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The Great Buddha of Kamakura, sitting unsheltered for centuries

The famous wild deer of Nara Park

A washoku set served in an atmospheric restaurant in Ginza

Stopping by the famous Niju-bashi bridge of Tokyo Imperial Palace

Five Capitals

10 days

TokyoKamakuraTokyoFuji Five LakesTokyoKyotoNaraOsaka

Time to wear a kimono and cut things down!

The slopes of Higashiyama, a sight that defines classic Japan

Three Zen temples to explore, dating back to the 14th century

Osaka-style okonomiyaki, one of the city's signature food

An artistic hotel in Tokyo with more than 60 years of history
Astounding yet accessible array of scientific innovation in Miraikan
Creative fusion lunch at an altitude of 350 meters
TOTO’s hi-tech home gadgets showroom in Shinjuku
The Scramble Crossing in Shibuya, bursting into life at dusk
Senso-ji and the illustrious pagoda in Asakusa
Life-size replica of an Edo-style building in a museum
A washoku set served in an atmospheric restaurant in Ginza
Time to wear a kimono and cut things down!
Stopping by the famous Niju-bashi bridge of Tokyo Imperial Palace
The Great Buddha of Kamakura, sitting unsheltered for centuries
A side trip to the vicinity of Mt. Fuji
Local cuisine featuring the rare matsutake mushrooms
Oshino Hakkai, a small village in the Fuji Five Lake region
Look at that altitude! Mt. Fuji 5th station
Exclusive lunch in a little-known gem of a restaurant in Kyoto
Entrance to Heian Jingu, a relatively young grand shrine
Set your sights where Emperor Kanmu did when he founded Kyoto
The slopes of Higashiyama, a sight that defines classic Japan
A royal hotel to stay at in the millennium capital
Three Zen temples to explore, dating back to the 14th century
Aesthetically superb sushi in an equally aesthetic restaurant
Todai-ji, the temple with the world's largest Daibutsu statue
The famous wild deer of Nara Park
A spiritual experience in Kasuga Taisha, Nara's grand shrine
Osaka Castle, always a sight to behold
Osaka-style okonomiyaki, one of the city's signature food
Tour code: HT-01-EN
Five Capitals
Travel style: Comfort

10 days

TokyoKamakuraTokyoFuji Five LakesTokyoKyotoNaraOsaka

Theme: Historic Trails
Availability: All year round

Overview

The Land of Rising Sun has a rich and extensive history that spans millennia. During the course of its evolution, the Japanese civilization has moved its center on numerous occasions. For travelers who are interested in discovering this timeless tale called Japan, we created this program to bring you to five of the country’s capitals of the past and present: Tokyo, Kamakura, Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka.

The goal of this itinerary is to show you the fruits of the Japanese ingenuity throughout the ages. You will start with the present capital, Tokyo, and see both its past and future. You will then visit the ancient capitals, Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara, all of which have important shrines and temples, legacy of the religion-centric Classical and Medieval era of Japan. Finally, you will explore Osaka and experience its history from its days as Naniwa to the lively city it is today.

This itinerary will showcase the iconic spots in each capital city, as well as museums that cover a wide spectrum of topics relevant to the development of the Japanese culture. You will also make a day trip to Mt. Fuji, an icon that has been a center of the people’s belief for centuries. Overall, the Five Capitals tour will be a treat for history buffs and casual travelers alike!

You might be also interested in

Trip name days  
Tokaido Trails Tokyo to Osaka 7

Overview

The Land of Rising Sun has a rich and extensive history that spans millennia. During the course of its evolution, the Japanese civilization has moved its center on numerous occasions. For travelers who are interested in discovering this timeless tale called Japan, we created this program to bring you to five of the country’s capitals of the past and present: Tokyo, Kamakura, Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka.

The goal of this itinerary is to show you the fruits of the Japanese ingenuity throughout the ages. You will start with the present capital, Tokyo, and see both its past and future. You will then visit the ancient capitals, Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara, all of which have important shrines and temples, legacy of the religion-centric Classical and Medieval era of Japan. Finally, you will explore Osaka and experience its history from its days as Naniwa to the lively city it is today.

This itinerary will showcase the iconic spots in each capital city, as well as museums that cover a wide spectrum of topics relevant to the development of the Japanese culture. You will also make a day trip to Mt. Fuji, an icon that has been a center of the people’s belief for centuries. Overall, the Five Capitals tour will be a treat for history buffs and casual travelers alike!

Highlights

Outline

Arrival: Narita International Airport

Day 1: Arrival in TokyoTokyo

Arrive in Tokyo. Adventure is about to start!

Day 2: Tokyo Tour (Future)Tokyo

Explore the futuristic side of Tokyo, and discover the cutting edge of Japan

Meals included : Breakfast / Lunch

Day 3: Tokyo Tour (Past)Tokyo

Explore Tokyo’s legacy from before, during, and after the Edo period

Meals included : Breakfast / Lunch

Day 4: Kamakura TourKamakura › Tokyo

Explore Kamakura, capital of the Kamakura period, and its temples and shrines

Meals included : Breakfast / Lunch

Day 5: Mt. Fuji TourFuji Five Lakes › Tokyo

Explore Mt. Fuji and a small village around eight ponds fed by its snow

Meals included : Breakfast / Lunch

Day 6: Kyoto Tour (Imperial)Kyoto

Explore and discover Kyoto from the lens of its founding Emperor

Meals included : Breakfast / Lunch

Day 7: Kyoto Tour (Shogunate)Kyoto

Explore the temples of Muromachi period and Tokugawa’s castle in Kyoto

Meals included : Breakfast / Lunch

Day 8: Nara TourNara › Osaka

Explore Nara, the capital during the 8th century, and its record-setting wonders

Meals included : Breakfast / Lunch

Day 9: Osaka TourOsaka

Explore Osaka, seat of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s government, and an ancient capital

Meals included : Breakfast / Lunch

Day 10: Leaving JapanOsaka

Leave Japan, and bring home many wonderful memories!

Meals included : Breakfast

Departure: Kansai International Airport

Hotels

What is included?

Tour Accommodation

Western hotel: 9 nights

Meals

9 breakfasts -- 8 lunches

Transport

Airport pickup -- Private car: 8 days -- Bullet train: 1 time (Tokyo - Kyoto)

Tour guide

Airport pickup -- Guided tours: 8 days

Included activities

Tickets for attractions and rides as defined in the itinerary, where necessary

FAQ

Frequently asked questions about the tour

International flights are not included in the tour price, and should be independently arranged by the traveler. This particular itinerary starts in Tokyo and ends in Osaka. Please book a flight to either Narita International Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND), and a flight out of Kansai International Airport (KIX). It should be noted that we can arrange the included airport pickup service only if your flight arrives during working hours (between 9 AM and 5 PM, Japan time). We recommend flights that arrive around/after noon, as you can only check into your hotel starting at 3 PM.
An English-speaking guide will accompany you on Days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. The guide will be at your service during the designated tour hours. The guide will also pick you up at the airport if your flight arrives during working hours (between 9 AM and 5 PM, Japan time). In the event that your flight arrives early, we can arrange a half-day tour on the day of arrival at an additional cost.
The tour price includes nine nights in 4-star hotels. Breakfast is included for each night’s stay in a hotel. Lunch is provided on every guided day, but not on days of arrival or departure. As you can only check into your hotel starting at 3 PM, in the event that your flight arrives early, we can arrange lunch on the day of arrival at an additional cost.
The tour price includes the service of a driver and a private car on every guided day. It also includes a scheduled bullet train transfer between Tokyo and Kyoto on Day 6. The driver and car will be available only during the designated tour hours, and only for the included destinations. Airport pickup is also included if your flight arrives during working hours (between 9 AM and 5 PM, Japan time). In the event that your flight arrives early, we can extend the use of the private car for the purposes of lunch or a half-day tour at an additional cost. Please note that airport transfer for departure is not included.
All entrance tickets for destinations defined in the schedule are included in the tour price. Some tickets cannot be pre-booked, and it may be necessary for the guide to procure them on the spot. Please note that some attractions require strict compliance to pre-booked entrance times, and may void the booking if the schedule is not observed. As such, please complete your preparations to leave the hotel by the designated start time of the day.

You might be also interested in

Trip name days
Tokaido Trails Tokyo to Osaka 7

Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo

  Tokyo

Arrival: Narita International Airport

Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Activities

The first day is a standard affair. Your guide will pick you up at the airport and assist you with preparations for the tour. A private coach will take you to your hotel in the heart of the city. After the check-in procedures are completed, you will have the rest of the day to yourselves.

Day 2: Tokyo Tour (Future)

  Tokyo
Breakfast / Lunch Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:00 Transfer to Shimbashi >> board the Yurikamome Train toward Odaiba
  • 10:00 - 11:30 Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation)
  • 11:30 - 12:00 Sightseeing around Odaiba
  • 12:00 - 12:30 Transfer to Tokyo Skytree
  • 12:30 - 13:00 Tokyo Skytree (observation deck)
  • 13:00 - 14:30 Lunch at Tokyo Skytree
  • 14:30 - 15:00 Transfer to Shinjuku
  • 15:00 - 16:00 TOTO Tokyo Center Showroom
  • 16:00 - 16:30 Transfer to Shibuya
  • 16:30 - 17:30 Sightseeing around Shibuya
  • 17:30 - 18:00 Transfer to hotel

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
French and Japanese fusion cuisine in a restaurant 345 meters above ground

Activities

The opening act of this tour brings you to the futuristic side of Tokyo. In the morning, you will be exploring the artificial island of Odaiba. Originally a defensive fort to protect Edo from a more advanced civilization, this place is itself now the pinnacle of advancement. You will discover exhibits of scientific breakthroughs in the Miraikan museum, and see the signature landmarks of Odaiba such as the Gundam statue and the futuristic Fuji TV Building.

In the afternoon, you will visit Tokyo Skytree, an awe-inspiring structure that is currently the tallest tower, as well as the second highest structure in the world. Enjoy lunch at an altitude of 350 meters with the entirety of the city right outside your window! After that you will visit TOTO’s showroom in Shinjuku, displaying many hi-tech home gadgets including the cutting-edge of their famous “Washlet” technology. Explore the innovative quality-of-life improvements that have become a staple for Japanese households today. Finally, you will make a stop at Shibuya to appreciate the ever crowded intersection, and the bright neon signs and giant screens that make Tokyo as lively as it is modern.

Day 3: Tokyo Tour (Past)

  Tokyo
Breakfast / Lunch Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:00 Transfer to Asakusa
  • 10:00 - 11:00 Asakusa and Senso-ji
  • 11:00 - 12:30 Edo-Tokyo Museum
  • 12:30 - 12:45 Transfer to Ginza
  • 12:45 - 14:15 Washoku lunch
  • 14:15 - 15:15 Japanese art experience (sword / kimono)
  • 15:15 - 15:30 Transfer to Tokyo Imperial Palace
  • 15:30 - 16:30 Tokyo Imperial Palace (East Garden)
  • 16:30 - 17:00 Return to hotel

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
Washoku set served in an atmospheric restaurant in Ginza

Activities

It is time to explore Tokyo’s history. Your first destination is the oldest temple in the city, Senso-ji. Built in the 7th century, the Buddhist house of worship was built by two fishermen long before Edo became the capital of Japan. The bulk of Tokyo’s history as a capital city, however, is the Edo period itself, which you will relive in the Edo-Tokyo Museum. You will see miniaturized models of the city in that era, as well as many relevant exhibits that depict life in the 260-year-long dynasty. You will also learn about the rapid development that Tokyo underwent after the Meiji Restoration.

In the afternoon, you will visit Ginza and dine on fine traditional Japanese dishes before you resume with exploring Tokyo’s history. A civilization’s traditional art forms are surviving legacies of the past, and you will therefore experience history itself firsthand as you get acquainted with batto (the art of sword-drawing) and waso (traditional Japanese garbs/kimono). Finally, you will visit what was once Edo Castle and is nowadays a domain of the Imperial Family, and explore the regal East Garden of the Palace.

Day 4: Kamakura Tour

  Kamakura › Tokyo
Breakfast / Lunch Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 11:00 Transfer to Kamakura
  • 11:00 - 11:45 Kotoku-in (Kamakura Daibutsu)
  • 11:45 - 13:00 Hase-dera
  • 13:00 - 13:30 Transfer to Komachi-dori
  • 13:30 - 15:00 Unagi lunch
  • 15:00 - 16:30 Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu
  • 16:30 - 18:00 Return to Tokyo hotel

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
Rice and grilled unagi (freshwater eel) seasoned with delicious tare sauce

Activities

Today, you will visit the eponymous capital of the Kamakura shogunate, which effectively governed Japan around the 13th century. In the morning, you will visit two historic temples of the Jodo sect of Buddhism. The first one features an outdoor statue of a sitting Buddha, while the latter houses a wooden statue of an eleven-faced Kannon. Both were built during the Kamakura period.

In the afternoon, you will visit the most important Shinto shrine in the city. Built to worship the deity Hachiman, who was said to have protected the shogunate, the shrine is the literal center of Kamakura. Next to its great stairway is the remains of a ginkgo tree which had stood since the shrine’s foundation, and the main hall at the top exhibits cultural artifacts from the period.

Day 5: Mt. Fuji Tour

  Fuji Five Lakes › Tokyo
Breakfast / Lunch Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 11:30 Transfer to Fuji Five Lakes
  • 11:30 - 13:00 Mt. Fuji 5th station (summer/autumn) / Kachi Kachi Ropeway (winter/spring)
  • 13:00 - 14:30 Matsutake lunch
  • 14:30 - 15:30 Transfer to Oshino Hakkai
  • 15:30 - 17:00 Oshino Hakkai
  • 17:00 - 19:00 Return to Tokyo hotel

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
Local washoku set featuring ingredients from the mountain, including rare matsutake mushrooms

Activities

Between the capital cities in the Kanto and Kansai region, you will go on a side trip to the vicinity of Mt. Fuji. This excursion is divided into two parts. The first is to deliver to you the view that the Japanese have so venerated since the ancient times. The second is to bring you to a quaint village that developed around the eight ponds formed from the melted snow of the mountain. See and experience the sacred mountain -- its soil, air, and water!

For the first part, depending on the season and weather conditions, you may or may not be able to go up Mt. Fuji itself. While the view of the peak from above the clouds are superb, there in an attractive alternative even on days when the stops on the slope are not available: a ropeway up Mt. Tenjo, the fabled setting of the folk story Kachi Kachi Yama. Enjoy the picturesque Fuji Five Lakes area before you resume city-hopping on the next day!

Day 6: Kyoto Tour (Imperial)

  Kyoto
Breakfast / Lunch Rihga Royal Kyoto Western hotel

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 12:00 Hotel check-out >> transfer to Kyoto by shinkansen
  • 10:00 - 12:00 Transfer to Kyoto by shinkansen
  • 12:00 - 12:30 Transfer to restaurant
  • 12:30 - 13:30 Kyo-ryori lunch
  • 13:30 - 13:45 Transfer to Heian Jingu
  • 13:45 - 15:00 Heian Jingu
  • 15:00 - 15:15 Transfer to Shogunzuka
  • 15:15 - 16:00 Shogunzuka
  • 16:00 - 16:30 Transfer to Higashiyama
  • 16:30 - 18:00 Sightseeing around Higashiyama
  • 18:00 - 18:30 Transfer to hotel >> check-in

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
Kyoto-style kaiseki set, also known as Kyo-ryori

Activities

Bidding goodbye to Tokyo, you will take the bullet train to Kyoto, the thousand-year capital. On the two-hour journey along the Tokaido Shinkansen, which traces an old trade route between the two capitals, you may catch another glimpse of Mt. Fuji. Upon arrival, you will get your first taste of Kyoto -- its traditional cuisine that is equal parts food and art. Afterward, you will get acquainted to two spots that mark the beginning and the end of imperial presence in Kyoto.

You will visit the Heian Shrine, built after the Meiji Restoration to honor the first and last emperors to reign from Kyoto. Afterward, you will get a view of the entirety of Kyoto from atop Shogunzuka, the very place where Emperor Kanmu is said to have laid his eyes on the land on which he would later found the capital city (Heian-kyo) more than 1,200 years ago. At the end of the day, you will explore the Higashiyama neighborhood, a well-preserved historic district. Aside from the traditional shops, it also houses several important temples, including Kiyomizu-dera, which was built around the same time Heian-kyo was named the capital.

Day 7: Kyoto Tour (Shogunate)

  Kyoto
Breakfast / Lunch Rihga Royal Kyoto Western hotel

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:00 Transfer to Toji-in
  • 10:00 - 11:00 Toji-in
  • 11:00 - 11:15 Transfer to Kinkaku-ji
  • 11:15 - 12:00 Kinkaku-ji
  • 12:00 - 12:15 Transfer to Ryoan-ji
  • 12:15 - 13:30 Ryoan-ji
  • 13:30 - 15:00 Temari-zushi lunch
  • 15:00 - 15:30 Transfer to Nijo Castle
  • 15:30 - 16:30 Nijo Castle
  • 16:30 - 18:00 Return to hotel >> free time

Meals

Breakfast
Western-style buffet
Lunch
Temari-zushi, very attractive and tantalizing small balls of sushi

Activities

Many of Kyoto’s famous landmarks are related to Zen Buddhism and the Feudal era. Today, you will be introduced to three Zen temples constructed during the Ashikaga shogunate, in chronological order. Toji-in with its lush gardens, built by the founder of the dynasty, represents “birth.” His grandson’s temple, Kinkaku-ji and its lavish golden exterior, is “glory.” Finally, Ryoan-ji, most famous for its dry landscape of rocks and gravel, may imply the “withering.” As such, the trinity completes the cycle in Buddhist philosophy, where nothing is eternal.

Afterward, you will visit a castle built by the Tokugawa clan after the fall of the Ashikaga reign. This Edo-era stronghold features massive walls and a wide moat, a carefully maintained landscape garden, orchards of cherry and plum trees, and most importantly, a beautifully decorated palace building. The castle is both elegant and imposing, a fine representation of the power that the shogun wielded.

Day 8: Nara Tour

  Nara › Osaka
Breakfast / Lunch Osaka Daiichi Hotel Western hotel

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:30 Hotel check-out >> transfer to Nara
  • 10:30 - 11:00 Nara Park
  • 11:00 - 12:00 Todai-ji
  • 12:00 - 12:15 Transfer to restaurant
  • 12:15 - 13:45 Cha-gayu lunch
  • 13:45 - 14:00 Transfer to Kasuga Taisha
  • 14:00 - 15:00 Kasuga Taisha
  • 15:00 - 15:45 Transfer to Horyu-ji
  • 15:45 - 16:30 Horyu-ji
  • 16:30 - 17:30 Transfer to Osaka >> hotel check-in

Meals

Breakfast
Western-style buffet
Lunch
Cha-gayu, a traditional Nara-style tea porridge

Activities

The ancient capital since times chronicled in legends, Yamato, and its legacy is found in present-day Nara. During the eight decade when the city of Nara itself served as the seat of the Emperor, a temple was constructed that came to house the world’s largest bronze statue of the Daibutsu. This temple, now known as Todai-ji, held supreme authority over all schools of Buddhism in Japan at its time. And it is yours to explore today.

Another important destination is Kasuga Taisha, a grand shrine also established during the Nara period. The so-called “shrine of a thousand lanterns” belonged to the Fujiwara clan, who were influential throughout the Nara and Heian period. Other highlights of the day include the tea porridge lunch and the influential Horyu-ji temple, which contains some of the world’s oldest surviving wooden structures. When you are done exploring Nara, you will be transferred to your hotel in Osaka, your last destination on this trip.

Day 9: Osaka Tour

  Osaka
Breakfast / Lunch Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport Western hotel

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:00 Hotel check-out >> transfer to Osaka Castle
  • 10:00 - 11:30 Osaka Castle
  • 11:30 - 12:00 Transfer to Umeda
  • 12:00 - 13:30 Okonomiyaki lunch
  • 13:30 - 14:00 Transfer to Tenjinbashi
  • 14:00 - 15:00 Osaka Museum of Housing and Living (kimono rental)
  • 15:00 - 15:30 Transfer to Osaka Museum of History
  • 15:30 - 17:00 Osaka Museum of History
  • 17:00 - 18:00 Transfer to Kansai International Airport >> hotel check-in

Meals

Breakfast
Western-style buffet
Lunch
Osaka-style okonomiyaki, the famous free-style pancake with meat and vegetables

Activities

In the morning, you will visit Osaka Castle, whose classic exterior belies its modern interior. Now a museum, the castle primarily displays exhibits concerning Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the three great unifiers of Japan, and predecessor to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the longest-lasting shogunate in Japanese history. Afterward, you will visit an area of re-created streets and buildings from Edo-period Osaka , where you will get to experience the zeitgeist in a rental kimono.

The last item on the menu is Osaka’s most comprehensive museum, which covers the extensive history of the city, from old capital Naniwa in the ancient times to bustling urban prefecture Osaka in the Showa period. You can explore the massive exhibition until its closing time at 5 PM. Finally, you will be transferred to a hotel near Kansai International Airport. Enjoy your last night in the country!

Day 10: Leaving Japan

  Osaka

Departure: Kansai International Airport

Breakfast

Meals

Breakfast
Western-style buffet

Activities

You have completed the Five Capitals tour! We hope that you enjoyed your trip with ILJT! On the last day, you will check out of your hotel and conduct an independent transfer to the airport. Have a safe flight back home, and see you again soon!

 Tokyo

Arrival: Narita International Airport

Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Activities

The first day is a standard affair. Your guide will pick you up at the airport and assist you with preparations for the tour. A private coach will take you to your hotel in the heart of the city. After the check-in procedures are completed, you will have the rest of the day to yourselves.

 Tokyo

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:00 Transfer to Shimbashi >> board the Yurikamome Train toward Odaiba
  • 10:00 - 11:30 Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation)
  • 11:30 - 12:00 Sightseeing around Odaiba
  • 12:00 - 12:30 Transfer to Tokyo Skytree
  • 12:30 - 13:00 Tokyo Skytree (observation deck)
  • 13:00 - 14:30 Lunch at Tokyo Skytree
  • 14:30 - 15:00 Transfer to Shinjuku
  • 15:00 - 16:00 TOTO Tokyo Center Showroom
  • 16:00 - 16:30 Transfer to Shibuya
  • 16:30 - 17:30 Sightseeing around Shibuya
  • 17:30 - 18:00 Transfer to hotel
Breakfast / Lunch Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Activities

The opening act of this tour brings you to the futuristic side of Tokyo. In the morning, you will be exploring the artificial island of Odaiba. Originally a defensive fort to protect Edo from a more advanced civilization, this place is itself now the pinnacle of advancement. You will discover exhibits of scientific breakthroughs in the Miraikan museum, and see the signature landmarks of Odaiba such as the Gundam statue and the futuristic Fuji TV Building.

In the afternoon, you will visit Tokyo Skytree, an awe-inspiring structure that is currently the tallest tower, as well as the second highest structure in the world. Enjoy lunch at an altitude of 350 meters with the entirety of the city right outside your window! After that you will visit TOTO’s showroom in Shinjuku, displaying many hi-tech home gadgets including the cutting-edge of their famous “Washlet” technology. Explore the innovative quality-of-life improvements that have become a staple for Japanese households today. Finally, you will make a stop at Shibuya to appreciate the ever crowded intersection, and the bright neon signs and giant screens that make Tokyo as lively as it is modern.

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
French and Japanese fusion cuisine in a restaurant 345 meters above ground

Open previous day

 Tokyo

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:00 Transfer to Asakusa
  • 10:00 - 11:00 Asakusa and Senso-ji
  • 11:00 - 12:30 Edo-Tokyo Museum
  • 12:30 - 12:45 Transfer to Ginza
  • 12:45 - 14:15 Washoku lunch
  • 14:15 - 15:15 Japanese art experience (sword / kimono)
  • 15:15 - 15:30 Transfer to Tokyo Imperial Palace
  • 15:30 - 16:30 Tokyo Imperial Palace (East Garden)
  • 16:30 - 17:00 Return to hotel
Breakfast / Lunch Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Activities

It is time to explore Tokyo’s history. Your first destination is the oldest temple in the city, Senso-ji. Built in the 7th century, the Buddhist house of worship was built by two fishermen long before Edo became the capital of Japan. The bulk of Tokyo’s history as a capital city, however, is the Edo period itself, which you will relive in the Edo-Tokyo Museum. You will see miniaturized models of the city in that era, as well as many relevant exhibits that depict life in the 260-year-long dynasty. You will also learn about the rapid development that Tokyo underwent after the Meiji Restoration.

In the afternoon, you will visit Ginza and dine on fine traditional Japanese dishes before you resume with exploring Tokyo’s history. A civilization’s traditional art forms are surviving legacies of the past, and you will therefore experience history itself firsthand as you get acquainted with batto (the art of sword-drawing) and waso (traditional Japanese garbs/kimono). Finally, you will visit what was once Edo Castle and is nowadays a domain of the Imperial Family, and explore the regal East Garden of the Palace.

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
Washoku set served in an atmospheric restaurant in Ginza

Open previous day

 Kamakura › Tokyo

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 11:00 Transfer to Kamakura
  • 11:00 - 11:45 Kotoku-in (Kamakura Daibutsu)
  • 11:45 - 13:00 Hase-dera
  • 13:00 - 13:30 Transfer to Komachi-dori
  • 13:30 - 15:00 Unagi lunch
  • 15:00 - 16:30 Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu
  • 16:30 - 18:00 Return to Tokyo hotel
Breakfast / Lunch Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Activities

Today, you will visit the eponymous capital of the Kamakura shogunate, which effectively governed Japan around the 13th century. In the morning, you will visit two historic temples of the Jodo sect of Buddhism. The first one features an outdoor statue of a sitting Buddha, while the latter houses a wooden statue of an eleven-faced Kannon. Both were built during the Kamakura period.

In the afternoon, you will visit the most important Shinto shrine in the city. Built to worship the deity Hachiman, who was said to have protected the shogunate, the shrine is the literal center of Kamakura. Next to its great stairway is the remains of a ginkgo tree which had stood since the shrine’s foundation, and the main hall at the top exhibits cultural artifacts from the period.

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
Rice and grilled unagi (freshwater eel) seasoned with delicious tare sauce

Open previous day

 Fuji Five Lakes › Tokyo

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 11:30 Transfer to Fuji Five Lakes
  • 11:30 - 13:00 Mt. Fuji 5th station (summer/autumn) / Kachi Kachi Ropeway (winter/spring)
  • 13:00 - 14:30 Matsutake lunch
  • 14:30 - 15:30 Transfer to Oshino Hakkai
  • 15:30 - 17:00 Oshino Hakkai
  • 17:00 - 19:00 Return to Tokyo hotel
Breakfast / Lunch Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel Western hotel

Activities

Between the capital cities in the Kanto and Kansai region, you will go on a side trip to the vicinity of Mt. Fuji. This excursion is divided into two parts. The first is to deliver to you the view that the Japanese have so venerated since the ancient times. The second is to bring you to a quaint village that developed around the eight ponds formed from the melted snow of the mountain. See and experience the sacred mountain -- its soil, air, and water!

For the first part, depending on the season and weather conditions, you may or may not be able to go up Mt. Fuji itself. While the view of the peak from above the clouds are superb, there in an attractive alternative even on days when the stops on the slope are not available: a ropeway up Mt. Tenjo, the fabled setting of the folk story Kachi Kachi Yama. Enjoy the picturesque Fuji Five Lakes area before you resume city-hopping on the next day!

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
Local washoku set featuring ingredients from the mountain, including rare matsutake mushrooms

Open previous day

 Kyoto

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 12:00 Hotel check-out >> transfer to Kyoto by shinkansen
  • 10:00 - 12:00 Transfer to Kyoto by shinkansen
  • 12:00 - 12:30 Transfer to restaurant
  • 12:30 - 13:30 Kyo-ryori lunch
  • 13:30 - 13:45 Transfer to Heian Jingu
  • 13:45 - 15:00 Heian Jingu
  • 15:00 - 15:15 Transfer to Shogunzuka
  • 15:15 - 16:00 Shogunzuka
  • 16:00 - 16:30 Transfer to Higashiyama
  • 16:30 - 18:00 Sightseeing around Higashiyama
  • 18:00 - 18:30 Transfer to hotel >> check-in
Breakfast / Lunch Rihga Royal Kyoto Western hotel

Activities

Bidding goodbye to Tokyo, you will take the bullet train to Kyoto, the thousand-year capital. On the two-hour journey along the Tokaido Shinkansen, which traces an old trade route between the two capitals, you may catch another glimpse of Mt. Fuji. Upon arrival, you will get your first taste of Kyoto -- its traditional cuisine that is equal parts food and art. Afterward, you will get acquainted to two spots that mark the beginning and the end of imperial presence in Kyoto.

You will visit the Heian Shrine, built after the Meiji Restoration to honor the first and last emperors to reign from Kyoto. Afterward, you will get a view of the entirety of Kyoto from atop Shogunzuka, the very place where Emperor Kanmu is said to have laid his eyes on the land on which he would later found the capital city (Heian-kyo) more than 1,200 years ago. At the end of the day, you will explore the Higashiyama neighborhood, a well-preserved historic district. Aside from the traditional shops, it also houses several important temples, including Kiyomizu-dera, which was built around the same time Heian-kyo was named the capital.

Meals

Breakfast
Japanese- or Western-style buffet
Lunch
Kyoto-style kaiseki set, also known as Kyo-ryori

Open previous day

 Kyoto

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:00 Transfer to Toji-in
  • 10:00 - 11:00 Toji-in
  • 11:00 - 11:15 Transfer to Kinkaku-ji
  • 11:15 - 12:00 Kinkaku-ji
  • 12:00 - 12:15 Transfer to Ryoan-ji
  • 12:15 - 13:30 Ryoan-ji
  • 13:30 - 15:00 Temari-zushi lunch
  • 15:00 - 15:30 Transfer to Nijo Castle
  • 15:30 - 16:30 Nijo Castle
  • 16:30 - 18:00 Return to hotel >> free time
Breakfast / Lunch Rihga Royal Kyoto Western hotel

Activities

Many of Kyoto’s famous landmarks are related to Zen Buddhism and the Feudal era. Today, you will be introduced to three Zen temples constructed during the Ashikaga shogunate, in chronological order. Toji-in with its lush gardens, built by the founder of the dynasty, represents “birth.” His grandson’s temple, Kinkaku-ji and its lavish golden exterior, is “glory.” Finally, Ryoan-ji, most famous for its dry landscape of rocks and gravel, may imply the “withering.” As such, the trinity completes the cycle in Buddhist philosophy, where nothing is eternal.

Afterward, you will visit a castle built by the Tokugawa clan after the fall of the Ashikaga reign. This Edo-era stronghold features massive walls and a wide moat, a carefully maintained landscape garden, orchards of cherry and plum trees, and most importantly, a beautifully decorated palace building. The castle is both elegant and imposing, a fine representation of the power that the shogun wielded.

Meals

Breakfast
Western-style buffet
Lunch
Temari-zushi, very attractive and tantalizing small balls of sushi

Open previous day

 Nara › Osaka

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:30 Hotel check-out >> transfer to Nara
  • 10:30 - 11:00 Nara Park
  • 11:00 - 12:00 Todai-ji
  • 12:00 - 12:15 Transfer to restaurant
  • 12:15 - 13:45 Cha-gayu lunch
  • 13:45 - 14:00 Transfer to Kasuga Taisha
  • 14:00 - 15:00 Kasuga Taisha
  • 15:00 - 15:45 Transfer to Horyu-ji
  • 15:45 - 16:30 Horyu-ji
  • 16:30 - 17:30 Transfer to Osaka >> hotel check-in
Breakfast / Lunch Osaka Daiichi Hotel Western hotel

Activities

The ancient capital since times chronicled in legends, Yamato, and its legacy is found in present-day Nara. During the eight decade when the city of Nara itself served as the seat of the Emperor, a temple was constructed that came to house the world’s largest bronze statue of the Daibutsu. This temple, now known as Todai-ji, held supreme authority over all schools of Buddhism in Japan at its time. And it is yours to explore today.

Another important destination is Kasuga Taisha, a grand shrine also established during the Nara period. The so-called “shrine of a thousand lanterns” belonged to the Fujiwara clan, who were influential throughout the Nara and Heian period. Other highlights of the day include the tea porridge lunch and the influential Horyu-ji temple, which contains some of the world’s oldest surviving wooden structures. When you are done exploring Nara, you will be transferred to your hotel in Osaka, your last destination on this trip.

Meals

Breakfast
Western-style buffet
Lunch
Cha-gayu, a traditional Nara-style tea porridge

Open previous day

 Osaka

Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:00 Hotel check-out >> transfer to Osaka Castle
  • 10:00 - 11:30 Osaka Castle
  • 11:30 - 12:00 Transfer to Umeda
  • 12:00 - 13:30 Okonomiyaki lunch
  • 13:30 - 14:00 Transfer to Tenjinbashi
  • 14:00 - 15:00 Osaka Museum of Housing and Living (kimono rental)
  • 15:00 - 15:30 Transfer to Osaka Museum of History
  • 15:30 - 17:00 Osaka Museum of History
  • 17:00 - 18:00 Transfer to Kansai International Airport >> hotel check-in
Breakfast / Lunch Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport Western hotel

Activities

In the morning, you will visit Osaka Castle, whose classic exterior belies its modern interior. Now a museum, the castle primarily displays exhibits concerning Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the three great unifiers of Japan, and predecessor to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the longest-lasting shogunate in Japanese history. Afterward, you will visit an area of re-created streets and buildings from Edo-period Osaka , where you will get to experience the zeitgeist in a rental kimono.

The last item on the menu is Osaka’s most comprehensive museum, which covers the extensive history of the city, from old capital Naniwa in the ancient times to bustling urban prefecture Osaka in the Showa period. You can explore the massive exhibition until its closing time at 5 PM. Finally, you will be transferred to a hotel near Kansai International Airport. Enjoy your last night in the country!

Meals

Breakfast
Western-style buffet
Lunch
Osaka-style okonomiyaki, the famous free-style pancake with meat and vegetables

Open previous day

 Osaka

Departure: Kansai International Airport

Breakfast

Activities

You have completed the Five Capitals tour! We hope that you enjoyed your trip with ILJT! On the last day, you will check out of your hotel and conduct an independent transfer to the airport. Have a safe flight back home, and see you again soon!

Meals

Breakfast
Western-style buffet

Open previous day