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Japan 
Eternal Land of the Rising Sun - Pre-reservation 2023

October 2023 (11 Days / 10 Nights)
This tour starts in Kyoto and ends in Tokyo

We are currently in the process of planning this tour. Once we have all the activities, dates, hotels and other details confirmed, and the pricing finalized, we will post a complete itinerary, including the price. If you would like to be notified of this tour's availability when the planning process is completed, please complete the pre-reservation form.

Click on the image to enlarge the map

Japan, the "Land of the Rising Sun", is the place of the ancient gods and sublime art, but it is also on the cutting edge of dizzying modernity, so if there is one place on the planet where the past meets the future, it is Japan. Japanese culture stretches back for millennia and is steeped in history, yet it adopted the latest modern trends while applying the extraordinary aesthetic principles. The country is a study in contrasts and contradictions: tradition and novelty, the ancient and the modern, the very simple and the highly sophisticated. 

During the Sights and Soul Travels' Eternal Land of the Rising Sun tour, we'll experience the most fascinating aspects of the Japanese culture: from a traditional tea ceremony, learning about the flower arrangement art of Ikebana and the art of wearing a kimono to trying our hand at calligraphy, strolling through Zen gardens and staying at a ryokan with its celebrated hot springs. We'll start the tour with an immersion in the old Japanese traditions while staying close to the geisha district of charming Kyoto. While in Matsumoto in the Japanese Alps, we'll have a chance to relax at a traditional ryokan and enjoy its hot springs. Then, we'll experience the highlights of cosmopolitan and dynamic Tokyo, including the Shinto Meiji Shrine, and the historic Imperial Palace district. We'll travel on a bullet train, soak in the hot springs and dine on one of the world's most unique and exciting cuisines, while enjoying the polite hospitality of the Japanese people.

We'll spend 5 nights at a modern hotel in Kyoto, 1 night at a traditional luxury ryokan in Matsumoto and 3 nights at an upscale hotel in Tokyo. 

  • While in Kyoto, we'll attend a private Way of Tea ceremony, explore the Daitokuji Zen Monastery and the gardens of the Rengeiji Temple, admire the kimono demonstration, attend a Buddhist service, visit Shisendo, stroll through the Ponto Cho Geisha District, hear the koto performance, tour the Tenryu-ji Zen Monastery Complex and Hogo-In garden and villa in Arashiyama, and visit the atmospheric bamboo forests. 
  • While in Matsumoto, we'll tour the Matsumoto Castle and enjoy the calming ambience of the lovely town in the Japanese Alps, then we'll be able to relax in the celebrated hot springs and get a sense of the ancient Japanese way of life, as we stay at this beautiful luxury Ryokan. 
  • While in Tokyo, we'll tour the Ginza neighborhood, attend a private presentation at the Nuno Gallery and visit the Tokyo National Museum, enjoy a chef's demonstration of the Japanese cuisine, and attend a private Shinto blessing ceremony at the Meiji Shrine. 
  • We'll get an insider's view of the best of Kyoto and Tokyo, enjoying expert guided tours, enjoying private access to some of the most fascinating places in Kyoto and Tokyo and meeting with artists and traditional craftsmen: a calligraphy master, a Zen priest, a master craftsman who makes instruments for Japanese court music, a 5th generation master of gold leaf, a landscape architect in the Tenryuji Zen Monastery, a renowned designer at Nuno Gallery, a celebrity chef, and a Nihonga artist. 

Because food is an art in Japan, we have carefully planned our meals so that they reflect the diversity in regional cuisines and allow us an insight into the exotic, yet elegant styles of dining in Japan. Some of the culinary highlights of the tour will include: a Kyoto-style dinner served on handmade ceramic tableware, a Zen style vegetarian lunch, a full Japanese kaiseki (a multi-course dinner which balances the taste, texture, appearance and colors of the food), lunch at one of Kyoto's oldest riverside inns, Shabu-shabu dinner of luxurious Wagyu beef, a local noodle shop lunch, a bento box lunch, a dinner at the celebrated Honmura-an including a chef's demonstration, reinterpretation of the traditional Japanese cuisine dinner.

Testimonials  

Each city had its special moments. I enjoyed meeting the young Meiko, as well as the inn in Matsumoto. Also, this was not a typical “tourist” experience. I very much enjoyed meeting the various artisans in their homes, as well as being able to attend a Buddhist tea ceremony and Shinto ceremony. Becky and the local guides were excellent, they made sure that everything ran smoothly and that everyone had something to do during the free time.
Diane from New Jersey 

I absolutely love the tours that S&S set up. Sights and Soul Travels is the best of all women travel groups. Japan was a wonderful part of the world to travel to. I loved the cherry blossoms, the bamboo forest, and the ryokan in Matsumoto.
Terri from Colorado

A once in a lifetime experience. Money well spent. Had access to artists and events in Kyoto and Tokyo usually not available to other tours. Great group of women to travel with.
Melissa from Georgia

The Japan tour was everything I had hoped for and more. We had experiences vs. just “seeing the sights”. I also enjoyed meeting the other women. Please keep this approach to your tours!
Marilee from Georgia

What the Media Says About Us 

Japan: For 2015, It's a Bucket List Destination
For Many Women, Japan Is Atop 2015'S Bucket List

In 2014, Japan’s Tourism officials were pleased to report a big surge in visitors from the US traveling to their country. While among the most insular of modern countries, especially when it comes to foreign languages, Japan remains an exotic bucket list destination to many Americans. In 2014, more than 881,000 U.S. citizens visited Japan, and overall the country had 13 million overseas visitors in 2014, a record number. Why is Japan such an up and coming destination? We asked several women who visited Japan with Sights and Soul Travels about what they were hoping to experience on the trip and what it was like going there with Sights and Soul Travels. more