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If you are seeking for the best that Japan has to offer, this sensational trip is specially designed to fulfil your needs with a unique combination of Japanese art, culture, and food, with a remarkable touch of luxury for your comfort. Accompanied by experienced tour guides, your adventure through the Japans culture will be stimulating and complete in every possible way, with once in a lifetime experiences and some of Japans best hotels and ryokans. The perfect combination of essential Japans highlights with unique, non-touristy places make this tour one in a million tours.
Andaz Tokyo is Tokyos most stylish new luxury hotel. Andaz maintains a boutique feel while offering all the best amenities, including: a beautiful spa and state of the art fitness facilities; a rooftop bar offering views over the glittering metropolis below; and spacious guest rooms featuring design by Tony Chi and Shinichiro Ogata, reflecting the Japanese love for natural materials and textures like washi paper and wood.
Andaz is conveniently located in the brand-new Toranomon Hills tower, an ultra-modern and centrally-located shopping and business complex featuring a delicious variety of restaurants, to complement the Andazs own excellent offerings. Enjoy free soft drinks all day in the comfortable Andaz lounge, and from your rooms mini-bar, as well as complimentary happy hour in the evenings. Tokyos best hotel breakfast is served in the Tavern, overlooking the city.
On Naoshima Island, you will stay at Benesse House, a museum and hotel designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The complex, which overlooks the inland sea, artfully fuses a museum with boutique accommodations, so you can leisurely enjoy art amid the natural beauty and gentle pace of Naoshima. In addition to the fantastic museum, the hotel features an on-site spa, shops, and restaurants. All guest rooms face toward the ocean and feature different works of art, creating a luxurious space blending art, architecture, and the natural world.
In Hakone you will stay at Gora Kadan, one of Japans finest properties. Gora Kadan is a luxurious ryokan featuring a harmonious blend of Japanese tradition with modern elements. The experience is beautifully Japanese, however rest assured that the bedding is well suited to western tastes: though not offering fully western-style beds, Gora Kadan has comfortable bed-height platforms with plush, thick comfortable futons overlaid on them. Gora Kadan also features luxuriant onsen (hot spring) baths and a fantastic spa, not to mention incredible cuisine.
Hoshinoya Kyoto is a modern-style ryokan, blending Japanese aesthetic elements with modern comforts, resulting in a truly sublime experience. The ryokan is located on Kyotos outskirts, in the peaceful and beautiful Arashiyama district of northwest Kyoto. Traditionally a retreat area for the citys elite, this area offers a blend of Kyotos history with natural beauty.
On arrival in Tokyo, immediately after exiting the secure area you will see your guide and driver with a signboard with your name on it. You will be escorted to your private vehicle and depart the airport bound for your hotel in central Tokyo: Andaz Tokyo.
Today, you will have your first full day to enjoy Tokyo. Your private guide will meet you in the lobby at 10:00, and together, you will embark on a private tour by private vehicle. Leaving your hotel, travel to exciting Harajuku. Harajuku is most famous for its edgy fashion, but first you will pay a visit to the extremely peaceful Meiji Shrine, a huge green space right in the middle of Tokyo. Surrounded by forest in the middle of downtown Tokyo, it is a true oasis in the city. Extensive walking paths make it a favorite strolling venue. Then stroll through Harajuku, Japans young fashion mecca. This area is one of the places people picture when they imagine Tokyo.
Harajuku also happens to be right next to Omotesando, a tree-lined street filled with fantastic architecture, boutiques, brand shops, cafs, and restaurants. You can enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafs in Omotesando Hills, designed by Tadao Ando, or in the areas charming backstreets. This afternoon, you will enjoy a private sake tasting with a sake expert, who will introduce you to this incredible and eclectic beverage. It is also enjoying a renewed renaissance in Japan, which means it is currently a golden age for sake, with producers large and small crafting incredibly sophisticated sakes in all varieties. Dinner reservations: Ukai-tei Ginza teppanyaki restaurant.
This morning, your guide will meet you at the hotel at 10:00, and you will travel by private vehicle to your private Japanese cooking class. During your cooking class, you will have the chance to immerse yourself in the rich world of Japanese cuisine. While cooking a fantastic meal, you will learn about ingredients, techniques, equipment, and, of course, get to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the form of a delicious lunch. After lunch, you will head with your guide, by private vehicle, to one of Tokyos best neighborhoods, Asakusa. Asakusa is famous for keeping the spirit of old Tokyo alive. It maintains the feel of pre-boom Japan, and gives you a sense of what Tokyo was like before the stunning growth of the 70s and 80s.
In Asakusa you will visit the splendid Sensoji Temple, one of the most photographed structures in the city. This is not only Tokyos oldest temple, but among the oldest in Japan. Following a stroll along the popular Nakamise-dori, the lanes leading up to the temple, and a great place to sample some local snacks, you will proceed to a completely different part of the city, with your guide by private vehicle. Roppongi is one of Tokyos most cosmopolitan districts, and the Roppongi Hills Sky Deck, situated on the 54th floor of the Mori Tower, offers spectacular views of the impressive Tokyo skyline. End your long day relaxing with a cocktail or cup of tea as you take in the view of this incredible city. Dinner reservations: Sushi Mizutani.
This morning, you will check out from your hotel and prepare to board the shinkansen (bullet train) west to Hiroshima. Your private vehicle will transport you to Tokyo station. Before hopping on the comfortable train, it is recommended to pick up a delicious bento lunch box, featuring seasonal items, at Tokyo stations fantastic GranSta shop, which sells a mouthwatering variety of bentos, and complementing this with a bottle of sake from Hasegawa Saketen, a sake shop also located right in Tokyo station. The journey takes four hours. The shinkansen is a joy to ride, and you will be in the green car, first class. Arriving at Hiroshima station, you will be met directly and escorted to your waiting vehicle.
With your guide, you will spend the remainder of the afternoon at Hiroshimas tragic yet inspiring Peace Park, Memorial and Museum. The museum is located within the park, adjacent to the sobering sight of the iconic A-Bomb Dome. An important strategic city during the years preceding the bombing, Hiroshima has a fascinating history that is worth exploring at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The museum is located in the Peace Park, adjacent to the sobering sight of the iconic A-Bomb Dome. The check into your hotel will be around 17:30 following your tour, For your enjoyment, you will have free the rest of the evening. Dinner reservations: Terrace restaurant.
Today, you will visit the gorgeous world heritage island of Miyajima. Your guide will greet you in the lobby for an early 08:00 start, and together you will travel by private vehicle to Miyajima-guchi, just outside of Hiroshima city, where you will board a short ferry for a 10-minute ride across to Miyajima Island. With your early 08:00 departure, you should arrive in time to see the iconic red gate of the shrine floating in the high tide. It is a beautiful sight, and following this, you can spend the day walking the many trails around the islands Mount Misen. You can ride the cable car up and walk down, there are trails throughout the island. After a peaceful day on Miyajima, you will return to the city around 17:00.
Today, you will travel to the famous art island, Naoshima. Getting to Naoshima involves a bullet train trip, followed by a private vehicle to the port at Uno, and then a ferry ride. Naoshima is a charming small island that doubles as home to a large collection of contemporary art museums, galleries, exhibits, and installations. A stay there also offers the chance to stay in a wonderful museum-hotel, a truly a unique experience. As part of todays private visits, you will explore various museums and installations on the island with your guide.
Enjoy a morning in front of the sea, and then depart peaceful Naoshima for the ancient capital, Kyoto. You will retrace your steps with the short ferry ride to Uno on the mainland, and then travel by private vehicle to Okayama, where you will board the bullet train bound for Kyoto. After arriving at Kyoto station, you will be met and transferred by private vehicle to your luxurious accommodation, Hoshinoya Kyoto.
Spend the morning cycling in and around Arashiyama and its iconic bamboo forest. Afterwards, you will be driven to explore central Kyoto. In addition to its countless temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is also a culinary center. The most unique place to experience Kyotos cuisine is at the Nishiki market, a narrow shopping arcade only 400 meters in length with just over 100 vendors, where you can immerse yourself in Kyotos distinctive culinary delicacies. You will return to the hotel in the afternoon for some downtime, before heading back into the city center for a private geisha dinner. Dinner will be at an exclusive teahouse in one of Kyotos four remaining hanamachi (geisha districts), with private maiko entertainment.
This morning you will be transferred to Kyoto station, where you will catch the bullet train east toward Tokyo. But today, you will not head as far as Tokyo, instead, you will stop in the Hakone National Park, in the shadow of Mount Fuji. Hakone is perhaps Japans most famous national park and from here, you have one of the best chances of getting a view of Mount Fuji from the various viewpoints to be found throughout the area. You will take bullet train ride from Kyoto to Odawara. When you arrive at Odawara, you will be met and transferred by private vehicle to your luxurious ryokan for the evening: Gora Kadan.
Today, you will return to Tokyo to attend a sumo match. You will be transferred by private vehicle to Odawara (the train station to which you arrived yesterday) and catch the bullet train for the ride to Tokyo. A chance to see live sumo is surprisingly rare; there are only a few tournaments each year. With your guide, you will head to Ryogoku, home of the national sumo stadium in Tokyo. While the matches begin early in the day, the top-level wrestlers start facing off around 15:30. It is recommended to arrive around mid-afternoon to enjoy the last couple of hours of the days matches, featuring the premier wrestlers. Your evening will be free to enjoy one last special night in Japan. You will spend the night at Andaz Tokyo.
Depending on your flight time, you may have the morning free for final exploration. In good time for your departure flight, you will be transferred by private vehicle to the airport.
Hiroshima is most famous for being the site of one of two atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of the Second World War. However, despite its tragic past, Hiroshima is today a vibrant and bustling city, risen phoenix-like from the ashes.
Kyoto is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world, let alone Asia. Home to seventeen UNESCO world heritage sites, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. At first glance, however, Kyoto looks like almost any other Japanese city. But the discerning eye will soon pick out Kyotos treasures: sacred shrines tucked in among shopping arcades, time-honored teahouses nestled among modern businesses, and charming geiko scuttling down backstreets heading to evening appointments.
Miyajima is a famed UNESCO site for its stunning Itsukushima Shrine. Even if you have not heard of the shrine, youve most likely seen its iconic image: a massive red (vermillion) torii gate that appears to be floating in the water. Designated one of Japans 3 most beautiful views, the shrine dates back to the sixth century with the present structure dating back to the twelfth century.
With a population of over twelve million, Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world. With its huge skyscrapers, underpasses, overpasses and crowds of pedestrians, Tokyo has a vibrant charm all its own.
This retreat will take place in Japan, visiting Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Hakone.
During this culinary tour, your will enjoy daily delicious breakfast, two delightful lunches, one deluxe multi-course kaiseki dinner featuring seasonal and local specialties, and one private dinner with a maiko in Kyotos Gion geisha district.
Please book your flight to arrive at Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) or at Narita International Airport (NRT). Since Boutique Japan will pick you up from the airport, the pick-up being included in the price, please inform them which will be the airport of your arrival.