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Tokyo Details

Tokyo is Japan’s capital and the world’s most populous metropolis. It is also one of Japan’s 47 prefectures consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages. Almost one-third of the population of Japan lives in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

You could easily spend a lifetime exploring Tokyo and never run out of places and things to discover. From “funky” old Ueno and nearby Yanaka with its fine park, museums, and old houses, to the ultra-modern Ginza with its endless department stores. The sheer energy level of Tokyo will sweep you away. And by night, Tokyo really comes into its own. Mazes of blazing neon fill every available nook and cranny of the city’s streets and alleys. Above all, Tokyo is not just a destination, but an experience.


Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower is a communications and observation tower in the Shiba-koen district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan. At 333 metres, it is the second-tallest structure in Japan. Built in 1958, the structure is an Eiffel Tower-inspired lattice tower. In addition to being a popular tourist spot, Tokyo Tower serves as a broadcast antenna. From the observation deck at 150 meters, on a clear day you can not only see all of Tokyo but the also the iconic Mt. Fuji.

Ginza District

The Ginza is Tokyo’s most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district, featuring numerous department store, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, night clubs and cafes. One square meter of land in the district’s center is worth over ten million Yen (about $90,000 USD), making it the most expensive real estate in Japan, and possibly even the world.

Kaminarimon, Nakamise-dori, Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa Shrine

When entering the temple district, visitors first enter through Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa and the entire city of Tokyo. A shopping street, called Nakamise, leads from Kaminarimon to Sensoji Temple. There are numerous shops selling traditional souvenirs and local snacks. Sensoji Temple was built in 645. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River. Even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji Temple was built nearby. It is Tokyo’s most popular temple. Asakusa Shrine, built in the year 1649 by Tokugawa Iemitsu stands only a few dozen meters to the left of the temple’s main building.

Tokyo Morning Optional Tour - Tsukiji Outer Market

The group will be visiting the outer market of Tsukiji Market. Wander through many of the shops selling traditional Japanese foods required for preparing Japanese cuisine, the shops selling Japanese cooking utensils, restaurants, Japanese seafood and observe how a whole tuna is cut up into sushi and sashimi. For lunch, you can go to a restaurant near the market that is popular with locals, and owned by the self-proclaimed “tuna king” for a sushi lunch (lunch not included). Or, you can purchase some items from the many shops and eat it at the break area for lunch. After lunch, the afternoon is free to explore Tokyo on your own. It is a short walk to the Kabukiza theater. There, you can attend one act of a Kabuki play if a play is scheduled on that day. Admittance is first-come, first-serve, and you will have to wait in line to get in. Ask the guide for availability, admittance procedures and the schedule for that day if you are interested.

Tokyo Afternoon Optional Tour - Cooking Class

The tour starts by traveling to Kappabashi. Kappabashi is lined with dozens of stores specializing in restaurant supplies. Here you will find specialized stores for dishes, pots, pans, cooking utensils and more. There are also a few stores that sell plastic and wax food samples, used by many restaurants in their front windows. If you want to take home something to cook Japanese food with, this is place to buy it. After Kappabashi, we will continue with a cooking class. Here you will learn to make rolled sushi and sushi mille-feuilles, and best of all, you will get to eat what you cook. (Cooking ingredients, spices, recipe, apron rental fee and complimentary sake aperitif or tea is included with the cooking class.)

Tokyo Optional Tour - Sumo Tournament (January, May and September Tours Only)

Meet with the guide in the lobby of the ryokan at 15:00, and travel by subway and JR train (please be sure to bring your rail passes) to the Ryogoku district of Tokyo where you will attend a sumo tournament. An English audio guide which will explain what is happening (the audio broadcast is actually the English feed from NHK, the public broadcasting television channel in Japan). Of course, the guide will also be able to help explain what is happening. The tournament will finish sometime around 18:00, and the guide will escort you back to the hotel by train and subway. Guide, English audio guide, tournament ticket, and transportation included.

Tokyo Optional Tour - Mt Fuji Climb (July and August Tours Only)

This will take place during the free day on Day 3 in Tokyo and Day 4, so you would miss Hakone. This optional tour will rejoin the tour group in Hakone on Day 4. You will leave for Mt Fuji on the morning of Day 3 with the guide who will be escorting you to the top of Mt Fuji and then to Hakone. Before leaving in the morning, you will transfer your main luggage to Hakone, and will be going to Mt Fuji with only what you will need for the climb. You will travel by bus (2 hours) to the Kawaguchi 5th station, arriving around lunch time, where lunch will be on your own. After lunch, you will begin the climb, and will be staying overnight at a climbing hut near the 7th or the 8th stations (4-6 Hours). (Dinner and breakfast at the hut will be included.) Early the next morning (around 2AM), you will begin the final ascent to the top of Mt Fuji (1-2 Hours), and will hopefully be on the top before sunrise. After enjoying the sunrise and view from the top, you will descend back down to the 5th station, and then travel to Hakone on you own (4 Hours).

(PLEASE NOTE: Although no special technical climbing ability is required to climb Mt Fuji, it is a very strenuous hike at high altitudes with some sections of the trail being very steep and very rocky. Only those in excellent physical condition should consider the climb.)

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