近畿 Central & Western Honshu
11 Nights/12 Days
Tokyo to Koya-san via Takayama, with an Adventurous and Spiritual Kyoto Tour
Tokyo → Noto Peninsula → Shirakawa-go → Takayama→ Kyoto → Nara → Osaka → Arima-onsen → Koya-san
Day 1： Tokyo
Your luxurious 12 day Central to Western Honshu tour begins in Tokyo. Upon arriving at Haneda or Narita international airports, you will be met by your personal tour guide, expediently escorted to your private car, and transferred to a five-star hotel in the heart of Tokyo.
We provision only hotels that are not only superlative in their nature, but which are also conveniently located nearby the Imperial Palace Garden, or in central Tokyo (including the Ginza) areas.
After check-in, allowing for good weather, you are invited to enjoy a peaceful stroll around the Imperial Palace Garden and the nearby, more modern areas of Tokyo and the Ginza at your leisure.
Upon your request, it would be our pleasure to make dinner arrangements at a nearby fine restaurant.
Examples of hotels selections in Tokyo：
The Peninsula, Palace Hotel, Imperial Hotel
Day 2： Modern and Historical parts of Tokyo
Tokyo Day Tour: Your tour guide will be at the ready in your hotel’s lobby at the agreed upon time. Together, you will explore both historical and modern parts of Tokyo by private car, including but not limited to:
A visit to the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market, a stroll about the glitzy Ginza, an historical cultural immersion at Senso-ji temple, a spiritual stroll through the forest of and into Meiji Shrine, a sensory blast in Harajuku – where you can see the latest in youthful fashion – and finally to Omotesando, where the streets are lined with luxury shops.
It’s a lot to see, but rest assured we won’t overload your day! We’ll make sure you are only as busy as you want to be..
Day 3： Tokyo to Kanazawa and Noto Peninsula
This morning, upon meeting your hotel guide in the lobby, you will depart Tokyo and head for Kanazawa, which is located on the Sea of Japan side of Honshu Island. We will go via the newly opened Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train). Total travel time: 150 minutes.
An enjoyable afternoon will be had as we tour Kanazawa by private car. You will visit what is perhaps Japan’s best known traditional garden, Kenroku-en, which was originally a castle garden from the 17th century.
We will also explore the Higashichaya district, Myoryuji Temple (Ninja-dera), Nagamachi Samurai house, Oyama shrine, Chirihama Beach Driveway, and the Gold Leaf Museum, all by private car.
Tonight you will stay in a ryokan, a luxurious and traditional Japanese inn, in Wakura Onsen town, whose hot springs are famed for restoring vitality. Get ready to feel rejuvenated!
Examples of ryokan selections in Wakura Onsen, Kanazawa：
Tadaya Ryokan, Togetsuan
Day 4： Kanazwa to World Heritage Shirakawa-go, village
After having breakfast, you and your guide will leave Kanazawa and head to Shirakawa-go by private car (travel time: 80 min).
Shirakawa-go is a Gassho-zukuri Village, as you can see in the photo on the right, and is listed as a World Heritage site. The rest of the day will be enjoyed exploring this peaceful village.
Staying overnight at one of the area’s famous farmhouses is recommended, as it is a great way to experience a traditional Japanese family home and also a fantastic way to get a more intimate understanding of Gassho-zukuri buildings.
However, should you prefer a traditional, luxury ryokan in Shirakawa-go, that can also easily be arranged.
Day 5： Shirakawago to Takayama in Gifu prefecture
Your personal tour guide will be by your side as we depart Shirakawa-go and travel the 70 minutes to Hida Takayama by private car.
Takayama is a pristinely preserved historic Japanese town with narrow little streets. Traditional old houses and rickshaws are still in use. Here you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon walking or bicycle tour with a local guide.
Tonight’s lodging will be at a ryokan in Okuhida Onsen town.
Suggested ryokans: Hidatei Hanaougi, Wanosato, Hidaji, Choza
Day 6： Takayama to Kyoto
Today you depart Takayama and head to Kyoto with your private tour guide via a combination of JR Express Train and Bullet Train travel. Our door to door travel time will be about 210 minutes, but lovely sights will be yours for the taking as we traverse the mountains to reach the other side of Honshu.
Kyoto is one of the world’s most culturally rich cities with 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines.
After arriving in Kyoto, you will get your first taste of the city by means of an afternoon tour with a local Kyoto Guide. You will visit the ancient temple Kiyomizu-dera, Sanjusangen-do, Kyoto’s famed Golden Pavilion Kinkaku-ji, Fushimi-Inari-taisha, with its picturesque, 4 km hill-climbing pathway lined with thousands of red torii, and Saiho-ji with its garden renown for lush, rolling mossy landscapes.
Examples of ryokan selections in Kyoto： Yoshikawa Ryokan, Tawaraya Ryokan, Hiragiya Ryokans, Yoshinoya Ryokan, Sumiya Ryokan, Kikusui, Ioshinoya
Examples of hotels selections in Kyoto： The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, Chorakukan
Day 7： Kyoto
One day tour around Kyoto: On your second day in Kyoto, you will explore the Arashiyama and Sagano districts. You will head to Arashiyama first and experience “Hozu-gawa-Kudari” (Hozu-gawa river rafting through Hozu-kyo Gorge).
Here, regardless of the time of year you visit, you are always surrounded by gorgeous scenery. For over one thousand years, the Hozu-gawa River has been home to a bustling and thriving water transport culture. This boat trip not only paints you a picture of that culture, but also invites you in to an awe-inspiring and healing world, a place of tranquility.
Next, you will visit Tenryu-ji temple, where the main attraction is their 14th century Zen garden. Just outside the north gate of the temple, you will step into a different world as you are enveloped and then entranced by a large thicket of bamboo that rolls out into the distance. This is the famed Arashiyama bamboo grove.
Your next stop will bring you to Okochi-sanso. This villa was the home of Okochi Denjiro, an actor in samurai films. Okochi-sanso is now open to the public, allowing us all to enjoy the garden and the views over Kyoto.
Famous Tofu dishes for lunch and Geisha with Kaiseki cuisine experience for dinner
Day 8： Nara – First permanent capital of Japan
One day tour around Nara: Nara is the first permanent capital of Japan, and a great asset amongst Japan’s cultural legacies.
The center piece, of course, is the DAIBUTSU, or “Great Buddha,” which is said by many to be Japan’s single most impressive sight, and is housed here in Todai-ji temple.
You’ll then visit Nara Koen, a splendid park, home to about 1200 deer which, in pre-Buddhist times, were considered messengers of the gods and today enjoy the status of National Treasures. You can feed the deer “shika sembei” (deer biscuits) that are available for purchase from vendors in the park.
After getting your fill of Nara’s bounty, you will return to your ryokan in Kyoto.
Day 9： Osaka – A bustling city
You will visit Osaka as a day trip from Kyoto, as the cities are not very far apart in distance – though they are worlds apart in culture! First, we’ll visit Osaka Castle, which was built as a display of power by Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi after he achieved his goal of unifying Japan in 1583.
No visit to Osaka would be complete without also visiting Dotombori Arcade in Osaka Minami (south), the city’s liveliest spot. With a Japanese guide by your side, plan on culturally enriching chats as we explore this part of what Japan is today.
Just south of Dotombori Arcade is Hozenji, a tiny temple hidden down a narrow street, built around a moss-covered Fudo-myo statue. Running parallel to this alley is atmospheric Hozen-ji Yokoho, dotted with traditional restaurants and bars.
After this, you’ll return to your ryokan in Kyoto.
Day 10： Himeji Castle, Kobe and Arima Onsen in Hyogo prefecture
After checking out of your ryokan in Kyoto, together with your private guide you will head for Himeji prefecture by Bullet Train (Sanyo Shinkansen).
Center stage on today’s agenda is shared by Himeji-jo, the finest castle in all of Japan, and Shoshazan Engyo-ji, which is often used for location shooting for films and television shows such as “The Last Samurai.”
You will also visit Kobe. Kobe is one of Japan’s most attractive cities, nestled along a narrow strip of land between the sea and the Rokko mountain range.
Although Kobe was hit by a devastating Earthquake in 1995 which extinguished over 5000 lives and destroyed thousands of buildings, the city has long been completely rebuilt.
It being Kobe, you will of course have the chance to dine at an elegant restaurant where you can try real Kobe beef steak for lunch.
You’ll later marvel at fantastic views over the city of Kobe when we ride the Shin-Kobe ropeway.
Tonight you will stay overnight in Arima Onsen, a famous hot spring town in the Mt. Rokko area with over 1000 years of history.
Suggested ryokan in Arima Onsen: Tocen-goshobo
Day 11： Arima to World Heritage site, Koya-san
Today you will head to your last destination, Koya-san (Mt. Koya), spending the night there as well.
Koya-san is the center of Shingon Buddhism, which is an important Buddhist sect introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), one of Japan’s most significant religious figures, with 110 temples attributed to his school.
Koya-san is one of the best places to experience an overnight stay at a shukubo temple lodging. You will be immersed in the monk life style, eating Shojin Ryori, which is vegetarian monk’s cuisine, and also attending the morning prayers.
While staying overnight at Shukubo in Koya-san is a highly recommended experience, for those wish a more opulent experiences, we will gladly arrange lodging at a well appointed ryokan.
Day 12： Departure
Today is the final day of your luxurious 12 day tour of Central and Western Honshu, Japan. Leaving Koyasan, we will head for Kansai International Airport for your returning international flight.
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The total tour cost will be based on the hotel room you have selected, and include transfers, a private vehicle with driver, English-speaking private tour escort, specialized field guides, travel insurance, activities and entrance fees, as well as breakfast at the hotel and lunches while touring. (Room prices at ryokans typically include breakfast and dinner to be savored in the room, or in some case in the hotel’s dining room.) Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Some personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, and spa treatments will need to be directly paid at the time of consumption. Prices may vary depending on season and chosen level of accommodation.
The average price of this tour for one: USD 1,790 a day.
Travel with Kids：
We offer fun tours that can be enjoyed along with your children. We can also arrange for child care, and a doctor or nurse should the unfortunate need arise.
Your first, no obligation step starts here.