Japan

Explore Tokyo, The Kiso Valley, Nara & Kyoto

Level

Easy – Moderate

Duration

10 days

Route

Arrival Tokyo, Nakasendo, Asuka, Nara, Kyoto, Departure Kyoto

Highlights of this trip from Tokyo to Kyoto include 2 nights in the bustling modern capital of Tokyo, known as Edo during Japan’s period of rule by the Shoguns, where we can discover both the city’s traditional and modern faces. We then enjoy 2 days of village-to-village walking on the Nakasendo Trail. The Nakasendo trail linked Kyoto to Tokyo during Japan’s feudal period. It was the ‘road through the mountains’ travelled by feudal lords and their retinues, samurai, merchants, and travellers. From the Nakasendo Trail, we travel to Asuka, a capital of the Japanese state until the early 8th century. We’ll enjoy cycling past the Ancient burial mounds and historic sites that are scattered across the tranquil rural scenery. From Asuka, we travel to another former capital, Nara, which boasts a number of UNESCO World Heritage designated sights, as well as free roaming tame deer. From Nara we also walk the Yagyu Kaido –part of the primeval forest that overlooks the ancient temples of Nara. Kyoto then beckons – a bustling city where modern and traditional Japan seem to blend seamlessly. From manga to maiko, Kyoto offers a unique insight into Japanese culture. We’ll visit a castle with floors that ‘sing’ to alert of intruders, walk the back lanes and bamboo grove of Arashiyama.

Facts

Activities: trekking, cycling , cultural sightseeing

Our operation:

All Rahhalah’s ground handlers and guides are locally employed ensuring more authentic experience for travelers, as well as sensitivity to local customs and cultures.

Our staff is highly experienced and has excellent knowledge, committed to provide exceptional service at all times.

Sustainability:

We run a low impact operation and we leave no traces behind, contributing to the efforts of protection of the local land, its people and culture.

All our local guides and staff are properly employed and adequately equipped. In addition we emphasize on making extensive use of local products and enhance maximum economic benefits to the local communities.

As you all know 1% of our revenue go back to a local cause and Rahhalah directly takes care of that. This is our pay back promise.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: 9th Apr 18 / Arrive Tokyo, Welcome Dinner ( D)

Make your way to your accommodation in Tokyo. Your guide meets you at your hotel and you enjoy a Welcome Dinner

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Niwa or similar, Tokyo

Note: Please note there will be arranged 2 arrival transfers for the group – you can choose one of them depending on your flight arrival time. Additional transfer can be arranged at extra cost.

Day 2: 10th Apr 18 / Sightseeing in Tokyo: Yanaka ( B, L)

Your first full day in Japan will be spent on a walking tour of Tokyo. This Morning, we will enjoy walking through the Yanaka area, a traditional Tokyo shita-machi (downtown) neighborhood, where small temples stand cheek-by-jowl with wooden town houses. Off the established tourist trail, we will get a glimpse into the life of a Japanese neighborhood. In the afternoon, enjoy time at leisure – perhaps use this to ‘travel forward in time’ to modern Japan, with visits to Akihabara, a mecca for fans of manga, anime, and cosplay. Or, visit the fashionable Harajuku district, known for its sometimes wild street fashion.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation:  Hotel Niwa or similar, Tokyo

Day 3: 11th Apr 18 / Nakasendo Hiking Day 1: Magome to Tsumago ( B , D)

Your journey through rural Japan begins with a journey from Tokyo by bullet and regional train to the remote Kiso valley. Over the next two days you walk by day from village to village, staying by night in small, family-run country inns (ryokan and minshuku). Travel by train to Nakatsugawa and onwards by bus to Magome. Your first walk on the Nakasendo Trail is from Magome to Tsumago over the Magome-toge Pass, 801m above sea level. The Nakasendo Trail had 69 post towns, numbered from Edo (Tokyo) and Magome is the 43rd. Tsumago is the 42nd Nakasendo post town. It is truly evocative of a traditional Nakasendo post town from the late Edo period.

Approximately 3 hours walking – 8.3km, 326m ascent, 430m descent

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Kisoji or similar, Tsumago

Day 4: 12th Apr 18 / Nakasendo / Hiking Day 2: Tsumago to Nagiso or Nojiri ( B, D)

Leaving Tsumago, the trail travels through small valleys and past forests of bamboo and Japanese cedar, through some of the least-developed scenery on the tour. You continue by train to Kiso-Fukushima and stay overnight at a lovely hot spring ryokan set in a valley above the town. Today there are two walking options, either 1 or 6 hours. If you choose to walk the shorter option, there is time to explore Kiso Fukushima, where you may wish to visit the old checkpoint, or perhaps the preserved Uenodan area.

Choice of 1 hour or 6 hour walking routes

Short walk – approximately 1 hour – 3.7 km, 101m ascent, 117m descent

Long walk – approximately 18.4 km, 723m ascent, 644m descent

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Komanoyu or similar

Day 5: 13th Apr 18 / Train to Asuka, Cycling along Ancient Stone Monuments ( B, L, D)

Today you will travel by train to Asuka. The agricultural community of Asuka (commonly referred to as Asuka-mura is situated on the southern edge of the Yamato Plain in Nara Prefecture. As early as the 5th century it developed as an important transportation centre and was capital of the Japanese state until the early 8th century. Ancient burial mounds and historic sites of cultural importance are scattered across this tranquil rural scenery. Asuka is often referred to as the spiritual home of the Japanese people. This afternoon we will rent a cycle locally to discover the ancient monuments of the town and perhaps visit the Inabuchi rice terraces. The Cycling route is mostly flat and approximately 2-3 hours.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Wakimoto Minshuku and Kitamura Minshuki or similar, Asuka

Day 6: 14th Apr 18/ Excursion to Nara, Visit to Todaiji Temple ( B, L, D)

Today take the train the short distance to Nara which was established in 710 AD as Japan’s capital. It is home to the famous Nara Park, where the semi-tame deer roam. Many of Japan’s greatest cultural treasures are concentrated in and around the city, with eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. Many of these sites are in or near Nara Park, home to a thousand or more free-roaming deer. We will visit the World Heritage site of Todaiji temple -its Daibutsu-den is the largest wooden building in the world, housing a 16-metre tall image of the Rushana Buddha in bronze and gold. Prior to being rebuilt three hundred years ago, the awesome wooden structure was even bigger than it is today. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy some time in the Naramachi area before our return to Asuka.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Fujita Nara or similar

Day 7: 15th Apr 18 / Walk the Yamanobe-no-michi ( B, L, D)

This morning, following breakfast at our hotel, we will travel by train to the trailhead to walk along the historic Yamanobe-no-michi, said to be the oldest road in Japan. This trail winds its way along the base of the hills which mark the edge of Yamato Plain, south of Kyoto and Nara, associated with the early Yamato clan, founders of the first unified Japanese state. The route is dotted with old shrines and burial mounds of the first emperors. In between are small villages, fields or rice, vegetables, strawberries and other fruits. Also famous are the thin Miwa somen noodles, served with a light broth. Small shops sell snacks such as mochi (rice paste) cakes covered in kinako (soya flour) and matcha (powdered green tea). Following today’s hike we will transfer to Nara to check into our hotel. The walk can also be reduced in length to 13 km or 10km according to the needs of the group.

Walking distance: 16km / 10 miles

Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent

Time required: About 5 hour

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Fujita Nara or similar

Day 8: 16th Apr 18 / Travel to Kyoto, Sightseeing of Gion ( B, L)

This morning we travel by train to Kyoto. En route we’ll stop at Fushimi Inari shrine –famous for the beautiful vermilion tori that snake up the hillside. This afternoon we enjoy an opportunity to walk through the old geisha quarter of Kyoto, with its narrow streets lined with traditional wooden buildings, restaurants, and teahouses. If luck is with us, we may also catch sight of a geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha), elaborately made‐up and dressed in beautiful kimono, as they make their way to their evening appointments.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Kyoto Tokyu  or similar

Day 9: 17th April 18 / Sightseeing and walking of Arashiyama ( B, L)

Today, we will head out of central Kyoto to explore Arashiyama, a suburb of Kyoto west of the city center. Arashiyama has long been a scenic spot known for its mountains and a lovely river. We will begin our walk at Kiyotaki falls, and walk along river gorges along the temples and back lanes of Arashiyama. Then stroll through the old town and bamboo forest. This afternoon visit Nijo Castle, with its nightingale floors that ‘sing’ to warn of intruders. The building has more of a palace appearance than a castle but is a storied part of Kyoto.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Kyoto Royal Hotel and Spa or similar

Day 10: 18th Apr 18 / Departure (B)

Your tour ends this morning after breakfast.

Transfer to Kyoto airport

Note: Please note there will be arranged 2 departure transfers for the group – you can choose one of them depending on your flight arrival time. Additional transfer can be arranged at extra cost

Meals: Breakfast

6,112 USD

per person in a group of min 6. Double occupancy

Trip Dates

9 April 2018

NOTES

This cost is based on Double Occupancy. Single Supplement Applies.
All services stipulated above are subject to availability at the time of booking / reservation. All prices are subject to change.
All accommodation subject to change to similar one depending on availability.
The itinerary and schedule are subject to change due to weather, road condition and operating conditions.

THIS INCLUDES

Accommodation in hotels, Japanese-style inns (ryokan, minshuku), shukubo. Japanese-style accommodation will generally be in tatami-mat rooms
Meals as described
Transportation between tour locations is included. This will normally be by trains (bullet trains and local), bus, ferry, and sometimes taxi.
Full time guiding by an Oku Japan English speaking licensed Japanese guide
Entrance to sights listed in the itinerary
Cycle Rental in Asuka
Long distance overnight luggage transfer for 1 larger bag per person from Tokyo to Kiso Fukushima, Kiso Fukushima to Nara, Nara to Kyoto. For the intervening nights the guests should travel with a light backpack style daypack for their overnight essentials.

THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE

International airfare  and Domestic airfare
Travel insurance
Visa and visa fees
Additional/optional activities
Meals  not mentioned
Beverages and drinks
Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone
International departure tax
Gratuities and tips

Important: The itinerary and schedule are subject to change due to weather, road condition and operating conditions. In any case the guide has the RIGHT to change the program for the safety and convenience of the travelers.

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