Sacred Sites of Japan

8 days from $4,928 per person*
  • Delve into Japan’s past with private tours in Tokyo and Kyoto.
  • Spend the night in a Buddhist mountain temple.
  • Step into scenes of Memoirs of a Geisha at the Fushimi Inari Shrine.
  • Discover with private guide the pop culture scene of Tokyo.
  • Stay at expertly curated hotels.
Request a Quote

Meditate in a zen temple, participate in a traditional tea ceremony, stay at an authentic Buddhist temple, cross paths with a geisha & witness monks chanting in prayer. This enlightening voyage will deliver you to Japan's most spiritual sites. Visit majestic temples, imperial palaces, ancient shrines, breathtaking botanical gardens & more in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

Tokyo is a modern, cutting-edge city with futuristic skyscrapers, yet its shrines and temples rank among the world's finest. With your expert private guide, you'll get insider access to this fascinating city and explore its most soul-stirring sites. Kyoto is the ancient imperial capital of Japan, and the city is adorned with mystical landmarks including ornamental castles, mystical zen gardens and traditional tea houses. Travel by train to Osaka for a restorative overnight stay at a traditional Buddhist monastery. Set in Mount Koya, which is Japan's holiest Buddhist community, this is an essential experience for travelers interested in Buddhism, history, traditional culture and nature. ... Show More »

Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance. « Show Less

Day
Activities Hotel & Meals
Hotel & Meals
  • Day 1 Tokyo
    Tokyo
    • Japan - Welcome
    • Airport Meet & Assist - Meet & Greet-Narita 9:00-20:55
    • Transfer - Private - Airport - Vehicle/Driver/Narita Airport
  • Day 2 Tokyo
    Tokyo
    • Tour - Private - Half Day Tokyo Highlights Tour (4 hrs) - Guide/Public Transport
  • Day 3 Tokyo
    Tokyo
    • Tour - Private - Full Day Kamakura Tour (8 hrs) - Guide/Public Transport
  • Day 4 Tokyo to Kyoto
    Tokyo to Kyoto
    • Transfer - Private - Train Station Transfer with Private Vehicle and Guide - Vehicle/Guide
    • Train - Tokyo - Kyoto [(2.5hrs)] - 1st Class
    • Self-Guided - Granvia Arrival from Train Station - Short Walk
    • Tour - Private - Half Day Kyoto Highlights Tour by Taxi (4 hrs) - Guide/Taxi
    Breakfast
  • Day 5 Kyoto
    Kyoto
    • Tour - Private - Full Day Spiritual Kyoto Tour by Taxi (8 hrs) - Guide/Taxi
    Breakfast
  • Day 6 Kyoto to Mount Koya
    Kyoto to Mount Koya
    • Train - Journey to Koya-San (via Osaka)
    • Disembark Train & Greeted by Guide
    • Visit Historical & Cultural Sites
    • Check-in Overnight
  • Day 7 Mount Koya to Osaka
    Mount Koya to Osaka
    • Monks Chanting Prayers
    • Free Time at Leisure
    • Train - Departure
    • Transfer - Private - Train Station Transfer with Private Vehicle and Guide - Vehicle/Guide
  • Day 8 Osaka
    Osaka
    • Transfer - Private - 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.
Kensington Advantage
Personalized itinerary with private guide & driver. Award winning value.
  • Personalized itinerary that fits like a glove
  • Full attention of your own private guide & driver
  • In-country offices for 24/7 peace of mind
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With the inside track on the new, the old, the off-the-beaten track and the out-of-this-world, you won't find a more knowledgeable team of destination specialists.

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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: New Otani Tokyo (4*)

The New Otani is surrounded by one of Tokyo’s noted Japanese-style gardens that features a waterfall within its grounds. The garden boasts over 400 years of history, has been painstakingly maintained and exhibits different but equally enjoyable scenery each season. The hotel is continuously being praised by customers for its environmental friendliness through its ‘Hybrid Hotel Project’, aiming to bring about a higher level of service through the ideology that ‘creating environmentally friendly amenities is inherent to the genuine comfort of guests’. By way of a major restoration, the hotel has upgraded its earthquake safety, installed an improved climate control system, and amongst other distinctions has cut its CO2 emissions to offer an eco-friendly level of service. In addition it has many green features like a roof garden, a water recycling plant, a composting plant, and local organic produce.

Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Tokyo
Tokyo
Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  New Otani Hotel Tokyo
New Otani Hotel Tokyo

Day 2: Tokyo

Today, you will enjoy a half day tour of the fascinating city of Tokyo. You will make use of Tokyo's comprehensive and user-friendly public transport system, with the help of a local guide. Your day begins with a visit to the outside Imperial Palace, home of Japan’s Imperial Family. Next, you will travel to Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can experience the atmosphere of old Tokyo. Subsequently, you will 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. You will then take the subway across town to Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. If time permits, you can take a walk to the Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion 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.

Accommodation: New Otani Tokyo (4*)
Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple

Day 3: Tokyo

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, however the Kamakura of today 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. 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. 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. Your day will end with shopping for local souvenirs and delicacies in Komachi Street.

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: New Otani Tokyo (4*)
Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Buddha
Buddha

Day 4: Tokyo - Kyoto

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

Transfer by train from Tokyo to Kyoto. The train ride is approximately 2.5 hours.

The Hotel Granvia Kyoto is located directly above the Japan Rail train station. The walk from the train to your hotel is very short and easily done on your own. Thus, no service guide has been included. After exiting your train, please follow the below instructions to reach your hotel.

When using the Shinkansen bullet train: Exit via the Shinkansen Main Exit, turn right and walk straight through Nanboku-Jiyu-Tsuro (North-to-South main corridor) until you reach the escalator to the hotel entrance on your right.

When using the Haruka Express from Kansai International Airport: Exit via the JR Chuo Main Exit and take the escalator on your right to the Lobby on the 2nd floor of the hotel.

Kyoto contains 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today you will have the opportunity to explore two of them, as well as, a local market on this half day tour. Your day will begin with a visit to one of Kyoto's most famous temples, the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavillion). It was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. However, after his death, it became a Buddhist Temple as per his request. The second site you will be visiting is the Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle surrounded by stunning gardens that were built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence.The main building was completed in 1603 and is famous for its architecture, decorated sliding doors and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors. You will finish the day with an exciting visit to Nishiki Market, known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”. Nishiki is a narrow shopping street lined with more than 100 shops, selling fresh seafood, vegetables, pickles, Japanese sweets, and sushi. At the end of the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Accommodation: Granvia Kyoto (4*)

Hotel Granvia Kyoto is an integral part of the JR Kyoto Station Building, the visually striking architectural masterpiece which also includes a department store, museum, musical theater, and a vast underground shopping mall. From this convenient location, hotel guests have direct and easy access to and from Kansai International Airport and major metropolitan destinations across Japan. With its elegant accommodations, including beautifully appointed guestrooms, there is simply no better place to stay in Kyoto. The Hotel Granvia Kyoto features 12 restaurants and bars, and key fitness facilities that deem this hotel a premier destination for international travelers.

Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Kyoto
Kyoto
Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Hotel Granvia Kyoto

Day 5: Kyoto

This morning experience the quintessential Japanese enlightenment experience – Zazen (Zen meditation). Your guide will meet you in the morning and take you to a Zen temple, where you can learn the basics of the same sitting meditation that led the Buddha to Enlightenment: folded legs, erect posture, half-closed eyes and a focus on measured breathing that leads to awareness of the way the mind works. After Zazen, head to Chion-in temple. Chion-in is the head temple of the Jodo (Pure Land) sect of Japanese Buddhism, which has millions of followers and is one the most popular Buddhist sects in Japan. The Sanmon Gate, Chionin's main entrance gate, stands 24 meters tall and 50 meters wide, making it the largest wooden gate in Japan and dates back to the early 1600s. From Chion-in walk through Maruyama Park and Yasaka Shrine, one of Kyoto’s most popular Shinto Shrines. Your spiritual day finishes with a Tea Ceremony in a Gion tea house. Your Tea Master will give you a full explanation of Japanese tea as well as the tea ceremony itself, its long history and relationship with Zen Buddhism. The Master will also tell you the meaning behind each movement involved in the making and serving of the tea, as well as the equipment involved. At the end of the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

 

Accommodation: Granvia Kyoto (4*)
Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Buddha Statue
Buddha Statue

Day 6: Kyoto - Mount Koya

Home to over 100 temples, Koya-san has been the centre of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect, for over 1200 years. Koya-san and its surroundings are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 2.5 hour journey to the mountaintop religious centre of Mount Koya (Koya-san) is one of the highlights of the visit. You will take several local trains, with the last train being one of the most scenic in Japan, winding its way up through the mountains.

After disembarking you will take a short cable car up to the top of the 900 meters Koya-san. Your expert guide will meet you at the station and show you Koya-san’s sights, as well as giving you an insight into Japanese Buddhism.

Visit Kongobunji Temple, the head monastery of Shingon Buddhism, and home to Japan’s largest rock garden, as well as the Garan temple complex. Okunoin is Japan’s largest cemetery and holds the mausoleum of the founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kobo Daishi. The 2 kilometers walk to the mausoleum takes you past 200,000 tombstones, belonging to feudal lords, prominent monks, and well-known Japanese companies.

Tonight you will be staying at a shukubo, Buddhist Temple Lodging. These rooms are comfortable, but simple and not luxurious – however this is the best way to immerse yourself in the authentic, spiritual atmosphere of Mt. Koya. Dinner tonight is shojin ryori, traditional Buddhist cuisine. This vegetarian meal is not only healthy but delicious!

Accommodation: Shukubo (Buddhist Temple Lodging)

You will be staying at an authentic Buddhist temple lodging known as Shukubo. Temple lodgings offer an excellent chance to get a taste of the simple, traditional lifestyle of Buddhist monks. Koya-san is one of the best places in Japan to experience a night at a temple, with more than 50 temples in town serving as shukubo. Temple lodgings typically offer private, traditional Japanese rooms with tatami floors, sliding doors (fusuma) and shared toilets and sinks. Bedding is provided in the form of futons that are spread on the tatami floor during the night. Some shukubo's offer private facilities as well.

Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Koya-San
Koya-San
Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Okunoin Cemetery
Okunoin Cemetery

Day 7: Mount Koya - Osaka

In the early morning, you will have the opportunity to watch the monks chant their morning prayers, followed by a shojin ryori breakfast.

Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure to further explore Koya-san before departure.

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

Accommodation: Sheraton Miyako Hotel (4*)

Sheraton Miyako Hotel, Osaka is perfectly situated away from the bustle of the city, while still in downtown Osaka. Close to local attractions, the old city, and shopping centers, the hotel offers a convenient location. The Uemachi Plateau, the hotel neighborhood, is filled with temples, shrines, and historical sites dating back to the 7th century. The magnificent Osaka Castle, is just a brief walk from the hotel. Every 20 to 30 minutes, door-to-door limousine bus service connects the hotel with Kansai International Airport and Itami domestic airport. Elegant guest rooms offer the guests city views and a wide range of amenities. The hotel's nine restaurants offer a variety of dining choices, from international buffet to the local specialty, Okonomiyaki. The guests can also relax at hotel's Bar ‘eu’ or at the top floor lounge. There are the Indoor Heated Pool, Fitness Facility and Massage Treatments in the hotel territory.

Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Osaka
Osaka
Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  The Sheraton Miyako Hotel
The Sheraton Miyako Hotel

Day 8: Osaka

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

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.

New Otani Tokyo (4*): Tokyo

The New Otani is surrounded by one of Tokyo’s noted Japanese-style gardens that features a waterfall within its grounds. The garden boasts over 400 years of history, has been painstakingly maintained and exhibits different but equally enjoyable scenery each season. The hotel is continuously being praised by customers for its environmental friendliness through its ‘Hybrid Hotel Project’, aiming to bring about a higher level of service through the ideology that ‘creating environmentally friendly amenities is inherent to the genuine comfort of guests’. By way of a major restoration, the hotel has upgraded its earthquake safety, installed an improved climate control system, and amongst other distinctions has cut its CO2 emissions to offer an eco-friendly level of service. In addition it has many green features like a roof garden, a water recycling plant, a composting plant, and local organic produce.

Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  New Otani Hotel Tokyo
New Otani Hotel Tokyo
Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  New Otani Room
New Otani Room

Granvia Kyoto (4*): Kyoto

Hotel Granvia Kyoto is an integral part of the JR Kyoto Station Building, the visually striking architectural masterpiece which also includes a department store, museum, musical theater, and a vast underground shopping mall. From this convenient location, hotel guests have direct and easy access to and from Kansai International Airport and major metropolitan destinations across Japan. With its elegant accommodations, including beautifully appointed guestrooms, there is simply no better place to stay in Kyoto. The Hotel Granvia Kyoto features 12 restaurants and bars, and key fitness facilities that deem this hotel a premier destination for international travelers.

Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Hotel Granvia Kyoto

Shukubo (Buddhist Temple Lodging): Mount Koya

You will be staying at an authentic Buddhist temple lodging known as Shukubo. Temple lodgings offer an excellent chance to get a taste of the simple, traditional lifestyle of Buddhist monks. Koya-san is one of the best places in Japan to experience a night at a temple, with more than 50 temples in town serving as shukubo. Temple lodgings typically offer private, traditional Japanese rooms with tatami floors, sliding doors (fusuma) and shared toilets and sinks. Bedding is provided in the form of futons that are spread on the tatami floor during the night. Some shukubo's offer private facilities as well.

Sheraton Miyako Hotel (4*): Osaka

Sheraton Miyako Hotel, Osaka is perfectly situated away from the bustle of the city, while still in downtown Osaka. Close to local attractions, the old city, and shopping centers, the hotel offers a convenient location. The Uemachi Plateau, the hotel neighborhood, is filled with temples, shrines, and historical sites dating back to the 7th century. The magnificent Osaka Castle, is just a brief walk from the hotel. Every 20 to 30 minutes, door-to-door limousine bus service connects the hotel with Kansai International Airport and Itami domestic airport. Elegant guest rooms offer the guests city views and a wide range of amenities. The hotel's nine restaurants offer a variety of dining choices, from international buffet to the local specialty, Okonomiyaki. The guests can also relax at hotel's Bar ‘eu’ or at the top floor lounge. There are the Indoor Heated Pool, Fitness Facility and Massage Treatments in the hotel territory.

Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  The Sheraton Miyako Hotel
The Sheraton Miyako Hotel
Sacred Sites of Japan Tours 2017 - 2018 -  The Pool
The Pool

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.
  • Patrick T — August 22, 2017 — Asia

    Preparations were excellent - we really appreciated the attention to detail. The VIP Visa handling in Vietnam & Cambodia was much appreciated also. Guides were outstanding - particularly Borin in Cambodia.

  • Charles M. — September 22, 2017 — Asia

    We had a GREAT time on this tour with our granddaughter. All the tour guides were knowledgeable. Thanks for planning this great trip for us.

  • Levi P — August 22, 2017 — Asia

    Used Kensington Tours to book my honeymoon in the foreign speaking country of Thailand. It was great to not have to worry about transportation or accommodation. Our itinerary was amazing but the best part was probably our English speaking guides. We had three separate guides and each of them became like close friend to us. The travel was long but I wouldn't trade our experience in Thailand for anything.

  • Karen K — August 22, 2017 — Asia

    I went to private tour w Kensington to Japan for 3 weeks last month. It was incredible. My daughter was studying in Niigata so I wanted her to hook up with me periodically throughout my tour to see all the highlights of Japan. It worked out perfectly. I'd personally like to thank Adam Watkins who was incredible with detail, kindness and professionalism. The guide selection was a perfect fit. I cannot say enough about my and my daughter's experience with Kensington Tours. A trip of a lifetime.

  • Debra Y — August 22, 2017 — Asia

    All the accommodations were great. The guides were very personable and knowledgeable. As a woman traveling alone, I never felt unsafe.

  • Kathleen P — August 22, 2017 — Asia

    My husband and I had a wonderful trip to Japan with Kensington Tours. Our private tour guides were incredibly knowledgeable and charismatic. We cannot wait to make a return visit to Japan! Thank you again for helping us create an amazing honeymoon.

  • Ellen Weisstein — May 23, 2017 — Asia

    Poopsha in Thailand was extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic and great company!!!!

  • Kelly Jennings — May 23, 2017 — Asia

    This was the first time I used a tour company and loved it. We REALLY REALLY appreciated Phusa in Chiang Mai, when she suggested the Silk factory tour and Pottery factory tour, that was great.

  • Sydni Smith — May 23, 2017 — Asia

    All travel guides were excellent!! Mutchalin from Chiang Mai is new to Kensington.She should be used by you again. Excellent

  • Jane L — March 29, 2017 — Asia

    Having Cindy Kwan organize our trip made it incredibly easy. Everything flowed smoothly.

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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