School of Summer | July 9-17, 2013
We’re going to show you how much bang you’ll be able to get for your buck. Want to visit Harajuku, Akihabara, the Ghibli Museum, and many more awesome spots in Tokyo? Done. Want to travel across Japan to see the famous floating shrine at Miyajima, party in Osaka’s Namba area, and eat delicious festival food? Done. Want to sail across Tokyo Bay, explore temples, relax in a hot spring, attend Japan’s largest festival, and STILL have the flight included in the price? Done, done, done, done, and done.
The Japan trip you’ve always wanted to take is here, friends. Pack your bags!
SPECIAL NOTE FOR THIS TOUR:
Tour Cost includes accommodations in some of Japan’s finest hostels. This tour also includes two overnight trips on buses. The buses are equipped with seats that recline 40~45 degrees, blankets, slippers, and personal shades you can pull over your seat to help you sleep. While these buses are MUCH more comfortable than your typical Greyhound bus, we will be traveling while moving so keep that in mind if you are a light sleeper.
Due to the number of transfers we will be making on this trip, we STRONGLY suggest you refrain from bringing any bag that is larger than a typical airplane carry-on (i.e. “checked bag” size). Everyone on this tour will be expected to take care of their own bag.
The tour includes:
- R/T airfare from Los Angeles
- 5 nights hostel accommodations, 2 nights on a bus, and 1 night at an onsen ryokan
- All transportation (train, bus, shinkansen/bullet train) within Japan
- Stops in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nikko
- Professional bilingual guide services
- Custom tour guidebook
- Admission to all activities
- Much, much more!
Day 1: Departure
We depart for Japan from Los Angeles!
Day 2: Tokyo Fantastic
The fun begins with a trip to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, where we’ll visit giant robots and take a peek at exclusive animation from Japan’s most famous anime production studio. In the afternoon, it’s off to Harajuku and Shibuya you can shop for the latest in fashion, visit a bunny cafe, or just explore Tokyo’s mecca of alternative culture.
Day 3: Grandeur and Geekery
Ueno Park is the first stop for the day, where we’ll also stop by the Ameyoko shopping alley where traditional sweets have been sold for generations. Then it’s off to Akihabara, where you can flip virtual tables at the arcade, shop for anime goods, and visit maid cafes!
Day 4: Free Day!
Today is a free day, so you can choose to explore on your own or take a side trip to Ikegami Honmonji Temple and Yokohama with your guide, where the iconic waterfront, JUMP Store and a wonderland of kitschy craziness awaits. In the evening, we’ll bid our first hostel adieu as we make our way to Shinjuku. In Shinjuku, you can do almost anything – shop for the latest music, play games, or head to the observation deck of the Tokyo Government Building to get a better view of the city. In the evening, we’ll board a night bus in Shinjuku for our trip to Hiroshima!
Day 5: Hiroshima
After our bus arrives in Hiroshima, we’ll store our stuff before heading to the famous “floating” shrine of Itsukushima on Miyajima Island. After enjoying some of the snacks and goodies that the island has to offer (not to mention socializing with the local deer), we’ll head back into the city to visit the Hiroshima A-Bomb Dome and Holocaust Memorial. The evening is yours to do with as you wish, but if you like, your guide will show you where the city’s best food and drink is…
Day 6: Kobe and Kansai
After an early morning bus ride, we’ll arrive in Kobe, where the city boardwalk, ferris wheel, Chinatown, and Sannomiya Shopping Arcade all await our visit. In the afternoon and evening, we’ll swing by Osaka’s Umeda area to sample the city’s famous Takoyaki.
Day 7: Welcome to Kyoto
We’re in the most history-filled city in Japan, and what better way to start our journey than by heading to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, where the famous “gate tunnels” will both mystify and inspire. After a stop at Kyoto Station to have lunch and check out the station’s massive architectural features, we’ll head to Nanzenji Temple by way of an ancient aqueduct that leads visitors through a forest as if they were traveling back in time. In the evening, rest at the hostel or join your guide for a night on the town in Osaka’s Namba Ward.
Day 8: The Gion Festival!
Kyoto’s most famous temple, Kiyomizu, will be our first stop today. Search for wishing stones in the darkness beneath the temple, make a wish at the love shrine, or just admire the view of the city. Around lunchtime, we’ll descend into the city and join the biggest festival in Japan – the Gion Festival – where giant carts and floats from shrines in the city parade by for crowds of onlookers. Next up, we’ll take a trip to Ginkakuji to see the sand sculptures and traditional gardens nestled on the hillside. That evening, we’ll grab a bite to eat before we board a bus for the trip back to Tokyo.
Day 9: Nikko and the Hot Springs
Our last full day of the tour will have a little history and a lot of relaxation! We begin in Nikko, home to Toshogu and other temples that recall the Tokugawa Shogunate that led Japan until 1868. After some photo taking and visits to shrines, we’ll check in at our finest accommodations on the tour at Kinugawa Onsen, where natural hot springs will help you relax at the end of your journey and the friendly staff will make you feel at home. That night, join us for a night of games and socializing!
Day 10: Return Home D: