Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys

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  • Meet adorable hot spring-soaking snow monkeys near Nagano.
  • Tour Kyoto’s UNESCO-protected temples, including the famed Kinkaku-ji, also known as the "Golden Pavilion".
  • Soak up the street culture in Tokyo’s Shibuya, Harajuku, and Akihabara districts.
  • Eat and train like a Yokozuna at a genuine sumo training facility.
  • Stay at a handpicked selection of premium accommodations.
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Japanese culture straddles eons, stretching back into prehistory while embracing the future. Its beauty, mystery, and multiplicity have fascinated outsiders for centuries. This captivating journey connects you with the artistic, athletic, natural, and spiritual sides of Japan, blending everything from ancient temples to sumo wrestlers to fashion-forward Harajuku girls together in a kaleidoscopic survey of one of the world’s most dynamic societies.

It all begins in Tokyo, Japan’s capital. Here, you’ll get an insider’s glimpse of the city’s modern side and its traditional roots, first on a privately guided tour of its temples, shrines, and the pre-World War II Asakusa neighborhood, then on a guided tour of the Ghibli Museum, home of acclaimed director Miyazaki Hayao’s anime studio. Later, drop in on a heya (a training facility for sumo wrestlers) where you’ll train – and, most importantly, eat – like one of the stars of Japan’s national sport before embarking on a lively tour of the Shibuya, Harajuku, and Akihabara districts for to soak up the colorful street culture. Next, head north to Nagano for an unforgettable encounter with the famous pink-faced Japanese macaques and unwind a little at a traditional ryokan with your own hot-spring bath.

After journeying southward by train, your next stop is Hakone, gateway to Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. After learning about traditional Japanese art through the centuries at the Okada Museum of Art, spend a full day exploring the park’s volcanic wonders by switchback train, one of the world’s longest cable cars, and even a pirate ship! The adventure concludes in blissful Kyoto, the heartland of Japanese culture where, after taking a privately guided tour of some of its 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites (including both golden Kinkaku-ji and stately Nijo Castle), devote a full day to contemplation on Mount Hiei, one of Japan’s most spiritual places and headquarters of the Tendai school of Japanese Buddhism. Finally, recenter yourself amid the ancient temples and shrines of Nara before bidding Japan sayonara.
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Kensington Tours creates private trips from the world’s finest ingredients. Tailor-made with care by your personal Destination Expert, your personalized trip is always a one-of-a-kind experience made just for you. Expert local guidance and 24/7 service come standard.
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Day
Activities Hotel & Meals
Hotel & Meals
  • Day 1 Tokyo
    Tokyo
    • Japan - Welcome
    • Activity - Airport Meet & Assist - Meet & Greet-Narita 9:00-20:55
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver/Narita Airport
    Breakfast
  • Day 2 Tokyo
    Tokyo
    • Private Tour - Half Day Tokyo Highlights Tour (4 hrs) - Guide/Public Transport
    • Private Tour - Half Day Ghibli Museum Tour (4 hrs) - Guide/Public Transport
    Breakfast
  • Day 3 Tokyo
    Tokyo
    • Private Tour - Half Day Sumo Training Experience with Lunch - Guide/Public Transport
    • Private Tour - Afternoon Pop Culture in Shibuya, Harajuku and Akihabara (4 hrs) - Guide/Public Transport
    Breakfast
  • Day 4 Tokyo
    Tokyo
    • Private Tour - Ozawa Sake Brewery Tour (with Lunch, 9 hrs) - Guide/Public Tranport
    Breakfast
  • Day 5 Tokyo to Nagano to Yudanaka
    Tokyo to Nagano to Yudanaka
    • Private Transfer - Train Station - Taxi/Guide
    • Train - Tokyo Station - Nagano
    • Private Tour - Historic Temple of Zenkoji - Vehicle/Guide
    • Private Transfer - Vehicle/Guide
    • Kaiseki Dinner
    Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 6 Yudanaka
    Yudanaka
    • Private Tour - Jigokudani Yaen Koen - Vehicle/Guide
    • Private Tour - Obuse Hokusai Museum - Vehicle/Guide
    Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 7 Yudanaka to Nagano to Tokyo to Hakone
    Yudanaka to Nagano to Tokyo to Hakone
    • Private Transfer - Vehicle/Driver
    • Train - Nagano - Tokyo [(2hrs)] - 1st Class
    • Private Transfer - Train Transfer Assistance - Assistant
    • Private Transfer - Train Station - Vehicle/Driver
    • Private Tour - Half Day Hakone Arts & Crafts Tour (4 hrs) - Guide/Public Transport
    • Train - Tokyo - Hakone [(30mins)] - 1st Class
    • Ryokan Meal - Dinner
    Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 8 Hakone
    Hakone
    • Private Tour - Full Day Mt. Fuji National Park Highlights Tour (6 hrs) - Guide/Public Transportation
    • Ryokan Meal - Dinner
    Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 9 Hakone to Kyoto
    Hakone to Kyoto
    • Private Transfer - Train Station - Vehicle/Driver
    • Train - Hakone - Kyoto [(2hrs)] - 1st Class
    • Private Transfer - Train Station Transfer with Private Vehicle and Guide - Vehicle/Guide
    • Private Tour - Half Day Kyoto Highlights by Taxi (4 hrs) - Guide/Taxi
    Hyatt Regency (B) (Standard (Guestroom))
  • Day 10 Kyoto
    Kyoto
    • Private Tour - Full Day Mt. Hiei Spiritual Tour (6 hrs) - Guide/Public Tranport
    Hyatt Regency (B) (Standard (Guestroom))
  • Day 11 Kyoto
    Kyoto
    • Private Tour - Half Day Tour of Nara by Taxi & Local Train (5 hrs) - Guide/Taxi
    Hyatt Regency (B) (Standard (Guestroom))
  • Day 12 Kyoto
    Kyoto
    • Private Transfer - Kyoto - Osaka [Kansai Airport] - Vehicle/Driver
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
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Day 1: Tokyo

Welcome to Japan!

For your added comfort, you will be welcomed by an English speaking assistant who will assist you upon arrival at the airport. Your assistant will be waiting for you with a sign with your name on it.

Meet your driver for an enjoyable airport transfer with a private vehicle.

Accommodation: Keio Plaza Tokyo

The Keio Plaza Hotel is situated in the heart of Tokyo, located within walking distance of numerous restaurants, bakeries, and shops. Visitors revel in the amenities offered in each other 1440 rooms. Besides exceptional hospitality from the staff, enjoy special features such as Japanese bathrobes, wide picture windows, and a host of bathroom amenities. Whether looking for a quick eat or a fancy sit down experience, guests will have no problem finding a meal at the Keio. Choose from a huge variety of restaurants, each possessing its own specialty. Try international and local dishes as prepared by local chefs. Facilities at the hotel include a fitness room and business center, and complimentary shuttle service to Tokyo Disney and Tokyo Disney Sea.

Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Tokyo
Tokyo
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo
Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo

Day 2: Tokyo

Spend a half day discovering Tokyo’s fascinating sites that juxtapose traditional temples and gardens with futuristic skyscrapers. With the help of your local guide, set out on the city’s comprehensive and user-friendly public transport system. Begin with a visit to the outside of the Imperial Palace, home of Japan’s Imperial Family. Head to Asakusa, the city’s old town area. Soak up the atmosphere of traditional Tokyo of yesteryear, exploring Tokyo’s oldest and most popular temple, Sensoji Temple, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple. Sensoji backs onto Nakamise, a shopping street that has provided temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and souvenirs for centuries.

Hop on the subway for a journey across the city to the Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Japan’s feudal era came to an end during the Meiji period, and the country found itself modernizing and westernizing during this time. If time permits, stroll along Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree-lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion brands. brands. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Please note that this tour includes a private guide. However, rather than traveling by private vehicle, you will explore Tokyo by making use of Tokyo’s efficient local transit system.

The Ghibli Museum is the animation and art museum of Miyazaki Hayao's Studio Ghibli, one of Japan's most famous animation studios. They have produced many feature length films with worldwide distribution such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Located in Mitaka, just outside of central Tokyo, the museum is a must-see for fans of the films. The museum itself is whimsically designed in the distinct style of the studio's films, and many of their famous characters are there, including a life-sized robot from Castle in the Sky on the rooftop garden. The first floor of the museum exhibits the history and techniques of animation and has as a small theater which shows short movies by Studio Ghibli that are exclusive to the museum and are rotated monthly. The second floor houses special temporary exhibitions. The museum further has a café, children's play area, a rooftop garden and a gift shop. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel.

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.

Accommodation: Keio Plaza Tokyo
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple

Day 3: Tokyo

Your guide for the morning will meet you at your hotel and take you to the Ryogoku, the center of Japan’s sumo world. As well as the Kokugikan Sumo Stadium, Ryogoku is home to most of Tokyo’s sumo heyas. All rikishi (wrestlers) belong to heyas, or sumo stables, where they live, train and eat.  We will be able to visit one of these heya to get up close and personal with these giant men and watch their asa geiko (morning training). The day begins in the early morning, when the lowest ranked men wake up and put in some practice before going about their assigned duties, which include cleaning the building and preparing the food for the main meal of the day. Higher ranked sekitori appear at a more reasonable hour, and they begin a practice session that runs from about 7am until about 10am. After several hours of warm up and technique practice, the wrestlers play an exciting "King of the Castle" game where one wrestler stays in the ring fighting bouts without any rest until he is defeated. After training, it is time to eat like sumo at a local restaurant specializing in chanko nabe. Chanko nabe is a Japanese stew with chicken, fish, tofu and vegetables. Whilst a very healthy dish, when eaten in sumo sized amounts it helps the wrestlers to gain weight. Many of the restaurants in the area that serve chanko nabe are run by ex-sumos.

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. Please note that you will have to sit on tatami matting. Seats are unavailable. Small children may not be allowed. Visitors are requested to observe absolute silence to not disturb the wrestlers. 

This afternoon, explore three of Tokyo's vibrant centers of youth fashion and pop culture with your private local guide. Begin in Shibuya, Tokyo's main center for youth fashion and culture. Its streets are the birthplace of many of Japan's fashion and entertainment trends and the area is also home to the famous five-way "scramble crossing". The Shibuya Crossing is rumored to be the busiest intersection in the world. Next, travel to Harajuku and Takeshita-Dori (Cat Street). This famous street is lined with quirky fashion boutiques, cafes, and restaurants for your enjoyment. Harajuku caters to every imaginable style and is the epicenter of Japanese “kawaii”, the culture of cuteness. Continue to Akihabara, also known as Electric Town, an area that was originally famous for its many electronics shops. Akihabara is renowned as the center of Japan’s otaku culture, a culture of diehard fans in anime and manga fandom. Many shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are now dispersed among the electronic stores in the district. The last stop at one of Tokyo’s famous pet cafes. Here you can enjoy a beverage and dessert and befriend a few of Tokyo’s cuddly creatures. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel. Rather than traveling by private vehicle, you will explore Tokyo by making use of Tokyo’s efficient local transit system.

Accommodation: Keio Plaza Tokyo
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Sumo Training
Sumo Training
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya Crossing

Day 4: Tokyo

Today you will visit the small town of Sawai to visit a traditional sake brewery. Ozawa Brewery was first founded in 1702, making it one of the oldest breweries in the region. Their casual name is "Sawanoi", taken from the area, Sawai, which is synonymous with some of the clearest waters you can find in the Tokyo area. Their "Okutama" sake is renowned as being one of the most beloved by Tokyoites for generations. You will take a local train to Sawai with a guide (as these are local trains, please be aware that seats cannot be reserved) and after exploring the local area, you'll be taken to enjoy an early but delicious tofu-based lunch before being taken on a tour of the brewery with the help of a brewery employee who will reveal the secrets of creating sake. The tour is in Japanese, but your guide will be on-hand to translate for you. Afterwards, enjoy a cup of sake before visiting the brewery's sake-tasting center, where you will have the chance to try three to five cups of their delicious sake. Before returning to Tokyo, there will be time to peruse the brewery's sake shop or to explore the beautiful nature of the area.

Please note that with this tour you will have a private guide, but rather than traveling by private vehicle, you will make use of Tokyo's efficient local transit system.

Accommodation: Keio Plaza Tokyo
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Sake Tasting
Sake Tasting

Day 5: Tokyo - Nagano - Yudanaka

Your guide will pick you up at your hotel for your exciting mountain break. You will reach Tokyo station together by taxi and board Japan’s world famous Shinkansen bullet train (reserved first class seat ticket included). With a top speed of 186 mph, the Shinkansen takes only 100 minutes to reach Nagano.

Once in Nagano, a car will be waiting for you to take you around the city. Nagano is famous for its soba noodles, so you will be having some for lunch.

You will then visit historic Zenkoji temple, a few minutes’ car ride from Nagano station. One of the most visited temples in Japan, Zenkoji was founded 1400 years ago and stores, what many believe to be the first Buddhist statue ever brought to Japan. A copy of the statue is shown to the public every six years for a few weeks, the next opportunity being in 2021. Most recently rebuilt in 1707, Zenkoji's main hall has a tunnel in its basement in which visitors are trying to find and touch the "key to paradise" in complete darkness. The key is attached to the wall and grants enlightenment to anybody who touches it.

From Nagano, you will then continue on to Yudanaka (45 minutes), the delightful hot springs town where your accommodation is located.

Not far you can find Shibu Onsen ‘spa street’, which has 9 public onsens you can try as well, and you will see local people in kimono strolling down the street in yukata (light robes) as they head for a soak.

Dinner tonight will be a Japanese traditional kaiseki meal, included at your ryokan, comprised of 9 or more dishes. The meal is made up of seasonal dishes using only the freshest of local Nagano ingredients.

Accommodation: Kokuya Ryokan

Kokuya is a traditional Japanese style hotel (ryokan) with a 400 year history; the present owner is the 16th generation owner. The ryokan has six different 100% natural hot springs rich in health-giving minerals, which benefit your muscles, joints, and skin. It is located on Shibu Onsen ‘spa street’, which has 9 public onsens you can try as well, and you will see local people in kimono strolling down the street in yukata (light robes) as they head for a soak.

Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Dragon Fountain, Zenkoji Temple
Dragon Fountain, Zenkoji Temple
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Soba Noodles
Soba Noodles

Day 6: Yudanaka

After breakfast, start the ay of touring the area by private car with your guide. This morning you will head to the Jigokudani Yaen Koen to see the famous Snow Monkeys.

Jigokudani literally means ‘hell’s valley’ due to the steam and boiling water that bubbles out of small crevices in the frozen ground, and it is in the baths of this boiling water that the resident Japanese Macaques like to soak in on. The monkeys live in large social groups, and it can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions. Accustomed to humans, they can be observed from very close and almost completely ignore their human guests. Whilst the monkeys are most numerous during the colder months, they can be observed all year round.

Please notice that the entrance to the park is located a 15-20 minutes hike away from the closest point reachable by car. The hike is very leisurely and scenic, with moderate to no slopes.

In the afternoon you will pay a visit to the nearby charming town of, with traditional houses, stores and streets. Obuse is known for its delicious chestnuts and as the home of Hokusai, the famous painter and printmaker from Japan’s Edo period, and a visit to his museum here is a must. Over 100 houses in the town participate in an ‘Open Garden’ scheme. If you see this sign in front of the house, it means you can enter the property and enjoy the gardens, giving you a unique insight into Japanese houses.

Another amazing dinner will be served at your ryokan.

Accommodation: Kokuya Ryokan
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Snow Monkeys
Snow Monkeys

Day 7: Yudanaka - Nagano - Tokyo - Hakone

This morning you will be taken by car to the Nagano train station, where you will proceed to your next destination.

Board a train from Nagano with direct service to Tokyo. The train ride is approximately 2 hours.

Upon arrival, an assistant will help you transfer smoothly from one train to the next train.

Meet your driver for a train station transfer with a private vehicle.

After experiencing the beauty of Hakone’s nature, it’s time to see what it has on offer for human-made beauty. The Okada Museum of Art, opened in 2013, has an impressive exhibition space of around 5,000 square meters. This spacious building mainly exhibits Japanese, Chinese, and Korean works of art ranging from ancient times through to the present age, collected by the businessman Okada Kazuo.  After touring the galleries, visitors can enjoy strolling through the extensive gardens covering some 15,000 square meters and laced with spring streams and trees. At the front of the building, the visitor will find footbaths with free-flowing water from the hot springs. Move to Gora Park, a western style landscape park located on the steep slope above Gora Station. It is a relaxing place to unwind and enjoy the scenery and views of Hakone. Gora Park is primarily a French style landscape park featuring a large fountain and a rose garden. The park also has two greenhouses, one housing a tropical botanical garden while the other contains a flower garden. In the Craft House, you can take part in an activity such as making an ornament with dried flowers, glass beads making or glass sandblasting, and you can take the results home with you.

Please note that with this tour you will have a private guide, but rather than traveling by private vehicle, you will make use of Hakone's efficient local transit system.

IMPORTANT: The craft experience can be chosen on the day and cannot be reserved. There may be a chance the labs will be too full to accommodate you, and you might be unable to do the activity of your choice – in this case, lunch or tea time at the Gora Park teahouse will be substituted.

Board a train from Tokyo with direct service to Hakone's Odawara station. The train ride is approximately 30 minutes.

Enjoy a hearty, traditional Japanese meal as part of the Ryokan experience, included in the cost of your tour. This will be artfully presented and served to you in the ryokan's dining room, as is the custom in Japan.

Accommodation: Kinnotake Tonosawa

Featuring open-air hot spring bath and relaxation spa, Kinnotake Tonosawa is a beautiful ryokan in Hakone surrounded by water and bamboo trees. The accommodation concept is based on a nation-wide famous story "Takemonogatari" from "Kaguyahime", a story of a woman who fell in love with the emperor but their love lasting only for a moment until she is sent to the moon. Kinnotake Tonosawa has free Wi-Fi, private parking and on-site bar with view. All rooms include a private bathroom equipped with bath tub with bath robes and slippers. Some rooms have a seating area with views of either mountains or garden. From the accommodation, Hakone Open-Air Museum is 3.6 kilometers away and Hakone Gora Park is 4.3 kilometers away.

Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Okada Museum of Art
Okada Museum of Art
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Hakone
Hakone

Day 8: Hakone

Spend the day exploring Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, making use of the region’s various forms of public transport on offer. Ride the world’s second longest cable car up Mt. Owakudani, passing over sulfurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers in this active volcanic area. Sample Hakone’s famous local treat, the black eggs of Owakudani. The eggs are hard boiled in Hakone’s well known sulfuric hot springs, and local legend has it that eating one of these eggs will add seven years to your life. Board a majestic pirate ship and sail across Lake Ashinoko, a lake formed by a volcanic eruption 3000 years ago. Marvel at the stunning vistas from the Hakone Tozan “switchback train”, as it zigzags through the mountains, revealing amazing views of the surrounding valleys. Throughout the day there is a chance to catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji, however, please keep in mind that she is a notoriously shy mountain and it needs to be a clear day.  

Enjoy a hearty, traditional Japanese meal as part of the Ryokan experience, included in the cost of your tour. This will be artfully presented and served to you in the ryokan's dining room, as is the custom in Japan.

Accommodation: Kinnotake Tonosawa
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Mt. Fuji National Park
Mt. Fuji National Park

Day 9: Hakone - Kyoto

Meet your driver for a train station transfer with a private vehicle.

Relax on the scenic train from Hakone's Odawara station to Kyoto. The train ride is approximately 2 hours.

Meet your guide for a train station transfer with a private vehicle.

Kyoto is home to an impressive 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and two of the most memorable ones are Kinkakuji Temple and Nijo Castle. Meet your local guide in your hotel lobby for a half day tour of Kyoto, traveling by taxi.  Start with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death in 1408, it became a Buddhist Temple as per the Shogun’s final wishes and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples.

Next is Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle that was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning surrounding gardens. The main building was completed in 1603 and is famous for its architecture, decorated sliding doors and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors. The castle served as an imperial palace briefly during the 19th century. Next, take a walk through 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. You may wish to stop for lunch in this area (not included). At the end of the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency (B) (Standard (Guestroom))

Hyatt Regency Kyoto is a stylish design hotel located in the traditional and historic area of Higashiyama Shichijo, in the heart of Kyoto. Located just a few minutes away from JR Kyoto Train Station, this Kyoto hotel features spacious rooms and luxury suites suitable for business and leisure travelers alike. The Hyatt Regency Kyoto hosts the Grill serving French cuisine, casual Italian restaurant Trattoria Sette, and Touzan Japanese Restaurant & Bar. RIRAKU Spa offers body and facial treatments based on Eastern and Western traditional techniques which give relaxation in body and soul. The Hyatt is close to the main city landmarks including the National Museum, Chishakuin, Sanjusangendo and Yogenin Temples. Gion district, a traditional neighborhood famous for geisha's has numerous shopping and entertainment options, with Shijo Street and Nishiki market within a short distance.

Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Kinkakuji Temple
Kinkakuji Temple

Day 10: Kyoto

The mountains near Kyoto are home to a spiritually rich history, their peaks inspiring the creation of religious sects. Journey with your local guide by public transportation to the sacred Mount Hiei, located east of Kyoto, for a glimpse into one of the most spiritually significant places in Japan. Mt. Hiei is where Enryakuji stands, one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history and the headquarters of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism. Many influential monks studied at Enryakuji, including the founders of a number of later sects, such as the Pure Land (Jodo), Zen and Nichiren sects. Your guide will share insights with you into Mt. Hiei and Enryakuji's historical significance, and shed light on Buddhism in Japan.

A 15-minute walk from the train station and then an 11-minute cable car ride will take you to the top of Mt. Hiei.

The premises are extremely vast, and you will use the local shuttle bus to move around the attractions, unless you would prefer walking the pleasant forest paths. The forested area is a popular hiking destination from Kyoto, and is particularly scenic in the fall as the foliage changes colors.

Start with a visit the Todo area, where the monastery was originally founded and where most of the main buildings are located; then you will visit the Saito area, whose main building is the Shaka Hall, the oldest building on the mountain. Not far away stands the Ninai Hall, two halls connected to each other by a central corridor.

Please note that with this tour you will have a private guide, but rather than traveling by private vehicle, you will make use of Kyoto's efficient local transit system.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency (B) (Standard (Guestroom))
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Mt. Hiei
Mt. Hiei
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Kyoto
Kyoto

Day 11: Kyoto

Kyoto seamlessly combines traditional elements with modern life, and the surrounding towns are replete with centuries-old temples waiting to be explored. Leave behind the city and travel approximately 45 minutes to Nara with your local guide, making use of local trains and the convenience of taxis. Nara served as Japan’s capital for 74 years during the 8th century. 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 stroll through Nara Park, called Deer Park by locals due to the large population of more than 1,000 tame deer living there. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency (B) (Standard (Guestroom))
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Nara Deer
Nara Deer

Day 12: Kyoto

Enjoy a transfer with a private driver from Kyoto to Osaka Kansai International Airport.

Accommodation: Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard)

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

Trip Terms & Conditions

  • Your deposit is due immediately on booking (30% of program price, minimum $350). The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations of confirmed bookings 90 days or more prior to departure will receive full refund minus a $350 (per person) administrative fee and any non-refundable paid fees (e.g. non-refundable airfare, cruise or hotel deposits). 60-89 days will be subject to loss of 30% of program price. 30-59 days will be subject to loss of 50% of program price. 29 days or less will be subject to loss of 100% of program price.
  • Tour quotes do not include airfare to/from the trip start point unless noted on the itinerary
  • Cost increases in currency exchange, government fees, taxes, surcharges or hotel/lodge tariff increases between quote date and start date are payable by the client.
  • Availability cannot be guaranteed until booked. We will exercise best efforts to book hotels per the itinerary, however, in busy seasons and with client bookings made within 90 days of tour date we may be forced to offer substitutes.
  • Payment of the program price constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out at www.kensingtontours.com/terms-and-conditions
  • Living Standards and practices at destination may differ from those in North America with respect to provisions of utilities, services and accommodation.

Keio Plaza Tokyo: Tokyo

The Keio Plaza Hotel is situated in the heart of Tokyo, located within walking distance of numerous restaurants, bakeries, and shops. Visitors revel in the amenities offered in each other 1440 rooms. Besides exceptional hospitality from the staff, enjoy special features such as Japanese bathrobes, wide picture windows, and a host of bathroom amenities. Whether looking for a quick eat or a fancy sit down experience, guests will have no problem finding a meal at the Keio. Choose from a huge variety of restaurants, each possessing its own specialty. Try international and local dishes as prepared by local chefs. Facilities at the hotel include a fitness room and business center, and complimentary shuttle service to Tokyo Disney and Tokyo Disney Sea.

Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo
Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo
Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo
Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo

Kokuya Ryokan : Yudanaka

Kokuya is a traditional Japanese style hotel (ryokan) with a 400 year history; the present owner is the 16th generation owner. The ryokan has six different 100% natural hot springs rich in health-giving minerals, which benefit your muscles, joints, and skin. It is located on Shibu Onsen ‘spa street’, which has 9 public onsens you can try as well, and you will see local people in kimono strolling down the street in yukata (light robes) as they head for a soak.

Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Kokuya Ryokan Lobby
Kokuya Ryokan Lobby

Kinnotake Tonosawa: Hakone

Featuring open-air hot spring bath and relaxation spa, Kinnotake Tonosawa is a beautiful ryokan in Hakone surrounded by water and bamboo trees. The accommodation concept is based on a nation-wide famous story "Takemonogatari" from "Kaguyahime", a story of a woman who fell in love with the emperor but their love lasting only for a moment until she is sent to the moon. Kinnotake Tonosawa has free Wi-Fi, private parking and on-site bar with view. All rooms include a private bathroom equipped with bath tub with bath robes and slippers. Some rooms have a seating area with views of either mountains or garden. From the accommodation, Hakone Open-Air Museum is 3.6 kilometers away and Hakone Gora Park is 4.3 kilometers away.

Pure Japan: Skyscrapers, Shrines & Snow Monkeys Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Kinnotake Tonosawa
Kinnotake Tonosawa

Hyatt Regency (B) (Standard (Guestroom)): Kyoto

Hyatt Regency Kyoto is a stylish design hotel located in the traditional and historic area of Higashiyama Shichijo, in the heart of Kyoto. Located just a few minutes away from JR Kyoto Train Station, this Kyoto hotel features spacious rooms and luxury suites suitable for business and leisure travelers alike. The Hyatt Regency Kyoto hosts the Grill serving French cuisine, casual Italian restaurant Trattoria Sette, and Touzan Japanese Restaurant & Bar. RIRAKU Spa offers body and facial treatments based on Eastern and Western traditional techniques which give relaxation in body and soul. The Hyatt is close to the main city landmarks including the National Museum, Chishakuin, Sanjusangendo and Yogenin Temples. Gion district, a traditional neighborhood famous for geisha's has numerous shopping and entertainment options, with Shijo Street and Nishiki market within a short distance.

Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard): Global Location

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
  • Jackie M — March 30, 2019 — Asia

    I loved it all. Thanks especially to our guide Abit, in Kathmandu, Norenda, in Pokhara, and Min, in the Annapurna region, for being fabulous people. Thanks again for also referring us to Bahari Lodge in Chitwan National park. By far, that was the best place I've ever stayed in all of my international travels: they always had a surprise in store for us, that was awesome. They let us spend as much time as we wanted with the elephants, no rush, and sent elephants to come and play with us when we merely mentioned that we loved them. A great thank you to our naturalis Krishna at Bahari Lodge in Chitwan. All fantastic people who were great with tourists like us. We also enjoyed Temple Tree Resort very much.

  • Reginald B — April 14, 2019 — Asia

    This was a GREAT tour to Thailand! It exceeded my expectations in many ways (ie. itinerary, flexibility, and customer service). I would recommend this tour and Kensington Tours to family and friends. I will definitely use Kensington Tours for my future travel plans. My destination expert was Ms. Forkan. She expertly tailored my experience to my needs and wants. She filled in all the "unknowns" and ensured a safe, smooth trip/tour. Her professionalism and support was a 10/10. Thank you Ms. Forkan for designing this trip of a lifetime!

  • Ann L — June 05, 2019 — Asia

    Our guides made our whole trip - we will remember them as much as China itself. Jerry immediately put us at ease and made us feel like his best friends - he was sincere and authentic and open. Katy (in Chengdu) had great energy and showed us how people really live. Even though she must see the pandas every other day of her life, she still seemed to genuinely LOVE seeing them. (And, later, when we discovered we'd left valuables in the safe at our hotel, she went WAY above and beyond to take care of things - even after we were already in Shanghai!). Nancy (in Shanghai) was amazing - we truly enjoyed our time with her and she took us to markets and encouraged us to take our time at the places that interested us most. When we'd seen enough temples, our guides communicated with each other to rearrange our tours in coming destinations. We felt like we were on the food tour of China - the meals were wonderful, and it was - really - TOO MUCH FOOD! No part of our day was wasted, but if we wanted to start later or call it a night sooner, plans were easily rearranged. We would absolutely go with Kensington again!

  • Sandra S — February 09, 2019 — Asia

    We had a really interesting trip and your team made it all so easy. Our guides were not only informative, but they took very good care of us. They kept us on schedule with all the city transfers, made the Visa process so quick and introduced us to some of the things they loved about their cities as well as the scheduled sites. There were so many highlights on this trip, but I was especially wowed by the cruise on Ha Long Bay. Our guide in Hanoi went above and beyond on my birthday and arrived to pick us up with some beautiful orchids and a lovely gift. We were very happy with all our accommodations as well.

  • Daryl H. — January 26, 2019 — Asia

    I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the superb attention to detail in fulfilling my requests and my dreams

  • Laura E. — January 08, 2019 — Asia

    One of the benefits was that the guides were very flexible and suggested and accommodated changes to plans based on the weather and other circumstances. They all said they could do this when working with Kensington because Kensington supported it and empowered them with this flexibility. A big advantage in making the trip perfect!

  • Ajitkumar P. — January 04, 2019 — Asia

    The whole trip was well organized and we have recommended using Kensington to our friends.

  • Donna F. — February 03, 2018 — Asia

    Mark was able to put together the perfect tour! Our guide was very knowledge and we really appreciated her being so flexible with the holiday as we were there for Chinese New Year! She was able to take us to all the sights and part of the highlight was eating traditional Chinese food for New Year's.

  • Marjorie H. — October 01, 2018 — Asia

    This tour was so well organized - everything went off perfectly. As two women traveling together in a country where the language barrier was a challenge, it gave us great peace of mind to know that we would be escorted wherever needed. We appreciated not being part of a group - our private tour guides were delightful and the entire trip was very special for my daughter and me.

  • Sandra S. — October 13, 2018 — Asia

    The trip was very enjoyable. We gained new insights into China and the Chinese people. I wish we could have stayed longer. There is so much to see. My favorite sites were the Great Wall, Terra Cotta Soldiers, White Jade Buddah and the Shanghai night skyline. Cindy was most helpful in planning our trip. She's truly an asset to your company. Kensington Tours met all of our vacation needs.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

* USD per person, double occupancy. Custom designed personal tour. Prices subject to change.

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