Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Essence of Japan 2019 tour

Essence of Japan 2019

Tauck Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
By Tauck
4.9 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
13 days
From: $ 11,390 $ 876 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Edo-Tokyo Museum
  • Kagura dancing
  • taiko drums & sumo wrestling in Tokyo; overnight stay in a traditional ryokan in Matsumoto; private home visit with tea ceremony
  • explorations with a local Geisha expert
  • visits to Nijo Castle
  • Kinkaku-ji Temple & Pure Water Temple in Kyoto; cruise on Lake Ashi beneath Mt. Fuji; Kirin whisky distillery visit and flower arranging in Hakone; sake tasting in Takayama; exploring the Samurai legacy & guided tour of Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa

Short Description

Traditional arts, tranquil gardens, colorful pagodas, and ancient shrines are just some of what you'll experience on Tauck's comprehensive Japan trip that takes in Tokyo, Hakone, Kanazawa and Kyoto, as well as off-the-beaten-track villages in the countryside.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Tokyo, Japan
End City Tokyo, Japan

Travel Theme

Cultural 50 plus

Destinations

Japan

Cities & Attractions

Hakone Kanazawa Kyoto Tokyo

Activities

Culture

N/A
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Trip Includes

  • Multiple-night stays in premier hotels in Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa & at a hot springs resort & spa in Hakone
  • Small group departures stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto nights 8 - 11
  • Overnight stay in a traditional ryokan in Matsumoto
  • Tokyo's Edo-Tokyo Museum, Kagura dancing, taiko drums & sumo wrestling
  • In Kyoto, a private home visit with tea ceremony, explorations with a local Geisha expert, visits to Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple & Pure Water Temple (Kiyomizu Temple)
  • A cruise on Lake Ashi beneath Mt. Fuji
  • In Hakone, visit an open-air museum & a whisky distillery, and attend a flower arranging class
  • A lesson on sake brewing & a tasting at a local brewery in Takayama
  • A guided tour of Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japan's most revered landscaped gardens, and the Samurai legacy in Kanazawa
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 30 meals (12 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 8 dinners); gratuities to local guides, service charges, admission fees, taxes and porterage

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Tokyo

Tour begins: Park Hyatt Tokyo, 6:30 PM. A transfer is included from Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport to the five-star Park Hyatt Tokyo, occupying the top 14 floors of a 52-story tower in the heart of Shinjuku, the city's vibrant business and entertainment district. This evening, please join us for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel.

MEALS : D

LODGING : Park Hyatt Tokyo

PORTOFCALL : Tokyo, Japan

Day 2 Tokyo, yesterday & today

A drive through Tokyo this morning gives you an overview of one of the world's most dynamic capital cities, touching on both history and modern life. Begin today's sightseeing in Japan's capital city with a visit to the Meiji Shrine - honoring the deified spirits of Japan's Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken, who died in 1912 and 1914, respectively - and take in a live performance of traditional Shinto music and Kagura dancing. Visit central Tokyo's renowned Tsukiji Market, the largest fish and seafood market in the world, for a walk around the outer market before heading to a local restaurant for a traditional yakitori (skewered chicken) lunch. This afternoon, explore the Edo-Tokyo Museum, whose exhibits focus on Tokyo's history, culture, and development from its roots as a fishing village called Edo. The rest of the day and evening are free for further exploring on your own. Many good restaurants can be found in the vicinity of your hotel, and your Tauck Director can make suggestions for places to try.

MEALS : B, L

LODGING : Park Hyatt Tokyo

PORTOFCALL : Tokyo, Japan

Day 3 The bullet train, a lake cruise & a culinary experience

This morning, board the renowned bullet train (shinkansen) in Tokyo for a short ride south to Odawara, and continue on to the scenic hot springs resort town of Hakone in Kanagawa. En route, enjoy a cruise on Lake Ashi; weather permitting, see views of Mt. Fuji, Japan's highest mountain, looming over the landscape. Have lunch at a local restaurant on the shores of Lake Ashi, then continue on to your ideally located spa resort in Hakone . This afternoon, get your hands around an authentic Japanese culinary tradition during a private sushi and miso making demonstration; later, gather for a "homey" dinner at your resort.

MEALS : B, L, D

LODGING : Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa

PORTOFCALL : Hakone, Japan

Day 4 Sculpture, whisky & flowers or relaxation in Hakone

Start the day off with an excursion to the Hakone Open Air Museum, the first open-air museum in Japan, renowned for its outdoor sculpture park with beautiful views of the mountain. The grounds are the permanent home of approximately 120 works by well-known international sculptors including Rodin, Bourdelle, Miro, and Moore. Then you'll have a choice between staying at your resort to indulge in some pampering at the hotel's spa - perhaps taking a dip in the healing hot springs (onsen) - or heading off to visit the Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery, for a tour and tasting at one of the largest whisky-making facilities in Japan. After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll have an opportunity to learn the art of ikebana - Japanese flower arranging - from a teacher who gives a class and demonstration of this time-honored tradition. Dine on French or Japanese cuisine at one of your resort's restaurants this evening.

MEALS : B, L, D

LODGING : Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa

PORTOFCALL : Hakone, Japan

Day 5 Kubota art, Matsumoto & the Japanese Alps

Today's exploration begins at the Itchiku Kubota Museum, set amidst magnificent views of majestic Mt. Fuji and serene Lake Kawaguchi. Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003) is considered one of the most important Japanese textile artists of the 20th century; he rediscovered, revived and subsequently modernized a traditional Japanese kimono dyeing technique, which was lost since the 15th century, creating exceptional artistic kimonos. The museum you'll visit today celebrates his art and legacy. Continue north through the forested mountain landscapes of the "Japanese Alps," through winding valleys dotted with rice farms, lakes, rushing rivers, and small villages to the hot springs town of Matsumoto, where, after lunch, you'll see 400-hundred-year-old Matsumoto Castle, Japan's oldest castle and a national treasure, also known as the "Crow Castle" because of its black exterior. Arrive this afternoon at your onsen (hot springs) hotel, combining the authenticity of a traditional Japanese ryokan with the comforts of a contemporary hotel, including western-style and Japanese rooms. Your Tauck Exclusive dinner tonight is Japanese kaiseki style, yukatas and slippers on, in a private room with musical entertainment.

MEALS : B, L, D

LODGING : Tobira Onsen Myojinkan

PORTOFCALL : Matsumoto, Japan

Day 6 Old Takayama and a Sake brewery

Depart Matsumoto this morning and head for Takayama, a mountain city long famed for its artisans and woodworkers. Do some sightseeing along the narrow lanes of its historic center, and have lunch at a local restaurant known for its Hida beef. Following a lesson in sake making and a tasting at a local brewery in Takayama, continue on to Kanazawa, just inland from the Sea of Japan. Arriving here marks your having crossed all the way from one side of Japan's main island of Honshu to the other. Enjoy an included dinner at your choice of your hotel's restaurants either tonight or tomorrow.

MEALS : B, L, D

LODGING : Hotel Nikko Kanazawa

PORTOFCALL : Kanazawa, Japan

Day 7 Gardens, the Samurai legacy & more in Kanazawa

A full day's sightseeing in Kanazawa includes: a guided stroll through celebrated Kenroku-en Gardens, considered among the country's top three landscaped gardens; time exploring the historic Samurai District, where samurai homes are tucked among narrow lanes and canals behind earthen walls and private entrance gates, with a visit to the restored Nomura Samurai Family Residence for a look at the lifestyle of the samurai during feudal times, when they were prosperous; lunch at a Paul Bocuse restaurant; and an afternoon visit to Higashi Chaya, Kanazawa's geisha district. Cap the day with a Tauck Exclusive, private Samurai show at a local temple, then spend the rest of the evening as you please at your hotel or exploring on your own in Kanazawa.

MEALS : B, L

LODGING : Hotel Nikko Kanazawa

PORTOFCALL : Kanazawa, Japan

Day 8 A train ride to beautiful Kyoto

Depart Kanazawa by train for Kyoto, arriving midday for a four-night stay at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto; small group departures will stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto. Have lunch and begin your exploration of the city considered one of Japan's most beautiful. On your introductory sightseeing tour, discover a city center of glass and steel skyscrapers ringed by hidden temples, shrines, and gardens that exude the tranquility and charm of Japan's ancient culture. You may choose to dine at our selected local restaurant either tonight or tomorrow.

MEALS : B, L, D

LODGING : Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto or The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto (small group departures)

PORTOFCALL : Kyoto, Japan

Day 9 A castle, a temple & a Kyoto Geisha District

Kyoto sightseeing today begins with a visit to the famous golden-topped Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), set in an ancient garden on the edge of a lake - a position symbolizing its place "between heaven and Earth." Hear the story of how this 14th-century temple was burned to the ground by a young monk and then completely reconstructed. Continue on to Nijo Castle, surrounded by stone walls and a moat; tour this 17th-century shogun's residence and UNESCO World Heritage Site - and discover the secret of its "nightingale" floors. After lunch at a local restaurant, meet up with a geisha expert who leads an exploration of the back streets of one of Kyoto's geisha districts, and shares insights on the "flower and willow" world of the geishas, past and present.

MEALS : B, L

LODGING : Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto or The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto (small group departures)

PORTOFCALL : Kyoto, Japan

Day 10 A private home visit in Kyoto

Begin your day with a prayer at the Kiyomizudera (Pure Water Temple) established in 778; the current buildings were rebuilt in the 17th century. Drink the water here in long-handled cups as you wish for longevity, success or love. Kyoto is known as the craft capital of Japan, and many traditional arts have been passed down through the generations. Experience the revered customs of Japanese culture firsthand during a visit to a private home here; take your shoes off, come in, and your gracious hostess will demonstrate the very specific rituals of a Japanese tea ceremony, followed by a lesson in the paper art of Origami. Return to your hotel where the afternoon is free for you to enjoy Kyoto's charms as you like. Join us for a special dinner tonight at a local restaurant.

MEALS : B, D

LODGING : Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto or The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto (small group departures)

PORTOFCALL : Kyoto, Japan

Day 11 By bullet train to Hiroshima & back to Kyoto

From Kyoto, travel aboard a morning bullet train to Hiroshima for lunch followed by a sightseeing tour including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum, the A-Bomb Dome and other sites associated with the WWII atomic bomb blast that destroyed the city in August 1945. Return this afternoon by bullet train to Kyoto, where your evening is free to spend as you wish.

MEALS : B

LODGING : Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto or The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto (small group departures)

PORTOFCALL : Kyoto, Japan

Day 12 More traditions in Tokyo

Travel by rail from Kyoto back to Tokyo, arriving for lunch at the celebrated restaurant Nobu. After lunch, enjoy a Tauck Exclusive - an exhilarating taiko drumming performance, including a hands-on instruction session and demonstration; try your hand at this time-honored tradition where rhythm, melody, and movement combine to create an extraordinary musical experience. As your Japan trip draws to a close, return to your hotel before heading to yet another Tauck Exclusive: tonight's farewell reception and dinner at a local restaurant, where you'll witness a larger-than-life demonstration by sumo wrestlers.

MEALS : B, L, D

LODGING : Park Hyatt Tokyo

PORTOFCALL : Tokyo, Japan

Day 13 Journey home

Tour ends: Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport. Fly home anytime. An airport transfer is included from the Park Hyatt Tokyo to Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport. Please allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport.

MEALS : B

PORTOFCALL : Tokyo, Japan

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 11,390
Price Per Day: $ 876 per day
Check Availability
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateDouble StandardSingle StandardDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Sep-21-2019Jan-01-1970$ 12,890$ 16,614NoSold Out Reserve
Sep-23-2019Jan-01-1970$ 15,790$ 21,082YesLimited Reserve
Sep-28-2019Jan-01-1970$ 12,890$ 16,614YesLimited Reserve
Sep-30-2019Jan-01-1970$ 15,790$ 21,082NoSold Out Reserve
Oct-05-2019Jan-01-1970$ 12,890$ 16,614YesLimited Reserve
Oct-10-2019Jan-01-1970$ 15,790$ 21,082YesLimited Reserve
Oct-12-2019Jan-01-1970$ 12,890$ 16,614YesLimited Reserve
Oct-14-2019Jan-01-1970$ 15,790$ 21,082NoSold Out Reserve
Oct-19-2019Jan-01-1970$ 12,890$ 16,614NoSold Out Reserve
Oct-24-2019Jan-01-1970$ 15,790$ 21,082YesLimited Reserve
Oct-26-2019Jan-01-1970$ 12,890$ 16,614YesLimited Reserve
Nov-02-2019Jan-01-1970$ 12,390$ 16,342NoSold Out Reserve
Nov-04-2019Jan-01-1970$ 14,790$ 20,358YesLimited Reserve
Nov-16-2019Jan-01-1970$ 11,390$ 15,472YesLimited Reserve
Nov-30-2019Jan-01-1970$ 11,390$ 15,472NoSold Out Reserve
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Ask Our Destination Experts

Clark Norton
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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

16 Tauck Travel Reviews & Ratings

100%
4.9 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 14
Great 2
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 0
Value
4.9
Guide
4.9
Activities
4.9
Lodging
4.9
Transportation
4.9
Meals
4.9

Essence of Japan 2019

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Company Reviews

Good Introduction to China

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
The tour director was well-organized and managed the local guides really well. My only disappointment was that only 1.5 hours was allocated for the Great Wall of China, even though I could have spent all day hiking it. The dinners provided thorough samples of Chinese cuisine but were sometimes very long and tiring, exceeding 2 hours.

Most Memorable Moment:
The Hutong ride in Beijing and the balmy sunny weather during the transfer to my international flight home made me contemplate the charms of possibly living in Asia.
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Loved Japan

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Totally enjoyed our tour. Had an amazing guide and co-guide which makes all the difference in a good experience. Definitely will be back.

Most Memorable Moment:
The Tauck Director's suggestion of the "sushi" conveyor belt restaurant in Kyoto... and of course the cherry blossoms.
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We did so many memorable things

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
What a fantastic trip! Tauck definitely knows how to treat a traveler. From the tour director to the food, hotels, chartered flights, boat harbor cruises, jet boat and helicopter rides, private parties and movie viewings---I could go on and on. Both countries are beautiful, but New Zealand is breath taking!

Most Memorable Moment:
This is a tough question. We did so many memorable things, but my number 1 was the balloon ride followed closely by the jet boat and helicopter rides. I met so many wonderful people and hope to meet up with a few of them in the future! Our tour director made this entire trip one of a kind!
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Spotlight on India

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was an excellent tour which my wife and I truly enjoyed. This is a great country to visit on a Tauck tour because we were able to see so much but on a comfortable, safe journey due to the excellent organization, experienced and knowledgable guides and director, and choice of the best hotels. Good balance of tour and free time.

Most Memorable Moment:
Varanasi with the evening boat ride and the early morning walk through the streets for another viewing of the River Ganges by boat. The Amber fort and the Taj Mahal were spectacular to see along with everything else on the tour. The Tuck tuck rides and walks through the streets and food markets were excellent as well.
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This trip offered a fabulous learning experience

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This trip offered a fabulous learning experience. This is a complex country with a complex culture emanating from a complex and diverse history - from the Mughals to the English to their ultimate independence. If you are a tourist, their focus is to to make you feel like you are the most important person anywhere. They did that. India is a must see

Most Memorable Moment:
Varanasi ceremonies.
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Absolutely LOVED this trip!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Absolutely LOVED this trip!! Tauck really outdid themselves on the hotels!! The most amazing accommodations possible. The tour guide did an wonderful job and took great care of all of us. India is like nowhere else and the Taj Mahal was INCREDIBLE!! Even with all the poverty, everyone was very friendly and wanted pictures taken with us!

Most Memorable Moment:
The palatial hotel accommodations and of course seeing the BEAUTIFUL Taj Mahal was worth the trip!
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Details

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Trip ID#:

tauck-EJ2019

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