Kyoto - self-drive through the countryside to the Japanese Alps - Hakone - Tokyo & Nikko.
Arriving Japan- Full days sightseeing in Kyoto.
Self drive through picturesque nature and country side guided by radio communication.
The Japanese Alps with Takayama, on to Hakone by usual tourist bus.
Full days of Tokyo main sights as well a one day excursion to Nikko.
Day 14 Departure.
The tour will be guided by Avi Lugasi – the founder of Windows to Japan. He has guided all over Asia & along the Silk Road, and has traveled as backpacker for over three years. He graduated from the Faculties of East Asian Studies and Anthropology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has been living in Japan since 1995.
“For a long time I have wanted to share with my guests the less well-known trails of this country. Even though I lived for a few years in Japan’s country areas and traveled through them quite a bit, they never fail to surprise me, my passion and enthusiasm for these places just grows with the years, the heart opens and the eyes never tire of the views. Something about it is so straightforward and simple, even if not always esthetic, it is forever different.”
Days 1–3 – Kyoto
After gathering, we will start our visit in Kyoto, the center weight of traditional culture, a city that for hundreds of years was and continues to be an island of tradition in the swirling whirlpool of modern Japan.
On these days we will encounter the history, cultural esthetics, religion and the small stories that make up the Japanese puzzle, we will observe past creations reflecting through them into the present and current Japanese daily life. We will observe the present and find in it the past.
We will be exposed to the fundamental bases of esthetics, Zen, Architecture, Gardens etc through visits to famous places as the stone garden Ryoanji, The Golden Pavilion, the Shogun castle – as well as less known treasures like the town houses “Machiya” as well the picturesque streets along the eastern mountains, and of course try to get a glimpse of a Geisha rushing on her way.
Days 4–8 – The Voyage into the Country – the self-drive section
After getting the cars we will start on our way into the country, guided all the time by Avi through the radio communication system in each car.
We will depart Kyoto driving through a beautiful canyon crossing the mountains surrounding the city, enjoying the majestic nature of the place, climbing up the mountainside to some isolated villages, gliding on into another agricultural village which will lead us to a Japanese paper making center were we may experience making paper ourselves. From there we will drive to our night accommodation in one of the most beautiful countryside areas in Japan, featuring a dramatic coast line.
Next day we will go deeper into the country passing small fishing villages, small beaches and bays, we will meet a Zen monk in a remote village temple to hear first-hand his life story. In the evening we will enjoy a fancy Japanese dinner, made with our own hands, after we have been exposed to the ways of Japanese kitchen by local cooking experts.
We will continue mostly on small roads, sometimes on bigger ones or even on a highway, absorbing the country scenery, meeting the locals, walking in villages, markets, visiting a house of an old aristocrat family – absorbing a mixture of past and present.
Day 9–10 – In the Japanese Alps
We will return the cars and continue our tour as “everyday tourists” traveling by tourist bus.
On these days we will visit the famous town of Takayama with its well preserved old quarter with merchant houses and huge, beautifully decorated festival floats. Visiting some spots along the Japanese Alps as well, we will enjoy the magic of Japanese hot springs.
Days 11–13 – The Mega urbanism phenomenon that is Tokyo
To bring a sense of balance to our Japan experience we will end our tour in Tokyo – and look through this window onto ultramodernism, and yet, at the same time and on the same street corner, we may glimpse through another Tokyo window the remains of a lost era. As time allows, we will discover the city through the famous upmarket shopping areas of Ginza and Omote Sando, the major temples and shrines of Meiji and Sensoji, and the museums, galleries & architectural monuments which the city has in abundance, as well as take in some small and less known spots like “chicken skewer” lane.
If time permits we might go on a one-day excursion to Nikko, the World Heritage temple complex of the Shogun Tokugawa.
Day 14– End of the tour Today, sadly, you will depart from the land of the rising sun and Avi will wish you a pleasant and easy trip home as you take with you a plethora of memories of places and people revealed through our unique Windows to Japan and this all too brief self-driving tour of discovery...