Best of Tokyo and Beyond

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To the uninitiated, Tokyo may seem like a whirlwind of people and traffic. Yet, behind the ordered chaos lie remnants of a very different past.

Destinations

Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone

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.

You will learn the ancient religious traditions of the Japanese, wander the stalls of the world’s largest fish market, visit the famous “Daibutsu” in Kamakura, explore Tokyo’s largest Shinto Shrine dedicated to the emperor who began the modernization of Japan and see the icon of Japan, Mt. Fuji (weather-permitting).

Combine this tour with the Best of Kyoto and Beyond tour for a more complete Japanese experience. Or, if you only want to spend a few days in Kyoto either before or after the tour, we can arrange this for you. Contact us for details.

DAY 1Arrive Tokyo

You lose a day flying to Japan due to crossing the International Dateline, but you will gain the day back when you fly home. You will be met at Tokyo’s Narita Airport by a meeting service, and you will be escorted to the ryokan where you will be staying. No meals are included.

Travel: 1-1/2 Hours; Walking: Light

DAY 2Tokyo – Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Takeshita-dori, Omotesando, Akihabara

We start the day with a visit to the Meiji Shrine, the largest Shinto Shrine in Tokyo. The shrine was completed and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji in 1920, eight years after his death. Emperor Meiji was born in 1852 and ascended to the throne in 1867 when Japan’s feudal era came to an end and the emperor was restored to power. During the Meiji Period, Japan modernized and westernized herself to join the world’s major powers. Next, we will visit the Harajuku District of Tokyo. Harajuku is the center of Japan’s most extreme teenage fashion styles. The focal point of Harajuku is Takeshita Dori, which is lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores and other shops geared towards the fashion and trend-conscious teens. Near Takeshita-dori, but worlds apart, is Omotesando, a broad, tree-lined avenue sometimes referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees. Here you can find famous brand name shops, cafes and restaurants. We will finish the day with a visit to Akihabara. In the past, Akihabara was famous for its numerous, large electronics shops. Today, Akihabara has gained recognition as the center of Japan’s otaku (geek or nerd) culture, and many shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are now mixed among the electronic stores in the district. For those who are interested, we can finish the visit to Akihabara with a visit to a Maid Café where the waitresses are dressed like a maid or an anime character. (The seating charge and drink or food orders are not included.) Breakfast at the ryokan and lunch at a local restaurant are included.

Travel: 1 Hours; Walking: Heavy

DAY 3Tokyo – Ueno Park, Yanaka District, Rikiguen Garden

After breakfast, we will visit Ueno Park. Today, Ueno Park is Tokyo’s largest public park with numerous temples, shrines and museums. But in 1868, it was the site of a large, bloody battle between forces loyal to the Shogun and the Imperial army. Next we will visit the Yanaka District. Here you will find the old sprit of Tokyo is still alive and thriving. There are buildings dating back more than 150 years here that were not damaged during the huge Kanto earthquake in 1923 or during bombing in World War II. We will also visit a cemetery where the final Tokugawa Shogun is buried. We will finish the day with a visit to Rikiguen Garden. Rikugien is one of Tokyo’s most beautiful, Japanese style landscape gardens built around 1700 by Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, a high-ranking advisor in the Tokugawa Shogunate. Rikugien literally means “six poems garden” and reproduces in miniature 88 scenes from famous poems. Breakfast at the ryokan and lunch at a local restaurant are included.

Travel: 1 Hours; Walking: Heavy

DAY 4Tokyo – Senso-ji, Roppongi Hills Observation Deck, Ginza District, Sumida River Cruise

After breakfast, 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. Senso-ji Temple is the busiest temple in Tokyo, and it’s history dates back to the 7th century. Next, we will take the subway to Roppongi Hills, where we will visit the Tokyo City View. From the observation deck on the 53rd floor of the Roppongi Hills Building, you will get a bird’s eye view of Tokyo while also getting oriented to Tokyo, and a glimpse as to just how large Tokyo really is. On a clear day you might even see Mt. Fuji. Afterwards, we travel by subway to the famous Ginza district, the most expensive real estate in the world where we will first stop for a lunch of Kushiage (fried meat and vegetables on bamboo skewers). After lunch, you will have some free time to wander through the numerous boutiques and department stores. Visit the Nissan and BMW showrooms to see the latest automobile technology. Explore the Sony Building where you will find many of Sony’s products on display, some of which aren’t on the market yet. After taking a taxi to the Hinode Pier, we take a relaxing cruise on the Sumida River. Breakfast at the ryokan and lunch at a local restaurant included.

Travel: 1-3/4 Hours; Walking: Heavy

DAY 5Hakone

Today we will tour 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. Along the way we will be stopping at the Owakudani on the ropeway. The large windows of the gondola allow visitors to observe the panorama of Hakone’s unspoiled natural setting. Owakudani offers magnificent views of Mount Fuji in what is still an active volcanic region. Here at Owakudani, you will have free time to explore the thermally-heated pools and mud pots. You can try one of the `black eggs`, which are eggs hard-boiled in the thermally-heated mineral waters. It is said if you eat one of these eggs, it will add seven years to your life. (It is probably said by the people who sell the eggs.) Breakfast at the ryokan and lunch at local restaurant is included.

Travel: 6 Hours; Walking: Light

DAY 6Tokyo – Tsukiji Fish Market, Free Day

We will start the day at the Tsukiji Fish Market. This fish market is the largest in the world, and it is estimated that 20-percent of all of the fish caught in the world pass through this market. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own. Breakfast at the ryokan is included.

Travel: 1/2 Hours; Walking: Medium

DAY 7Kamakura – Hase-dera, Kotokuin (Great Buddha), Hokoku-ji (Bamboo Temple)

We board a subway and an express train to the ancient city of Kamakura, the former capital of Japan in the 13th century. We will start at Hase-dera. This temple, originally established in the 8th century houses a famous Kannon statue made from wood and gold leaf, and also has a commanding view of the nearby ocean. Next we will visit Kotokuin, the home of the famous Kamakura Great Buddha. This 40-foot tall bronze statue of Buddha, built in the 13th century is an icon of Japan. After a relaxing noodle lunch, we continue by taxi to Hokokuin Temple, also known as the Bamboo Temple. Here you will be able to relax and enjoy the serene atmosphere of the bamboo garden while savoring tea and sweets. After arriving back in Tokyo, we will enjoy a Kaitenzushi Sayonara dinner. (Kaitenzushi literally translates to Sushi-go-round.) The sushi moves by on a conveyor belt, and you grab what looks good. Breakfast at the ryokan, lunch and dinner at a local Japanese restaurant are included.

Travel: 3 Hours; Walking: Medium

DAY 8Home

It’s time to say “sayonara” (goodbye). You will be escorted to the train station where you will take the express train to Tokyo’s Narita Airport on your own. Breakfast at the ryokan is included.

Travel: 1-1/2 Hours; Walking: Light

Inclusions

The full-time services of a Samurai Tours guide.

Travel Guard Gold Policy from Travel Guard, one of the world’s largest travel insurance providers, will be provided to everyone from the United States and Canada (except for Quebec). All others will receive a $100 per person credit and will be responsible for obtaining their own travel insurance in their own home country. (The insurance provided by Samurai Tours will cover the land portion only. Insurance to cover airfare and other additional expenses is the tour member’s responsibility.)

Download a PDF of the Travel Guard Gold Policy

The provided insurance coverage includes:

  • Trip Cancellation (up to trip cost)
  • Trip Interruption (up to 150% of trip cost)
  • Trip Delay (up to $750)
  • Missed Connection (up to $250)
  • Baggage and Personal Effects Loss (up to $1,000)
  • Baggage Delay (up to $300)
  • Medical Expense (up to $25,000)
  • Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains (up to $500,000)
  • Accidental Death or Dismemberment (up to $10,000)
  • Coverage for financial default of tour operator
  • Cancel for Work Reasons
  • A waiver of any pre-existing medical conditions that could eventually cause you to interrupt your trip

Travel Insurance Surcharge: Depending on your age at the time the travel insurance is purchased, you may be subject to the following surcharge for your travel insurance. Travel insurance surcharges will be due at the same time as your tour deposits.

  • Up to 69 – $0
  • 70-74 – $47
  • 75-79 – $92
  • 80-84 – $179
  • 85+ – $283

Travel Insurance Opt-Out: If you would prefer to opt out of the travel insurance, please note this at the time of registration. You will receive a $100 credit per person, which will be reflected on your invoice. In the event that you would need to cancel your tour, cancellation penalties may apply. See the Terms and Conditions page for the Cancellation Fees Schedule.

Airport transfer from Tokyo’s Narita Airport and airport transfer to Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

Meeting service at Tokyo’s Narita Airport and sending service to the Tokyo Train Station. (The meeting service will meet you at the airport and escort you to the ryokan in Tokyo. The sending service will escort you to the Tokyo train station and make sure you board the correct train. The sending service will not accompany you to the airport. 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 Tokyo Train Station.)

Lodging for seven nights in a Japanese-style ryokan

Meals

  • Japanese-style or Western-style breakfast every morning.?(Please Note: Some ryokans offer Japanese breakfasts only.)
  • Five Japanese-style lunches
  • One Japanese-style dinner

All transportation costs when traveling with the group. (Transportation costs during scheduled free times are the tour member’s responsibility.)

Admission fees to the destinations and activities listed in the Tour Highlights column on the right, during non-free times. (Itinerary specifics subject to change.)

Each tour member receives a 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.

Exclusions

Airfare is NOT included.

Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and desserts are NOT included – except at the Sayonara dinner on the final evening of the tour.

Tour Map

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Overall Customer Ratings

Individual Customer Reviews

Heber Vicario – Jun 23, 2012 to Jun 30, 2012

Stacey Higa – Apr 07, 2012 to Apr 14, 2012

Omar Brenes – Apr 07, 2012 to Apr 14, 2012

Matthew – Jun 07, 2008 to Jun 14, 2008

dave/eden/mercedes weber – Sep 27, 2008 to Oct 04, 2008