Itinerary Details

Note: One private group transfer will be arranged from Haneda International airport (HND) to the hotel (exact timings will be announced closer to date). Alternatively, you can make your own arrangements, using a train from the airport to the hotel. Upon your arrival at Haneda International Airport (HND), you will be welcomed by a Rahhalah representative, and transferred to your hotel in the city. Depending on your arrival time, you may explore the Japanese metropolis at your own pace, before meeting with the rest of the group for dinner. Accommodation: Villa Fontaine Shiodome or similar.
After an early breakfast, you will head to the Sumo Stables to watch a sumo practice and learn the details of this ancient, Japanese art (duration of activity: 1 hr.). Sumo is a form of competitive, full-contact wrestling during which a rikishi (= wrestler) attempts to force his opponent either out of the circular ring or into touching the ground with any part of his body (except the soles of his feet). This martial art originated in Japan, and it is only here that it is practiced professionally. Today, as you observe a demonstration of sumo training, your guide will explain the history of the sport, the rules, the lifestyle of its wrestlers and other details of interest. You will then head to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, where the city’s cultural heritage from the Edo period is preserved. This journey through the 400-year history of Edo-Tokyo is housed in a unique building modeled after an elevated-floor type warehouse: a prominent landmark and popular tourist attraction. During lunchtime, you will visit the Skytree observation deck: a broadcasting and observation tower in Sumida, which became the tallest structure in Japan in 2010 when it reached its full height of 634.0 meters. There, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city, snack, and even visit the “Soramachi” Mall briefly. After lunch, you will embark on an exploration of Asakusa and the old part of Tokyo. Asakusa maintains the vibes of another era, its alleys lined with traditional craft shops and street-food stalls, especially along Nakamise Street near the ancient Sensō-ji temple. The mid-19th-century Hanayashiki amusement park (the oldest amusement park in Japan) has several fun rides and charming cafes, while the Kuritsu Sumida Park by the riverside hosts regular festivals and firework displays. A trendy upscale dining scene has unfolded along the waterfront, while the back streets are lined with casual, izakaya bars. Your exploration of Asakusa will be completed with a pulled rickshaw ride (duration: 15 mins) which will allow you to get a different feel of the old town. Accommodation: Villa Fontaine Shiodome or similar.
After breakfast, you will head towards Nikko (driving time: approx. 2 hrs). Nikko is a small city in the Tochigi Prefecture, in the mountains north of Tokyo. It is the site of Toshogu: the famed Shinto shrine established in 1617 as a lavish memorial for Tokugawa Ieyasu, founding ruler of the Tokugawa shogunate, or Edo Period. The complex includes the gilded Yomeimon Gate, the main sanctuary set in a cedar grove, and the tomb itself. Your first stop upon your arrival there will be the Toshogu Shrine, which you will explore in detail with the help of your guide. Forty-two (42) structures of the Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine (along with the shrines of Futarasan Shrine and Rinnōji) have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which indicates the value and glamor of the specific site. Your day in Nikko will be complete with a visit to the two beautiful waterfalls of the region: the Kegon and the Ryuzu Falls. Nikko boasts numerous waterfalls, but the Kegon one, located at Lake Chūzenji in the Nikkō National Park, is the most famous (100-meters tall), also ranked as one of Japan's three most beautiful falls. It represents the only exit for the waters of Lake Chuzenj and can be seen from a free observation platform that is easily accessible on foot, as well as from a paid platform at the base of the falls. The paid platform can be accessed via a 100-meters deep elevator and offers more impressive views. Ryuzu Waterfall (竜頭ノ滝, Ryūzu no Taki) means "dragon-head waterfall" in Japanese. The name comes from the shape of the falls, which resembles the head of a dragon. It is located on the Yukawa River, shortly before the river discharges into Lake Chuzenji. Ryuzu Waterfall is flanked by many trees which turn yellow and red during the autumn season; however, the landscape will be breathtaking in springtime as well, as the fresh leaves sprout and the first flowers blossom. In the evening, you will head back to Tokyo, but the drive is expected to last longer than the morning, given the increased traffic. Accommodation: Villa Fontaine Shiodome or similar.
Today, you will explore Tokyo in depth. During a 3-hour tour, with the help of an electric-powered cycle and a guide, you will visit the Imperial Palace, the Bay area, old cultures, shrines, and back streets, the Tokyo Station, the Imperial Palace, Ginza, Tsukudajima, Nihombashi, the 2020 Olympic venue and many other landmarks and points of attraction. If you have not tried sushi yet in Tokyo, today will be your chance. After the cycling tour, you will head to Ginza where, with the help of a sushi master, you will learn the history and secrets of the traditional sushi and, then, you will prepare your own with a series of fresh ingredients that will be provided to you. Bon appetit! You will end the day with a visit to the Meiji Shrine in Shibuya: the Shinto shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. Accommodation: Villa Fontaine Shiodome or similar.
The bullet trains of Japan are legendary for their speed and comfort, so today you will have a chance to experience their qualities first-hand. After breakfast, you will head to the train station to board the train to Kyoto. At the station, you can also get your Ekiben: a specific type of bento boxed meals sold on trains and train stations in Japan. They come with disposable chopsticks or spoons, its containers made of plastic, wood, or ceramic. Many train stations have become famous for their ekiben that include local food specialties, so this is a touch of tradition that it is recommended not to miss. You will travel on the bullet train “Nozomi31” and you are expected to arrive at Kyoto in 140 min (around 2:22 pm). At the train station there, you will be welcomed by your new guide who will take you to the Fushimi Inari shrines: the most familiar Shinto shrines for the Japanese people. Among them, Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine with which all the others are affiliated. It was founded in 711 AD and during its 1300-years-long history, thousands of people have gathered there to pray for bountiful harvests, prosperity, the safety of their home and family, and, in general, the fulfillment of all their wishes. In the evening, you will check-in in your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at your own pace. Accommodation: Hotel Keihan Hachijoguchi or similar.
Kyoto is the famed, old capital of Japan, and today you will have the opportunity to explore its secrets and admire its beauty, starting with the Arashiyama area. Arashiyama is a district on the western outskirts of Kyoto, tucked along the base of the Arashiyama Mountains (meaning “Storm Mountains”). Arashiyama is a nationally designated Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty. The main street, along with the famed Togetsu-kyo Bridge, form the heart of Arashiyama. This is the second, most important sightseeing district in Kyoto. It is filled with temples and shrines, but the star attraction is the famed Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: one of Kyoto’s top sights and a cherished destination for tourists and locals alike as, standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is one of the most overwhelming and meditative experiences one can enjoy in life. Later in the afternoon, you will visit the Kinkakuji Temple and the Gion area that houses the most well-known monuments of Kyoto. Among them, the famous Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku) stands out: a pagoda made to accommodate the sacred relics of the Buddha. Although it is known by its popular name “Kinkaku-ji” (meaning: “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”), the official name of this branch of the Rinzai-sect Zen temple of Shokoku-ji is Rokuon-ji. The temple was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Accommodation: Hotel Keihan Hachijoguchi or similar.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Kansai International Airport (KIX) for your flight back home. Note: One private group transfer will be arranged from the hotel to the Kansai International Airport KIX (exact timings will be announced closer to date). Alternatively, you can make your own arrangement, using a train or a taxi to the airport.