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FULL ITINERARY

Friday · May 8th

Touring subject to alterations without notice due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.

Arrive Osaka

Meals Included: Welcome Dinner

 

Welcome to Osaka
Once known as Japan’s main economic center, today Osaka is a large port city whose thriving nightlife, adventurous street food and cultural landmarks have made it one of the country’s most metropolitan areas.

 

Arrival Transfer to the Hotel Granvia Osaka
After completing immigration and custom formalities, you will be met and transferred to the Hotel Granvia Osaka.

 

Check in to the Hotel Granvia Osaka - 1 Night - Standard Room

 

An elegant retreat located above the bustling JR Osaka Station, the Hotel Granvia Osaka offers unparalleled hospitality in the heart of this historical city. 

 

Welcome Dinner at the Hotel
We will gather as a group at the hotel in the evening to enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

 

Luggage Transfer

This evening, pack an overnight bag in preparation for your visit to Hiroshima. Main luggage (one piece per person) will be sent to Okayama on May 9th via overnight luggage sending service; you will receive your luggage upon check-in on May 11th in Okayama.

Overnight: Hotel Granvia Osaka

Saturday · May 9th

Osaka to Hiroshima

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Transfer to the Osaka Train Station

 

Rail · Osaka to Hiroshima - Bullet Train Reserved Class
Departure May 09: 10:05 AM

Arrival May 09: 11:26 AM

Duration: 1 Hour, 21 Minutes


Train schedules are released 30 days prior to departure. Times may vary slightly
 
Welcome to Hiroshima

 

Lunch at a Local Restaurant

 

Private Touring
Start Time: 1:00 PM

End Time: 4:00 PM

 

Today's touring will include the following sites & activities:

 

A-Bomb Dome & Peace Memorial Museum
Visit the A-Bomb Dome. The A-Bomb Dome has been left in ruins as a reminder of the supreme destructive potential of nuclear weapons.

The Peace Memorial Museum tells the story of Hiroshima before and after the bomb. The Children’s Peace Memorial is profoundly moving. Outside, a Peace Flame continues to burn until all nuclear weapons are abolished.

 

There are many stories here. Learn about Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl born in 1943. An outstanding 11-year-old athlete, Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia, ‘the atom bomb disease’. Her best friend told her of a legend that anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako’s wish was to get well so she could run again. She started to work on the paper cranes and completed more than 1,000 before dying about a year later.

 

Transfer to the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima for check in

 

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima - Deluxe King Room
Check-in: May 09

Check-out: May 11

Duration: 2 nights

Featuring an entirely renovated interior, the Sheraton Hiroshima boasts well-designed and smartly-decorated rooms, providing a comfortable ambience that devotes itself to the crucial necessity of reinvigoration during traveling. The Memorial Cathedral for World Peace, Hiroshima Castle, and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park are all located near the hotel.
 
Dinner at Waratosumi Baltan

Enjoy an Izakaya, a type of informal Japanese pub, dinner at Waratosumi Baltan (or similar).

Overnight: Sheraton Grand Hiroshima - Deluxe King Room

Sunday · May 10th

Hiroshima

Meals Included: Breakfast

Private Touring

Start Time: 9:00 AM                                  

End Time: 5:00 PM

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby

 

Today's touring will include the following sites and activities:

 

Shukkeien Garden 

Visit the Shukkeien Garden.

 

Shukkeien is a lovely stroll garden featuring a central pond and several tea houses. Originally built in the seventeenth century, it is now a poignant symbol of the city’s incredible postwar reconstruction.

SOGO Department Store 

While here, you will have time to shop and enjoy lunch on your own. Typical department stores' top floors feature many restaurants while ready-to-eat food foods are located on the underground levels. These beautifully and immaculately packed food filled basements will make your foodies dreams come true. The cost of lunch is payable directly to the shop.

 

Ueda Soukoryu Tour & Tea Ceremony (arranged by TBC) 

Start Time: 1:00 PM

Orizuru Tower 

Visit the Orizuru Tower, a 13-story structure constructed almost entirely of wood, built in homage to traditional Japanese shrines. From the tower’s expansive viewing platform, visitors are treated to panoramic views of the A-Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, the Hiroshima Castle, and, in the distance, Miyajima Island.

 

At the base of the tower is a collection of shops you can peruse.

Overnight: Sheraton Grand Hiroshima - Deluxe King Room

Monday · May 11th

Hiroshima to Okayama

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Transfer to the Hiroshima Train Station 

Start Time: 10:15 AM

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby

Rail · Hiroshima to Okayama - Bullet Train Reserved Class

Departure May 11: 10:50 AM               

Arrival May 11: 11:27 AM                       

Duration: 37 Minutes

Train schedules are released 30 days prior to departure. Train times may vary

Lunch at a Local Restaurant

Private Touring

Start Time: 1:00 PM                                  

End Time: 4:00 PM

 

Today's touring will include the following sites & activities:

 

Okayama Castle 

The Okayama Castle is located across the river from the Korakuen Gardens; the imposing castle is popularly known as the ‘Crow Castle’ due to its stark black exterior. Originally destroyed during the final year of World War II, the castle was later reconstructed in 1966.

 

Korakuen Garden 

Enjoy a visit to Korakuen Garden, one of Japan’s official Three Great Gardens. The name means ‘Garden of Pleasure After’, a reference to a famous Confucian quote stating that a wise ruler must attend to his subjects’ needs first and only then attend to his own. The spacious garden grounds offer a great many areas to explore and discover. It covers about 14 hectares and includes a tea plantation, aviary, several ponds, and original tea houses.

Hotel Granvia Okayama - Standard Twin Rooms

Check-in: May 11                                       

Check-out: May 14                                    

Duration: 3 nights

 

The Hotel Granvia Okayama is located near the JR station and is close to the Momotaro Statue and Oriental Museum, putting an array of local attractions within walking distance.

OvernightHotel Granvia Okayama - Standard Twin Rooms

TUESDAY · May 12th

Okayama

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Private Touring

Start Time: 9:00 AM                                  

End Time: 1:00 PM

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby

Today's touring will include the following sites and activities:

Overland Transfer to Bizen

The drive will take approximately 40 minutes.

Bizen is famous for its distinctive rustic pottery of the same name, produced in diverse forms and prized all over the world. Bizen offers a whole archipelago to explore.

Former Shizutani School

This National Heritage Site was first opened in 1670 and served as Japan's first school for the country's commoners. Set amidst an idyllic expanse of emerald in a secluded, rural valley, it was at this school that the children of farmers, merchants and craftsmen began their studies for the first time in Japan's history. The school's founder, Ikeda Mitsumasa, believed in educating the common people to help foster future leadership and intelligence. Although it was in operation for more than 200 years, the school is no longer used for scholarly purposes, but instead remains a public landmark in tribute to Japan's historic shift to a more modern, educated country.

Special Meeting with the Isezaki Family

Enjoy a special meeting with the son of Isezaki Jun, a bizen pottery master who was designated one of Japan's Living National Treasures in 2004. Foregoing modern convention and instead choosing to build a traditional kiln from the middle ages (a tunnel-esque kiln built into the side of a hill), Isezaki Jun's work was a bold, creative take on this time-honored medium.

 

After you've had a chance to speak with Isezaki's son, the family will show you to his atelier, where you will be able to view some of his works.

 

Return to Your Hotel & Afternoon at Leisure

OvernightHotel Granvia Okayama - Standard Twin Rooms

WEDNESday · May 13th

Okayama & Kurashiki

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Private Touring

Start Time: 9:00 AM                                  

End Time: 5:00 PM

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby

 

Today's touring will include the following sites and activities:

 

Overland Transfer to Kurashiki

The drive will take approximately 30 minutes.

Tatami Factory

Enjoy a visit to a Tatami Factory, where you will have the chance to learn how this traditional, rice-straw flooring is made.

 

Mt. Washu Observation Deck

Visit the Mt. Washu Observation Deck; standing atop Mt. Washu, enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea and the Great Seto Bridge.

Lunch at Local Restaurant

 

Bikan District 

Tour the picturesque Bikan District, Kurashiki’s idyllic canal-side retreat that once served as the city’s political and commercial center. Today, many of the traditional warehouses and storefronts have been converted into shops and boutique cafes.

Ohara Old House

This traditional home, facing the Kurashiki River, is representative of typical late-Edo era homes and has been designated an important cultural property of Japan.

Return to Your Hotel

OvernightHotel Granvia Okayama - Standard Twin Rooms

thurSDAY · May 14th

Okayama to Kyoto

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Transfer to the Okayama Train Station

 

Rail · Okayama to Kyoto - Bullet Train Reserved Class

Departure May 14: 8:03 AM                  

Arrival May 14: 9:07 AM                         

Duration: 1 Hour, 4 Minutes                                 

Train schedules are released 30 days prior to departure. Times may vary.

 

 

Welcome to Kyoto

Kyoto, steeped in traditions and beauty, has remained relatively unchanged for many centuries. Kyoto was Japan’s capital for over 1,000 years and during that time became a repository of much of the best Japanese art, culture, religion and thought. Kyoto’s historic buildings and sites span centuries. Kyoto still charms visitors with its original wooden houses, ancient temples, and geishas hurrying on their way.

Private Touring

Start Time: 9:00 AM                                  

End Time: 5:00 PM

Meeting Point: Train Station

On arrival you will be escorted to a waiting vehicle in preparation for a day of touring.

 

Today's touring will include the following sites and activities:

Murin-an

A secluded villa home to a secret, splendorous walled-in garden that is perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of Higashiyama area. The statesman Yamagata Aritomo (1838-1922) built Murin-an as a retirement villa when Japan was pursuing a program of rapid modernization, and reveals his own taste for foreign architectural styles.

Konchi-In

Visit Konchi-In, an unusually ornate Temple Garden designed by master gardener Kobori Enshu. As with most zen gardens, the azalea bushes, well-kempt white gravel and vibrant islands of moss are best contemplated from a distance.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Heian Shrine

The shrine was built on the occasion of the 1100th anniversary of the capital's foundation in Kyoto and is dedicated to the spirits of the first and last emperors who reigned from the city, Emperor Kammu (737-806) and Emperor Komei (1831-1867). Heian is the former name of Kyoto. 

Kyoto Handicraft Center

The Kyoto Handicraft Center is a short, 5-minute walk from the Heian Shrine; while here, you can marvel at an array of exquisite traditional goods unique to both Japan and Kyoto alike.

Transfer to The Thousand Kyoto.

 

The Thousand Kyoto - Standard Rooms

Check-in: May 14                                       

Check-out: May 17                                    

Duration: 3 nights

 

Newly opened at the start of 2019, The Thousand Kyoto boasts more than 200 minimally-appointed rooms putting a modern twist on classic, zen design. 

Overnight: The Thousand Kyoto - Standard Rooms

FRIday · May 15th

Kyoto

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Private Touring

Start Time: 9:00 AM                                  

End Time: 5:00 PM

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby

 

Today's full day of touring will include the following sites and activities:

 

Aoi Festival 

Begin with a visit to Kyoto Gyoen National Park, where you will have the opportunity to view the Aoi Festival. This festival is held every year in central Kyoto on May 15. The spring festival is on eof the three major festivals of Kyoto along with Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri.

 

Please note: the Aoi Festival is one of Kyoto’s largest festivals; as such, it is extremely difficult to get reserved seating tickets – at this point availability cannot be guaranteed.

 

Kyoto Gyoen National Park - Start Time: 11:30 AM

After the festival, spend some time exploring the splendorous grounds of this emerald sanctuary; the Kyoto Gyoen National Park is home to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Sento Imperial Palace and more.

Lunch at a Local Restaurant - Start Time: 1:00 PM

Orinasu Kan Museum - Start Time: 2:00 PM

Housed within a Nishijin Weaving Factory, here you will learn about the Nishijin District’s rich textile history while viewing an array of exhibits that showcase generations of precious, hand-made items.

Kawaramachi Area - Start Time: 3:30 PM

You will have some free time to explore the Kawaramachi Area, where you will find a unique marriage of Japan’s traditional and modern elements.

Nishiki Market 

Enjoy a visit to Nishiki Market, fondly referred to as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’. This narrow shopping street is lined with more than 100 shops that sell anything from fresh seafood and vegetables to Japanese treats and sushi.

Return to Your Hotel

Optional Maiko Dinner - $187 USD upcharge

The evening’s entertainment begins with a traditional performance of a Kyoto Dance, Kyomai. Seated in a classical tatami room, you will have the opportunity to converse with the elegant Maiko and take as many photos as you’d like. An English speaker will be on hand to translate for you. 

Overnight: The Thousand Kyoto - Standard Rooms

SATURDAY · May 16th

Kyoto

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Farewell Dinner

 

Private Touring

Start Time: 9:00 AM                                  

End Time: 5:00 PM

Meeting Point: Hotel Lobby

 

Today's full day of touring will include the following sites and activities:

 

Arashiyama Rickshaw

Enjoy a 30 minute rickshaw ride through Arashiyama. Highlights include: Togetsukyo Bridge and the Bamboo Grove. Please note: the route may change depending on the weather and crowds.

 

Togetsukyo is a wooden bridge spanning the Oi River. Look off to the west and marvel at stunning views of Mt. Arashiyama amidst the throngs of Japanase-style boats moored at nearby docks.

Tenryuji Temple

Marvel at one of Kyoto’s five great Zen Temples - Tenryuji Temple, located in the center of Arashiyama. The temple was built in 1339 and is famous for its landscape garden, which unlike the temple buildings has survived in its original form.

 

Sagano Bamboo Groves

Visit the Sagano bamboo groves, which is particularly attractive when there is a light wind and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth. The bamboo has been used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes and mats at local workshops for centuries.

Pause for lunch at Junsei

While here, enjoy a Yudofu Lunch (Hana)

Optional - Suntory Yamazaki Distillery

Start Time: 1:30 PM

 

A visit to the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, introduces you to the time-honored practices used in producing a variety of distinctive whiskies.

 

Reservations will be made for the shorter, 80 minute tour. Reservations are required in advance and open 2 months prior to the date of your touring.

 

If you choose not to join in on the distillery tour, you will have more time to explore Teramachi and shop on your own.

 

Teramachi Street

Visit Teramachi Street, a pedestrian-friendly street lined with interesting galleries and shops selling traditional goods.

Return to Your Hotel

 

Dinner at KINMATA - 7:00 PM

 

Founded at the turn of the 19th Century, the family-run KINMATA is set within a picturesque, traditional wooden townhouse whose historic walls maintain the same sense of charm and craftsmanship that its guests have been treated to since the ryokan's 1801 inception.

 

Your visit to KINMATA this evening is special, as the Ukai Family's relationship with the Portland Japanese Garden goes beyond its picturesque Machiya Building, which was deemed a National Cultural Property in 2001; in 2018, nine members of the KINMATA staff, including owner Haruji Ukai, his wife Masami & their son Hideyuki, as well as Head Chef Toshio Yamaguchi, made their way to Portland to prepare a traditional kaiseki meal for members of the Portland Japanese Garden.

 

Now in operation for more than 200 years, today the 7th & 8th Generation members of the Ukai Family continue to wow diners with one of the city's finest examples of Kaiseki, an intricately prepared, multi-course meal which blurs the line between artistic expression and Japanese cuisine.

Overnight: The Thousand Kyoto - Standard Rooms

SUNday · May 17th

Kyoto to Osaka 

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

Transfer to the Osaka Airport

 

At the agreed upon time, be ready in the lobby of The Thousand Kyoto in preparation for your transfer to the Osaka Airport.

 

Check out time is 11:00 AM.