Here, we take you on a tour the vibrant and exhilarating city of Tokyo where you will experience a true mix of everything that Japan has to offer in one location (with a few side trips built-in). The historic culture of Japan is a live in this breathtaking city with an abundance of shrines and temples for you to visit, as well as the latest fashion for all ages and of course a look at some of the latest gadgets available now and sample of those that are coming in the future.
We start you off with a stroll down Nakamise, a short shopping street where you will encounter a wide variety of shops to stop at as you make your way to the outer gate of Sensoji Temple, a site you will instantly recognize as it is a true landmark of Tokyo. Sensoji Temple was completed in 645 (over 1300 years ago) and is the oldest temple in Japan. Beyond its main gate you will be awe-struck beauty of the main hall and five story tiered tower. After the oldest temple in Tokyo we take you to the newest attraction and, again, a site you will recognize as you can see it from almost anywhere in the city – Tokyo Skytree. Opened in 2012, this tower rises to a height of 634 meters and is the tallest building in Japan. With multiple observation decks the 360 degree views from the top are simply stunning.
Next stop is a visit to the Edo Tokyo Museum where you will explore the beauty and history of Japan’ Edo period (1603-1867). You will be entranced by the displays of architecture and culture from this period as you learn about what life was like in Japan’s past. Make sure you look at the unique architectural design of the museum itself from the outside as the design has inspired different interpretations. Your evening is spent relaxing on a dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay. There is probably no more spectacular city at night than Tokyo, as you enjoy the view from the Bay you will be equally amazed by the sushi and tempura dinner.
On your second day you are off to visit the Tsukiji Fish Market where every morning more than 2,000 tonnes of marine products are handled every day and sold to the shops and restaurants every morning so that you can enjoy the freshest offerings every day. From here you travel to the Imperial Palace which became the home of the emperor after its completion in 1888 at the end of the Edo period when the Imperial Family moved from Kyoto. You will tour the lush and gorgeous Japanese gardens and grounds of the home of Japan’s Emperor. From the Imperial Palace you will be heading to Ginza, the famous high-end shopping district, but first a quick stop to view the Kabuki Theatre and its traditional architecture. Kabuki is a traditional form of theatre, rich in cultural heritage dating back to the Edo Period. Make sure to ask us if you would like tickets to a show! Once in Ginza, take your time to look around in all of the shops that your familiar with and definitely the ones native to Japan. Make sure you look up as Ginza shops and restaurants are located on the upper levels of the buildings. And the basements of the major department store have large food and dessert areas that you need to see to believe! After Ginza, you will transform yourself as you try on a traditional Japanese Kimono and experience an authentic Japanese Tea Ceremony. This experience will leave you with a warm and peaceful feeling all over, and not just from the tea.
The third day puts you right into the hustle and bustle of Tokyo as you find yourself crossing the extremely busy, yet well-choreographed scramble crossing in Shibuya. This is a day for shopping as you visit the unique and chic shops in Shibuya. We suggest a visit into 109 and tower of female shopping stores where the clothes are almost as fascinating as the staff that inhabits this electric building. As you make your way to your next shopping district, you will visit Meiji Shrine. There is no doubt you saw this large shrine filled with approximately 100,000 trees when you were at the top of Tokyo Sky Tree. Completed in 1920, this shrine is the perfect place to rest and collect your thoughts as you prepare for your next location, Harajuku. Famous for its hip/young fashion and Japanese teenage culture, it’s main street “Takesita Dori” and the side streets will offer up some fantastic fashion, accessories, and food. More shopping can be found along the nearby tree lined street of Omotesando where more high end shops are located serving the more adult clientele in the area. Your day caps off by heading to the top of Roppongi Mori Tower where you can watch Tokyo come alive with lights as the sun goes down.
On your fourth day we head into the world of Japanese electronics and technology. First a stop in Akihabara, this area is famous for the many electronic shops that sell the latest computer, cameras, and devices that you probably won’t be able to find outside Japan just yet. This area is also famous for its abundance of Anime and Manga stores that have supported this ever growing cultural world phenomenon. You will also see Maid Cafes in this area where you can enjoy a meal or a drink served with abundant enthusiasm by a Japanese girl in a French maid outfit. From here it is off to Odaiba. This man-made island is home to some of the most popular attractions in Tokyo, including the Panasonic Pavilion where you get a sneak peek into their future products and technologies that won’t be available to the consumer for year. Odaiba is also home to the National Museum of Emerging Science, Toyota Mega Web where you can see their latest cars and technologies, and of course fantastic restaurants and store. You will want to stay here until evening to see the large Ferris Wheel and the Rainbow Bridge become wonderfully illuminated at night.
Day 5 is up to you. We would be happy to plan this day so that you can explore Tokyo in any way you please. Whether its visiting one or more of the many museums, watch sumo wrestling, going to a baseball game, or even more shopping we are happy to help you get the most of your experience.
On Day 6, it’s time for a day trip. You will travel an hour south of Tokyo to Kamakura by train and tour the areas many temples and shrines it this medieval area. This relaxing exploration will have you witness some of the distinct and cultural architecture for which Japan is famous, and you won’t be able to miss the large Buddha Statue that is found in Kotokuin Temple and was made in 1252. From here you will take a short train ride west to Enoshima, a beautiful island escape just off the coast but reachable by bridge. Here you will relish in the natural beauty of the area and views of the water as you visit shrines, parks, and perhaps even tour the Iwaya Caves.
On the seventh day you will be heading to the Shinjuku area where you will visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Building where you can visit their centre offering a look into the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. This building also houses an amazing observation deck in both the west and east towers with free information headsets that automatically tell you about the view out of any of the windows that you walk up to. From here you will visit NTT Intercommunication Center which is a dedicated media gallery which mixes technology with art. The permanent exhibits as well as the temporary ones are sure to captivate your interest and get you thinking. In the afternoon it’s time for Sushi School! You will learn the some of the basic skills and techniques in how to prepare delicious sushi.
On day eight it’s time for another day trip as this time you take a private car to one of the most popular destinations in Japan, especially by the Japanese people themselves, Hakone. Located approximately 100 km from Tokyo, Hakone boasts a natural beauty and view of Mt Fuji over Lake Ashinoko that is second to none. Oh, and did we mention that Hakone is famous for its onsens (hot spring baths). You will visit Hakone Checkpoint. This Checkpoint was used in the Edo Period to manage the travellers along the route between Kyoto and Tokyo. You will tour the gates, fence, housing for officers and foot soldiers, a prison chamber and a lookout tower that have been reconstructed to their original state. You then board a medieval boat and cruise on the crystal blue waters of Lake Ashi, where on clear days you will have an amazing view of Mt. Fuji. You will head to Togendai and board the Hakone Ropeway. This Ropeway will give you a birds-eye view of the region where you will see more spectacular views of beautiful Lake Ashi as you arrive at Owakudani, the site of active sulphur springs. Next it is on to Sounzan via the Ropeway and then finally to Gora. From Gora Station it is a short walk to Gora Park, a great place to rewind after this eventful day as you view the wonderfully landscaped western park. You will spend the night in a traditional Japanese Ryokan and enjoy a peaceful and relaxing onsen.
Your next day in Hakone can spend your day walking or taking the local transit to visit sites such as the Open-Air Museum. As the name suggests, many pieces can be found outdoors on the spacious grounds allowing you to examine these sculptures with nature as a beautiful backdrop. There are indoor galleries as well, and here you will be surprised to find works belonging to Picasso and Henry Moore. There are an abundance of activities to enjoy and sites to see in Hakone and we would happy to help plan this day to your interests or feel free to explore the area spontaneously.
Take a bullet train back to Tokyo. The tenth and final day in Tokyo and Japan is free for you to do as you wish. We can help you visit the sites you may have missed, or recommend the best areas to find those last minute gifts for friends and family back home.
This is just an outline. I would be happy to customise this tour to meet your specific preferences.
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Japan & Luxury Travel Specialist