Get to know Japan’s rich history, culture and beautiful nature on this 10 days tour
Date and Price
Dates: February 11th to 20th, 2020
Trip Leader: Gavriel Jecan, Trip limited to 6 participants
We travel around Japan’s popular photogenic places in western Japan such as Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Koyasan. This areas are famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines, Geishas and traditional wooden houses.
Day 1 – Feb 11– Arrive in Osaka
Osaka is the second largest metropolitan city after Tokyo. It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai Region for many centuries. Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa, before the Nara Period, when the capital used to be moved with the reign of each new emperor, Naniwa was once Japan’s capital city.
19:00 Briefing with Shigeki as guide at Lobby in Hotel at 7PM ( 19:00) and then a welcome dinner together .
We recommend everyone to arrive a day earlier to make sure you adjust to the time zone.
Day 2 – Feb 12 –Morning in Osaka / afternoon departure for Kyoto
Visit some of the local temples and Osaka castle, Lunch and departure for Kyoto, the magical, traditional city in Japan.
Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is a city on the island of Honshu. It’s famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It’s also known for formal traditions such as kaiseki dining, consisting of multiple courses of precise dishes.
Meals: B, D
3 – Feb 13 –Kyoto
Today will visit one of the most popular destination of west Kyoto, Arashiyama.
The Togetsukyo Bridge is Arashiyama’s well known, central landmark. Many small shops, restaurants and other attractions are found nearby, including Tenryuji Temple, Art galleries with old Japanese traditional art, Arashiyama’s famous bamboo groves. North of central Arashiyama the atmosphere becomes less touristy and more rural, with several small temples scattered along the base of the wooded mountains. The area north of the Togetsukyo Bridge is also known as Sagano, while the name “Arashiyama” technically just refers to the mountains on the southern bank of the river but is commonly used to name the entire district.
Day 4 – Feb 14 – Kyoto / Fushimi inari Taisha and old Kyoto
Visit the Fushimi Inari Taisha, is Kyoto’s most important Shinto shrine and one of its most impressive attractions. Located in southern Kyoto, it is famed for its variety of shrines and vermilion torishrine gates, with thousands of them winding their way up the sacred Mount Inari. Fushimi Inari Taishi is the head shrine of Inari, the god of rice, Sake and prosperity and patron of business, merchants and manufacturers. The shrine sits at the base of Mount Inari and includes many smaller sub shrines which span 4 kilometres up the 233 meter (764 ft) mountain. Each of the famous torii shrine gates has been donated by an individual or a Japanese business in the hope of receiving good luck and fortune. The name of the donor is inscribed in black ink on the back of each gate.
Afternoon – will visit the Kyoto’s old part of the town and street photography
Dinner and pack for our transfer to Nara.
Day 5 – Feb 15 – Kyoto – Nara
This morning will drive to Nara, with a history as Japan’s first permanent capital and home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Nara is one of the country’s most culturally rich towns. Although Nara only served as Japan’s capital for around 70 years, it was during those years that the country’s art, literature, and culture developed into the traditions still associated with Japan today. Located less than an hour away from Kyoto and Osaka, Nara is wonderfully compact town, with most of its historic attractions found in pretty Nara Park. Aside from temples, the park is known for its population of free roaming deer The most impressive feature is Todaiji Temple, an enormous wooden building that houses one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha.
Meals: B, D.
Day 6 – Feb 16 – Nara / Tōdai-ji temple and old Nara.
Nara is the capital of Japan’s Nara Prefecture, in south-central Honshu.The Nara period started with the establishment of a new capital for the Imperial Court. That change greatly influenced the development of the economy, government, and society. This period was later named after the city of Nara, which is where the first capital was located. Empress Genmei and her successors developed Nara into a center of modernity, religion, and innovation where she emulated many aspects of the Chinese culture and incorporated them into the Japanese society. During this period, Buddhism was also brought to Japan, thus modifying many aspects of the daily life, local laws, and rituals. Architecture and other forms of art were also greatly influenced
The city has significant temples and artwork dating to the 8th century. Today will visit the Tōdai-ji temple. Daibutsu, Tōdai-ji’s 15m-high bronze Buddha. Buddha is displayed in a large wooden hall. On the park’s east side is the Shinto shrine Kasuga Taisha, which dates to 768 A.D. and more than 3,000 lanterns.
Day 7 – Feb 17 –Nara/ Tea ceremony with Geisha
Japan’s historic machiya are mostly concentrated in Kyoto. These traditional wooden townhouses are responsible for much of that ancient city’s charms, including the famous Gion and Pontocho geisha districts. This day will wonder the narrow streets with traditional shops and Galleries with old japanise art work, in the afternoon will be experiencing and photographing a Geisha dance with tea ceremony. Dinner
Kyoto is the heart of Japan’s geisha world. According to the history records, Geisha first appeared in Japan society in the 1730and they were entertainers for the wealthy man. In the beginning the Geisha were man who dressed comically and play music. The Female geishas appeared in the 1750 period and few years later the geishas were exclusively woman. To become a geisha thei did have to study for years in the house with other maiko to learn social and artistic skills that included singing, dancing, playing instruments and conducting a Japanese tea ceremony. Geisha number is decreasing but do to their unique tradition is very unlikely to disappear. The report say that in Kyoti they are only 100 geiko and 100 maiko. So meeting a geisha in Kyoto’s is a magical and memorable experience.
After dinner will prepare for our transfer to Koyasan, the Shinto Buddhist center in Japan.
Meals: B, D.
Day 8 – Feb 18 Nara – Koyasan
Depart after Breakfast to Mount Kōya, is the common name of a huge temple settlement in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Osaka. In the strict sense, Kōya-san is the so-called “mountain name” sangō of the Kongōbu-Temple, the ecclesiastical headquarters of the “Koyasan Shingon
Day 9 – Feb 19 –Koyasan
In the year 816 AD, a monk by the name of Kukai (774 ~ 835 AD), posthumously named Kobo Daishi, founded Shingon Buddhism and the monastery complex known as Koyasan. Located in the lush Koya-Ryujin Quasi-National Park, it is said that the 8 peaks and basin resemble a lotus, making it an auspicious location. For over 1,200 years Koyasan has flourished as an active monastic center, and is one of Japan’s most sacred sites. The contemplative surroundings that make Koyasan spectacular have welcomed emperors, feudal lords, aristocrats and politicians, acolytes and ordinary citizens. Its 117 intricately crafted buildings are the vestiges of the more than 2,000 temples that existed during the height of the Edo era (1603 – 1868). Whether richly textured in autumn leaves, covered in winter snow, or abloom with spring cherry blossoms and rhododendrons, Koyasan offers Shingon devotees and non-believers alike respite from the stresses of everyday life.In 2004, recognizing the unique and remarkable universal value of these three sites, Koyasan, Kumano Sanzan, and Yoshino and Omine (Nara Prefecture), as well as the connecting pilgrimage routes to the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” embody a cultural landscape, one that has existed over centuries through ascetic spiritual practices harmoniously interwoven with nature.
Day 10 – Feb 20 – Koyasan – Osaka – Home