(Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto)
Geishas in kimonos & business men in western suits, ancient temples & futuristic skyscrapers, Japan is an enticing country awash with contrasts guaranteed to delight & amaze. Led by expert private guide see how age-old traditions mix seamlessly into modern life as you voyage through the glittering whirlwind of Tokyo, historical Kanazawa, hauntingly beautiful Hiroshima & culturally rich Kyoto. Experience imperial palaces, temples, pagodas & shrines, bustling markets, sake breweries & more. Featuring private guide, airport transfers & a collection of stylish 4* & 5* hotels.
Welcome to Japan!
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle.
Park Hotel Tokyo is ideally situated in Shiodome, a flourishing new center of business and culture. The hotel offers an extraordinary level of service and coordinated interior designs. The Park Hotel Tokyo also shows respect for local traditions of nature, translated in the hotel's glass-roofed atrium. A soothing haven of trees and greenery, it stretches between the building's 25th and 34th floors, creating a well of warming sunlight that augments the sensation of balance and vitality fostered by the architecture.
Take a day tour of this fascinating city with a local guide, making use of Tokyo’s comprehensive and user friendly public transport system. The day begins with a visit to Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Take a walk down Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion brands. Head across town to Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of old Tokyo. Visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Take a boat cruise on the Sumida River passing under 12 bridges. Disembark in Hamarikyu garden, an Edo Period Japanese garden surrounded by the Shiodome district’s futuristic skyscrapers, a great example of how Japan is the land of contrasts, where you will stop for a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea house on a small island in the park’s lake. Please note that with this tour you will have a private guide, but rather than travelling by private vehicle, you will make use of Tokyo’s efficient local transit system.
Today you will make a day trip to Kamakura (1hr), the former de facto capital of Japan as the seat of the Shogunate during the Kamakura Period (1185–1333). At that time Kamakura was the largest city in the world. The Kamkura of today however, is a small, sleepy seaside town with numerous temples, shrines and other attractions. With your local guide, you will visit Kotokuin Temple, home to the Daibutsu, a giant bronze Buddha that stands (or rather, sits) 13.35m high. Dating from the 12th century, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is the spiritual heart of Kamakura and one of its most popular attractions. The shrine was originally founded by Minamoto Yoriyoshi in 1063, then enlarged and moved to its present site by Minamoto Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura government, in 1180. The shrine was dedicated to Hachiman, the Shinto god of war and patron of the Minamoto family. Hasedera Temple is a temple of the Jodo sect, which is most famous for its statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The statue shows Kannon with eleven heads, each representing a characteristic of the goddess. The 9.18 meter tall, gilded wooden statue is regarded as one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan. You will also visit Kosokuji Temple and have time for shopping on Komachi Street. Today's tour includes a private guide and makes use of Japan's efficient public transit system.
This afternoon explore Tokyo’s shitamachi (downtown). Our image of Tokyo is usually that of a super-modern metropolis but suburbs like Yanaka, which was miraculously spared the carnage of the Allied bombings in World War II, still preserve a nostalgic atmosphere. Part of its charm today lies in this sense of being hidden. Visit old temples and shrines, one of Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist cemeteries as well as traditional shops selling Japanese paper and sweets, and soak in the atmosphere of pre-war Tokyo. Take a look at what life in this area used to be like in the Shitamachi Museum, located in Ueno Park. One of the most popular parks for hanami (cherry blossom parties) in Tokyo, Ueno Park was originally part of Kaneiji Temple, which used to be one of the city's largest and wealthiest temples and a family temple of the ruling Tokugawa clan during the Edo Period. Your guide will take you on a stroll to show you the many attractions that enrich this large park. Last stop for the day is Ueno’s Ameyoko-cho, a busy market street underneath the train lines. Originally the site of a black market after World War II, this bustling market is the last of its kind in Tokyo, and is filled with shops and stalls selling various products such as fresh fish, dried food, and spices. At one of the many open air restaurants under the train tracks, you can stop for a cold drink and a yakitori (grilled chicken skewer). Please note that with this tour you will have a private guide, but rather than travelling by private vehicle, you will make use of Tokyo’s efficient local transit system.
Meet your driver for a train station transfer with a private vehicle and assistant.
Transfer by train from Tokyo to Hiroshima.
The Hiroshima Sheraton is located directly opposite the Japan Rail train station. After exiting your train, please follow the Sheraton signage to reach your hotel. This is a very short walk, and done easily on your own, so no guide service has been included.
Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel is conveniently located in the city next to JR Hiroshima Station, with direct access to the bullet train and bus terminals. The 238 guests rooms of the hotel are decorated with contemporary western furnishings, they include the celebrated Sheraton Sweet Sleepe Bed, a 37” Flat Screen Television, DVD player, and High Speed Internet Access. The hotel's Miyabi Tei restaurant offers the finest and freshest cuisine such as teppanyaki, sushi, and other Japanese meals. At the same time, The Bridge Restaurant offers International cuisine. Shine Spa for Sheraton is designed to address guests' needs. A pool and fitness center are also located in the hotel.
Your guide will meet you at your hotel to take you on a tour of Hiroshima and Miyajima by street car, train, and ferry. Start the day with a visit to the Peace Memorial Park. The area where the park now lies was ground zero for the Atomic Bomb on August 6th, 1945. After the bombing, the park was created and dedicated to those who lost their lives in the attack. Stroll through the park and discover the many memorials, monuments, and statues before heading into the museum itself. Next, visit Shukkeien Garden, which can be translated into English as "shrunken-scenery garden", which is also a good description of the garden itself. Valleys, mountains, and forests are represented in miniature in the garden's landscapes. Through carefully cultivated land and vegetation, the garden mimics a variety of natural formations and scenic views. The garden displays many features of the traditional aesthetics of Japanese gardens. Around the garden's main pond there are a number of tea houses which offer visitors ideal views of the surrounding scenery. From Hiroshima, a short ferry ride will take you to Miyajima Island. A small sacred island located in the Inland Sea, it has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times. Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan - The Floating Torii Gate. The harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill, and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mere 'commoners' were not allowed to set foot on this holy place, and even now it is forbidden to give birth or die on the island. You will have time to explore the island and its many shrines and temples and sample local goodies like maple leaf shaped cakes before heading back to your hotel.
The Sheraton Hiroshima is located directly across from the Japan Rail train station, and so departing by train is easily done independently. Simply make your way by foot to the appropriate platform as listed on your train tickets. No assistance is required, or included.
Transfer by train from Hiroshima to Kyoto.
Meet your driver for a train station transfer with a private vehicle.
The Higashiyama District along the lower slopes of Kyoto's eastern mountains is one of the city's best preserved historic districts, and a great place to experience traditional old Kyoto. Start the day with a visit to Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the 13 metre high veranda jutting out from the Main Hall you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto, while pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners. Kodaiji Temple was constructed in 1605 in memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi by the great political leader's wife. It features temple halls, gravel and landscape gardens, teahouses and a bamboo grove. Yasaka Pagoda, the last remnant of Hokanji Temple, is one of the most visible and recognizable landmarks in the Higashiyama District. Visitors may climb up the inside of the five story pagoda, which is a rare opportunity as most pagodas can only be viewed from the outside. Yasaka Shrine, host to the Gion Matsuri, is one of Kyoto's most popular shrines and is located at the eastern end of Shijodori next to Maruyama Park. The shrine's hanging lanterns are lit every night after dark. Chionin is the head temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism, which has millions of followers and is one the most popular Buddhist sects in Japan. The huge Sanmon Gate, Chionin's main entrance gate, stands 24 metres tall and 50 metres wide, and is the largest wooden gate in Japan. The gate was featured in the movie Last Samurai. Please note that with this tour you will have a private guide, but rather than travelling by private vehicle, you will make use of Kyoto’s efficient local transit system.
Hyatt Regency (5*) Kyoto Hotel is one of the newest luxury hotels in Kyoto. It is located just minutes from JR Kyoto Station, in the Higashiyama Shichijo district, the traditional and cultural heart of Kyoto. Choose from the five different dining options onsite and consider having a treatment at the Riraku spa. Nearby places of interest include Kyoto's National Museum, and Chishakuin, Sanjusangendo and Yogenin Temples.
Today you explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide, utilizing Kyoto’s comprehensive bus system to visit some of Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will start your day with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death it became a Buddhist Temple at his request, and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples. Nijo Castle is an ornamental castle and was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning gardens. The main building was completed in 1603, and is famous for its architecture, decorated sliding doors, and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors. Take a walk down Nishiki Market, a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood, and sushi. Final stop is Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. From the 13 metre high veranda jutting out from the Main Hall you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto, while pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners.
Transfer from your hotel to Nara by train (45min) with a local guide. For 74 years during the 8th century Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain. Visit Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha. Next stop is Nara’s most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers. Take a wander through Nara Park, called Deer Park by locals due to the large population of more than 1,000 tame deer living there.
A transfer from your hotel in Kyoto to the Kansai International Airport in Osaka with a private vehicle and driver is provided.
Bob Feldman ,
November 19, 2013
"I wanted to let you know that our trip to China was great! Everybody enjoyed themselves. When planning a trip I am always concerned about the itinerary, the vehicles and the guides. All 3 of these were great. The guides were particularly good and in this case really made the trip a pleasure. Overall a great trip. Thanks for all you did."
Gloria DeWeese ,
October 10, 2013
"A wonderful trip and everything went like clockwork. Thank you so very much for all your assistance. I hope I will have a chance to work with you again."
Wayne Gavioli ,
September 04, 2013
"We just returned from our thailand/cambodia trip. It was fantastic. You did a great job. The guides were excellent as was the drivers. We loved the Victoria Hotel you selected in Siem. Wish we had more time. Thailand met our expectations but our expectations for Cambodia were low and they exceeded them. Loved the places selected for the included lunches. Certainly would use Kensington again"
Santo Filice ,
August 30, 2013
"Thank you for arranging our guided trip to Thailand - Vietnam. It was a memorable, and pleasant trip - a 1st for us with Kensington tours and a most enjoyable one. We found that we were able to maximize our visit of the the area without the concern of booking hotels, airline, finding parking and understanding the local language. "
Tim Mesarch ,
August 02, 2013
"Alexis helped us fit in all of the sites we wanted to see on our trip to Thailand and Cambodia, and suggested some more. It was valuable talking with someone who had been there and done that. The planning went pretty smoothly, and so did the trip. The local guides were all top-notch! "
July 25, 2013
"I highly recommend Kesington Tours. The planning of our trip to Cambodia was outstanding. Our advisor Alexis Mayer was unbelievably patient, knowledgeable and responsive. We planned the trip in every possible detail and Alexis was extraordinary during the whole process. Once we were in Cambodia, we had a tiny issue with the car. I was able to get in contact with Alexis right away and the problem was instantly solved. The trip itself was fantastic. Everything was very well planned and perfectly organized. The local guides and drivers were great. The hotels were very well chosen.
Great trip. I would definitely travel again with Kensington Tours."
Pennie Quintana ,
August 07, 2013
"Thank you so much for the amazing trip we enjoyed!! All our guides were fantasy. Joseph in Jakarta, July in Jojakarta and Deon in Borneo!! Wow!! Bless you for all your attention to detail and the outstanding communication to all my questions. You made me feel so taken care of and tended too!! "
Denise Abadi ,
June 21, 2013
"We have just returned from our trip to Malaysia and wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the itinerary you put together for us. Our guides were personable and very knowledgeable about the various places we visited. We were amazed by the sights, sounds and friendliness of the people we encountered. Needless to say, it was a most memorable trip and one of the
highlights of our traveling careers!
July 11, 2013
"Sunita, my wife and I had a wonderful time in China. The hotels were superb. Our guides were excellent. They spoke good English, were knowledgeable, and flexible. It was a wonderful trip. We particularly enjoyed the Yangtze River cruise. We will certainly consider your firm for international travel in the future."
Debbie Selden ,
June 14, 2013
"We had a great time and our guide in Bejing was fantastic! Thanks much for all your help."
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