple, often called the Golden Temple, is one of Japan’s most famous temples and Kyoto’s main attractions. Built at the end of the 14th century, this complex, with its three-story pavilion covered with gold leaf, captivated the minds of its contemporaries. The famous Japanese writer Yukio Mishima captured its fate and glory in the novel “The Golden Temple.” Today Kinkaku-ji Temple is a must-see on any traveler’s itinerary in Japan. In addition to the famous pavilion, the UNESCO World Heritage Site also features a traditional walking garden, small waterfalls, and a tea house, representing the culture of the samurai era.

Zen Rock Garden

Zen Rock Garden, or dry garden, with its hidden meanings and allegories, is a beautiful place for contemplation and meditation. Each garden element has meaning, and no randomly placed pieces exist. A dry garden is an orderly system subject to well-established aesthetic rules. Sea waves spread before the viewers, the mountain peaks rise above the clouds, and animals freeze in different poses. This microcosm of Zen Buddhist aesthetics is created using stones of various shapes. The distinctive symbolism of rock gardens is a unique manifestation of the multifaceted Japanese culture.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Pure Water Temple)

The Pure Water Temple, or Kiyomizu-dera, is one of Kyoto’s most famous and most visited temples and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded on a mountainside near a spring. Its clear water is said to bestow health, longevity, and wisdom. The temple’s main attraction is its main hall, with an open veranda built on stilts over a cliff. The structure, assembled without a single nail, towers over Kyoto, offering a beautiful view of the old capital. Cafes and stores lining the road to the temple sell Kyoto sweets, ceramics, and souvenirs for all tastes.

4

Day 4

Breakfast at the hotel
Meet your tour guide at hotel lobby
Kyoto sightseeing by private transport: Japanese sword master class and bowl meditation, Nijo Castle, Fushimi Inari Shrine with the endless red gate corridor
Back to the hotel
Hotel accommodation: Kyoto [Read more...]

Nijo Castle (Nijo-jo)

Nijo Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kyoto, built in the early 17th century for the powerful shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. During his visits to the imperial capital, the shogun stayed in the castle with several ornate palaces and a beautiful garden. One of the complex’s palaces, Ninomaru, has survived to this day. The palace’s interior is painted by famous artists of the Kano school and is richly decorated with wood carvings and gold. Tokugawa Ieyasu himself admired the garden created by Kobori Enshu, the great master of the tea ceremony and landscape design.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most important shrines of the Old Capital and the head shrine for a network of over 32,000 subordinate shrines across the country.

The god Inari, to whom the shrine is dedicated, is considered the patron saint of rice farming and artisans, merchants, and business people in general. According to tradition, a generous offering can earn the god’s favor. In Fushimi Inari Shrine, the best gift is considered to be a temple gate-torii. The popularity of the god Inari can be judged by the fact that the entire shrine area is densely packed with thousands of red gates of various sizes, forming red corridors leading from the main altar to the top of the mountain.

5

Day 5

Breakfast at the hotel
Meet your tour guide at hotel lobby
Transfer to Nara by private transport
Nara Sightseeing by private transport: Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Shrine, deer park
Return to the hotel
Hotel accommodation: Kyoto [Read more...]

Todai-ji Temple

Todai-ji is a Buddhist temple complex whose main building is one of the largest wooden structures in the world. Built in the mid-8th century by order of the emperor with donations from all over the country, the temple features the biggest bronze statue of Buddha in Japan. Almost all the bronze produced in Japan at the time was used to cast the colossal sculpture. The complex also has several unique wooden structures, including the giant Nandaimon Gate with the famous Nio guard figures, the Bell Tower, and Nigatsu-do Hall. The entire complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kasuga Shrine

Kasuga Taisha is one of Japan’s most ancient Shinto shrines, founded in the mid-8th century to protect the capital, Nara. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is famous for its kasuga-zukuri architectural style, the thousands of stone and bronze lanterns decorating its grounds, and the pristine ancient forest where sacred deer, considered messengers of the deities, roam free.

6

Day 6

Breakfast at the hotel, check-out
Meet your guide at the hotel lobby
Move to Osaka by private transport
Osaka Sightseeing by private transport: Osaka Castle, Umeda Sky building observatory, Dotonbori district
Move to Himeji by shinkansen bullet train
Check-in at the hotel
Hotel accommodation: Himeji [Read more...]

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle, one of the most famous castles in Japan, was built in the late 16th century by the feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi and was one of the best fortifications of the time. The castle was burned during the civil conflicts of the Meiji Restoration in the mid-19th century and was rebuilt in the early 20th century with concrete. Destroyed during the bombing of World War II, the castle was rebuilt again in the 1990s and is now one of Osaka’s most popular tourist attractions.

Dotonbori District

Dotonbori is a neighborhood that stretches along the Dotonbori canal between Dotonboribashi Bridge and Nipponbashi Bridge. The history of Dotonbori goes back four hundred years. In the early 17th century, this area was designated for entertainment venues by a government decree. By the end of the Edo era, there were six Kabuki theaters, five Bunraku theaters, and other smaller establishments. A restaurant area eventually grew around the theaters, and the district became one of the most popular places for evening entertainment for citizens and visitors. By now, there’s little left of the traditional theaters, but the area is still famous for its active nightlife, entertainment, and delicious food.

Umeda Sky Building

Designed by architect Hara Hiroshi in 1993, this 173-meter building is the 19th tallest in Osaka and one of the most notable parts of the cityscape. Two forty-story towers are connected at the top by Floating Garden Observatory, whose glass verandas offer beautiful city views. The basement floor, with stores and restaurants, resembles a Japanese city street of the early 20th century. Various companies’ offices occupy the building. There is a lovely park with fountains at the base of the towers.

7

Day 7

Breakfast at the hotel, check-out
Meet your guide at the hotel lobby
Visiting White Heron Castle Himeji-jo
Move to Okayama by Shinkansen bullet train
Visit Korakuen Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan
Check-in to the hotel
Hotel accommodation: Okayama [Read more...]

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle is one of Japan’s 12 historically preserved castles and is considered the most beautiful. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle was built in the early 17th century and was second in size and beauty only to the lost Edo Castle, the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns. Unscathed by wars, fires, and natural disasters for 400 years, the castle is often featured in movies about the samurai era. Fans of classic Japanese cinema remember it for Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran.” The impregnable castle holds secrets of Japanese military strategy and keeps stories of gods and ghosts. The name “White Heron Castle” reflects the beauty of its walls.

8

Day 8

Breakfast at the hotel
Meet your guide at the hotel lobby
Naoshima Sightseeing by private transport: art installations and introduction to the House Project, the Chichu Museum, the Benesse Museum and Kusama Yayoi pumpkins
Back to Okayama
Hotel accommodation: Okayama [Read more...]

9

Day 9

Breakfast at the hotel, check-out
Meet your guide at the hotel lobby
Move to Kurashiki by private transport, Kurshiki bikanchiku Sightseeing
Move to Takamatsu, visit Ritsurin Park
Transfer to the shinkansen station
Move to Tokyo by shinkansen bullet train
Check-in to the hotel
Hotel accommodation: Tokyo [Read more...]

10

Day 10

Breakfast at the hotel, check-out
Meet your tour guide at the hotel lobby
Transfer to the airport by private transport with a guide
Departure [Read more...]