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ART & ARCHITECTURE BY THE INLAND SEA

From
2 341 $

ART & ARCHITECTURE BY THE INLAND SEA Tour

14 days


This tour allows you to experience two very different aspects of Japan: hectic and electric Tokyo (4 days), and traditional authentic Kyoto (4 days); and between the two take a detour off the beaten track to discover the incredible Japanese art and architecture found along the Seto Inland Sea, near Kyoto.

Islands museums, futuristic underground architecture, open-air sculptures, historic castles, Japanese gardens and giant whirlpools await!

Included :


- Round-trip flight tickets from/to Los Angeles, Sydney or Paris

- 12 nights in 3*** equivalent hotels

- Breakfasts in Awaji, Takamatsu and Kurashiki

- Airport transfers

- 1 prepaid travelcard to travel around Tokyo and Kyoto, already loaded with ¥1,500

- Shinkansen (bullet train) train tickets from Tokyo to Osaka, where you will pick up your rental car

- A 5-day car rental with English GPS included, a driving license translation for one person (if required) and our "Drivin 'Assistance" service

- 1 Pocket wifi (with unlimited internet access) for the duration of the trip

- A travel guide, sent to you at least 20 days before your departure, detailing the tour itinerary, how to get to your hotels, and the tourist sights not to be missed.

- Helpline assistance 24/7 in English
 

Not included :


- Optional insurance
- Personal expenses (including any meals not mentioned)
- 3 inter-island transfers by boat (costing about $35 USD pp)
- Fuel costs for the car rental
- Public transportation in cities*
- Tourist tax in Kyoto** 
- Anything not listed in the "included" section above


Customization:

Contact us for:
- Flights from London, New York or any other city required
- Direct flights
- Flight upgrades to premium-economy or business class
- Upgrade to a 4* hotel
- Traditional accommodation
- Extending your stay before or after the tour
- Guided activities
- Other activities (Disneyland, Hello Kitty theme park, robot restaurant, tea ceremony, sake tasting…)


Flights:

The departure and end dates of the tour include your flight and arrival from/to your departure country.

Most flights will require one transfer (less than 5 hours) in Asia or the Gulf States before landing in Tokyo.

Examples of airlines we use:
- Air France
- All Nippon Airways
- Finnair
- Korean Air


Accommodation:

The basic price includes one room for 2 adults in 3* equivalent hotels.

Single room: If a triple room is not available, a single room supplement may be required for any booking with an odd number of participants.

In Japan, a high-density country where everything is more compact, the 3* hotels are good quality but the rooms can be quite small (12 to 24m2) depending on the hotel. For more comfort and space, don't hesitate to contact us for a quote with 4* hotels.

The rooms for 2 people in western-style hotels have 2 separate single beds (twin rooms) as standard. Contact us to request a double bed; there is no supplementary charge but we cannot guarantee availability. Note that double bed rooms are smaller in size than twin rooms.


Terms of payment:
- 35% deposit paid upon booking
- Balance paid 35 days before departure


Note:
This tour is not suitable for people with reduced mobility.

*transportation after using the ¥1,500 loaded on your prepaid travel-card

**$1.70 USD/person/night to be paid directly to the hotel in cash 

Detailed Itinerary

TOKYO - OSAKA - KOBE - AWAJI - TAKAMATSU - NAOSHIMA - KURASHIKI - HIMEJI - OSAKA - KYOTO

Day
0

Flight from Europe.

Overnight on the aeroplane, arrive the next morning at Tokyo.

Day
1

TOKYO

Arrive at Tokyo at Narita or Haneda Airport.

Transfer to central Tokyo by shared limousine bus.

Note: The limousine bus shuttle leaves from the airport and stops either in front of your hotel or at a stop located 1-15 minutes on foot from your hotel.

Detailed explanations are included in your travel guide booklet, with pictures:
- How to find the Limousine Bus at Tokyo Airport
- How to get from the bus stop to your hotel

This transfer is not a private transfer with reception. If you wish to be met personally at the airport you can choose our "airport reception" service as an option.

In rare cases, depending on the arrival time of your flight, it may be the case that the limousine bus is unavailable. In that situation an alternative route using public transport would be offered, the price of which would be included in your package. A detailed explanation of the route, with pictures, would be provided in your travel guide booklet.

Check into your hotel. 

TOKYO

Night in your 3* hotel in the Akasaka or Ikebukuro district.

Example of 3* hotels (depending on availability):
- Monterey Akasaka Hotel
- The B Akasaka Hotel
- The B Tokyo Ikebukuro Hotel

Examples of 4* hotels: (optional, contact us to upgrade)
- Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi Hotel
- Keio Plaza Hotel
- Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro Hotel


Note: Breakfasts not included in the package can be added at the reception desk upon arrival at the hotel. However, in Tokyo and Kyoto, you will find many cafes near your hotel serving generous (and often tastier) breakfasts menus.

Day
2

TOKYO

Explore Tokyo and the surrounding area.

Some suggestions:
- Asakusa district and Senso-ji Temple
- The Tokyo Skytree, 634 meters high, and Tokyo Tower, symbol of the city
- Ueno Park and its many museums
- The areas of Shibuya and Shinjuku 

TOKYO

Discover Japanese gastronomy in the most Michelin-starred capital in the world.

Day
3

TOKYO

Explore Tokyo at your leisure.

Further suggestions:
- The gardens of the Imperial Palace
- Meiji-jingu Shrine
- The man-made island of Odaiba

TOKYO

The countless "Izakaya" (typical Japanese bars) of Tokyo await you for a beer and/or some "yakitori" (grilled chicken skewers).

Day
4

TOKYO

Why not take a day trip from Tokyo?:
- See the temples and shrines of Nikko, in the heart of the forest (about 2 hours from Tokyo).
- The city of Kamakura and its giant bronze Buddha (about 1 hour one way).

TOKYO

Night at your hotel in Tokyo.

Day
5

OSAKA - KOBE - AWAJI

Leave Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet train) and travel to Osaka. Pick up your rental car and head for Awaji (1 hour 30 minute journey).

Pass through Kobe, famous for its futuristic port, Chinatown and Kitano, a district famous for its beautiful colonial merchant houses.

Arrive on Awaji Island via the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Before arriving at your hotel, you could see Hanasajiki flower park, or visit the striking Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum.

Check in to your hotel.

AWAJI

Night at your hotel on Awaji

Day
6

TAKAMATSU

Pass by the Awaji Yumebutai conference center and hotel, masterpiece of architect Ando Tadao.

Arrive on Shikoku Island via the bridge over the naruto whirlpools, a phenomenon caused by the meeting tides of the Pacific ocean and the Inland Sea between Shikoku and Awaji. This phenomenon is a big attraction in Asia, though little known to the rest of the world.

Not far from the whirlpools you can discover Otsuka Museum of Art, famous for its complete reproduction of the Sistine Chapel of Rome.

Arrive and check in to your hotel in Takamatsu (2 hours total journey)

TAKAMATSU

Night at your hotel in Takamatsu

Day
7

TAKAMATSU

Explore Takamatsu and its surroundings :

- Naoshima island, famous for its art museums, the fascinating architecture of some of its buildings, and the many unusual sculptures scattered throughout its outdoor landscapes.Explore Takamatsu and its surroundings:
- Ritsurin Koen: With its 75 hectares, the green Ritsurin Park has become one of the most sumptuous gardens in Japan.
- The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, a must-see for sculpture lovers (visits are by advanced reservation only)
- Kotohira temple

TAKAMATSU

Night at your hotel in Takamatsu

Day
8

KURASHIKI

Drive to the historic area of Kurashiki.

Suggestions :
- The typical architecture of the Bikan district
- The Ohara Museum, which houses paintings by Monet, Matisse, Renoir...
 

KURASHIKI

Night at your hotel in Kurashiki.

Day
9

HIMEJI - OSAKA

Drive to Himeji (1hr30m), home to the largest feudal castle in Japan, famous all over the world.

Arrive in Osaka in the afternoon (a 2hr30m drive from Himeji) to return your rental car and settle in your 3* hotel in the heart of the city.

OSAKA

Night at your hotel in Osaka.

Day
10

KYOTO

Train journey to Kyoto (included with your prepaid transportation card).

Explore Kyoto and the surrounding area.

Places to visit could include:
- Ryoanji with its famous "dry landscape" rock garden
- Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) and Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion)
-The historic district of Gion, and Kiyomizu-dera, a thousand-year-old temple overlooking the city
- The Philosopher's Path

Or enjoy a day trip to Nara (30 to 50 minutes one way).

KYOTO

Free evening and night in your 3*** hotel in the city centre, Gion district or near the central station.

Examples of 3*** hotels (depending on availability):
- Mitsui Garden Kyoto Shijo
- Hedistar Hotel Kyoto Nijo
- Hokke Clb Kyoto Hotel

Examples of 4**** hotels: (optional, contact us)
- Monterey Kyoto Hotel
- New Miyako Hotel
- Kyoto Okura hotel  

Day
11

KYOTO

Continue to explore the old capital:
- Visit Nishiki Market, where you'll find the typical ingredients of Kyoto cuisine on sale
- Nijo Castle and its "nightingale" floors
- Explore Arashiyama and its bamboo grove, west of Kyoto

KYOTO

Night at your hotel in Kyoto

Day
12

KYOTO

Continue your visit in Kyoto and take the opportunity to buy souvenirs!

And don't forget to visit Fushimi-Inari Taisha and its hundreds of famous red torii gates that form tunnels up the mountain. It's just 5 minutes by train from Kyoto station.

KYOTO

Night at your hotel in Kyoto

Day
13

KYOTO

Travel to Kansai International Airport (KIX) from Kyoto by shuttle bus (included).

Return flight home.

KYOTO

Return flight

Day 0
Day 1 TOKYO
Day 2 TOKYO
Day 3 TOKYO
Day 4 TOKYO
Day 5 OSAKA, KOBE, AWAJI
Day 6 TAKAMATSU
Day 7 Takamatsu TAKAMATSU
Day 8 Kurashiki KURASHIKI
Day 9 HIMEJI, OSAKA
Day 10 KYOTO
Day 11 KYOTO
Day 12 KYOTO
Day 13 KYOTO