Day 1 Honolulu – Kansai (Osaka)
We begin our journey by boarding an international flight to Kansai Airport, the gateway city to Osaka. Meals and snacks will be served on the plane.
Day 2 Kansai (Osaka) (D)
Upon arrival at Kansai International Airport, we will meet with an Air and Sea Travel Representative who will escort us
to our hotel in the Kansai area. A bento dinner will be provided.
Day 3 Osaka – Kyoto (B, D)
Today we start our journey to the western outskirts of Kyoto, Arashiyama. It is a nationally designated historic site and place of scenic beauty. First stop is the romantic “Moon Crossing Bridge” (Togetsukyo), notable for its views of cherry blossoms on the slopes of Mt. Arashiyama. The bridge will lead us to the Sagano Bamboo Forest. While walking down the path with a light breeze, we will enjoy the beautiful mellow sound and movement created by the bamboo. We will pay a visit to Tenryuji Temple (Tenryū-ji) which is one of the five great Zen Temples in Kyoto. Besides being the largest and most impressive temple, it is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then we will proceed to Kinkaku-ji ("Temple of the Golden Pavilion"), a Zen Buddhist Temple officially named Rokuon-ji ("Deer Garden Temple"). The Golden Pavilion garden is an excellent example of a Muromachi Period garden design. This period brought a shift from Chinese style gardens to a new expression of traditional Japanese gardens. But nothing is as symbolic of Kyoto as Kinkaku-ji's golden reflection shimmering across the rippled surface of the pond before it. Last is the Kyoto Station, which accommodates the JR and Kintetsu Lines, the Kyoto Municipal Subway Line, and Kyoto City Buses. The building's futuristic design and atmosphere were conceived by the Japanese architect Hara Hiroshi. His design attempts to convey historical Kyoto through a modern perspective. The station's large main hall with its exposed steel- beamed roof called the Matrix, is meant to reflect both the structure of the station and the grid-like layout of Kyoto's street network. The Skyway Tunnel allows visitors to walk the length of Kyoto Station 45 meters above the central hall and can be reached via a long series of escalator rides. A Welcome Dinner is arranged for tonight.
Day 4 Kyoto – Shiga (B, L, D)
Today we start our tour to the historic Kiyomizu-dera, an independent Buddhist Temple in Eastern Kyoto and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The neighborhoods next to this temple are Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka which literally means Two-Year Hill and Three-Year Hill. These are charming pedestrian only shopping lanes lined with traditional Japanese buildings that offer a taste of pre-modern Kyoto. After a local Teishoku lunch, we will drive to Miho Museum, located southeast of Kyoto near the town of Shigaraki in Shiga Prefecture. The museum was the dream of Mihoko Koyama, the heiress to the Toyobo textile business, and one of the wealthiest women in Japan. The Miho Museum houses her private collection of Asian and Western antiques, as well as other pieces with an estimated value between $300 million to $1 billion. There are over two thousand pieces, of which approximately 250 are displayed at any given time. Miho Museum was designed by architect I.M. Pei, who achieved a harmony between the building (much of it underground) and its mountain environment. Tonight, we will have dinner at our onsen resort. Later we will relax and rejuvenate at our hot spring hotel.
Day 5 Shiga – Kanazawa (Ishikawa) (B, L)
In the morning, we depart for Yunokuni No Mori, a crafts village in Komatsu. Komatsu is a city located in the southern portion of Ishikawa Prefecture near the Awazu Onsen amid a massive acreage of preserved forest land. At Yunokuni no Mori, we can participate in learning crafts and making various Kaga area goods. These high quality craft products include: Wajima lacquer ware, Kutani ceramics, gold leaf, Kaga Yuzen (printed silk), and Yamanaka lacquer ware. After lunch, we will visit Kenrokuen, one of the three famous gardens in Japan. As a strolling style landscape garden, it incorporates fancy designs in every corner, achieving peerless scenery in each season. According to the ancient Chinese book of gardens, six elements contribute to the qualities of the garden. They are spaciousness and seclusion, artifice and antiquity, water courses and panoramas. This evening, enjoy some free time for omiyage (souvenir) shopping at Kanazawa JR Station area.
Day 6 Kanazawa – Kurobe Gorge (Toyama) (B, L, D)
In the morning, our journey will take us to The Historic Village of Gokayama, one of Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The site is located in the Shogawa river valley stretching across the border of Gifu and Toyama Prefectures in central Japan. The Gokayama ("Five Mountains") area is divided between the former villages of Kamitaira and Taira in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture. These villages are well known for their houses constructed in the architectural style known as Gassho-zukuri. The Gassho-zukuri, "prayer-hands construction" style is characterized by a thatched and steeply slanted roof resembling two hands joined in prayer. The design is exceptionally strong and in combination
with the unique properties of the thatching, allows the houses to withstand and shed the weight of the region's heavy
snowfalls in winter. Then we continue driving to the Northern Alps. Forget city life – let’s see the natural beauty of Japan. The Hida Mountains or Northern Alps are one of the finest areas of natural beauty and the Kurobe Gorge is among the most spectacular places in the Hida Mountains. The open carriage style train makes us feel that we are in nature. The view of the gorge changes as the train weaves its way up. Then we will return to the Onsen Hotel at Unazuki. If time allow, we can visit the Observation Deck Yamabiko or enjoy the outdoor foot bath.
Day 7 Kurobe Gorge – Tateyama Kurobe Alpine – Nagano (B, L, D)
After a morning onsen bath and breakfast, we will experience stunning vistas and unique landscapes as we travel on, above, and even under majestic Mt. Tateyama. We will stop to enjoy a stroll through flower filled meadows and steaming volcanic valleys. The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is known as the “Roof of Japan”. It passes through the dynamic scenery of Mt. Tateyama in the Japan Alps and is traversed using a variety of vehicles with an elevation change of 2400 meters from Toyama Prefecture to Nagano Prefecture. The route is approximately 90 km long and we will be impressed by the variety of scenery that can be seen in different seasons. First, we take a cable car to Bijodaira that takes us 500 m up. The average gradient here is 24 degrees, and a site with unique rock formations named “Zaimoku-ishi” (timber rocks) is visible from the cable car. Second, we take the highland bus to Midagahara and Murodo. We will be captivated by the views as we travel through the range with a 1500 m change in altitude. The large trees in the forests, the highlands, and the mountain ranges are the highlights of the route. We will be able to get off the bus and walk along the road between 2 walls of snow 18 meters high. Third, we take the tunnel trolley bus to Daikanbo which is the highest altitude trolley bus in Japan (2450 m). This bus runs inside a tunnel, piercing through the heart of Mt. Tateyama (3015 m high). The bus is powered by electricity, so the bus is “green” and does not produce exhaust fumes. Fourth, we take the ropeway to Kurobedaira. The cable car here is one of the most unique in the world. It is the only cable car in Japan without pylons along its span. It is like a “moving observatory” giving a full panoramic view of the surrounding nature. Fifth, we take another cable car to Kurobeko. This is the only underground cable car in Japan, allowing it to be unaffected by snowfall. We have to do some walking before coming to the next station. Sixth, we take the Kanden Tunnel Trolley Bus from Kurobe Dam to Ogizawa Station. The tunnel for this trolley bus was originally built to transfer materials needed to build Kurobe Dam. The trolley bus crosses the border between Toyama and Nagano Prefectures, which was one of the most inaccessible places before the construction of the Kurobe Dam. After today’s fun excursion we will return to the hotel to enjoy a delicious dinner and relax in the onsen hotel. Japanese onsens are extremely beneficial for one’s health because of its mineral content. Different minerals provide different health benefits while relaxing our body and mind.
Day 8 Nagano – Saitama – Tokyo (B, L, D)
Today, we will continue our trip to Tokyo via Saitama. This prefecture is part of the Greater Tokyo Area. Our first stop is Koedo Kawagoe, a town that still retains the culture and character of Edo. The old store merchant houses are lined up along the streets. If you took a stroll through the town in a kimono you will feel like you travelled back in time to ancient Edo. The Toki no Kane bell tower is likely the most famous symbol of the city. It still rings four times a day to tell time and has been sounding for roughly 350 years. In 1996, the beautiful tone of the bell was recognized as one of the ‘100 Sound Sceneries of Japan’ that the Ministry of the Environment wants to preserve. Afterward we will drive to Tokyo, the capital and also the political and commercial center of Japan. We will see the 634m-high Tokyo Sky Tree, which was recognized by the Guinness World Records Company on November 17, 2011 as the tallest tower in the world. A Duty Free Shop visit is arranged as well. Shinjuku City is one of the most well-known shopping districts in Japan. A special district in this city is Kabukich, the world famous red-light area housing over three thousand bars, nightclubs, massage parlors, clubs and the like. It is often called the "Sleepless Town". Tonight, a Farewell Dinner is arranged.
Day 9 Tokyo – Haneda – Honolulu (B)
This morning, we will visit Yokohama, the second largest populated city in Japan after Tokyo and the most populous municipality of Japan. Minato Mirai 21 is a seaside urban area in central Yokohama whose name means “harbor of the future”. It has many large high-rises, including the Landmark Tower which was Japan’s tallest building from 1993 to 2012. The area was a large shipyard until the 1980s when development began to turn it into a new city center. Red Brick Warehouse is a historical building that is a complex that includes a shopping mall, banquet hall, and event venues. The complex, officially known as the Newport Pier Tax Keeping Warehouse, was originally used as customs buildings. Our last stop is Odaiba. It is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo. It was initially built for defensive purposes in the 1850s, dramatically expanded during the late 20th century as a seaport district, and has developed since the 1990s as a major commercial, residential and leisure area. Today's Odaiba is a popular shopping and sightseeing destination for Tokyoites and tourists alike. Major attractions include: Ferris Wheel, Venus Fort, and Aqua City Shopping Center. After a long day, we will transfer to Haneda International Airport for our return flight to Honolulu, taking with us the lasting memories of this wonderful Japan Alps trip.
We wish you a safe journey and many wonderful memories to share with family and friends! ☺ B: Breakfast | L: Lunch | D: Dinner
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Deluxe hotel accommodations (based on double occupancy) Escorted tour with a minimum of 20 passengers
Local English speaking tour guide service
All transfers and sightseeing by air conditioned coach