JANESCO 19 Day Japan Autumn Tour Grande 2022

GRande Series

19 Day Japan Autumn Tour 2022

19 Days

Departs Friday 11th November 2022

From $22,600

(Land only – twin share/person)

From the welcome cocktails overlooking the Imperial Palace at sunset in Tokyo to your stay in a traditional ryokan in Kyoto, experience a panoply of Grande pleasures. Gourmet experiences and regional delicacies, a traditional dinner with a real geisha/maiko, strolls through rustic villages, majestic castles and beautiful temples. Experience the grandeur of the famous Mt. Fuji, the serenity of the Floating Shrine at Miyajima and the poignant memorial at Hiroshima. Enjoy the vivid autumn colours in the ancient capital Kyoto, the samurai town of Kanazawa and the thatched rural villages of Shirakawago and Gokayama. Visit the world-renowned Benesse art precinct on Naoshima Island and explore Tadao Ando’s Chichu art museum (rarely offered in an Autumn group tour). Speed through the countryside on the bullet train and then enjoy a quiet amble through an ancient castle. A combination of famous destinations and out of the way places, at a relaxed pace.

Grande Series Tours Include

Japanese chef making sushi at restaurant

Gourmet Food

Tempura Japanese set menu

Luxurious Dining

Limo Chauffer

Chauffer Pick Up

Luxury Rooms

Luxury Accommodation

Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo

After arriving at Tokyo airport and clearing customs you will be greeted by your  driver and transferred to our luxury hotel, the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, and check in for 2 nights. Take some time to settle in and perhaps go for a stroll towards nearby Ginza to shake off the cobwebs and take in the local atmosphere.

Accommodation: The Imperial Hotel Tokyo – Suite Room or similar

Day 2: Tokyo (B, L, Welcome drinks)

After a relaxing breakfast we start our Tokyo morning sightseeing tour of the city, through Ginza streets, by the Imperial Palace and to Asakusa Temple where we stroll down the colourful Nakamise shopping street, lined with tiny stalls and thronging with enchanted shoppers and temple visitors. For our first taste of the gourmet delights of Japan, we will enjoy lunch at one Tokyo’s finest Japanese gourmet restaurants. The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure, and we gather again in the evening for a Welcome Cocktail and a light dinner at a private lounge overlooking the Imperial Palace at sunset. This is great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers a little more as you take in the view and chat about the day’s events.

Accommodation: The Imperial Hotel Tokyo or similar- Suite Room or similar

Day 3: Tokyo - Hakone Mt. Fuji Region (B, L, D)

This morning we travel to Mount Fuji and Hakone National Park by bullet train. Changing to our chartered car in Hakone, we begin our tour of the region. It is difficult to really get a feel for the massive mountain from pictures alone. Today (weather permitting) you will see Mt. Fuji from far enough away to appreciate its amazing symmetry and close enough to experience the awe its presence has instilled in the Japanese people and begin to understand its place in their  culture. On our way to view the mountain from another vantage point, we will take a cruise across Lake Ashi in the Hakone National Park and then board the ropeway (gondola) across Ōwakudani (The Great Boiling Valley) with its active sulphur vents and steaming hot springs. We head back down the mountain and, after enjoying a lakeside lunch, head to The Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa where we check in for 2 nights. Enjoy some quiet time to relax (perhaps with a soak in the onsen) and freshen up before dinner.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa or similar

Day 4: Hakone & Mt. Fuji Area (B, D)

Morning at leisure. In the afternoon we visit the Hakone Open Air Museum, which boasts collections of artworks made by Picasso, Henry Moore, Taro Okamoto, Yasuo Mizui, Churyo Sato, and many others, featuring over a thousand sculptures and works of art in both permanent and guest exhibitions. The Picasso Pavilion Hall alone features around 300 of Picasso’s works. The museum stretches over 70,000 square meters, and you can enjoy the outstanding beauty of the collection in a beautiful natural setting. We will meet for a “welcome drink” before dinner at the hotel this evening.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa or similar

Day 5: Hakone - Kiso Valley - Magome & Tsumago - Kyoto (B,D)

This morning we travel to the tranquil Kiso Valley with its quaint historical post towns, Magome & Tsumago, where cars are banned and signs of modernity such as power lines are hidden to maintain the old-style ambience. Kiso is surrounded by Japan’s foremost high mountains, the Ontake mountain range to the west and the Central Alps to the east. Prior to the Edo period, Kiso prospered as a key junction for transportation and as a production area of Japanese cypress, the main building material for shrines and temples. Deep mountain gorges and clear streams have been fostering Japanese cypress plantations here for over 300 years. The post towns also used to offer lodging for weary travelers and merchants on the trail from Osaka to Tokyo. Traditions and cultures in Tsumago have changed little and the streetscape of the old highroad has been largely preserved. A stroll through the streets evokes an image of a simpler life, far removed from the hustle and bustle of modern Tokyo. After soaking up the atmosphere we travel on to the ancient city of Kyoto. This evening, we will enjoy dinner in Gion. After dinner here we will stroll through the Geisha district and do a little night-time cherry blossom viewing.

Accommodation: The Kyoto Hotel Okura – Corner Deluxe room or similar

Day 6: Kyoto (B,L)

Kyoto is the spiritual heart of Japan and is home to no less than 17 UNESCO World Heritage Cultural sites. It was the main centre for the evolution of religious and secular architecture and of garden design for almost a thousand years. Today, as we take a Kyoto sightseeing tour, we visit two of the most interesting heritage sites- the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and Nijo Castle. Kinkakuji is a beautiful Zen temple once the retirement villa of the Shogun Ashikaga in northern Kyoto, and whose top two storeys are completely covered in gold leaf. The more austere Nijo castle (built in 1603) was the Kyoto residence of the first Shogun, Tokugawa, and is one of the best surviving examples of feudal Japan’s castle palace architecture.  After we enjoy a teppanyaki lunch, we travel to Sagano Arashiyama area at the foot of the mountains on the southwest corner of Kyoto. Once the exclusive domain of the feudal aristocracy and famous for its seasonal beauty and bamboo groves Arashiyama is now a popular spot for enjoying the intoxicating soft pink of the cherry blossoms in the Spring and the dazzling colours of the maple trees in Autumn. To better enjoy the area in style you will hop on a rickshaw for a ride through the towering bamboo grove. After returning to the hotel this afternoon, the rest of the day is free at leisure. Your tour leader will be happy to assist with evening arrangements.

Accommodation: The Kyoto Hotel Okura – Corner Deluxe room or similar

Day 7: Kyoto (B, L, D) Japanese Ryokan (Inn) stay, dinner with Geisha accompaniment

We start the morning with a stroll along The Philosopher’s Walk, a very pleasant pedestrian path alongside a meandering canal lined with some 500 cherry trees, through the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. We will also visit Daisen-in Temple whose beautiful garden is one of the best known in Japan, featuring a rock garden said to evoke the mountains, gorges, and waterfalls of a rugged mountain landscape. We will enjoy a sumptuous lunch at a traditional Japanese restaurant in Gion.  In the afternoon, we explore the famous Kiyomizu temple, nestled in a mountain on the east of the city and overlooking the town below. Part of the fun of visiting Kiyomizu temple is the approach to the temple along the steep and busy lanes of Kyoto’s old atmospheric Higashiyama district as you share the narrow lanes with pilgrims and local Japanese. Late afternoon, you will check in at one of the highest quality and most famous traditional Japanese Ryokans (Inns) in Japan. Enjoy the experience of a lifetime with traditional Japanese hospitality. All rooms are individually and exquisitely decorated. Traditional Kaiseki Dinner is served tonight, during which we will be accompanied by a Geisha/Maiko, who will perform traditional dances for us. Quite a unique experience.

Accommodation: 1 night at Ryokan Hiiragiya or similar

Day 8: Kyoto - Hiroshima (B, L, D)

Today, we travel by Bullet Train to Kintaikyo, little visited by western tourists, to visit the Kintaikyo Bridge famously immortalized in Ukiyoe paintings. This strange but picturesque bridge, appearing to bounce across the Nishiki River in 5 arches, once led to the main gate of Iwakuni Castle perched 200 meters above on top of Mount Shiroyama. We can catch a gondola ride up to the castle if you like, for a bird’s eye view of the valley. We then move on to Hiroshima and check in at the Sheraton Hotel for 2 nights. This evening, no formal dinner is organised but why not enjoy quiet drinks and nibblies at your own pace in the Club lounge.

Accommodation: The Hiroshima Sheraton Hotel (with club lounge access) or similar

Day 9: Hiroshima (B,D)

Breakfast today is in the Club Lounge and, after another relaxed start we will shoot across to Miyajima Island by fast boat, to enjoy sightseeing around the Sacred Goddess Miyajima Floating Shrine and the world-famous Torii gate. The shrine itself is built over the bay on pylons, to give the impression of floating on the water. As with many other structures in Japan it has been rebuilt after storm or fire damage many times and in fact this constant renewal is characteristic of the Japanese psyche. The image of the large bright vermillion Torii gate at high tide against the mountain behind is one of the best known in Japan. Mid-afternoon we return to Hiroshima, to visit the Peace Memorial Park and the poignant Hiroshima Peace Museum. The museum is dedicated to those who lost their lives or loved ones and has displays on life before and after the atomic bomb.

Accommodation: The Hiroshima Sheraton Hotel (with club lounge access) or similar

Day 10: Hiroshima - Naoshima - Takamatsu (B,L)

Today we visit Naoshima in the Inland Sea, an island dedicated to art and peppered with sculptures and contemporary innovative displays and art projects and which was selected by sightseeing magazine Condé Nast as one of the “seven places in the world you should see next”. There we will visit the Chichu Art Museum, itself a work of art, which was designed by the world renowned Tadao Ando. Built into a hill on the southern side of the island, the unique design creates a remarkable sense of space and light. The museum houses a large mural of “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet. Works by James Turrell and Walter De Maria, contemporary artists long involved with Naoshima Island are displayed in its permanent collections. The museum has a beautiful garden featuring plants that were cherished by Monet, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of his works. Also take in Benesse House, the Art House Project and outdoor art exhibition while you are here. After enjoying the exhibits, we cross Inland
sea to Shikoku Island, where we travel on to Takamatsu and check in for 2 nights.

Accommodation: JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu

Day 11: Takamatsu - Udatsu - Takamatsu (B)

Takamatsu used to be the main entry point to Shikoku Island until the opening of the Seto Ohashi Bridge in 1988. The Matsudaira Clan, relatives of the Tokugawa Shogun, controlled Takamatsu’s former castle town and surrounding area, then known as the Sanuki Province, during most of the Edo Period. The ruling clan was also responsible for the construction of Ritsurin Koen, now one of Japan’s 3 most beautiful gardens. We will spend some time at Ritsurin Koen to experience the beauty for ourselves. We also visit Udatsu, a well-preserved little street in the town of Mima with beautiful historic houses and shops – some dating back to the early 1700’s.

Accommodation: JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu

Day 12: Takamatsu - Osaka (B,L)

After a relaxing morning at leisure, we enjoy lunch before traveling to Osaka. We travel across The Inland Sea on the impressive (13 km) Seto Ohashi bridge to Okayama and then board a Bullet Train to Osaka. Now the 3rd largest city in Japan, Osaka has a long history as a mercantile centre stretching back thousands of years. It is a vibrant, brash city which has become known as a culinary wonderland. Upon arrival at Osaka, we transfer to the Imperial Hotel Osaka in the heart of the city and check in for 2 nights. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Your tour coordinator will assist in organising your activities.

Accommodation: Imperial Hotel Osaka – Suite Room or similar (During your stay at Imperial Hotel Osaka, please take advantage of our special arrangement of complementary dry cleaning service – up to 5 items per room.)

Day 13: Osaka - Nara - Osaka (B,D)

This afternoon, we travel to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan and visit World Heritage listed Todaiji (“Great Eastern Temple”), Nara deer park, and Nara machi old streets. Nara was Japan’s first capital, established in the year 710 at Heijo. Before that date, the capital used to be moved to a new location whenever a new emperor ascended to the throne. The temple was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan and grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in order to reduce the temple’s influence on government affairs. The building housing the Great Buddha statue was once the largest wooden building in the world. After visiting Todaiji and some of the Nara sights. On the way back to our hotel in Osaka, we stop by the Doguya-suji and Dotonbori districts. Sennichimae Doguya-suji is a 150-meter-long shopping arcade housing a myriad of stores specializing in cooking utensils and tablecloths, as well as signs, lanterns, curtains, restaurant banners. The arcade is popular not only with professional chefs and restaurateurs, but also with everyday homemakers. This evening we will explore the heart of downtown Osaka, Dotonbori, an area famous for its vibrant night life, gaudy neon lights, its food culture and its street food. As a special treat for dinner tonight we will try okonomiyaki, a delicious savory Japanese pancake which is a popular Osaka “soul food”.

Accommodation: Imperial Hotel Osaka – Suite Room or similar

Day 14: Osaka - Kanazawa (B, L, D)

This morning we travel by express train from Osaka station to Kanazawa and, on the way, you will have the opportunity to see everything from cityscapes to rural rice paddies and mountainous landscapes. Upon arrival in Kanazawa, we will have a light lunch at a very famous local restaurant, before beginning our exploration of Kanazawa including the old district of Higashiyama, a Geisha district, the Nagamachi former samurai residential area at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle. Well preserved streets and buildings evoke the ambiance of the Edo Period. We will visit Nomura, a restored samurai residence displaying the lifestyle and artefacts of the era when samurai were prosperous and we will also spend time at one of Japan’s most famous gardens, Kenrokuen garden. It too is one of the 3 most beautiful gardens in Japan, so named because over its 300-year history it has become famous from its embodiment of all 6 of the attributes of the ideal Japanese Garden. We check in to the Hyatt Centric Kanazawa for 2 nights.  After resting up a little, dinner this evening will be teppanyaki at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Hyatt Centric Kanazawa standard room or similar for 2 nights

Day 15: Kanazawa - Takayama - Shirakawago - Kanazawa (B, L)

Not too far from Kanazawa are the historical merchant town Takayama and rural village Shirakawago and we head out to explore them today. Takayama’s isolation has allowed Edo period streets, lined with tiny shops, museums and eating places, to survive to this day. After strolling through the old streets, we travel on to Shirakawago, a small world heritage listed village, nestled in the mountains beside a pristine mountain river. Although completely snow bound in winter, it is still a working village, with rice paddies and small gardens. As you explore this fascinating village with its famous thatched roofs, you may get a feel for village life hundreds of years ago. After a pleasant day in smaller historical sites, we head back to Kanazawa.

Accommodation: Hyatt Centric Kanazawa standard room or similar for 2 nights

Day 16: Kanazawa - Tokyo (B, L)

We travel back to Tokyo today by the new Hokuriku Bullet Train line, “Gran Class” arriving midday. We will enjoy light refreshments provided by our own attendant on the train and we will have lunch in Tokyo at an “Iron Chef” restaurant. After a relaxed lunch we transfer to the Imperial Hotel Tokyo and check in for 2 nights. The remainder of the day is free to either relax or explore a bit of Ginza. Your tour coordinator can help you organise your activities.

Accommodation: Imperial Hotel Tokyo – Junior Suite room or similar

Day 17: Tokyo (B, Farewell drinks & light meal)

Guests will have this morning at leisure. In the afternoon, we will meet at lobby to visit Meiji shrine and Omotesandou. The tranquil 100-year-old Meiji shrine was built in honour of the Emperor who reigned for 45 years spanning the opening of Japan after the Shogunate rule. Then, by way of contrast, we will stroll along the vibrant Omotesandō promenade of Harajuku, renowned for its colourful street art, youth fashion and high-end trendy boutique stores and coffee shops. The world’s great fashion houses compete here to impress with their architecture while the younger generation enjoy street food and bubble tea. Relax this evening with farewell drinks and light meal at the Imperial lounge.

Accommodation: Imperial Hotel Tokyo – Junior Suite room or similar

Day 18: Tokyo (B)

Today is our last day in Japan, so you might wish to do some last-minute souvenir hunting or an optional half day activity. Late afternoon, we check out from the hotel and leave for Haneda or Narita airport by private transfer.

Tour Inclusions

Tour Inclusions – 19 Day Japan Autumn Tour – Grande 2022
• Fully Escorted Tour by Experienced, Licensed staff, first class travel
• Private airport transfers for all Tokyo arrival and departure flights
• Luxury Accommodation, Suite Rooms at 2 major cities, in Tokyo & Osaka total 6 nights
• Michelin Star, Iron Chef and exquisite local fine cuisine experiences
• Luggage delivery service
• Gran class & First class train travel.
• Sightseeing by luxury vehicles
• Total Meals: 38 meals, Daily Breakfast (17), Lunch (11), Dinner (10)
• Ryokan stay experience at one of old and famous ryokan in Kyoto. Enjoy a private and traditional Kaiseki dinner with accompaniment of Geisha and traditional dance performances.
• Complementary dry-cleaning service up to 5 items per Guest Room during stay at Imperial Hotel Osaka.
• All tipping – coach drivers, hotels (and service fees) and restaurants
Note: Itinerary details are subject to change. Please check with Janesco Travel.

Exclusions: Airfares, your travel insurance, beverages during meals (except where specified).  Please note that passengers are responsible for securing any necessary visas, health and vaccination certificates and any medical tests required by Governments or airlines.

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