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Tokyo - Kyoto
Tokyo - Kyoto
Arrive in Tokyo, located in the southeast of Japan’s main island, Honshu. After your airport transfer and hotel check-in, the day is free at leisure to explore this vibrant megacity. Formerly known as Edo, Tokyo has been Japan’s political centre for four centuries and its capital, since 1869. First-time visitors to the fast-paced, non-stop action of Tokyo should prepare for a uniquely energising and enthralling experience like nowhere else on the planet. With its iconic sights, quirky sub-cultures, neon-lit crowded streets and high-rises, juxtapositioned with ancient shrines and old wooden buildings, Japan’s capital is an exhilarating assault on all the senses.
Enjoy authentic Ramen as you discover Tokyo
Shibuya the world’s largest pedestrian crossing
Visit Tsukiji Outer Market, adjacent to former Tsukiji Inner Market, one of the world’s greatest wholesale fish markets, which relocated in 2018. Your gourmet-savvy guide will point out fresh fish, seafood, seasonal produce and premium kitchen equipment at the Outer Market’s remaining shops. Sushi is Japan’s most celebrated culinary dish, with the modern-day varieties originating in Tokyo. Learn the intricate art of sushi-making at a private cooking class at one of Tsukiji’s renowned sushi restaurants, instructed by a professional chef. Enjoy your sushi creations for lunch. Later, stop at Tokyo’s most revered Shinto shrine, Meiji Jingū, then walk down Omotesando, an upscale boulevard famed for its high-end fashions and gourmet shops. At Shibuya Station, one of Japan’s largest terminals, stroll across Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo’s iconic intersection and world’s largest pedestrian crossing.
Learn the intricate art of sushi-making
Visit Asakusa, Tokyo’s oldest district and its main drawcard, Sensō-ji, the capital’s oldest Buddhist temple, founded in the 7th century. To access Sensō-ji, walk through iconic Kaminarimon (‘Thunder Gate’), originally built over 1,000 years ago, then along bustling Nakamise Shopping Street, lined with shops selling traditional crafts, snacks and souvenirs. Later, explore the Imperial Palace, official residence of Japan’s imperial family and Nijubashi (‘Double Bridge’), one of Japan’s most photographed bridges. Stop at a Sake Stand to sample Sake (Nihonshu), Japan’s world-famous drink made from fermented rice. Head to Ginza, Tokyo’s most upmarket shopping and fine-dining district. Your guide will show you around sumptuous Mitsukoshi gourmet hall, which sells premium produce, deli treats and bento boxes.
Ginza, Tokyo's upmarket fine-dining district
Sensō-ji, the capital’s oldest Buddhist temple
Board the bullet train (shinkansen) for Kyoto. After meeting your guide, embark on a city tour by private car. This former imperial capital is regarded as Japan’s spiritual, cultural and historical heart and home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visit Sanjusangendo, a 12th century Buddhist temple housing the world’s longest wooden building and 1,000 wooden statues, then Nijo Castle, an elaborate former shogun residence. Stroll through historic Gion and its well-preserved streets lined with traditional houses, craft shops and ancient temples. Kyoto is considered the birthplace of geisha culture. This evening, head to Miyagawacho geisha quarter and a member’s-only geisha teahouse by exclusive invitation. Within a private tatami room, enjoy Kaiseki, refined multi-course dinner, then a traditional dance performance by a Maiko (geisha apprentice). Afterwards, play traditional games and chat with our Maiko.
In a private tatami room, enjoy Kaiseki, refined multi-course dinner
Start early at iconic landmark, Kinkakuji Temple. Originally constructed in 1397, this ornate Zen Buddhist temple is known as the Golden Pavilion, as its upper stories are gilded with gold leaves. Besides symbolising the shogun’s wealth, the gold stunningly reflects on Kyokochi ‘mirror pond.’ Later, join a private cooking class at a Kyoto heritage townhouse. Learn how to create Obanzai-style cuisine, later enjoyed for lunch. Obanzai is traditional Kyoto-style home-cooking featuring tasting dishes reliant on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Then head to Kyoto’s mountainous outskirts and scenic Arashiyama District. Take a rickshaw ride through the famous bamboo grove, immersing yourself in a towering tunnel of emerald-green forest. Afterwards, admire Tenryuji, one of Japan’s most important Zen temples.
Kinkakuji Zen Buddhist Temple
Enjoy the famous Bamboo Grove
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