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Epic Japan: Speed Trains & Samurai special tour for Amarse travel

Connect with Japan old and new on this 11 day's tour that takes you to the country's most iconic cities. Experience everything from the bustling energy of Tokyo’s city centre to the rolling countryside of Takayama. And don’t forget Kyoto, a city of peaceful gardens and stunning temples. This trip is a quick and affordable one, so you can tack on more time to go deeper into Japan. 'Cause after this tour, we know you'll want to.

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Price per person +✈️ international flight ticket

DAY 1 TOKYO

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan! Our Epic Japan: Speed Trains & Samurai journey start in Tokyo, Narita international airport where we can meet and transfer to Tokyo hotel. Your adventure begins in the country’s lively capital, Tokyo. A airport shuttle to your hotel is included..  If you get to the city early, there are many sides of Tokyo to explore, from fascinating museums and world-class shopping, to neighbourhood backstreets lined with hole in the wall eateries and bars. You will meet your group and leader for a 6pm welcome meeting at the hotel. After your meeting, join your travel companions for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Tokyo’s food scene is undoubtedly one of the world’s best, and the city truly celebrates the art of eating well. Sample a range of regional and seasonal delights including handmade soba noodles, crispy tempura and yakitori. After dinner, you may like to experience Tokyo’s vibrant drinking culture and head to a local izakaya.

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DAY 2 TOKYO - HAKONE (MT. FUJI) - TOKYO

Day trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji and the lesser known Hakone five lakes area is among Japan’s traveler’s favorites. We start this journey by bullet train form Tokyo station early morning. Its extreme popularity among tourists is also because of the incredible view of Mt. Fuji & splendid beauty of nature you can see from Hakone. The day trip also include cruise boat ride of beautiful Lake Ashi, the ropeway ride of Mt Komagatake, for sweeping views of Hakone National Park. We back to Tokyo late in evening by same bullet train.

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DAY 3 TOKYO - TAKAYAMA

Today, travel to Takayama via shinkansen (bullet train), with a few changes along the way. Takayama is a charming Edo-period town located in the Japanese alps. Renowned for its traditional inns, sake breweries and tranquil atmosphere, this riverside jewel of central Honshu may well be one of the most enjoyable stops on your trip. On arrival, head out on a walking tour with your leader who will point out examples of beautiful traditional architecture as you explore the old part of town. Learn how the town’s isolated location caused it to develop a unique culinary scene. The area is particularly famous for Hida beef, which comes from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed that has been raised in Gifu Prefecture for at least 14 months. Stop off on your tour to sample delicious Hida beef sushi or skewers. Then pay a visit to the Takayama Showa-kan Museum. This is not your average museum – here you’ll find a celebration of pop culture from the turbulent period of Emperor Hirohito’s six-decade reign. Discover exhibits showcasing everything from kitchen appliances to karaoke machines. Enjoy a free evening and your leader will be able to point out some great restaurants to try more signature local food.

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DAY 4 TAKAYAMA

Start the day with a visit to the Takayama morning market. The Gifu region is known for its production of high-altitude vegetables, and local women have been travelling in from the countryside to sell their produce for more than 600 years. Your leader will guide you through the market stalls selling colourful pickles, bags of miso wrapped in leaves, genkotsu ame (soy bean candy), preserved fish, spices, and the delicious marshmallow treat of owara tamaten. After some time to peruse the local treats, hop on a public bus and head to the village of Shirakawa-go, home to charming thatched-roof cottages built in the gassho-zukuri style. Learn about ancient countryside life with your leader and explore the fairy-tale village against the magnificent backdrop of the Japanese Alps. Enjoy some free time in Takayama after you return in the afternoon. Perhaps check out Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall which has an excellent array of festival floats on display.

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DAY 5 TAKAYAMA - KYOTO

Travel by bullet train to Kyoto, after hotel check in we start explore! Kyoto was Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in Kyoto that were built during this long period. Seventeen historic sites including, Kiyomizu Temple and Nijo Castle, are inscribed as World Cultural Heritage Sites. Not all we can visit today but we try the best.
First we visit Nijo Castle, a superficially deceptive structure that harbors a magnificent interior; stroll the lavishly decorated chambers and marvel at glittering gold leaf and opulent tones. Next, absorb the sacred ambience of Kinkaku-ji Temple, a elegant ecclesiastical structure declared Kyoto’s most popular temple. Stroll the exquisitely beautiful Japanese garden and the celebrated Golden Pavilion before venturing to the next destination. Enjoy a moment of quiet reflection at the vibrant Fushimiinari Taisha Shrine then head to the Buddhist temple of Sanju-Sangendo Hall and gaze at the 1,000 life-size statues that inhabit the grand hall.

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DAY 6 HIMEJI - OSAKA

 Japan’s most impressive samurai castle at Himeji. The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families, learn about their lives and look out over the castle grounds and the city below.
As you speed on shinkansen, you’ll stop en route at Japan’s most impressive samurai castle at Himeji. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families, learn about their lives and look out over the castle grounds and the city below. We explore magnifesn castel, what was built for war, became haunted by vengeful ghosts, is protected by “magic” ceramic tiles, and boasts a bizarre military maze to confuse invaders. Myth, superstition, bloodshed, and glory reverberate through the 83 buildings of the biggest and most revered castle in Japan. Today a tourist attraction outside Kobe, this hilltop fortress has a dark, strange story.
Afternoon we stop in Osaka, the commercial centre of western Japan! Visit some of Osaka's most iconic sights, and experience both traditional and modern Osaka. Enjoy panoramic views of Osaka at the Floating Garden Observatory at the top of the Umeda Sky Building, which is also popular among international travellers for its unique architecture. Take a riverboat cruise for a breathtaking view of Japan's water city, Osaka.

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DAY 7 KYOTO - KAMAKURA

After breakfast we check out the hotel we leave bags in reception and continue exploring Kyoto. We have time till evening when we board bullet train back to Kamakura. Kyoto is yours to explore today and the options are endless, so grab a buddy and get out there! Visit some of Kyoto's beautiful temples, participate in a tea ceremony, or take a calligraphy class (so you can make that postcard home look extra fancy).

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DAY 8 KAMAKURA - TOKYO

Today will visit the 2nd largest city in Yokohama. Kamakura was the former capital of Japan between the 12th and the 14th century. Many historical sites are covered in public transportation services. On the way to Hachimangu, we can enjoy shopping on komachi street. While walking through the street, we can feel something different from the western culture. In this area, there are many valuable temples and shrines within a walk. So, we can visit many historical temples and shrines such as so-called hydrangea temple and bamboo grove temple. All these temples are located in calm environment, so you will feel like being in  Buddhism style. Evening we board bullet train back to Tokyo

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DAY 9 TOKYO

Today we experience Tokyo's major sightseeing spots. We start in morning by short walking to the Imperial Palace East Garden. This idyllic outdoor space, home to a traditional Japanese garden, tea pavilion, stone walls, and a moat, is situated within the complex of an Edo-era castle. We back to Tokyo station and take short ride to Asakusa Kannon Temple (Senso-ji), one of Japan’s most important Buddhist sites. After short visit we walk to Nakamise Shopping Street, where we can take the lunch. A brightly-colored thoroughfare of food vendors are ready to serve you. When you complete your lunch, board a nearby boat for a cruise on the city’s Tokyo Bay. From the boat’s vantage point, you’ll have excellent views of the Tokyo skyline, along with the nearby Rainbow Bridge. After we heading by metro for the neon-tinged streets of Tokyo’s Ginza district, a premier shopping destination of department stores and movie theaters. So we can split here if you like or continue as group for amazing shoping experiance. Back to hotel later in evening. 

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DAY 10 TOKYO

Today’s a free day to explore this pulsating city, where there’s almost an endless amount of things to see and do. In Shinjuku, the city’s highest skyscrapers offer panoramic views, and on clear days you can see Mount Fuji. Districts in the east are magnets for the city’s breathtakingly trendy youth – see the crowds at Shibuya Crossing, the cos-play tribes in Harajuku, as well as the important Meiji Jingu Shrine, dedicated to its 19th-century emperor. Take in history and marvel at ancient treasures at the National Museum in Ueno. Another great museum, which gives insight into old time Tokyo, is the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku. Spend some time in the city’s green spaces like Yoyogi and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, browse high-end shops in Ginza, experience the theatre of a sumo bout, or create your own entertainment with some karaoke. This evening, you’ll join your group for an optional dinner as you say sayonara to Tokyo.

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DAY 11 TOKYO

This morning there are no activities planned and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time is 11 am and if you are departing later, you can use luggage storage at the hotel & get out for last minute shoping. Your airport transfer is included.

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includes:

* Meeting at Tokyo Narita Airport.

* 7 nights in 4* and 3 nights in 3* hotels per person in a double room (by country category).

* Local Shinkansen bullet train tickets by program and limited baggage allowance

* Travel by bus / minibus according to the program.

* Tickets to tourist attractions.

* Local guide services.

* The tourist - excursion - entertainment program is indicated.

* Services of a professional Guru Journeys travel guide in english and spanish

* Meals: 10 Breakfast

* Transfer to Narita Airport

not included:

* International flight tickets 
* Insurance for medical expenses abroad.
* Personal expenses, additionally offered excursions, drinks, other expenses not mentioned.

** It is essential that you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. There are size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage from 160cm to 250cm require an additional JPY1000 oversize luggage fee per train journey. Luggage over 251cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is from 160cm to 250cm so they can make the necessary arrangements.

Important:

* Surcharge for a single room from 800 USD

Japan is one of the most populous countries in the world and space is at a premium. Therefore, 3 - 4 or even 5 star hotel rooms are small. Additionally, some Japanese hotels do not have designating non-smoking rooms. 

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