The heat of the day gives way to cooler evenings and nights. The rhythm of the cities and towns actually pick up as the sun sets during late summer as you are here during the most festive time of obon. Brilliantly colored festival tents line the streets as music and dance fills the night air. You will become a part of it all during this tour – a tour that will show you the best of Japan in day and night.
- Participation in a dusk-to-dawn obon summer festival
- The relaxing hot springs and adorable monkeys of Yudanaka
- Wonders of nature in Kamikochi
- A comprehensive look into Japan from the historic to the modern
The following tour is an example of what we can offer you as a summertime tour of Japan. Feel free to contact us to find out what we can add to this schedule to make it special for you. We look forward to making a custom tour for you!
Day 1 Yokoso, and Welcome to JapanOvernight in Kyoto City
After arriving in Japan, you will transfer to your accommodation in Kyoto. Itinerary will be tailored according to your flight schedule.
Days 2 and 3 Ancient CapitalsOvernights in Kyoto City
These two days of your tour will take you deep into old Japan to the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara. True, the old capitals have become modern cities, however, stories and ancient treasures of the past remain to be discovered. Kyoto has seventeen World Heritage Sites, each one worth a visit. In two days, you will see some of the most impressive of them. While touring the sights you will be introduced to the fundamentals of Zen, architecture, and horticulture all the while exploring historic streets as geisha walk by now and then on their way to work. Nara has in store intricate and impressive temples surrounded by herds of deer that are believed to be messengers of the gods. In these two days, you will truly feel that you are in the heart of ancient Japan.
Day 4 Palace Gardens and Artisans of GoldOvernight in Kanazawa City
Today you venture out to the west coast and Japan’s own city of gold. Kanazawa holds a beautiful palatial landscape garden, charming geisha and samurai quarters, and is home to numerous skilled artisans in ceramics, sculpture, and gold. Most famous for its fine gold leaf, Kanazawa shines in the world of art. Not only being home to one of the country’s top three landscape gardens, this city has become a place where traditional styles and modern art collide to create some amazing works.
Day 5 Cultures of the CountrysideOvernight in Takayama City
Heading into the mountains, you will encounter countryside charm. You will take scenic roads to the town of Shirakawago. Surrounding you there will be green fields, babbling brooks and thatched-roof houses. Shirakawago is an area inhabited by people proud of their original countryside culture created over time. Tour the village, learn about the local architecture and way of life, then make you way to the feudal-era town of Takayama. In Takayama you will come face to face with a different sort of countryside history. Historic streets and structures map out this town of old, where it is easy to imagine ancient armies passing through even now.
The day’s highlight is yet to be had, however. In the evening, you will drive to the town of Gujo Hachiman where a obon dance for and with the spirits of loved ones who have moved on awaits you at a fevered pitch. You will join one of Japan’s most beloved and memorable customs, the bon-odori. You will come to understand the importance of those hot August summer nights.
Day 6 Natural Wonders and a Dark CastleOvernight in Yudanaka
You’ll start the day with a trip to Takayama’s morning market. There you will easily make friends with the jovial old ladies and farmers selling their wares while enjoying a breakfast of fresh vegetables and homemade treats. Getting your fill, you will then hit the scenic roads and make your way to Kamikochi for an easy hike along a turquoise stream with an amazing backdrop of natural beauty. Then it will be on to the old castle town of Matsumoto for a visit to the “black crow” castle and the historic streets surrounding the oldest original castle standing. Not to be outdone, your last stop today will be the hot spring town of Yudanaka. Though the summer nights are steamy as it is, the sight of adorable macaque monkeys taking a break in the natural springs of Yudanaka is not something to miss. After your day of nature appreciation, you will have the chance to relax in a traditional Japanese ryokan inn, dining on some fine delicacies of Japanese cuisine and enjoying an evening of traditional culture.
Days 7 to 9 Innovations and Histories of the Modern CapitalOvernights in Tokyo
Leaving the natural wonders of the Japanese Alps, you now head to the modern metropolis of Tokyo. Over these next few days you will explore Japan’s center of innovation in-depth, discovering for yourself everything from the latest movements in art to the stories behind its famed monuments. If in Tokyo on a weekend, you will have the chance to see its pop and sub cultures come to life while experimental fashions are on parade. These days also hold for you a trip to palatial Nikko, the home of the most elaborate and exquisite monument dedicated to the unifier of Japan. You could call these days the grand finale. Much like Japan’s obon summer fireworks, the most spectacular display is at the end.
Day 10 Farewell and SayonaraItinerary will be tailored according to your flight schedule.
We wish you pleasant travels as you leave this land of the rising sun. We hope that you are taking with you lasting memories of the times you had here, and hope that you can return one day to discover even more. Farewell from all of us at Windows to Japan, and sayonara.