Mt. Fuji, Japan's icon 

In addition to the world class venues of Tokyo and Kyoto, our visit included Takayama, nestled up against the Japan Alps, and Kanazawa, on the Sea of Japan and home to one of Japan's most famous gardens. The timing of our trip in November landed us in the peak of the autumn colors. We also managed day trips to Nara, an ancient capital of Japan, Hiroshima and its Peace Park, and the magnificent Miho Museum, designed by I M Pei and hidden in the mountains near Kyoto.

Dinner with Mayor of Takayama

Takayama Trees

Hida Village – Takayama

Temple in Kyoto

Japanese showmanship


Kenrokuen Garden – Kanazawa

Geishas in park

Friday, November 7

  • Depart U.S.

Saturday, November 8

  • Arrive Japan late afternoon.
  • Transfer to Conrad Hotel, Tokyo.
  • Time to unpack and relax with dinner on your own or just get some sleep!

Sunday, November 9

  • Today we will see the best of Tokyo, including the Imperial Palace East Garden, Asakusa (Tokyo's most interesting neighborhood) and Senso-ji, a temple complex that is the heart and soul of Asakusa, Ueno (which, along with Asakusa, makes up the historical enclave of Tokyo), the Tokyo Tower and its panoramic view of the city.
  • Late afternoon rest and jetlag recovery followed by our opening dinner at a traditional Japanese restaurant.

Monday, November 10

  • Early morning visit via subway to Tokyo Central Wholesale Market which supplies Tokyo with 2400 tons of fresh seafood daily.
  • We will visit the 1200 wholesale shops that supply the sushi bars of the city and wander the backstreet shops of Tsukiji to see how the people of Tokyo live.
  • If you wish, a breakfast of the world's freshest sushi awaits you here—or you can eat breakfast when we return to the hotel around 8 a.m.
  • Morning and afternoon business visits, with lunch included.
  • Evening walk through Ginza on our way to dinner at a Japanese restaurant.

Tuesday, November 11

  • Free day to see Tokyo's special sites and gardens on your own or take the train to Nikko with its 18th century village, or Kamakura and home of Diabatsu, the Great Buddha, or Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, location of Mt. Fuji and its beautiful wilderness.
  • Lunch and dinner on your own.

Wednesday, November 12

  • Morning visit to a Japanese company with lunch at a local restaurant.
    Afternoon briefing by John Peters, Commercial Counselor, U.S. Embassy.
  • Rest of afternoon on your own for exploring museums, gardens and parks or enjoying world class shopping at Omotesando Hills or Roppongi Hills.

Thursday, November 13

  • Toyota will be at center stage today. Morning departure on Japan's fastest bullet train to Nagoya and an afternoon tour of Toyota's Nagoya assembly operation with robots mixed in with people and a vast array of activities that are defining the future of the auto industry. When Don was here in 2000, he test drove the Prius prior to its introduction into the U.S.
  • Transfer to Marriott Hotel, Nagoya.
  • Enjoy an evening to relax and have dinner on your own.

Friday, November 14

  • Today, we will begin a transition from the Japan of the 21st century to historic Japan as we travel by chartered coach to Takayama, near the Japanese Alps, a tranquil, isolated place nestled in the Hida Mountains and nicknamed "Little Kyoto."
  • We will check in at a ryokan for 2 nights at a traditional Japanese inn, leave our shoes (and worries) at the front door, and prepare for the next several days of history, culture, and countryside while soaking in a Japanese bath and enjoying regional Japanese cuisine.
  • In the evening, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Takayama will join us for a traditional Japanese dinner at the ryokan.

Saturday, November 15

  • Today will be filled with sightseeing, including Government House, where the Tokugawa Shogunate ran the region for 176 years, and the Hida Folk Village, traditional 18th century farmhouses assembled from around the region.
  • Included are folk craft workshops and demonstrations of regional arts. Free time in the afternoon to visit the Folk Craft Museum and wander the streets of Takayama's old city.
  • Traditional Japanese dinner at the ryokan.

Sunday, November 16

  • As we travel through the mountains today heading towards Kanazawa, on the Sea of Japan, we will stop at Shirakawa-go Gassho-zukuri Village, an open air museum with 25 Gassho-style farmhouses, with their steep, thatched A-frame roofs for shedding the heavy snows, built by the entire community, and housing families, their friends, and livestock during the long winters.
  • Late in the afternoon we arrive in Kanazawa with 300 years of history preserved in the narrow twisting streets and canals in the Samurai district and Kenroku-en, said to be the most beautiful garden in Japan.
  • We will enjoy dinner at one of Kanazawa's charming and traditional restaurants.

Monday, November 17

  • Kanazawa preserves much of the old culture since it was not bombed in WWII. Its old town is lined with craft, textile and tofu shops as well as sake breweries. Much of Kanazawa can be seen on foot. We will explore the streets and shops, visiting Castle Gate, the Traditional Art Crafts Museum, and Kanazawa's most famous garden. Late into the afternoon, we will stroll through Kanazawa's 300 year old central market selling a variety of products, especially fish.
  • Dinner will be on your own tonight, to choose from a rich variety of local and international restaurants.

Tuesday, November 18

  • Today we board the train for Kyoto, one of the most alluring cities in the world, inaugurated in 794 by the Emperor as the Capital of Peace and Tranquility. It reigns as the artistic and cultural center of Japan, and is the home of 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. In November, the autumn colors break out in earthy reds and oranges, making Kyoto a magical place to explore.
  • We will begin in the afternoon with a visit to Nijo-jo, a castle begun in 1569 and home of the Tokugawa Shogun until 1867.
  • After checking in to the lovely Brighton Hotel, we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Wednesday, November 19

My 'ol Kyoto Country Home

  • Our day will be consumed by visits to the famous sites of Kyoto: Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion), the Philosopher's Walk, Ryoan-ji (Temple of the Peaceful Dragon), with its famous rock garden, Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), Japan's best known temple and an evening walk in Gion, the Geisha District.
  • After a rest at the hotel, we will walk to a local restaurant for dinner.

Thursday, November 20

  • Today we will visit one of Kyoto's best museums in the morning.
  • The rest of the day will be at your leisure for shopping and sightseeing and dinner on your own.

Friday, November 21

  • We will travel by chartered coach to Osaka, stopping on the way to visit Nara and some of its famous temples.
  • In the late afternoon, we will check in to the Swisshotel Nankai Osaka with time to relax and enjoy dinner on your own.

Saturday, November 22

  • This morning we will leave early to take the bullet train to Hiroshima and a visit to the Peace Park, museum, and memorial to the World War II bombing. No American should miss this experience when visiting Japan.
  • We will return to Osaka in time for our closing dinner.

Sunday, November 23

  • The day is free for last minute sightseeing or shopping. We will depart mid-afternoon for Kansai International Airport and the flight back to the U.S.

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