B: Breakfast | L: Lunch | D: Dinner | SD: Special Dinner
Day 1**Mar 06 | Honolulu – Kansai (Osaka)
We begin our journey by boarding an international flight to Kansai Airport, the gateway to Osaka. Meals and snacks will be served on the plane.
Day 2**Mar 07 | Osaka – Kobe
Arrive at Kansai International Airport. We will meet with an Air and Sea Travel Representative, who will escort us to our hotel in Kobe, a city on Osaka Bay in central Japan. It is known for its signature marbled beef and scenic setting of mountains framing the harbor.
Hotel Accommodation: ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Kobe or Similar
Day 3**Mar 08 | Day trip to Akashi| (B, D)
Today, we will have a day trip to Akashi, a city on Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. You may have heard of Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, but there’s another, lesser-known fish market that’s well worth a visit – Akashi Fish Market, also named Uonotana. For more than 400 years the locals have been fishing off the Akashi Straights and selling their catch in a local fish market. We can gaze at the large selection of various seafood available and we can enjoy our lunch here as well. After that, we will move to Shin Kobe to view the stunning terraced gardens and heated greenhouses at the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden & Ropeway. Kobe Nubobiki Herb Gardens are Japan’s largest herb gardens with about 75,000 herbs and 200 varieties of flowers that bloom throughout the year. There are 14 garden areas where we are welcomed by seasonal herbs and flowers arranged according to different themes. Then, we will start with our first Sake tasting in Kobe. Kiku-Masamune Sake is authentic dry sake that is distinguished by the aroma of Yoshino cedar. We will visit Kiku – Masamune Sake Brewery Museum and Sake Meister Factory. Before our tasting session begins, the brewery tour will provide information and hands-on experience regarding the world of sake brewing, as well as its past, present and future. Afterward, we will visit Kobe Shushin-kan. Their Fukuju sake was awarded the highest Gold Prize in the International SAKE Challenge 2017 (a world-renowned sake contest), was served at the Nobel Prize banquet held in the same year, and established its global status. Tonight, we will have a Japanese Kaiseki Dinner at Sakagura-style restaurant with all you can drink (Sake, Beer, and non-alcoholic drink) as our welcome dinner.
Day 4**Mar 09 | Kobe – Kyoto | (B, L, D)
Today, we will travel to Kyoto, the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years. Kyo-Yuzen, a technique of painting dye directly onto cloth, was invented in the middle of the Edo era, towards the end of the 17th century. It has since become the ultimate art of kimono dyeing, famous for its use of distinctive and vivid colors seen nowhere else in the world. Today, we will have a hands-on experience dying a tote bag using this unique technique. After a tempura lunch, we will transfer to Nishiki Ichiba Market, a narrow, five blocks long shopping street lined with more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, this lively retail market specializes in all items that are food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. Afterward, we will visit the Fushimi Inari-taisha, the head shrine of Inari. Inari is the Japanese god of foxes who protects the agricultural industry, such as rice, tea & sake. This shrine is famous for its thousands of red torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds. Then, we will visit Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum. Fushimi district, with its good quality water, has been prosperous in sake brewing since old times. Fushimi is one of the major places of Japan’s sake brewing. We will taste one of the popular sake here – Gekkeikan Sake. After that, we will transfer to our hotel in Kyoto.
Hotel Accommodation: New Miyako Hotel Kyoto or Similar
Day 5**Mar 10 | Kyoto – Tamba – Miyazu | (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will transfer to Miyama Folk Village, located north of Kyoto city, and designated a Japanese cultural heritage site in 1993. There are 50 old folk houses with 39 thatched ones still occupied by local people. We can enjoy strolling in the village and visiting some houses and the Folk Museum. We will have a Miyama Specialty Teishoku as our lunch. After lunch, we will transfer to Tamba, located in central part of Hyogo where you can see scenic Japanese farm villages. Upon arrival, we will visit the Tamba Winery. Tamba wine is different from other Japanese wine and overseas wine in its aroma and flavor. These differences are attributable to its production methods. Today, we will visit their farm, learn about their production methods, and taste the wine. We will have a Kaiseki dinner at our Onsen Resort. Later we can relax and rejuvenate at a traditional outdoor hot spring.
Hotel Accommodation: Hotel & Resorts Kyoto Miyazu or Similar
Day 6**Mar 11 | Miyazu – Osaka | (B, L, D)
Today, we will have a trip to Ine, a fishing town located on the northern part of the Tango Peninsula, which stretches into the Sea of Japan in Kyoto. Around the beautiful curve of Ine Bay are the famous funaya (traditional fisherman’s houses). The area has been selected as one of Japan’s Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings. We will ride on a funaya to enjoy the sightseeing in Ine bay. Boat dock houses surround Ine Bay and when we look at them from the sea, they literally look like they are standing on water. In addition to the beautiful view, we can also feed the seagulls that flock to the ship. Then, we will transfer to Izushi, known for being the traditional home of soba noodles in this area of Japan. The main attraction of Izushi is soba noodle served on small plates of Izushi white porcelain. We will be able to experience making soba noodles at a workshop and taste the soba noodles we have just made for our lunch. Soba tastes best if it is hand-made. Afterward, we will visit the Izushi Castle Town, referred to as Little Kyoto. Enjoy exploring the town’s historical buildings from the Meiji Era, such as “Eirakukan” (a playhouse) and “Izushi Meijikan.” Then, we will transfer to Osaka. As the third largest and second most important city in Japan, Osaka has been an economic powerhouse for many centuries. We will transfer to our hotel after dinner.
Hotel Accommodation: Sheraton Miyako Hotel Osaka or Similar
Day 7**Mar 12 | Osaka | (B, L, D)
We will start today’s tour with a Tea Ceremony. The Japanese tea ceremony, also called the Way of Tea, is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha, powdered green tea. Tea gatherings can be classified as either informal or formal. Let us have an informal tea gathering. Then, we will visit Osaka Castle, one of Japan’s most famous landmarks. It played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. We will visit the Castle Tower which houses an informative museum about the castle’s history and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients, will be arranged for lunch. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “how you like” or “what you like”, and yaki meaning “grill”. After lunch, we will enjoy the highlight of the trip, attending a Sumo Wrestling Match. Sumo is a Japanese style of wrestling and Japan’s national sport. It originated in ancient times as a performance to entertain the Shinto deities. There are six sumo tournaments held each year. Let us enjoy this special and exciting event.
Day 8**Mar 13 | Osaka | (B)
After breakfast, enjoy a free day to shop around the city and eat whatever looks interesting. “Shop till you drop; eat till you overflow!” You can enjoy shopping in Shinsaibashi, the largest and best known shopping area in Osaka where many boutiques and specialty shops attract local people and visitors. The Shinsaibashi evolved from the arcaded streets “Shinsaibashi Shopping Street”. With a history of 380 years, it was already an established shopping area in the Edo Period. Shops of all kinds and for all ages line the street, a roofed 600 meter long arcade. Dōtonbori is another principal tourist destination in Osaka. One of the area’s most prominent landmarks is “The Glico Man”, a billboard for confectionery company Glico displaying the image of a runner crossing the finish line and is an icon of Osaka within Japan.
Day 9**Mar 14 | Osaka – Kansai – Honolulu (B)
After breakfast, we will go to Expo City, Japan’s largest entertainment complex, opened in Suita City, Osaka in November 2015. There are eight entertainment sections, such as Nifrel aquarium, Osaka English Village, 109 Cinemas, and so on. We will spend our time here before we transfer to the airport. Nifrel aquarium is a family oriented attraction with exotic fish, mammals & reptiles exhibited in stylish, modern spaces. The aquarium visit is included, so we can visit it anytime we want. After a long day, we will transfer to Kansai Airport for our return flight to Honolulu, taking with us the lasting memories of this wonderful “Tasting the Real Japan” tour.
We wish you a safe journey and with many wonderful memories to share with family and friends! ☺
Written notice is required for any cancellation. The cancellation fee will be as follow:
** Dec.28, 2018 – Jan,28, 2019, 50% of total price plus any other service fee caused from the cancellation;
** From Jan. 29, 2019 to departure or withdrawing during the tour shall be regarded as willingly giving up all rights concerned, 100% of total price, and request for other services as a substitute shall not be accepted.
**We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance when you make a reservation**
Price from: $3,388.00
Includes: Tax and fuel surcharge
(SINGLE SUPP: $850)