Adventure Tours   >   Asia Adventure Tours   >  Japan Family Journey: From Ancient to Modern Times

Japan Family Journey: From Ancient to Modern Times Adventure Tour

Asia

  • Japan

Japan is a feast for the senses, from its electrifying neon-lit neighbourhoods to tranquil hilltop temples. Experience an intriguing mix of modernity and tradition as we explore dazzling Tokyo, imperial Kyoto, and the mountain city of Nagano. Wander Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, practice sumo wrestling and samurai swordplay, and sample miso-infused culinary concoctions. In this fascinating land of anime, snow monkeys, and high-speed trains, there is something to delight every member of the family.


Departure Tax  

Departure Tax is included in all International and Domestic tickets.


Emergency Fund  

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!


Health  

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical information pertaining to the country you are travelling to well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as a full supply of any personal medical requirements. In Asia, you will not find the same drugs as you get at home. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities. Also note that for legal reasons our Leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if, in the reasonable opinion of the CEO, they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.


Tipping  

Tipping is not practiced in Japan. Leaving money at restaurants, in taxis etc will simply cause confusion. However, at the end of your trip if you felt your two Chief Experience Officers did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline; per CEO $5 USD per person, per day can be used.


Travel Insurance  

Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.


Minimum Age  

Minimum age of 7 years for this trip.


Emergency Contact  

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change or flight cancellation within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, please call the emergency contact number to advise of your new arrival flight information. If you do not, we will not be able to rearrange your arrival transfer and you will need to make your own way to the starting hotel at your own expense. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS

Arrival transfer representative: +81 50-1745-7272
(this is only for travelers who book arrival transfer through G )

G Adventures Local Office (Japan)
During office hours, Mon-Fri (Excluding national holidays) 9:00-18:00 Local Time
From outside Japan: 1st contact +81 3-6809-1212. (2nd contact +81 80 6779 1851 or +81 70 9034-2336)
From within Japan: 1st contact 03-6809-1212 (2nd contact 080 6779 1851 or 070 9034 2336)

After office hours emergency number
Primary phone: +81 80 6779 1851 or +81 70 9034 2336 (from within Japan: 080 6779 1851 or 070 9034 2336)

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below which will connect you directly with our Sales team who will happily assist you. Hours of operation by region can be found here.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999


Packing List  

Cold Weather:
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Scarf
• Snow Boots
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Warm waterproof jacket

Conservative Dress:
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)

Documents:
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Visas or vaccination certificates (With photocopies)

Essentials:
• Toiletries (required) (Shampoo, bodywash, soap, etc.)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Footwear
• Hat
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Moneybelt
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Shirts/t-shirts
• Sleepwear
• Small travel towel
• Sunglasses
• Swimwear
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket

Health & Safety:
• Hand sanitizer (required)
• Face masks (Clients will be only be required to wear a face mask where it is mandated by local regulations.)
• Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.)
• Quick Covid Test/Antigen Test (optional)

Warm Weather:
• Sandals/flip-flops
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sturdy water shoes/sandals
• Sun hat/bandana
• Swimwear

Note: During the winter months (Nov-Apr) the mountains can be very cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes. During summer, (Jun-Sep) temperatures are very hot and humid. Lightweight breathable clothing is recommended.

It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light waterproof jacket. Layering is essential.

We're working with our accommodation partners to reduce single-use plastic on our tours by providing safe drinking water for refillable bottles wherever possible. Find out more about our Plastics Partnership Project here.


Laundry  

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your CEO where the closest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry, so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.


Money Exchange  

As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.

Every Post Office and 7-11 Convenience store has an ATM machine that accepts Visa, Mastercard and Debit Cards. At times, Maestro/Master Card/Cirrus have been problematic at these machines, so please bring a back-up card.

Credit Cards should not be relied upon for purchases as they are not widely accepted, except in some restaurants and department stores. Money can be exchanged at Post Offices and some banks and hotels in major cities, however it can be a very slow process.


Optional Activities  

Tokyo
- Ueno Park Visit (Free)
- Tokyo Tower Visit (1200-3000JPY per person)

Kyoto
- Tofukuji Temple Visit (500-1000JPY per person)
- Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion Visit (500JPY per person)


Feedback  

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at [email protected] and we will send it on to you.


Dossier Disclaimer  

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.


Group Leader  

2 CEOs (Chief Experience Officers) throughout


Important Notes  

1. All parents/guardians are required to supervise their children at all times throughout the tour and may not leave their child under the supervision of the CEO, local guides, drivers, etc. Children are not to be left unattended. 

2. TATTOOS
Tattoos are not common or widely accepted in Japan. There is no cause for concern, but do your best to cover your tattoos when possible and note that you may not be permitted to enter public spas or onsens (hot springs).

3. RAIL PASS
A Rail pass is not included on this tour.

4. FAMILY INSURANCE
Options for family travel insurance are available. Please enquire with your Family Trip Specialist for more information.

5. Luggage size restriction - Effective from May 2020 onwards
All G Adventures tours in Japan use the world-famous Shinkansen bullet trains, which have a restriction on maximum luggage size. Any luggage brought on board the train must be less than 160cm in total. This is roughly the size that most airline companies consider as "carry-on baggage" and allow in overhead storage compartments.

As this tour includes city-to-city luggage transfers, this restriction affects your carry-on luggage on board the train.

6. Please note that on all Family Adventures one adult can only accompany up to two minors. If you have over two minors planning on travelling then a second adult will be required to attend.

7. ACCOMMODATION NOTE:
Please be aware that properties we stay in with only two stories may not have elevators installed and climbing the stairs with your luggage will be necessary.


About our Transportation  

On our tours in Japan we use public transport, making use of Japan's world famous transportation system. From the super fast Shinkansen Bullet Train to Kyoto's extensive local bus network, we ride with the locals.


Arrival Complications  

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.


What to Take  

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, sports bag, or backpack. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. There is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. Porters may not always be available, so be prepared to carry your own bags (at hotels).

It's essential to pack as lightly as possible for rail travel in Japan. All G Adventures tours use the world-famous Shinkansen bullet trains, which have a restriction on maximum luggage size.

Any luggage brought on board the train must be less than 160cm in total (calculated as the sum of the height + width + depth of your luggage). This is roughly the size that most airline companies consider as "carry-on baggage" and allow in overhead storage compartments. As this tour includes city-to-city luggage transfers, this restriction only affects your carry-on luggage on board the train.

This tour includes a city-to-city luggage transfer service known as "takuhaibin” in Japan, so you will not have to worry about carrying your large luggage on and off trains as we travel. Please note that you will not have access to your bags during the transfers from city to city, and will not be reunited with your large luggage until the following day. On these days, we recommend using an overnight bag (under 160cm in total) for anything you may need, including valuables.


Accommodation  

Hotels (9 nts), traditional Inn (1 nt)


Safety and Security  

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.


Trip Specific Safety  

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.


Itinerary Notes  

Prices are based on double occupancy; all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will accommodate triples/quads whenever possible. Please call for further details.

Family Journeys are designed for groups traveling with children between the ages of 7 and 17. Your group must include a child in order to book, and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

There are new Health & Safety Protocols for National Geographic Journeys tours. Please see here for full details and up-to-date requirements as they may change.


What's Included  

Your Family Journeys Moment: Traditional Taiko Drumming Class, Tokyo
Your Family Journeys Moment: Okinawa Cooking Class, Tokyo
Your Family Journeys Moment: Sumo Wrestling Class, Tokyo
Your Foodie Moment: Miso Foodie Experience, Nagano
Your Family Journeys Moment: Ramen Making Class, Kyoto
Your Family Journeys Moment: Kembu Masters, Kyoto. Tour of Tokyo including Meiji Jingu Shrine, Asakusa and Harajuku districts. Traditional taiko Japanese drumming class. Sumo class led by a former wrestler. Sleep in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and enjoy a kaiseki dinner. See wild snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Visit the Buddhist temple of Zenko-ji. Visit Matsumoto castle. Visit a local miso experience. Walk through the Nishiki Market and Gion Geisha District with your CEOs. Visit the iconic Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. Take part in a ramen making class. Tour Nara including visits to the Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Grand Shrine and the Naramachi district. Visit the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities. Departure transfers.


Group Leader Description  

All National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures group trips are accompanied by two of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense; you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.


Meals Included  

10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners


Spending Money  

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.


Highlights  

Take part in a traditional taiko drumming class, Learn about the health benefits of the Okinawan cuisine, Meet and train with a former sumo wrestler, Watch wild snow monkeys bathe in hot springs, Learn all about miso, Delve into delicious Japanese cuisine while creating your own ramen, Encounter fearless deer in the gardens of Nara Park, Learn about the legendary swordsmanship of the samurai


Group Size Notes  

20


Transport  

Bullet train, express train, local train, ferry, metro, taxi, public bus, walking


Planeterra Foundation - the non-profit partner of G Adventures  

Planeterra International Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. Planeterra connects underserved local communities to the benefits of tourism by developing and supporting small community-owned businesses. These businesses support Indigenous people, empower women, grant youth access to employment opportunities, and protect the environment. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating their projects into G Adventures' itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra's largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs, so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.

G Adventures Dollar-a-day Program - Make Every Day Count - Turn your travel into impact with Planeterra Foundation.

Did you know? Most communities around the world do not benefit from tourism. Give back to the places you visit on your travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn an income, and protect the environment.

Make every day count by donating $1/day for the length of your trip, and join us in empowering the communities you will visit when you travel. 100% of your donation goes directly to Planeterra projects.


Itinerary Disclaimer  

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.


Solo Travellers  

We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Odd number adult travellers in your family will be paired in twin accommodation with another adult traveller of the same sex for the duration of the trip.


My Own Room  

By request only.


Meals  

Eating is a big part of traveling and we encourage you to experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Its important to remember, that food may be different from what you are used to at home and that some things may not be available in other countries.

Some meals are included in the trip price, while others are not, to allow flexibility and choice to you and your family. For non-included meals our CEOs will still make arrangements for the group to eat together, which allows you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and approximate budget (per person) for meals not included.

Throughout this trip, breakfast is included daily (ranging from continental to buffet depending on the trip), as are healthy, local snacks. Tap water is safe and drinkable everywhere. Please remember to bring your own refillable bottle and refill at the start of each day.

Note that any special meal requirements or dietary restrictions need to be specified at time of booking.


About Accommodation  

Rooming is based on double occupancy (2 passengers / 2 beds per room); all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will try to accommodate triples/quad requests whenever possible and it's important to note that rooming configuration can change from city to city and 2 single beds are the standard configuration in a room.

Please remember that hotel/lodge standards can be different from what you are used to in your home country, which is part of the appeal of adventure travel.

Japan is one of the most populous countries in the world and space is at a premium. Therefore, hotels rooms are small! Additionally, most Japanese hotels do not have designating non smoking rooms. Therefore, we ask hotels to deoderize rooms before check in.


Joining Instructions  

An arrival shuttle bus is included when you arrive on Day 1, or if you arrive up to two days prior provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through National Geographic Journeys in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.

Our driver will be waiting for you with a sign with the transfer company name "GREEN TOMATO" on it outside of the luggage hall.
Emergency Phone number : +81 50-1745-7272

Transfer time from the airport to the hotel is approx 75 minutes, depending on the number of stops.

Luggage restrictions on the included shuttle bus:

Maximum 2 suitcases or boxes per person are allowed to be accommodated free of charge except below items:
- Ski equipment
- Golf set
- Snowboard

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Directions to Hotel Villa Fontaine Shiodome

The closest stations are:
1. Shiodome Station on Subway Oedo Line: 1 min walk from Exit 10 and Yurikamome line ticket gate
2. Shimbashi Station on JR, Toei Subway Asakusa Line and Subway Ginza Line: 6 min walk from Exit A1
3. Hamamatsucho Station on JR: 10min walk from North Exit and Monorail station

From Narita International Airport:
By Train - take a Keisei Skyliner from Narita Airport Terminal 1 station or Narita Airport Terminal 2·3 station. 
Approximately 50 minutes to Nippori Station and transfer to JR Yamanote Line and get off at Shimbashi station. 

By limousine bus - take a limousine bus to Tokyo Station (approx. 90-110 minutes) then take a taxi for approximately 10 mins.


From Haneda Airport:
By Train - take a Monorail train from Haneda Airport Terminal 1·2 station or 3 station for approximately 35 minutes to Hamatsucho / Daimon Station to transfer to Toei Subway Oedo Line 


Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day.

Upon arrival to your Joining Hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon), look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don't see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.


A Couple of Rules  

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of people in the sex trade is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they utilize the services of paid sex workers, in any capacity.


International Flights  

Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.


Local Dress  

In Japan, the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. We ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples, shrines or other religious sites. Ask your CEO for more specific advice.

Day 1 Tokyo

Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.

On our tours in Japan we use public transport, making use of Japan's world famous transportation system. From the super fast Shinkansen Bullet Train to Kyoto's extensive local bus network, we ride with the locals.

As well, there is a lot of walking on this trip, every day - please ensure you have an average level of fitness and can walk unaided for long periods of time. A good pair of walking shoes are highly recommended.

Please note: We will use a baggage transfer service, which is included in the cost of your tour, so you will not have to worry about carrying your bags on and off trains as we travel. As such, you will not have access to your bags during the transfers from city to city, and will not be reunited with your luggage until the following day. On these days, we recommend using an overnight bag for anything you may need, including valuables.

Luggage size restriction - Effective from May 2020 onwards
All G Adventures tours in Japan use the world-famous Shinkansen bullet trains, which have a restriction on maximum luggage size. Any luggage brought on board the train must be less than 160cm in total. This is roughly the size that most airline companies consider as "carry-on baggage" and allow in overhead storage compartments.

As this tour includes city-to-city luggage transfers, this restriction affects your carry-on luggage on board the train.

Day 2 Tokyo

Today, we'll see Tokyo from a local's perspective, traveling by public transit. We start from a traditional Japanese taiko drumming class. Hear how these traditional wooden drums are made and learn three different playing techniques. Put your newly acquired skills to the test during a group performance together with a professional Wadaiko drummer. Later a visit to the serene Meiji Jingu shrine, dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji. Then hit the streets of the buzzing Harajuku district, where kitschy-cute street fashion and candy-colored wigs are the order of the day.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro and on foot.

Day 3 Tokyo

Learn Japanese secrets to longevity in a cooking class on Okinawa cuisine, originating from the Japanese island reputed to have the highest life expectancy in the world. Prepare a selection of dishes using typical ingredients and learn about the beneficial qualities of each. Savour your creations for a nutritious lunch and spend the rest of the day discovering Tokyo at leisure.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro and on foot.

Day 4 Tokyo/Nagano (area)

This morning, take a crash course in Japan's national sport: sumo wrestling! Get initiated into this explosive martial art, which originated as a religious ritual more than a thousand years ago. Learn about the wrestlers' rigorous routine and mindboggling calorie intake, earn basic technique and watch Sumo wrestling. After the class, journey to Nagano, the beautiful mountain city that hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. Settle into our historic ryokan - or traditional Japanese inn - located just outside the city, in the hot springs town of Shibu Onsen.

Ryokan are traditional Inns found across Japan. Featuring tatami floors (soft mats of woven straw), futon beds, Japanese-style baths, cotton kimono (casual robe worn to lounge around), and kaiseki meals (often served in the comfort of your own room); a ryokan is the perfect place to experience traditional customs and local immersion. The Ryokan is a simple, traditional Inn with few amenities and shared facilities, have fun and enjoy this relaxing opportunity to learn more about Japan's unique customs.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro, train and on foot.

Day 5 Nagano

Nagano is home to the Japanese macaque, or snow monkey - one of the only primate species that can survive below freezing temperatures. Venture to Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Snow Monkey Park) to watch these furry simians scampering about the rocks or taking a soak in one of the thermal pools, fed by natural hot springs. Then head into Nagano city to explore the 7th-century Buddhist temple of Zenkoji, home to the very first Buddha statue brought to Japan.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro, train and on foot.

Day 6 Nagano

Travel to Matsumoto for a visit to one of Japan's most treasured castles. Known as the “crow castle” for its imposing black exterior, the Matsumoto fortress dates back to the 16th century and was once a stronghold of the samurai, Japan's elite military class. Later, visit Ishii Miso, founded in 1868 at the end of the Edo era, and see how they are still producing miso by a unique traditional method. Check out massive wooden barrels and learn about Miso- a soybean paste and essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Nagano Prefecture is known as the top producer of miso in Japan. Let's have a taste of Miso soup and even Miso ice cream!

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by train, taxi (to/from the Miso Foodie Experience) and on foot.

Day 7 Nagano/Kyoto

Hop on the bullet train to Kyoto, which served as Japan's imperial capital for more than a millennium. Delve into the aromatic alleys of Nishiki Market, one of the most popular food markets in the city. Opt to sample local specialties like barbecued quail, soy milk donuts, sesame ice cream, and more, taking your taste buds on a culinary roller coaster. This evening, venture to Gion, Kyoto's renowned geisha district. As you wander its lantern-lit streets, you might catch a glimpse of a geisha - traditional female entertainers recognizable by their distinctive makeup.

As the Imperial capital, Kyoto is an essential part of any visit to Japan. Kyoto has some of the most magnificent temples in Japan which date back centuries. There are said to be 2,000 temples, shrines, palaces, museums and traditional gardens in Kyoto. Wander past huge wooden structures and multi-storied pagodas, all linked with famous walkways.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by train and on foot.

Day 8 Kyoto

This morning, pay a visit to the Fushimi Inari shrine, located just outside of Kyoto. Dedicated to the Shinto god of rice, this beautiful temple is known for its Senbon Torii - a stunning walkaway of vermilion-colored gates. Later, dive into another fun-filled cooking class, rolling up your sleeves to make a steaming bowl of ramen noodles.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro and on foot.

Day 9 Nara

Spend the day discovering ancient Nara, where Japan's first capital was established in the early 8th century. Immerse yourself in the ornate halls of the Todaiji temple, and gaze upon the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world, standing nearly 50 feet tall. At Kasuga Taisha, Nara's most celebrated shrine, stroll romantic walkways lined with hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns, and wander amid the gardens of Nara Park, where herds of semi-domesticated deer roam free. Check out the shops and galleries of the Naramachi district before returning to Kyoto.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro and on foot.

Day 10 Kyoto

Unleash your inner warrior this morning with a lesson on samurai swordplay. Learn how to wield a Japanese sword and witness an unforgettable performance by masters of kembu, or sword dance. In the afternoon, explore the picturesque Kiyomizudera temple, perched on a hilltop near a sacred waterfall. There is much to keep you busy here: ring giant prayer bowls, sip holy water - said to have wish-fulfilling qualities - or muster the courage to walk through the Tainai Meguri, a lightless underground tunnel that symbolizes the visitor's journey to enlightenment. This evening, celebrate your Japan adventure at a farewell dinner.

Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro and on foot.

Day 11 Kyoto

Depart any time.

There are no planned activities today and you are free to depart at any time.

Details

Prices from: €4999.00

Duration: 11 Days

Service Level: Upgraded

Trip Type: Small Group

Travel Style: National Geographic Family Journeys

Physical Grading: 3 - Average



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