In a volcanic Island chain, surrounded by an ocean, the Japanese built their cultural and national identity. The transition from being open to the world to being closed to it has shaped Japan‘s unique character. And even today, modern and technological Japan remains rigid and reserved, and it zealously preserves its unique tradition. A visit to Japan is an encounter with many contrasts almost everywhere; ancient temples alongside modern skyscrapers, fancy gardens and hi-tech gadgets, old samurai castles located in vibrant, modern cities. Japan is a western society that stands firmly in the east. Our tour includes Tokyo with its skyscrapers, wooden houses and traditional gardens, and the natural reserve Nikko with its abundance of temples – both Shinto and Buddhist. At Hakone, located on the edge of a volcanic lake, we can soak in a typical Japanese Onsen. Kyoto – Japan‘s imperial capital for over 1,000 years, and Takayama – ancient cultural center of the Japanese Alps. The Land of the Rising Sun brings us calm at dawn, hustle and bustle at midday, and placidity at night. Yokoso!
Best time to visit
March to May (Cherry Blossoms) & August to November
Day 1: Monday: Arrival Tokyo
Arrive Tokyo, capital of Japan since 1868. The world’s largest megalopolis, this conglomerate of 34 million residents boasts of tradition and modernity in one: skyscrapers and temples; highways and shrines; the bustle and hubbub of the city and the quiet solitude of the gardens. We will visit Meiji shrine, Harajuku & Omoteando. Meiji Shrine, a Shinto complex dedicated to the memory of Emperor Meiji who brought the corrupt Shogunate to an end in 1867. Emperor Meiji, who is buried at the shrine, is credited with modernizing Japan and initiating Japan’s economic and industrial infrastructure.
Day 2: Tuesday: Tokyo
Our agenda includes as many of the following as time and traffic will allow .
Very early in the morning we will visit Tsukiji Market which is best known as one of the world’s largest fish markets, handling over 2,000 tons of marine products per day.
We will continue to Edo Tokyo Museum, Asakusa Kannon Temple with Nakamise shopping arcade, Ueno Market, Akihabara Electronics District and the glitzy Ginza avenue stores.
Day 3: Wednesday: Tokyo – Hakone
After breakfast we will visit the Sumo Stable to see the sumo wrestlers training and the Open Air Museum which houses works of some of the world’s finest sculptors and artists, as well as the world’s largest private collection of the works of Pablo Picasso.
In the afternoon we head for the vacation village of Hakone, a resort town on the banks of Lake Ashi, on the lower slopes on Mount Fuji via
Day 4: Thursday: Hakone – Takayama
From hakone we’ll make our way to Matsumoto, gateway to the Japanese Alps and we will visit Matsumoto Castle (Matsumotojo) is one of the most complete and beautiful among Japan’s original Castles. It is also a good example of a so called “hirajiro”, a castle built on the plain rather than on a hill or mountain. We’ll continue the alpine climb to Takayama a traditional hamlet high in the Japanese Alps. We’ll stroll the quaint streets and the ancient shops, visit a sake brewery to taste some of Japan’s finest rice wine (yes, it is kosher), and We‘ll also visit Yatai Kaikan museum where we‘ll see a display of great chariots, dating back hundreds of years, that were used to transport the gods in the Takayama festival that is held twice a year, spring and fall. This is one of the most spectacular festivals in Japan, and draws large crowds who join the parade.
Day 5: Friday: Takayama – Kobe
From Takayama we’ll make our way further into the Alps to the village of Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where ancient “Praying Hands” homes still stand. After our visit we’ll head for yet another highlight of this tour, a visit to the museum dedicated to Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese Consul in Kovno during World War II, who was responsible for the rescue of over 6500 Jews, for which he was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of Righteous among the Nations.
After the visit we’ll take the Shinkansen, Japan’s famous bullet train to the port city of Kobe, where Japan’s Jewish past comes to life. Kobe was the first city to open its gates to trade with the outside world in 1868, and it is to Kobe that the Jews rescued by Sugihara arrived and stayed a few months, before dispersing to Shanghai and other destinations.
We transfer to our hotel in the city of Kobe and prepare ourselves for Shabbat.
Day 6: Shabbat: Kobe
We’ll spend a wonderful, peaceful and relaxing Shabbat with the Jewish community in Kobe, the only fully functional Orthodox community in Japan. After Shacharit and a Kiddush/Breakfast, we’ll take a stroll through the neighborhood near our hotel.
Day 7: Sunday: Kobe – Hiroshima
We’ll make our way across the water by ferry to Miyajima Island, a sacred island that houses what is arguably Japan’s most beautiful shrine – Itsukushima. The whole island is an historical site and is considered one of the three most beautiful sites in Japan. The birth of the city is dated back to 593 AC when empress Seiko was crowned and a shrine was built in honor of this event.
We end the day in Hiroshima, located on the Oceanside. We will learn the history of the city that was A-Bombed at the end of World War II. Hiroshima, which in 1945 was the 6th largest city in Japan, was of strategic military importance. The headquarters of the Second Army, which was charged with protecting all of southern Japan, was located here. However, Allied bombing during World War II was not focused there. The city was built mainly of wood, which made it very vulnerable to fire. We will visit the A-Bomb Dome, the Peace Park, Museum and memorial.
Day 8: Monday: Hiroshima – Kyoto
We visit Japan’s leading car manufacturer, Mazda Museum. At the end of this visit we head to Kurashiki, where we visit the Ohara art museum. We will transfer to Okayama station via visit of the Korakuen Gardens and take the bullet train to Kyoto for overnight.
Day 9: Tuesday: Kyoto
Kyoto, considered the “Jerusalem of Japan” is home to over 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, some of the most important in Japan, as well as the traditional site of the coronation of Japan’s emperors. Due to its sanctity, the city was not bombed by the allies during World War II. We‘ll visit Nijo Castle including a Nishijin Kimono show. Later we will proceed to Ryoanji Temple – a Zen Buddhist temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous for its simplistic and stark dry-landscape garden. From there we’ll proceed to the ultimate opposite, the Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji Shrine, an opulent gilded building in a magnificent garden, along with a tea house. Our next stop will be at Kyoto’s famous Nishiki Market and Gion Geisha district. In the evening we’ll go out and enjoy a moving experience at Beit Shalom, a center of supporters of Israel.
Day 10: Wednesday: Kyoto – Osaka
Today we will visit the Kiyomizu Dera complex and the Ninenzaka and Sanenzaka lanes as we stroll through the fascinating side alleyways of this inspiring sacred city. We’ll continue to Fushimi Inari Shrine and drive to Nara. Japan’s first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara. As the influence and political ambitions of the city’s powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest and Largest temples. Our visit will include Todaiji Temple – a large temple with a big Buddha statue, the Deer Park and Kasuga Shrine – Nara’s most celebrated Shinto shrine.
After our visit we continue to the hotel close to the airport in Osaka.
Day 11: Thursday: Osaka – Back home
Today we will take our flight back home.
|Tour Code||Departure date||Air + Land *||Land only *||Single Room**|
|JAP17/2||08/14/2017||4560 $||735 $|
|JAP17/3||10/16/2017||4560 $||735 $|
Oct. Tour: Amazing fall season
March/April Tour: Cherry Blossom
* Price per person in USD double or twin room
** Supplement Price for single room
* Price of tour is subject to changedue to change in air fare.
- Air-conditioned tourist coach
- Half Board throughout plus supplies to make sandwiches for lunch
- English-speaking local guides and a professional experienced guide from the staff of Shai Bar Ilan
- Entrance to all sites mentioned in the itinerary
- Tourist class hotels or first class hotels throughout
- Tips for local service providers
- International flights
- Taxes and surcharges
- Private expenses (drinks laundry & dry cleaning shopping etc.)
- Tip for Israeli guide (Recommended: $5 per person per day)
Important to Know:
- There may be changes to the order of places visited. We will make every effort to visit every place mentioned in the itinerary.
- The tour organizers have no control over airline services such as seating, special meal requests, changes in departure times or delays. These remain the sole responsibility of the airline company.
Kashrut on Tours
Only strictly kosher food is provided to our travelers on all our tours. On some of our tours we are able to provide glatt meals. Kashrut is of utmost importance to us and we take special measures to ensure that everything served is kosher.
Breakfast is prepared using our utensils. We use local fresh fruits and vegetables, and we use milk products when they are permitted. We use kosher cereals, and bread. We usually serve hard boiled eggs and sometimes scrambled eggs or omelets. At breakfast, we prepare our lunches so that people have their choice as to what they eat for lunch. We bring food from Israel to supplement what is served in the hotel such as cheeses, peanut butter, tuna, etc.
For dinners, we serve either fish or meat (usually chicken) as our main course. In areas where meat is not available nor readily acquired, we will have fish. When possible, we acquire the meat locally from Chabad or other reliable kosher source, and in some cases we fly the meat in from Israel. We try to provide as many meat meals as possible. The main course at dinner is preceded by soup and salad and accompanied by freshly prepared vegetables. Dessert typically consists of fresh fruits.
We do not guarantee Pat Israel and Chalav Israel for all destinations.
In many destinations we have our own dishes and silverware. Where we don’t, we provide disposables at the meals. When we cook in hotel kitchens, we use our own knives, cutting boards, pots and pans, cooking implements and disposable metal trays. All food preparation is done on covered surfaces under the strict supervision of our trained staff/guides who function as our mashgichim.
We make great efforts to assure that our travelers will experience local foods first-hand, while maintaining stringent observance of Kashrut laws on all occasions.
On most of our tours, you will be accompanied by two of our staff members- one a guide for the tour who is knowledgeable about the places you are visiting and will accompany you throughout the day and the second, a person who will deal with the logistics of the tour and provide kashrut supervision in the kitchen.
It is our aim to provide the finest hotel possible in each area we visit. We require our hotels to allow us to work in the kitchen and to supervise the cooking and there are many hotels that are not willing to cooperate. They simply have no desire for us to be “meddling” in their cooking process nor are they happy about our bringing our equipment into their kitchens. We work very hard to find the best hotel in the area that will meet our requirements. Because we are not ready to compromise on kashrut, we may not always be able to use a five star hotel.
Deposit, Cancellation Fees & Policy:
A $500 USD Deposit per person must be received at the time of booking in order to confirm your reservation. Payment in full is due 90 days before departure. A minimum number of participants are required to operate tour dates. If a minimum number has not been reached prior to tour departure and the tour is cancelled you will receive a FULL refund.
• 90 days before departure bookings are refundable less a $100 administration fee
• 60-90 days prior to departure: $500 + $100 per passenger
• 30-60 days prior to departure: $1,000 + $100 per passenger
• Less than 30 working days prior to departure: 100% of total – no refund
We strongly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance.
Travel insurance encompassing both cancellation and medical insurance is very important and we cannot stress that enough. We strongly recommend that our clients are adequately insured when travelling.
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