- SOC 342 Leisure & Society
- E 339 Literature of the Earth
- ECON 204 Principles of Macroeconomics
A must-see destination in Japan, Kyoto is the nation’s former capital, and once the residence of the emperor from 794 until 1868. It is a city of culture that offers a plethora of temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures that are well preserved.
Start your day with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), built originally as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death, it became a Buddhist Temple at his request.
The Kyoto Imperial Palace was residence of Japan’s Imperial Family until 1868, the year when the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. It is located in the spacious Kyoto Imperial Park, an attractive park in the center of the city that also encompasses the Sento Imperial Palace and a few other attractions.
At the end of this day, visit the Kyoto station for an exciting ride on the bullet train to Tokyo.
Start your day two at Meiji Shrine – Tokyo’s most famous shrine, dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji. Per a survey conducted in the 70’s, the park that surrounds the shrine is a forest of around 170,000 trees of an astonishing 247 different varieties. The shrine is a popular site for traditional Japanese weddings – if you are lucky you may see a bride and groom dressed in traditional Shinto wedding attire!
Continue on with a visit to the Imperial Palace Plaza (exterior view). The palace occupies the original site of Edo Castle, the seat of power for the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Edo Period (1603 – 1867). Restoration to repair damage suffered by the palace during World War II was completed in 1968. Stop at Nijubashi Bridge, a picturesque two-tier bridge, for a superb photo opportunity.
On your next stop, visit the Asakusa (downtown) area of Tokyo. Stroll down Nakamise Street, which is full of traditional shops, and visit the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Asakusa Kannon temple.
Your last stop of the day is Akihabara, known as “Electric Town” for its many electronics stores, and also the center of Japan’s otaku (diehard fan) culture. Here you’ll find that numerous shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are dispersed among the electronics stores in the district.
Make your own plans for the third day in Tokyo to make the most out of this dazzling city – your way!
Your last day’s destination is one of Japan’s ancient capitals, Kamakura, which is affectionately called Little Kyoto as it is home to dozens of shrines and temples. The region is surrounded by picturesque mountains and faces the shimmering Pacific Ocean.
First, embark on a visit to Hasedera, a Buddhist temple of the Jodo sect, famous for its eleven-headed statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The 9.18 meter tall, gilded wooden statue is regarded as one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan and can be viewed in the temple’s main building, the Kannon-do Hall. According to legend, it was carved from the same tree as the similarly sized Kannon statue worshipped at the Hasedera Temple in Nara Prefecture.
Kamakura’s Great Buddha is one of the largest sitting Buddhas in the world. The 38-foot-tall bronze statue occupies a courtyard at Kotokuin Temple. The 750-year-old statue was cast by order of the shogun Minamoto Yoritomo to rival the famed Daibutsu at Nara.
After lunch, Continue with a visit of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Take a guided tour to one of Kamakura’s most famous sights, a Shinto shrine in which the main pavilion was built by Minamoto Yoritomo in 1191 to celebrate the establishment of the Minamoto Shogunate. At the end, take your time to explore and shop along Komachi-Dori Street, where traditional and modern shops stand side-by-side.
Take a ride to the Shin Yokohama station, where you will board the bullet train back to Shin Kobe.
- Golden Pavilion
- Kyoto Imperial Palace
- Bullet train to Shinagawa station
- Overnight at Tokyo hotel
- Meiji Shrine
- Imperial Palace
- Free time at Asakusa, lunch on own
- Free time at Akihabara
- Overnight at Tokyo hotel
- Explore on your own!
- Breakfast and check out
- Visit Hase Kannon Temple
- Walk to Kotokuin
- Photo stop at the Great Buddha
- Lunch at local restaurant Kamakura
- Visit Tsuruoka Hachimagu
- Free time at Komachi-dori and depart to Shin Yokohama
- Shinkansen Shin Yokohama – Shin Kobe
- Arrival at Shin Kobe station (`3hours)
- Port Terminal
*The order of the tour may vary
- Day 1: dinner
- Day 2: breakfast
- Day 3: breakfast
- Day 4: breakfast, lunch
- Hakone is a mountain area, and most of the tour will be outside, in winter. Please wear appropriate warm, insulating clothing.
- Bring spending money to purchase meals not listed in the itinerary.