Experience more of Tokyo and Kyoto on the Tokaido Highway Self Guided tour. The Tokaido Highway, built by the Tokugawa Shoguns in the early 17th century, connected the new military capital of Tokyo with the imperial, cultural capital of Kyoto. Follow in the steps of Daimyo (feudal lords) and Samurai as you visit the two greatest cities of Japan.
Tokyo may seem like a whirlwind of people and traffic, yet behind the ordered chaos lies remnants of a very different past. You could easily spend a lifetime exploring Tokyo and never run out of places and things to discover. From Asakusa’s ancient temple to the Ginza’s ultra-modern department stores and shops, the sheer energy level of Tokyo will sweep you away. Business men flood the streets by day, and mazes of blazing neon and lively pedestrians fill the streets by night. Tokyo is not just a destination- it’s an experience.
Steeped in history and tradition, Kyoto has in many ways been the cradle of Japanese culture. A stroll through Kyoto today is a walk through 11 centuries of Japanese history. Kyoto is endowed with an almost overwhelming legacy of ancient Buddhist temples, majestic palaces, and gardens of every shape and size. For many, just the name of Kyoto conjures up the classic images of Japan: streets of traditional wooden houses, the click-clack of geta (wooden sandals) on the stone-paved roads, geisha in a flourish of brightly colored silks and a tea master warming water and making tea.
If you have the extra time, customize your itinerary by adding the available upgrades to some of Japan’s most popular destinations.
After clearing customs and immigration, you will be met at Tokyo’s Narita Airport by a Samurai Tours meeting staff member. They will then purchase a limousine bus ticket for you and help you board the bus to the ryokan. After checking in, the evening is free. No meals are included.
Travel: 1-1/2 Hours; Walking: Light
After breakfast, you will start the day with a Welcome/Orientation meeting. Next, the licensed, English-speaking guide will escort you to the Tokyo Tower. The Tokyo Tower is a communications and observation tower in the center of Tokyo. At 332.9 metres (1,092 ft), it is the second-tallest structure in Japan. The structure is an Eiffel Tower-inspired lattice tower, with a main observatory at 150 meters that is reached via elevator or a 600-step staircase. Thanks to the tower’s central location, the observatory offers an interesting view of the city despite being only at a relatively moderate height. Afterwards, we will travel to the famous Ginza district. Ginza is recognized by many as one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world, attracting visitors and regulars alike from across the globe. Before continuing we will stop for a lunch of Kushiage (fried meat and vegetables on bamboo skewers). Next we will travel to the nearby Asakusa area. Here we will tour the Nakamise-dori, Senso-ji Buddhist Temple and the Asakusa Shrine where you will learn about Buddhist and Shinto Japanese religious practices. After taking a taxi to the Hinode Pier, we take a relaxing cruise on the Sumida River. Breakfast at the accommodations and lunch at a local restaurant included.
$125.00 (You must pre-register before arriving in Japan.)
Tour the Tokyo bay while relaxing with dinner and drinks! Sites include Tokyo Sky Tree, Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba and Tokyo Skyline from Tokyo Bay all lit up at night. Dinner includes sashimi and tempura or vegetarian kaiseki dinner with all-you-can-drink beer, sake, shochu, plum wine, whiskey, white wine, red wine, coffee, tea, and soft drinks. (You will travel to/from the port on your own with our guidance, no guide included)
Travel: 13/4 Hours; Walking: Heavy
Today is a free day to enjoy the world-class city of Tokyo. Go shopping for that perfect souvenir, visit the Tokyo National Museum, or wander through the trendy Shibuya or Harajuku districts where you will more than likely see interesting and far-out fashions.
$75.00 (You must pre-register before arriving in Japan.)
We will be visiting the outer market of Tsukiji Market. We will wander through many of the shops selling numerous items needed for Japanese cooking, and we will even observe how a whole tuna is cut up into sushi and sashimi. After this, we will go to a sushi restaurant near the market that is popular with locals and owned by the self-proclaimed “tuna king” for a sushi lunch. After lunch, we will return to the hotel to prepare for our travel to Hakone. Lunch is included.
Travel: 1/2 Hours; Walking: Medium
After breakfast we will travel to Hakone. Hakone is famous for its natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji (weather permitting). We will be taking many different forms of transportation (electric train, funicular, gondola and bus) around Hakone including the Hakone Sightseeing Boats on Lake Ashi. In good weather, passengers aboard the sightseeing cruise can get a fine view of Japan’s most famous peak, Mount Fuji, and enjoy Hakone’s rich scenery reflected on the lake’s calm surface.
In the afternoon, you will travel by Shinkansen (bullet train) to the city of Kyoto. You will be escorted to the train , met on the platform in Kyoto and escorted to the ryokan in Kyoto. Breakfast at the ryokan and lunch at local restaurant is included.
Before leaving Tokyo, you will need to prepare your luggage for transfer to Kyoto. You will need to take an overnight bag with you with enough clothing and other items for two days and one night.
PLEASE NOTE: High winds and/or heavy rain can, and will often cause cessation of services on the Sightseeing Boat cruise and/or ropeway. Should this occur, we will not be able to operate the itinerary as listed above, and will replace it with the best possible alternative given the weather conditions. Also, in the case of bad weather, even if the boats are still operating, we may alter the itinerary for your comfort and safety as Mt. Fuji will more than likely not be visible anyway.
Travel: 6 Hours; Walking: Light
After breakfast, we will start the day at the Nijo Castle. Built in 1603, it was the Kyoto home of Tokugawa Ieayasu, the first Tokugawa Shogun. The ostentatious style of construction was intended as a demonstration of Ieyasu’s prestige, and to signal the demise of the emperor’s power. The finest artists of the day filled the castle with delicate transom woodcarvings and paintings by the Kano School on sliding doors. One of the castle’s most intriguing features is the so-called “nightingale” floors. To protect the Shogun from real or imagined enemies, these floorboards creak when stepped on. Next we will visit Kinkaku-ji. Also known as the Golden Pavilion, it is one of Kyoto’s, as well as Japan’s, most recognizable attractions. The gleaming building covered in gold leaf seems to float on the aptly named Mirror Pond, especially on a sunny day. After lunch you will have some free time at Nishiki Koji. Nishiki Koji is a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. Following this free time, we will participate in an authentic tea ceremony. The regimented discipline of the tea ceremony has been practiced for more than 400 years, and at one time was considered mandatory for Samurai as an aid to train the mind. After the tea ceremony, we will return to the ryokan. After returning to the ryokan, you will pick up your luggage sent from Tokyo. Breakfast at the ryokan and lunch at a local restaurant included.
Travel: 1 Hours; Walking: Heavy
Today is free for you to explore Kyoto. Breakfast at the ryokan and Sayonara dinner at a local restaurant is included.
$130.00(You must pre-register before arriving in Japan.)
After breakfast, we are off by train to the nearby city of Fushimi, one of the largest sake producing regions of Japan. Here we will visit the Fushimi Inari shrine. This Shinto Shrine, established in the 8th century, is famous for the long tunnels of vermilion torii gates straddling a network of trails leading to the top of the heavily forested Mt. Inari. We will then travel to the Higashiyama District. This area of narrow, cobblestone alleys with its temples, shrines, numerous shops and restaurants is truly enjoyable and relaxing. We will stop for lunch in the Higashiyama District, and then visit the nearby Yasaka Shrine, also known as the Gion Shrine. This shrine, built over 1350 years ago, is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto. The shrine’s main hall combines the honden (inner sanctuary) and haiden (offering hall) into a single building. Next, we will walk to the famous Gion Geisha District. Here, you will see where the Geiko (in Kyoto they call themselves Geiko, not Geisha) and Maiko live and work. You may even see one on their way to one of their appointments. You will have free time for shopping or roaming around the Gion District before returning to the ryokan. Lunch at a Japanese restaurant included.
It’s time to say “sayonara” (Goodbye). The group will depart at 8:00 am unless we have determined you need to leave earlier. You will be escorted to the Kyoto train station, where you will return on your own to Tokyo’s Narita airport, Tokyo’s Haneda airport or Osaka’s Kansai airport by train. (If you are flying out of Narita or Haneda Airport, be sure to schedule a flight after 15:00 to allow yourself enough time to catch your flight.) Transportation to Osaka’s Kansai Airport is included in the tour package. If you would like to return home from one of the Tokyo airports, please contact us for the details.
Travel: TBD; Walking: Light
Walking level descriptions:
Light – 0 to 2 miles on level ground
Medium – 2 to 4 miles on level ground or 0 to 2 miles on hilly ground
Heavy – 4 to 6 miles on level ground or 2 to 4 miles on hilly ground
|Dates||Price (land only) / Single Supplement|
(All prices are per Person)
|Mar 28, 2024 - Apr 3, 2024 |
|May 23, 2024 - May 29, 2024 ||$2,699.63/ $428.48||Available||Lodging|
|Jun 20, 2024 - Jun 26, 2024 ||$2,699.63/ $428.48||Available||Lodging|
|Jul 18, 2024 - Jul 24, 2024 ||$2,699.63/ $428.48||Available||Lodging|
|Aug 22, 2024 - Aug 28, 2024 ||$2,699.63/ $428.48||Available||Lodging|
|Sep 19, 2024 - Sep 25, 2024 ||$2,699.63/ $428.48||Available||Lodging|
|Oct 17, 2024 - Oct 23, 2024 ||$2,970.52/ $428.48||Available||Lodging|
Our tours and tour itineraries are the best, but as the saying goes, “you can’t make everyone happy all of the time”. There may a specific destination or a specific experience you may want to include in your visit to Japan that may not be included your tour. Choose from our Add On tours to include your interests and make your Japan tour even better.
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For those requiring meeting or sending services on other than the scheduled arrival/departure dates, there will be a $100 fee for the meeting service from the airport into Tokyo or the sending service to the Kyoto train station.)
Each tour member receives an electronic copy of our tour handbook. This handbook is full of tips and suggestions taken from our Japan travel experiences that allow you to better plan and prepare for your trip, and therefore enjoy your trip even more. The tips and suggestions included cover everything from how to save while exchanging money, what to pack, some basic Japanese-language tips, general etiquette do’s-and-don’ts, ryokan customs, etc.